While Canada’s government-funded settlement programs have been shown to be beneficial for the vast majority of newcomers, many are not aware of how to access them.
Immigrants can start their journey even before arriving. They have access to both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC), and the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration’s (MIFI) settlement services for Quebec-bound immigrants.
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According to IRCC’s first Settlement Outcomes Report, these services actually help. This report incorporated information from the 2018-2019 Newcomer Outcomes Surveys. The survey included 120,897 newcomers. They included 55,370 settlement program clients, and 65,527 non-clients.
Nearly all those who received services agreed they were helpful and that the services helped them in their move to Canada.
Timing is a key factor in the success of settlement services. For example, pre-arrival services will not benefit someone who has already arrived in Canada. 70% of those surveyed did not receive settlement services. A quarter of those who did know about them said that they didn’t know how to use them.
However, most people who had no trouble accessing services reported that they were connected to federally-funded referrals services. About 23% of newcomers used them within their first year. Most got the help that they needed.
How to obtain settlement services before you arrive in Canada
Settlement services are available that are funded by several levels of government and can be used to help you even before your arrival in Canada. The IRCC has a list of approximately 1,259 people on its website. These pre-arrival services can only be used by approved permanent residents of Canada and not temporary visitors.
The federal IRCC provides services to assist you in settling down in Canada. Although there are services available in person in China, India, and the Philippines due to the pandemic, most people have moved online. These services can help you find information about Canada such as housing, healthcare, and transportation. Depending on your specific needs, they can refer you to other community services.
The IRCC offers a variety of services that will help you get ready to work in Canada. These services can help you find a job in Canada, create a resume and get your credentials recognized. You can also find resources specific to your industry, such as those who work in engineering, finance, tech and construction, or nursing.
You can also find links to provincial-specific settlement services on the federal webpage.
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Find settlement services in Canada with this tool
The IRCC offers a website tool that helps newcomers find services that meet their needs. The site does not include Quebec settlement services as Quebec has its own immigration system and resources, such as a search tool for settlement services in French. It does have a page for Quebec that lists resources for future Quebeckers.
What types of settlement services can Canada offer?
Six categories can be used to group the different types of services:
Translation, child care, transportation and other support services are all examples of these services. These services are vital for those who have difficulty accessing the IRCC Settlement Programs. Some people wouldn’t be able take advantage of settlement services without them.
These assessments are used to help immigrants determine the services they require to support their journey to settle in America. IRCC reported that only 23 percent of clients use them. However, the report stated that if more immigrants used them, it would improve their access to services. The report stated that it would also help IRCC to better understand the needs of immigrants.
Information services offer information to assist IRCC clients in settling. While most settlement service clients say they get information from their friends and family, settlement service providers are the second largest source of information. The Internet was the most popular source of information among non-clients but it was also the least used by clients.
Language training help immigrants develop language skills. The largest portion of IRCC’s budget goes to language training. This is an essential area for immigrants’ success in Canada. It helps immigrants find jobs and communicate with locals. However, to become eligible for citizenship, you must have at least basic fluency in English or French.
Immigrants can prepare for work in Canada by using employment services. The services offered include mentorship, licensure, certification preparation, job search skills, matching services and employment counselling. These services were praised by 78% of clients as helping them to prepare for the Canadian labour force. However, the uptake rate for employment services was the lowest among settlement services.
Immigrants can find friends through community services and participate in local activities. Community services were second in use, after employment services. They were used by 60 percent of people who reported using them. Clients and non-clients of IRCC settlement services reported almost equal participation rates in community activities. The majority of participants were involved in religious activities. This was followed by participation in school, civic, cultural, and finally, sports and recreation.