February 25, 2016 4:44 pm
Updated: February 25, 2016 7:18 pm

Montreal company helps refugees and immigrants start a new life

WATCH ABOVE: Since last fall, Quebec has welcomed more than 4,000 Syrian refugees, but finding a job and starting over can be tough. As Global's Amanda Jelowicki found out, one Montreal company is making a point to hire newcomers to Canada.


MONTREAL Sylvain Valery moved to Canada from Cameroon six months ago with his family.

“I decided to move to Canada to start a new life because there are more opportunities than in Cameroon, where I’m from,” said Valery.

Starting over hasn’t been easy, but after months of searching, new electric cab company Téo recently offered him something no one else would – a job.

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“I’m very happy. I’m very happy, it’s relaxed my job, no pressure. I’m very happy,” he told Global News.

Téo Taxi launched in November, offering taxi service in environmentally-friendly cars through a mobile app similar to Uber.

The company has been on a hiring spree, training new drivers, dispatchers and car washers.

They now have 60 cars offering 24-hour-a-day taxi service in the downtown Montreal area and hope to expand with more cars and more service in the months to come.

Téo officials said the company has a conscience – the environment being first and foremost, but they also want to help newcomers who are struggling to find work.

So, they contacted local immigrant and refugee aid organizations to look for job applicants.

“I think these people are very, very courageous,” said Téo people and culture director Lucie Marcoux.

“I think it’s fair that in our project we do help them contribute to that as well as we can.”

The company said the flood of Syrian refugees arriving in Canada inspired them, but they’ll hire people from everywhere.

Aid organizations insisted starting over is an enormous challenge for many immigrants.

“They don’t find a job and they become frustrated,” said Lida Aghasi, director general of the Centre Social d’Aide aux Immigrants.

“Some employers, they don’t have that openness to hire newcomers and that makes their life really difficult, especially when you are highly educated.”

The organization applauds Téo for its initiative and would like other companies to follow its lead.

As for Valery, he only hopes other newcomers have as positive an experience in Canada as he did.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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