A Warm Welcome for International Professionals
Next Stop Canada had the opportunity to attend this year’s 14th annual IEP Conference on March 3rd, a unique forum for internationally educated professionals. The full day event consisted of a wide range of activities, including sector-specific personal and professional development sessions and workshops.
The day started early in the morning with a warm welcome for the audience. The message was simple but sweet, focusing on Canada’s respect for diversity and multiculturalism. More importantly, it gave us a better understanding of the clients we are serving, including their needs and aspirations.
In addition, we got to hear stories from established immigrants who shared their own personal experiences of success. Some of the most meaningful advice participants received was to have self-confidence, self-awareness of their skills and knowledge, perseverance, be open to networking, and manage change and uncertainty for the future. It was a great message for the hopeful and optimistic audience, and one that we share with our clients every day.
During the second half of the day, participants of this special event also met with representatives of several organizations, who aim to help internationally trained professionals build their careers and professional experience in Canada. It was here that we got to share our pre-arrival program and services with newly arrived immigrants, many of whom had family and friends back home who are immigrating to Canada soon and will benefit from Next Stop Canada’s services. All in all it was a very successful day for everyone who attended.
Next Stop Canada Member
Mohamad Abdel is an architect from Egypt who immigrated to Canada from Kuwait. He has successfully landed a job with a Canadian company in a position related to his field. He emphasized that Next Stop Canada answered all of his questions, which were mostly related to insurances, children’s education, driver’s license, and housing, which gave him a sense of relief.
It is like you have one of your family members living in Canada. Next Stop Canada is ready to help you at any time.
Mahamad (2nd right) with Next Stop Canada Information and Referral Specialists June, Nathaly and Reza.
Meet Vlad! Vlad works as an account manager for Rogers Communications and has a degree in musical interpretation from his home country, Romania. When Vlad first came to Canada in 2005 it was not very easy to access settlement information and he had to figure out many things on his own. Now he’s happy to volunteer with newcomers to Canada to provide them with the information and resources that he knows would have made his transition easier. Vlad believes that a positive outlook and a readiness to embrace change will go a long way when adapting to life in Canada. Each year, Vlad says, he learns more about the country he calls home and has made many great memories in Canada.
To read more about how Vlad built his new life in Canada, please check out our blog.
Meet Janice, one of 25 youth mentors on Next Stop Canada. Janice has been volunteering at the YMCA for more than 4 years now. Last year Janice became a mentor at Next Stop Canada, helping pre-arrival youth prepare for their journey to Canada.
YMCA youth programs have helped me so much ever since I moved to Canada. Having spent more than 200 hours at the YMCA, I gained experience facilitating workshops and organizing events and these opportunities made me much more confident as a leader. Now, volunteering with Next Stop Canada is the best way for me to give back to the community and help new immigrants have an easier transition to their new life in Canada.
Next Stop Canada in Action!
From Pre-Arrival to Post-Arrival: The Complete Settlement Experience
Here at Next Stop Canada we are committed to easing the settlement experience for immigrants arriving to Canada. Part of this includes connecting our clients to post-arrival services here in Canada. The YMCA’s Newcomer Information Centre (NIC) and the Language Assessment and Referral Centre are just two programs that do this.
Clients who are moving to Toronto can book a language assessment appointment prior to their arrival. Once they arrive in the city, they will be able to speak with an in Canada Information and Referral Specialist, who will inform them of all post-arrival services in Toronto. We are building these connections all across Canada so all our clients feel more confident about moving to a new country.
To learn more about post-arrival services offered by YMCA of Greater Toronto Area, please visit YMCA Immigrant Services website: YMCA Immigrant Services
Next Stop Canada Attends Bridges 2017 Collaboration Forum
The Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership (TEQ LIP) held its fifth annual BRIDGES 2017 forum in February. Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, this year’s forum focused on bringing together organizations from across the City of Toronto to share expertise and to collaborate in addressing issues that face service providers who are supporting Syrian newcomer needs.
