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

  • 'I cannot promise we will never make another mistake': Quebec cardinal on sex abuse summit

    Canada News CTV News
    Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet says Pope Francis' historic summit on preventing sex abuse in the clergy is a good first step but says "I cannot promise we will never make another mistake." Ouellet told CTV News' Paul Workman that the Vatican is taking the allegations of sex abuse seriously, citing the historic summit as the first step in reconciliation. Source
  • Polish activists pull down statue of priest in abuse protest

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, Poland -- Activists in Poland pulled down a statue of a priest early Thursday after increasing allegations that he sexually abused minors, a stunt they said was to protest the failure of the Polish Catholic Church in resolving the problem of clergy sex abuse. Source
  • Catalan secessionists block highways, train tracks in strike

    World News CTV News
    BARCELONA, Spain -- Strikers backing Catalonia's secession from Spain blocked major highways, train tracks and roads across the northeastern region on Thursday to protest the trial of a dozen separatist leaders. The general strike was organized by small unions of pro-independence workers and students. Source
  • Louisiana woman charged in shooting of her pet llama, Earl

    World News CTV News
    OPELOUSAS, La. -- A Louisiana woman is accused of shooting her pet llama named Earl who she says attacked her. News outlets report 67-year-old Madeline Bourgeois told St. Landry Parish Sheriff's deputies that Earl had attacked her last week while she was working in her pasture. Source
  • More than 150 IS militants handed over to Iraq from Syria

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- U.S.-backed Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group in Syria handed over more than 150 Iraqi members of the group to Iraq, the first batch of several to come, an Iraqi security official said Thursday. Source
  • Students abused at Catholic school for deaf boys in Verona seek closure at Pope's summit

    World News CBC News
    Alessandro Vantini uses crude gestures to illustrate the way three priests abused him throughout his entire childhood at a school for deaf boys in the northern Italian city of Verona. He said one clergyman regularly hit him with a stick and sodomized him. Source
  • Ottawa could face four class-action lawsuits over $165M error at Veterans Affairs

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government now faces four proposed class-action lawsuits over a $165 million accounting error at Veterans Affairs that shortchanged more than 250,000 former soldiers, sailors and aircrew, CBC News has learned. The latest claim was filed this week by the Ottawa law firm headed by retired colonel Michel Drapeau. Source
  • First post-SNC-Lavalin polls look bad for Trudeau Liberals

    Canada News CBC News
    The fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair is only beginning to rain down on Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government but it seems to be having an impact — one that could put the Liberals on track to defeat in this fall's federal election. Source
  • Pope opens sex abuse summit amid outcry from survivors

    World News CTV News
    VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis has opened a high-level summit of church leaders on preventing clergy sex abuse, hoping to impress on bishops from around the world that the problem is global and requires a global response. Source
  • Vatican's legal procedures for handling sex abuse, explained

    World News CTV News
    VATICAN CITY -- For centuries, the Vatican's canon law system busied itself with banning books and dispensing punishments that included burnings at the stake for heretics. These days, the Vatican office that eventually replaced the Roman Catholic Inquisition is knee-deep in processing clergy sex abuse cases. Source