Launched as a pilot project in 2007 and transformed into a full-fledged program in 2010, the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) is a ground-breaking initiative between the Government of Canada, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), and a network of partners across Canada. The program provides free pre-departure orientation to Federal Skilled Workers, Provincial Nominees, and their spouses and adult dependants, while they are still overseas during the final stages of the immigration process. It helps immigrants better prepare for economic success by providing information, planning, and online support through partners in Canada.
“Prior to landing in Canada, CIIP boosted my confidence by providing me the information, advice, contacts and referrals which helped me develop my blueprint for successful integration in Canada. CIIP supported me at each and every step and hence I had no hesitation in following the advice of CIIP like devoting time to understand the Canadian culture, getting my credentials evaluated, attending the job search workshops and upgrading myself professionally in the Canadian context. In retrospect, I realize that my integration process had begun before I landed in Toronto because I was more aware about the culture, job prospects and, most important, the next steps.”
CIIP Graduate from India, Social Worker, Canadian Mental Health Association
CIIP helps prospective immigrants better prepare for the Canadian labour market by giving them:
- Access to key information and research resources;
- Advice to help them consider options and make decisions that are right for them and their families;
- Insights into challenges they might face; and
- Direct connections with employers and other organizations (e.g., colleges and immigrant-serving agencies) that can support them while they are in their countries of origin and throughout their transition to Canada.
CIIP services are currently available in a number of cities across China, India, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom. Additional service delivery locations may include: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The first CIIP component is a one-day orientation workshop where participants are informed about:
- Job Prospects - what Canada has to offer on a geographic and sectoral basis, and how to maximize job opportunities.
- Job Readiness - potential challenges and how prospective immigrants can minimize risks by preparing prior to arrival in Canada.
- Job Search - job search strategies, tools, and the different types of jobs in Canada, as well as an introduction to CIIP partners (employers, recruitment agencies, educational institutions, credential assessment bodies, and immigrant-serving organizations in Canada) who can help immigrants navigate through the job-search journey.
- Job Retention - understanding the Canadian workplace and its culture.
The second CIIP component involves personalized planning focused on key job and integration decisions, as well as actions to be taken before and after arrival in Canada.
The third CIIP component provides online advice, tools, and other resources from Canadian partner organizations and direct contact with Canadian employers. In this way, CIIP also acts as an integration platform for employers and other partners to reach out to prospective immigrants before they land in Canada.
Created in 1972, ACCC is the national and international voice of Canada’s 150 colleges, institutes of technology, polytechnics, cégeps, and universities "with a college mandate." ACCC member institutions are located in 1,000 communities across all 10 provinces and three territories. Partnership is a priority for ACCC. Networking and collaborative action are at the heart of the Association’s approach to advocacy, research, and project delivery. Throughout the implementation of CIIP, ACCC has demonstrated its unequivocal commitment to working with a wide range of organizations and facilitating partnerships among others to foster a sense of shared vision
Performance and accountability have paved the way for the transformation of this initiative from a pilot project into a global program. A final evaluation of the pilot was conducted in 2010 and a report was posted on the CIIP website later that year. Since its inception as a pilot, the initiative has provided publicly accessible quarterly reports with up-to-date statistics to demonstrate performance.
CIIP helps newcomers gain employment that reflects their skills, credentials, and experience. It enables prospective immigrants to prepare effectively overseas to meet credential, language, and skill requirements to achieve economic integration in Canada. Since 2007, more than 13,000 prospective immigrants have registered with CIIP and more than 9,000 have graduated from the program. Findings from the pilot phase of CIIP reveal that graduates were not only appreciative of the information and support they received in the overseas sessions, but were more knowledgeable and aware on a number of levels as well – especially around finding suitable employment and gaining more realistic expectations:
- Almost all graduates agreed (91% strongly agreed) that CIIP services were useful.
- Almost all agreed (76% strongly agreed) that their understanding of how to find suitable work in Canada had improved as a result of taking part in CIIP.
- Ninety-two percent of graduates agreed (60% strongly agreed) that their expectations around finding suitable work in Canada had also changed after CIIP.
At the same time, findings from the pilot phase reveal that virtually all graduates agreed (77% strongly agreed) that the services they received at CIIP contributed to the preparatory action they planned to take. In particular, graduates indicated that they would commit to the following:
- Connect with immigrant-serving agencies (80%);
- Apply for employment (70%);
- Enter further education or training (64%);
- Seek a language assessment (55%);
- Have their credentials assessed (55%);
- Upgrade their language skills (50%); and
- Contact regulatory bodies (44%)
In addition to a number of cities across China, India, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom, CIIP services may be delivered in various other countries as well: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Finland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
- Service Providers
- Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC)
- Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)
- Cities in China, India, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom (with additional service delivery locations in several other countries and a head office in Ottawa)
- Year of Launch
- Languages of Delivery
- English as the main language of delivery (with capacity to deliver service in French when necessary)
- Newcomer Groups Served
- Federal Skilled Workers, Provincial Nominees, and their spouses and adult dependants in designated countries
- Expected Results
- Information and Orientation (Newcomers make informed decisions about their settlement and understand life in Canada).
Labour Market Access (Newcomers obtain the required assistance to find employment commensurate with their skills and education).
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