Moving to Canada and making a new life in Edmonton means a lot of changes and learning to adapt. From finding a home to rent and establishing your career to more long-term goals like building credit and buying a home, there are resources to help you! Pacesetter recommends the following transitional programs for newcomers to make your adjustment as easy as possible.
ASSIST Community Services Centre
The ASSIST Community Services Centre offers a range of services to immigrants and their families to help integrate into the community. The Centre offers free English learning courses, job counselling and placement, and a Newcomers Club with group activities.
Bredin Centre for Learning
The Bredin Centre focuses on education and employment services. If you are new to Alberta, Bredin can help you navigate child care, housing, schools, and more with the help of a Settlement Counselor. They also assist with licensure recognition and getting a job with services such as occupational sessions, formal on-the-job training, networking, and workplace training.
Edmonton Regional Immigrant Employment Council (ERIEC)
ERIEC is a business-led group that has spent the last decade helping Canadian immigrants enter the local economy. The organization offers several programs including the Connector Program, Smart Connections, and Speed Career Networking. Career Mentorship allows you to work directly with a mentor who has active links to local professional networks and associations. To qualify, you need to be actively searching for work with job-ready English skills, and experience or education in your field outside of Canada or a readiness to change careers in Canada.
Changing Together is a non-profit centre run by immigrant women for immigrant women. Established in 1984, the organization gives newcomers a safe place to share and learn while adjusting to life in Edmonton as well as assistance acquiring life skills, employment, and Canadian work experience through their volunteer program. Changing Together also offers a Making Changes pre-employment training program, English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, and computer classes.
Edmonton Immigrant Services Association (EISA)
EISA offers a range of services to new immigrants as well as first-generation Canadians with programs designed for families. The organization focuses on services related to education, adaptation, integration, and settlement. In addition to its popular English as Another Language (EAL) class, EISA provides support services for translation and interpretation and Youth Settlement Services with academic tutoring, group activities, and social support.
Their in-school settlement services are a good place to start after arriving in Edmonton. EISA partners with Edmonton school districts with funding by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to help immigrant families and students with orientation, adjustment to school culture, applying for a Social Insurance Number, finding a doctor, and more.
Edmonton Multicultural Coalition
The Edmonton Multicultural Coalition works to achieve equal access to resources and opportunities in ethno-cultural communities in Edmonton. The Coalition's Resource Centre offers support services to help immigrants and families settle quickly in Edmonton with a combination of mentoring, guidance, and referrals.
Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative (MCHB)
The MCHB supports newcomers to Edmonton with a focus on enhancing health and wellness after the initial settlement period. MCHB offers programs like peri-natal health, seniors outreach, youth initiatives, childcare services, and support for families with children with disabilities.
International Credentials & Bridging Programs
If you have education and training that you received outside of Canada, one of your first steps toward establishing a new career in Edmonton is the International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS), an Alberta government service. The IQAS issues certificates comparing international training and education credentials to Canada's educational standards. This assessment can support a job search or an application for post-secondary education or licensure.
Bridging courses are designed to help you transition your profession to Canada. These programs can be put together by occupational regulatory bodies, employers, and colleges and they may give you clinical experience, skills training, language training, and preparation for certification or getting a license in Canada. A bridging program can help you be better prepared for the licensure or certification process, make connections in your field, and find jobs that are regulated in Alberta.
There are many ways to find bridging programs tailored to your skills and work experience. Alberta works with the Government of Canada to fund employment support programs, including immigrant bridging. The Canadian Association for Prior Learning Assessment also maintains a directory of institutions in Alberta that offer a variety of bridging programs.
Resources for Buying a Home
Preparing to buy your first home in Canada may take time, even if you have a down payment ready, as you transition your profession, build work experience, and establish a credit history in Canada. When you are ready to buy a home, there are many programs that may be able to help.
The First-Time Home Buyer's Tax Credit helps you offset inspections, legal fees, and other closing costs with a non-refundable tax credit that's worth $750 in tax relief for an individual.
The GST/HST New Housing Rebate allows you to recover some of the GST/HST you pay when you buy a new home or substantially renovate an existing home. When you buy a new home, you pay GST or HST on top of the purchase price. The new housing rebate is equal to 36% of the GST up to $6,300 on homes worth $350,000 or less. If you decide to buy a new home, keep in mind your builder's preferred lender may be able to help you through the approval process and down payment.
These transitional programs and resources all share a common goal: helping you transition to a new life in Edmonton with the support and skills you need for success. Whether you need help obtaining a professional license, building a professional network, or taking steps like finding a family doctor and opening a bank account, we encourage you to reach out to these organizations to help get you started.