Jumpstart - Refugee Talent is a Canadian non-profit focused on streamlining the process of the arrival of refugees and their employment. Founded in 2015, Jumpstart supports refugees and newcomers in their entry into both the education and job markets. Jumpstart began as an organization focused on assisting Syrian newcomers and has since grown to encompass all refugees within its scope.

We are made up of a network of board members, staff members and dedicated volunteers united by one common goal: to ensure the success and prosperity of newcomers by enabling them to continue their careers and rebuild their lives in Canada. 



What initially motivated us was spending day after day meeting families who have survived years of refuge in countries neighbouring Syria. These families consisted of hardworking, ambitious adults and hopeful children who have finally been given a chance to rebuild their lives in a free and peaceful country. Many were eager to resume their lives where they were abruptly stopped in Syria, by starting fresh in Canada.

Since then, Jumpstart has grown tremendously and we have acquired a wealth of knowledge and resources that we would like to share with refugees from countries from all corners of the world. After developing our experience on with a Syrian-focused approach during the time of a great influx of Syrian refugees in 2015, we are now ready to expand our horizons. We recognize that there are large groups of refugees from a number of countries that could benefit from the combination of our knowledge, experience, and passion for this great cause.

We strongly believe that Jumpstart can play a major role in helping the newcomers build a strong foundation upon which they can prosper in Canada. The men and women we meet daily are the professionals, skilled tradespeople, and ambitious entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Their young children are the essence of the future Canadian economy. By helping working-age newcomers establish themselves with rewarding careers in Canada, we simultaneously ensure that they and their children can reach their full potential. Easy and efficient connections with meaningful employment opportunities would contribute to the success of the newcomers, their communities, and the Canadian economy as a whole.

Ultimately, we want to replicate the approach we’ve successfully developed with Syrian newcomers across Canada and apply it to newcomers of all backgrounds, because we believe that everyone deserves a second chance.  



Our Beginnings

Jumpstart recognizes that it is never too early to begin building your career in Canada. Staying true to this philosophy, we began our approach “on the ground” by meeting with Syrian newcomers and developing their skills profiles once the first large group of newcomers arrived in Toronto hotels. The objective behind meeting with newcomers was to better understand their work experience and their goals for their new lives in Canada, and to then connect them with opportunities.

By conducting individual interviews, Jumpstart’s team assisted newcomers by identifying transferable skills which would aid them in their search for work in an unfamiliar Canadian job market. The team acted as an initial information and referral source, supporting newcomers with a wide range of needs; from creating an email account, to drafting resumes, to finding and contacting local employment programs.