Chapter 1: The History of Settlement Services in Canada

Settlement Services Delivery Models: What Works

Specific Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to

  1. Categorize settlement service models throughout the history of immigration
  2. Research and analyze the range of settlement service organizations in Alberta
  3. Debate the value of these varying influences through discussions and in writing

Settlement services have gradually emerged and evolved from the informal support of familiar ethnic community and family groups to organized government-funded non-profit services. The informal groups passed on what they learned from their immigrant experience. Organized government services provided a broader, professionally organized system of resources and support.

Learning Activity 4: Reflection

Watch the following video about the challenges of new immigrants in Canada and how they received settlement guidance and support from immigrant service organizations.

After watching, answer the questions below. You can add these reflective responses to your chapter journal.

  1. What are the challenges that Siraj outlines in this video?
  2. What advice does he give as possible solutions to these challenges?

In Canada. (2019, September 19). Challenges for new immigrants in Canada [Video]. YouTube.

Overview of Settlement Service Providers in Canada

The following is a glossary of terms that are often used in the settlement sector:

CA Contribution agreement I&O Information and orientation services
CC Community connections RAP Resettlement Assistance Program
CEC Canadian Experience Class PSR Privately sponsored refugee
CIC Citizenship and Immigration Canada PNP Provincial Nominee Program
CLB Canadian Language Benchmark PR Permanent resident
CNC Care for Newcomer Children PA Principal applicant
ER Employment-related services NARS Needs assessments and referrals
ESL English as a second language LT Language training
FSL French as a second language LIP Local immigration pPartnership
FSW Federal skilled worker LA Language assessment
FTE Full-time equivalent IRPA Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
FY Fiscal year IRCC Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
GAR Government-assisted refugee iCARE Immigration Contribution Agreement Reporting Environment
SCOS Settlement Client Outcomes Survey iCAMS Immigration Contribution Accountability Measurement System
SPO Service provider organization SD Spouses and dependants
SWIS Settlement workers in school

The information from the IRCC (Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada) report, Evaluation of the Settlement Program (2017), reviews how settlement services have evolved since the early 1900s. The government has systemized the settlement sector by providing funding for the operation and delivery of settlement and integration services. Providers are closely monitored to ensure that services meet their stated outcomes and adhere to terms of the funding contract.


The report makes the following recommendations for improvement in six (6) categories of settlement services:


  1. Language Training:
    • Recommendation 1: IRCC should review and assess its language training delivery and implement appropriate changes to improve its effectiveness.
  1. Employment-Related Services
    • Recommendation 2: IRCC should develop and implement a plan to optimize the benefits of its employment-related services and employment-specific language training.
  1. Prioritization of services:
    • Recommendation 3: IRCC should review access to and duration of settlement services and implement appropriate changes that achieve a balance between meeting the specific needs of different clients and available resources.
  1. Support Services:
    • Recommendation 4: IRCC should clarify the Department’s expectations regarding the provision, use, and reporting of support services. 
  1. Local Immigration Partnerships
    • Recommendation 5: IRCC should develop and implement a strategic plan to make the best use of the potential contributions of local immigration partnerships (LIP) to settlement and integration outcomes of immigrants and refugees. 
  1. Data Systems
    • Recommendation 6: IRCC should review its reporting requirements and systems for the Settlement Program and implement changes to streamline data collection and enhance analytical tools as required.
    • Recommendation 7: To strengthen its client outcomes data, IRCC should administer an outcomes survey on an ongoing basis to settlement users and non-users.

(IRCC, 2017)

Immigrant settlement service organizations offer three types of services (Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, 2010):

  1. Direct Service Delivery: Through contribution agreements (CAs), IRCC funds service provider organizations (SPOs) such as immigrant-serving agencies, social service organizations, and educational institutions to provide their unique services to newcomers.
  2. Support Services: In order to help address barriers that newcomers face in accessing settlement programming, IRCC funds six types of support services on a limited basis: Care for Newcomer Children, Translation, Transportation, Interpretation, Disability Support, and Crisis Counselling. It is expected that no more than 20% of the funding be used for direct services.
  3. Indirect Services: Indirect services include projects that support the development of partnerships, capacity building, and the sharing of best practices among SPOs. Examples of indirect services include community partnerships and networks for local planning and settlement coordination. A local immigration partnership (LIP) is a partnership network that aims to coordinate services for newcomers at the local level by bringing together various stakeholders outside of traditional settlement service providers, including employers, school boards, health centres and networks, boards of trade, levels of government, professional associations, ethno-cultural organizations, faith-based organizations, and the community and social services sectors.

Learning Activity 5: Settlement Services Providers

The IRCC webpage “For new immigrants” provides a list of settlement service providers.

Choose five (5) different providers and identify the category of service in which they belong.

  1. List the services they may be lacking.
  2. Choose two (2) of the IRCC recommendations. Speculate on the reasons for these recommendations. Which two (2) recommendations do you think contribute the most to the positive integration of immigrants?
Discussion Forum: Settlement Services

Post your answer to the following question on the discussion forum:

  • Which settlement service do you think has the biggest impact on a new immigrant’s settlement process?

Respond to your classmates and generate a thought-provoking discussion. Remember to be respectful of others’ opinions. You are learning from each other’s diversity of ideas and perspectives.

Additional Resources

Broughton, S., & Shield, J. (2020). Resilience and the immigrant settlement sector: A consideration of the place of accountability and performance management research report. York University.

George, U. (2002, July 1). A needs-based model for settlement service delivery for newcomers to Canada. International Social Work, 45(4), 465–480.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (2017). Evaluation of the settlement program.

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. (2018). Foundations of settlement work in Ontario.

Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. (2019). Improving settlement services across Canada report. 42nd Parliament, 1st session.


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Canadian Settlement in Action: History and Future Copyright © 2021 by NorQuest College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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