WES Advisor Blog

Trusted Advice for Academic and Professional Success

How Settlement Agencies in Canada Can Benefit Newcomers

Wednesday | September 13, 2023 | by Ruth Demeke

People in a computer lab - receiving support

Ruth Demeke, Senior Coordinator of Client Relations at WES, arrived as a newcomer in Canada about 30 years ago and can testify to the work and services offered by settlement agencies. Today, Ruth delivers information sessions about WES and credential evaluations at some of the same agencies she and her family utilized when they first arrived. She says, “I feel so grateful to continue to engage with these agencies and, in a small way, contribute to their goals.”  

Keep reading to learn from Ruth about how newcomers can benefit from the services of settlement agencies in Canada.  

Earlier in the year, Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, “announced over $65 million in funding extensions to service provider organizations across the country to continue delivering important settlement services, including pre-arrival services, services for racialized newcomer women, and language training for newcomers in Francophone minority communities.” 

Additionally, British Columbia “will increase funding for settlement services from $6 million to $25.6 million annually.” These settlement services aim to help newcomers “successfully integrate into their new communities, find meaningful employment, access education and health care, and contribute to the social fabric of their new community.”  

News like this hit home for me as a newcomer who immigrated to Canada about 30 years ago. I can testify firsthand to the amazing work of settlement agencies and community groups. From employment counselling to career development to establishing community, these organizations were vital to my success in Toronto.     

What are settlement agencies?

In Canada, settlement agencies provide newcomers with access to information, resources, advice, and networking opportunities for career growth.  

Settlement agencies can be key to setting up newcomers for success. Agencies can provide newcomers with the information and support they need to make informed decisions about their new lives and career path in Canada both before and after they arrive. The services settlement agencies provide are also vital to ensuring that immigrants can smoothly integrate into the labour force. 

How do settlement agencies support newcomers? 

When immigrants decide to establish a new life in Canada, they often have limited knowledge of where to obtain accurate information about different services or programs at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. A settlement agency, local community centre, or public library are all good sources of information about available services.  

Thanks to settlement agencies and their career enhancement programs, newcomers can take advantage of a variety of professional opportunities. Programs also offer a wide range of assistance with other basic needs, like housing. 

Of the many services settlement agencies offer, one of my favorites is the information session. Information sessions address a range of needs that newcomers typically have. Examples include employee and career recruitment, the role of licensing bodies, and international academic credential evaluations.   

Information sessions can help newcomers:

  • Find resources and tools for job search preparation, education, housing, and so on 
  • Create a sense of establishment and direction in a new country  
  • Obtain accurate information about various service providers  
  • Connect with other service providers to receive further assistance  

Whether newcomers are looking for employment, educational opportunities, bridging programs, or professional licensure, they may need to have their international academic credentials assessed. There are various agencies that partner with WES to support newcomers with credential evaluation, including:

In addition to these settlement agencies and community centres, there are more settlement agencies in Ontario which are members of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI). OCASI has been at the centre of immigration in Ontario since 1978. It functions as a collective voice for immigrant-serving agencies and coordinates responses to the shared needs and concerns of immigrants.  

For newcomers settling outside of Ontario, there are many reputable settlement agencies that offer a variety of services. 

Final words of advice 

I highly recommend that newcomers check out the settlement agencies, community centres, and public libraries in their local area to capitalize on the free and low-cost services and programs they offer, especially since many of these organizations receive government funding to provide these services. 

I hope this article has provided you with helpful information. I also hope that it inspires you to take advantage of the support settlement agencies and community centres offer. Availing yourself of this support will help to ensure that your transition to Canada will be a smooth one.  


Related Reading 

Starting a Health Care Career in Canada
Navigating the Professional Occupational Licensing Process in Canada
When Is the Best Time to Obtain a Credential Evaluation? 

Ruth Demeke

Ruth Demeke is Specialist, Client Success at World Education Services.