Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) Service Provider Handbook

ISBN 978-0-660-29280-9

Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) Service Provider Handbook (PDF, 2.73 MB)

Table of contents

Resettlement Assistance Program Service Provider Handbook

The Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) Service Provider Handbook describes in detail the services that service provider organizations funded under the RAP are expected to deliver to RAP clients. The Handbook is aimed to be used as a reference document for Service Provider Organizations (SPOs) delivering RAP services, and by IRCC staff as one of the bases for drafting the content of RAP contribution agreements, and for conducting activity monitors. Use of the Handbook is also meant to ensure national consistency in the delivery of RAP services across the country.

Last updated in 2013, the Handbook was revised in 2018-2019 following consultations within IRCC, and with RAP SPO representatives. Much the information and orientation content included in the Handbook was adapted from the Welcome to Canada publication, IRCC’s webpage for new immigrants, or other Government of Canada websites. Updates in this version of the Handbook include new “What the client needs to know” sections, describing the immediate and essential information that must be shared with RAP clients during the RAP service delivery period, as well as “SPO To-Do lists”, describing the immediate and essential services RAP SPOs must deliver, and tasks that they must accomplish. It also includes the following new sections:

  • Overseas Interim Federal Health (IFH) coverage, Immigration Loans, and Pre-arrival Settlement services
  • The Resettlement Needs of GARs – A Trauma-Informed Approach
  • Official Language Requirements
  • Linguistic Duality and Orientation to Local Francophone Minority Communities

And more content and details on:

  • Referral to Settlement and Broader-Based Community Services
  • Orientation to Essential Federal/Provincial Programs and Services
  • Rights and Responsibilities, Canadian Law and Justice, and Family Law
  • Culture Shock, Cultural Adaptation, and Cultural Norms and Expectations
  • Housing Orientation – Renting Accommodations

While the Handbook continues to focus on what services should be delivered, it leaves to the RAP SPOs to determine how to best deliver RAP services to their clients. Lastly, the Handbook also describes the connections and continuum of services between RAP services, and pre- and post- Settlement services. See Annex 2 for the Resettlement and Settlement Programming Continuum.

The Handbook is managed by International Network’s Resettlement Operations Division (IN-ROD). For any comments or required updates, please contact IN-ROD’s Resettlement Services team at IRCC.INRAPPAR-ILPPPI.IRCC@cic.gc.ca.

1. Introduction

1.1 Canada’s refugee system

Refugees are people who have been forced to leave their country in order to escape war or persecution. For reasons such as these, they are not able to return home. A refugee is different from an immigrant. An immigrant is a person who chooses to settle permanently in another country, whereas refugees are forced to flee.

In keeping with the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees, according to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a person resettled to Canada as a Government-Assisted Refugee or as a Blended Visa Office Referred refugee is “a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.” On the other hand, persons resettled under the country of asylum class such as Privately Sponsored Refugees do not need to meet the above definition, however, they must have been, and must continue to be, seriously and personally affected by civil war, armed conflict or massive violations of human rights.

1.2 Canadian refugee protection programs

The Canadian refugee system has two main parts:

  • the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program, for people who need protection from outside Canada and
  • the In-Canada Asylum Program for people making refugee protection claims from within Canada

1.2.1 Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program

Refugees who come to Canada have left their homes, and in many cases they have had to live in refugee camps for many years. When they arrive in Canada, they have to start their lives over again.

Resettled refugees are selected abroad, and granted permanent residence upon their arrival in Canada. Resettled refugees can be admitted to Canada via one of the following three resettlement programs:

  • Government-assisted refugees (GARs) are usually referred by the United Nations Refugee Agency, and solely government supported.
    • Under the Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) Program, GARs with special needs can receive additional settlement support from Sponsorship Agreement Holders
  • Privately sponsored refugees (PSRs) are identified and supported by private sponsors in Canada.
  • Blended visa office-referred (BVOR) refugees are referred by the United Nations Refugee Agency and jointly supported by government and private sponsors.

1.2.2 Help for resettled refugees

Under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), the Government of Canada helps government-assisted refugees (GARs) and other eligible clients when they first arrive in Canada by providing direct financial support, and funding the provision of immediate and essential services.

Financial support includes a one-time start up allowance and monthly income support typically provided for up to one year or until clients can support themselves, whichever comes first. RAP Service Provider Organizations, located in communities across the country except Quebec, deliver RAP immediate and essential services to clients generally within four to six weeks of arrival in Canada. These services include:

  • Port of entry and reception services;
  • Temporary accommodation and assistance with locating permanent accommodation;
  • Needs assessment and referrals to other settlement programs and community based services;
  • Information and orientation on financial and non-financial information as well as life skills training; and
  • Links to essential federal and provincial programs.

2. Before a RAP client arrives in Canada

2.1 Interim Federal Health Program Coverage Overseas

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) covers certain pre-departure medical services for refugees coming to Canada for resettlement. This coverage includes the following services:

  • immigration medical exams and follow-up treatment of health conditions that would make someone inadmissible to Canada under paragraph 38(1)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (e.g. active pulmonary tuberculosis and untreated syphilis)
  • certain vaccinations aligned with Canadian immunization guidelines
  • communicable disease outbreak management and control
  • medical support needed for safe travel

2.1.1 Pre-departure Vaccinations

If clients’ medical examination is performed by an International Organization for Migration (IOM) physician, they can receive immunizations against a defined list of vaccine preventable diseases, such as Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Polio, and Hepatitis B. Clients will have been given their vaccination record and reminded of the importance of bringing it with them to Canada.

While pre-departure vaccination services offered through the IFHP are completely voluntary, clients are reminded that immunizations are important in all stages of life to help prevent the spread of contagious diseases. They are also informed that in Canada, some provinces require that children be properly immunized against certain diseases in order for them to attend a pre-school facility, or public/private schools. Therefore, if clients have young children, they are reminded that getting them vaccinated prior to departure can facilitate their registration to Canadian schools.

2.1.2 Immigration Medical Exams

IRCC-approved Panel Physicians conduct Immigration Medical Examinations (IME) for all refugees prior to their arrival in Canada. The IME includes health questions used for all applicants to determine notably if individuals may be a danger to public health and/or public safety. Upon request, a copy of the IME is given to the client who can then decide whether to share the IME with their medical doctors in Canada.Footnote 1 For privacy reasons, IRCC cannot provide copies of the IME to SPOs and sponsors. Instead, the Department shares the Resettlement Needs Assessment.

2.2 Resettlement Needs Assessment

The Resettlement Needs Assessment does not include medical diagnoses, but instead focuses on the services and medical products/medical devices the client requires. In some cases, and where the panel physician deems critical, some diagnoses or personal information may be necessary to share, such as acute or active conditions which require special attention either during transit, post-arrival, or where a referral by a doctor may be needed soon after arrival. See Annex 3, IRCC Guidelines for Sharing of Clients’ Resettlement Needs for more detail.

Panel Physicians provide an opinion on the type of service clients likely require upon arrival in Canada and suggest a time frame to receive these services. While Panel Physicians provide informed medical recommendations, they are based on a single medical encounter and rely on client disclosure of their health concerns. For this reason, it is necessary that refugees visit a primary care provider shortly after arrival, as further detailed in Section 9.5 on the Canadian Health System.

2.3 Immigration Loans

Through the Immigration Loans Program (ILP), the Government of Canada provides loans to resettled refugees to cover the cost of their travel to Canada. The loan document is signed by the client at the time of the initial interview with the IRCC Migration Officer abroad.

The Immigration Loan covers the transportation fees from their point of departure to their final destination in Canada, including the cost of non-medical escorts, if applicable. Loans are interest free, and repayments begin one year after arrival in Canada. Generally, the time given to completely pay the loan is from 3 to 8 years, depending on the amount. The maximum loan amount per family is CAD $10,000.

2.4 Pre-arrival Settlement Services – Canadian Orientation Abroad

Pre-arrival settlement services provide accurate and relevant information and supports to selected permanent residents and refugees. These services allow individuals to make informed decisions and begin the settlement process while they are still abroad, so that they arrive in Canada better prepared to integrate into Canadian society.

Pre-arrival services are initial settlement services provided to immigrants who are located overseas, prior to receiving resettlement and settlement supports and services in Canada.

Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) sessions are in-person pre-arrival group information and orientation services for refugees; they are a critical aspect of the resettlement process. These services are delivered by the IOM, and are intended to:

  • Help individuals selected for resettlement prepare for travel to their final destination in Canada
  • Provide individuals with a realistic view of Canada, including dispelling any misconceptions
  • Support individuals in taking ownership of their resettlement, settlement and integration process
  • Facilitate a seamless continuum of information from pre-arrival to in-Canada resettlement and settlement supports and services (including linkages to additional pre-arrival services, RAP services, and in-Canada Settlement services)

COA sessions help refugees prepare for resettlement to Canada, which includes information on, but not limited to:

  • Preparation for travel to Canada
  • Provision of a realistic view of life in Canada, including difficulties that individuals may encounter as they settle in Canada—particularly in the first few months following their arrival—as well as information and strategies to address these challenges (e.g. cost of living, housing, finding a job)
  • The importance of obtaining the knowledge and tools to live independently in Canadian society
  • Realistic messaging on the resettlement support that individuals should expect to receive from RAP SPOs and/or sponsors, and the financial support they should expect to receive from sponsors and/or IRCC (which varies between provinces and territories and mirrors social services amounts).
  • Rights and freedoms of individuals according to Canadian law, understanding of Canadian values, as well as their responsibilities and obligations as permanent residents and future citizens of Canada
  • The linguistic duality of Canadian society and the choice available to settle in a Francophone or Acadian CommunityFootnote 2 outside Quebec.
  • Other relevant pre-arrival services and in-Canada RAP and Settlement services

See Annex 4 for a list of general topics covered in the context of COA.

The aim is for all individuals selected for resettlement to Canada to receive in-person COA training, where operationally possible. Other modes of service delivery or information provision are considered for circumstances where clients are more difficult to reach and serve in-person.

2.5 Other Pre-arrival Settlement Services

In addition to COA training provided by IOM, many other organizations provide pre-arrival settlement services, both online and in-person (China, India, Philippines and MoroccoFootnote 3), including services in French.

These free services can help clients:

  • Learn about living and working in Canada
  • Get their school diploma or professional certificates recognized in Canada
  • Connect with employers and other members of their future community
  • Receive employment counselling, mentorship and referrals to other settlement services
  • Receive information specific to living in Francophone and Acadian communities and services available in French

These services can also help if clients are interested in experiencing their settlement and integration process in Canada in French. New employment services targeted specifically for the needs of refugees, are under development and will be available soon. Once available, these services will be listed on the Pre-Arrival Settlement Services website.

A full list of free pre-arrival Settlement services can be found at www.canada.ca/pre-arrival-services

3. RAP Clients and their Resettlement Needs

The following categories of refugee clients are eligible for RAP services:

Category Eligibility to RAP Services
Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) All RAP services
Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) clients All RAP services
Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSR) POE airport services onlyFootnote 4
Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) clients POE airport services onlyFootnote 4
Other groups admitted under a public policy established by the Minister Depends on the conditions of each public policy – some public policy groups may be eligible for RAP services, while others may not.
Eligible RAP clients arriving on Temporary Resident Permits (TRP) All RAP services. These clients are often resettled on an urgent basis.
One-Year Window (OYW) arrivals of any of the above classifications All eligible RAP services which were provided to the Head of Family, if needed by OYW clients.

3.1 The Resettlement Needs of GARs

GARs selected for resettlement may arrive in Canada having experienced different types and different severities of trauma, some perhaps a few years before their resettlement, others very soon before their resettlement to Canada. Some GARs will experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In keeping with expert advice, it is understood that psychosocial needs are best dealt with in a stable, supportive environment.

According to recent clinical guidelines published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal “pushing for disclosure of traumatic events in well-functioning individuals who have survived torture or sexual- and gender-based violence could be harmful; this increases the risk of resurfacing processed traumas, as well as raising issues of stigma and consequent ripple effects on family and community. We recommend against systematic screening for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but suggest that practitioners be alert for associated signs and symptoms (e.g., unexplained somatic symptoms, sleep disorders or mental health disorders such as depression or panic disorder).”

The Canadian Mental Health Association explains that PTSD can cause “intrusive symptoms such as re-experiencing the traumatic event. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that seem to come from nowhere.” They also describe some of the symptoms of PTSD as including:

  • feeling very nervous or ‘on edge’ all the time
  • feeling startled very easily
  • having a hard time concentrating
  • feeling irritable
  • having problems sleeping well
  • often feeling like something terrible is about to happen, even when safe
  • feeling very numb and detached – feeling like things aren’t real, feel disconnected from our body or thoughts, or having a hard time feeling emotions

3.2 Professional development training for RAP SPO – A Trauma-Informed Approach

It is important for all RAP SPO staff who will be assisting newly arrived GARs to have the experience and/or the training to understand that clients may have had traumatic experiences, and to be familiar with the best approaches to assist them when they arrive in Canada. While RAP SPO staff are not expected or funded to provide mental health services, it is their role to ensure that clients access a primary care physician as soon as possible after their arrival in Canada, so that they can be referred as needed to refer them to appropriate services and supports.

The Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH) leads the Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health Project, which consists of IRCC-funded training for service providers on how to appropriately respond to the unique mental health needs of new immigrants, including GARs. The course also provides strategies to promote self-care and cultural competence. IRCC strongly encourages RAP SPOs to have all of their front line staff undertake this, or equivalent training. More information on the training provided by CAMH may be found here: https://irmhp-psmir.camhx.ca/courses

GAR clients resettled to Canada also include individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or two-spirit (LGBTQ2Footnote 5), who may have experienced serious human rights abuses based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or biological sex. While the above-mentioned CAMH training includes information on the particular psychosocial needs of LGBTQ2 clients, RAP SPOs are strongly encouraged to have all their staff undertake cultural and/or diversity training that includes information on the particular needs and vulnerabilities of LGBTQ2 clients, as well as information on the services and supports available in their community for this particular clientele. See Annex 1 for information on training and resources that may be used as a starting point for referring LGBTQ2 clients to local organizations.

In addition, under IRCC’s Settlement Program, short-term crisis counselling is available as a Settlement support service to clients encountering problems and crises while adjusting to life in Canada (e.g. abuse, sickness, divorce, etc.) in order to assist them in the resolution of these difficulties. This short-term service can include the identification of the client’s needs and the determination of the appropriate type of service and/or resource for referral. This service is not a professional or clinical service and should not include in-depth social or psychological counselling of a kind normally provided by existing health and social service systems. Direct mental health and health interventions, such as emergency care and long-term management, remain within the jurisdiction of provinces and territories.

SPOs that have received funding from other sources (e.g. provinces/territories, municipalities, etc.) to provide more intensive mental health supports, such as trauma and counselling programming, may refer clients to these specialized services within their organizations or to other qualified practitioners in the community.

4. Official Language Requirements

As part of IRCC’s commitment to official language minority communities (OLMCs), settlement and resettlement services must take the specific needs and contexts of immigrants settling in official language minority communities into account. Article 5.4 of the RAP and Settlement contribution agreement and its sub-articles are in place to ensure that clients can make informed resettlement and settlement-related decisions, and that the capacity and structure of Francophone and Acadian communities are leveraged.

While each contribution agreements’ official language requirements depend on the type of programming that is being implemented, all RAP SPOs are expected to adhere to sub-articles a), b), and c), and some may also need to adhere to sub-article d):

Contribution Agreement – Official Languages Clauses

  1. To inform Eligible Clients of services available in the client's preferred official language through other organizations.
  2. To organize activities, projects, and programs to forge ties between Canada’s two official language communities.
  3. To annually consult with Francophone Minority Communities about settlement and resettlement programming as determined appropriate by the Department.
  4. To offer services in both official languages based on an assessment of needs by the Department; this will include:
    1. making the public aware of services through greetings, recorded messages, announcements, broadcasts, signs, documents and other means of communication; and
    2. provision of equal quality services for the public in both official languages, and for individuals in the language of their choice.
  5. Identify the Project participants/beneficiaries and take all necessary measures to communicate and provide Project-related services and/or activities to the participants/beneficiaries in English and in French as the case may require.
  6. The Department has deemed that the requirements under this section are not applicable.

All RAP clients need to be adequately informed about the possibility of settling in Canada in French, and, if interested, referred or connected to whenever possible to different aspects of local Francophone and Acadian communities. Ideally, this information should be delivered by, or in collaboration with, members of local Francophone and Acadian communities.

In early 2018, IRCC surveyed all RAP SPOs on their best practices relating to official languages. The below includes best practices shared by current RAP SPOs.

SPO To-Do list – Meeting the Official Language Needs of GARs

  • Irrespective of clients’ first language, in order to be able to appropriately inform all RAP clients, and to connect RAP clients as needed to local Francophone and Acadian communities, RAP SPOs should build their knowledge of their local Francophone and Acadian community. Namely:
    • French RAP and/or Settlement services funded by IRCC:
    • Available French settlement language training (FSL Literacy, basic, intermediate, or advanced levels)
    • Connecting with Francophone volunteers in the context of RAP service delivery or Settlement Community Connections programming
    • Francophone health services (Francophone hospitals, clinics, or health facilities, etc.), including mental health services offered in French
    • Local Francophone schools/school boards for primary and secondary education; Francophone colleges or universities
    • Francophone and Acadian community centres
    • Permanent accommodations in Francophone neighbourhoods
    • Any Francophone or Acadian cultural hub, or public events that may be taking place in their community, i.e. festivals, theatres, etc.
  • Create partnerships and build relationships with existing Francophone and Acadian organizations in the community to establish an active referral system, advance cooperation opportunities, build knowledge on what services are offered by Francophone organizations, and learn how to collaborate to assist Francophone RAP clients to successfully resettle and integrate.
  • Establish a two-way referral system between RAP SPO and Francophone/Acadian organization to create a mutually supportive relationship
  • SPOs may consider having a Francophone/Acadian program liaison officer or team at the RAP/Settlement SPO dedicated to connect clients with and inform them about available Francophone resources in the community
  • Prior to clients’ arrival, RAP SPOs should ensure they have French-speaking RAP staff (or as a second option, French interpreters) who can assist clients with orientation, needs assessment and all other RAP activities.
  • Upon receiving the Notification of Arrival, the RAP SPO can identify if the clients speak French, are arriving from a French-speaking country of asylum, or come from a country of origin where French is spoken.
  • The referral process can then begin – summary information regarding French-speaking GARs can be sent by the RAP SPOs to existing Francophone and Acadian settlement organization in the community that may be able to help meet the client’s settlement needs(while ensuring that client’s private information remains protected)

5. Port of Entry (POE) Airport Services

This chapter describes the requirements for the reception of refugees at a Canadian port of entry (POE), i.e. the first Canadian airport where their flight will land. POE Airport Services are offered in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal (funded by the Province of Quebec) to GAR, JAS, PSR, and BVOR clients, or some clients resettled as a result of a public policy or humanitarian and compassionate considerations. Requirements generally include meeting and greeting the refugees soon after they deplane in Canada, assisting them with immigration and customs procedures, and issuing winter clothing to GAR and JAS clients between October 15 and April 15, and to PSRs and BVORs on an exceptional basis only, or as per instructions from IRCC. POE Airport Service Provider Organizations (SPO) must also ensure clients meet the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) SPO or sponsors waiting for them at the POE airport. If the POE is not the final destination, the POE SPO must address immediate in-transit needs, and assist all refugee clients to their air transportation to their final destination where they will be met by the RAP SPO or sponsors. Arrangements for overnight accommodation and transportation to and from this accommodation are also made by the POE Airport SPO in the event of an onward connection scheduled for the next day.

5.1 Receipt of Notification of Arrival Transmission (NAT) and Arrangements Prior to Clients’ Arrival

POE Airport SPOs are informed of expected arrivals through a Notification of Arrival Transmission (NAT). The NAT is sent from IRCC’s Resettlement Operations Centre – Ottawa (ROC-O) to the POE Airport SPO, and to the local IRCC office at the GAR/JAS clients’ final destination. The local IRCC office will in turn send the NATs to RAP SPOs. NATs should be sent by ROC-O at least 10 business days prior to the expected arrival, though in some cases (e.g. urgent cases or other), this timeframe may be shorter. Finally, it should be noted that NATs contain clients’ private information and must be treated appropriately by SPOs, as per the privacy requirements in their contribution agreements with IRCC.

