Carefirst Seniors & Community Services Association

Our mission is to ensure that Chinese Seniors & where appropriate, others in need of services, in the Greater Toronto Area and the surrounding areas live a Quality & Enriched Life in the community.

Our Impact Why We Exist

Specifically, we strive to promote and enhance their personal wellness through a range of Social, Health Care, and Supportive Services, planned and delivered on a holistic basis.

We will achieve the above mission by:

  • Developing comprehensive & client-entered services to meet the specific needs of our clients.
  • Providing top quality & culturally relevant social, health care, & support services to our clients.
  • Having a professional and caring attitude to all our clients.
  • Encouraging our clients to participate as actively as possible in their community to achieve optimal level of wellness.
  • Promoting community awareness of our clients' needs for social, health care & support services.
  • Advocating issues relating to social and health related policies, priorities, and programs for our clients.
  • Committing to Total Quality Management process and always strive to exceed our clients' expectation.

Our Story What We Do

History of Organization

1976 - 1992

  • Started Chinese meals on wheels service in Chinatown, Toronto with a $1,000 operating budget.
  • Changed to Chinese Seniors Home Support Services Association, services grew from single meals on wheels service to a range of home support services.
  • Approved as a member of the United Way of Toronto, and renamed as the Chinese Seniors Support Services Association.

1995 -1999

  • Started the first Supportive Housing Services in Alexandra Park, Toronto.
  • Opened Supportive Housing Service and Adult Day Service in Scarborough.
  • Opened the York Region Community Service Centre and Adult Day Care Centre in Richmond Hill.
  • Approved as a member agency of United Way of York Region.

2000 – 2005

  • New agency name: Carefirst Seniors & Community Services Association.
  • Pioneered the Peritoneal Dialysis Social Day Centre for the chronic renal patients at Carefirst.
  • Extended services to Mississauga became a member agency of United Way of Peel Region.
  • Launched the only the Chinese Elder Abuse Helpline in Toronto.
  • Granted $1 million capital funding by the Town of Richmond Hill for "York Region One-stop Multi-Service Centre" in Richmond Hill.

2006 – 2012

  • Launched the Stanford Model Chronic Disease Self Management Program.
  • Carefirst Family Health Team (Richmond Hill site) and opened the Carefirst York Region Specialist Consultation Service Centre in Richmond Hill.

Accolades and Accomplishments

  • Achieved Personal Support Worker Educational Program Accreditation for Carefirst Vocational Training Centre by the OCSA (2012)
  • Achieved full accreditation for 2010 – 2013 by the Accreditation Canada. (2010)
  • Received Health Innovation Finalist Award from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for the innovative project: Chronic Kidney Disease Early Identification and Outreach Program, jointly launched with the Scarborough Regional Renal Dialysis Program. (2009)
  • Achieved the first 3-year accreditation for 2004-2007 by the Accreditation Canada (2004)

Our Programs How We Do It

Services provided include:

  • Home Care Services - Personal support/homemaking/homehelp services; 24-hour Supportive Housing Service
  • Home at Last Program (Transition Service from hospital to home)
  • Adult Day Program / Renal Social Support Program
  • Community Support Services/Program - Meal-on-wheels Service / Transportation / Friendly Visiting; Hospice Visiting / Security Checks / Congregate Dining Program; Supportive Counseling / Information and Referral
  • Chinese Bereavement Service
  • Chinese Elder Abuse Helpline
  • Elder Abuse Prevention Education / Elder Abuse Counseling Service
  • Diabetes Education and Maintenance Program
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
  • Social & Recreation Program
  • Community Development Program/Newcomers Seniors Orientation Program
  • Wellness Education & Health Promotion Program
  • Volunteer & Youth Development Program


Protecting Seniors Againest Elder Abuse Program & Elder Abuse Helpline

Objectives of program:

  • To raise awareness about the prevention of elder abuse and neglect within the Chinese community.
  • To empower victicms and at-risk seniors to protect themselves, and to imptove their capacity in accessing resources

Funding and Program Partners

United Way of Toronto

United Way of York Region

City of Toronto - Community Safety Investment Program

Program Impact

  • Equip the seniors with the necessary information and knowledge to protect themselves from abuse and increase personal safety.
  • Provide the seniors with alternate coping and help-seeking skills to protect themselves against violence.
  •  Seniors and their family members are more sensitive to the issue of abuse.
  • Seniors are more ready to seek help when they are situated in an abuse risk situation.
  • Provide immediate and direct assistance and support to seniors by increasing their accessibility to services and support.
  • Enhance seniors’ awareness and competency to promote elder abuse prevention and education.

Toronto's Vital Signs® indicator(s) addressed by Program

"Toronto has the highest proportion of seniors in the GTA and nearly double the rate of low income seniors in Ontario. Sadly, more seniors are living alone, cut off from family and community.

  • More than 25% of seniors were living alone in 2006 (up 5.4% from 2001) increasing the challenges of social isolation and access to healthcare.
  • Our city is home to 68% of low income seniors in the GTA.The number of seniors is expected to increase by 42% over 25 years, so that by 2031 they make up 17% of the City population." (Toronto's Vital Signs®, 2009)

Participant Vignette

“I thank all the people here at Carefirst Seniors & Community Services Association, especially the team of social workers. I came to Canada 5 years ago to unite with my son’s family. I do not speak a word of English. When I arrived in Toronto, I did not have friends and relatives; I was home alone all day long. My relationship with my daughter-in-law and grandchildren was not good; they always threatened to kick me out of the house. I did not know what to do until I learn about Carefirst ‘s Chinese Elder Abuse helpline. I called the Helpline for help, the person answered the phone gave me comfort and re-assurance that they could help me. I met with the social worker, she told me about how I can protect myself if situation get worse; she even provided us family counselling. The staff also helped me to apply for senior’s housing. I moved out from my son’s family and living in a senior’s apartment now. Carefirst helped me to gain back my sense of independence and dignity.  Now I spend my days volunteering, meeting friends and enjoying activities that I would not be able to do if it was not Carefirst. My relationship with my daughter-in-law has also been improved. Thank you, Carefirst.”

What You Can Do

Activities a donation will support

  • Provide information on ‘what is elder abuse’ and ‘elder abuse prevention’ to general public.
  • Provide counseling and assistance to seniors who have been victim of elder abuse.

Donation impact

Grants to this program will enable us:

  • To train more volunteer to support the elder abuse helpline
  • To engage the new immigrant seniors
  • To empower victims and at-risk seniors to protect themselves, and to improve their capacity in accessing resources.


Edith Lam
Director of Development & Communication
416.502.2323 x6007
Charitable Number: 106915861RR0001

Finance & Governance

Annual Operating Budget: 
$ 15,447,561


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