Chapter 9: Newcomer Family Settlement in Canada


Marcia Kim

Specific Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this chapter, students will be able to

  1. Assess various support services, programs, and resources available for newcomer families, focusing on employment, the legal system in Canada, financial support, language learning, and supporting seniors in settlement
  2. Describe the role and responsibilities of settlement workers in aiding immigrant and refugee families to settle in Canada
  3. Tailor culturally sensitive techniques to meet the diverse needs of immigrant and refugee families
  4. Describe the role of settlement workers in providing financial and legal guidance and support to immigrant families
  5. Analyze the critical role of language in the settlement process for immigrant families
  6. Examine the impact of migration on traditional family roles
  7. Discuss how settlement workers can support senior immigrants to integrate into Canadian society


Settlement workers play an important role in helping immigrant and refugee families settle in Canada and act as liaisons between families and community resources. They also help newcomers find services and opportunities, thereby fulfilling a critical role in the settlement process.  

In addition to connecting immigrant and refugee families with community resources, settlement workers can help newcomers with the recertification process. Qualifications acquired abroad may not immediately translate to the Canadian job market. Settlement workers can assist newcomers to find and gain admission to language and employment retraining programs. There are many language education programs, including Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC). There are also many other programs that offer employment retraining for immigrants and refugees in Canada. Some of these are listed in the next section, Resources for Newcomers.

The third section, The Legal System in Canada, describes how settlement workers can assist immigrants in accessing resources related to legal issues. Managing finances is important for everyone and can be challenging for people settling in a new country. In Canada, settlement workers offer comprehensive guidance on financial matters. This includes understanding basic budgeting and savings. The section that follows, Financial Support for Newcomer Families, discusses how settlement workers can guide new immigrants on financial matters.

Newcomer families often speak their native language at home but must use English outside the home. This can create a variety of problems, especially for seniors accessing health care (Impacts of language barrier for immigrants on healthcare access). Medical appointments, and even grocery shopping, can be stressful when the labels are in an unfamiliar language. The fifth section, Language, talks about how settlement workers can help new immigrants navigate life with a new language.

People often take on different duties around the house when they move to a new country. For example, deciding who should do daily chores washing dishes or bathing the kids, who should go to work, and who should stay at home might be different than they were before immigration. How family roles can change when families immigrate is discussed in the sixth section, Changes in Family Roles.

Immigrant seniors face unique challenges when they arrive in Canada. The healthcare system is different from their country of origin, and language issues often make things more difficult. The seventh section, Supporting Seniors in Settlement, summarizes a report on seniors and loneliness.


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