Ontario’s biggest francophone college, the Collège La Cité, and Canada’s largest post-secondary education network, Colleges and Institutes Canada, are to get a share of $10.5 million in funding for pre-arrival immigrant settlement services.
“Providing services to newcomers before they arrive in Canada is critical to successful integration,” said Marie-France Lalonde, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser’s parliamentary secretary.
“These services help newcomers make decisions about the life they want to live in Canada as early as possible in their immigration journey and help them contribute to the economy more quickly.
“Ensuring that early success, especially for the francophone community, is critical to our economy and ensuring long-term prosperity for Canada and its people.”
La Cité offers more than 90 programs to roughly 5,000 full-time students, including international students. Colleges and Institutes Canada is a lobby organization for the country’s post-secondary educational sector.
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In mid-May, Fraser gave the nod to a two-year extension of pre¬arrival contribution agreements from Apr. 1 this year to the end of March 31, 2025.
The funding announced for those two organizations is part of the roughly $65 million in pre-arrival services announced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) earlier this year for racialized newcomer women and language training for newcomers in francophone minority communities.
Fifteen service provider organizations in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario and internationally are to receive this funding to support pre-arrival services.
“We are very proud to be a pre-arrival service delivery partner for newcomers to Canada,” says Denise Amyot, president and chief executive officer of Colleges and Institutes Canada.
Treasury Board president Mona Fortier agrees providing immigrants with high-quality and reliable information results in better decision-making and an easier transition to Canada.
“With our investment and continuing support, Collège La Cité will be able to provide more individuals with services such as pre-departure assistance and integration programs once they arrive in Canada,” says Fortier.
“The success of newcomers relies on Canada’s continuing commitment to provide state-of-the-art accessible services.”
Collège La Cité president and chief executive officer Lise Bourgeois notes the organization’s Connexions Francophones referral system offers a seamless, redundancy-free pathway for francophone immigrants.
“Newcomers are efficiently directed to regional partner organizations, employability services and post-arrival settlement services,” says Bourgeois.
“We are pleased that newcomers who have participated in our various employability activities, such as our virtual job fairs, are well prepared to enter the Canadian job market, and they begin working quickly following their arrival in the country.”
Immigration Target For This Year Is 465,000 New Permanent Residents
In its 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan, Ottawa has planned for 465,000 new permanent residents for this year, 485,000 new permanent residents in 2024 and another 500,000 in 2025.
Throughout Canada, the provincial governments have also been upping their investments in settlement services.
In early February, Manitoba doubled its investment in settlement services with an infusion of another $4 million to fund programs for newcomers.
“Thousands of newcomers settle in Manitoba every year from around the world and the diverse array of knowledge, skills and experiences they bring with them advances our province’s economic prosperity and enriches the vibrancy of our communities,” says Manitoba Immigration Minister Jon Reyes.
“Expanding the settlement services available to newcomers empowers them to more fully and successfully integrate in their new communities sooner, which has been shown to bolster immigrant retention rates.”
Then, in April, Quebec announced it would be investing $10 million into immigration-related research projects over the next two years in part to learn how to offer better settlement services.
The money will be invested through its non-profit which funds societal and cultural research projects, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC),
“This support for immigration research by the Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration (MIFI) is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the advancement of our knowledge of this societal challenge, to develop the next generation of researchers interested in this subject, and, in doing so, elaborate on the public policies with regards to settlement services and the integration of immigrants, in French, to Quebec,” says Rémi Quirion, Quebec’s chief scientist.
Settlement Services Help Provinces Retain Immigrants, Reports Conference Board
In Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick has announced a $1 million, three-year Study and Succeed in New Brunswick program to provide international grads with access to resources, support and connections in a bid to boost the availability of skilled labour in the province.
That move by New Brunswick to retain more of its international students came in the wake of a Conference Board of Canada report late last year which highlighted the importance of improved settlement services offered by the provinces to help international students seeking their permanent residence in Canada.
“The post-study period can be precarious. International students are navigating the transition to the labour market and the immigration system without access to federally-funded settlement services,” noted the Conference Board of Canada.
“Provinces can boost retention by ensuring that international students get support from their post-secondary institution and from provincially funded settlement services.
“An early investment from provincial governments in the success of international students will help them build a career and community connections, which will ultimately benefit retention.”