Next Stop Canada: Meet the Team!
On April 1st, 2016 YMCA’s Immigrant Services launched Next Stop Canada, a free web based platform funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for pre-arrival immigrants. Next Stop Canada is home to two programs: The electronic Newcomer Information Centre (eNIC) for adults ages 16 and over and Youth Pre-arrival Learning Site (YPALS) for youth 12 to 19 years of age.
These pre-arrival programs offer clients online settlement support by providing access to information and referrals, including pre-arrival resources that will help them prepare for their new life in Canada. Clients who register for Next Stop Canada can take advantage of various services including: live chat needs assessments, webinars, pre-recorded informational sessions, mentorship, videos and stories, self-study workshops, and question & answer forums.
We are excited to be joining 25 organizations across Canada in assisting pre-arrival immigrants in their journey to Canada!
Visit our website for more information and updates!
Next Stop Canada Member
Our First Member…
Next Stop Canada’s very first client was a young man from Spain, with an IT background. He requested information about how to find a job in Canada before arriving to Toronto. While chatting with him, he stated, “I wanted to know if you could help me because a career transition at a professional level is very important to me.” To assist him, we referred him to a list of pre-arrival sources, including ACCES’ Canadian Employment Connections, JVS’ Can Prep and ICTC’s Go Talent.
Like him, there are many clients that choose Next Stop Canada as a trusted online resource for all their pre-arrival needs. Coming from various parts of the world, professional backgrounds and ages our clients strive to be as prepared as possible so they can have a smooth transition once they settle in their new home. We look forward to chatting with many more clients and helping them with all their pre-arrival needs!
Meet Sukhjit, he is one of our eNIC Mentors who supports pre-arrival immigrants before they come to Canada. Sukhjit immigrated to Canada more than six years ago. He was a computer science professor at the undergraduate and graduate level in a private university before coming to Canada. His first volunteer position was at the YMCA of Greater Toronto in Mississauga. He says it “opened many doors for me” and helped “me learn about the real Canada and Canadian culture.” Today, Sukhjit is a settlement worker and provides newcomers with valuable advice and tips to make their new lives a little less stressful.
Read more about Sukhjit Singh.
Meet Aissatou, she is one of the 25 Youth Pre-Arrival Learning Site (YPALS) Mentors. Aissatou came to Canada one year ago and she has a lot of experience and advice to share with others who are on their journey here as well. She studied International Law in Guinea and successfully graduate with a certificate.
French is Aissatou’s first language and she really appreciates Toronto’s francophone community and bilingual resources.
Quick tips from Aissatou!
- Explore the city when you arrive
- Try new things (even if they are different from your culture)
- Make new friends who will support and help you
Read more about Aissatou Bah.
Next Stop Canada in Action!
Welcome to School: A Helpful Online Resource for Newcomer Parents
Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership awarded YMCA Newcomer Information Center with the Collaboration Award for their contributions to the Welcome to School website project. The project was developed through a collaboration between the Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership and the Toronto West Local Immigration Partnership. The goal of the project was to create an online resource center that would help service providers deliver accurate and meaningful information about the education system in Toronto and Ontario.
Many newcomer families find it difficult to navigate the education system and this website strives to help them learn and understand more about their children’s education and the programs available to them. After years of hard work and continuous partnership Welcome to School officially launched their website!
Next Stop Canada is excited to add this new and valuable resource to our portal. Such websites are great pre-arrival tools for immigrants preparing to arrive to their new home in Toronto, because they can access the website at their convenience. This website is a great example of settlement service agencies’ dedication and commitment to supporting newcomers and their families.
Welcome to School is just one of the many referrals and resources we use to help immigrants with their needs and questions.
Janet Hallet, COSTI, addressing attendees at the Welcome to School Collaboration Ceremony.
