COA Refugee Youth Program

Refugee Youth Program

COA provides orientation to an average of 14,000 participants every year. Of the 200,000 clients trained since the inception of the project in 1998, 45% are resettled refugees. In recent years, approximately 25% of the refugee participants are youth between 10 and 19 years old. In fiscal year 2014-2015, a little over 2,300 refugee youth participated in a COA session.

Recognizing that refugee youth have specific needs and learning abilities that can be addressed during the orientation sessions, COA has developed a number of tailored resources and activities, including a Refugee Youth Curriculum and a Refugee Youth Activity Tool Kit. Today, COA facilitators can plan and deliver youth-specific orientation sessions; tapping into a variety of individual and group activities. Youth-specific sessions are taking place all around the world; in many permanent refugee training sites and mobile training locations.

Context and rationale

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening Canada’s role as a global leader in refugee protection by increasing the number of refugees resettled from abroad and increasing the resettlement assistance provided to refugees[1]. IRCC identifies refugee youth as a priority group for the provision of pre-arrival settlement support[2]. Acknowledging the need for additional, tailored pre-arrival settlement support services to Canada-bound refugee youth, COA submitted a new proposal for the delivery of additional pre-arrival services specifically designed for this clients group. The proposal was submitted in the fall of 2014, and received IRCC’s sanction in February of 2015.

During fiscal years 2015-2017, COA will provide pre-arrival settlement support to an estimated 19,000 resettled refugees. Approximately 25% of them are expected to be between 10 and 19 years old.


Program Objectives

The COA Refugee Youth Program provides refugee youth with opportunities to:

  • Learn about a variety of age-appropriate and relevant topics;
  • Discuss their concerns, fears and expectations in a safe space;
  • Become aware of programs and services tailored to their needs;
  • Know where to get help upon arrival;
  • Connect with partners in Canada.

The COA Refugee Youth Program provides a suite of pre-arrival settlement support that consists of three main components: the refugee session, the refugee youth session, and the follow-up individualized services.

The COA Refugee Youth Program equips refugee youth with the information and resources to meet initial settlement needs in Canada, and begin to form community connections in Canada. In addition, partners develop knowledge and capacities that benefits other organizations and institutions providing services to refugee youth.

Learn more about the COA Refugee Youth Program:

Snapshot of the Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Environmental Scan

[1] Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Report on Plans and Priorities 2014-2015

[2] Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Funding Guidelines: Call for Proposals 2014 Pre-Arrival Settlement Services. [Available Online]

Delivery Partner

YMCA Canada

YMCA Canada is a charity organization that helps building healthy communities. Under the leadership of the YMCA of Greater Toronto, COA works with five YMCA Centres across Canada to provide Youth Refugees with support and connections to youth programming and youth newcomers in Canada.