Station Blog

Minister of Citizenship Michael Chan Welcomes Syrian Refugees

02 June 2016 / by CJRU 1280AM (author)
New Canadian Life group photo (photo: Hazem Aboulenil)
New Canadian Life group photo / (photo: Hazem Aboulenil)

How did you come to Canada? is a common question in a diverse city like Toronto, but for newly arrived refugees from Syria the answer is often complex and traumatic.

Ontario Minister of Citizenship Michael Chan was on hand  to formerly welcome a group of Syrian refugees at a breakfast event sponsored by Culturelink Settlement Agency. Culturelink has supported some 2100 Syrian refugees this year- over half the total number of Syrian refugees settling in the GTA.

“Ontario has a long standing humanitarian tradition,” MP Chan told those in attendance. "We welcome thousands, I mean thousands of refugees every year. We also have a very strong volunteer spirit, groups like CultureLink have drawn on these two impulses to help refugees.” 



The newly formed Syrian Children’s Choir performed a touching  song “Thank You Canada” in English, French and Arabic, alongside other talented artists from Toronto's new Syrian diaspora.

In addition to programs like job search, food centres and simply providing families with access to donated household items to welcome newly arrived refugees from Syria, Culturelink has also recently opened a new partnership program with Ryerson’s campus radio station: CJRU 1280AM.

New Canadian Life is a fresh, culture-oriented radio initiative offered through a partnership between CultureLink and CJRU 1280AM, funded through the Community Radio Fund of Canada (CFRC).

This program is focused on providing newcomers with an introduction to community radio through a series of radio workshops, where they will be able to learn new radio skills,  share their unique stories and ask questions about building a new life in Toronto. Upon completion of the workshops, newcomers will have the opportunity to host and produce their own radio show.

The goal of this project is to increase the rates of civic participation and volunteer engagement among newcomers.

 “We are continually committed in our efforts to serving newcomers. It is imperative that we provide them with programs and services which are conducive towards a successful transition here in Canada,” says Glen Walsh, Program Manager at CultureLink.

For more information on the “New Canadian Life” Radio Workshop Series contact Jonathan Rodil at CJRU Radio Ryerson ( or Glen Walsh at Culturelink ( 416-588-6288 X 212).


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