Recently, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) announced that it would be giving $100 million to ensure settlement services for newcomers and allow them to meet their needs during the pandemic. This funding is set to be rolled out over the next three years. It aims at adapting the delivery of settlement services to newcomers allowing them to reflect the pandemic and post-pandemic context.
The funding is provided through the Immigration Department’s Service Delivery Improvement (SDI) program, which is responsible for funding new projects offered by settlement service providers in needs assessment, information, language training, skills development, employment-related services and community connections. For the 2020 funding process, the IRCC selected 78 projects.
IRCC said in a statement that the projects would explore the best way to integrate newcomers into their new communities and support the settlement sector while trying to recover from the pandemic. With the pandemic affecting everything, many settlement services have moved online. SDI funding will help IRCC determine the kind of services newcomers would benefit from while considering the increased reliance on online service delivery.
The selected projects include one that will help test whether settlement strategies strategies for new immigrants and one that aims to develop service approaches with an anti-oppression framework can be developed using artificial intelligence (AI). The other project is about linking newcomers with employers in rural communities before they arrive to see if it encourages them to settle in some areas.
Settlement services have a massive role to play in Canada’s immigration system. Whether it is work, housing or language training, they are responsible for setting the newcomers up for success. During this pandemic, everyone has needed support in one way or another. If you start to imagine the additional hurdles that the last one and a half year has presented to the people moving into Canada, you will understand how challenging it has been to start living in the country.