The first few years in Canada can be difficult for new immigrants. It is particularly challenging for newcomer students and their families to navigate the Canadian education system. Traditionally, newcomers have had little access to community services in the schools. CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, in partnership with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Toronto (TDSB) and the Toronto Catholic District School Boards (TCDSB) have a long-standing partnership to support newcomer families and their children. Program Workers are placed in schools and Reception Centres to facilitate access to information for newcomers. There are five SWIS programs in Toronto as well as in selected communities across Ontario and Canada. CultureLink delivers SWIS in Cluster 5 as a part of Settlement and Education Partnerships in Toronto (SEPT).
The SWIS Program strives to promote settlement and foster student achievement by providing information and referral services to newly arrived families in the school and community at large. Program Workers work closely with schools to receive referrals and provide support to families and youth as soon as possible after their initial registration in school. The settlement needs of elementary-school-aged children are best met by providing outreach and services to their parents or guardians, while the settlement needs of youth are met by providing direct support to youth. Service areas include information to other government settlement services including English language, employment and immigration as well as health, housing, parenting, community services and more.
Families and youth provide their input in helping to create group activities that best meet their needs. Group sessions are held at school locations to support parent and youth and cover a range of topics including: settlement services, CultureLink programs, education, school code of conduct, language training, parenting, summer activities and summer employment, youth and family issues, parenting, immigration, cultural and special events, legal, finance, volunteering, income tax, social assistance, housing and tenant rights and our annual Newcomer Orientation Week activities.
One-on-One Settlement Assistance
Program Workers meet with clients individually to perform needs assessments and referrals tailored to the needs of each client. Follow-up services are available if needed with referrals at the core of settlement assistance.