POE SPO To-Do List

  • Upon receipt of the NAT, carefully review its content to adequately plan the reception of the refugee clients (consider number of individuals, language spoken, ages, medical conditions, other special needs, etc.)
  • Coordinate the clients’ arrival with:
    • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)
    • Airport transportation service (if required due to mobility issues – see below section for clients with special needs)
    • IOM (i.e. cross-check IOM’s weekly reports of refugee arrivals with NATs received from ROC-O; in the event of discrepancies, inform IOM and ROC-O as soon as possible)
    • Local RAP SPO and/or sponsors as required
  • If the POE is based in the client’s final destination city, or the final destination city is to be reached by ground transportation, arrangements must be made. See sections 5.2 and 5.3 below for more details.
  • Plan for the necessary number of staff and interpreters on arrival day, depending on the clients’ age (additional staff required when there are minors), physical and mental health, or any experience of trauma that may be noted in the NAT
  • For all categories of refugees, if in-transit overnighting is known to be required due to airline schedules not permitting onward travel until the next day, make necessary hotel arrangements
    • The hotel costs for GARs and JAS clients will be covered through the POE Airport SPO’s contribution agreement with IRCC
    • The hotel cost for PSR or BVOR clients will be covered using the transportation loan:
      • CBSA will issue the 4-part Immigration Loan document (IMM500)
        • White copy will be provided to the hotel for payment
        • Yellow copy will be provided to the client for their reference
        • Pink copy will be kept by CBSA
        • Green copy will be kept by POE SPO
      • The POE SPO will make hotel arrangements for the client
      • The client or SPO representative will provide the IMM500 to the hotel front desk agent
      • The hotel agent will fill out Box 31 (other costs)
      • The hotel agent will send the IMM500 and invoices to IRCC NHQ Finance for payment
  • Share with CBSA the number of refugees who will be arriving, and other relevant information (i.e. provide a list of names only if required), to ensure an appropriate number of officers are available to process clients upon arrival

5.1.1 Special Needs Clients

Special needs clients include persons with special medical needs, persons with disabilities, minors travelling alone, and seniors travelling alone who may need extra attention. The special needs should be identified on the NAT, allowing preparations to be made in advance of the arrival.

POE SPO To-Do List

Wheelchair or stretcher required
  • IOM will generally make arrangements with the airline to have wheelchairs available for clients with mobility issues. In the event that such arrangements have not been made, the airline agent will use the airport wheelchair to transport clients with mobility issues within the airport. If the client requires a wheelchair to final destination, the POE Airport SPO will use its own wheelchair to replace airport wheelchair. This wheelchair must be returned to the POE Airport SPO.
  • If a client requires a stretcher, IOM will also make arrangements for the duration of the flight. Upon arrival at POE:
    • If it known in advance that the client travelling on a stretcher must be transported directly from the plane to the hospital, the local RAP SPO must pre-arrange with the hospital to have medical professionals at the emergency room, and a hospital bed booked
    • In the case of an unplanned emergency, the airline will call 911 to have the client transported to the nearest hospital
    • If the client is to be transported to his or her temporary accommodation, the POE Airport SPO will arrange for a private, non-emergency ambulance; the cost of this service, for all categories of refugees, will be covered through the POE Airport SPO Contribution Agreement with IRCC
Other disabilities

Clients with other disabilities that require additional assistance should be met at the plane and escorted throughout their time in the airport

Client arriving with an IOM Operational or Medical Escort
  • A formal handover of responsibility of the client from the IOM Operational or Medical Escort to 1) a medical practitioner, 2) the RAP SPO receiving the client,Footnote 6 or 3) the sponsoring group, will take place at the client’s final destination
  • The NAT will specify that a client will be accompanied by a medical escort, as well as whether the client must be handed over to a medical practitioner immediately upon arrival, or if he/she can be handed over to a non-medical agency or individual (i.e. RAP SPO or sponsoring group)
  • The IOM Medical Escort will have two copies of the IOM’s Migrant Handover Notification form, which must be signed by the receiving party. The receiving party will retain one copy of the signed form
  • RAP SPOs and sponsors should know that signing this form does not commit them to any more responsibility than what was already established through the RAP SPO’s Contribution Agreement, or a sponsor’s Sponsorship Undertaking
Unaccompanied Minors

Overnight stays at POE:

  • While overnight stays at POEs are usually avoided, if unavoidable:
    • For GAR minors: IOM will arrange an escort to stay with the GAR minor for the entire length of the trip to final destination, including the overnight stay
    • For PSR minors:
      • PSR minors are generally placed with a family during the flight, but there are no standard arrangements for the overnight stay a the POE
      • IOM will contact the parent, guardian or sponsor before arranging flights to confirm the overnight arrangements to avert any difficulties

NATs:

  • Travel arrangements for unaccompanied minors are provided on a separate NAT, or a message separate from the NAT
  • This communication will include the name, telephone number and address of the contact or sponsor in Canada in case of an emergency or of a change in travel arrangements
  • If the minor is travelling with another refugee assigned to provide assistance during the flight, that person will be identified on the NAT
  • This communication will also include a confirmation that the Canadian leg of the trip will allow the minor to travel to the final destination unaccompanied

5.2 Reception of clients at POE

The POE Airport SPO staff meet clients arriving on either international or domestic flights, and accompany them within the airport after they deplane in Canada, until they are connected to their onward ground or air transportation to their final destination, or they meet the local RAP SPO or their sponsor waiting for them at the airport. International arrivals should be assisted with CBSA landing processes, or arrival processes for cases that arrive on a Temporary Resident Permit, such as Urgent Protection Program cases. Domestic arrivals will have been processed by CBSA at a POE located in another Canadian international airport.

If clients require unexpected urgent medical attention before going to local temporary accommodations or continuing to their final destination, the POE Airport SPO must make the necessary arrangements. The POE Airport SPO is responsible for clients upon arrival and until they leave the airport, while the local RAP SPOs or sponsors are responsible for the clients after their departure from the airport at the final destination.

POE SPO To-Do List

Exceptional circumstances
  • In situations of late arrivals, unexpected arrivals, or no-shows, inform the local IRCC office and ROC-O as soon as possible, as well as the local IRCC office and sponsors at the point of final destination, if applicable
  • If clients require unexpected urgent medical attention:
    • Make immediate arrangements to meet clients’ urgent medical needs (e.g. call an ambulance, call the airport emergency medical service or the airport health professionals, etc.)
    • Notify the local IRCC office, RAP SPO and/or sponsors as soon as possible of the situation
Landing procedures
  • When the clients arrive, meet them before the CBSA primary inspection line, and ensure that clients have completed their CBSA Declaration Cards. Provide language assistance if needed
  • Verify the clients’ Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR), travel documents and visa against the NAT information to see if there are any discrepancies
  • Assist the client with CBSA landing/arrival procedures as required; interpretation services should be provided if needed
IFHP Certificate of Eligibility
  • Clients are provided with an IFHP Certificate of Eligibility by CBSA upon arrival
  • The POE SPO should ensure the accuracy of the name, date of birth, and date of issue on the IFHP Certificate
  • Where IFHP certificates cannot be provided upon arrival, the POE SPO may be able to facilitate the issuance of the certificate with CBSA at the airport. If not possible, the POE SPO should notify the local IRCC office at the client’s final destination to ensure that the certificate can be issued as soon as possible.
Provision of food
  • Clients should be provided with food and beverages:
    • if the wait time between flights, in addition to the flight time to the final destination, exceeds 3 hours
    • if deemed appropriate (e.g. medical condition or other)
Winter clothing
  • From October 15 to April 15 (inclusive), the POE airport SPO supplies winter clothing to all GAR and JAS clients
    • This period may be extended for certain locations (e.g. Newfoundland) depending on local weather conditions
  • Clients who arrive between April 16 and October 14 will be issued RAP Income Support funds from IRCC to purchase their winter clothing
  • Child-size winter gear should be provided in the form of either snow suits, or a combination of a jacket and snow pants
  • Snowsuits or a combination of snow pants and jackets must be provided to all minors who fit into child-size winter gear
  • If the snow pants are refused, this should be noted on the Winter Clothing Form (see below)
  • Minors fitting into adult-size gear will be given adult-size gear, without snow pants
  • POE SPOs should procure winter gear that is appropriate for various Canadian climates (e.g. lighter winter gear for clients who’s final destination is BC, heavier winter gear for the Prairies, etc.)
  • Based on the POE SPO’s agreement with IRCC, in exceptional circumstances, winter clothing can be provided to PSRs and BVORs who will be travelling on to their final destination. An example of an exceptional circumstances would be if the clients are required to spend time outdoors in winter weather while travelling to their final destination. The POE Airport SPO should keep track of winter clothing issued to PSR and BVOR clients, to include this information in their periodical reports to IRCC
  • Take clients to be fitted with winter clothing. An area should be provided where they can try on the clothing to ensure fit and comfort
  • Provide bags for clients to transport their clothing if required
  • Using a Winter Clothing Form that will be placed on the back of the client’s Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR), note which articles of clothing were provided, if some items were not available, if the client refused to receive articles of clothing, or if appropriate clothing cannot be found for the client (‘unable to fit’)
  • If clothing cannot be found for the client, IRCC will issue a RAP Income Support allowance for partial issue of winter clothing
  • Ill-fitted winter gear:
    • If the POE SPO has no choice but to provide ill-fitted winter gear due to lack of availability, the POE SPO will note on the Winter Clothing form: “Client was provided with best fitted winter gear available – please replace as needed”
    • If the client selects ill-fitted winter gear, despite the POE SPO’s advice to select better fitting gear, the POE SPO will note on the POE SPO form: “Client refused to select better fitting winter gear.”
Luggage
  • Assist all clients with accessing their luggage and ensuring that luggage is available for CBSA inspection, as required
  • In the event of missing luggage, the POE Airport SPO should assist clients with filing claims for lost luggage and provide clients with reference claim numbers, if applicable
  • The receiving RAP SPO or sponsor should be informed of any step taken in this regard, and should be updated on any information the POE SPO may receive regarding the lost luggage
  • Escort the client to the arrivals area for CBSA inspection. Interpretation services should be provided, if needed
Escort to meet RAP SPO or sponsor at POE airport or Escort to ground transportation to temporary accommodation (if required)

If the POE city is the client’s final destination:

  • For GAR and JAS clients:
    • arrange and cover the cost (through CA with IRCC) of transportation to the temporary accommodation within the city
    • escort the clients to the international arrivals area exit, where they will be met by the local RAP SPO, or escort the clients to the area where they will board the ground transportation to temporary accommodations within the city
    • Remain with the clients until the transportation leaves the airport
    • Provide clear instructions and the address of the temporary accommodation to the driver
    • Note the name and number of the taxi if not using a pre-arranged system
    • Do not allow friends or relatives who are meeting the client at the airport to ride in the taxi with the client. Staff should discourage clients from travelling to temporary accommodation by any method other than what is arranged by the POE SPO (e.g., in the private vehicle of a friend or relative)
    • Friends or relatives must not be allowed to bring GARs home instead of letting them go to their permanent accommodation:
      • The RAP SPO will have prepared for their arrival, has arranged for temporary accommodation, and could have already identified a potential permanent accommodation and other resources for this client/this family
      • RAP SPOs have staff onsite (or near the temporary accommodation) that provide information and guide clients through important processes that all GARs must complete within their first few weeks in Canada
  • For PSRs and BVORs:
    • escort the clients to the international arrivals area exit, where they will be met by the their sponsors
    • have sponsors sign the Client Pick Up Form (paper or electronic copy)
  • If the sponsoring group is not present to pick up the PSR or BVOR client at the airport:
    • The POE SPO may contact the sponsoring group (based on the information in the NAT) and, if necessary, wait a maximum of 1 hour for a response
    • If there is no response, the POE SPO may take the clients to CBSA to issue a transportation loan and make arrangements for a taxi, meals and an overnight stay at a hotel
    • If the clients do not recognize the person picking them up, or if this individual was not identified in advance by the sponsor identified on the NAT, this individual will be asked to provide the name of the clients before the POE SPO hands the clients over to this individual. The POE SPO will document the name of the pick-up person, telephone number, address, and any official ID number
Content objectives What clients need to know
IFHP Certificate of EligibilityFootnote 7
  • As the client’s Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) Certificate of Eligibility will have been issued by CBSA upon arrival, the POE SPO should bring the client’s attention to this certificate, and remind them to keep it safely with them.
  • Their RAP SPOs will go through the terms and conditions of the certificate with them, and answer any questions they may have regarding IFHP coverage.
Importance of medical surveillance form
  • For clients travelling with a medical surveillance form, inform them of the form’s importance
  • Clients in possession of a medical surveillance form will be contacted by the provincial/territorial public health authority regarding next steps to complete medical surveillance
  • If clients have not heard from the public health authority after three months, they should email the Public Health Liaison Unit at IRCC.MHBSurveillance-SurveillanceDGMS.IRCC@cic.gc.ca
Importance of winter clothing
  • Inform clients of the importance of being appropriately dressed during the late fall and winter, for their own health and safety and for that of their children.
  • Inform them of the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
What to do in the event of lost luggage
  • Ensure the client understands the importance of holding onto their luggage tags and the claim reference number for the lost luggage.
  • Ensure they know to present these to the local RAP SPO or their sponsors for assistance with luggage tracking with the airline company they arrived with.

5.3 Onward Destining to City Other than POE

In cases where the POE city is not the client’s final destination, the POE Airport SPO is responsible for escorting clients to their ground transportation or to their onward flight to their final destination.

POE SPO To-Do List

Escort client to onward ground transportation or flight
  • Work with CBSA towards prioritizing processing to increase the likelihood that necessary ground or air connections can be made
  • Assist clients in maneuvering within the airport to ground transportation, or to onward flight
  • Assist clients in checking-in for connecting flights, or boarding ground transportation
Arranging onward ground or air transportation

Ground transportation

If a client requires ground transportation to reach their final destination city:

  • Arrangements are most likely made on the same morning of client’s arrival, in order to avoid cancelation fees
  • After the client receives his or her Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR), finalize the transportation arrangements.
  • If using a bus company:
    • Obtain the Immigration Loan form (IMM0500), from a POE CBSA Officer
    • Assist the client in filling out the form
    • Escort the client to the ground transportation counter to submit the completed form
  • If the use of a bus company is not possible and a taxi or other private transportation is needed, the transportation costs for GAR and JAS clients will be covered through the POE SPO CA, while sponsoring groups are responsible for arranging and covering the cost of this type of ground transportation to PSRs’ and BVORs’ final destination

Air transportation

If a client requires an airline ticket to reach their final destination, but was not previously provided with a ticket for this last portion of their journey:

  • Contact the IOM to have them purchase a ticket on behalf of the client; IOM will send a copy of the purchased ticket to the POE Airport SPO.
  • Ensure the client is at the check-in counter on time for this last portion of his/her journey
Excess Baggage Charges
  • If the client is connecting with other flights and their luggage is over the allowable weight, assist the client in taking the luggage to the airline’s special baggage counter.
  • If the domestic airline charges for overweight costs or for additional luggage:
    • The clients covers these charges if they are able to, or
    • On an exceptional basis, only if the client is unable to do so, the POE SPO covers these charges, as per its contribution agreement with IRCC. In this case, the SPO must retain and provide all receipts to IRCC.

5.4 Unplanned Overnight Stay at POE

When a client arrives late for a pre-arranged onward connection and rescheduling a flight or ground transportation that day is not possible, the POE Airport SPO must make the necessary arrangements.

POE SPO To-Do List

  • Arrange overnight accommodation and necessary meals for all clients.
    • For GAR and JAS clients, the cost of overnight hotels will be covered through the POE RAP SPO CA
    • For PSR and BVOR clients only:
      • Obtain the Immigration Loan Form from CBSA
      • Assist the client in completing the form
      • Escort the client to the overnight hotel counter to submit the Immigration Loan form
  • Assist clients to arrange travel on the next available flight.
  • Notify local IRCC, ROC-O, and both IRCC and the RAP SPO or sponsor at the final destination of the need for overnight stay, and of the new itinerary
  • Arrange transportation to overnight stay location
  • Arrange for clients to be picked up and brought back to the airport the next day for departure

5.5 Self-Destining – Changing Final Destination

Self-destined clients are those who choose to change their final destination upon their arrival at the POE, before ever reaching the pre-arranged final destination. These clients will either choose to remain at the POE city, or go to a different destination in Canada.

POE SPO To-Do List

Counseling

Counsel the clients, and strongly encourage them to continue to their pre-arranged final destination (see ‘What clients need to know’ section below)

Staying in POE city or travelling to a new destination by ground

If the client wishes to change his or her final destination to the POE city, or to a new destination reachable by ground:

  • Inform all relevant parties as soon as possible – the IRCC offices, and the RAP SPOs or the sponsors at the pre-arranged final destination and in the POE city, as well as ROC-O and IOM.
  • Have the client complete and sign the ‘Change of Destination Request Form’:
    • If the client cannot read the form or have the form read to them in English or French, ensure the contents of the form is interpreted to them.
    • If the client is being picked up at the airport by a new sponsor, or friends or relatives, also have these individuals sign the form.
    • If possible, make a copy of the completed form for the client to keep; if not possible, provide a blank copy of the form for the client to have on hand the information appearing on the form. POE Airport SPO is to retain the original, and can provide a scanned copy to the concerned IRCC offices when informing them of the full details relating to the client’s change of destination.
  • If the GAR or JAS client must take ground transportation to temporary accommodation in the POE city, or in another city that is reachable by ground:
    • Obtain the Immigration Loan form (IMM0500) from a POE CBSA Officer
    • Assist the client in filling out the form
    • Escort the client to the ground transportation counter to submit the completed form and purchase their ground transportation ticket
    • Assist client in boarding ground transportation

If the PSR or BVOR client is taking ground transportation to the accommodation of his or her choice in the POE city, or in another city reachable by ground, the POE Airport SPO is to escort them to ground transportation counter for them to make their own arrangements.

Travelling to a new final destination by air

If the client wishes to change their final destination to another city reachable by air:

  • Inform all relevant parties as soon as possible – IRCC offices and the RAP SPOs or sponsors at the pre-arranged final destination and in the POE city, as well as ROC-O and IOM
  • Have the client complete the ‘Change of Destination Request Form’
    • If the client cannot read the form or have the form read to them in English or French, ensure the contents of the form is interpreted to them
    • If possible, make a copy of the completed form for the client to keep; if not possible, provide a blank copy of the form for the client so that they have the information appearing on the form on hand. POE Airport SPO is to retain the original, and can provide a scanned copy to the concerned IRCC offices when informing them of the full details relating to the client’s change of destination.
  • Escort the client to domestic airline ticket counter – as the domestic airlines do not accept the Immigration Loan form, the client must pay for the new ticket by cash or credit card.
    • In the case of PSRs and BVORs, the sponsoring group may be contacted to find out if it is possible for them to purchase a ticket for the client
  • Proceed with subsequent steps of escorting the client to the connecting flight
  • Confirm details of new itinerary as soon as possible with all concerned parties, as well as who (RAP SPO, family member, friend) will be meeting the client at the new destination

Content objectives

What to consider before changing one’s final destination

What clients need to know

(The considerations listed here are also included in the Change of Destination Request Form.)

  • It a client’s right to choose where he or she will live in Canada, however clients are strongly encouraged to proceed to their final destination to avail themselves of the supports that are in place for them.
  • Instead of travelling to their original destination, they have the right to decide upon receiving his or her Confirmation of Permanent Residence (CoPR) at the POE airport in Canada to either stay in the POE city, or to travel elsewhere in Canada.
  • They are responsible for all costs related to this change of itinerary – if there are new airline costs, ground transportation costs, and/or hotel costs, they may need to pay for these immediately.
  • The organization or sponsor located in their original destination has prepared for their arrival, has arranged for temporary accommodation, and could have already identified a potential temporary accommodation and other resources for this client/this family.
  • They can choose to continue their journey to their original destination, receive the full suite of RAP services from an IRCC-funded organization, or settlement assistance from their sponsors in this location, and later consider the possibility of moving to another community, if they still wish to do so.

For GARs only:

  • The original destination selected for the client or the family was identified based on their profile and resettlement needs (including medical needs, if applicable, and their preferred official language); the new destination they are choosing may not necessarily have the resources and services they require.
  • Only certain cities in Canada have IRCC-funded organizations delivering RAP services, including temporary accommodation and assistance in finding permanent accommodation. If they are choosing to settle in a community where these services are not available, they will not receive RAP services. If these services are available in the community they are choosing to settle in, there may be some delays in the receipt of these services, as the IRCC-funded organization will have not been prepared in advance for their arrival. However, self-destined clients are eligible to receive the full suite of RAP services.
  • There could be a slight delay in the receipt of their RAP Income Support start up cheque from IRCC, however, they will receive income support regardless of where they choose to settle in Canada, for a period of one year or until they become self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Entitlements and rates may vary between cities.

For PSR and BVOR clients only:

  • For PSRs, if they choose to change their destination to a community away from their sponsors, they may no longer be eligible for any resettlement support and financial assistance from their sponsors. Moreover, for BVORs, if they choose to change their destination to a community away from their sponsors, they may no longer be eligible for settlement support or financial assistance from their sponsors, and from receiving resettlement assistance from IRCC.

6. Secondary Migration

Secondary migration refers to a client-initiated change in destination (city or province) that occurs after the client has reached temporary accommodation, and before the end of the first year in Canada.

In a situation of a GAR client’s secondary migration, information on which services and income support allowances have been provided will be verified between the originating and the receiving IRCC offices. Each component of RAP allowances and services should not be duplicated. The RAP Client Relocation FormFootnote 8 will be completed in collaboration between RAP SPOs and IRCC RAP officers, and will be used to verify information between IRCC RAP offices.

