Chapter 9: Newcomer Family Settlement in Canada

Resources for Newcomers

In this section, we discuss some available resources for newcomer families. Settlement workers can assist immigrants by directing them to appropriate services based on their needs, such as employment programs, counselling, or information about food banks. Through specialized guidance, settlement workers facilitate the adjustment process for newcomers in their new environment.


US Vice Consul Cassy Allen donating books to Immigrant Services Calgary
U.S. Vice-Consul Cassy Allen donating books to Immigrant Services Calgary

Here are some examples of organizations that offer employment programs for newcomers:

  • YMCA: The “Y” offers the Newcomer Information Centre (NIC), which provides employment resources and training programs in various Canadian cities.
  • MOSAIC: Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, this organization offers workforce training. Their Fast Track to Manufacturing Plus (F2M Plus program helps youth newcomers learn about careers in the manufacturing and trades fields.
  • S.U.C.C.E.S.S.: This Vancouver-based organization offers employment programs for newcomers, including job-specific language training.
  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN): This organization offers tailored employment programs for immigrants in Edmonton, Alberta, to support newcomers in successfully navigating the local job market.
  • Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS): The CCIS supports immigrants in Calgary, Alberta, by providing a range of employment services, including job search assistance, skills development, mentorship programs, and networking opportunities, to enhance their successful integration into the local job market.
  • Saskatoon Open Door Society (SODS): This organization helps immigrants by offering comprehensive employment assistance that encompasses job search support, skills development, employment counselling, and networking initiatives, fostering the effective integration of newcomers into the local workforce.
  • Manitoba Start: In Manitoba, this organization provides career services for newcomers, including job matching and skills training.
  • Skills for Change: Skills for Change offers employment and training services in Toronto, Ontario. They have programs such as Bridge2Work, which is aimed at professional immigrants.
  • COSTI Immigrant Services: COSTI provides employment services and skills training in Toronto, Ontario. It has programs such as Enhanced Language Training for Internationally Experienced Professionals, which is aimed at helping immigrants who have prior experience in the areas of accounting and finance, teaching and education, health care, information technology, and office administration and customer service.
  • Immigrant Women Integration Program (IWIP): This organization provides intensive leadership development opportunities for immigrant women who want to pursue post-secondary education, increased employability, or independence in Toronto, Ontario.
  • Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS): ISANS assists immigrants in Nova Scotia with comprehensive employment support, including job search assistance, skills development, networking opportunities, and mentorship programs, to facilitate their successful integration into the Canadian workforce.

Learning Activity 1: Listening

Watch the video Promising Practices – CCIS Employment First: Workplace Skills for Refugees Program, then answer the questions below:

  1. What is the CCIS Employment First: Workplace Skills for Refugees program and how does it support refugees in developing their workplace skills?
  2. What are the advantages of this program for refugees?
  3. Describe one of the client groups that accesses the program. How does the CCIS Employment First: Workplace Skills for Refugees program address the unique needs of this particular client group?
  4. The third speaker speaks about “WIN” (Workplace Intelligence Necessity) and soft skills. Can you provide an example of a soft skill she mentions? Can you come up with a definition of “soft skills” based on her examples?
  5. What are the five industries that offer entry-level roles for clients starting in the program? What makes these industries favourable in terms of opportunities for career advancement?
  6. What criteria does CCIS consider when recruiting employers, and what benefits do the clients, CCIS, and the employers gain from this collaboration?
  7. What key features contribute to the efficiency of the program?
  8. What tools does CCIS use to measure the success of the program?
  9. What is the Rural Employment Engagement Project, and what challenges do rural employers face?
  10. What skills are required for instructors in the CCIS Employment First: Workplace Skills for Refugees program?

Community Resources in Edmonton

In addition to employment programs, settlement workers can help newcomer families access community resources such as the following in Edmonton, Alberta, that offer various types of assistance to families. The significance of each of these services in Edmonton lies in their commitment to addressing various social, community, and individual needs. 

Edmonton’s Food Bank: Provides essential food support to individuals and families facing food insecurity, contributing to their well-being and nutritional needs.

Boyle Street Community Services: Offers a range of programs and support services for vulnerable populations, addressing issues such as homelessness, poverty, and addiction.

Catholic Social Services: Provides a diverse array of social services, including family support, mental health counselling, and refugee settlement, contributing to the overall well-being of the community.

Terra Centre for Teen Parents: Supports pregnant and parenting teens by offering educational and support programs, empowering young parents to build a positive future for themselves and their children.

Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS): Focuses on meeting the unique needs of at-risk and homeless youth, offering shelter, support, and resources to empower young individuals towards a more stable future.

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN): Assists newcomers to Canada by providing settlement services, language training, and community support, helping them integrate successfully into their new environment.

Salvation Army: Offers a variety of social services, including shelter, food assistance, addiction recovery, and family support, addressing the needs of vulnerable individuals and families.

Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre: Focuses on early childhood development and family support, offering programs that contribute to the overall well-being and success of children and families in the community.

Edmonton City Centre Church Corporation (E4C): Provides a range of services, including housing support, education programs, and food security initiatives, working to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of life for individuals and families.

These organizations collectively contribute to building a more resilient and supportive community in Edmonton, addressing diverse needs and challenges faced by its residents. Newcomer families often face significant cultural, linguistic, and societal differences when they arrive in a new country. These services provide essential support in helping them adapt to their new environment, facilitating a smoother transition and reducing feelings of isolation and alienation. Building a social network is essential for well-being. Newcomer services often facilitate social gatherings and events, creating opportunities for families to connect with others who share similar experiences.

Organizations can also help families navigate the legal, educational, and healthcare systems in Canada. Newcomer services offer information and guidance, ensuring that families can access essential services and understand their rights and responsibilities.

For many newcomers, language can be a significant barrier. In addition to helping immigrant families learn about legal, educational, and health care, many services offer language classes and interpretation assistance to help families communicate effectively, which is important for accessing opportunities and services. In addition, newcomer services are often culturally sensitive and tailored to the specific needs and backgrounds of immigrant families, ensuring that the support provided is relevant and respectful of their cultural values and norms.

Variations in services are based on the specific needs of newcomer families. Some services may focus on language development and education, while others may emphasize employment and job training. Childcare services and youth programs address the unique needs of children and teenagers in immigrant families.

The availability and quality of newcomer family services can have broader implications for society. Supporting families can lead to successful integration, economic contributions, and harmony among communities. However, inadequate services can lead to challenges for newcomers such as social isolation, unemployment, and limited access to health care and education, which can hinder the progress of newcomers and communities.

In summary, newcomer family services are necessary for helping immigrant and refugee families to settle in Canada. They help address specific needs, which are often culturally dependent and play a critical role in promoting social inclusion and economic contribution, which can have broader positive implications for society.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can services be adjusted to meet individual family challenges?
  2. What role do community resources play in settlement?
  3. What barriers commonly stand in the way of successful settlement for immigrant and refugee families?
  4. How might a one-size-fits-all approach fail to meet the unique needs of an immigrant family?
  5. In your opinion, what strategies can be employed to increase the accessibility of community resources for newcomer families?
Image Credit 

Consulate book donation to Immigrant Services Calgary by U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Canada, PDM 1.0


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