Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre

History of RIWC


Founded in 1982, RIWC is a non-profit community-based immigrant women’s organization committed to the empowerment of women. RIWC operates from a holistic and integrated service model that address the social, cultural and political realities of minority communities informed by feminist and anti-racist values. RIWC works with a wide range of community-based organizations, coalitions and research networks to address women’s equality issues to facilitate policy and social change.

RIWC is a multilingual agency with experience in delivering settlement, language training, anti-violence and employment services for marginalised women and their families in the Toronto area.



Mission and Mandate

Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre is committed to supporting Asian and South Asian women, children, youth and their families in taking greater control of their lives. Our main focus is to provide culturally appropriate and linguistically specific settlement and counseling support services with the use of community- determined strategies, that are developed and delivered by women.

Over the years, RIWC has expanded its services to support other minority groups who are marginalized by poverty, sexual orientation, ageism, etc., and isolated, having limited resources and adequate access to services.

RIWC provides a broad range of services essential to the integration of refugee communities. We also assist under-served groups such as youth, seniors, lesbians, refugees and other vulnerable women who are isolated and have limited access to services.


Currently, RIWC offers services in 19 languages. Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, English, Farsi, French, Gujarati, Hunan, Hindi, Katchi, Mandarin, Marathi, Punjabi, Spanish, Swahili, Tamil, Tagalog, Turkish and Urdu are some of the languages you may hear at RIWC.

Programs, Services, and Initiatives


Although they are listed as separate services, RIWC follows an integrated model of service where each of its service and program components overlaps. For example, although job search workshops are listed under Settlement and Integration Programs, they can be accessed by clients in other programs as well.

Violence Against Women and Children Program

Our strategic location, in the heart of Gerrard India Bazaar and close to Chinatown East, means that we are highly visible to the vibrant, immigrant communities that populate Toronto's East End. Our program's outreach has been very successful. While most of our clients come from South Asia (30%), a significant number are from Africa (25%), South China (10%) and Europe (5%). Canadian-born clients represent 13% and the remaining 6% come from a variety of other ethnicities such as Middle Eastern, South American, Central Asian and South East Asian.

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Essential Pathways to Employment Program

Essential Pathways to Employment Program

The success of this program is grounded in our Sustainable Livelihoods model and its delivery. Drawing on this model, the program cultivates the intrinsic value of each individual by helping them to identify and bolster an awareness of their assets and strengths. Using a holistic approach means that we listen to and appreciate each person’s unique strengths and challenges.

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Anti-Violence Youth Program

Our Anti-Violence Youth Program focuses on youth leadership development, anti-violence education, and non-violent relationships. This program improves the health and safety of girls, young women and their children who are victims of physical/emotional abuse and sexual assault. The program improves access to information promoting healthy relationships and support services for those affected by violence.

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Volunteer and Placement Students Program 

We offer community members and students the chance to build marketable skills through skill training, leadership development, and job placement opportunities. All volunteers are provided with reference letters.

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Toronto - A Place to Call Our Own:
Empowering Women to Take
Action for Affordable Housing

At RIWC, we have joined with eight women-serving or-
ganizations from across Toronto to partner in a 36-month

initiative to address the alarming number of women living
in unsafe or unhealthy accommodations.

With funding from the Status of Women Canada, the ac-
tion plan includes building a safety and inclusion network

to support women in their housing, proposing housing
policy changes and designing a women’s housing model
that works.



The RIWC is working in partnership with the Alliance
for Intergenerational Resilience (AIR) in a global project
called “Seeding Intergenerational Resilience”. Led by
the Alliance for Intergenerational Resilience, the aim of

this project is to strengthen intergenerational connec-
tions and renew traditional knowledge systems in ways

that contribute to the sustainability of the planet. The RI-
WC’s objective through this collaboration is to develop

a joint initiative around sustainable food practices, while
strengthening intergenerational resilience-building.


French-language services:

Francophone or French-speaking women can get crisis counselling and referral services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling this toll free number:




This toll free number will automatically connect you with the closest regional crisis line.  The service is anonymous and confidential.  You do not have to give your name.

For Emergency Shelter Services please contact La Maison - 647-777-6733

For Transitional and Housing Support Services please contact Oasis centre des femmes 416--591-6565 ext. 231. For VAW Counselling Services call ext. 226.


Si vous ou une personne que vous connaissez êtes victime de violence:

Les femmes francophones peuvent obtenir des services de counseling en situation de crise et être dirigées vers les centres d'hébergement 24 heures sur 24, 7 jours sur 7, au numéro sans frais suivant:




Ce numero vous mettra en contact automatiquement avec la ligne-secours régionale la plus proche.  Le service est anonyme et confidential.  Vous n'avez pas à vous identifier.

Pour les services d'hébergement d'urgence s'il vous plaît contacter La Maison - 647-777-6733

Des services d'appui transitoire et de logement s'il vous plaît contacter Oasis des femmes centre 416--591-6565 poste. 231. Pour VFF Counselling Services appeler le poste. 226.


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Riverdale Immigrant Women's Centre

1326 Gerrard St. East, Toronto, ON, M4L 1Z1

Phone: 416-465-6021

Email: reception.riwc@gmail.com