Settlement services

Access to services for temporary residents

Resolution number
  1. Canada relies on the labour of migrant workers including those with closed work permits under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and their family members, international students (“workers with temporary and precarious status”);
  2. The number of workers with temporary and precarious status in Canada has been increasing steadily for two decades;
  3. IRCC-funded services currently exclude workers with temporary and precarious status;
  4. Workers with temporary and precarious status are not eligible for the vast majority of government-subsidized legal services;
  5. Issues of exploitation and abuse of workers with temporary and precarious status are documented and systemic;
  6. Systemic abuse in the recruitment and migration processes creates vulnerabilities for many workers with temporary and precarious status, and lack of access to services exacerbates vulnerabilities they may experience;
  7. Workers with temporary and precarious status have limited to no access to subsidized legal services which they require when seeking recourse for abuse and exploitation;
  8. The support needs of workers with temporary and precarious status vary according to a diversity of identities, including gender and sexual identity;
  9. Economic and Social Development Canada is responsible jointly with IRCC for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and funds the Migrant Worker Support Program;
  10. IRCC is responsible for issuing work permits under Canada’s temporary migration work and study programs;
  11. CCR has long advocated for access to adequate services for refugees and migrants, including access to legal aid from competent legal professionals; (See Resolution 2 May 01 1999; Res. 1 June 01 2019).


Therefore be it resolved


  1. All workers with temporary and precarious status in Canada have access to IRCC-funded settlement services;
  2. ESDC funding for support services for migrant workers must be renewed and increased on an ongoing basis;
  3. Federal and provincial governments fund access to legal aid services for workers with temporary and precarious status seeking access to justice;
  4. These services must be adapted to meet the intersectional needs of this population.


Vicarious Trauma for frontline workers

Resolution number
  1. There is prolonged stress on the job in serving refugees and immigrants;
  2. There is a high risk for front line workers to face vicarious trauma when working with clients;
Therefore be it resolved

that the CCR ask federal and provincial funders of settlement services to increase funding for professional development and designate specific funds for training and support for staff in vicarious trauma, self-care, and trauma informed care.

Regional Forum on Migrant Worker Issues


This full-day meeting will offer an opportunity for participants from a variety of sectors such as settlement, human rights, labour and grassroots migrant justice organizing to gather together with migrant workers and share information and strategies on providing support to and advocating for the rights of migrant workers.

The meeting takes place directly after the CCR Spring Consultation, June 1-3, at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Host (organizer of event)
Canadian Council for Refugees and Migrante Alberta
9h à 16h
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Settlement Renewal

Resolution number
  1. Settlement Renewal will have significant implications for settlement and integration services in Canada;
  2. A consultation on national principles was held at the CCR fall consultation with a broad participation including representatives from different provinces across Canada;
  3. A series of principles were generated.  A principle is defined as a commonly held, value-based guideline or framework that guides action;
  4. Consultation participants have expressed a need for further opportunities to provide a fuller input on the Settlement Renewal consultation;
  5. This consultation process on Settlement Renewal should be transparent, structured and inclusive with adequate federal funding;
Therefore be it resolved
  1. The settlement core group on behalf of the settlement working group:

*  monitor the Settlement Renewal process;

* further develop these principles and draft others which address gaps in the current set;

* develop standards which relate to these principles;

  1. The CCR forward this document immediately, followed by any subsequent principles and standards, to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for inclusion in the legal agreements between the Federal Government and partners as determined through the Settlement Renewal process;
  2. The CCR communicate these principles to all the participants of the Settlement Renewal workshop.


National principles must be upheld by national standards.  These standards still need to be developed along with mechanisms which ensure compliance.