Next Stop Canada had the opportunity to attend this year’s BRIDGES 2017 forum alongside a large group of settlement agencies and organizations. The forum included a panel of several guest speakers who shared their experiences working with Syrian newcomers in the past year, and identified potential collaboration opportunities that could take place to better support newcomers in Canada. The Next Stop Canada staff also attended several workshops that day which touched upon mental health, partnership building, and youth supports in Toronto. We were also able to connect with a variety of service providers, community members and newcomers to inform them of pre-arrival services available to those who are immigrating. Building these relationships will ensure that newcomers receive the support they need before and after arrival to Canada.
Next Stop Canada Expands Across the Country
Since launching in April 2016, Next Stop Canada has had the good fortune of serving clients across the globe, who are settling in various provinces in Canada. Although most immigrants are headed to Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, there have been more and more people listing Saskatchewan, Manitoba and even the Atlantic provinces as their destination province. Service providers in the region are excited to welcome newcomers as they settle into their new homes. Connecting with organizations in these regions has given us a better understanding of the various programs and services available to newcomers across Canada, which are vast and cover everything from settlement, education, employment, health and much more!
The Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, which launched in March 2017, is another initiative that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and the Atlantic provincial governments, have piloted in partnership with a number of employers to encourage settlement in the Atlantic provinces. This program aims to settle 2000 skilled immigrants in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in 2017. To prepare for this initiative our team at Next Stop Canada has been working tirelessly to expand our knowledge of the region and the services available to newcomers in this part of Canada. The region has established organizations and programs that are equipped to welcome new immigrants. This includes language classes, settlement programs, and orientation to the city, among others. The best part of our research was learning more about this country we call home. Soon enough many more will be able to do the same.
Settlement Tips from a Citizenship Judge
Earlier this year, Next Stop Canada and the Library Settlement Partnership (LSP) program had the pleasure of meeting Citizenship Judge Albert Wong, who was appointed by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for the Greater Toronto Area in June 2014. In the meeting, he shared some insightful recommendations regarding how pre- and post-arrival front line settlement service providers can improve their services for newcomers to Canada, specifically for immigration and legal supports.
Some important recommendations mentioned during the meeting were to educate newcomers regarding their rights and responsibilities, help them to adjust to the Canadian culture, get them familiar with the Canadian system, and help them adapt to a multicultural society. Additionally, he said it is essential to tell newcomers the reality of what they should expect in Canada, however always give them something to be hopeful for. The pre-arrival staff at Next Stop Canada certainly benefited from the information received during this meeting, which we will pass on to our clients.
Volunteering with Next Stop Canada
Meet Erika! Erika has volunteered with Next Stop Canada since the spring of 2016. As an immigrant herself, Erika decided to help others who were transitioning to life in Canada. Through volunteering Erika has expanded her knowledge of topics such as employment, housing, and education and has learned the importance of tailoring services to every individual’s needs. She helps others access the information that Next Stop Canada provides by translating content on the website from English to Spanish.
Settlement Online Pre-Arrival or simply SOPA is an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funded program that delivers free online pre-arrival services and courses. SOPA helps clients smoothly transition from pre to post-arrival. Immigrants who use the various online tools before their departure to Canada will be able to integrate more quickly. The SOPA program and courses will provide job search strategies as well as a range of information about Canadian workplace communication and workplace culture.
All the resources, services and courses are offered at no charge. To register with the SOPA Program, clients must be approved to come to Canada as permanent residents.
Eligible clients register with SOPA and meet, one-on-one, with one of SOPA’s Intake Counselors in an orientation session. The intake counselor is located in the province of the client’s destination, ensuring relevant, province-specific information for the client. Depending on their needs, the clients will also be referred to one or more of the 5 online courses. They will also be referred to a wide range of complementary pre and post-arrival services before arriving in Canada, including professional regulatory bodies, credential recognition services and many others.
SOPA’s 3 facilitated courses are:
- Job Search Strategies
- Soft Skills: Professional Communications
- Soft Skills: Working with Others
Once enrolled in a facilitated course, an instructor will work closely with a client to guide them through the course, answer questions and give feedback. SOPA’s highly professional instructors will help clients target resumes and prepare for the first interview in Canada, as well as give tips on how to make presentations and integrate well into the Canadian workplace.
SOPA’s 2 self-guided courses are:
- Working in Canada
- Canadian Workplace Integration
For self-motivated, independent learners, there are 2 self-guided courses. These courses provide information on communication styles, sensitive workplace norms, information on workplace protection, contracts, taxes, pay and much more!
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