“Settlement of immigrants is a period of adaptation between newcomers and the host society, during which the federal government provides services to newcomers. Effective settlement paves the way for immigrants to contribute to the Canadian economy and to participate in the social, political and cultural life of Canada.
To support successful integration into Canadian society, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides funding to third-party organizations to deliver settlement services in all provinces and territories except for Quebec. The Settlement Program aims to assist immigrants and refugees in overcoming barriers specific to the newcomer experience.
The Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) has incorporated data from IRCC's Settlement Program and Resettlement Assistance Program focusing on services accessed by recent immigrants up to April 2021. The current article examines the settlement services accessed by adult immigrants admitted from 2016 to 2020.
Refugees are the group of immigrants that accessed settlement services the most
By April 2021, close to half (46.3%) of adult immigrants admitted from 2016 to 2020 accessed at least one type of settlement services. Refugees, who came to Canada in order to escape war, violence, conflict or persecution in their home countries, accessed settlement services the most among all immigrants. The vast majority of refugees (89.4%) accessed settlement services. By comparison, dependents of economic immigrants (51.0%), family sponsored immigrants (40.4%), and economic principal applicants (35.2%) relied less on those services.
Information and orientation the most commonly accessed type of settlement services among recent immigrants
Among the different types of services available to recent immigrants, information and orientation services were accessed the most (40.4%). This type of services provides newcomers the knowledge they need to better integrate into Canadian society, including, but not limited to, procedures to obtain official documents, information on how to obtain health and child benefits, as well as information about daily life in local communities.
Across all types of federally funded settlement services received by adult immigrants, needs assessment and referrals were the second most accessed services (30.4%). They were most used by refugees (77.3%) and least used by economic principal applicants (21.5%).
The third type of most commonly accessed services by adult immigrants was language training (13.4%). Overcoming language barriers is considered an important step to enable immigrants to adapt to Canadian sociocultural life as well as assist them in finding employment in the Canadian labour market. Among adult immigrants, 46.8% of adult refugees, 13.4% of sponsored family immigrants, 11.1% of dependants of economic immigrants and 3.9% of economic principal applicants had language training.
Overall, more immigrant women than men access settlement services
Among immigrant women admitted from 2016 to 2020, 49.5% accessed settlement services, compared with 42.9% of men. Information and orientation services had the biggest difference in terms of access by immigrant women and men; they were accessed by 46.0% of women and 37.0% of men. Language training services had the second biggest difference, with 16.1% of immigrant women using this type of services compared with 10.5% of men.
The settlement services module of the IMDB covers federally funded services provided to immigrants. The addition of this information in the IMDB can facilitate future analysis of the roles settlement services play in immigrants' short- and long-term socioeconomic outcomes. For example, it is possible to assess the impact of employment related services or language training on immigrants' wages and salaries as well as other sources of incomes over time.”