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

  • G7 leaders confer with Zelenskyy, prep new aid for Ukraine

    World News CTV News
    ELMAU, Germany - Leading economic powers conferred by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday as they underscored their commitment to Ukraine for the long haul with plans to pursue a price cap on Russian oil, raise tariffs on Russian goods and impose other new sanctions. Source
  • Canada outperformed most G10 countries during first two years of pandemic response: study

    Canada News CTV News
    Canada handled key aspects of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic better in the first two years of the health emergency than most G10 countries, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Toronto and Unity Health Toronto compared COVID-19 infection, death, excess mortality and vaccination rates, social and public health restrictions and economic performance to determine how the G10 countries performed. Source
  • Widow angry with broken N.S. health care system after husband dies waiting for heart surgery

    Canada News CBC News
    Gay Clarke keeps wondering why things didn't happen differently. "I did all the what-ifs," she said. She and her husband, Mark Clarke, lived in Kentville, N.S., until his death at the age of 66 in February. Source
  • Libraries in Canada hit by wave of hate, threats, as right-wing groups protest all-age drag events

    Canada News CBC News
    Family-friendly drag events across Canada, many hosted by municipal libraries, have been targeted by a deluge of hateful comments and threats during Pride month, prompting multiple police investigations and renewed concerns about the safety of the LGBTQ community. Source
  • The pandemic upset how we assess students. Experts worry that's also hampered recovery efforts

    Canada News CBC News
    Some young learners are struggling to build early reading skills while others stumble over math concepts. Repeated pandemic pivots have left students out of practice with classroom learning, impacted their mental health and distanced them from peers. Source
  • Canada can now seize, sell off Russian assets. What's next?

    Canada News CBC News
    Selling Russian-owned assets to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction may sound like a logical approach to restitution, but as the Canadian government gains new powers to begin this process, questions remain about how it will work, and whether some issues are headed to court. Source
  • Parents, caregivers face new juggling act as employers evaluate work-from-home policies

    Canada News CBC News
    There's no daily commute for Amy McQuaid-England these days. That's because she's advising clients on social media matters from her home in Brighton, Ont., without having to cross her doorstep. The communications professional said this "life-changing" style of flexible work allows her to manage the needs of her young family while also managing her business. Source
  • Zelensky expected to ask for more support in address to G7 leaders

    World News CBC News
    The ongoing war in Ukraine will move from being an distant conflict to something more tangible for the leaders of the world's seven wealthiest democracies on Monday with an address by the embattled country's president. Volodymyr Zelensky said he's going to tell G7 leaders that despite their efforts to arms his country and to isolate the regime of Russia President Vladimir Putin, more needs to be done — and fast. Source
  • Quebec family forms a special bond with physician after death of their youngest son

    Canada News CBC News
    Twinkle lights spiral around the trunks of tall spruce trees outside the Dwyer-Odell home in Arundel, a village in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. A wind chime hanging from a branch tinkles. Dozens of wooden hearts, each holding a message for Brayden Odell and his family, decorate the boughs. Source
  • Connecting Indigenous inmates to their culture: Grand Chief performs at Manitoba prison

    Canada News CTV News
    Behind prison walls, National Indigenous People’s Day was celebrated this month, with inmates at a Manitoba federal prison granted access to music, drumming and sharing circles — positive steps forward to reconnect Indigenous inmates with their culture and rehabilitate a group that is incarcerated at a disproportionate rate. Source