5 challenges of immigrants in Canada and coping strategies

5 challenges of immigrants in Canada

5 challenges of immigrants in Canada and coping strategies

The Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) sets an ambitious goal of welcoming more than 460,000 new immigrants annually, marking the highest intake in Canadian history.

Upon their arrival, newcomers encounter various challenges as they adapt to life in Canada and settle into their new communities. This article aims to shed light on these common challenges faced by newcomers and offer valuable information and advice on how to navigate and overcome them.

  • Language Barrier

The language barrier poses a significant challenge for many newcomers to Canada, as English and French are the official languages of the country. Difficulty in communicating in either of these languages can impact various aspects of life, including employment opportunities, as many jobs require proficiency in English or French.

To overcome this challenge, newcomers are encouraged to utilize the language training services available to them. These services cater to various language needs, offering general language training, study assistance for language assessments required for immigration purposes, job-specific language training, and more.

Permanent residents or protected persons can benefit from government-funded language classes known as Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) or Cours de langue pour les immigrants au Canada (CLIC). These classes provide essential language skills necessary for integration into Canadian society. Click here for further details on accessing language classes.

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  • Finding affordable housing

Securing affordable housing is a crucial task for newcomers to Canada, with many opting to rent homes upon their arrival. However, navigating the housing market can be challenging due to high demand for rental properties nationwide.

To assist newcomers in their housing search, numerous resources and websites are available:

  1. Online Platforms: Websites such as Zumper, PadMapper, and Realtor.ca provide listings of available rental properties, allowing newcomers to explore various housing options.
  2. Classifieds: Local newspapers and online classified listings feature rental advertisements, offering additional avenues for finding suitable accommodation.
  3. Community Bulletin Boards: Grocery stores, libraries, laundromats, community centers, and other public spaces often display rental advertisements on bulletin boards, providing valuable leads for housing options.

Moreover, newcomers are encouraged to reach out to their local immigrant settlement agency for assistance. These agencies typically offer housing-related services, including assistance with finding suitable accommodation and understanding tenants’ rights and responsibilities.

Conducting a web search for settlement services in their city, district, or province can help newcomers identify available resources. Government-funded platforms like Compass to Connect are also valuable for aggregating and searching settlement services nationwide, offering comprehensive support for newcomers in their housing journey.

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  • Isolation

Adjusting to life in a new country can sometimes lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, especially when far from familiar surroundings, family, and friends. Adapting to a new environment takes time and patience.

Fortunately, Canada’s diverse population and vibrant multicultural communities offer support and companionship to newcomers. Major cities across the country are home to diverse communities from various countries, providing valuable opportunities for newcomers to connect with others who share similar backgrounds and experiences. These communities can play a significant role in helping newcomers overcome feelings of isolation and adjust to their new home.

Settlement services are available to connect newcomers with community resources and support networks in their area. These services facilitate meaningful connections and provide newcomers with the opportunity to engage with their local community.

A study conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2021 highlighted the positive impact of community connection settlement services. The study revealed that 61% of newcomers who accessed these services felt they had met people who are now close friends. Additionally, 92% of newcomers agreed that their community was welcoming to newcomers, with 90% expressing a strong sense of belonging to Canada.

  • Finding employment

Finding employment in Canada can pose challenges for newcomers, who may encounter barriers in having their credentials recognized and securing meaningful work opportunities. However, Canada’s robust labor force, consisting of over 20 million individuals, includes a significant proportion of newcomers, with landed immigrants representing over 25% of the workforce.

Building a strong professional network is essential for accessing employment opportunities that may not be publicly advertised. Creating an online presence, such as on LinkedIn, can be particularly beneficial as it allows newcomers to showcase their skills and experience, connect with professionals in their field, and explore job openings.

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Engaging with professionals in their industry by asking questions and initiating discussions can serve as valuable entry points into the job market and provide insights for career advancement.

Many Canadian settlement programs offer employment-related services to assist newcomers in their job search endeavors. These services may include job search support, resume writing assistance, mock interviews, and networking events. A significant number of newcomers who have utilized these services attribute their success in the Canadian labor market to the knowledge, skills, and connections acquired through settlement programs.

  • Adapting to the cold, snow and ice

Adapting to the cold, snow, and ice in Canada requires proper preparation and awareness of the challenges posed by the country’s diverse climate, especially during the winter months.

One essential tip for newcomers is to invest in suitable winter clothing to stay warm and protected from the cold and snow. This includes items such as hats, gloves, scarves, thermal layers (socks, shirts), insulated jackets, and waterproof boots.

Additionally, it’s important to recognize that the cold weather and shorter days during Canada’s winter season can impact physical activity and increase the risk of colds and flu. To stay healthy, newcomers can take proactive measures, such as getting a flu shot, which is recommended for individuals over six months of age as the best defense against influenza.

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