In the situation of JAS clients who secondary migrate, the same procedures apply. In addition, IRCC will assess the need for JAS in the new location. For example, if family and friends live in the new city, they may be providing similar emotional and additional settlement support currently provided by the sponsor in the original city of destination. JAS clients will continue to receive RAP income support in their new location, provided the need for JAS is confirmed. Depending on the situation, JAS sponsorships may either continue with a new representative or Constituent Group (CG) in the new location or be declared a no-fault breakdown. ROC-O can also assist by promoting the case to potential sponsors in the new location via RSTP if needed.

SPO To-Do List

Counseling

Counsel the clients, and encourage them to remain in their original destination, receive the full suite of RAP services, and later consider the possibility of moving to another community, if they still wish to do so (see ‘What clients need to know’ section below)

Before the client’s relocation

  • If the GAR/JAS client has not yet relocated, the RAP Client Relocation form for GAR/JAS clients is to be completed by the originating IRCC RAP Officer, with the assistance of the RAP SPO
  • One copy of the completed and signed form will be given to the client, and another copy will be kept by the originating IRCC, and shared with the receiving IRCC office, or with Quebec’s Ministère de l’immigration, de la diversité et de l’inclusion (MIDI) if the client is relocating to Quebec
  • Relocation forms involving JAS cases will be sent to the IRCC team responsible for all changes relating to sponsorships

After the client’s relocation

Upon arrival in the new city, the client will contact the local RAP SPO to receive the balance of RAP services and/or to be referred to Settlement services, and to connect with the receiving IRCC office, if necessary, to resume their RAP income support.

Content objectives

What to consider prior to secondary migration

What clients need to know

  • It is their right, as permanent residents, to choose where they will live in Canada
  • They are responsible for all costs related to their relocation
  • The RAP SPO located in their original destination prepared for their arrival, and may have already identified a potential permanent accommodation or other supports for them. They may not receive the same or any additional assistance in your new community, should they chose to move.
  • They can choose to remain in their original destination, receive the full suite of RAP services, and later consider the possibility of moving to another community, if they still wish to do so.
  • Upon arrival in the new city, they must contact the local RAP SPO to receive any balance of RAP services, or the local Settlement SPO, if there is no RAP SPO in the new city. The RAP or Settlement SPO will assist the client in connecting with the closest IRCC RAP office to resume their RAP income support.
  • The original destination selected for them was identified based on their profile and resettlement needs (including medical needs, if applicable, their preferred official language, etc.); the new destination they are choosing may not necessarily have the resources and services they require. They will therefore lose their opportunity to access the RAP services they did not yet receive, if these are unavailable in their new community. A list of RAP SPOs can be found in Annex 1
  • There could be a delay in the receipt of RAP Income Support in the new location.
  • There will not be duplication of RAP start-up funds or other RAP income support in the new community where they will settle.
  • There will not be duplication of each component of RAP services in the new community where they will settle, with the exception of a limited orientation session, if required. This includes no duplication of temporary accommodation services, unless clients moved immediately or very soon after their arrival.

7. Clients’ Arrival and Temporary Accommodations

Planning for clients’ arrival, welcoming clients, and providing temporary accommodation ensures RAP clients are safe and secure during their initial days or weeks in Canada. RAP clients typically receive orientation and other services while staying in the temporary accommodation; these services help ensure they are prepared to live safely and independently thereafter.

7.1 Planning for the GAR Clients’ Arrival

For some refugee populations, Population Profiles are disseminated by IRCC prior to their resettlement to Canada. These resources include a health profile, and help SPOs prepare to meet the specific needs of a given population.

Like POE SPOs, RAP SPOs will be informed of expected arrivals through a NAT. The NAT is sent from IRCC’s ROC-O, to the POE Airport SPO, and to the local IRCC office and RAP SPO at the GAR/JAS clients’ final destination.

NATs should be sent by ROC-O at least 10 business days prior to the expected arrival. It should also be noted that NATs contain clients’ private information and must be treated appropriately by the RAP SPO, as per the privacy requirements in their contribution agreements with IRCC.

Upon receipt of the NAT, carefully review its content to plan the reception of the RAP clients. You may consider the following:

Potential client need or characteristic To consider when…
Medical or mental health needs
  • Planning for medical/mental health referrals and pre-identifying appropriate health professionals:
    • Cases where urgent or immediate care is required, depending on the severity of the client’s condition(s), will have been flagged in the NAT in order for SPOs to plan and prepare for the refugees’ arrival accordingly
  • Ensuring health professionals are registered as Interim Federal Health Program providers (see IFHP section below for more details)
  • Sharing the Population Profile (if available) with these providers, especially if they are expected to provide health services to a number of refugees in that particular cohort
  • Planning for appropriate accommodations based on medical or mental health need
Mobility issues (e.g. reduced mobility, use of wheelchair, client travelling to Canada on a stretcher)
  • Planning for temporary accommodations with appropriate and accessible rooms
  • If it known in advance that the client travelling on a stretcher must be transported directly from the plane to the hospital, the RAP SPO must pre-arrange with the hospital to have medical professionals at the emergency room, and a hospital bed booked.
Language/interpretation
  • Planning for referrals to Francophone and Acadian organizations, connect with French schools, or look for permanent accommodation in French neighbourhoods, if French is one of the clients’ spoken languages and/or the clients’ country of origin or country of asylum was Francophone
  • Ensure access to appropriate interpreters
Age/family composition
  • Planning for temporary accommodations
  • Planning for school registration
Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression
  • Planning for appropriate temporary accommodation, referrals to additional Settlement or community services, or to medical/mental health services

7.2 Meeting the RAP Client and Addressing Urgent Needs

The RAP SPO will meet with the newly arrived clients and ensure that their urgent needs are met.

SPO To-Do List

Arranging for transportation from final destination to temporary accommodation
  • Ensure that arrangements are in place to enable new arrivals to get from the point of final destination (e.g., airport or bus station) to temporary accommodation, where necessary.
  • Arrangements will vary from one city to another.
    • If there are RAP POE airport reception services in the same city, the POE SPO usually has the responsibility of placing clients in a taxi or other and sending them to temporary accommodation.
    • If there are no POE services in the city, the RAP SPO will either meet the RAP client at the airport, or make arrangements with a taxi company or other to ensure clients can get from their point of final destination to their temporary accommodation
Assessing urgent needs
  • Cases where urgent or immediate care is required, depending on the severity of the client’s condition(s), will have been flagged in the NAT in order for SPOs to plan and prepare for the refugees’ arrival accordingly
  • In addition, upon clients’ arrival and prior to a more comprehensive needs assessment and their first appointment with a primary care practitioner, assess whether they have any apparent urgent needs not noted on the NAT that need to be addressed immediately
  • Make referrals to appropriate services, such as medical facilities (including mental health services), as required
Medical surveillance form
  • For clients travelling with a medical surveillance form, remind them of the form’s importance
  • Clients will be contacted by the provincial/territorial public health authority regarding next steps to complete medical surveillance
  • If clients have not heard from the public health authority after three months, RAP SPOs should ensure that they know to email the Public Health Liaison Unit at IRCC.MHBSurveillance-SurveillanceDGMS.IRCC@cic.gc.ca
  • RAP SPOs should also support the clients to ensure that they present themselves for any follow ups required
Unexpected arrivals

Ensure that IRCC is made aware of clients who arrive unexpectedly, who have special needs which were not identified on the NAT, who arrive late, or who do not show

7.3 Temporary Accommodation

Temporary accommodation for RAP clients is provided either in a reception house, hotel, or housing rented by the RAP SPO for this purpose.

  • Reception house model:
    • Reception houses are operated by RAP SPOs
    • Some allow RAP clients to access RAP services at the same location, while in other cases, RAP services are delivered at the main RAP SPO site
    • Meals are either provided for clients, or facilities are available for clients to prepare their own meals
  • Commercial model:
    • RAP clients may be housed in local motels, hotels or rented apartments.
    • Hotels or motels may provide one or more of the meals; some of these will have a microwave or a kitchenette for clients to use
    • Costs of other meals may be paid for through financial allocations or meal vouchers given to RAP clients by the RAP SPO

SPO To-Do List

Arranging for temporary accommodation prior to clients’ arrival

Prior to clients’ arrival, secure temporary accommodation for RAP clients:

  • SPOs can use two types of accommodation – a primary type accommodation for regular business (e.g. reception house or rented apartment/house), and a secondary type of accommodation for situations of overflow (e.g. hotels or motels)
  • Whether using a reception house model or a commercial model, SPOs should be able to accommodate clients with mobility issues, or clients in wheelchairs
  • Temporary accommodations should either have kitchen facilities where meals are prepared by clients or for clients, or should be located near affordable restaurants or food vendors
  • Ensure temporary accommodation location is centrally located, e.g. with easy access to public transportation, near or within RAP or Settlement SPO premises, near grocery stores and other amenities
Providing temporary accommodation

Provide temporary accommodation for RAP clients upon arrival:

  • An average duration of stay is one to three weeks, allowing RAP clients to receive adequate support and orientation to adjust during their initial days in Canada before living on their own in the community
  • The length of stay will vary depending on a variety of factors, such as health or mental health needs, family size, local rental market, refusal for home/property owners to rent to apartments to GAR clients, etc.
  • A limit or range for the length of stay may be determined accordingly by the local IRCC office, and included in RAP SPO’s CA
  • Overstay in temporary accommodations may occur for some of the reasons listed above, or other extenuating circumstances; consultation with and pre-approval from IRCC is required in these situations.
  • Strategies to avoid overstays may include using a Housing Search Form or contract
Providing meals and/or food and incidental allowances
  • Provide meals or the means to acquire them for the duration of stay in temporary accommodation
  • Provide RAP clients with funds to pay for incidentals, such as personal items, for the duration of stay in temporary accommodations
  • RAP SPOs may determine with their IRCC officer an appropriate food and incidental allocation range, based on these suggested amounts (available internally only – RAP SPOs to obtain these suggested amounts from their IRCC officer)
Childcare
  • Care for Newcomer Children (CNC) support services are eligible for funding under RAP, as long as parents are onsite, as per current CNC guidelines
  • For the portion of RAP service delivery that takes place off site:
    • For small families: Both parents can usually attend the activities
    • For larger families: Each parent may take turns to stay onsite with the children who will be under the care of CNC workers
Programming for youth
  • Children and youth may not be able to begin school immediately upon arrival
  • Some RAP SPO have put in place or developed partnerships for before and after school youth programming, for example:
    • Public library staff to come read to young clients
    • City’s Parks and Recreation Department to take GAR children out for daily walks to explore local neighbourhood, play outside, speak English or French
    • Including GAR youth and children in special events, such as skating or sports days planned by City’s Youth and Children Programs
    • Coordinate with local school boards or schools to develop or access short-term programming for school age children who are likely to be in temporary accommodation for a week or more
Arrangements for secondary temporary accommodation

Make arrangements that include securing other accommodation (“overflow”) and alternate service arrangements

  • Plans and arrangements for temporary accommodation are often challenged by uneven flows, unannounced arrivals, and no shows; uneven flows or special accommodation needs sometimes challenge the regular capacity to provide temporary accommodation
  • In overflow situations, RAP SPOs must inform IRCC of alternative arrangements and the associated costs
Purchasing new linens and bedding
  • RAP SPOs using reception houses or rented apartment as temporary accommodation may purchase new linens and bedding for RAP clients for use in temporary accommodations, and later in permanent accommodation
  • The value of the linen and bedding will be deducted by IRCC from the RAP income support start-up allowance for linens
Reporting client issues that may impact RAP Income Support

Inform the IRCC RAP officer of any client issues that may impact RAP income support. For example, extended stay in temporary accommodation, hospitalization, medical situations that may affect RAP (e.g. mental illness, wheelchair), family separations, etc.

Introduction to the temporary accommodation (Upon arrival)

Content objectives What clients need to know
Tour of the temporary accommodation facility
  • The facility rules
  • When and where meals are served, and/or when someone will first accompany them to the grocery store or where they can use their meal vouchers
  • Where they can find and how they can use the laundry facilities
  • The privacy and tranquility of all residents is to be respected
  • Fire safety exits and how to get in touch with someone in case of emergency
  • Use of lights, toilets, showers, and running water
  • For the safety and security of all temporary accommodation residents, clients should not disclose their location publicly (e.g. social media)
Knowledge of temporary accommodation location
  • Familiarity with the immediate area, and the name, address and telephone number of the temporary accommodation
Service delivery without discrimination
  • RAP and Settlement services are provided without discrimination to all clients

The role of the RAP SPO (Suggested for Day 2 or 3)

Content objectives What clients need to know
The RAP SPO is not a government agency
  • Difference between the RAP SPO and the Canadian government – RAP SPOs are funded by IRCC to deliver services to RAP clients, while RAP income support will be provided to clients directly by IRCC
Assistance provided by the RAP SPO and through RAP income support is limited
  • Clients will receive RAP immediate and essential services for their first few weeks in Canada, while settlement services will be available to them as long as they are a permanent resident
  • The basic services they will receive from the RAP SPO are:
    • temporary accommodation and meals, cash or food vouchers while on site
    • assessment of immediate and essential needs and related referrals
    • links to essential provincial and federal programs
    • orientation to address immediate needs and questions
    • financial orientation, including orientation to RAP Income Support
    • assistance with locating permanent accommodation
  • RAP services and income support received by GARs may be equivalent, though not identical to resettlement support and financial assistance received by privately sponsored refugees from their sponsors
  • RAP income support received will vary according to the needs of each client/family
  • Non-urgent issues may not be addressed immediately
A number of organizations/agencies will work alongside the RAP SPO to assist with access to locally-available programs and provision of services
  • The RAP SPO/RAP worker is the client’s first point of contact for accessing services
  • The RAP SPO must assist clients with access to other agencies or organizations for services, including IRCC-funded Settlement Services such as:
    • Employment services
    • Language assessment and training services
    • Orientation on a variety of Settlement topics
There are implications if you choose to move to another community
  • See ‘What the client needs to know’ under the secondary migration section

8. RAP Needs Assessments and Referrals

The needs assessments, referrals and other RAP services are part of a continuum of services that begins prior to clients’ arrival in Canada with pre-arrival Settlement services, and continues with longer-term post-arrival services delivered under the Settlement Program. The purpose of the needs assessments delivered in the context of RAP service delivery is to identify RAP clients’ immediate and essential needs, in order to address these in an efficient and timely manner, and to tailor RAP services and referrals to the needs of each RAP client. Based on these identified needs, a resettlement referral plan is developed to refer clients to Settlement services and broader-based community services, which are expected to support clients’ integration into the new host community and broader Canadian society. Some clients may later receive Settlement needs assessment and referral services, which will notably provide the clients with a longer-term Settlement plan.

8.1 Initial RAP Needs Assessment

The initial RAP needs assessment should take place within the first few days of the client’s arrival in Canada. This assessment focuses on immediate and essential needs that can be addressed during the first 4-6 weeks in Canada through RAP services, and through referrals to medical services, mental health services, dental health services, IRCC-funded Settlement services, and/or to broader-based community services.

SPO To-Do List

Within the first few days in Canada

Conduct an initial RAP needs assessment to identify immediate resettlement needs, and determine which services, RAP or otherwise, are required in order to meet these needs during the client’s first 4-6 weeks in Canada

8.2 Referral to Settlement and Broader-Based Community Services

“It takes a village”. Not only to raise children, as the proverb goes, but also to successfully meet the resettlement needs of refugees. RAP services alone cannot meet all the resettlement needs of RAP clients. In order to successfully meet these needs, a combination of Settlement services and broader-based community services must first be present in the community. One of the key aspects of RAP service delivery is linking clients to services and resources in the community, as these support them in their resettlement process and allow them to acquire the tools they need to live safely and independently in their new community in Canada. RAP SPOs must therefore develop the necessary links with these services and various resources, in order to facilitate clients’ referral to them.

Settlement services help newcomers settle and adapt to life in Canada. RAP clients are eligible to receive Settlement services from the moment they arrive in Canada, and for as long as they are permanent residents. Depending on each client’s identified needs, some RAP clients may need to access settlement services earlier than others, and may therefore access both RAP and Settlement services concurrently.

Settlement and Broader-based Community Services that should be present in GAR-receiving communities

Settlement services

The following Settlement services should be present in all GAR-receiving communities:

  • ESL/FSL Literacy and basic level language training (CLB/NCLC 1 to 4)
  • Longer term client support services (e.g. case management approach)
  • Community Connections:
    • Volunteer matching
    • Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) in the grade schools and high schools that RAP clients will attend
    • English or French conversation circles
    • Local Immigration Partnerships and/or Réseaux en immigration francophone
  • Settlement support services
    • Childcare, to allow parents to access settlement services
    • Crisis counseling

Other Settlement Services may also help newcomers:

  • know their settlement needs and link them to services in their community
  • better understand life in Canada and make informed decisions
  • get language assessments and training in a variety of levels of English and French, so they have the skills to live in Canada
  • search for and find jobs
  • build community networks with long-time Canadians and established immigrants, and
  • access support services which help with:
    • using transportation
    • finding translation and interpretation services
    • finding resources for people with disabilities
Broader-based Community Resources and Services
  • Hospitals (in or within a reasonable drive from the resettlement community), including:
    • Specialized children’s hospital
    • Treatments for cancer
    • Treatments for blood or immune disorders
  • Medical clinic and mental health services with staff trained/experienced to serve GAR/JAS clientele
    • RAP SPOs are encouraged to work/do cross training with local mental health service providers to keep expanding their capacity/ to enhance their ability to serve clients from diverse cultures in an inclusive and culturally appropriate manner
  • Specialized services for survivors of trauma/torture
  • Specialized services for survivors of sexual or gender-based violence
  • Specialized services for persons with disabilities
  • Specialized schooling for children or adults:
    • Hearing impaired
    • Sight impaired
    • Learning disability
  • Availability of interpreters for top GAR languages
  • Public transportation
    • Including for clients with special needs
  • Affordable permanent accommodations for:
    • families of various sizes (from singles to families of 7 or more)
    • clients with special needs (e.g. for persons with mental or physical disabilities, for seniors, etc.)
  • Employment requiring fewer credentials and/or basic language skills
  • Francophone and Acadian Community contacts and services
  • Local LGBTQ2 community organizations or other services for LGBTQ2 clients
    • RAP SPOs should ensure that LGBTQ2 clients are adequately informed about settling in Canada as a member of this community. Clients should be referred or connected, whenever possible, to different aspects of the local LGBTQ2 community, including organizations that are adequately tooled to provide psychosocial support to this clientele. Ideally, initial information on this topic should be delivered by, or in collaboration with, members of the local LGBTQ2 community.

SPO To-Do List

Links and partnerships to develop and maintain
Developing client resettlement referral plans

Provide RAP clients with a resettlement referral plan to:

  • facilitate the transition from RAP to settlement services
  • link clients with broader-based services available in the community

The resettlement referral plan must be:

  • Realistic: Outlines achievable short-term objectives based on identified immediate and essential needs that are reasonable given the particular circumstances of the client
  • Outcomes-oriented: Helps the client break down resettlement goals into manageable, well-defined objectives
  • Client-oriented: Developed jointly with the client
  • Client owned: Resides with the client and not with the service provider; encourages the client to take primary responsibility for their own resettlement, while making use of IRCC-funded and other services available in the community
  • Portable and amendable: Encourages ownership by existing in a format that can ‘travel’ with the client and serve as a reference for both the client and service providers; should be revised or built on, as deemed appropriate, as the client’s resettlement and settlement needs and objectives progress.

9. Orientation and Links to Essential Federal/Provincial Programs and Services

Orienting and linking RAP clients to essential federal and provincial programs ensures they can understand and access fundamental services like all other Permanent Residents or Canadian Citizens. Clients should be registered for all essential federal and provincial programs applicable to them, and oriented on each of these programs’ purposes, and on how to access them. Most of the activities and orientation described in this chapter should take place prior to the client’s move to permanent accommodation.

As per the intended continuity between the Settlement and RAP programs, the orientation content in this chapter and following chapters should build on and reinforce topics that were covered during Canadian Orientation Abroad sessions. When delivering RAP orientation sessions, RAP workers should also take into account that some of the content will be linked to or further developed in the context of future Settlement Information and Orientation sessions. If deemed appropriate and beneficial to clients, SPOs may also choose to combine some portions of RAP and Settlement orientation delivery.

