CHEO will create a National Navigator Network to help newcomers

News release

May 30, 2019—Ottawa, ON—Canada is actively working with many partners to improve the accessibility and quality of settlement services delivered to newcomers across Canada. Settlement services help newcomers integrate into Canadian communities.

The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is launching a new project focusing on breaking down barriers faced by newcomers. This includes linguistic and cultural hurdles to accessing health care, as well as helping newcomers learn about Canada’s universal health-care system.

CHEO’s Newcomer Navigator program helps newcomers navigate the pediatric health-care system. The hospital has also created a toolkit for other newcomer-serving organizations to use to support clients who want to access health care.

As part of this new project, CHEO plans to create a nationwide Newcomer Navigator Network. This will ensure standardized service delivery by organizations across the country that deliver health care to both children and adults, as well as those in the settlement sector. The National Newcomer Navigator Network will be developed through outreach and needs assessment activities with the provinces.

The Government has a dedicated service delivery improvements fund to improve, innovate and experiment to find better ways to deliver services to and meet the needs of newcomers and support their integration into Canada.


“CHEO has a proven track record of providing high-quality settlement services for newcomers. Working with them on a National Newcomer Navigator Network is a new and better way to help newcomers succeed in their new country and benefits all Canadians”.

– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“I’m very proud of the work CHEO does each and every day for local families. This project proves that when you dream big, wonderful things can happen. Having this project go national is vital to meeting the needs of newcomers and will lead to their success”. 

– The Honourable David McGuinty, Member of Parliament for Ottawa South

“At CHEO, we know that every day matters for kids. They grow, learn and develop at an astonishing speed. Key to this is good health care. As families from Syria started arriving in Ottawa in 2015, CHEO acted quickly by developing the Newcomer Navigator Program to help these families access health care for their children and youth. Now, CHEO is proud to build on this work and lead a national effort to create a network across Canada and across the public sector services — showing our newest Canadians that they are truly welcome”.

– Alex Munter, CEO and President, CHEO

“At Saint Paul University, our vision is to drive transformative change and build a stronger, more inclusive and more humane society. This includes reaching out beyond our walls to look for new approaches to real issues and with CHEO as a partner we can make this happen for newcomers to Canada. We are looking forward to the role we will play in the development of a training program for the creation and implementation of a National Newcomer Navigator Network in hospital settings across Canada. I see a strong alignment to our research, our programs and our institutional mission”.

– Dr. Chantal Beauvais, Rector, Saint Paul University

Quick facts

  • Service Delivery Improvements (SDI) funding is a dedicated stream within the Settlement Program of almost $150 million over 5 years. The funding was allocated to the department through the 2017 Immigration Levels Plan.

  • Following the first expression of interest process for SDI launched in fall 2017, IRCC is now funding more than 100 projects across the country. 

  • There are 7 funding streams under the SDI: 

    • language acquisition
    • employment 
    • youth supports
    • harnessing volunteers and supporting capacity-building in the settlement sector
    • pay for performance
    • newcomer well-being and programming to support vulnerable clients, and
    • research and analysis to drive innovation and understand the user experience


Contacts for media only

Mathieu Genest
Minister’s Office
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

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