Federal government announces $18.4M for pre-arrival immigrant settlement services

The federal government is giving $18.4 million to Colleges and Institutes Canada to provide settlement services to immigrants before their arrival.

It’s part of $113 million in total announced earlier this month by Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to improve supports for newcomers.

Colleges and Institutes Canada will provide online and in-person services in India and the Philippines, including specialized programs for youth, LGBT and other groups. Hussen is making the announcement in Ottawa today and is carrying it live.

A news release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) said the funding announcement is part of a renewed pre-arrival services plan that aims to smooth the integration process for newcomers and set them up to contribute to the national economy.

An internal evaluation of the pre-arrival settlement program released in May found all client groups found services to be useful for gaining knowledge of life in Canada, the Canadian labour market and how to have professional credentials recognized, and how to understand workplace culture and norms.

Lack of awareness

However, the evaluation also found most immigrants don’t know about the programs.

“While clients find pre-arrival services useful, the majority of newcomers are not aware of their existence and uptake remains low for non-refugee immigrants,” the evaluation reads.

“Ineffective promotion of these services, coupled with the absence of a comprehensive strategy to guide pre-arrival service expansion and a lack of clarity within IRCC regarding roles and responsibilities for the program delivery, has resulted in a missed opportunity for the department to positively impact more newcomers, and also in higher-than-expected per-client costs.”

In May, IRCC started to solicit proposals, and 16 service providers were chosen to deliver virtual and in-person services to newcomers, including refugees, around the world before they come to Canada.

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