9.1 Naming System

Content objectives What clients need to know
RAP clients are introduced to the naming system in Canada and how it applies to them.
  • A client’s name on the Confirmation of Permanent Residence Document (CoPR) or Temporary Residence Permit is the name they must use consistently in all official documentation.
  • The use of the terms first, middle and last name and how these terms relate to the client’s name.
  • The use and the legal significance of a person’s signature; their signature must remain the same on all legal documents.
Correcting or changing name on official documents
Change of sex designation for reasons other than a clerical or administrative error
  • Clients may obtain more information on this topic here

9.2 Permanent Resident Card and StatusFootnote 9

RAP SPOs introduce clients to the permanent resident (PR) card, and to the significance of the PR status.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • SPOs will also ensure that clients’ permanent address is communicated to IRCC soon after their move out from temporary accommodation, in order for clients to avoid delays in receiving their PR card
Content objectives What clients need to know
Becoming a permanent resident
  • Most refugees who are resettled from overseas become permanent residents upon being admitted to Canada by a CBSA officer
What is a permanent resident (PR) card
  • The permanent resident card (a wallet-sized plastic card) is the official proof of your status as a permanent resident in Canada
  • It is also a critical piece of government-issued photo ID until GARs obtain other pieces such as their drivers’ license.
Delay to receive PR card
  • Clients should receive their PR cards within 6-8 weeks of their arrival in Canada. If they do not receive their card, they may call the IRCC Client Support Centre at 1-888-242-2100 to confirm whether or not a new photo is not needed, or to ensure that their correct address is on file. They may also notify their RAP SPO or IRCC RAP officer of this delay.
  • Any extended stay in temporary accommodations, without a permanent address, may also cause a delay in the receipt of their cardFootnote 10
Notifying IRCC of permanent address
  • In order to allow IRCC to provide them with their PR card, after they move out from temporary accommodation, clients must provide their permanent address to IRCC through their RAP SPO as soon as possible, and at least within 180 days following their arrival in Canada
Using the PR card
  • All permanent residents who want to re-enter Canada on a commercial carrier (airplane, boat, bus or train) must show this card
  • A PR card is often used as an identification document (ID) in various circumstances where a government-issued photo ID is needed
Validity of PR card
  • Most PR cards are valid for five years, but some are only valid for one year. The expiry date is printed on the card. If/when a PR card will expire within six months, clients should apply to renew your cards.
PR card fees
Correct a mistake on your PR card
Travelling outside of Canada as a resettled refugee
  • Permanent residents have freedom of mobility, however, refugees who return to their country of origin are subject to cessation of refugee status
  • If resettled refugees returns to their country of origin, they will likely be questioned by immigration officials upon their return at the Port of Entry. They should answer truthfully when asked why they returned.
Understanding the rights and responsibilities of being a permanent resident
  • Rights of a permanent resident:
    • To get most social benefits that Canadian citizens receive, including health care coverage
    • To live, work or study anywhere in Canada
    • To apply for Canadian citizenship
    • To receive protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • Responsibilities of a permanent resident:
    • To pay taxes
    • To respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels
    • To fulfill residency requirements in order to maintain permanent resident status
Understanding what a permanent resident cannot do
  • A permanent resident cannot:
    • vote or run for political office
    • hold some jobs that need a high-level security clearance
Becoming a Canadian citizen

Resources: More information on the permanent resident Card, including application forms, can be found on the IRCC website: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/pr-card.html

9.3 Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP)

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), funded by IRCC, and administered by Medavie Blue Cross, provides limited temporary coverage of health-care benefits to specific groups of individuals, including RAP clients.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • If IFHP certificates were not be provided to clients by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) upon their arrival in Canada, RAP SPOs must notify a local IRCC officer immediately, so that a certificate can be issued as soon as possible.
  • Give each client a copy of the IFHP information sheet.
  • Find health care providers that are registered with Medavie Blue Cross and accept IFHP insured clients by visiting the ‘Search IFHP Providers’ list on the Medavie Blue Cross website.
  • If deemed appropriate, print and provide a copy of the portion of the IFHP Providers list (by city and category of service) that is relevant to the client and his or her immediate and essential needs.
  • If a health provider is not registered with IFHP, but a RAP client requires services from this provider, the SPO may inform the provider that they can easily register with IFHP by following this link: http://web.medavie.bluecross.ca/en/health-professionals/register
  • The SPO may also contact IRCC’s IFHP team (IRCC.IFHP-PFSI.IRCC@cic.gc.ca) to signal the absence of a provider in their community for a specific service

Summary IFHP Benefits

All resettled refugees, including RAP clients, are eligible for the same level of coverage under the IFHP. The chart below provides an overview of the IFHP benefits. For more details, please consult the IFHP Benefit Grids:

IFHP coverage
  Basic Supplemental Prescription drugs
Duration of coverage Until the resettled refugee qualifies for provincial or territorial health insurance (usually within a period of 3 months) The IFHP also provides supplemental and prescription drug coverage for duration of RAP Income Support or sponsorship period, provided no private or public health insurance coverage is available. For more details, please consult the following: IFHP Determine your eligibility The IFHP also provides supplemental and prescription drug coverage for duration of RAP Income Support or sponsorship period, provided no private or public health insurance coverage is available. For more details, please consult the following: IFHP Determine your eligibility
Coverage details

Medical services:

  • Doctor visits
  • Standard immunizations
  • Prenatal and obstetrical care
  • Lab tests and x-rays

Hospital services:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Hospital stays
  • Medical and surgical care
  • Diagnostic imaging

Limited Vision Care:

  • One pair of eyewear (glasses and/or lenses every 2 years)
  • One vision test per year

Urgent Dental Care:

  • Emergency dental exams
  • Dental x-rays
  • Extractions
  • Dentures

Mental Health Services:

  • Psychological counselling, including services from allied health-care practitioners

Assistive devices, medical supplies and equipment

Prescribed medication and other pharmacy products; over-the-counter medication is not covered
Content objectives What clients need to know
Obtaining an IFHP certificate
  • Clients should have been provided with an IFHP Certificate of Eligibility by CBSA upon their arrival in Canada at Port of Entry. A sample of the IFHP certificate can be found in Annex 11
  • If they did not receive one, the POE SPO or RAP SPO will have notified the local IRCC office to ensure that their certificate is issued as soon as possible.
Understanding and signing the IFHP certificate
  • RAP SPOs will assist clients by going through the terms and conditions outlined on their IFHP certificate
  • Clients should sign their IFHP certificate
Understanding the duration of different types of IFHP coverage
  • The IFHP provides basic coverage until the resettled refugee qualifies for provincial or territorial health insurance (usually within a period of 3 months).
  • The IFHP also provides supplemental and prescription drug coverage for duration of RAP Income Support or sponsorship period, provided no private or public health insurance coverage is available. For more details, please consult the following: IFHP Determine your eligibility
  • Supplemental and prescription drug coverage is provided for as long as the client is under government or private sponsorship, with initial coverage being issued for 12 months upon arrival, and extended for up to additional 12 months for JAS cases, provided the client continues to receive government or private sponsorship for the same period.Footnote 11
Using the IFHP certificate
  • The RAP SPO will initially guide clients towards the IFHP Health Care Provider they need to consult to meet their immediate and essential needs; clients can also get health-care services anywhere in Canada from any IFHP-registered provider listed here.
  • Only health care providers that are registered with Medavie Blue Cross are authorized to submit claims for reimbursement.
  • The IFHP Certificate of Eligibility must be presented to health care providers together with a government issued picture ID each time a service and/or product is provided in order to confirm coverage.
  • If a client pays for services/products covered by the IFHP, the individual cannot be reimbursed.
  • Certain items must be pre-approved, and others are not covered; for more details, see IFHP Benefit Grid – Basic Coverage (PDF, 67.73 KB) and IFHP Benefit Grid – Supplemental Coverage
Knowing where to go with questions about IFHP
  • For questions regarding eligibility for IFHP coverage, coverage expiry date, or coverage renewal, clients should contact their RAP worker, who will in turn contact the local IRCC as needed.

For more information:

9.4 Provincial Health Care InsuranceFootnote 12

RAP SPOs introduce clients to provincial health care services and provide assistance with the application process. Provision of services, and the delay prior to the beginning of provincial coverage varies from province to province. In most provinces, permanent residents are eligible for provincial health care services immediately.

RAP SPO To-Do List

Assist the client in completing the health care coverage applications for provincial health care.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Completing and submitting provincial health insurance application
  • Completed provincial health care application must be taken to the designated provincial Ministry of Health or approved agent with Confirmation of Permanent Residence, single journey document, and proof of residence
  • In some GAR-receiving communities where there may not be local health offices, applications may be submitted online, by mail, or fax
Understanding provincial health insurance coverage
  • Not all medical expenses are covered under the provincial health care program (e.g., prescription drugs, eye glasses, or urgent dental care – these may be covered through the IFHP)
  • The IFHP will cover supplemental services (e.g. prescription drugs, eye glasses, or urgent dental care) and prescription drugs for 12 to 24 months after arrival, depending on duration of RAP Income Support, provided no private or public health insurance is available
Safekeeping of health insurance card
  • Once received, the health card is the client’s responsibility and should be kept in a safe place, and brought with you to every medical appointment
  • Health cards are issued to each individual and should not be shared with anyone, even with family members; lending of health cards is against the law
What to do if health insurance card is lost or stolen
  • If a client’s health card is lost or stolen it must be reported to the provincial ministry of health; clients may be able to report their card being lost or stolen when applying for a new card online or by mail. Most provinces charge a fee when issuing a replacement card. Neither IRCC nor its partners are responsible for the payment of such a fee.

9.5 Canadian Health System

RAP SPOs will link clients to doctors, dentists, and mental health services providers (as needed) soon after their arrival in Canada. They will also help them understand the basics of the Canadian health care system, and be aware of where they can access services in their community.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • Arrange for a visit with a primary care practitioner (e.g. family doctor) shortly after arrival – see the below table on Post-Arrival Services Required for a Primary Care Provider and/or Specialist
  • Cases where urgent or immediate care is required, depending on the severity of the client’s condition(s), will have been flagged in the NAT in order for SPOs to plan and prepare for the refugees’ arrival accordingly
    • For example, if it known in advance that the client travelling on a stretcher must be transported directly from the plane to the hospital, the RAP SPO must pre-arrange with the hospital to have medical professionals at the emergency room, and a hospital bed booked
  • Clients should receive a full medical examination, to identify medical issues that were not reported to date, to further examine the progress of known medical conditions, to reassess their prescription needs, and/or to refer to specialists, as needed
  • Verify ahead of time that the primary care practitioner, specialist or mental health practitioner will have access to an over-the-phone or in-person interpreter in the client’s language.
  • Remind clients to bring their Immigration Medical Examination summary sheet with them when they first visit their medical practitioners in Canada; this will help them get necessary treatment sooner and to avoid repeating medical tests
Post-Arrival Services Required for a Primary Care Provider and/or Specialist

Urgency Level

NAT indicates follow-up is required

Required Action
Within less than 8 weeks Routine – Follow-up with primary care provider and/or specialist within 8 weeks [or # of weeks specified in NAT] unless an immediate need is specified by the client.
Within less than 2 weeks Urgent – Follow-up with primary care provider and/or specialist within [# of weeks specified in NAT] unless an immediate need is specified by the client.
Immediately upon arrival (within less than 48 hours) Immediate – Follow-up with primary care provider and/or specialist within [# of hours/days specified in NAT].

Note:

  • RAP SPOs must account for the fact that an appointment with a Primary Care Provider must usually take place prior to a Specialist referral.
  • If the NAT has indicated that the client has prescription medications, they should always see a primary care provider within two weeks of their arrival to Canada.
Content objectives What clients need to know
Understanding what provincial health care covers
  • All Canadian citizens and permanent residents have access to medically necessary hospital and physician services without having to pay
  • IFHP section above describes the supplementary coverage (e.g. prescription drugs, eye glasses, or urgent dental care) available to RAP clients if no private or public health insurance is available
Francophone services
Finding medical services
  • Depending on your needs, your RAP SPO will assist you in accessing a family doctor, community health centres, walk-in clinics, hospital, emergency room, mental health services, children’s hospital, specialists, dentist or other
Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse practitioners are registered nurses who have additional education and experience
  • They can diagnose patients, provide some forms of treatment, refer patients for testing, and prescribe some medications in provincial and territorial primary care settings
Medical culture in Canada
  • As a patient, you can trust your doctor to keep your personal health information confidential/private (“patient confidentiality”)
  • Your doctor will give you medical information and advice, but you have the right to make your own decisions about your health (“informed consent”)
  • Generally, you need to see your family doctor first before seeing a specialist or having medical tests.
Vaccinations
  • All provinces and territories have vaccination (immunization) programs to protect adults and children from various diseases
  • If you or your children have been vaccinated through IOM or other prior to your arrival in Canada, bring your records with you when your RAP SPO brings you to visit a physician in Canada
  • You may also need to provide a record of vaccination to your children’s school
Mental health support and mental health of youth
  • See section Chapter 11, Section 10 on mental health, and links to cultural shock and cultural adaptation
Sexual healthFootnote 13
  • Sexual health should be maintained as you would any other aspect of your health, such as nutrition or active living. Consider the following:
    • Educate yourself, ask questions and make informed decisions;
    • Learn how to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs);
    • Practice safer sex;
    • Expect respect for yourself and respect the choices of others; don't judge;
    • Seek help if you are being forced or coerced into sexual activity;
    • Have regular medical check-ups and, if you're a woman, pap smears;
    • Find out if you are at risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and get tested;
    • Talk to your children and youth about sexual health.
Birth control/family planning
  • There are birth control/family planning options for men, women and youth. Don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor to find out more about your options.
  • In cases of an unwanted pregnancy, you can also speak to your doctor to find out about your options. Many communities also have medical family planning clinics and abortion clinics that offer confidential, non-judgemental, pro-choiceFootnote 14 counseling and services. While laws on this topic vary around the world, abortion is legal in Canada, and it is also covered under provincial health insurance.

9.6 Social Insurance NumberFootnote 15

RAP SPOs introduce clients to Social Insurance Numbers (SIN), and assist clients with the application process.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • In some locations or in some exceptional circumstances, arrangements can be made with Service Canada offices to facilitate processing for larger groups – whether at a Service Canada location, or other (e.g. clients’ temporary accommodation location)
  • RAP SPOs should therefore contact their local Service Canada office prior to large arrivals so that Service Canada can have the opportunity to plan for efficient client service/application intake; this may include Service Canada planning for over the phone interpretation, if needed
  • Assist client in gathering necessary documents necessary to apply for their SIN: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/sin/before-applying.html
  • A SIN application form does not need to be completed if applying in-person at a Service Canada point of service
  • Accompany the client to the nearest Service Canada office to apply for their SIN; provide an interpreter if necessary
Content objectives What clients need to know
Understanding what a Social Insurance Number (SIN) is
  • A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is needed to work in Canada or to apply for government programs and benefits
  • A SIN is a nine-digit number provided by Service Canada on behalf of the federal government
Eligibility
  • Children who are 12 years of age or older may apply for their own SIN.
  • Parents and individuals who are legally authorized to act on behalf of the applicant (for example, a legal guardian or legal representative) can also apply for a SIN for children under the age of majority in their province, and adults in their care.
SIN for newborns
  • If clients have a newborn, they can apply for their child's SIN through the Newborn Registration Service
Plastic/paper format
  • Production of plastic SIN cards has stopped; the Government of Canada (Service Canada) is now issuing SINs in paper format (confirmation of SIN letter)
Appropriate uses for SIN
  • One should only provide their SIN when it is required. Appropriate uses for a SIN include:
    • To show to a new employer, after having found a job;
    • For income tax purposes;
    • To show to financial institutions (for example, banks) where interest or income are being earned;
    • To apply for government benefits
Safekeeping of SIN
  • A SIN is issued to one person only and it cannot legally be used by anyone else
  • Clients are responsible for protecting their SIN
  • Clients should store any document containing their SIN and personal information in a safe place; they should not keep their SIN on them
  • A SIN should not be given anyone over the phone and/or over email; banks, Service Canada, CRA, IRCC will never ask clients to share their SINs over the phone or via email
Lost or stolen SIN
  • If a client’s confirmation of SIN letter or SIN card is lost or stolen, Service Canada will not issue a new SIN.
  • If one does not remember their SIN, they can refer to their income tax return, where they will find their SIN; they may also request a confirmation of their SIN by returning to Service Canada with the required supporting documents.
  • A new SIN may be issued only in situations where there is a proof that the SIN was used fraudulently.
  • If you suspect that someone is using your SIN fraudulently, act quickly to prevent personal loss and minimize the negative impact. For more details, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/sin/protect.html

9.7 Canada Child BenefitFootnote 16

RAP SPOs introduce clients to the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), and assist with the application process.

RAP SPO To-Do List

Content objectives What clients need to know
Understanding what the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) is
  • The Canada child benefit (CCB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help them with the cost of raising children under 18 years of age.
  • The CCB might include the child disability benefit and any related provincial and territorial programs.
Eligibility
  • To be eligible for the CCB, clients must meet all of the following conditions:
    • They must live with the child, and the child must be under 18 years of age.
    • They must be primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of the child.
What is needed to apply for the CCB
  • A SIN
  • A permanent address
  • Copy of birth certificates of children
  • CoPRs or PR cards for all family members
  • Custody papers, if applicable
Keep your information with CRA up to date
Filing income tax yearly to continue receiving benefits
  • To continue receiving the benefit and credit payments that clients are entitled to, they must file their income tax and benefit return every year, even if they do not have income in the year
  • For more information, see Your tax obligations – Newcomers to Canada

9.8 School Registration for ChildrenFootnote 17

RAP SPOs assist RAP clients with registering their children for school.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • In order to ensure the most efficient school enrolment process for RAP clients’ school-aged children, RAP SPOs are recommended to contact their local school board(s) to find out if a particular school board staff will be the preferred contact person for new RAP client registrations.
  • In addition to ensuring a smooth school registration process, the development of an effective working relationship and open line of communication with local school(s) and/or school board(s) is key, in order to:
    • Facilitate the process of informing school(s) and/or school boards of the arrival of a GAR family or a GAR cohort that may have particular needs that are relevant to their future education/schooling
    • Ensure the school is able and inclined to communicate with the RAP SPO if particular issues arise concerning the children or their families
  • If the local school(s) have SWIS (Settlement Worker in School) workers, RAP SPOs should ensure to develop an effective working relationship and open line of communication with these individuals as well, for the same reasons stated above
  • RAP SPOs should consider the possibility of delivering orientation tailored to children and youth, based on the topics listed below.
Content objectives What clients need to know
Schools in CanadaFootnote 18
  • Elementary and secondary education are the two basic levels of schooling for children and youth in Canada:
    • kindergarten (pre-school)
    • primary or elementary school (grades 1 to 6)
    • middle school (grades 7 to 8)
    • high school (grades 9 to 12)
  • The school year starts in late August or early September and finishes in late June
  • Children generally go to school from Monday to Friday during the school year, except during holidays
    • There are generally school holidays over Christmas and New Year, and often a one-week holiday in February, March, or April, called March break or spring break
    • There are also PA (Professional Activity) or PD (Professional Development) days, where teachers are working but children stay at home.
  • Students who finish grade 12 get a high school diploma
  • Can be found in English-language and French-language across the country (even in areas where one language is more commonly spoken than the other)
Choosing to register children in an English-language or a French-language school
  • As Canada has two official languages, English-language and French-language schools are available in different communities across the country
  • However, the availability of French-language education options may differ in communities where English is more commonly spoken, and English-language options may differ in communities where French is more commonly spoken
  • Some schools also offer immersion programs in French (or English)
  • RAP SPOs will explain to you what options are available in your city/community
Public vs. Catholic school boards
  • In some provinces, there are public school boards and Catholic (or separate) school boards
  • RAP SPOs will inform clients about the options available in the community
What to bring on the day of school registration
  • On the day arranged for the children’s registration, clients should bring with them the following documents (to be confirmed by RAP SPO/school/school board):
    • Proof of age: Birth certificates, passports, or immigration documents
    • Proof of address: Rental or purchase agreements, utility bills, or bank or credit card statement
    • School records (if available)
    • Immunization records
    • An emergency contact
Assessment and placement
  • The school or school board will assess each child and decide the level they should be placed at, and whether they need free support such as English or French language classes
Post-secondary education in Canada
  • If clients wish to have more information on post-secondary education in Canada, including costs and financial help, more information is available here
Parents’ legal obligation to ensure children go to school
  • By law, children in Canada must go to school
  • Depending on the province or territory, children may between the ages of 4 and 6, and continue until they are between 16 and 18
Mixed classes
  • In most schools, boys and girls learn together in the same classroom
  • Some private schools are for boys or girls only
Religion
  • Some provinces have separate Catholic public schools and students of any religion can attend
  • Most communities also have private religious schools
Textbooks and school supplies
  • Schools lend some textbooks to their students
  • Parents will have to buy for their children school supplies like pencils and paper
  • A school start-up allowance is provided under RAP income support for each school-aged child for this purpose
Special needs
  • Students can get help if they have special needs including: physical, cognitive, psychological, emotional, behavioural, linguistic
Report cards
  • Children get a report card several times during the school year that tells parents about their progress
Missing school
  • Children must go to school every day; if they are absent from school because they are sick or for personal reasons, parents must tell the school.
Getting to school
  • Children can travel to and from school with their parents, on their own (where appropriate), or by school bus
  • Parents can ask the school for information on school buses and public transportation
School closures
  • Schools sometimes close for one or more days in the winter because of snowstorms or severe cold. If this happens, parents will hear about the closing:
    • through the school
    • on the radio
    • on television
Dress code
  • Children must follow the school dress code. Some schools require children to wear a uniform
Extracurricular activities
  • Extracurricular activities take place before school, after school or during lunch
  • They include sports, arts, hobby clubs, etc.
  • Some are free of cost, some are not
  • Each school offers different extracurricular activities to students
  • These activities can help children make friends and gain a sense of belonging, get used to the Canadian school system, and develop interests in areas outside school
Field trips
  • Schools organize field trips outside the school for students to visit places that are relevant to their education
  • Field trips can be to places such as museums, workplaces, cultural institutions, city neighbourhoods
Bullying
  • Bullying may be defined as wilful, repeated aggressive behaviour with negative intent used by one person to maintain power over another
  • Bullying is not tolerated. If a child is a victim of bullying, parents should talk to their teacher or principal.
  • Learn more about bullying and prevention programs at https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/bullying.html
Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS)
  • Many schools have settlement workers who provide support to newcomer children, youth and their parents
  • These workers:
    • help newcomer families understand how the school system works, and better understand all topics listed above
    • provide information on other aspects of life in Canada and make referrals to other experts or sources of help
    • help newcomer students learn about the school setting
    • help the school staff understand what school life is like for newcomers
  • If there is a settlement worker in the school your children will attend, the RAP SPO worker or the school staff will ensure to introduce you and your children to this individual

10. Financial Orientation – Income Support and Financial Responsibilities

Informing clients about income support and their financial responsibilities ensures that they understand the basics of the Canadian financial system as well as the key entitlements of their income support budget and their financial responsibilities as outlined on the Agreement for Income Support Recipients. The goal is for RAP clients to be able to manage their own budget during and after the RAP service delivery period ends.

