Pre-arrival settlement services for newcomers to Canada: How they can help

Moving to Canada and starting a new chapter of your life is an exciting prospect. As you plan your move, you may have many questions and concerns about settling in. To make this transition seamless, the Canadian government funds various settlement agencies so they can help newcomers, like yourself, adapt to life in Canada. These agencies provide free settlement services to newcomers from all countries, both in pre- and post-arrival, making them excellent resources to tap into.

In this article:

What are pre-arrival settlement services?

All newcomers and their family members who are approved to come to Canada can register for free in-person and online services to prepare for and adjust to life in Canada – these programs or sessions are referred to as pre-arrival settlement services. 

Pre-arrival services can help you to:

All of these services are provided by the Canadian government and are available for free to approved newcomers. 

Pre-arrival organizations help you get information on how to move to, live and work in Canada. They assess your needs and create a personalized plan to help you settle in Canada. They’ll also connect you with any other pre-arrival and post-arrival services you need.

Eligibility criteria to register for pre-arrival settlement services

You can register for a free in-person or virtual pre-arrival settlement services, if: 

  • Your permanent residence (PR) application has been approved;
  • You currently are residing/living outside Canada;
  • You have one of these documents: 
    • A letter from the IRCC mentioning that you are eligible for pre-arrival services; OR
    • A Confirmation of PR (CoPR) letter; OR
    • A passport request letter that indicates PR visa issuance; OR
    • A letter from IRCC asking for your medical exam results; OR 
    • A single-entry PR visa; OR
    • A letter from IRCC letting you know that you can pick up your PR visa.

Note Icon  Note
You cannot register for pre-arrival services if you’re coming to Canada as a visitor/tourist, international student or temporary foreign worker.

Just like various Government websites, the Arrive app is designed to provide newcomers, like yourself, with information that matters, at a time when you need it the most. The best part: you’ll always have all resources in one place – in an app on your phone – and you can access it wherever you are, without having to provide any confirmation from the Canadian government. Whether you’re a year away from your move or just a few weeks out, if you’re a PR, international student or temporary foreign worker, the Arrive app will provide timely and relevant content, tools and guidance to ensure you’re fully prepared for your move and your life in Canada.  

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List of pre-arrival settlement services

Prearrival settlement agencies can help newcomers in different capacities, from finding work in Canada to settling in and adapting to life in Canada. The lists below will help you identify how each organization will be able to help you.

Key agencies and organizations that help with settling in and adapting to life in Canada

Organization Services OverviewService LocationLanguages
Active Engagement and Integration Project (AEIP)
  • General information about living in Canada;
  • Orientation to education, health care, housing and transportation in Canada;
  • Needs assessment; and
  • Referrals to community services.
In-person: China.

Virtual sessions for global audiences.

English, French, Cantonese and Mandarin
Planning for Canada [previously known as the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP)]
  • General information about living in Canada;
  • Orientation to education, health care, housing and transportation in Canada;
  • Needs assessment; and
  • Referrals to community services.
In-person: India and the Philippines.

Virtual sessions for global audiences.

English, French and other local languages.
Next Stop Canada
  • General information about living in Canada;
  • Orientation to education, health care, housing and transportation in Canada;
  • Needs assessment;
  • Referrals to community services;
  • Specialized programming for youth between 12 to 19 years old, such as connections to youth mentors.
Virtual only; offered globally.English, French, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Farsi, Hindi, Kurdish, Mandarin, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Urdu.
Connexions FrancophonesIf you want to live in a Francophone community in Canada, they can help you with:

  • Information and orientation;
  • Connections with Francophone local organizations;
  • Needs assessment;
  • A personalized settlement plan with other links to in-Canada resources.
In-person: Morocco.

Virtual sessions for global audiences.

French, English and Arabic.
Achēv NIC (Newcomer Information Centre) Online [previously known as PrepCan]Specifically serves those residing or planning to reside in Ontario. Provides live webinars, newsletters, articles, self-directed virtual resource centre, insider information from industry experts, and much more.

Settlement Support: Education and training, banking, housing, healthcare, Government programs, legal and social services, Canadian citizenship.

Virtual only; offered globally.English and French.

Tips Icon  Tip:
In-person or one-on-one pre-arrival services are scheduled on specific days throughout the year. These sessions are very popular and space may be limited. Therefore, to reserve a spot, do reach out to relevant organizations as soon as you’re approved to come to Canada.

