July 24, 2024

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Five free settlement resources for international students in Canada

4 min read

International students across Canada are eligible to access some settlement services from organizations that operate inside their destination province or territory.

These services, which are offered by a variety of providers across all Canadian provinces and territories, each have their own policies, eligibility criteria, and service offerings.

It is also worth noting that the details of each organization’s services, such as its eligibility criteria, are often outlined at the discretion of the individual service provider rather than the federal government.

Five places to find settlement services for international students in Canada

International students in Canada can access a variety of helpful settlement services and resources, which can aid them in areas such as language training, accessing government services like healthcare, finding a job and connecting with their local community.

Discover your options to study in Canada

The following five organizations are examples of where international students can obtain these different settlement services.

For clarity, the following organizations are not funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The student’s Designated Learning Institution (DLI)

From workshops to organized social events, all international students will be able to access support and settlement services through their DLI. It is worth noting that not every DLI in Canada will offer the same settlement and support services.

Note: A DLI is the only type of post-secondary institution in Canada authorized to accept international students. All prospective and incoming international students should ensure that the school where they are studying has valid status as a Designated Learning Institution in Canada.

Example services offered by a DLI

  • Support with learning about banking in Canada: banks and credit unions, the difference between a credit and debit card, what to be cautious of
  • Information about future immigration pathways
  • Information about the legal rights of an international student
  • Help with ways to get involved in the community

WoodGreen

Location: Five locations across Toronto, Ontario

WoodGreen provides international students with a variety of settlement services, ranging from help with accessing other services* to assistance with immigration questions and connecting to community programs.

*Some of the services WoodGreen can help newcomers access include housing, healthcare, education and legal aid

WoodGreen services

  • Help with accessing services
    • Employment
    • Healthcare
    • Housing
    • Education
    • Training
    • Legal Aid
  • Assistance with answering immigration questions
    • Citizenship
    • Permanent residency
    • Work permits
  • Support with applying for government benefits
  • Help with connecting international students to community programs
    • Language training
    • Recreational activities

Mosaic British Columbia

Location: Vancouver, British Columbia and Burnaby, British Columbia

Operating through the British Columbia Settlement and Integration Services (BCSIS) program, Mosaic British Columbia helps international students by offering the following services.

Mosaic services

  • Referrals for services and support, including visa status inquiries
  • Coaching and support for employment (job searching, online job applications, resumes and cover letters, job interviews etc.)
  • Facilitating social activities
  • Workshops to help with understanding and exploring permanent residence pathways
  • Access to a series of seminars given by “guest speakers from various fields of work”
  • Help with accessing government services, such as healthcare

Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL)

Location*: Invermere, British Columbia (B.C.)

*CBAL operates in 16 communities across British Columbia

Offering services “primarily” in English but also some in French, CBAL offers a variety of settlement services to international students in B.C.

Note: CBAL notes that “some one-to-one services are available in French, [either] locally or virtually if requested.” However, CBAL also offers the ability to provide a referral “to a nearby agency” for clients who would prefer French-language services.

CBAL services

  • Individualized support with navigating local services and accessing information
  • Needs assessments, goal setting and referrals (individually or as a family)
  • Help with banking, housing, accessing healthcare, registering a child for school, accessing legal services and more
  • Assistance with employment and understanding/transitioning to Canadian workplace culture
  • Help with completing forms and applications
  • Connecting clients to social and cultural groups as well as community programs
  • Conducting English language assessments
  • Providing both formal and informal English-language training (both online and in-person)

Action for Healthy Communities (A4HC)

Location: Edmonton, Alberta

A4HC, which offers its services in both English and French, can assist international students through a variety of one-on-one sessions or group activities and programs.

A4HC services

A4HC offers a number of services under eight general support categories. Please visit the webpage at the hyperlink above for more details on the specific service offerings under each category.

  • Knowledge about life in Canada
    • Health and wellbeing
    • Housing
    • Income supports
    • Banking
  • Personal growth/capacity development
    • English language training
    • Computer training
    • Financial literacy
  • Employment, self-employment and starting a business
  • The educational system, programs and skill development
  • Community involvement, resource fairs and events
    • Opportunities for social and cultural networking
    • Volunteering
    • Community field trips
  • Family dynamics
  • Specialized projects
  • Regional supports

Discover your options to study in Canada


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