10.1 MoneyFootnote 19

RAP SPOs will inform clients about the appearance and relative value of Canadian currency.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Currency
  • Canada’s official currency is the Canadian dollar ($)
  • There are 100 cents (¢) in a dollar
  • Coins have different sizes, shapes and colours. They have nicknames that Canadians use in everyday life. These include:
    • Nickel – 5¢
    • Dime – 10¢
    • Quarter – 25¢
    • Dollar or “loonie” – $1
    • Two dollars or “toonie” – $2
  • Each paper bill is the same size but a different colour. The most common paper bills are:
    • $5 – blue
    • $10 – purple
    • $20 – green
    • $50 – red
    • $100 – brown
Exchange rate
  • In order for clients to have a sense of the value of the Canadian dollar compared to their value of the currency in their country of origin or country of asylum, the RAP SPO will inform clients of the exchange rate between the Canadian dollar and the currency they are most familiar with
Sending money
  • If clients wish to send money, they should not send cash. Instead, they should:
    • use a cheque or money order
    • buy a money order at the post office or your bank
    • directly transfer money to another account at the bank
    • wire money through private money order or transfer services
  • Some of these transactions cost money. Clients should make sure they know the cost before transferring money.
  • For more information, see Payment options and money transfers

10.2 BankingFootnote 20

RAP SPOs will ensure clients have a bank account, will show them how to deposit and withdraw funds, and how to pay bills.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • RAP SPOs will assist clients in opening a bank account
  • RAP SPOs will ensure clients have a bank account before or upon receipt of the first income support payment
  • RAP SPOs may find it beneficial to invest efforts in developing relationships with one or a few local bank branches, in order to sensitize bank staff to the realities of newly arrived GARs
  • Such efforts may result in making the process of opening bank accounts for new GAR clients much smoother
  • These efforts may result in finding one or a few bank options that would be ideal for GAR clients, i.e. bank account with low or no services charges, and perhaps banks that can issue low interest credit cards with low credit limit (e.g. $500)
  • Similar to the approach suggested for Service Canada, RAP SPOs may contact the local bank prior to large arrivals so that the branch can have the opportunity to plan for efficient client service/intake; this may also include the bank planning for over the phone interpretation, if needed
Content objectives What clients need to know
The need to open a bank account
  • Clients must have a bank account in order to receive their income support payments through cheques or direct deposit
  • Having a bank account allows clients to:
    • Write and cash cheques
    • Use automatic banking machines (ABMs; also called automatic teller machines – ATMs)
    • Use a debit or credit card for purchases
  • Clients can access many of these services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at an ABM, or through the telephone or Internet banking
Opening a bank account
  • The RAP SPO will assist clients in opening a bank account
  • Clients can open a bank account even if they don’t yet have a job or money to put in the account right away
Types of financial institutions
  • Clients can open chequing or different types of savings accounts at different types of financial institutions:
    • Banks
    • Credit unions
    • Caisses populaires
    • Trust companies
  • RAP SPOs will suggest to clients which bank they may go to, based on proximity to their home or other considerations, but clients have the right to choose at which bank they wish to open their first account
Identification needed to open a bank account
Debit card
  • A debit card is a plastic card that can be used to pay for goods and services, or withdraw money, directly from one’s bank account; fees may be charged when using a debit card
  • Financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, usually give clients a debit card when they sign up for an account
  • When receiving a new debit card, a personal identification number (PIN) must be chosen. PIN is a numeric password that verifies a person’s identity. It allows them to access their account information.
  • A PIN must be unique and it must be protected – one may be responsible for unauthorized transactions, i.e. transactions that an account holder did not make or approve, if they didn’t protect their PIN
Debit card fees
  • A fee may be charged by an ATM operator to non-customers for the use of their ATM
How to use debit card
  • The RAP SPO will show clients how to
    • use their debit card at the ATM or in a store
    • pay bills at the ATM or online
Use of cheques
  • The RAP SPO will also show clients how to use cheques (if applicable)

10.3 CreditFootnote 21

The RAP SPO will explain to clients the concept of purchasing on credit and the responsibilities that are attached to it.

Credit, as it is known and understood in North America, is not necessarily available or does not necessarily function in the same manner across the world. It is important to explain to clients exactly how credit works, what it is, and the advantages and disadvantages of using it.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Advantages of obtaining a credit card
  • Obtaining a low interest, low limit credit card will allows individuals to make purchases for which they may not have the money to cover currently, but know they will have the money to cover within one month
  • Obtaining a first credit card will allow them to start building their credit history
  • Financial institutions offer many types of credit cards. To compare the features and costs, clients can refer to the Credit Card Selector Tool. One can apply for credit cards at most banks, online or in person.
How interest charges are applied to your credit card
  • Interest is the money one will pay if they don’t pay their credit card balance in full by the due date. They will continue to pay interest until they pay their balance back in full.
  • Interest rates vary depending on financial institutions and the type of transaction. For example, one may pay 19% interest on regular purchases and 22% on cash advances or cash-like transactions. Rates for specialized and retail credit cards may be higher.
  • Credit card statements and credit card agreements clearly indicate the interest rates one must pay
What is a credit report
  • A credit report is a summary of a person’s credit history
  • It is created when a person borrows money or applies for credit for the first time. Lenders send information about a person’s accounts to the credit bureaus, also known as credit reporting agencies.
What is a credit score
  • A credit score is a three-digit number that comes from the information in a credit report; it shows how well a person manages credit and how risky it would be for a lender to lend money to them
Building/improving your credit score
  • One gets points for actions that show they use credit responsibly, while they lose points for things that show they have difficulty managing credit. Therefore:
    • payments should always be made on time
    • at the very least, the minimum payment should be made if the full amount that is owed cannot be paid
    • a lender should be contacted right away by the borrower if they think they will have trouble paying a bill
    • don't skip a payment even if a bill is in dispute
  • A person should not go over their credit limit. They should try to use less than 35% of their available credit.

10.4 Immigration Loans

Under IRCC’s Immigration Loans Program, Transportation Loans, as explained in section 2.3, are issued to most resettled refugees to cover the costs of their transportation to their place of final destination.

Assistance Loans, on the other hand, can be issued to assist with:

  • Basic needs to become established in Canada, when evidence of need is demonstrated
    • This can include rent and utility deposits, additional household items and incidental expenses, as required
  • Certain labour market access costs
    • for example, if a particular job has been secured, the purchase of required tools and/or work clothing, as well as the costs of examinations to obtain licensing to accept a job offer
Content objectives What clients need to know
Assistance loan to be added to other immigration loans
  • The amount of the assistance loan will be added to any other immigration loans, such as the transportation loan, which the client may have already been issued.
Coming into effect of the loan
  • Since February 2017, all immigration loans are interest free
  • Transportation and admissibility loans are repayable 12 months after arrival, while assistance loans are repayable 12 months after issuance
Repaying the loan
  • Within the first few months of arrival, clients should receive a statement which includes the amount owing, methods of payment, and a recommended repayment schedule, commencing after the 12th month of arrival
  • Individuals who are unable to commence repayment immediately may contact IRCC Collection Services (1-800-667-7301) to discuss alternate arrangements
  • If clients are able to begin repaying the loan prior to receiving their first statement, they may do so. They should call Collection Services prior to making such a payment. Payments received prior to the account being established will be processed as a credit to the account.
Informing Collection Services of change of address
  • As per the instructions on the back of the loan agreements, it is the responsibility of the loan recipient to advise Collection Services in writing within 10 days of any change of address

10.5 RAP Income Support

RAP financial support typically includes a one-time payment for start-up costs to help GARs set up a new home, and monthly income support for shelter and basic needs, including food and incidentals. The amount provided aims to be in accordance with the prevailing basic social assistance rates in the client’s province of residence, and a monthly transportation allowance for adults based on the cost of public transportation in their community. Monthly RAP income support may also include additional discretionary supplements, such as the RAP housing supplement, which is provided based on demonstrated need.

This monthly financial support is generally provided for up to one year after arrival, or until the GARs become self-sufficient – whichever comes first.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • Provide an overview of RAP Income Support
  • Review RAP Agreement with client(s); make sure they understand each point of the agreement
  • In certain cities without a local IRCC office, at IRCC’s request, the RAP SPO will obtain the client’s signature on the RAP Agreement
  • Explain the IRCC 50% Additional Income Incentive Threshold, as per IRCC procedures manual IP3, Part 2
  • Assist the client in filling out a Declaration of Funds and Assets form to be submitted to IRCC
  • Set up direct deposit by filling out the Direct Deposit Request – Direct Deposit Request – Payments to RAP Recipients (PDF, 1.96 MB) form (internal only – please obtain this form from your IRCC officer)
  • As per the instructions on the form, mail in the form to IRCC’s Financial Operations Branch, along with a void cheque from the client
Content objectives What clients need to know
RAP Income Support overview
  • RAP Income Support is not an automatic benefit, but rather, a privilege that carries with it an obligation on the part of the recipient to make every effort to attain self-sufficiency as soon as possible
  • Assistance may be refused, reduced or discontinued
Start-up payment
  • Eligible clients will receive an initial start-up payment shortly after arrival
  • This payment may include non-repayable allowances for:
    • Clothing
    • Household effects
    • Linens
    • Staples
    • Telephone or utility installation
    • Furniture, unless one or more of these items is provided directly to the client
    • School-start-up costs (if applicable)
    • Living allowances for items such as shelter, food, communication allowance, and transportation
Monthly income support
  • Monthly income support to covers such items as:
    • Shelter
    • Food
    • Transportation
    • Communication allowance
Timing of RAP IS payments
  • RAP income support will normally be paid on a monthly basis
Payment method
  • Clients will typically receive a cheque for their start-up payment, while most other payments will be received through direct deposit, unless there are exceptional circumstances
Change of address
  • Clients should notify their RAP SPO and IRCC RAP officer of any change of address
  • If moving to a new province, clients should notify their RAP SPO and IRCC officer as soon as possible, in order to avoid any delay in the receipt of their RAP Income Support (see Chapter 6: Secondary Migration)

For more information on income support, please refer to the Inland Processing manual IP3 – Part 2

10.6 Budgeting

RAP SPOs will help clients understand how to use their income support in the most effective manner.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • Explain to clients what their monthly expenses will be and how much money they will be receiving from all sources (e.g. RAP, Canada Child Benefit)
  • Explain the difference between essential and non-essential items (e.g. warm clothing vs electronics, such as latest TV or cell phone model)
  • Ensure that the client understands clearly what the money they will receive is to be used for
Content objectives What clients need to know
RAP Income Support to cover immediate and essential needs
  • Clients will be provided with just enough money in income support to cover necessities
Start-up income support
  • Even though the start-up income support payment may appear to be a large amount, it is just enough money to cover necessities, and is provided only once
Understanding your RAP IS payment
  • Each part of the RAP Income Support payment is meant to cover a specific necessity
  • RAP SPO workers and/or the IRCC RAP officer will help clients understand exactly what they are getting a payment for
Overspending
  • If a client overspends, or sends all their money back home, they will not be entitled to extra funds
Transition to provincial social assistance after 12 month
  • If they transition to provincial social assistance after 12 months in Canada, they should plan and budget for a possible drop in income, or a slight delay between the two incomes.

10.7 Guardianship for Property/Trusteeship

Occasionally, RAP clients are mentally incompetent and unable to manage their own RAP income support funds. RAP aims to ensure that personal rights are respected and that clients are legally protected. A guardian of property/trustee is responsible for managing the incompetent person’s property that is everything they own. This may include handling money to provide for care and arranging for an allowance.

Two types of Guardians of property/Trusteeship exist: informal and formal. The preferred option in RAP is informal where the trustee signs a declaration stating they will receive RAP funds on behalf of the RAP client and will use the funds for GAR needs. Examples of informal trustees include friends or family members. If an informal trustee is not available, a formal trusteeship will have to be established through the courts.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • Make arrangements for a medical opinion/assessment of incapacity for the RAP client
  • Assist with court applications for formal trusteeship, if required

Resources:

11. Immediate and Essential Orientation

Immediate and essential orientation helps RAP clients develop the skills to live safely and independently in Canada. When possible, orientation topics should be tailored to best meet the needs of the individual or client group.

Immediate and essential orientation is generally provided while the RAP client is in temporary accommodation, with the exception of life skills orientation, which is generally delivered after the RAP client has moved into their permanent accommodation.

11.1 Communication and Media

Content objectives What clients need to know
9-1-1 emergency system
  • If there is an emergency, dial 9-1-1
  • These calls are free from any telephone, including public pay phones
  • If you experience a medical or other type of emergency, do not hesitate to call for help
Generally, the cost of cell phone service in Canada is quite high; make sure to research options for phones and plans to understand the services, fees and commitments
  • There are three main types of cell phone service options in Canada:
    • Postpaid service
    • Pay after service
    • Prepaid SIM cards
  • Newly purchased cell phones can be unlocked at no cost
  • If you are considering a contract, find out the financial penalties for ending the service contract early or the cost if you need to replace or repair your phone – do not make any long-term commitments that you may not be able to keep
  • The cost of using services that are not part of your plan can be very high (e.g. using additional data, making long-distance calls, or international texting). Consider a special plan or additional services on top of your regular cell phone plan based on your needs.
  • For more information on how to get a cell phone in Canada, see Settlement.org
Internet
  • Many people in Canada use the Internet to search and apply for jobs, do their banking, learn about and purchase many different products, make phone calls, participate in social media, watch television and read the news
  • Many public libraries offer free Internet service. Also, if you already have a wireless device, you can go to places that offer free wireless access (also called Wi-Fi hotspots), such as coffeehouses and many restaurants.
  • See Internet Services for Canadians for more information, and Internet services in Canada at Settlement.org
Canadian mail system
  • Canada Post is responsible for postal services in Canada; through Canada Post, you can send and receive mail and parcels to and from anywhere in the world
  • Your RAP SPO will show you where the nearest post office and mailbox is
  • When you move in to your permanent accommodation, make sure to find out where your mailbox is, and make sure to check it every day or two; important documents like your PR card and provincial health card will be sent to you by mail
  • In order to send mail, you can buy postage (stamps) at the post office and send mail from there; the post office staff can tell you how much postage you need for the piece of mail you are sending
  • Your RAP SPO can also show you the standard in Canada for writing the recipient’s and the sender’s address

11.2 Household Management

RAP clients must be capable of managing a household in the Canadian context.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Garbage and recycling
  • In Canada, it is customary to separate garbage, recyclable material, and in some locations, organic waste
  • Your RAP SPO will explain to you what the guidelines are for your city, and help you find out about the collection schedule
  • In Canada, it is not acceptable to litter – when in public places, make sure to throw out garbage or recyclable materials in the appropriate bins
Washers and dryers, public laundromats
  • If needed, your RAP SPO will show you where and how to use the washers and dryers in your temporary accommodation, in your permanent accommodations, or in a laundromat if this is an option available to you
Common kitchen appliances
  • If needed, your RAP SPO will show you how to use the kitchen appliances at your temporary and permanent accommodations
Heating and cooling systems
  • Your RAP SPO will show you how to use and adjust the heating system (and cooling systems, if applicable) in your permanent accommodations
Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors
  • Your RAP SPO will show you where the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors are located, and explain the extreme importance of ensuring they have a functioning battery, for the safety of your family and all other residents of your building.

11.3 Linguistic Duality and Orientation to Local Francophone and Acadian Communities

Content objectives What clients need to know
Linguistic Duality
  • French is one of Canada’s two official languages. While most French-speaking Canadians live in Quebec, many live in other provinces or territories across Canada.
  • The size of Francophone and Acadian communities in cities and towns outside Quebec varies. The working language in these communities is usually English.
  • There are many reasons to choose to live in a Francophone or Acadian community outside Quebec. You and your family will be able to:
    • benefit from French and English job opportunities
    • speak both French and English in your everyday life
    • learn or improve your English skills
    • attend French-language schools
    • enjoy community, health or daycare services in French
    • get support from your community to help you settle
  • Note: Community, education and health-care services are run by the provinces and territories. Their availability in French depends on the region.
French Settlement Services
  • Your RAP SPO will tell you about any French Settlement services funded by IRCC that may be available in your community:
    • Available French settlement language training (FSL Literacy, basic, intermediate, or advanced levels; CLIC en ligne)
    • Connecting with Francophone or Acadian volunteers in the context of Community Connections programming
Francophone health services
  • Your RAP SPO will let you know about Francophone hospitals, clinics, or health facilities, as well as mental health services offered in French, if available
Francophone schools
  • You will find out about local Francophone schools for primary and secondary education, as well as Francophone colleges or universities
Francophone neighbourhoods
  • You will learn about any Francophone neighbourhoods that may exist in your community; you may want to express your wish to live in a Francophone or Acadian community when looking for a permanent accommodation
Where to find Francophone cultural establishments or events
  • You will learn where you can find Francophone or Acadian community centres, or any Francophone or Acadian cultural hub, or public events that may be taking place in your community, i.e. festivals, theatres, etc.

Visit Les communautés francophones du Canada to learn more about these communities:

  • The history of Francophone and Acadian communities
  • How to access a French education or French health services
  • How and where to discover or access Francophone or Acadian culture, festivals or media
  • The types of jobs available
  • How and where to access Francophone settlement services

11.4 Public Transportation and the Local Community

RAP SPOs will ensure clients are familiar with and comfortable using public transportation in their community (e.g. buses, local commuter trains, subways). This will allow them to become mobile and independent as soon as possible after arrival. It will be helpful for clients to have key information about their local area.

SPO To-Do List

  • RAP SPOs will show clients how to access the public transit system in their community, including how the system works, hours of operation, fare cost, discounts available, maps, etc.
  • Show clients how to access key locations in their community, such as hospitals, schools, places of worship, parks and recreation facilities, and settlement services.
  • Show clients where to buy food, including where to find expiration dates on goods, and tips on how to find good prices
  • Topics may include sales, flyers, comparison shopping, mark downs for flawed goods, private sales, etc.
  • Provide general information on their local community such as population, services and amenities, etc.
  • Provides safety related information, such as areas of the city that may be considered less safe than others, and how to seek help or assistance, if needed.

