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Pre-Arrival Program for Newcomers Coming to Canada—Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)

SOPA is funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Last week, Caroline Purver, Cultural Communications Facilitator at the Catholic Centre for Immigrants in Ottawa, contacted me to see if I could help spread the word about SOPA.

The words “Catholic Centre for Immigrants” took me back 12 years in time, to 2005, when I was filling my application for permanent residence. Back then, there wasn’t much information online and I was terrified to make a mistake—what if my application was denied?

A couple of times, I stopped by the Catholic Centre for Immigration (yes, even atheists were welcome) to ask questions and get help. Before I mailed my application, someone reviewed it with me. They were good people, super helpful and resourceful.

I don’t talk about the practical side of immigrating to Canada anymore because my information is completely outdated. Instead, I offer a window on life in Canada. But if you are in the process of immigrating to Canada, do read on and learn about SOPA, it’s a cool initiative.

Note that the Catholic Centre for Immigrants and SOPA are government-funded programs and initiatives. It’s legit!

By Caroline Purver (Cultural Communications Facilitator, SOPA, Catholic Centre for Immigrants)

Immigrating to Canada? Want to arrive prepared? Then register for Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA)!

What is SOPA?

SOPA is a virtual hub providing guidance and customized pre-employment supports designed to help newcomers find and retain employment in Canada. SOPA (an IRCC government 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.

Am I eligible for the program?

In order to be eligible for SOPA, you must have received confirmation of your Permanent Residency, but still be living outside of Canada. You must also have a good level of English and have access to high-speed internet.

How much does it cost?

Our program is funded by the Government of Canada so it is free to join and access our services!

How do I get started?

Register on www.arriveprepared.ca and get connected with an intake counsellor in your desired province. Your intake counsellor will: answer any settlement-related questions you might have, connect you to information and local resources on-the-ground and refer you to one or more of the five free courses which SOPA offers.

What free courses are offered through SOPA?

Our five free courses include: Job Search Strategies (6 weeks, facilitated), Working with Others (4 weeks, facilitated), Professional Communication (4 weeks, facilitated), Working in Canada (self-guided), and Canadian Workplace Integration (self-guided).

What are the benefits of registering with SOPA?

By participating in SOPA, immigrants will arrive in Canada better prepared, be more confident about Canadian cultural expectations, and enter the work force sooner.

For further information on SOPA, please visit our website www.arriveprepared.ca or contact Caroline Purver at caroline@cciottawa.ca.

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