2.C Settlement and Integration
C.4 What post-arrival supports are available beyond those provided by sponsors?
(ii) Who is responsible for providing other support services?
How Canada Does It
The Government of Canada, provincial/territorial governments, municipalities, and other community, educational, and not-for-profit organizations provide a range of specialized services that sponsors cannot reasonably be expected to provide to sponsored refugees. Sponsors commit in their Settlement Plan to connect with various actors to provide these other support services (see 2.C.4(i)).
Sponsors must provide housing and the basic necessities of life, as well as emotional and community support to help resettled refugees integrate successfully into their new communities. Sponsors must also facilitate access to settlement agencies and other support services so that refugees can receive support sponsors cannot reasonably provide, including:
- HEALTH AND DENTAL CARE: As permanent residents, resettled refugees are eligible for provincial or territorial healthcare upon their arrival in Canada. This healthcare may take up to three months to come into effect. Therefore while awaiting their provincial or territorial health insurance coverage, they are eligible for basic health coverage through the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). The IFHP also provides supplemental coverage (such as mental health services, limited vision care, and urgent dental care) and prescription drug coverage (see 2.C.5).
- COUNSELLING SERVICES: Under the IFHP, resettled refugees can access services provided by allied healthcare practitioners including clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech language therapists, and physiotherapists. Provincial and territorial health insurance plans also have programs available such as the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, and not-for-profit organizations such as the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture.
- EMPLOYMENT-RELATED SERVICES: Through its Settlement Program, Canada funds a network of service provider organizations that provide a range of settlement services, including employment-related programming to refugees. For more information see 2.C.3(ii).
- EDUCATION: Refugee children can access primary and secondary education provided by provincial/territorial governments free of cost. Language training is funded by the federal government and accessible through Canada’s Settlement Program (see 2.C.8). Settlement agencies also provide a variety of training programs – e.g. to gain computer skills. See 2.C.6 for more information about how refugees can access various educational opportunities.
- LEGAL SERVICES: Low-income families, which may include sponsored refugees, may access a broad range of free legal services (e.g. for employment, housing, immigration, welfare, and other matters) through provincial and territorial legal aid programs.
- PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Local transportation networks are administered by municipal and provincial governments, depending on geographical scope. Sponsors must orient refugees to the public transportation system and facilitate access to bus/metro/train passes to enable refugees to navigate their communities freely and independently. Many refugees may be eager to obtain their driver’s license and purchase a vehicle to get around independently. Sponsors should support refugees in understanding and navigating the process of licensing, and discuss the budgetary implications of vehicle and insurance purchase relative to the monthly income assistance they provide.