11.5 Canadian Weather

RAP SPOs should inform clients about the extreme temperatures that can be experienced in Canada.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Seasons
  • In Canada, there are four different seasons: winter, spring, summer, autumn (fall)
Weather forecasts
  • Canadians typically check the weather forecast on a daily basis (on the television news or weather networks, on the radio, in the newspaper, or online) in order to know how to best dress for the day
Winter
  • Winter is very cold in most places with temperatures often below zero degrees Celsius
  • Snow covers the ground from around December to March or April
  • In southwest British Columbia (around Victoria and Vancouver), rain is more common in winter than snow
  • Depending on where you’re immigrating from, you may be quite surprised by the cold and snow during your first Canadian winter
Winter clothingFootnote 22
  • If you haven’t received a winter coat, boots, a hat and gloves at the airport when you arrived in Canada, you will receive extra money through your RAP Income Support to purchase these items for you and your children
  • Your RAP SPO will also show you best places to shop to acquire these items at a reasonable price, or where donation centres or thrift shops may be found in your community if you need additional items
  • Blowing wind can make temperatures feel much colder. In winter, weather reports talk about wind chill; for example, the temperature might be -15°C with a wind chill that makes it feel like -25°C
  • You and your family members should wear hats/toques, and make sure to cover your ears, especially when it is windy, because you are most likely to get frostbite on your ears
  • On the coldest days of the winter, most people forget about fashion and choose warmth over style. You and your family should not feel silly while bundled up in a warm winter coat, hat, gloves and boots. In fact, you should ensure you and your children are dressed warmly enough in the winter.
  • For a video and handout on how to dress for the winter, see: https://settlement.org/ontario/education/elementary-and-secondary-school/general-information/dressing-for-winter/
Summer
  • Summer lasts from around June to September and the weather varies from warm to hot
  • Daytime temperatures are between 20 and 30 degrees Celsius or Centigrade (68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher
  • In southern Ontario and Quebec, it can often be very humid
Fall and spring
  • Fall and spring are transition seasons; this means the weather starts getting colder or warmer, and there is a lot of rain

11.6 Rights and ResponsibilitiesFootnote 23

RAP SPOs should orient clients on their rights and responsibilities, and on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is part of Canada’s Constitution
  • It protects you from the moment you arrive in Canada
  • It sets out the values that Canadians live by
  • It describes the kinds of personal human rights and freedoms we can expect in this country
Rights according to the Charter
  • the right to:
    • life, liberty and personal security
    • a fair trial, that respects all your legal rights
    • be presumed innocent until you’re proven guilty
    • talk to a lawyer as soon as possible if you are arrested
    • equal protection and benefit under the law, without discrimination
  • freedom of:
    • conscience and religion
    • thought, belief, opinion and expression
    • the press and other media
  • freedom to:
    • join groups
    • hold peaceful meetings
  • protection from:
    • unreasonable search or seizure
    • being detained or put in prison without a just reason
Rights of childrenFootnote 24
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child, together with its three Optional Protocols, covers the full range of civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights of children. This is reflected in the following the Convention guiding principles:
    • Definition of the child: This principle defines a child as a person below the age of 18, unless the laws of a particular country set a younger legal age for adulthood. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has encouraged States to review the age of majority if it is set below 18 and to increase the level of protection for all children under 18.
    • Non-discrimination: This principle states that no child should be treated unfairly on any basis. Children should not be discriminated against based on their race, religion or abilities; what they think or say; the type of family they come from; where they live, what language they speak, what their parents do, what gender they identify with, what their culture is, whether they have a disability or whether they are rich or poor.
    • Best interests of the child: This principle places the best interests of children as the primary concern in making decisions that may affect them. All adults, including those who are involved in making decisions related to budgets, policy and the law, should do what is best for children. When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children.
    • Right to life, survival and development: Children have the right to live. Governments should ensure that children survive and develop in healthy way.
    • Respect for the views of the child: This principle states that children have the right to say what they think should happen and have their opinions taken into account. This does not mean that children can tell their parents what to do. This Convention encourages adults to listen to the opinions of children and involve them in decision-making but does not give children authority over adults. This does not interfere with parents' right and responsibility to express their views on matters affecting their children.
Reconciliation and Indigenous rights
LGBTQ2 rights
  • LGBTQ2 persons are equal before the law
  • LGBTQ2 persons are protected from discrimination
  • Sexual orientation and gender identity are protected grounds pursuant to Canadian law, in both public and private spheres
Your rights and responsibilities as a PR
  • As a PR, you also have the right to:
    • move and to take residence in any province
    • gain employment, or change employment (with no threat to your status as a PR)
  • People who live in Canada are expected to:
    • understand and obey Canadian laws
    • help protect Canada's multicultural heritage
    • allow other Canadians to enjoy their rights and freedoms
  • As you settle in Canada, you should become informed about politics and help to improve your communities and the country
Canadian multiculturalism
  • Canada has a long tradition of accommodating linguistic, cultural and religious differences
  • All are encouraged to maintain those family and cultural traditions which are consistent with Canadian values such as human dignity and equality before the law
Equality of women and men
  • Women and men are equal before the law
DiscriminationFootnote 25
  • Discrimination means treating someone differently because of something about them. Discrimination based on any of the following grounds is not allowed: religion or creed, being single or married, having or not having children, sex, pregnancy or pregnancy-related illness, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age (18 or over), colour, ancestry nationality, birth place, race or perceived race, language, immigration status, receiving social assistance.
  • Discrimination is not allowed when people are: shopping in a store, renting a hotel room, eating in a restaurant or using other public services; renting a place to live; applying for a job; buying land or property; starting a business; applying to or going to school (including trade schools, universities and colleges)
  • There are some important exceptions. For example, a permanent resident cannot vote; one can only vote when they are a citizen. An apartment building or other housing complex can be only for people of one sex or people over 55. Businesses can charge lower rates for children, families or seniors. Bathrooms can be for one sex. Schools can require that students be a certain age before starting. Employers can require employees to have the qualifications needed for the job.

11.7 Canadian Law and Justice

Footnote 26

RAP SPOs will give clients a brief overview of the Canadian law and justice system.

Content objectives What clients need to know
The law applies to everyone
  • In Canada, the law applies to everyone, including:
    • the police
    • the government
    • public officials
  • Canadian laws recognize and protect basic rights and freedoms, such as liberty and equality
Legal representation
  • If you need help in a Canadian court, it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer. There are services that can help you find a lawyer, such as:
  • Depending on your income, you may be able to get a lawyer for free. This is called legal aid. Each province and territory has a legal aid society. Your RAP or Settlement worker may be able to provide information on how to hire a lawyer or how to apply for legal aid.
Police
  • Police are hired by the communities they serve to keep the community safe. They must treat everyone the same. They can help in an emergency. Their other duties include things like investigating crimes, keeping the peace and helping victims of crime.
  • There are different types of police, including federal (Royal Canadian Mounted Police – RCMP), provincial, territorial, municipal, as well as other special agencies
  • There are both male and female police officers
  • Some SPOs have police liaison officers who come on-site to offer support and orientation to clients; clients can learn more about the services offered by the police, and have the opportunity to talk and ask questions to officers in an informal setting
  • Police work to keep communities safe and investigate crimes. If there is a good reason, they can arrest people and charge them with an offence. In an emergency you can contact the police and they can help.
  • In order to do their job the police may stop people. Sometimes they will stop people who are walking down the street or driving a car. Sometimes police will go to people’s homes. Unless the police have a reason to stop you - or you are driving a car - you do not have to talk to the police. You may want to talk to them to help them with their investigation. There are also rules about when the police can come into your home.
  • If the police question or arrest you, be calm
    • don’t resist
    • look directly at the officer
    • speak as clearly as possible
    • be ready to show some kind of identification
    • make sure you know why you’ve been arrested
    • ask to have a lawyer and a translator present (if you need one)
    • don’t offer money, gifts or services in exchange for special treatment
  • Under Canadian law, you’re presumed innocent until proven guilty.
  • You can learn about detention or arrest by the police, police searches, and complaints against the police at http://newli.plea.org/justice-system/police
Calling 9-1-1
  • You should call the police by calling 9-1-1 if you:
    • are the victim of a crime
    • see a crime taking place
    • know about criminal activities
Employment standards in Canada and your rights as a worker
  • Your employer:
    • Must pay you for your work
    • Must make sure that your workplace is safe
    • Cannot take your passport or PR status away from you
  • Find out about what is considered fair pay, about hours of work, rest periods, working conditions or any labour standard by visiting the Employment Standards Branch website for the province in which you are working or planning to work, and make sure to speak to a Settlement worker if you need help to find work or have questions about employment standards in Canada.

11.8 Family LawFootnote 27

RAP SPOs will go over important aspects of family law in Canada.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Marriage and divorce
  • Same sex marriage is legal in Canada
  • No person who is under the age of 16 years may enter in a marriage; in some provinces, you may need written consent from both your parents if you are under 18.
  • It is against the law in Canada to be married to more than one person at a time
  • It is against the law to marry someone in Canada if one of you is already married; you can only remarry if you are legally divorced or if your spouse has died
  • In Canada, only a court can give you a civil divorce. Either spouse may apply for a divorce but you must prove to the court that your marriage has broken down and that you have arranged for the support of any children.
  • It is illegal to force anyone into marriage in Canada
  • It is a crime to marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident only to gain entry into Canada
Family violence
  • Family violence includes many different kinds of abuse that adults or children may have in their families or homes
  • All kinds of physical and sexual abuse (including unwanted sexual activity with your husband, wife, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend) are illegal under the Criminal Code of Canada
  • It is a crime to:
    • hit, punch, beat or kick a member of your family
    • threaten to hurt or kill someone
    • have any sexual contact with a minor
    • neglect a family member
    • abuse a family member in a financial or psychological way
  • It is a crime to perform or facilitate female genital mutilation/cutting
  • If you are found guilty of a violent crime against a family member, you could be put in jail
Elder abuse
  • Elder abuse is violence, mistreatment or neglect towards older adults
  • Elder abuse is never acceptable. If you or someone you know are being abused, report it to the police.
Support for victims of family violence
  • If you are the victim of family violence, call the police or 9-1-1
  • If someone tries to frighten you by saying that you will be deported or lose your children for reporting family violence, contact your RAP/Settlement worker, the police or a support organization right away for help
  • There are also special support organizations that can help you; these services are confidential and will protect your rights to privacy
  • For more information, see Help for spouses or partners who are victims of abuse
Child abuse and neglect
  • It is illegal in Canada to abuse your children
  • Child abuse includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse. It also includes neglect, and any violence that children see or hear in their families. The person who abuses the child can be: a parent, a brother or sister, another relative, a caregiver, a guardian, a teacher, another professional or volunteer who works with children (for example, a doctor or coach)
  • Abuse may take place in a child's home, or it may happen in other places, like other people's homes, schools, community centres or places of worship.
  • Physical abuse is the intentional use of force against a child. It can cause physical pain, injury, or injury that may last a lifetime. This type of abuse includes pushing or shoving; hitting, slapping or kicking; strangling or choking; pinching or punching; biting; burning; throwing an object at a child, and excessive or violent shaking. All of these acts are crimes in Canada.
  • Parents can be charged with a crime if they do not appropriately provide for their children under the age of 16; this includes feeding, clothing, and housing a child
  • In New Brunswick and Manitoba, it is illegal to leave a child under 12 years of age unattended; regarding all other provinces, it is not recommended to leave a child under 12 years of age unattended (PDF, 305.58 KB), or in charge of younger children. If this must occur, ensure to have a home safety checklist in place.
  • Counseling is available if clients are having problems understanding or coping with Canadian norms and expectations regarding child rearing.
  • You can be arrested for child abuse. Child protection laws let child welfare officials go into a home and even remove children if parents cannot or do not provide a minimum standard of care.
  • Doctors, teachers, social workers and police will take action if they think children are being harmed. All adults in Canada have a legal duty to report situations where they suspect child abuse.
Emotional abuse
  • Emotional abuse happens when a person uses words or actions to control, frighten, isolate, or take away a child's self-respect and sense of worth. Emotional abuse is sometimes called psychological abuse. It can include:
    • putting a child down or humiliating a child
    • constantly criticizing a child
    • constantly yelling at a child
    • threatening to harm a child or others
    • keeping a child from seeing their family or friends without good reason, or
    • threatening to move a child out of their home.
  • Emotional abuse is serious. Inner wounds can take a long time to heal.
  • Some forms of emotional abuse are crimes in Canada, including:
    • threatening to harm a child
    • threatening to harm another person
    • threatening to destroy the child's personal property
    • threatening to hurt the child's pet
    • harassing the child on the telephone
    • deliberately intimidating a child, and
    • advising a child to commit suicide.
  • Other forms of emotional abuse are not crimes, but they are still very serious. The provinces and territories also have laws that protect children from emotional abuse. These laws protect children even if the type of abuse is not a crime.
Sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, and age of consent
  • The age of majority is the age when a person is legally considered an adult. In Canada, the age of majority is 18 or 19 years old depending on the province or territory in which you live.
    • Exceptions: Persons under 16 years can have consensual sex with someone close in age
      • 12-13 year olds (two-year age difference)
      • 14-15 year olds (five-year age difference)
    • These exceptions only apply if the older person is not in a position of authority or trust and there is no exploitation or dependency
  • Individuals under 18 years old cannot consent to sex where:
    • their sexual partner is in position of trust or authority towards them, for example their teacher or coach
    • the young person is dependent on their sexual partner, for example for care or support
    • the relationship between the young person and their sexual partner is exploitative
  • The following factors may be taken into account when determining whether a relationship is exploitative of the young person:
    • the young person's age
    • the age difference between the young person and their partner
    • how the relationship developed (for example, quickly, secretly, or over the internet)
    • whether the partner may have controlled or influenced the young person
Respecting consent
  • Consent is feeling: Willing, certain, comfortable, sober, informed, respected
  • Consent is not feeling: Pressured, confused, scared, drunk or high, ignored, disrespected
  • The absence of "no" does not mean "yes". One needs to actively seek consent. The person initiating sexual activity needs to take reasonable steps to establish consent. If you are unsure, stop and ask: "Is this okay?"
  • Non-verbal signs of refusal include: Avoiding eye contact, crying, pushing away, shaking head no, silence, not being responsive
  • You have the right to withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity
    • Even if you've consented to start a sexual act with someone, you have the right to stop it at any time
    • Consenting to one kind of sexual activity does not automatically mean consenting to another
  • If you don't want to do something, you have the right to say, "Stop!"
What to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted
  • Sexual assault is any unwanted act of a sexual nature that is imposed on another person without their consent
  • Regardless of how long ago a sexual assault occurred, you can choose to report the assault to the police. You also have a right to access medical attention and support at any time, even if you choose not to report the assault to the police.
    • Get to a safe place. If you are in danger, call 911 and/or a local sexual assault response program
    • Call someone you know and trust to be with you
    • If the sexual assault was recent and if possible, avoid washing yourself, changing your clothes or combing your hair. Preserve any evidence you can, such as items you had with you. You can still report a sexual assault if you have been unable to preserve evidence
    • Write down, record, or tell someone you trust all the details you can remember
    • Seek medical help and emotional/practical assistance or support (e.g., family, friends, crisis centre)
  • What the police will want to know:
    • What happened, when, where and who else was there
    • A description of the person who sexually assaulted you (as detailed as possible)
    • If you don't feel comfortable talking to the police, you can ask to be referred to a victim services unit, health care facility or a community-based service, like a sexual assault centre, for support and information around your options

11.9 Culture Shock and Cultural AdaptationFootnote 28

As GARs adapt to a new culture and country, they will experience a number of complex emotions. RAP SPOs will explain the concept of culture shock, and will share and discuss strategies to support their process of cultural adaptation and integration to Canada.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Understanding culture shock
  • There are generally three stages associated with culture shock:
    • Stage 1: Often described as the "honeymoon" phase, you may feel excited and positive about having arrived in Canada
    • Stage 2: This stage is known as culture shock, where you can feel a sense of dislocation and general unease:
      • You may feel angry, uncomfortable, confused, frustrated or irritable and lose your sense of humour.
      • You may withdraw and spend excessive amounts of time alone, only with members of your own family or culture, and avoid contact with other members of your new community.
      • You may develop negative feelings about Canadian people and culture.
      • You may eat and drink compulsively or need an excessive amount of sleep.
      • You may be bored, fatigued and unable to concentrate, study or work effectively.
    • Stage 3: Known as the adjustment stage, you may start to accept your new surroundings and make a compromise between the honeymoon and culture shock phases.
Learning about coping strategies
  • The best strategy for coping with the various impacts of culture shock is to make a conscious effort to adjust to the new culture. Below are some suggestions on how to make yourself feel more at home in your new surroundings:
    • Admit frankly that these impacts exist. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you feel uncomfortable, tense or confused
    • Learn the rules of living in your host country. Try to understand how and why Canadians act the way they do in various circumstances. Some behaviours and customs, although they may be different from your own, are neither better nor worse than what you are used to.
    • Get involved in some aspect of the Canadian culture. Whether you study art or music, or learn a new sport or martial art, being an interested student will make a world of difference.
    • Take time to learn English or French. It always helps to understand as much as possible of what people are saying. The people you will interact with will appreciate your effort to communicate with them in one of the two official languages, even if it is just a few simple phrases, and it will make your daily life much easier.
    • Take care of yourself. Eat well, exercise and take the time to sleep. Limit your alcohol consumption to moderate amounts.
    • Take the time to be a tourist and explore your new city, and surrounding sights.
    • Make friends and develop relationships:
      • Getting to know established Canadians may help you overcome cultural differences and understand your new country. It may also help you learn about Canadian cultural norms and expectations.
      • Connecting with members of your own cultural or religious community (Canadian-born, long-term immigrants, or newly arrived) may also help you feel connected to your new community.
    • Maintain contact with friends and family back home. Writing home about your experiences and problems can help you sort through them. It is also a good idea to keep a journal of your feelings and thoughts.
    • If it helps, do something that reminds you of home. Listening to your favourite music or practising a familiar hobby can boost your spirits when you are feeling homesick.
    • Avoid idealizing life back home. Try to make the most of your new life in Canada and consciously adopt an open mind
Mental health support
  • If you, one of your family members, or someone else you know is feeling sad, alone, worried, unwell all the time, or experiencing addiction, help is available
  • You can talk to your RAP/Settlement worker or family doctor, or visit a medical clinic
  • You can also call one of the local crisis centres to talk to someone. Find someone you trust and let them know how you’re feeling. This can be a first step towards healing.
  • More resources can also be found at http://www.ementalhealth.ca/
  • If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or the number for emergency services in your community
Mental health of youth
  • It is important to pay particular attention to how your children and youth are coping with their resettlement process
  • Like you, past traumatic experiences and then new settlement challenges can threaten their mental health
  • Do not hesitate to speak to your doctor as soon as possible if you or any member of your family is feeling sad, alone, worried, or unwell all the time
  • Encourage your whole family, including yourself, to be physically active and live in a healthy way (participating in sports, school or community activities, etc.) as this will help all of you to start feeling at home in your new community

11.10 Cultural Norms and Expectations

RAP SPOs should go over some Canadian cultural norms and expectations. RAP workers should use their judgement and discretion to decide what norms and expectations should be touched upon with each client.

The majority of the content below was adapted from Global Affairs Canada’s Centre for Intercultural Learning’s Country Insights resource. These perspectives are those of a Canadian national, and of a foreign national who now lives in Canada. These perspectives in no way reflect official policy or opinions of the Government of Canada.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Non discrimination
  • Discriminatory comments or actions based on innate/unchangeable characteristics are unacceptable
  • This means treating all persons with respect, regardless of their age, ability, race, gender, sexual orientation or other.
Conversations/ communication style
  • Topics often avoided on first contact: money, salary, religion, politics, weight, health conditions, etc.
  • Personal space – it is a good rule of thumb to keep at least an arm’s length of space between ourselves and another person, including when lining up in a public place
  • Making eye contact is often seen as a sign of respect and sincerity
  • It is common for both men and women to shake hands in a public or professional setting
Staring or leering
  • It may be considered rude to stare or leer at someone
  • Staring or leering on repeated occasions could be considered as harassment
Personal habits
  • Use of deodorant, avoiding burping in public, slurping, spitting, chewing with one’s mouth open
Public display of emotion
  • It is considered best to refrain from aggressive behaviour or shouting in public, or from driving aggressively
Dress
  • Many Canadian work environments are very relaxed in terms of dress and level of formality, although shorts and jeans are not that common in office environments (except for ‘casual Fridays’)
Formality
  • Unless advised otherwise, it is usually best, especially with one’s superiors, to start out with Mr. or Ms. (or Dr.) and the person’s last name
Punctuality
  • Lateness is best to be avoided, however, depending on the workplace, arriving five or ten minutes late occasionally (with a good excuse) is usually considered acceptable
  • Extended conversations at work that are unrelated to the work at hand could be frowned upon
  • In a customer service environment, serving clients well and rapidly is usually a high priority
Hierarchy and decision-making
  • It is acceptable to go to your supervisor for answers or feedback, however, you may be expected to demonstrate your analysis of the situation at hand
  • In some cases, you may be expected to take initiative and complete an assignment with minimal supervision, however, this will vary between workplaces and managers, and is worth clarifying early on
  • Initiative is encouraged and employees are encouraged to promote and develop their ideas, though supervisors generally act as gatekeepers and filterers of ideas
Gender
  • Sexual overtures in the workplace are considered inappropriate, and may result in legal action being taken
  • Avoiding references to sexuality or appearance, unless on very good and familiar terms with a person, is a good way of ensuring that any such comments will not be misinterpreted
  • It is a protected right in Canada, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, for people to express their gender freely, which means that some people’s gender expression may not align with their legal name or sex
Breastfeeding in public
  • It is a woman’s right to breastfeed anywhere, anytime; this right is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • However, unfortunately, some women may experience stares and leers when feeding their baby in public places
  • Based on a woman’s comfort level, she may choose to cover the feeding baby with a light scarf, or to breastfeed wherever she feels most at ease
Changing diapers in public
  • Diaper changing tables are sometimes made available in women’s public washrooms, and in some men’s public washrooms; parents can choose these locations or any other discrete location (when possible), to change their baby’s diapers
Use of public bathroom
  • In Canada, people may use the bathroom that matches their gender identity or expression
  • It is common courtesy to do one’s part to keep public washroom’s clean
  • Public washroom sinks may be used for washing hands, face, or teeth; they should not be used for washing feet
Religion
  • It is common to separate work and private life; unless one is on good and familiar terms with a person, it may be best to avoid the topic of religion in the workplace
  • While some statutory holidays observed in Canada are connected to Christian religious observances, people of other faiths can use vacation days to observe other religious holidays

12. Housing Orientation and Assistance in Locating - Permanent Accommodations

12.1 Housing Orientation – Renting Accommodation

The RAP SPO will orient RAP clients to renting their first home in Canada. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency. The information below was adapted from their publication “Renting in Canada: what newcomers need to know”, which can be found at https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/buying/newcomers-housing-information. This CMHC publication and others are available in 7 languages, and can be shared with clients if deemed helpful.

