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What support services are available to newcomers upon their arrival in Canada?

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Canada aims to welcome 465,000 immigrants this year, marking a crucial annual influx for the world’s second-largest nation, benefiting its economy and demographics.

So, how does Canada effectively facilitate the settlement of newcomers? One of the pivotal factors contributing to the nation’s success is its array of settlement services. Municipal, provincial, and federal government authorities administer these complimentary services. They include needs assessments, information and orientation services, language training, employment assistance, and community integration support. These programs empower newcomers to thrive in Canada, fostering their ability to make meaningful contributions in economic, social, and cultural spheres.

It’s important to note that Quebec operates its own immigration programs, handling settlement services for new immigrants to the province separately. Additionally, the Canadian government runs a distinct program, the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), aimed at refugees.

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What services can I access as a new Canadian permanent resident?

You can categorize all settlement services into the following broad areas:

  • Assistance with daily life.
  • Support in job search and employment.
  • Preparation for the citizenship test.
  • Mentorship opportunities for newcomers, including the chance to become a mentor.
  • Language assessments and general language training.
  • Job-specific language training.
  • Specialized services tailored to refugees, women, seniors, youth, and 2SLGBTQi+ individuals.
  • Miscellaneous services.

How Do You Access Settlement Services as a Newcomer?

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has consolidated these services into a valuable tool that offers a filtered search by postal code to locate the nearest available services. This tool also encompasses specific settlement programs tailored for women, seniors, youth, and 2SLGBTQi+ individuals.

Furthermore, IRCC-funded websites like Compass to Connect provide user-friendly directories of settlement services and updates on upcoming events and workshops for newcomers.

For those uncertain about which services suit their needs, settlement counseling and referrals are available. This service connects individuals with a settlement counselor who can assess their requirements more effectively.

Newcomers can also directly contact their local municipal or provincial settlement service providers to inquire about their services. A straightforward method is to search online for settlement services in your province or neighborhood.

Are These Services Effective?

The Canadian government allocates approximately CAD 2 billion annually to settlement services, signifying a significant investment. But how well do these services truly assist newcomers?

In 2021, IRCC conducted its inaugural study on newcomer outcomes resulting from settlement programs. The study revealed the following:

  • 85% of clients referred to settlement services reported easy access to these services.
  • A majority of newcomers (95%) who received settlement services found them to be beneficial.
  • Regarding language training, an average of 89.5% of newcomers self-reported improvements in reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills in both English and French.
  • 78% of those who utilized employment-related services stated that settlement services aided them in acquiring knowledge, skills, and connections, which prepared them for the Canadian job market.
  • 61% of newcomers who utilized community connection settlement services felt that these services helped them forge meaningful friendships. Furthermore, 92% of newcomers agreed that their community welcomed newcomers, and 90% expressed a strong sense of belonging to Canada.


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