Montreal company offers Syrian refugees jobs, free language training

Levon Afeyan knows firsthand the challenges of being a refugee in Canada.

Forty years ago, he was forced to flee his home in Lebanon because of civil war.

See Full Article

But Afeyan eventually landed on his feet. He owns the Montreal-based plywood company Seatply, which produces plywood chair backs sold across North America

And now, Afeyan is doing his part to help others like himself adapt to life in Canada.

Seatply is offering jobs to newly arrived Syrian refugees, as well as free language lessons.

So far, the factory has taken on a dozen newcomers, with plans to take on more.

"It is our turn to help and that just came natural to us," said Afeyan.

One of the company's new employees is Barouyr Gulvannessian who fled war-torn Aleppo, Syria, for Montreal more than a year ago as a refugee.

He said one the greatest challenges facing refuges is finding a way to pay the bills.

"The biggest problem is actually to find a job," said Gulvannessian.

Many of the newcomers also don't speak French or English, which is why the company provides the free language lessons.

"Within a few months we hope that their languages skills will be such that they'll be able to communicate well with the supervisors," said Afeyan.

Afeyan isn't only opening his arms to Syrian refugees; 90 per cent of his employees are from other countries.

Some came for safety, others for a new life, but they have all been given an opportunity at Seatply.

"It is paying it forward," said Afeyan. "We expect nothing in return obviously. We're offering them what we are able to offer them, which is jobs."

With a report from CTV’s Kevin Gallagher in Montreal



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Program to study ways to help soldiers transition back to civilian life

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- A Canada-wide research study is being launched with the aim of helping members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans transition to civilian life. The study, based around a New Brunswick-based program called Shaping Purpose, will examine the experiences of 84 Forces members and veterans. Source
  • Pope Francis to celebrate Mass in Cairo on 2nd day of trip

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO - Pope Francis will celebrate Mass for Egypt's tiny Catholic community and meet with its priests and seminarians before returning to Rome. Local media reports say at least 25,000 are expected at Saturday's Mass in Cairo, which comes on the second day of Francis' two-day trip to the Arab world's most populous country Source
  • No winning ticket for Friday night's $13 million Lotto Max jackpot

    Canada News CTV News
    Winning tickets for the Lotto Max draw on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017 were sold in Sarnia and Chatham. Source
  • After delay derails murder trial, mother asks: 'Where are the politicians?'

    Canada News CTV News
    The parents of a man whose accused murderer was set free due to an unreasonable trial delay are asking why it’s taking politicians so long to address the problem. Amine and Nicole Nayel’s son Fouad Nayel, 28, was killed five years ago. Source
  • Filipino troops kill commander of group that kidnapped, beheaded Canadians

    World News CBC News
    The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south.Robert Hall, Canadian hostage, killed by Abu Sayyaf militants in PhilippinesCBC IN MANILA | Few signs of Canadian investigation into Abu Sayyaf beheadings in PhilippinesMilitary chief Gen. Source
  • Filipino troops kill notorious Abu Sayyaf kidnapper in clash

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine military chief says marines have killed an Abu Sayyaf extremist commander considered to be one of the most notorious kidnappers in the country's south. Military chief Gen. Eduardo Ano tells The Associated Press that Alhabsy Misaya was slain in a clash with marines late Friday in the jungles between the towns of Indanan and Parang in Sulu province. Source
  • Donald Trump: North Korea 'disrespected' China with missile test [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump said Friday that North Korea had “disrespected” China by attempting to launch another ballistic missile. Trump has said he is counting on Chinese President Xi Jinping to encourage North Korea to give up its pursuit of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs. Source
  • Some U.S. lawmakers want parents charged in genital cutting cases

    World News CTV News
    ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Lawmakers in Minnesota and Texas are pushing to crack down on parents involved with genital cutting after an indictment against a Detroit-area doctor accused of performing the procedure on two young Minnesota girls highlighted the little-known practice. Source
  • Three men sentenced for stealing $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    MONTREAL - Three men convicted in connection with the theft of $18 million worth of maple syrup in Quebec were sentenced on Friday to between two and eight years. Superior Court Justice Raymond Pronovost sentenced Richard Vallieres to eight years in prison, confiscated $606,500 from him and fined him another $9.4 million. Source
  • Donald Trump to NRA: 'Eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end' [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    ATLANTA - President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for gun rights Friday, telling attendees of a National Rifle Association convention that “the eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end.” Trump, the first sitting president to address the group’s annual convention in more than 30 years, assured the audience that he would defend their right to bear arms in a campaign-like speech reminiscent of his election rallies. Source