On May 11th 2023, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced over $65 million in funding extensions to service provider organizations across Canada. The settlement services include pre-arrival services, services for racialized newcomer women, and language training for newcomers in Francophone minority communities.
The announcement emphasized that settlement services are key for helping newcomers succeed in Canada. These services provide information and support to newcomers so they can make informed decisions about their new lives in Canada before and after their arrival.
“Providing services to newcomers before they arrive in Canada is critical to successful integration. This investment will allow Canada to continue supporting the needs of newcomers across the world” said Parliamentary Secretary to the Immigration Minister Marie-France Lalonde during the announcement.
In 2021, IRCC conducted a study to look at how settlement services have affected newcomer outcomes. The study showed that 95% of newcomers that received settlement services said they were useful. In addition, 78% of those who received employment services reported that it helped them acquire skills, knowledge and connections that assisted in preparing for the Canadian labour market.
IRCC’s pre-arrival services programs helps maximize the social and economic integration of new immigrants by:
- Directly connecting clients with the information and services they need through a streamlined, easy-to-navigate process
- Encouraging newcomers to apply for recognition of their foreign credentials before they arrive, if needed
- Linking clients to federal and provincial settlement services in Canada
Lalonde also announced that the YMCA of the National Capital Region will receive over $1.2 million to continue providing imperative pre-arrival services to newcomers. “Investments like these allow the YMCA to continue providing specialized information and orientation about the skilled trades, engineering and construction sectors, and help individuals ease their transition to Canada” said Bob Gallagher, President and CEO of the YMCA of the National Capital region.
The YMCA offers a broad range of services abroad, which can be accessed online and in person. Through pre-arrival service providers, new immigrants are able to access resources before coming to Canada that focus on information about the Canadian workplace, employment counselling and soft skills development.
How to access settlement services
Settlement services are free and managed at the municipal, provincial and federal level. The kinds of settlement services available include:
- Help with daily life in Canada
- Help finding a job
- Help preparing for a citizenship test
- Language training and assessments
- Job specific language training
- Specific services for refugees, women, etc.
- Finding a mentor as a newcomer or becoming a mentor for a newcomer
To help newcomers access the services they need the most, IRCC has created Compass to Connect, gathering these services into a tool that has a filtered search by postal code to find the nearest available services. The tool also shows specific programs for women, seniors, youth and 2SLGBTQi+ individuals.
Compass to Connect is an IRCC funded website that provides easy to search directories of settlement services. Settlement counselling and referrals are also available to those who are unsure what services they need or what applies to them. These services connect newcomers with a settlement advisor who can help determine which services might be beneficial to them.
Newcomers can also inquire with their municipal and provincial settlement service providers directly. The easiest way to do this is to search for settlement services in your area.
Finally, it is important to note that settlement services in Canada are only available to permanent residents, protected persons and some temporary residents. The Canadian government has a separate settlement program for refugees called the Resettlement Assistance Program.