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Our Mandate

HSDC is a non-profit organization established in 1993 and incorporated in 1995, with a mission to improve the health, social, cultural, economic self-sufficiency and well-being of refugees, new immigrants, at-risk children and youth, women and other marginalized individuals, so that they and their families can enjoy and contribute to the opportunities that Canada offers. HSDC is a grassroots agency with a vision to impact positively on the lives in our community. HSDC assists families in building stronger foundations through integrative and empowerment programs and services. With more than 22 years experience, HSDC understands the issues that often hinder or delay the abilities of new immigrants to become self-sufficient. We understand cultural diversity and provide our services within the cultural-competency framework. Our staff and volunteers are of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds allowing us to effectively serve our clientele.

To realize our mandate, HSDC has developed various training programs and social support activities along with job placement opportunities for our volunteers, interns, and clients who participate in our programs. 70% of individuals who participate in one of HSDC's programs and services succeed in securing employment or venturing into a business of their own. HSDC's programs and services are designed to help individuals with capacity building and skills development, making their transition into the community as smooth as possible.

Heritage Skills Development Centre was established by a concerned group of women who observed a gap in the integration services available to immigrants and visible minorities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). People immigrate to Canada for a variety of reasons. New immigrants often come with hopes and dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. Upon arrival, the realities for most newcomers are new cultural, economic and social dynamics, which pose many difficulties and stresses many are not prepared for.

Language for some is the first barrier they will face and typically followed by more barricades to business and employment opportunities. Many Canadian employers have implemented the requirement for "Canadian Work Experience" which fuels the catch 22 - how can new immigrants get Canadian experience if Canadian employers won't hire them. To be successful, many new immigrants need to acquire new skills and trainings or develop existing ones. A traditional classroom setting may be intimidating to new immigrants where they look towards programs that are practical, useful and culturally appropriate. Recognizing this need, HSDC has tailored programs and services to effectively and serve our clientele.

Adjusting to a new environment – a new home, can greatly impact the direction of our youth. Many of our youth experience culture distress and identity crises – confused about who they really are and where they belong. How do our youth find a way to stay proud of their roots and take the time to figure out their place in their new world, while dealing with the difficulties of integrating into a society which may not initially accept or appreciate his/her culture, religion, history and experiences? This leads many times to low self-esteem, involvement in crime, violence, delinquency and often times inability to succeed. HSDC tackles this problem head on providing youth programs to assist and encourage changes in this pattern, striving through hard work and ambition, to achieve personal, academic and professional success.

Heritage Skills Development Centre (HSDC) was established with the goal of Helping Families Build a Strong Foundation and our efforts are geared towards making this happen!