Refugee Settlement

Our settlement activities are carried out primarily by Family Support Groups that support and assist each refugee family. These groups of volunteers begin working with sponsored families as soon as they arrive. They organize temporary and longer-term housing, furniture, kitchen and household supplies, clothing and much more. Just as importantly, members of Family Support Groups provide friendship, guidance, and advice throughout the sponsorship year. Many volunteers continue to be involved with sponsored families well past the 12-month period of support that the government requires.

Depending on the needs and circumstances of a refugee family, Family Support Groups help:

  • draft detailed settlement plans
  • provide emotional support and friendship
  • locate soft-landing housing before permanent housing is arranged
  • locate permanent housing and help communicate with landlords
  • source donations of clothing, household goods and furniture
  • assist with setting up utilities and phone services
  • enroll children in school
  • arrange language testing and language schooling for adults
  • help with banking
  • manage medical needs, including OHIP enrollment, dentists and family doctors
  • arrange interpretation
  • provide formal and informal English lessons
  • help with grocery shopping
  • assist with employment counselling and job search
  • provide transportation and arrange transit passes
  • enroll children in community recreational and social programs
  • introduce families to Canadian customs
  • help families cope with Canadian winter

Settlement of Close Relatives

Since 2017, most of OCRA’s sponsorships have been close relatives of families who have already been settled here. Detailed support plans are prepared and implemented in these cases; however, family members who are already settled in Canada normally take a large role in getting their relatives settled and established. They provide interpretation and translation, often provide initial housing before permanent housing is arranged, and help newcomers to become oriented to life in Canada.