1.   Client eligibility

a) Settlement/integration services should be available to immigrants/refugees based on need rather than on immigration status or length of time in Canada;

2.   Eligibility of Service Deliverers:

b) Services which are mandated by provincial, regional, or local governments (health care, primary‑secondary education, administration of justice) should not be funded as settlement and integration services;

c) Not‑for‑profit, community‑based organizations with proven track records, and a primary mandate in delivering settlement/integration services should be given funding priority;

d) Service-providers should have expertise and skills in the field of settlement and integration;

3.   Rights of clients:

e) Providers of settlement and integration services must respect and protect fundamental rights of clients (eg. confidentiality, legal, etc.);

f) Services should be delivered in a manner that is culturally and linguistically appropriate and free from racism and other forms of discrimination;

g) Organizations collecting and using data must meet standards of appropriateness, confidentiality, validity, etc. and must be accountable to the clients whose information is being collected;

4.   Comprehensiveness of services:

h) Where appropriate and practical, clients should be able to choose from among service-providers the approach to service-delivery that best meets their needs;

i) Settlement/integration services should:

-  meet national standards,

-  reflect changing needs of the local community,

-  meet the self-defined needs of the individual immigrant/refugee;

5.   Accessibility of services

j) Services should be made accessible by identifying and removing systemic barriers;

6.   Priority-setting and funding allocation process

k)Where established, local or regional advisory bodies should identify local settlement and integration priorities.  These non-partisan bodies should be composed of community members with expertise in the provision of settlement services and reflect the ethno-racial composition of the client group;

7.   Humanitarian Obligations

l)Settlement Renewal should not reduce the federal government's national obligations to international responsibility-sharing and offering a safe haven to refugees.  The rights and needs of refugees must be integrated and guaranteed priority in the provision of settlement and integration services;

8.   Accountability

m) Allocation of settlement funds should be utilized solely for settlement/integration services;

n) Methods for ensuring accountability should be appropriate, realistic and cost effective. They should:

-reflect accountability methods already in place;

-not constitute "undue scrutiny" in comparison with practices for other comparable service sectors;

9.   Enduring Federal Role

o) A strong federal role must include a commitment to continue to fund settlement services at a rate not less than the 1994/95 funding level.

Settlement renewal

Resolution number
  1. The CCR has adopted and transmitted to the Government of Canada resolutions on Settlement Renewal (res. 4, May 1995, res. 2, November 1995, and res. 4, June 1996) which:
    a) Requested that national fora of all stakeholders be established to develop and monitor definitions of settlement, accountability mechanisms, and national principles and standards for settlement services.
    b) Developed for the government's review a set of national principles, including, inter alia, principles on client rights and eligibility for service, eligibility of service providers, priority setting processes, accountability mechanisms, and an enduring federal role.
  2. The consultation process on settlement renewal has indicated a growing reluctance on the part of the Government of Canada's preferred partners to take on increased responsibility for the administration of settlement services, and a growing apprehension among service providers that further devolution of the Government of Canada's responsibilities will undermine the integrity of settlement services.
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR:

  1. Reaffirm its resolutions on Settlement Renewal.
  2. Call on the Government of Canada to:
  3. Establish a National Working Group on Issues related to Settlement Renewal.
  4. Halt the devolution of its responsibility for the administration of settlement services and maintain its primary responsibility for the settlement of immigrants and refugees.
  5. Work with existing provincial and regional authorities to ensure that service mechanisms and programs meet provincial and regional needs.
  6. In conjunction with all stakeholders, build on the experience and knowledge gained through the Settlement Renewal process to improve administrative and delivery systems, and develop nationally acceptable principles, definitions and standards for the funding, administration and delivery of settlement services.
  7. maintain and enhance the integrity of settlement services by ensuring that the current funding envelop which includes ISAP, HOST, LINC and AAP is not dismantled or reduced.
  8. Work towards achieving healthy partnerships which recognize and respect the autonomy and expertise of community agencies delivering settlement services.
  9. Make a commitment to see the above points as interdependent and to implement all of the above points.

Allocation of additional settlement funds

Resolution number
  1. The federal government has allocated additional dollars for settlement in various provinces over a three year period;
  2. This money has not been spent on settlement services in some provinces;
  3. The need to spend significant amounts of settlement funds in a short time period will not facilitate the most effective use of such dollars;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR:

  1. Request these dollars be used in all provinces for the purposes for which they were released, i.e. settlement services;
  2. Contact the Minister of Immigration to urge her to request that Treasury Board regulations be relaxed to allow the settlement funds allocated for 1997/98 fiscal year as a surplus to be spent on 1998/99 fiscal year.

