Global Program Manager Update – Newsletter no. 5

22 Jun Global Program Manager Update – Newsletter no. 5

As the Global COA Program Manager, I am delighted to release the fifth COA Newsletter, featuring stories from various COA training sites overseas as well as updates from partners in Canada.

This fiscal year, from April 2016 to March 2017, marks the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) program’s 19th consecutive year in the implementation of pre-departure orientation and pre-arrival services to various categories of immigrants (Economic immigrants and Refugees).  In this period, COA provided orientation and support to a total of 17,289 participants, in 26 countries, and in 35 different locations. All of these services were provided in-person.

COA has continued to serve Syrian and Iraqi newcomers displaced by conflict in the Middle East and Turkey, and many others in all corners of Africa, South America, South and South-East Asia, and in the Russian Federation.  COA has continued to adapt its existing resources and created new ones to best serve the large influx of refugees trained in this project period. Notably, in February 2017, COA conducted the first pilot orientation session for Yazidi refugees in Dohuk (Iraq); accommodating the community’s unique linguistic, cultural and psycho-social needs and demonstrating COA’s flexibility and response rapidity in times of need; thus paving the way for multiple sessions to be offered in the current Fiscal Year 2017-18.


Louise Bélanger

COA Global Program Manager

In order to facilitate their transition to life in Canada, COA staff worldwide have endeavoured to bring refugees and immigrants the most up-to-date and personalized information available.

In collaboration with the YMCA of Greater Toronto, COA’s Refugee Youth Program has deployed a new Youth Participant Handbook, while the COA management team developed a Youth Training Activities’ Toolbox based on its 2014-developed Youth Refugee Curriculum. All of these combined tools go a long way to address the specialized needs and concerns of refugees aged 10-19 destined to Canada from all over the world. The Youth Participant Handbook, currently available in English and French, will soon be printed and distributed in the following additional languages:  Arabic, Dari and Spanish.

In an important milestone, the Planning for Canada initiative, implemented jointly by COA and the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP), celebrated its first birthday in December 2016; representing a year of excellence in helping new Economic Immigrants, through specialized referrals, making connections and growing their professional networks before they arrive in Canada.  In the interest of maximizing accessibility for participants, Planning for Canadaonline presence has grown with it, including a new websiteFacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter pages. Join us online and keep in touch!

All of this is just a glimpse into the work we have been doing in the past few months and the challenges that we have overcome successfully. The stories within this newsletter stand as a testament to the dedication of our staff, the resilience of the refugees, the courage of the immigrants we serve, and the compelling diversity of experiences in the field of migration. We hope you will enjoy the stories and articles featured in this fifth edition of our COA Newsletter as much as we have enjoyed preparing them for our readers.

Best regards,

Louise Bélanger

COA Global Program Manager

Canadian Orientation Abroad – IOM