Content objectives What clients need to know
Types of rental housing
  • Rental apartments: A single-family unit in a building or house. Most apartments have one, two or three bedrooms; “bachelor” units have a single room that serves as a living area and bedroom. You can also rent an entire house.
  • Rental rooms: Homes divided into several private bedrooms that are rented to individuals who share some parts of the house (e.g., kitchen, bathroom, living room). People sometimes share apartments with friends to save costs.
Learning housing-related vocabulary
  • Tenant: When you rent a home, you become a “tenant.”
  • Owner or landlord: A person who owns the house or building being rented.
  • Property manager or superintendent: For larger buildings, the owner may hire a “property manager” or “superintendent” to collect rent and manage the building.
Provincial tenancy legislation
  • Each province has tenancy legislation and governing bodies that tenants or owners can refer to for any infraction. Your RAP SPO will tell you about this governing body in your province and tell you how to contact them to ask questions, or to file a complaint.
Tenant responsibilities
  • Paying the rent in full and on time
  • Keeping the home clean and well maintained
  • Contacting the owner whenever anything needs to be serviced or repaired
  • Upon proper notice, allowing the owner or manager to enter the home to carry out repairs, or to show the house/apartment to other tenants if you are moving out
  • Knowing the subletting rules stipulated in the lease – you may not be allowed to sublet the property to others
  • Not engaging in illegal activities in the home, or using the home as a business office
  • Depending on the terms of the lease, you may also be responsible for shoveling the snow in the winter and mowing the lawn in the summer
  • Be aware of noise levels, and ensure to respect your building’s rules and city bylaws relating to noise levels
Owner responsibilities
  • Collecting the rent
  • Keeping your building safe and in good condition
  • Providing everything that comes with the house or apartment and that is included in your rent (such as the refrigerator, stove, heating)
  • Handling and paying for repairs when something in your home stops working
  • Respecting the privacy of the tenant, and giving a minimum of 24 hours notice (or more, depending on what is stipulated in the lease), if for any reason the owner wishes to see the property or tenant
  • Giving appropriate notice regarding an increase in rent, and increasing rent only according to what provincial legislation allows
  • Returning damage deposit after move out inspection, if there was no damage to the property
Utilities
  • In some places, your rent may include some or all of your utilities (e.g., electricity, heat, water, internet, etc.)
  • You will be responsible for paying any utilities that are not included in the rent
  • You can ask to see previous bills so that you know approximately how much utilities will cost
Applying to rent a home
  • If you are interested in renting a place, you may need to fill out an application and provide contact information for references; the prospective owner may also ask for a credit report
  • Since you are recently arrived and may not have references, a job or a credit history in Canada, the RAP SPO will assist you with this process
Signing a lease
  • When you agree to rent a place, you and the owner should sign a lease
  • A lease is a written agreement that outlines all the terms you and the owner have agreed to
  • A lease is a legal document, so make sure you understand it before you sign it; your RAP SPO worker will help you understand this document before you sign it
Types of lease agreements
  • There are generally two types of lease agreements:
    • Periodic (also referred to as month-to-month): A periodic tenancy does not have an agreed upon end date. The tenancy continues on a monthly basis until either the tenant or owner gives proper notice to end the tenancy.
    • Fixed term lease: A fixed-term lease has a specified start and end date. The tenancy agreement should state what will happen at the end of the term. The possible outcomes at the end of the term are:
      • The tenant may remain in the unit and the tenancy continues as a periodic tenancy
      • The tenant is required to move
      • The tenancy agreement says that the tenant must move out at the end of the term, but the owner allows the tenant to stay if they sign a brand new tenancy agreement
Tenant insurance
  • Some lease agreements will specify whether tenant insurance is required. If this is a requirement for the apartment or house you wish to rent, your RAP SPO can help you find out about how to obtain tenant insurance.
Terminating a lease and move out
  • The tenancy should end according to the lease. Always give proper notice to the owner in writing. If you fail to give the proper number of days’ notice, you may have to pay for additional months.
  • Once a notice to end the tenancy has been given, the owner should be given access to show the rental unit to new applicants provided proper notice to enter the premises has been given.
Deposit
  • An owner may ask you for a rental deposit when you sign the lease
  • The deposit is usually equal to the cost of one month’s rent
  • This deposit can be used if you do not pay the rent or to cover damage you cause to the rental unit
  • When you move out, your deposit is returned to you partially or in full after the owner completes a move out inspection
Learning about your apartment and apartment building
  • Ask the owner or the superintendent to go over the rules and instructions for:
    • laundry
    • getting your mail
    • garbage and recycling
    • how the appliances work
    • tenant and visitor parking
    • using the intercom (in an apartment building)
    • pets
    • smoking, including use of cannabis
Insurance
  • You may want to consider buying tenant’s (or renter’s) insurance if you live in an apartment or rent your home from someone else
Paying rent
  • You will usually have to pay rent on the first day of every month.
  • You can usually pay rent in a number of ways: cash, post-dated cheques, certified cheques, automated bank withdrawals, or email money transfers
  • It is important to have a record of the rent paid, so always keep bank records and/or ask for a receipt – especially if paying in cash
Keeping your home healthy and safe
  • Be aware of the security and safety features of your building:
    • Make sure your house or apartment’s doors have good locks
    • Don’t leave your children under the age of 12 alone at home (see topic of ‘Child abuse and neglect’ under Section 10)
    • Test your windows to be sure they close fully and have a lock
    • Always be careful when it comes to letting people you don’t know into your house or building
    • You may slightly reduce but never turn off the heating in the winter when you’re not home
  • Don’t attract pests:
    • Never leave open food or garbage
    • Clean your home well and on a regular basis
    • Get rid of any clutter you don’t need
    • Try to control the level of moisture by using the bathroom and kitchen fans
    • Be careful about shopping for second-hand furniture, which may be infested and may in turn infest your home; consider purchasing bed bug protection mattress and box spring covers, if your budget allows
  • Prevent fires:
    • Do not use overcrowded electrical outlets
    • If you smoke, use a wide, deep ashtray and never smoke in bed
    • Keep curtains and other flammable materials away from lights and candles
    • Never leave food cooking unattended
    • Clean the grease from your pans and stovetop regularly
    • Make sure you have at least one smoke detector in your apartment and test it once a month using the alarm test button
Eviction
  • An “eviction” is when the owner demands that you move out.
  • In Canada, an owner cannot evict you immediately, without a notice of eviction, if you refuse to renew your lease; an owner also cannot evict you for having visitors, unless restrictions are listed on your signed lease.
  • Is also illegal for an owner to put your belongings on the street, or to change the locks and refuse to let you enter.
  • If you receive a notice of eviction, do not ignore it; an eviction notice is a legal document and you must do what it says
  • If you want to appeal an eviction, do it as soon as possible and contact your provincial/territorial rental authority and/or your RAP/Settlement SPO worker for assistance

12.2 Assistance in Locating Permanent Accommodations

RAP SPOs will assist RAP clients in finding and moving into permanent accommodations.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • Encourage reasonable housing expectations according to the level of vacancy and average rental costs for your community
  • In the case where RAP SPOs may find it challenging to have clients move out from temporary accommodation, they may choose to use a Housing Search Form (see example in Annex 9)
  • Clients should understand that the temporary accommodations they are using are needed by others who are soon arriving in Canada
  • Clients sign the form and commit to visiting only two places; if they refused to opt for one or both options, they need to state on the form why they were refusing these options
  • When presenting permanent accommodation options to clients, considerations include:
    • security
    • affordability given amount of RAP income support budget
    • accessibility to local amenities such as schools, shopping, bus routes, and settlement services
    • family size and configuration
    • any special needs (e.g., accessible housing for disabled clients)
  • Assist RAP clients with the move into permanent accommodations:
    • coordinate furniture order and delivery to ensure furniture is delivered on or before the move date
    • make arrangements for utility hook-ups
    • assist with initial household and grocery shopping
    • etc.
Content objectives What clients need to know
Considerations when deciding on a place to rent
  • RAP income support budget
  • Family size and configuration
  • Proximity to schools, bus, shopping, family, friends, settlement services
Option of sharing accommodations
  • Singles may find it preferable to share an apartment with other singles to reduce costs
  • All adults in the apartment must sign the lease and fully understand their responsibilities to each other as well as the owner
  • Choose roommates carefully and to discuss house rules and obligations in detail before signing a lease together
Budget-friendly strategies
  • Equal billing options
  • Conservative use of heating, water, and electricity
Clients alone are responsible for their lease
  • Neither IRCC nor SPOs will be responsible for the rental arrangement; they will not sign or co-sign a lease for a client
Provision furniture
  • Your RAP SPO will either:
    • explain what furniture will be delivered to your house, or
    • explain how and where to purchase furniture.

13. Canadian Life Skills Training and RAP Exit Assessment

13.1 Canadian Life Skills

Canadian Life Skills is training and support for RAP clients who may have higher needs. It is delivered once clients have moved into permanent accommodations. It is meant to build on clients’ current skill set, and to assist them in acquiring the specific knowledge and skills required for living independently in their new community. The training and support provided should be culturally appropriate, gender sensitive (i.e. promote gender equality all by respecting client’s own cultural norms) and in the client’s own language (or provided with interpretation). Clients who will receive this training may require more guidance and support in order to become independent, even after receiving the basic suite of RAP services described in previous sections of the Handbook. Some of the following client characteristics may indicate a need for Canadian life skills training/support:

  • Low literacy level in native language
  • Lived for long periods or for entire life in a refugee camp
  • Experience of trauma and violence
  • Have not lived in an urban, western, or industrialized environment
  • Have little or no familiarity with technology and modern day systems
  • No work experience
  • Limited skills for looking after self

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • RAP SPO staff will assess a client’s need for Canadian life skills support
  • They will liaise with the provider of life skills and make arrangements for life skills support prior to a client moving into permanent accommodation.
  • Life skills support will be provided to RAP clients notably to help them cope with the complexity of modern systems and their transition to independent living in their new community
  • Life skills support/training will begin within 10 days of clients moving into permanent accommodation
  • Where longer term Settlement client support services (e.g. case management approach) are also provided to clients, Settlement case managers and RAP life skills workers will ensure to work in collaboration to ensure that services are complemented, and not duplicated
  • Life skills support and training may include the following topics, based on the client’s unique needs, and already existing knowledge and skills:
    • How to use appliances in a safe and appropriate manner
    • How to ensure a safe and secure personal dwelling space
    • Laundry
    • Hygiene
    • Use of domestic and personal cleaning products
    • Canadian plumbing systems and use
    • Adjusting to life in a high rise apartment building (garbage disposal , recycling, elevators, safety, use of common areas)
    • Products, packaging and simple food preparation
    • Budgeting
    • Accompanying clients to appointments
    • Canadian cultural orientation
    • Canadian cultural norms in public spaces
    • Any other practical life skill supports that may help the RAP clients to settle and become independent in their community (field trips, practical demonstrations, home visits, etc.)

13.2 RAP Exit Assessment

At the end of the RAP service delivery period, typically after the client moves into their permanent accommodation or up to 4-6 weeks after the clients’ arrival in Canada, RAP providers are expected to carry out an exit assessment to ensure that all RAP services have been received, and to identify any remaining immediate and essential need that the RAP SPO can address through their own services, or further referrals to Settlement or broader-based community services.

SPO To-Do List

  • At the end of the RAP service delivery period, either shortly after move out to permanent accommodations, or 4-6 weeks after arrival in Canada, conduct a RAP exit assessment, and ensure to link clients to settlement and broader-based community services
  • RAP initial and exit assessment results should be shared with the client’s settlement worker to ensure seamless RAP and Settlement service delivery

14. Requests to process overseas family members under the one-year window of opportunity provisionFootnote 29

Under the one-year window of opportunity provision (OYW), RAP clients’ non-accompanying family members may be eligible to be processed in the same class as the GAR principal applicant (PA) for a period of one year following the confirmation of permanent residence of the PA in Canada. All family members must have been identified on the PA’s application form filled out overseas to be eligible for OYW processing. GARs are informed at time of processing their application, as well as during COA, to declare all immediate family members, whether their whereabouts are known or unknown at the time.

14.1 Non-accompanying family members

The OYW applies to specific family members and is restricted to the same family members who were eligible to be processed on the original application. The non-accompanying family member can be the PA’s spouse, common-law partner, dependent child, and/or dependent child of PA’s dependent child.

Under OYW, family members derive the status of the PA in Canada, so they need not meet the eligibility requirements of the Convention Refugee or Country of Asylum class in their own right.

14.2 RAP SPO’s role relating to RAP clients’ OYW requests

RAP SPO employees are not allowed to provide immigration advice. However, they can provide a limited amount of immigration information to assist clients where needed.

SPO To-Do List

In order to assist clients with their OYW requests, RAP SPO staff can:

  • direct clients to the IRCC website to find information on:
  • the OYW program
  • OYW application forms, or
  • how to find authorized representatives
  • help clients to use a computer to view, upload or download electronic documents from the IRCC website
  • provide administrative support in completing IRCC application forms:
  • transcribing responses and information provided by clients into IRCC application forms (no advice may be provided)
  • translating a document or providing a verbal translation

RAP SPO staff cannot:

  • explain and/or advise on clients’ citizenship or immigration options
  • guide clients on how to select the best immigration stream
  • explain the intent of a question on an application form
  • provide advice on how to respond to questions on an application form
  • provide advice on how to amend an application form
  • communicate with IRCC and CBSA on a client’s behalf (except for direct translation of a client’s written or spoken submissions)
  • represent a client in a citizenship or immigration application or proceeding
  • advertise that they can provide citizenship or immigration advice or representation for consideration

For more information, see:

15. Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS)

A Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) is a circumstance where GARs with special needs receive support and services from a combination of IRCC, private sponsors and RAP service providers for an extended duration of up to 24 months. Special needs mean that a person has greater need of settlement assistance than other GARs owing to personal circumstances, including survivor of trauma or torture, medical needs/disability (physical or mental), large family size or non-traditional family configuration, etc. Working together in partnership, IRCC, the RAP service provider and the sponsor help to ensure the best possible outcome for the client(s).

15.1 Roles and Responsibilities

IRCC’s role is to provide JAS clients with similar assistance as that which is provided to GARs under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), including income support and access to government-funded resettlement services if required. The IRCC local office also assists in coordinating the initial case conferencing meeting between the sponsor and RAP Service Provider, participating where possible, and checks-in mid-way through the JAS to ensure the client’s needs are being met by the sponsor and that JAS is still in the best interest of the client.

The sponsor's role is to provide emotional support and additional settlement support as needed to help the clients get established in their new community. JAS clients are eligible to receive the same orientation and resettlement services as GARs, both under the RAP and Settlement Programs. Sponsors are encouraged to attend orientation sessions with the JAS clients to maximize contact with the refugees during the first crucial days and to familiarize themselves with what information the refugees are receiving. Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs) and their Constituent Groups (CGs) are eligible to participate in JAS.

The Service Provider Organization’s (SPO’s) role is to provide immediate and essential resettlement services to the JAS clients as required. Services may include:

  • ensuring temporary accommodation is provided
  • ensuring arrangements are in place for clients to get from the point of final destination (e.g. airport) to their temporary accommodation
  • linking clients to essential federal and provincial programs
  • orienting clients to income support by ensuring they understand their financial responsibilities
  • providing basic orientation specific to their immediate needs, and assisting clients to access settlement and broader-based community services.

15.2 Recommending a Client for JAS

IRCC Migration Officers may recommend a client for JAS before arrival to Canada. In this situation, a sponsor is found before the client arrives in Canada and the case is identified as JAS on the NAT.

Experience has shown that the special needs of some GARs may become apparent only after the clients have arrived in Canada. Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) SPOs have significant expertise in settlement needs and may be best placed to recommend which clients would benefit from the extra support of a sponsor based on a detailed post-arrival needs assessment. RAP SPOs are encouraged to bring to the attention of the local IRCC office any non-JAS cases they feel would be suitable for JAS and would benefit from the added support of a sponsor. RAP SPOs may complete the “Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) In-Canada Recommendation Form” and submit it, along with any pertinent case details, by email to the local IRCC office.

To note, ROC-O may suggest a case for JAS consideration to a Migration Officer as part of the destination matching requests process, or to the in-Canada network as part of the NAT issuance.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • RAP SPOs are encouraged to bring to the attention of the local IRCC office any non-JAS cases they feel would be suitable for JAS and would benefit from the added support of a sponsor. RAP SPOs may complete the “Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) In-Canada Recommendation Form” and submit it, along with any pertinent case details, by email to the local IRCC office.
  • Together with IRCC officer and sponsors, complete the Checklist for Reception Arrangements on the Arrival and Resettlement of Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) Newcomers to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilities.

15.3 Case Conferencing Meeting

A key aspect of providing support to JAS cases is that IRCC, SPOs and sponsors work efficiently together in partnership to ensure that all necessary supports are provided, while avoiding duplication of services or conflicting information.

The local IRCC office assists with coordinating the case conferencing meeting pre-arrival for cases coming to Canada as JAS, or at the start of a JAS for cases recommended post arrival. Since private sponsors are volunteers and may have other responsibilities during regular working hours, the meeting may take place outside of regular IRCC office hours, if required.

RAP SPO To-Do List

  • RAP SPOs may be asked to provide a meeting space for the case conferencing meeting, should discussions take place in person.
  • Encourage the sponsors to attend orientation sessions together with the client.

More information on JAS can be found at:

Annexes

Annex 1: Immigrant serving organizations and other community resources

LGBTQ2 organizations

Vancouver, BC

Calgary, Edmonton, AB

Saskatchewan, Manitoba

Toronto, Ottawa

Montreal, QC

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland

LGBTQ2 training

Annex 2: Resettlement and Settlement Programming for Refugees: A Continuum of Supports

Resettlement and Settlement Programming for Refugees: A Continuum of Supports as described below
Text version: Resettlement and Settlement Programming for Refugees: A Continuum of Supports

IRCC assists refugees in overcoming barriers specific to their experience, while encouraging host communities to become more welcoming and inclusive.

Resettlement, Settlement, Integration and Citizenship continuum:

  • Resettlement: spans from pre-arrival to one year post-arrival
  • Settlement: spans from pre-arrival (starting with Canadian Orientation Abroad) to citizenship
  • Integration: spans from pre-arrival (starting with Canadian Orientation Abroad and continues beyond citizenship
  • Citizenship: spans from citizenship acquisition to beyond

Pre-arrival programming:

  • Referral and selection of GAR / PSR / BVOR
  • Canadian Orientation Abroad / Interim Federal Health (Pre-Departure Medical Services)

Post-arrival programming:

  • Resettlement Assistance Program Services:
    • Spans from arrival to 4-6 weeks post-arrival
    • Includes Port of Entry Airport Services, Temporary Accommodations, Needs Assessments, Immediate Orientation, Links to Essential Federal/Provincial Programs, Assistance Locating Permanent Accommodations
  • Resettlement Assistance Program Income Support / Interim Federal Health / Resettlement Support from Sponsors
    • Spans from arrival to one year post-arrival
  • Post-arrival Settlement services:
    • Spans from arrival to citizenship
    • Includes Needs Assessment and Referrals, Language Assessment and Training, Employment, Information & Orientation, Community Connections

Annex 3: IRCC Guidelines for Sharing of Clients’ Resettlement Needs

The following information may be provided in the NAT if any in-transit or immediate post-arrival resettlement needs were noted during a client’s Immigration Medical Exam:

Resettlement Needs Category

Hearing/Vision/Speech Impairments, and the severity of the impairment
Options
  • Partial
  • Complete
Cognitive Impairment, and the severity of the impairment
Options
  • Mild
  • Moderate
  • Severe
Mobility Impairment
Options and Explanation
Current mobility aid (if any)
  • Most commonly used mobility aids are canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.
Mobility aid required
  • Most commonly used mobility aids are canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.
Activities of Daily Living – Indicates if the individual requires any assistance in their daily living
Options and Explanation
Independent
  • Does not require any assistance.
Partial Care
  • Refugee requires some assistance from others (i.e. partial assistance with feeding, bathing, and/or toileting).
Total Care
  • Refugee is totally dependent on others for care (i.e. feeding, bathing and/or toileting).
Special Travel Requirements - Provides any information that relates to travel accommodations for the client
Options and Explanation
None
  • No special travel requirements necessary for the refugee.
Wheelchair
  • Indicated whenever the refugee is using or requires a mobility aid, or when a refugee has a condition limiting their ability to move quickly/safely when transferring between terminals at an airport.
Stretcher
  • Any refugee requiring a stretcher should be accompanied by an IOM medical escort and will require urgent follow-up with a health care professional in Canada, as specified in the NAT.
Medical escort required
  • In most cases, any refugee requiring an IOM medical escort to accompany them safely to Canada will require an “Urgent” specialist assessment.
Other (e.g. operational escort)
  • Often used when the refugee should be accompanied by an adult family member or might need assistance in undertaking immigration formalities at the Port of Entry in Canada.
  • Will also indicate if the refugee requires a pre-departure assessment prior to travel.
Post-Arrival Services Required – Indicates the actual social and/or medical services that the refugee will require in Canada
Options and Explanation
No Services Required
  • No post-arrival services required.
Consultation with a health care professional required
  • Indicates if the consultation is required: urgently (within 72hrs); within X weeks; or as required (i.e. regular care as all GARs).
  • Indicates whether the refugee requires: any specialized services (i.e. special education, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, vocational training, lip reading or sign language training, etc.); or long term services (i.e. placement in a long term care facility)
Housing and Daily Activities / Assistance Requirements - Indicates information that refers to housing accommodation and day-to-day activity assistance requirements
Options and Explanation
Fully independent
  • No assistance required.
Wheelchair access required
  • Corresponds with the previous response regarding ‘mobility impairment’.
Home care/support services required
  • Will indicate if these services are required periodically or permanently. Examples include: attendant care (i.e. nursing), assistance with bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting.
Specialized services required to accommodate functional impairments
  • Examples include: long term care in residential facility with 24-hour nurse staff, home oxygen for a refugee with severe COPD.

