This is a guest post by Caroline Purver, a Cultural Communications Facilitator of Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) Ontario. SOPA 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.
Are you immigrating to Canada? Want to arrive prepared? Then register for Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA).
Wondering how it works?
Here’s a story of Jane’s journey as an immigrant in Canada and how SOPA has guided her in starting anew. This could also be YOUR story. So let’s start the journey here.
Starting from Where You Are
Jane is from the Philippines and has just received confirmation of her Permanent Residency to Canada.
She wants to arrive prepared in order to establish herself in her new home – meaning she wants to find a job, a place to live, and get connected to resources on-the-ground.
After doing some research online, Jane finds out about Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA).
What is SOPA
Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) is a virtual hub providing guidance and customized pre-employment supports designed to help newcomers find and retain employment in Canada.
By participating in SOPA, immigrants will arrive in Canada better prepared, be more confident about Canadian cultural expectations, and enter the work force sooner.
SOPA (an IRCC funded pre-arrival program) engages a network of 6 settlement agencies across the country to deliver training to prepare immigrants for successful integration into the Canadian labour market.
This network provides training within local contexts that creates a bridge between pre-arrival immigrants and their destined communities.
How to Get Started
Jane registers at www.arriveprepared.ca and gets connected with an intake counsellor in Ontario (the province where she intends to land – although she notes that it is also available in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Atlantic region).
She makes an appointment and is able to meet with an intake counsellor in an online meeting the very next day.
She has a fantastic session and gets a lot of useful settlement information:
- different housing options
- important documents to bring
- specific local community resources
The intake counsellor answers all of her specific questions and addresses her concerns about the settlement process.
The Free Online Courses
The intake counsellor also refers Jane to all five of the free online courses which SOPA offers, related to developing Job Search Strategies and introducing Canadian workplace culture.
- Job Search Strategies
- Soft Skills: Professional Communication
- Soft Skills: Working with Others
- Canadian Workplace Integration
- Working in Canada
With a few months before Jane departs to Canada, she is happy to be able to take advantage of all five courses.
The first course she takes is Job Search Strategies (6 week long course). She is connected with an online facilitator who guides her throughout the course and provides personalized feedback on each assignment.
She learns information about her specific occupation and on the job market and her assignments include: working on Canadian style resumes, cover letters and getting prepared for interviews.
Once she completes her first course, she then starts the two Soft Skill courses – Professional Communication and Working with Others.
Both courses are four weeks long and she is able to work with another helpful facilitator on topics (Canadian context) such as:
- Conflict Management
- Small Talk and Constructive Feedback
In her last few weeks before departing, Jane is able to finish the two self-guided courses – Canadian Workplace Integration and Working in Canada. Since she is busy preparing for her move, she is able to work on the last two courses at her own pace, when she has some free time.
Immigrating to Canada
The day has come and Jane finally arrives in Canada. She feels better prepared and confident with the Canadian job search process.
She keeps all of the tips/techniques she has learned from the courses and her facilitators and she feels ready to start applying for jobs right away.
This story is a common one for those who have taken advantage and have signed up for Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA).
We have had many success stories, throughout the country, of clients finding work in the field soon after landing and we are confident that our program will help you arrive prepared.
For further information on SOPA, visit our website or contact (firstname.lastname@example.org) Caroline Purver.
Personal Tip: Throughout the years, I’ve written personal posts for newcomer/immigrants. And if you are thinking or already decided to live in Canada, I would personally recommend (which I seldom do if memory serves me right) you to take advantage of what SOPA has to offer.
I’ve learned a lot while working (especially as a caregiver) and volunteering. The experiences are no doubt the best teacher but I have to admit I wish I’ve known how to do things the right way sooner.
Use your time, energy, and resources wisely. It’s a good habit to develop right away where dreams are cultivated. START early.
How did you start? Or what plans are you pondering/changing? Share it in the comment.