As a newcomers in Canada, it’s definitely daunting to navigate through various settlement services available to assist one through the new life. In 2023, Canada targets to invite 465,000 new immigrants into the country. This influx in the number is essential for the Canadian economy and demography of the world’s second-largest nation.
This target seems ambitious, however, Canada has designed a system of immigration and incorporation of newcomers to fulfill the country’s social, economic, cultural, and humanitarian requirements.
One of the key ways of settling newcomers into Canada is through the free services offered at the municipal, provincial, and federal level. It exclusively covers everything from assessments, information, and orientation services to language training, employment help, and community connection. These programs help newcomers to live their best lives in the country whilst enabling them to contribute socially and economically.
The province of Quebec operates its own immigration program and settlement services. Also, the Canadian government operates a separate program for refugees known as the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP).
The settlement services in Canada are available to Permanent residents, and a few temporary residents. If you’re what services a new Canadian permanent resident is eligible for, here’s the list below:
- Assistance with daily life;
- Assistance with finding a job;
- Preparation 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 to Get Access to Settlement Services as a Newcomer?
IRCC has exclusively compiled these settlement services into a useful tool, which can be filtered search by postal code to find the nearest available services. This tool also includes specific settlement programs for women, senior citizens, youth, and 2SLBTQI+ individuals.
Moreover, IRCC-funded websites such as Compass to Connect also offer easy-to-search directories of settlement services, also highlighting announcements on upcoming events and workshops for newcomers.
If one is confused about which services to apply for or what they need, they can go for settlement counseling and referrals, which will connect them with a settlement counselor who can better regulate what services may be of use.
Are Settlement Services Effective for Newcomers in Canada?
The federal government of Canada has invested approximately $2 billion CAD each year in settlement services, but it is unclear how helpful these services are for newcomers. In 2021, IRCC conducted a study to examine newcomer outcomes from settlement programs. The study found that 85% of clients who referred to settlement services reported being able to access them easily, and 95% of newcomers who received settlement services found them to be useful.
Additionally, 89.5% of newcomers reported improvements in their English and French language skills across reading, writing, listening, and speaking. 78% of those who received employment-related services reported that settlement services helped them prepare for the Canadian labor market. Moreover, 61% of newcomers who used community connection settlement services felt that they helped them make close friends. The study also found that 92% of newcomers agreed that their community was welcoming, and 90% felt a strong sense of belonging to Canada.