Pre-arrival settlement information and service connections – an example

tech-makes-it-easier-to-share

Can you provide effective pre-arrival information to a newcomer on social media?

On Twitter, I connected with someone who will be coming to Toronto in the within the next year. I don’t have any more information about him than his profile and we shared a few quick messages. I asked him about his current pre-arrival prep and some specific questions, in order to direct him to some resources to begin his pre-arrival settlement process as soon as possible.

In a more robust client interaction, I would have done an online intake via a secure form, or using encrypted email. But, I’m not a service provider and wanted to show how much information you can get and give just from a quick interaction online.

His answers to my questions are in bold, followed by my answers. I left the complete website addresses instead of creating hyperlinks, as this may be a document that a newcomer would want to print out. If so, it might be helpful to have the full addresses visible.

I’d be interested in the comments of settlement service providers about the process and interactions below. What do you do when you get questions from potential clients before they arrive? What technologies are you using to serve clients online?

The exchange.

So far no sites visited so prep done but all this is the starting point towards that.

Good on you for getting the process started before you arrive.

Settlement.Org is a great starting point for you to find most of what you need to know about settling in Ontario. Browse or search some of the articles about your first days. Some of the information here may seem simplistic, but its the little details that will ensure your first weeks in Canada are smooth. There’s much you can do and prepare for ahead of time (as you’re doing on social media):

http://settlement.org/firstdays/

In particular, check out their Discussion Forum: http://settlement.org/firstdays/#discussion There are great examples of experiences and similar questions you might have about getting your family settled. Read, ask, learn there.

UPDATE (Nov 13): The Settlement Online Pre-Arrival site launched a few days ago. I recommend checking it out. It’s run by a very reputable and professional settlement organization – Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). It’s “a network of Canadian agencies delivering key pre-employment supports designed to help newcomers find and retain employment in Canada.” A great opportunity to register in one place and get referred to agencies funded explicitly to provide pre-arrival settlement services and support. I still recommend you check out the other resources in this post for yourself. But, this new service is well worth checking out.

I have my degree assessment done by a Canadian company which says i have studies 14 years of formal study and i have a grad in computer sciences ‘BCS’ now i have done masters MA in international relations.

Great, you’ll want to confirm with the company that employers recognize their assessment. It’s essential. If an employer doesn’t understand the assessment or agree with it, that can create some stumbling blocks. So, check out the assessment company’s website or ask them how your assessment is recognized/valued by Canadian academia and employers/industry.

I am a record producer music producer photographer and been with radio industry for 17 years. As a onair personality (radio host) and offair as Country head of production for the radio station. Music industry and radio industry would best suit me. I also have 3 years of banking experience as a banker.

You have a great deal of experience and it sounds like you’ve been in some wide ranging experience as well. Your work is in an occupation that is considered not regulated in Canada. This can be good (you’ll see with your wife’s next steps, that a regulated occupation has many hurdles to work through). On the other hand, you’ll have to convince an employer here that your experience abroad is of value or compatible with your experience here.

If you haven’t heard it yet, let me introduce you to the concept of “Canadian experience.” You’re likely to hear it now and then. http://settlement.org/ontario/employment/working-in-canada/workplace-culture/how-important-is-canadian-experience/

Networking is going to be essential for you in your work. Like many types of media around the world, media in Canada is in flux, trying to remain profitable in the internet era. It’s going to be essential that you start making connections before you arrrive, with newcomers who have come before you in radio/media, and with industry experts you might be able to network/connect with before you arrive.

Here are some starting points:

New Canadian Media Professionals Network (NCMP)
The New Canadian Media Professionals’ Network (NCMP) is a professional immigrant network which works for the creation of opportunities for networking, capacity building, training and developing media projects for internationally trained journalists and media professionals in Canada.
http://networksforimmigrants.ca/ncmp

If you can, connect with Gerard Keledjian, he’s done a lot and has experience that can help you. And he’s the NCMP Chair. http://networksforimmigrants.ca/users/gerard-keledjian

Communications, Advertising & Marketing Professionals
When new Canadians succeed, all of Canada wins. Our common dream is for Canada’s continued development and growth, where international skills and talent is recognized and productively utilized. Through monthly meetings and events, CAMP members build on the intellectual and social capital that can help them get ahead.
http://networksforimmigrants.ca/search-pins/communications-advertising-marketing-professionals

You’ll want to research the radio and music industry to find out where people are sharing/networking. You might find groups on LinkedIn, or other speciality sites. You’ll also want to peruse job sites to see what the Canadian industry is looking for. This is essential so you can compare your experience (including particular technology or processes used) with what Canadian employers are looking for. At this early stage, this is essential for you. If you find you’re missing a key piece of technical knowledge, for example, you might be able to take a course, or learn on your own, etc.

