Since its inception in 1998, the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) program has built bridges with a wide range of service provider organizations (SPOs) to ensure accurate, up to date pre-arrival orientation materials and resources. Today more than ever, collaboration is seen as a crucial way to facilitate a seamless settlement and integration process for newcomers.
Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently launched a new joint initiative: Planning for Canada.
Planning for Canada helps newcomers find work that reflects their skills and education, and assist them in making informed settlement decisions. The program is offered in-person in 12 countries, with the capacity to deliver online services worldwide. Services are available in English and French.
Funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Planning for Canada is a free service that provides prospective immigrants with information, tools and vital connections to Canadian partners.
The suite of services includes:
Both CICan and the IOM are recognized leaders in the immigrant-support sector. CICan has been implementing the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) since 2007 while the IOM has been implementing the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) program since 1998. Collectively, they have served over 115,000 economic and family class immigrants to date.
Colleges and Institutes Canada is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes and polytechnics. Its members work with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities in Canada. The Association operates in 29 countries via 12 offices around the world.
Together, IOM and CICan can leverage the best of each program in order to maximize the impact that we have on immigrants’ preparedness.
The COA Refugee Youth Program is a new tailored service provided to refugee youth between the ages of 10 – 19. Recognizing that refugee youth have specific needs and learning abilities that can be addressed during orientation sessions, COA has developed a number of resources and activities specifically designed for refugee youth participants, including (but not limited to):
IOM and COA are partnering with YMCA Canada in the development and delivery of the Refugee Youth Program. A total of five different regional YMCA Associations provide support in the development of the program’s resources, in addition to offering online information and orientation to COA refugee youth participants.
In 2015, COA and the YMCA have consulted and engaged with hundreds of refugee youth overseas and in Canada in order to finalize the new program’s Booklet. In addition to receiving the Booklet, refugee youth participants are provided with the opportunity to get personalized information and resources, based on their profile and city of destination. Refugee youth are invited to connect with Canadian partners and other youth newcomers in Canada. Furthermore, they can join the COA online youth discussion platform to continue to learn and share with other youth preparing to move to Canada, or recently arrived in Canada.
The program values youths’ life experiences and perspectives to harness their leadership capacities and help them develop a stronger sense of belonging and connection to their new community.
The Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) team works in close collaboration with partners and community stakeholders, notably through its Advisory Groups:
Planning for Canada Advisory Group
In light of the new Planning for Canada initiative, COA and CIIP share an Advisory Group. Members consist of representatives from federal and provincial governments, associations, colleges, regulatory bodies, sector councils, immigrant employer councils, and immigrant-serving organizations with knowledge, expertise, and experience in the immigration sector. Members provide high-level guidance and strategic direction around such areas as:
Ultimately, the Group guides COA and CIIP on how to better serve the needs of prospective immigrants to Canada while responding to the needs of the Canadian economy and communities.
COA Refugee Advisory Group
The COA Refugee Advisory Group is a consultative mechanism that facilitate information sharing and resources review. Members consist of representatives from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and partners in the settlement and integration sector. Members provide high-level guidance and strategic direction around such areas as:
Ultimately, the Group guides COA on how to better serve the needs of refugees resettled to Canada and facilitate information-sharing with community organizations in various regions and localities.
COA Refugee Youth Consultative Group
The Consultative Group provides support and guidance in the design and implementation of the Refugee Youth Program, including program feedback and guidance, information-sharing and updates on services and programs available to newcomer youth across Canada. The Consultative Group help ensuring that the program is reflective of the diversity of services and programs available to newcomer youth. Members consist of youth newcomers, youth advisors, SWIS workers, youth-serving organizations, settlement organizations, COA team and government representatives. Members provide high-level program guidance allowing COA to:
Please contact the COA Team to get more information on our partners and partnerships.