Agencies and organization that help with career and job search in pre-arrival

There are many Government-funded organizations that can help you prepare for the job market in Canada. They can provide assistance with job search and finding employment, crafting a Canadian-style resume, learning about Canadian workplace culture, finding a mentor, and preparing to get your credentials recognized.

Organization Services OverviewLanguages
Active Engagement and Integration Project (AEIP)Offers general employment services through virtual information orientations, workshops and webinars. 

AEIP can help you:

  • Write your resume;
  • Prepare to work in Canada;
  • Get your credentials recognized; and
  • Attend online job fairs to learn about potential employers.
English, French, Cantonese and Mandarin.
Canada InfoNetServices provided:

  • Preparing for work;
  • Employer-interactive webinars;
  • Job matching platforms;
  • Find a mentor with experience in your sector;
  • Learn about Canadian workplace culture.
English and French.
Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)
  • Online courses, including “Job Search Strategies” and “Working in Canada;”
  • Webinars; and
  • Help for preparing to work in Canada.
English and French (coming soon).
Connexions FrancophonesEmployment services for French-speaking newcomers wishing to settle in Francophone communities. 

Services include:

  • Virtual job fairs in real time with potential employers seeking French-speaking employees;
  • How to prepare to work in Canada and get your credentials recognized;
  • Webinars about mentoring, writing a resume and Canadian workplace culture.
English, French and Arabic.
Achēv NIC (Newcomer Information Centre) Online [previously known as PrepCan]Specifically serves those residing or planning to reside in Ontario. Provides live webinars, newsletters, articles, self-directed virtual resource centre, insider information from industry experts, and much more.

Employment Support: Orientation to the job market, understanding of Canadian workplace culture, assistance with resume preparation, and on-demand and live webinars related to job search.

English and French.
BCCA Integrating Newcomers

The British Columbia Construction Association Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) program provides free one-on-one pre-arrival services to newcomers with a construction background and those interested in learning how their education and experience can apply to construction work.

Services provided by BCCA-IN include skills assessment, job leads, accreditation advice, and settlement services referrals.

BCCA-IN supports architects, designers, project managers, estimators, engineers, tradespeople, and those in strategic business support groups (like human resources, finance, analytics, information technology and others).

BuildONIf you plan on living in Ontario, BuildOn offers services that focus on construction, skilled trades, and engineering.English and French.
ACCES Employment: Canadian Employment Connections and Entrepreneurship Connections Pre-Arrival (CEC-ECP)Offers industry-specific job services, including one-on-one coaching, to help you prepare to look for jobs, prepare to work in Canada, and learn about workplace culture.

Consult this organization if you want to work in the fields of engineering, entrepreneurship, finance, leadership, human resources, sales and marketing, or supply chain management.

Global Onboarding of Talent Initiative (GO Talent)They support newcomers from the IT sector with sector-specific help, career events, job search, and getting credentials recognized.English and French.
Integrating NewcomersOffers services to prepare newcomers for jobs in the construction industry.English, French, Tagalog, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Pre-Arrival Supports and Services Program (PASS)This program helps nurses prepare to work in Canada’s health-care field. It offers information about the nursing registration process and the Canadian health-care system.

PASS provides connections to sector-specific information including:

  • Workplace practices in health care;
  • Mentoring with Canadian nurses;
  • Schools;
  • The nursing registration process; and
  • Regulatory bodies.

Government-funded settlement services have a wealth of information, tools and resources that provide immense value to all newcomers. It can help you successfully and smoothly transition to life in Canada. 



About Arrive

Arrive is powered by RBC Ventures Inc, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada. In collaboration with RBC, Arrive is dedicated to helping newcomers achieve their life, career, and financial goals in Canada. An important part of establishing your financial life in Canada is finding the right partner to invest in your financial success. RBC is the largest bank in Canada* and here to be your partner in all of your financial needs. RBC supports Arrive, and with a 150-year commitment to newcomer success in Canada, RBC goes the extra mile in support and funding to ensure that the Arrive newcomer platform is FREE to all. Working with RBC, Arrive can help you get your financial life in Canada started – right now. Learn about your banking options in Canada and be prepared. Click here to book an appointment with an advisor.

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This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.