Settlement and integration

Client Code of Service Rights

In November 2003, the CCR endorsed by resolution the following Client Code of Service Rights. The CCR encourages its use by member organizations.
  1. You have the right to receive services in a trusting, respectful and supportive environment free of any form of discrimination or harassment.
  2. You have the right of privacy and confidentiality and to disclose only what you believe is necessary at any given time.
  3. Staff limits of confidentiality include: the requirement to report incidents of child abuse, to comply with a court ordered subpoena and to prevent harm.
  4. The file is the property of [Agency name] and you have the right to review it and make comments if you disagree with the contents of the file.
  5. You make decisions about your needs and goals.
  6. You have the right to refuse services at any time or to request service from an alternate person.
  7. You have the right to receive accurate, complete and timely information.
  8. You have the right to a safe, fair and transparent complaint process when you feel that your rights have been violated.

Enhancing Settlement Sector Capacity

Immigration has been one of the building blocks of Canadian society. Today, Canada continues to rely on immigration for demographic sustainability and labour force growth. Both newcomers (immigrants and refugees alike) and the receiving society gain from immigration to the extent they mutually adjust, a sign of successful integration. As intermediaries between newcomers and local communities, settlement service agencies have played a vital role in this process since the early 20th century.

Yet, even after decades of growth in terms of client population, organizational capacity, and knowledge base, the Canadian settlement sector still lacks national professional standards. Recognizing this need, the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and provincial and regional settlement umbrella organizations formed a National Task Force on Professionalization in the Settlement Sector in 2005.

Who We Are

Coordinated by CCR, the Task Force is a partnership with provincial and regional settlement umbrella organizations, aiming to promote the professionalization of both settlement practitioners and settlement service agencies. The following provincial and regional organizations are members of the Task Force:

  • Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of British Columbia
  • Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies
  • Atlantic Region Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies
  • Manitoba Immigrant Settlement Sector Association
  • Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
  • Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Agencies
  • Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (as observer)


By professionalization in the settlement sector, we mean a process of setting and applying objective standards for:

  • the training, accreditation, job performance, and compensation of settlement practitioners; and ultimately
  • the accreditation and operation of settlement service agencies themselves.

Our Vision

We envision a settlement sector where practitioners, trained and employed according to inter-provincially compatible professional standards,

  • provide high-quality services to newcomers wherever they are in Canada; and
  • help receiving communities adapt to newcomers.


  • Settlement practitioners are trained, certified, and qualified to serve newcomers and to support receiving communities in the adaptation process.
  • In the context of a demanding human service environment, practitioners are adequately protected and compensated for their work.
  • Settlement agencies are optimally resourced to do their work.
  • Newcomers are thus well-informed and well-served to settle, adapt and integrate into their local Canadian communities.
  • Communities are, in turn, prepared to share their resources and responsibilities with their new members.
  • Settlement work, involving both newcomers and receiving communities, is nationally recognized and valued.

Our Approach

This national project will use a step-by-step approach, starting with the professionalization of settlement practitioners and then moving to the agency level. The first phase will include four steps:

  • Identifying national occupational competencies
  • Outlining a procedure for practitioners to achieve these competencies, ensuring the assessment and recognition of previous, as well as on-the-job, learning
  • Establishing salary scales for trained and accredited settlement practitioners
  • Establishing an accreditation process and body

The second phase will involve setting and implementing standards at the agency level.

For more information on the Task Force, please contact the Settlement Policy Director at CCR by email: or by phone: 514-277-7223 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              514-277-7223      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, ext. 5

Pathways to Gender Justice Handbook (htm format)

How does gender affect newcomers’ experience of migration and settlement? What does gender mean? Are only women affected by gender issues? If you work or volunteer in an organization serving newcomers, you may want to deepen your understanding of gender and how it affects the experience of newcomers, in order to better adapt your services to the different realities of immigrant and refugee women and men.

The Canadian Council for Refugees is launching a new tool, the Pathways to Gender Justice Handbook, that aims at enhancing the capacity of organizations to use a gender-based approach in their work with newcomers. The Handbook is a practical guide that can be used in different areas of an organization, such as governance, management and direct services.

Significant attention has been paid to gender in recent decades, but there is still a need within the immigrant and refugee serving sector to better understand gender issues and to effectively apply a gender-based analysis within the service delivery framework. A gender-based approach ensures that policies and services are designed, analyzed, implemented and monitored with an appreciation for gender differences. 

Gender roles often change after a person or a family arrives in Canada and these changes affect relationships between women and men, as well as girls and boys. Changes in gender roles can empower some family members, with various possible repercussions for family relationships. Looking at the process of migration and settlement with a “gender lens” may help improve programs, services and policies. However, in order to succeed, a gender-based approach to settlement work needs to involve everyone, including men.

The Handbook was developed by an active Advisory Committee, made up of people from across Canada active in the immigrant and refugee serving sector – most of whom themselves have a refugee or immigrant background. To make it as concrete as possible, the Handbook was piloted by 7 organizations across Canada. The pilot was done with the input and participation of refugee and immigrant women clients of the organizations.

The Handbook is a flexible tool that offers a variety of entry points and encourages organizations to make the process their own. It includes suggestions of self evaluation, action plans, references and examples and can be adapted to different sizes and types of organizations across Canada. The Handbook’s approach is to use open questions that can help organizations find their own pathway to gender justice. For example, the following questions are included regarding case intervention:  

  • What are our assumptions about why our intervention is needed?
  • Who benefits from our intervention? Why?
  • Whose needs are not being addressed? Why? How can those needs be met?
  • Who is excluded? Why?  What can be done about it?
  • Will our intervention lead to greater/lesser/same levels of equity? In the short term? In the long term?

The Handbook was developed with an understanding that different forms of oppression intersect and create different experiences of the migration and settlement process. Power in relationships also plays a special role in shaping newcomer experiences. For example, when a service user enters a settlement agency for the first time, the following factors should be considered by staff, as they affect the settlement process: family dynamics, domestic violence, mental health before/after migration; race; status in Canada; surviving rape, torture and crimes against humanity, among others.

“Solitude can be a heavy burden, especially for women who find themselves at home with small children, without the opportunity to learn English, build a new social network. They often do not want to burden family members back home with their emotional struggles in Canada.”

“There needs to be more programs for men and how to look at the cultural differences. Men need help in looking at the changing roles.”

The Pathways to Gender Justice Handbook is available on the CCR website at  

You can also order copies from the CCR using the order form

The Handbook complements the CCR’s Pathways to Gender Justice Toolkit, also available online at . The Toolkit, launched in 2006, is a reference document that includes background information, theory and exercises about gender analysis.

The project to develop the Handbook received funding from the Women’s Program, Status of Women Canada.

Pathways to Gender Justice Handbook: A practical tool for working with newcomers

The Pathways to Gender Justice Handbook aims to enhance the capacity of organizations to use a gender-based approach in their work with newcomers. It is a practical guide that can be used in different areas of an organization, such as governance, management and direct services, 49 pages. 2009.