Additional Comments - Provides any additional information that is deemed pertinent for the purposes of resettlement.

Annex 4: List of topics covered in Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA)

  1. Overview of Canada: May include information on Canada and its peoples, geography, seasons, and dressing for the weather.
  2. Travel to Canada: May include information on refugees’ journey to Canada, airports and airplanes, and how to handle incidents that may occur during travel.
  3. Arrival and Services: May include information on what beneficiaries should expect upon arrival, how their private sponsor or settlement agency can help them, what to do in an emergency, services for newcomers (in particular for RAP refugees)
  4. Housing: May include information on lodging options available in Canada, what the inside of a house looks like, rental situations, rights and obligations of tenants.
  5. Health: May include information on where to go for health care, making medical appointments, hygiene standards of Canadians, how to stay healthy, and HIV and AIDS
  6. Education: May include information on the education system in Canada, educational opportunities, behaviour that is acceptable and unacceptable in schools, how to deal with school-related situations (for parents and children)
  7. Transportation: May include information on what kind of transportation is available in Canada, safety for pedestrians and drivers, getting a driver’s licence and buying a car, budgeting for transportation
  8. Employment: May include information on the labour market in Canada, how to look for a job, job interviews, how to understand a pay slip, seniors and employment, women and employment
  9. Cultural Adaptation: May include information on adjusting to a new country, new situations beneficiaries may face, Canadian cultural values or norms, changing roles and responsibilities within the family
  10. Budgeting: May include information on making decisions about spending, saving money, and banking
  11. Laws: May include information on fundamental laws in Canada, rights of permanent residents and citizens, activities that are legal and illegal in Canada, responsibilities in Canada

Annex 5: Migrant Handover Notification

It is the responsibility of the IOM Medical Escort to complete this form in duplicate, get the signature from the Receiving Party upon handover of the migrant, give one original copy to the receiving party and retain one copy with yourself to be returned to the appropriate case file in the IOM mission.

  • PF #
  • From
  • To
  • Date of departure
  • Migrant’s last name, First Name
  • Case Reference # or Travel Doc ID #

In case of group medical escort please attach the list of medical cases to this declaration.

Certification by the IOM Medical Escort

I, (First Family Name) hereby transfer responsibility for the above named migrant(s) to the receiving party indicated below.

  • Date:
  • Local time:
  • Place (City, Country):
  • Signature:
  • Contact phone:

Certification by the Receiving Party

This is to acknowledge that

I, (First Family Name) as the receiving (circle all that apply) agency /family/health care provider/emergency services/IOM staff has met with the IOM Medical Escort named above on the date, time, location indicated above and formally took over the responsibility and/or care of the above mentioned migrant.

IOM Medical escort has also performed the below (tick as applicable):

  • Released Medical Records to the patient or his/her guardian
  • Released Observation and Intervention Report (MH06-B) to the health personnel (only in case of handover to health personnel)
  • Explained follow up and ongoing care needs, current health status and relevant events that occurred during transportation to the receiving party
  • Handed over medical supplies and/or medication of applicable
  • Agency/service/health care facility (if applicable):
  • Signature:
  • Contact phone:

Point of Handover:

  • POE
  • FD
  • Transit (specify)
  • Other (specify)

Additional notes:

Sending mission contact details:

  • Contact person:
  • Contact number:
  • Address:

Annex 6: Port of Entry Airport Services – Winter Clothing Form

Port of Entry Airport Services

Winter Clothing Form

  • PA Name:
  • Date:
  • POE:
  • Final destination:

The following items were provided, refused or unable to fit:

  • Winter Jacket
  • Gloves/Mitts
  • Boots
  • Hat
  • Snow pants
  • Socks

Signature of client:

Coordinator:

Annex 7: Port of Entry Airport Services - Client Pick Up Form

Client/family details

  • Name of PA:
  • Imm. Category:
  • IRCC File Number: #G
  • Family size:
  • POE:
  • Arrival date:
  • Flight Number:
  • Terminal number:

Contact information

  • Picked up by:
  • Relationship to PA:
  • Address:
  • Tel. #:

Signatures

  • PA signature:
  • Signature of person picking up PA:
  • POE Airport SPO Representative:

Annex 8: Port of Entry Airport Services - Change of Destination Request Form

Client/family details

  • Name of PA:
  • Imm. Category:
  • IRCC File Number: #G
  • Family size:
  • Arrival date at POE:
  • Flight Number:
  • Original Destination:
  • New Destination:

Contact information at new destination

If applicable, please provide the details for the client’s contact person in the new destination:

  • Name:
  • Tel. #:
  • Relationship to PA:
  • Address:
  • Driver’s license/UCI/Other (please specify):
  • Contact person will be picking up PA/family from the airport: Yes/ No
    • If yes, contact person signature:
  • Temporary accommodation address at new destination (if different than above):

Client declaration

I, (name), have requested to change my final destination from (destination) to (destination).

By signing this form, I understand the following:

  • It is my right, as a permanent resident, to choose where I will live in Canada.
  • Instead of travelling to my original destination, I have the right to decide upon receiving my Confirmation of Permanent Residence at the Port of Entry (POE) to either stay in the POE city, or to travel elsewhere in Canada.
  • I am responsible for all costs related to this change of itinerary – if there are new airline costs, ground transportation costs, and/or hotel costs, I may need to pay for these immediately.
  • The organization or sponsor located in my original destination has prepared for my arrival, will have arranged for temporary accommodation, and may have already identified a potential permanent accommodation or other supports for me/my family.
  • I can choose to continue my journey to my original destination, receive the full suite of Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) services from an IRCC-funded organization, or resettlement assistance from my sponsors in this location, and later consider the possibility of moving to another community, if I still wish to do so. signing this form, I understand the following:

For Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) clients only:

  • The original destination selected for me (and my family, if applicable) was identified based on my/my family’s profile and resettlement needs (including medical needs, if applicable, and my preferred official language, French or English); the new destination I am choosing may not necessarily have the resources and services I/my family require(s).
  • Only certain cities in Canada have IRCC-funded organizations delivering RAP services, including temporary accommodation and assistance in finding permanent accommodation. If I am choosing to settle in a community where these services are not available, I will not receive RAP services. If these services are available in the community I am choosing to settle in, there may be some delays in the receipt of these services, as the IRCC-funded organization will have not been prepared in advance for my arrival.
  • There could be a slight delay in the receipt of my RAP Income Support start up cheque from IRCC, however, I will receive income support regardless of where I choose to settle in Canada, for a period of one year or until I become self-sufficient, whichever comes first.

For Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSR) and Blended Visa Office Referred (BVOR) clients only:

  • If I choose to change my destination to a community away from my sponsors, my original sponsoring group may not find new sponsors in this new community. If no new sponsor is found, I will not receive resettlement support or financial support from my sponsoring group. If I am being resettled as a BVOR client, I will also not receive financial support from IRCC.

Client (Principal Applicant) signature:

Interpretation provided: No Yes – please specify client’s language:

Annex 9: Housing Search FormFootnote 30

Client details

  • Client Name:
  • Date:
  • IRCC file number:
  • Housing Search Worker:
  • RAP Counselor:

Needs Assessment

  • Family Size / Composition:
  • Number of bedrooms needed:
  • Budget:
  • Preferred location:
  • Location of Relatives:

Special needs

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • No stairs
  • No first floor / basement level
  • No pets
  • Other requirements / restrictions

Housing Search Process

Your RAP SPO is responsible for showing one (1) housing option to GARs. However, we will do our best to show you up to two (2) places that meet your needs, as defined above. The housing search is a shared responsibility between the client (you) and your RAP SPO (your Housing Search Worker).

Your Housing Search Worker's role is to facilitate your housing search by:

  • informing you about the housing market in your new community;
  • explaining to you the customs, practices and tenancy laws in Canada concerning housing;
  • finding one or two housing options that meet your needs;
  • accompanying you to visit these housing options;
  • helping you to communicate with the owner/building manager;
  • helping you to sign the rental agreement;
  • ordering your furniture delivery; and
  • helping you to set up your phone landline and utilities (electricity, internet connection, etc.).

These supports are provided to you only for your initial access to a rental house (i.e. moving out of your temporary accommodation), and not on ongoing basis.

Your role is to:

  • provide clear information about your needs;
  • look for housing if you are able to and keep your housing search worker informed of any help you receive and any housing option you find;
  • be available to visit housing during your temporary accommodations, so that we can inform you about your housing options once found and accompany you to see these options as soon as possible.

Client declaration

I understand my role and my Housing Search Worker role in the housing search process:

  • Signature:
  • Date:
  • Interpretation provided: No/Yes – please specify client’s language:

Annex 10: IFHP Information Sheet

Information sheet – Resettled Refugees and the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) (PDF, 250.92 KB)

Annex 11: Interim Federal Health Certificate of Eligibility

Interim Federal Health Certificate of Eligbility (PDF, 488.27 KB)

Annex 12: Resettlement Assistance Program - Agreement for Income Support Recipients

The Government of Canada, through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), provides financial assistance to eligible newcomers for the basic needs of life. As an eligible recipient of income support benefits under the RAP, you may receive financial assistance from the Government of Canada under the terms and conditions listed below for a maximum of (X) months from your date of arrival in Canada until (X) or until you are financially self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Income support is not an automatic benefit program and can be refused, discontinued or reduced if the conditions listed below are not met.

While receiving income support under the RAP,

I (name), born on (date) having FOSS ID/UCI number (number)

and my spouse (if applicable)

I,(name), born on (date) having FOSS ID/UCI number (number)

on behalf of myself and my/our dependent family members, agree to the following terms and conditions:

  1. I will declare to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada all my funds and assets and the funds and assets of my dependent family members presently in our possession or which will follow at a later date.
  2. I and my dependent family members will report all income or benefits received from any source, including but not limited to casual, part-time and full-time employment, employment insurance benefits, worker's compensation benefits, training allowances, student loans, scholarships, grants and bursaries, and social assistance payments, by completing a Change of Status Form and submitting it to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Centre at (location). Failure to report could result in being charged with fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada.
  3. I will immediately report any of the following changes to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada: address change (one month before moving), pregnancy, birth of a baby, start of paid work, change of jobs, start of training, change of schools, death of a family member, incarceration, hospitalization, name change, change in family composition, including a change in marital status or common-law relationship, change in sponsorship (if applicable), and departure from Canada by completing a Change of Status Form and submitting it to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Centre at (location).
  4. I understand that if I leave Canada for an extended period of time, my RAP benefits may be impacted, as well as the RAP benefits of dependent family members who remain in Canada. I will report any confirmed travel by completing a Change of Status form and submitting it to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Centre.
  5. I will pursue opportunities that will contribute to my becoming self-sufficient (e.g., language training classes, college or university courses, employment preparation programs), or I will actively look for work and be available for work at all times. I will not refuse any reasonable job offer or abandon a job without just cause. I will not limit myself to a job in my normal occupation but will be willing to consider all available jobs.
  6. I agree to promptly repay any RAP benefits given to me that exceed the amount to which I am properly entitled, and I authorize Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to arrange repayment either through payroll deduction with my employer or through recovery of my RAP income support.
  7. I understand that if I move, I am responsible for paying all moving costs and meeting any and all commitments with local landlords. I am not entitled to temporary accommodation in another city, nor will any of the assistance I have already received be duplicated.
  8. In the case of voluntary repatriation, I authorize Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to release my date of departure from Canada to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for the purpose of income support-related programs administered by the CRA.
  9. I consent to the disclosure and/or use of personal information concerning myself and/or my dependants for the purpose of helping in our resettlement and adjusting to Canada, specifically to those settlement agencies, private sponsors (if applicable), and Canadian government authorities and suppliers of Canadian government authorities (and their subcontractors) involved in our resettlement and adaptation process.
  10. I acknowledge that the above information was fully explained to me to my complete satisfaction by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, by my RAP service provider organization (SPO) counsellor, by my private sponsor (if applicable), or through an interpreter, and I fully understand the contents. I understand that it is a criminal offence to make any false statements regarding my eligibility for the RAP and that should I fail to comply with this agreement or knowingly defraud the Government of Canada, I may be subject to criminal prosecution.
  11. I acknowledge I was given a copy of this document.

    Accepted and agreed to this day of (year), in the city of (location).

    • Recipient
    • Spouse of recipient
    • IRCC RAP officer
    • RAP SPO counsellor (if present)/private sponsor (if applicable)
    • IRCC RAP supervisor/manager
    • Interpreter (if used)

Annex 13: RAP Declaration of Funds and Assets on Arrival

This form is used for the purpose of declaring financial assets to in order to determine income support needs.

One form per family is required, and should include to total assets of all family members within the same income support file.

  • UCI:
  • Given names:
  • Surname:
  • Date of birth:
  • Date of arrival:
  • # of persons in family:
  1. How much money do you and your family presently have either in your possession or that is currently accessible to you to withdraw or transfer (eg bank funds, bank notes)?
    1. If currency is not Canadian dollars, please indicate type:
  2. Do you expect to receive any transfer of money or goods from overseas, or funds or assets which may follow at a later date?
    1. Yes
    2. No
      1. If yes, provide details:
  3. Do you or any of your family members have assets of significant value, such as real estate or ownership of an enterprise?
    1. Yes
    2. No
      1. Estimated value in Canadian dollars $:

I, (name) herby declare that the information I have provided above of behalf of myself and my family members included in my income support file is true. I understand that failure to disclose information about my income or assets to an official of the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may result in the suspension of the review of my benefits under the Resettlement Assistance Program. I also understand that failure to report income or assets to IRCC could result in an overpayment that I must repay to the crown, or in some cases being charged with fraud under the Criminal Code of Canada.

  • Head of household’s name and signature:
  • Date:

I testify that I have fully explained the contents of this declaration to the client in their preferred language (or whit the use of an interpreter) and that the client confirms that they understand the contents of this form

  • Immigration Counsellor:
  • Interpreter name:

Annex 14: In-Canada Joint Assistance Sponsorship (JAS) - Recommendation Form

IMM5673E : Joint Assistance Sponsership (JAS) in-Canada recommendation form (PDF, 2.17 MB)

Annex 15: JAS Roles and Responsibilities Checklist

Instructions: This form is to be completed by the Sponsor and RAP Service Provider during the case conferencing discussion, prior to the JAS newcomer’s arrival to Canada or at the start of the JAS period in the case of in-Canada JAS. The purpose of the discussion is to clearly outline the roles and responsibilities of all partners and to determine which responsibilities will be handled by which partner. Once completed, a copy is to be given to the sponsor, the RAP SPO, the local IRCC officer and the client.

1. Roles and Responsibilities

IRCC’s role is to provide JAS refugees with similar assistance as that which is provided to GARs under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), including income support and access to government-funded resettlement services, if required.

The sponsor's role is to provide the same type of orientation, settlement assistance and emotional support as they would provide to a privately sponsored refugee (PSR). JAS newcomers benefit from the added sponsor support in terms of time and effort to help get established in Canada. JAS clients are eligible to receive the same orientation and resettlement services as GARs, delivered by RAP Service Provider Organizations. Sponsors are encouraged to attend orientation sessions with the JAS newcomers to maximize their contact with the refugees during their first crucial days and to familiarize themselves with the information the refugees are receiving.

The Service Provider Organization’s (SPO’s) role is to provide immediate and essential resettlement services to the JAS clients as required. Services may include: ensuring temporary accommodation is provided, ensuring arrangements are in place for newcomers to get from the point of final destination (e.g. airport) to their temporary accommodation, linking newcomers to mandatory federal and provincial programs, orienting newcomers to income support by ensuring they understand their financial responsibilities, providing basic orientation specific to their immediate needs, and assisting newcomers to access settlement and broader-based services.

2. Checklist of Supports to JAS Newcomer(s)

  • Newcomer Name:
  • UCI#:
  • Date of Pending Arrival to Canada (for Overseas JAS)
  • Date of JAS Conversion (for in-Canada JAS)

Roles and Responsibilities for JAS Newcomer Arrival, Reception and Transition into Permanent Housing (select SAH or CG, RAP SPO or N/A)

  • Pre-arrival/Arrival
    • Provide orientation materials in English or French to sponsoring group (if required)
    • Meet the newcomer(s) upon arrival
    • Secure an interpreter to be at the airport (port of entry)
    • Provide temporary accommodation upon arrival
    • Other:
  • Within first week of Arrival
    • Assessment and referral for any immediate essential medical needs
    • Ensure clients are connected with available supports provided under the IFHP
    • Apply for provincial/territorial medical insurance
    • Apply for Social Insurance Number
    • Apply for Canada Child Benefits (if applicable)
    • Open bank account
    • Deliver RAP orientation sessions (approximately 15 hours), with interpreter if needed.
    • Attend RAP orientation sessions
    • Purchase initial clothing (make list of what each person will need)
    • Other:
  • Soon After Arrival (within two to three weeks)
    • Enroll children in school
    • Make childcare arrangements if children are not of school age and/or require day care (excl. childcare services already provided where clients access IRCC-funded settlement services)
    • Make appointment for language assessment and/or referral to language training classes
    • Introduction of client to Settlement SPO
    • Other:
  • Securing and Moving into Permanent Housing
    • Locate/Secure housing (newcomer signs apartment lease)
    • Order furniture and arrange for delivery
    • Arrange for utility hook-up
    • Assist with purchase of initial provision of food and household supplies/equipment
    • Accompany newcomer to new location – ensuring someone is on location to receive furniture.
    • Ensure the new permanent address is provided to PR Card Centre
    • Other:
  • Settling in the Community
    • Provide transportation to appointments/interviews
    • Familiarize newcomer with public transit system
    • Familiarize newcomer with banking system
    • Obtain family physician
    • Plan for medical emergency
    • Plan for other emergencies (fire, flood, snow/ice storm, power outage, etc.)
    • Referral to other settlement programs and community resources
    • Referral and introduction of client to specialized services (e.g. Torture and Trauma centre)
  • Other - List Responsibilities

3. Material to Have Available for the Newcomer(s)

Resource Materials

  1. Sponsor’s and SPO’s emergency contact information
  2. Map of the town/city, province, and country
  3. Local Transit Map and Riders’ Guide
  4. Library Guide
  5. City/Regional Visitors’ Guide
  6. First Steps: An Orientation Guide for Newcomers” (available from IRCC)
  7. “Welcome to Canada What You Should Know” (available from IRCC) http://www.cic.gc.ca/ENGLISH/resources/publications/welcome/index.asp
  8. Local newcomers guide to services in the community (if available)
  9. Other – List Resource Materials:

4. Main Contact Information

Sponsoring Group (SAH or GC)
Name: Alternate Name:
Telephone: Telephone:
Email: Email:
RAP SPO (Reception Centre)
Name: Alternate Name:
Telephone: Telephone:
Email: Email:

5. JAS Agreement Statement

In the best interest of our client(s) under the JAS Program, we agree that the above-noted roles and responsibilities will be undertaken and fulfilled to the best of our ability. It is further understood and agreed that we will continue to communicate with each other on issues of mutual concern that affect the resettlement of our mutual client(s).

Sponsorship Agreement Holder (SAH) or Constituent Group (CG):

  • Name of SAH or CG (main contact)
  • Print Name:
  • Signature:
  • Date:

RAP Service Provider Organization (SPO):

  • Name of RAP SPO
  • Print Name:
  • Signature:

Copies of this JAS Roles and Responsibilities Checklist are to be given to:

  1. SAH/CG;
  2. RAP SPO;
  3. Client;
  4. IRCC
Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: