Skip to main content

Feds to spend $35M to enhance settlement resources for newcomers in rural communities

The federal government plans to spend $35 million over the next three years to boost settlement services for newcomers, who for the most part reside in small towns and rural communities.

On Wednesday, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced the details of the plan, which will see $21 million go towards developing nine new Resettlement Assistance Program chapters in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and New Brunswick.

Another $14 million will be invested to enhance case management services that help vulnerable migrants settle into new communities. This also includes a pilot project to bolster Francophonie case management in the Prairies.

“The new Canadians who choose Canada as their home play a crucial role in our economic success, our diversity, they help build the richness of our communities and our future prosperity particularly as we’re seeking to fill gaps in the labour force and restore the health of our communities after the COVID-19 pandemic,” Fraser said.

“Resettlement and settlement services have never been more essential than during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has made building a new life in a new country an even more daunting process.”

The Resettlement Assistance Program supports government-assisted refugees and operates in all provinces outside of Quebec.

It provides a one-time start up allowance and monthly income support usually for up to a year. Essential services, including providing temporary accommodation, financial orientation, and life skills training, starts within the first four to six weeks of a refugee’s arrival.

Case management services applies also to government-assisted refugees and other vulnerable immigrants to Canada facing unique barriers to entry. It involves a needs and assets assessment, which leads to service referrals and regular monitoring.

“Case management assists newcomers who need significant intervention and support in building their capacity to independently access and navigate settlement and mainstream services to facilitate integration and encourage independence” reads a government website.


Fraser took a moment to reflect on the government’s efforts to resettle 40,000 Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban following the withdrawal of Western military forces.

“This has been an enormous lift already with nearly 7,000 here today. But we know the work has just begun,” he said, adding that Ottawa received more than one million requests for assistance.

Fraser called the circumstances “heart-breaking” and an “immense challenge.”

“Not all of these are formal applications,” he said. “I’m sure a significant number are not. This would include people who have submitted applications, would include people who have reached out by email to the IRCC or Global Affairs expressing interest in taking part in Canada’s program. It’s possible that some of these emails represent an individual case that may have been raised more than once.”

While Fraser said officials are working as fast as they can to process applications, the government has anticipated that it could take up to two years to resettle all Afghans seeking a home in Canada. The minister said hundreds are arriving each week.

That’s not fast enough for those with families in the country, like one former interpreter for the Canadian Armed Forces who has 13 family members still in Afghanistan. Now in Canada, he fears for their safety and is frustrated with the Canadian government’s lack of support.

“The government of Canada, IRCC, is asking us for biometrics to be done within a month which is impossible, it means they are not serious about it,” he told CTV News. “I don't see any hope, I don't see my family coming here as soon as I wanted.”

As winter grips Afghanistan, essentials like food and fuel have become increasingly hard to secure for many. With the country still in disarray after the Taliban takeover, securing vital documents for Canadian immigration officials can be impossible. The Canadian embassy in Kabul also remains closed, further complication matters for those trying to come to Canada. An estimated 3.5 million people are currently displaced in Afghanistan.

Fraser also noted that Ottawa remains on track to resettle 1.2 million immigrants over three years – a promise made in October 2020.

“We were targeting 401,000 during calendar year 2021 of landed newcomers to Canada. We exceeded that by more than 4,000…we expect that if we remain on the current schedule, we will be able to meet or exceed the goal of 411,000 for this year and 421,000 for the year after,” he said.



ANALYSIS What do the policies Poilievre's party passed say about the Conservatives' future?

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre spent the summer speaking about housing affordability, a core focus that attendees at the party's Quebec City convention were quick to praise him for. But by the end of the weekend, delegates opted to instead pass policies on contentious social issues. What does that say about the Conservatives' future?



opinion Don Martin: With Trudeau resignation fever rising, a Conservative nightmare appears

With speculation rising that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will follow his father's footsteps in the snow to a pre-election resignation, political columnist Don Martin focuses on one Liberal cabinet minister who's emerging as leadership material -- and who stands out as a fresh-faced contrast to the often 'angry and abrasive' leader of the Conservatives.


OPINION Don Martin: Life in Trudeau's brain defies imagination

Getting inside Justin Trudeau's head these days requires a vivid imagination. The prime minister's bizarre statement on the Middle East war this week reflects a distorted view that human-shielded resistance by Hamas terrorists can be overcome with "maximum restraint" by Israel's military. Top Stories


LATEST UPDATES Israel pushes deeper south after calling for evacuations in southern Gaza

Israel's military pushed deeper south Tuesday in Gaza after it called for more evacuations in the southern portion of the enclave in its pursuit to wipe out the territory's Hamas rulers. The war has already killed more than 15,000 Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza's 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.

CBC says it is cutting 600 jobs, some programming as it slashes budget

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and Radio-Canada will eliminate about 600 jobs and not fill an additional 200 vacancies. The cuts at CBC come days after the Liberal government suggested it may cap the amount of money CBC and Radio-Canada could get under a $100 million deal Ottawa recently signed with Google.

Stay Connected