Settlement services to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans-gendered refugees and immigrants

Resolution number
  1. The Human Rights Code includes sexual orientation as one of the prohibited grounds for discrimination in Canada;
  2. Gay men, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered individuals are as much a part of the immigrant and refugee communities as they are part of every community;
  3. Settlement agencies have the responsibility to provide relevant, effective and appropriate services to these further marginalized immigrant and refugee communities;
  4. The staff of settlement agencies, as part of a society that has heterosexist privilege, may have internalized a world view that further marginalizes these groups;
  5. This will impact negatively on the ability of the sector to provide effective settlement services to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered immigrants and refugees;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR play a proactive role in supporting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered immigrants and refugees by:

  1. a) Becoming familiar with the issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered immigrants and refugees, with the agencies providing specialized services to these communities, and with the immigration options available to them;

    b) Providing training opportunities at conferences for settlement staff to begin to challenge attitudes which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered refugees and immigrants;

    c) Developing internal policies that affirm the rights of individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered immigrants and refugees;

    d) Applying inclusive hiring practices that encourage the employment of staff from these communities.

  2. Taking a proactive role in encouraging CCR member agencies to accept their responsibility to provide appropriate settlement services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered immigrants and refugees by undertaking the same initiatives outlined above.

Settlement services to refugee claimants

Resolution number

There is a need to share information on services for refugee claimants and to explore how the work can be improved and better communication networks established across the country;

Therefore be it resolved

That the Executive of the CCR give priority consideration to establishing an ad hoc joint committee (Settlement/Protection) to deal with the issues of services to refugee claimants.

Ontario settlement agencies

Resolution number
  1. The settlement agencies of Ontario have been living with uncertainty since the introduction of "Settlement Renewal" three years ago;
  2. The Ontario Government does not appear to want the responsibility of settlement;
  3. Clients' needs are best served by stable agencies which are focused on client service;
  4. Many of the practices of Ontario Region are inconsistent with the practices of other CIC regions;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR:

  1. Write to CIC National Headquarters asking that:

    a)The Federal Government cease active pursuit of negotiations on settlement renewal with the government of Ontario;

    b)CIC Ontario Region proceed as if settlement renewal will not go forward.

  2. Suggest that CIC improve their management of ISAP, Host and LINC contracts by:
    • Reducing the micro management of contracts, by, among other things, moving from monthly to quarterly reporting and by being more flexible and, at a minimum, implementing the ISAP Handbook which states that "you may shift funds from one cost category to another without prior approval";
    • Respecting agencies' difficulties with cashflow and interest charges by systematically making reasonable advances of funds;
    • Paying salary and administrative costs, including benefits, at a just level of remuneration across the country;
    • Seeking substantive agency input into all of the above.

Contracting relationship between CIC and settlement agencies

Resolution number
  1. The CCR notes with concern the deteriorating relationship between settlement agencies and CIC in some regions, brought about by micro-management;
  2. Settlement agencies are professional social services agencies dedicated to helping clients settle in Canada;
  3. Settlement agencies are committed to being accountable for funds;
Therefore be it resolved


  1. The CCR urge CIC to review, in consultation with settlement agencies, the manner in which CIC contracts with agencies. The objective of this review is to establish accountability measures which promote the best possible services for clients and efficient, effective agency management;
  2. The review address, inter alia, the following specific issues occurring in some regions:

    (a) the independence of agencies and the fact that they are already subject to annual external audits;

    (b) the importance of client confidentiality;

    (c) the fact that rigid enforcement of ISAP eligibility rules undermines the ability of agencies to offer services in a welcoming and client centered manner (noting that CCR has resolved in November 1995 that services should be available on the basis of need);

    (d) the necessity of agencies to respect employment standards and human rights legislation as employers (particularly with regards to cuts which lead to layoffs and the practice of forcing agencies to lay off, on the basis of national origin, settlement workers, many of whom serve diverse clienteles);

    (e) the provision of reasonable and consistent administrative and overhead costs and the practice of insisting that agencies subsidize ISAP services through private fund-raising and funds from other institutional funders (an unrealistic maximum of 15% administrative costs is set in some regions);

    (f) the need for a reasonable balance between CIC's obligation to monitor funds, the administrative burden of reporting and the usefulness of information to be collected;

    (g) the use of three month contracts with long established partners, making it impossible to plan services, rent facilities and manage staff and causing agencies to devote a disproportionate amount of time to contract negotiation.