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

  • Welsh villagers could be U.K.’s first 'climate refugees'

    World News CTV News
    Villagers living in a coastal Welsh community could win the unenviable title of the United Kingdom’s first “climate change refugees.” Fairbourne (pop. 900) is barely above sea level. An embankment and drainage channels keep the Irish Sea out. Source
  • Eyewitnesses speak out about couple found dead on B.C. highway

    Canada News CTV News
    Two road workers in northern British Columbia are providing possible clues into the deaths of an Australian man and an American woman whose bodies were found on the side of a remote stretch of highway one week ago. Source
  • One dead, one in critical after plane crashes into river near Jasper, Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    JASPER, Alta. - One person has died and another was taken to hospital after a small plane crashed into a river in western Alberta. RCMP Const. Shelley Nasheim says the aircraft was attempting to take off from an airstrip near Jasper on Sunday afternoon when it crashed into a nearby river. Source
  • 5 shot dead, 6 wounded in Acapulco bar near beach

    World News CTV News
    ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Gunmen killed five men and wounded six other people at a popular bar in Acapulco on Sunday, the latest in a string of violent incidents for the once-glamorous Pacific Coast resort city that has fallen on hard times. Source
  • Puerto Rico governor says he won't seek re-election in wake of scandal

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's embattled governor says he will not seek re-election but will not resign as the island's leader, though he will step down as head of his pro-statehood party. Ricardo Rossello made the announcement Sunday via a brief Facebook video as hundreds of viewers posted angry messages. Source
  • Puerto Rico governor says he won't seek re-election amid furor over leaked messages

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's embattled governor says he will not seek re-election but will not resign as the island's leader, though he will step down as head of his pro-statehood party. Ricardo Rossello made the announcement Sunday via a brief Facebook video as hundreds of viewers posted angry messages. Source
  • U.S. notes advance in Mexican migration enforcement

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during a meeting Sunday that Mexico has made significant progress on migration enforcement, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said. Ebrard said in a statement that due to these advances, Mexico sees no need to negotiate a "safe third country" agreement with Washington that would require migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico rather than in the U.S. Source
  • Plane crash near Jasper townsite sends two people to hospital

    Canada News CBC News
    Two people have been taken to hospital after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper on Sunday afternoon. It was reported at about 1:30 p.m. that the aircraft crashed into the Athabasca River near the local airport, RCMP Const. Source
  • 1 person dead, another in critical condition after plane crash in Jasper, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    One person is dead and another is in critical condition after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper, Alta., on Sunday afternoon. Alberta Health Services spokesperson Amy Crofts confirmed one person was declared dead on scene, and the other was taken to hospital. Source
  • 1 man dead, another in serious condition after plane crash in Jasper, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    One man is dead and another is in serious condition after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper, Alta., on Sunday afternoon. The lone passenger, a 31-year-old man, was declared dead on scene, RCMP Const. Source