Arrive Prepared in Canada (Pre-arrival Program for New Immigrants)

Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)

One of the toughest situation that a newly-arrived immigrant faced is the stage where he starts looking for a job that best suit his skills and qualifications and adjust to the Canadian working culture.

I must say that the support that the new immigrants are getting now is way better from what we used to have when we came to Canada in 2009.  One of the best programs available to new immigrants that I recently encountered is the pre-arrival program for eligible newcomers. This program is delivered by Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) to eligible newcomers who are immigrating to Manitoba, Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, PEI, British Columbia, and Ontario.  The program allows eligible new comers can take free online courses on job search strategies and Canadian working culture and get connected with settlement agencies in their destination province and employment networks while they are still outside Canada.

Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)
Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)

The said pre-arrival orientation was created to improve connections between pre-arrival and post arrival services using Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia’s (ISANS) suite of professional online tools. SOPA’s professional orientation and courses ensures that immigrants develop job search and communication skills and arrive in Canada better prepared, more confident and enter the workforce sooner. SOPA is an organization funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Among the courses that SOPA offers are Soft Skills: Professional Communication; Soft Skills: Working with Others; Job Search Strategies; Canadian Workplace Integration; and Working in Canada. These courses can be taken in the registrants’ in their own phase.  The Job Search Strategies course is 6 weeks long and requires 5-7 hours of time a week. But people who will soon come to Canada who dedicated their time to the course are able to complete the course in just 3 weeks.  The Working with Others and Professional Communication courses can be done in 4 weeks or less at 2-4 hours a week.   While on the course, the registrant will have access to a facilitator who will mark the assignments and will answer any questions that the registrants may have.

And for those who just don’t really have time to take the courses before landing in Canada, there are two self-directed courses called Canadian Workplace Integration and Working in Canada that they can still  access for 6 months after they arrive in Canada, provided they registered to the program before landing.

An immigrant can register for the course if:

  • He/She lives outside Canada
  • He/She received approval from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to immigrate to Canada
  • A confirmation of Permanent Residence document:
  • A letter notifying pick up of Canadian visa (visa for PR applicants only)
  • A medical or security notification letter
  • A Canada visa
  • He/She has an English level (IELTS) 5.5 or higher
  • He/She has an access to a computer and high speed Internet

Here are the steps to register for the program:

  1. Prepare the required documents and Client ID from IRCC. The immigrant must have any of the documents confirming his/her PR status (as mentioned above)
  2. Complete the registration process. The registrant must fill in the registration form online, upload the required document and submit.  He/She will then receive an email from SOPA confirming his registration.
  3. Meet with your SOPA Intake Counsellor online. The registrant must schedule an appointment with an Intake Counsellor, he/she will also receive his/her SOPA Action Plan and course enrollment details

There are SOPA clients who found jobs much faster after landing in Canada because they work with a facilitator online to give them personalized guidance. By the time they finish the Job Search Strategies Course, they have a resume and a cover letter ready for Canadian employers.

Photo credit to newtobc.ca
Photo credit to newtobc.ca

One of SOPA clients who took advantage of the program was Red Amancio.  He recently immigrated from Manila to British Columbia with his wife Denise.

 “I took the Working in Canada course because I was applying for jobs while I was in the Philippines. The timing was perfect because when I arrived in BC, I had a few interviews and I learned how to negotiate a job contract in Canada through the course!” – Red Amancio

See Red’s full story.

Get job ready for Canada!  If you or you know someone who is immigrating to Canada, they can take advantage of SOPA’s free pre-arrival program and get connected!

I look forward to seeing more fellow immigrant’s success story! If you are interested to have your immigrant story published on this site, please feel free to contact me.

Special thanks to Melissa Chungfat a Facilitator of MOSAIC, a multilingual non-profit organization assisting immigrants and refugees in their integration into Canadian society

This post is not a sponsored post.  All content provided on this post is for informational purposes only. The author of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this post or found by following any link on this post.

About Momsiecle 108 Articles
I am Cristina, I came from an Asian family turned Canadian. Momsie's Blog is all about coming and living and Canada (and everything else).

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