Best-Known Government Services and Agencies for Newcomers
Knowing which agencies and services can help you is crucial to getting settled in Canada.
There are many reasons why people move to Canada. Whether you move for a financial opportunity, school, a marriage, or even if you’re a refugee, you must ensure that you have everything you need to live well in Canada.
Luckily, there are many government services to choose from to get you started.
Types of Immigration
There are three types of newcomers to Canada:
- Economic immigrants: There are seven different categories of skilled workers, but generally they include entrepreneurs, physicians, and really any professional in a job that requires some kind of advanced training.
- Family: If you already have a family member in Canada, he or she can sponsor you to become a resident.
- Refugees: Newcomers who are fleeing their native country are also welcome in Canada. There are many services available to get you up and running.
Once you have lived in Canada for three years you can apply for citizenship, but you still need to establish a life here while you wait.
What You Need to Get Started
Knowing which agencies and services can help you is useful, but first you must determine which specific areas you might need help with. Here are some to ponder:
- Language Proficiency: How well you speak and read in English and French can determine whether you succeed in not just the job market, but in every aspect of your life. Canada is fortunate to have such a rich and diverse culture, yet English and French are nevertheless the national languages.
- Finding Housing: You definitely need a roof over your head. There are services available to help with temporary housing, renting, and buying a home. Before you find somewhere to live, you need to know where you are going. Hopefully you have already settled on a province and even a city to help you narrow your search.
- School Enrolment: Whether you’re a student yourself or your children are, enrolling in a school near your living space is essential. You will need assistance with the education ministries, registering, how to be involved, and information on how the school system works.
- Healthcare: Before you find yourself in need of healthcare services, get yourself set up with insurance, health cards, and make sure you can get the coverage you need before you need it.
- Community Connections: Not only are there organizations to specifically help with newcomers, there are organizations out there that are tailored to your specific country of origin or first language. From places of worship to settlement services, these connections can really help you find your place here.
Everyone naturally will have different needs and considerations when moving to a new country and thinking of them ahead of time can help you establish the contacts that you need.
Getting Help Before You Arrive
If you have the time to plan before arriving in Canada, there are some services that can help you ahead of time. These include helping you find housing, a job, and even getting set up with school. Here are some that can help you out:
- AEIP Pre-Arrival Settlement Services: This online service is available in French and English and is meant as a virtual orientation that also gives you housing and job information.
- ACCES Employment: The ACCES program specifically targets newcomers who received their education abroad and matches them to the right jobs in their field, whether in IT, engineering, or teaching.
- COA: This agency specifically works with refugees who are going to be resettled into Canada. Aiming for the best success rate possible, the orientation online is customizable by language and offers practical resources and aid that will get you off to the right start.
- Francophone Pre-arrival Settlement: Specific to native French speakers, this program will help match you with jobs that can make use of your language skills as well as any job training that you might already possess.
- GO Talent Canada: Made for newcomers with a technical education, GO Talent works by matching employees with the employers looking for them. The result is a better salary and a better employment match for both parties.
If you can find work before you come to Canada, you will have an easier time applying for and receiving residency. There are also many more services available that might be applicable for your needs.
Best Services to Use Once You’re Here
If you’re already in Canada, these services can help ensure you have exactly what you need. Many services are specific to your location, so looking in your existing neighbourhood will give you more opportunities to get what you need. Once you are granted permanent residency, you should be granted all the same services that a citizen has, but while you’re waiting you still receive some help.
There is a Benefits Finder on the Canadian government’s website to help you out as well. Below is a list of some federal services. If you’re a permanent resident or a protected person, some of these are available at little to no cost:
- Language classes: Improving your English and/or French skills will help you find work and give you an easier time getting around throughout your community. There are plenty of classes offered to help you master the two official languages of Canada, including classes at night or on the weekends.
- Tools, Assessments, and Training: Even if you had a regular job or skill in your home country, there is a risk that it is performed differently in Canada. Attending a training workshop can help you adapt what you already know to make you a better match for employers in Canada.
- Job Bank: The Job Bank will help find jobs across Canada that match your resumé. It can even guide you to a new career, using the knowledge that you already have. Its aim is to help you find the perfect job.
- Financial Help for Refugees: Those seeking refuge in Canada are not forgotten either, as it is important to help refugees feel at home in Canada. This government service provides loans to refugees to help them find housing and sustain themselves until they can find their own way in Canada.
- Social Insurance Number: You need your nine-digit SIN to be able to access government benefits. This is where you can apply for your SIN and get the benefits you need.
The Canadian government does everything it can to help newcomers be successful in Canada. There are services for just about any need that a newcomer may have. Whether you’re already here or coming to Canada due to work, life changes, or as a refugee, there are services to help you find somewhere to work, live, and even study. Your journey is just beginning.