ABC of Settlement Programs

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After World War II – in 1948 to be more precise – Canada’s settlement services were established. Federal settlement officers were located all around the country to help families of Canadian soldiers and war refugees to start a new life in Canada. Even before then, some private agencies and companies helped newcomers in their path to becoming Canadians.

In 1966, the Department of Manpower and Immigration was created. Immigrants could get help through the services already available for all Canadians, so the settlement program was discontinued. But in the mid 70’s the federal government resumed their assistance. In 1974, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) start receiving funding to deliver services for newcomers to Canada under the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) which continues today.

Most of the programs delivered to you today by settlement organizations are funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) through that same program. More services are funded also by the Ontario Government.

There are now many programs for newcomers, tailored to different ethnic communities and needs. From simple orientation to training, all of them were created and funded to help you get settled faster.

Helping you start a new life in Canada

Immigrant Settlement Adaptation Program (ISAP)

ISAP is Citizenship and Immigration Canada response to any newcomer needs and experiences. ISAP funds programs that help newcomers gain access to community services to meet their immediate needs. Under ISAP, immigrant-serving organizations can refer you to economic, social, health, cultural, educational and recreational services; give you tips on banking, shopping, managing a household and other everyday tasks; provide interpreters or translators if you need them; provide non-therapeutic counseling; and help you prepare a professional-looking résumé and learn job-searching skills.

Host Program

Started in 1984, the host program puts you in contact with a Canadian family or individual. Even though is a federally funded program, your Canadian host is always a volunteer (often people who share the immigrant experience) who will help you overcome the stress of moving to a new country, learn about available services and how to use them, help you to practise English or French, prepare to look for a job, and participate in community activities. You can learn about your new country, share your culture and both can create a multicultural Canada. It is as awesome as it sounds.

Newcomer Settlement Program (NSP)

The Newcomer Settlement Program (NSP) aims to help newcomers to Ontario fully engage in all aspects of Canadian life (social, economic, political and cultural) as soon as possible, in order to maximize the benefits of immigrants’ contribution to Canadian society.

The Government of Ontario provides funding to community-based organizations that deliver effective programs and services for newcomers; promote strong links and coordination between settlement and other services needed by newcomers; and increase the effectiveness of the settlement service delivery system through the development of innovative solutions.

Typical programs provided for newcomers under NSP are housing assistance, legal issues assistance, financial issues assistance, education, language classes, life skills, employment, transportation, community access, advocacy, health, counseling, arranging appointments with government and community agencies on your behalf, arranging for volunteers to accompany you on appointments, assisting you with document and referral translation services (to fill in forms, for example) and much more.

Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS)

Settlement workers in schools connect recent immigrants and their families to services and resources available at schools and within their communities. At school, they provide essential information for the new student and also basic information for families. If they need further assistance, Settlement workers in schools will refer them to an agency or community service. The SWIS program is only available in communities with high numbers of recently arrived newcomers.

Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP)

This Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) program helps refugees and protected persons start a new life in Canada. It provides them with financial assistance to cover the costs of accommodations, essential clothing, household effects and other living expenses, among them food services, transportation, income support services, language assessment & training, employment counselling services, permanent and temporary accommodation, home visits and follow-up orientation sessions, referrals to services in the community and other Settlement Services.

Aid to adapt to the Canadian labour market

Job Search Workshops for Newcomers (JSW)

Job Search Workshops for newcomers were created to help new immigrants get a job by familiarizing them with effective job-search practices and techniques. They usually are three-to-four days in length, free of charge, and can be taken during the day, in the evening, or on Saturdays.

Workshops cover such topics as: orientation to the Canadian labour market, assessment of skills, effective résumé and cover letter writing, networking and techniques for contacting employers, successful interview techniques, overview of the workplace, workers’ rights and employment standards, among many others.

The Job Search Workshop is a program offered across Ontario by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Employment Ontario

Even though it is not a program exclusively for newcomers, Employment Ontario is the tool created by the Provincial government for those looking for a job.

Through this employment and training network, the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities can help you build your career, and to keep learning, throughout your working life. Employment Ontario serves jobseekers and employers as well. It is a source of information about jobs, job search skills, training, education, and other services for employees and employers. Please visit Employment Ontario online to learn more.

The only way to be part of it: speak English

English as a Second Language Programs (ESL)

If you want to learn English, there are many options available throughout Ontario. English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are fundamental to your settlement because lack of language skills is the number one barrier newcomers need to overcome to get established in Canada.

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)

LINC is a federal government program for all eligible adult immigrants. It offers free language training for adult newcomers who want or need basic English (for the francophone community the name of the program is CLIC). The language classes are given by school boards, colleges and local organizations and immigrants can choose between studying part-time, full-time, evenings or weekends, depending on their needs and schedule. Transportation and child-minding is provided if necessary in certain locations.

LINC – Childminding Monitoring Advisory and Support (CMAS)

LINC provides on-site “childminding” or care for children of parents attending LINC classes. Without LINC Childminding programs, many newcomers would be unable to attend due to the difficulty of finding care for their young children. The service is free for LINC students.


Enhanced Language Training (ELT) programs were developed to provide job-specific, labour market oriented language training to help immigrants find and keep jobs that match their skills and qualifications. ELT programs are equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 7-10 and some of them also provide assistance for jobseekers (like mentorships and work placement.)

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