Here’s an interesting job site from someone in the music industry, updated regularly, where you can see what’s being looked for:

http://www.thatericalper.com/category/canadian-artsmedia-job-posts/

Some other job listing sites and info from Settlement.Org: http://settlement.org/ontario/employment/find-a-job/#FIND_JOBLIST

You’ll also want to start charting your potential employment and career path in Toronto. If you need to, initially, you may need to find an alternative job. Hopefully one that’s similar enough to your current work so you can work towards the jobs aligned with your previous skills and experience. But, it’s important to understand that things can change with such a huge shift as immigration. It’s important to be prepared and to have “Plan B” (among other potential plans!) so you can adjust accordingly. Here’s some info about alternative jobs:

http://settlement.org/ontario/employment/professions-and-trades/alternative-jobs/what-are-alternative-jobs/

My wife is a school teacher teaching to elementary and below kindergarten.

Speaking of regulated professions. Teaching is a regulated profession in Ontario.

The Ontario College of Teachers regulates the teaching profession in Ontario and governs its members. Among other areas, the College is responsible for:

  • setting requirements for teaching certificates and maintaining a provincial register of teachers
  • setting standards for teacher education programs at Ontario universities, and monitoring the training programs to ensure they meet the standards
  • developing codes of conduct for teachers, and investigating complaints against teachers, and making decisions about teacher discipline, and fitness to practise

Here’s the career map your wife needs to review and follow:

http://www.ontarioimmigration.ca/en/working/OI_HOW_WORK_TEACHER_CM.html

And, talking about Plan B, Settlement.Org writes: “It can take some time to get a licence, if you were trained outside of Canada. You might want to work in a non-regulated job in your field first. This can be a good way to use your skills and get Canadian work experience.” Settlement.Org has some information about alternative jobs your wife may want to look into as she’s working towards recertifying as a teacher:

http://settlement.org/alternative-jobs/#teacher

I will be coming with family wife and a son 4 year old

Settlement.Org has the information you need about the education system in Ontario. It may be quite different than you’re used to. So, check out their School section, especially the Newcomers’ Guides to Education, as a starting point.

http://settlement.org/ontario/education/elementary-and-secondary-school/

No problems with language i scored a 7.5 on IELTS and she did a 7 on that. Very global minded.

I like that you said that: “global minded.” Attitude (as you may have discovered reading the “Canadian experience” article) is something that’s crucial in your settlement process. Having a positive attitude is also important as you work through the potential challenges in your new life in Canada. For some, getting settled can take time, and be difficult.

According to the IELTS site, Band 7 suggests you’re both: “Good user: has operational command of the language, though with occasional inaccuracies, inappropriacies and misunderstandings in some situations. Generally handles complex language well and understands detailed reasoning.”

In Canada, language assessment for ESL and some employment support programs uses the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs). According to this CLB IELTS converter (http://ieltscanadatest.com/test-results/ielts-and-clb/), it suggests you may be between CLB 8-10.

I don’t want to make assumptions about your language level, but for employment purposes, you may want to look into taking College or University level courses, or see if free Occupation-specific Language Training courses might be for you.

And, here’s where I send you off to some experts. When I say I don’t want to make assumptions about you and your family, it’s because we’ve had a very simple interaction on social media. You’ve told me a bit that gives me a brief profile. With that, I feel comfortable referring to you the many sites and resources listed above.

But, what I think is helpful/useful (and recommend this to any new immigrant), is that you connect with a settlement service organization in the community where you’re planning to live.

Settlement.Org’s “Services near me” has a great starting point for you:

http://settlement.org/findhelp/ontario/toronto/

I’m not sure what your experience is with community/social services. In Canada, there’s a vast network of these services available, generally for free, to people who need them in our communities. They’re professional, authoritative, credible and helpful. In your case, I’d start with a settlement service.

The downtown Toronto YMCA Newcomer Information Centre is a great starting point, if you’re not sure where to go first: “a welcome hub for immigrants from all over the world looking to start their new lives in Canada. Newcomers are well-received by warm, friendly and knowledgeable staff. After free registration, members can access a great variety of support.”

http://www.ymcagta.org/en/newcomers/you-arrived/newcomer-info-centre/index.html

Or, start connecting with organizations right in the neighbourhood you’re planning to live in. If you know the area of Toronto (or even postal code) where you’re planning to settle initially, try the search at 211Toronto. Here’s a search for immigrant-serving organization in the eastern part of Toronto:

http://www.211toronto.ca/quick/Central%20Region/ORGANIZATION/immigrants/toronto%20east/ENGLISH/1/0/LOCATED_IN_REGION

You can also browse their newcomer topics:

http://www.211toronto.ca/topic/newcomers

I’m not going to recommend one organization over another. It’s too hard, and they’re all great in their own ways. Some are small with fewer services. Some are larger and provide a multitude of services. What I recommend is that you find some in the area where you’re planning to settle and ask them some questions about their services.

In many cases, these organizations are not funded to do pre-arrival information and service provision. But, they will get back to you with information about what they offer.

Some might be among the recently funded organizations that have been authorized to offer pre-arrival settlement services (I’m working on getting a list, we really should know!). In which case, they will be able to start doing an intake with you to provide services, etc.

However, connecting with them now and seeing how they answer your questions about their services will give YOU a sense of their attitude and if they’re a fit for you and your family. If you can find that before you arrive, your settlement transition could be smoother, as you’re already connected to a local service provider and can move from online communication to in-person!

I hope this is useful and am happy to continue the conversation!

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