Canada offers free settlement services but many immigrants do not know about them

September 11, 2021

Canada’s government-funded settlement services have so far been proven to help the majority of the newcomers they serve, yet many do not know how to benefit from them.

Starting even before arrival, immigrants can access settlement services by both Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Ministry of Immigration, Francisation and Integration (MIFI) for Quebec-bound newcomers.

These services are actually helping, according to IRCC’s first-ever Settlement Outcomes Report. The report extrapolated information from the 2018 and 2019 Newcomer Outcomes Surveys. A total of 120,897 newcomers were surveyed. Among them, 55,370 were settlement program clients and 65,527 were non-clients.

Part of the success of settlement services is timing. Pre-arrival services are not going to benefit someone who has already landed in Canada, for example. About 70 per cent of people surveyed who did not receive settlement services said they did not know about them, and among the ones who did, about a quarter said they did not know how to use them.

On the other hand, the majority of people who reported no difficulty accessing services were connected by federally-funded referral services. About 23 per cent of newcomers used them in their first year, and most got the help they needed.

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