Local Settlement Agencies
Many local organizations are available to help you and your family settle into life in Canada and Kingston and feel comfortable in your new community.
Kingston has two settlement agencies:
- Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario — Conseil régional des Mille-Îles (ACFOMI) — located at Barriefield Centre, 760 Highway 15, RR 2 (northeast of Kingston)
- Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA) — located at 837 Princess St. (downtown Kingston)
Note: Through the Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP), both local settlement agencies provide newcomers to Canada with a welcome package that includes a variety of information plus a welcome gift from the City of Kingston. This gift includes information on city programs and services and may include complementary transit passes, entertainment tickets/passes and facilities passes.
Both these agencies perform an important role in the life of newcomers. As soon as possible after arriving in the city, you should contact the nearest and most convenient agency by phone or in person. Agency staff will ask you questions about your country of origin, the date you landed in Canada and your current immigration status. Depending on your situation, you will be assigned to a settlement worker who will work closely with you and your family in the coming months.
Note: All settlement services, with the exception of the ISKA’s translation and interpretation service, are free of charge to newcomers and available in multiple languages.
Association canadienne-française de l'Ontario — Conseil régional des Mille-Îles (ACFOMI)
ACFOMI Immigrant Services provides a wide range of services for newcomers, starting with a welcome package.
Staff at ACFOMI Immigrant Services will:
ACFOMI Employment Services provides assistance in to job seekers who want to enter the job market and possibly change careers. They provide information on the local job market and employment agencies, and offer direct employment assistance including writing resumes, drafting cover letters, practice interviews and career counselling.
The ACFOMI office has computers with Internet access and other office equipment that can be used by the public. They also have a multilingual library and resource centre.
ACFOMI also maintains a French services directory, organizes an annual French Language Services Fair (La Franco-foire) and promotes local French-language events and initiatives.
Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA)
ISKA provides a wide range of services to newcomers, starting with a welcome package consisting of pamphlets, brochures and other information about ISKA, municipal programs, local government institutions and community services.
In addition to being assigned to a settlement worker for yourself, if you have children, you will also be introduced to a special settlement worker who only works with children and youth.
ISKA settlement workers will connect you with important agencies and individuals in Kingston and
- Show you the types of accommodation available in Kingston and help you negotiate a purchase or rental agreement.
- Assist you in opening a bank account and signing contracts with a utilities company, telephone company and home-heating provider.
- Help you find affordable furniture, clothing and other household items and show you where the grocery and ethnic food stores are located in Kingston.
- Find schools for your children and help you register them with the appropriate school officials.
- Help you register for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) and apply for a Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- Help you understand the health-care system and find a family doctor.
- Introduce you to community agencies that provide language training programs.
- Provide information about the local job market and employment agencies.
- Assist with writing resumes, preparing for interviews and career planning.
- Help you understand and complete any documentation associated with your immigration to Canada.
- Arrange an appointment at a Drive Test centre for an Ontario driver's licence.
- Help you understand your legal rights in Ontario and obtain legal services if required.
- Connect you with a host family who will act as mentors or friends during the settlement process.
- Provide access to translation and interpretation services as an Authorized Service Delivery Agency for Central Eastern Ontario Translation & Interpretation Services (note: a fee is collected on their behalf).
ISKA also works closely with KEYS Job Centre d’emploi (see below) and organizes social activities for new immigrants, including a men's group, women's network, youth group and sewing club that meet on a regular basis. Information sessions on different topics of interest are held twice a month at ISKA, often with guest speakers, and there are monthly cooking classes taught by newcomers and settlement workers.
KEYS Job Centre d’emploi (KEYS)
KEYS provides a variety of important services to newcomers in the Kingston area. Staff at KEYS work closely with ISKA (see above) helping newcomers find jobs in the community. KEYS and ISKA share an immigrant employer specialist who helps newcomers with writing resumes and planning their careers.
In addition to job search workshops and other programs, KEYS also has a Professional Mentoring Partnership offering 3 different mentoring opportunities to best suit the needs and interests of immigrants and mentors. (See For More Information links below.)
Language training programs are another service provided by KEYS. In partnership with Literacy Kingston, the agency runs Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) programs at different levels.
KEYS also has volunteer programs for immigrant youth that run in the summer and throughout the school year.
Newcomers can get advice and assistance from many other organizations in Kingston that provide services to all residents, including immigrants. Some examples are:
See the Community Directory listings to the right for direct contact information and maps.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for financial assistance to help you settle into your new community. Programs are available through the federal government that provide financial assistance (see also Income Assistance) in the form of grants, loans, tax credits, or benefits to immigrants, refugees and protected persons.
For More Information
What are settlement services?
Information about settlement services in Ontario, including interpretation and translation of documents, help filling out forms and applications, language classes and job hunting. Available in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), French, Gujarati, Pilipino (Tagalog), Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, and Urdu.
Finding newcomer services in your area
An online tool for newcomers to find settlement services in their new community. Includes contact information for language assessment, general settlement assistance, language training and job hunting.
Financial Assistance and Loans for Refugees
Federal financial assistance programs and loans for refugees and protected persons. These may help to cover the cost of accommodation, clothing, household furnishings and other living expenses for up to one year; assist with the cost of medical exams, travel documents, and travel to Canada.
Immigrant Services Kingston and Area (ISKA)
Information about programs and settlement services available to newcomers in the Kingston area. Includes help with education, language programs, meeting people, finding housing and jobs.
KEYS Employment Services
A list of the employment services for newcomers and internationally trained individuals available through KEYS. Includes career coaching, labour market information, credential assessment, employment and training opportunities, and job search workshops for new immigrants.
Resources for New Immigrants
A guide to employment, settlement, social and recreational services and other support for immigrants in Kingston. Includes language instruction, training services and self-employment services.
ACFOMI Immigrant Services
Information about programs and settlement services available to newcomers in the Kingston area. Includes employment assistance with writing resumes, drafting cover letters, and computer and Internet access.
Temporary financial assistance is available to people in need in Kingston. Information about eligibility requirements.
Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP)
The KIP aims to bring people and organizations together to create a Kingston where newcomers can successfully build their new lives as full members of the community. A yearly survey (in English) of immigrants to Kingston is held every fall to encourage newcomers to share their experiences of settling in Kingston.
KIP Women’s Network
A Kingston Immigration Partnership (KIP) program for newcomers, specifically women. The Women’s Network offers field trips, guest speakers, and opportunities to learn about Canadian foods and traditions and discuss issues facing immigrant women.
ISKA Multicultural After School Group for 9–12 Year Olds
A once-a-week Immigration Services Kingston and Area (ISKA) after-school program for newcomer youth aged 9-12. Activities include movies, fun, games, and homework help, as well as newcomer orientation and settlement services.