Toronto Career, Education and Settlement Fair
On June 8th, Next Stop Canada attended the 6th annual Career, Education and Settlement Fair at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This full day event is designed to attract internationally trained professionals and immigrants with foreign work experience. Some of the highlights of the event included:
- Resume clinics, speed mentoring and networking opportunities
- Inspirational speakers
- A question and answer panel
Next Stop Canada had the opportunity to raise awareness about our program. We spoke to individual newcomers about our services. We were overwhelmed by their excitement about a program that helps immigrants prepare for their arrival to Canada.
Toronto Newcomer Day!
The second annual Toronto Newcomer Day festivities were held at City Hall on May 24, 2016, an event that welcomed newcomers to Toronto and celebrated their contributions to the city. The event was hosted by Major John Tory and there were more than 6,000 people in attendance, including representatives from Next Stop Canada. The event included a special guest appearance from the Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. We also had the opportunity to witness preparations for one of the most important events of the day: the citizenship ceremony for nearly 60 candidates who were taking the Oath of Citizenship in the City Hall Council Chamber that day. Toronto’s Newcomer Day was a great opportunity to meet community partners and newcomers who may have families back home in need of our services.
“It was so nice to be part of the Newcomer Day event and see newcomers learn about settlement services and life in Toronto, all while having a blast the Canadian way!”
– Alexandra Popilian, eNIC Information & Referral specialist.
“It was such a privilege to meet and welcome newcomers to Toronto alongside the many settlement service providers from the Greater Toronto Area.”
– Nina Arcon, YPALS Specialists
Next Stop Canada had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Meghan Wankel, Program Coordinator for PASS. Read what she had to say about her program:
What is PASS?
The Pre-Arrival Supports and Services (PASS) Program, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, helps internationally educated nurses (IENs) start the nursing registration process before departing their countries of residence, thus decreasing the time they spend from arrival in Canada to professional registration and employment.
What is your role in the program?
As the PASS Program Coordinator, I provide individualized guidance, case management and support to IENs through online forums including Skype and email. I facilitate group orientations and employment-related webinars on diverse topics.
What type of orientation do you provide for your clients?
In partnership with the Canadian Nurses Association, I also prepare and orient IENs and expert Canadian nurses to connect with each other and engage through the mentorship process. Orientation topics for both nurse mentors and mentees include: procedures and policies for participating in mentorship; issues facing IENs in Canada; diversity issues and problem-solving techniques.
I also connect IENs with the appropriate regulatory, academic bridging, language and settlement resources to assist them in attaining nursing licensure and to ease their adaptation into Canadian society. As Program Assistant, Nicholas Ghadiri researches and compiles the necessary subject matter for program areas
What inspires you to help pre-arrival nurses?
The nursing registration process in Canada can be extremely difficult for IENs to navigate, they can become discouraged when the process takes longer than anticipated. Helping IENs achieve their goals of registration and meaningful employment in Canada is very important to me. Not only does the program provide guidance and encouragement, but we can make sure that IENs are well-informed before they arrive in Canada.
Along with helping IENs reach their personal goals and fulfillment, the Canadian healthcare sector will benefit immensely from the skills and expertise of IENs who will enrich the nursing labour force and provide cross-culturally competent care for Canada’s increasingly diverse patient population.
What do you think is the best thing about partnering up with Next Stop Canada?
Partnering with pre-arrival agency partners such as Next Stop Canada will allow CARE Centre’s PASS Program to reach out to more IENs destined for Canada, while ensuring that IENs who intend on settling in the Greater Toronto Area receive vital pre-arrival settlement information and supports for their successful integration, at the same time as they are being supported through the nursing licensure process.
Connect, Like and Follow Us on Social Media
Are you on social media? Join Next Stop Canada on our social media platforms! We launched our Facebook and Twitter pages in April 2016. These pages allow us to connect with community organizations, potential clients, and local residents of the Greater Toronto Area. Our posts include program updates, events in the GTA, and fun facts about Canada. We’re now also on Linked In! Followers can connect with Next Stop Canada for news and updates about employment, networking and educational opportunities in the Greater Toronto Area.
Follow us at www.twitter.com/nextstopca
Like us at www.facebook.com/nextstopcanada
Follow us at www.linkedin.com/company/next-stop-canada