The Canadian province of Ontario recently pledged $768,000 to the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) in late March. The funding is aimed at tackling employment barriers for women, with a focus on increasing recruitment, retention, and advancement in non-traditional and growing economic sectors through CCMW’s “Addressing Barriers to Employment for Muslim Women” initiative.
This investment highlights the importance of organizations working to eliminate gender inequalities in Canada, particularly for newcomer women who continue to face challenges in achieving fair representation in the Canadian workforce.
This article will provide an overview of the efforts made by Canada, both at the federal level through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), and at the provincial/territorial level, to assist newcomer women arriving in the country.
There are a number of federal programs and services offered by IRCC to women immigrating to Canada, such as the Urgent Protection Program’s Women at Risk (WAR) initiative and the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot (RNWP) program.
The Women at Risk (WAR) program offered by IRCC extends assistance to women who require immediate protection or are susceptible, without the need to demonstrate their potential for settlement.
However, the women enrolled in this program and their dependents must successfully clear all mandatory Canadian entrance assessments, including medical and security evaluations, to qualify for aid under the Urgent Protection Program (UPP).
The Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot (RNWP) initiative aims to enhance the employment prospects and career progression of newcomer women in Canada by offering them settlement services and support. This program strives to promote equal and complete participation of racialized newcomer women in the Canadian economy.
Starting in January 2023, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will be providing extra financial support for the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot Program.
In Canada, every province and territory provide assistance to newcomer women through various local organizations. These organizations offer support with settling into Canadian life, finding employment, preparing for citizenship tests, and even mentorship opportunities.
Below is a compilation of at least one organization that caters to newcomer women in each province/territory. For a comprehensive list of newcomer women’s services in each province/territory (excluding Quebec), please refer to this page from the Government of Canada.
The Women’s Economic Council, a Vancouver-based registered charity, is dedicated to promoting the involvement of all women in creating resilient and inclusive economies, particularly those who face multiple systemic obstacles.
Umoja Operation Compassion Society, located in Surrey, is a charitable organization that collaborates with recent immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds, providing tailored programs to assist immigrants with their daily lives and employment search. They also provide specialized services for women.
The Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association is dedicated to offering a range of programs that assist immigrant women in managing their daily lives, securing employment, finding a mentor, and receiving language training that is relevant to their job or general needs.
The Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta, located in Calgary, is an organization that provides employment services to women. Their mission is to create a secure environment while empowering women in the community to advance their futures.
The International Women of Saskatoon – LEAD (Saskatoon) offers a range of programs and services tailored to support Canadian newcomer women. These include employment and job search assistance, specialized language testing, settlement resources, and community engagement aids.
Manitoba Start – Employment Solutions for Immigrants Inc. is an agency in Winnipeg that provides employment solutions for immigrants. They offer assistance with job search and integration into Canadian society, with specialized programs for women.
Access Alliance Multicultural Health & Community Services in Toronto is a service provider for immigrants and refugees. Their goal is to enhance the health outcomes of individuals who have been made vulnerable by poverty and systemic barriers.
Immigrant Women Services Ottawa provides programs and services that focus on three main areas: crisis intervention and counselling, interpretation and translation, and settlement and integration. This information is available on their website.
The Women’s Centre of Montreal is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to women who have recently immigrated to Canada. Their services aim to ease the settlement and integration process by offering individual support and group activities.
Newfoundland and Labrador
The Association for New Canadians in St. John’s is a non-profit organization that provides settlement and integration services to immigrants and refugees. Their programs cover a wide range of areas, including settlement information, language learning, skills development, and employment support, all aimed at facilitating the integration of newcomers into Canadian society.
The YWCA Halifax is among the 32 YWCA branches across Canada that offer specialized services to women, with a focus on promoting their leadership, health, and wellness. Additionally, they strive to advance women’s economic and housing security, provide accessible and high-quality early learning and childcare, and work towards ending violence against women and girls.
Prince Edward Island
The Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI Inc. located in Charlottetown is a comprehensive organization that offers a range of services to support Canadian newcomers, such as language programs and aid in securing employment.
The Edmundston-based Northwest Resource Centre for Newcomers Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting newcomers in integrating socially, economically, educationally, and culturally into the region. Their services include access to resources, mentorship and learning opportunities, as well as networking and support services.
Carrefour Nunavut in Iqaluit is a French-language organization that provides a range of services to job seekers, new immigrants, current workers, and entrepreneurs.
The NWT Literacy Council, based in Yellowknife, is a registered charitable organization that operates on a not-for-profit basis. Its mission is to promote and facilitate literacy and essential skills development in all of the official languages of the Northwest Territories.
The Association Franco-Yukonnaise, located in Whitehorse, is a French-speaking organization that offers tailored services to newcomer women. These services include assistance with daily life tasks and support in finding employment opportunities.