Syrian refugees get jobs in Toronto as newcomers find their way in Canada
'I was like one of them,' restaurant owner says after hiring newcomers
It's been a whirlwind few months for Toronto's newest Syrian refugees and some local businesses are stepping up to help by offering jobs to those who want one.
Since December, dozens of newcomers have started jobs at Lara's Restaurant on Consumers Road near Sheppard Avenue and Highway 404 in Toronto.
"I am a sponsor of around 40 people, and most of them I hired here," said restaurant owner Dikran Tourosian.
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The business owner was also a Syrian refugee when he came to Canada 15 years ago. He jumped from job to job trying to start a new life before opening up a restaurant. Now, he wants to give these newcomers a chance to blossom in Canada.
"When I came to this country in 2001, I was like one of them," he said. "Somehow they need to work so that's why I asked them if they can work here — no problem."
Linda Kaleshin arrived in the city nearly a month ago and has found herself keeping busy all over the restaurant.
Kaleshin told CBC News she is determined to do whatever it takes to return to the classroom.
"I will go to school, take courses, and again I will be a teacher."
Tourosian said Canadians are often thrilled to see these newcomers getting their hands dirty so quickly after arriving.
"My customers, they are so happy once they knew they are newcomers, they are refugees. Sometimes they are [giving] lots of tips, some people [are] donating clothes, furniture."
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Fortunately for many refugees seeking work, the restaurant isn't the only place hiring newcomers. North York's Beiruti Grand Coffee has also hired Syrians with approximately 30 on the payroll.
Maggie Soulian was educated in business before arriving in Canada and said she's committed to keeping that career alive in a land that is new to her.
"I will work here as an accountant, or in management," she said.
Tourosian said helping newcomers get a leg up is part of his responsibility as a Canadian.
"In this country ... we help each other," Tourosian said.
With files from Nick Boisvert