The 17th Week

ISAP and Host Programs for New Immigrants

What ISAP is
After arrival, you should contact the nearest organization which serves immigrants. These organizations are publicly funded and their purposes are to help new immigrants settle in Canada. In Canada, there is a government program for helping immigrants named Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP).

Help new immigrants can get
As part of ISAP, there are a variety of free services to new immigrants in various languages. ISAP can help you:
•Find English language courses.
•Open a bank account.
•Obtain the necessary legal assistance.
•Find the right doctor or hospital and make an appointment.
•Get help for pregnant women.
•Find a translator and compile the necessary documents and statements.
•Apply for financial assistance.
•Find suitable day care or schools.
•Resolve conflicts with the landlord.
•Apply for subsidized housing.
•Apply for a driver's license.
•Apply for citizenship in Canada.
Employment assistance is also included in this program and a translator will accompany you when you will visit different offices.

Who can use this program
Participants in this program may be landed immigrants or refugees, as well as those who do not have status but were allowed to remain in Canada while they wait for a decision on their request for landed immigrant or refugee status. In addition, those who are working in Canada under the "Live-in Caregiver” program can make use of ISAP. Also, in some cases, this program serves people with temporary visas. Persons who have become citizens of Canada are gradually eliminated from the ISAP program.

Where to find organizations that offer ISAP
Please visit to find the addresses of organizations which provide services under the ISAP program.

How to get acquainted with Canadians
Newly arrived immigrants are in desperate need of support and advice from people who have been living in Canada for a long time. If you want to quickly get acquainted and establish friendships with Canadians, contact the HOST Program. You will be matched with individuals or with a Canadian family. These are usually volunteers living nearby with whom you can meet by appointment every one to two weeks over a period of four months to a year. More information about the HOST program can be found at:

What the HOST program offers
With your new friends, you can talk in English, go to lunch, to the theater, to a concert or a sports club, visit the shops or simply take a walk in the park. They will introduce you to the Canadian customs and traditions and involve you in the social life of your area. Under this program, you can often make friends with Canadians and keep up the relationships for a long time. There are different HOST programs for youth, women, elderly people, pensioners and the disabled.

What the HOST program does not offer
However, you must remember that your new friends in the HOST program can not substitute for the employees of organizations serving immigrants. They just help you feel not so lonely in a new country and give you moral support and advice. It is not acceptable to borrow money from them.

Where to find HOST programs
You can find the HOST program through the site: HOST centres arrange joint meetings of new immigrants and Canadians; also they have celebrations on the Canadian holidays.

Make a note
Eventually, you will be able to volunteer to help other immigrants in the HOST program. To do this, you will need to submit an application and be interviewed. If your application is approved and you pass the necessary training, you will be attached to the new immigrants through the HOST program.