Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Settlement and resettlement service providers

Until you have clear guidelines for safely reopening your offices, focus on providing critical settlement and resettlement services to your clients.

Providing services to your clients

You should always follow the guidance of your local health authority when deciding when and how to offer services to your clients.

Focus on critical services

Until you have clear guidelines for safely reopening your offices, focus on providing critical settlement and resettlement services to your clients.

Critical Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) services include

  • arranging for on-site primary health-care screening, either directly or by following the advice of your local clinic
  • providing temporary accommodations, food and cash allowances for the full duration of their stay in temporary accommodations
  • completing applications for provincial health- care insurance, a social insurance number and the Canada Child Benefit
  • providing information over the phone (with an interpreter if needed) on
  • addressing any other urgent need clients may have

Critical case management services for vulnerable clients include

  • providing information and orientation
  • setting up medical appointments and helping with interpretation
  • offering crisis counselling
  • family and gender-based violence supports and referrals

Whenever possible, provide these services by telephone, email or online.

Treat family and gender-based violence services as essential

Service providers in Canada and globally have seen family and gender-based violence (GBV) increase during COVID-19.

Services that give newcomers access to prevention and emergency resources are essential services. Keep providing these critical family and GBV services to newcomers so they have what they need to stay safe.

What your organization needs to keep doing:

  • Strengthen your relationships with anti-violence and LGBTQ2 community organizations and make referrals to them.
  • Make sure your services are available by phone, online or in person (if needed, and only if it’s safe).
  • Make sure you follow the confidentiality and privacy requirements in your agreement.
  • If you can do it safely, provide GBV outreach and prevention information informally, through unrelated activities. For example:
    • Language Instruction to Newcomers to Canada classes
    • conversations about schoolwork
    • while offering other services (if safe)

Find more resources at:

Offer your services remotely

You shouldn’t provide non-critical services in person until there are clear guidelines for safely reopening. In the meantime, you can still provide services remotely. Some remote services you can offer include

  • regular check-ins with clients (by telephone or email)
  • online workshops (for example, on COVID-19, quarantine and mental health)
  • online mentoring and buddy systems
  • a lending system for tablets with Internet access to help vulnerable newcomers access webinars and other online services

Remote language training

Offer language training online to support your clients while following health recommendations on physical distancing.

Get help with remote language training

Stay safe while offering services online

When offering services online and working remotely, your security and privacy challenges will also change.

Protect client information

Take extra security measures to protect your clients’ personal information while your employees are working from home. Make sure you and your employees follow all reasonable security practices.

Learn more about protecting your organization and employees online in your iCARE account

Be flexible when verifying your clients’ identity

When delivering services online, it can be harder to verify your clients’ identity. Try to offer more than 1 option to your clients, like calling them at their registered phone numbers, to make it easier for them to verify their identity to you. You can confirm your services were delivered to the right people when in-person service restarts.

If you must provide critical services in person

Our priority is the well-being, safety and security of your clients and employees. While we support adjusting your processes to reduce social contact with clients, it’s not always possible. You may need to offer some critical services in person.

Increase pay for staff providing critical services in person

We’ll support requests from service providers to increase pay by up to 15% for front-line employees delivering critical services in person. This increase will apply for the period between April 1 and June 30, 2020. Depending on the situation, wage increases may be extended after June 30, 2020, for some regions.

These pay increases should be funded within your existing budget. If you can’t fund them in your existing budget, contact your program officer right away.

Use protective equipment and supplies

Keep your employees and clients safe. If you have to buy protective equipment and supplies to provide services in person, contact your program officer. The cost may be an eligible claim in your contribution agreement.

If you can’t provide services

We won’t penalize you if you can’t provide the services outlined in your agreement because you’re following

  • our guidance
  • the guidance of your local health authority

If your service delivery is affected, contact your program officer to discuss your situation.

Share COVID-19 information in multiple languages with your clients

You can help newcomers understand COVID-19 by sharing resources in multiple languages on the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) website. These include

  • fact sheets
  • videos
  • recordings
  • infographics

You can find the languages of each resource under its description.

Get PHAC COVID-19 resources

Share financial assistance information in multiple languages with your clients

You can help newcomers understand what financial assistance may be available to them by referring to information from Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency, some of which is now available in multiple languages. This includes details about the Canada Child Benefit and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.

Get financial assistance information

Managing your agreement with us

To help manage the impact of COVID-19 on your organization, we’ve made some temporary changes that may help you support your employees and clients during these disruptions.

Ask to rearrange your funding to help with administrative costs

If you haven’t spent as much money on program delivery this year because of COVID-19, you can ask to separate your program delivery funds from your administrative funds. This will help you pay for your administrative costs.

To make a request to separate your administrative and program delivery funding, contact your program officer.

Get financial support for online service delivery

To help you offer services online, we’ve adjusted the equipment and services that can qualify as expenses under your agreement. Depending on your situation, some costs that may qualify include

  • cell phones, laptops and tablets (for your employees or to loan out to your clients)
  • $30 a month to offset the costs of delivering services from home (for employees already funded through your agreement)

Contact your program officer to find out what may be available to you.

Some accrued vacation leave can be paid out

Effective April 1, 2020, you can pay out accrued vacation leave (accumulated vacation balances) and claim it as eligible expense if it

  • is part of your organization’s internal policy
  • applies to all employees (even those not funded through your agreement)
  • follows the labour standards of your province or territory
  • respects any collective agreements your organization has with bargaining agents
  • is agreed to by both your organization and the employees getting the payout

As the service provider claiming these payouts:

  • These expenses will be funded under your existing contribution agreement.
  • Vacation your employees have accumulated under previous agreements is not eligible.
  • After in-person services return to normal, these expenses will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Take more time to submit your annual reports

We’ve extended the deadline to submit your 2 annual reports to August 31, 2020. The reports are

  • the annual project performance report for settlement contribution agreements
  • the annual report for Resettlement Assistance Program agreements
  • the annual performance report for community partnerships

Expenses and processes that are staying the same

While we’re making some changes to support providers during these disruptions, many processes are the same.

Pay supply teachers from existing funds

You should keep paying supply teachers using the unused funds you have available. This process has not been affected by COVID-19.

Help clients access Resettlement Assistance Program income support

Consider federal benefits to be earned income

Some of your clients getting benefits through RAP may be eligible for

  • Employment Insurance
  • the Canada Emergency Response Benefit

The 50% additional income incentive policy under RAP will apply to the above-mentioned benefits. Clients should be reporting these benefits. Be ready to help them with the reporting process.

Scan and email RAP documents after getting a signature

Until further notice, we’ll electronically sign and email documents to you when we need your client’s signature. These include

  • RAP agreements
  • declaration of funds and assets
  • income support initial cheque acknowledgement
  • loan forms

To correctly complete the documents:

  1. After we email you the PDF form, print it.
  2. Get your client to sign the document.
  3. Scan the completed document and email it back to us.

Our office will check that the documents are complete and accurate, and explain what to do with the original copies.

Contact us

If you’re a service provider organization with questions about service delivery during COVID-19, contact your program officer for guidance.

Not a service provider organization? 

Find out how you’re affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

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