This year Canada aims to welcome 465,000 immigrants into the country—an annual influx of people that is crucial for the economy and demography of the world’s second largest nation.
2023’s immigration target is ambitious—however Canada has created a functional system of immigration and integration of newcomers—in order to meet the nation’s social, economic, cultural and humanitarian needs.
So how does Canada successfully settle newcomers into the country? One of the key factors in the country’s success has been its settlement services for newcomers. These free services are managed at the municipal, provincial, and federal level. Covering everything from needs assessments, information, and orientation services, to language training, employment help, and community connection services—these programs exist to ensure newcomers are enabled to live their best lives in the country, while also aiding their ability to contribute economically, socially and culturally.
Note that because Quebec operates its own immigration programs—settlement services for new immigrants to the province are also handled separately. In addition, the Canadian government runs a separate program for refugees known as the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP).
Settlement services in Canada are only available to permanent residents, protected persons, and some temporary residents of Canada.
What services am I eligible for as a new Canadian permanent resident?
All settlement services can broadly be broken down into:
- Help with daily life;
- Help finding a job;
- Help preparing for the citizenship test;
- Finding a mentor as a newcomer / Becoming a mentor for a newcomer;
- Language assessments and general language training;
- Job-specific language training;
- Specific services for: refugees, women, seniors, youth, and 2SLGBTQi+ individuals; and
- Other services.
How can I access settlement services as a newcomer?
Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has compiled these services into a useful tool, with a filtered search by postal code to find the closest available services. The tool also covers specific settlement programs for women, seniors, youth, and 2SLBTQi+ individuals.
In addition, IRCC funded websites like Compass to Connect also provides easy-to-search directories of settlement services, also delivering announcements on upcoming events and workshops for newcomers.