The day-to-day support of the newcomers is the responsibility of the sponsorship group, with help from many local services and organizations. DOORS team can provide advice but isn’t able to help with daily responsibilities, such as drives to the dentist or other medical appointments.
Local Settlement Agencies are funded by the federal government for all newcomers to Canada, including sponsored refugees. They provide wonderful assistance to sponsorship groups in helping with settlement needs by:
Immigration Services Kingston & Area (ISKA). 837 Princess St, Suite 201, Kingston.
613-544-4661 X 5111.
Association Canadienne-francaise de L’Ontario, Conseil regional des Mille-Iles.(ACFOMI)
760 Hwy 15, Kingston. 613-546-7863, www.Acfomi.ca.
Quinte Immigration Services, 345 College St E, Belleville.
Leeds Grenville Immigration Portal: www.leedsgrenvilleimmigration.ca.
Local Employment and Education Centres include:
Kingston Employment and Newcomer Services, (613) 546-5559, www.keys.ca.
Staff in the five KEYS offices in the Kingston area will help newcomers write resumes that can be used for volunteer or employment opportunities, connect newcomers with employers, facilitate training and education, and facilitate funding for credentials and apprenticeship.
Employment and Education Centre, 105 Strowger Blvd, Brockville, (613) 498-2111, www.eecentre.com.
In the first weeks and perhaps months, accompanying newcomers to appointments is an important responsibility of the sponsors. This will provide much needed support. Refugees and newcomers are also eligible for “affordable transit passes.” Once newcomers are more comfortable and acquire greater ease in navigating the bus and their new area, it is not as important to accompany them to all appointments.
For translation of official documents, like driving licenses and educational transcripts, Settlement agencies like ISKA and ACFOMI can send these requests to a licenced translator for a modest fee.
For general conversational and organizing purposes, settlement agencies may have translators who can assist from time to time.
Translation is provided for hospital appointments at Kingston Health Sciences Centre. Indicate the need for the translation service when the appointment is made. Primary health clinics on the other hand, are not required to offer translation services. For appointments that require confidentiality and professionalism, you can access Central Eastern Ontario Translation and Interpretation Services CEOTIS 1-888-968-1065 firstname.lastname@example.org. CEOTIS provides face to face interpretation but must be arranged in advance of the appointment and there is a cost to use this service.
Newcomers have also asked friends and acquaintances with language proficiency to translate in medical appointments that are more routine in nature. Some sponsors and newcomers have chosen to use health clinics in which multi lingual medical treatment is sometimes available. Check with the settlement agency for up-to-date information about medical clinics that offer multi-lingual services.
The availability of affordable housing is very limited. You can try asking property managers for a discounted rent for the first year. Sponsored refugees are not allowed to live in community subsidized housing during the sponsorship year, but are able to apply to be on the waiting list.
Frequent and extensive support is very important in the very early weeks and months of settlement but the extent of sponsor involvement should lighten or diminish as the months go on. From the beginning of the sponsorship, it is important to encourage independence and to respect the autonomy and agency of the newcomers. It can be challenging to get the balance right, and it is important for sponsors and the newcomers to communicate with each other about expectations.
The RTSP handbook says one of the primary goals of sponsors is to “Help Newcomers Work Towards Self-Sufficiency: The core of self-sufficiency is that people are able to make their own plans and decisions in order to attain their own dreams. When a group sponsors refugees, this can be a delicate balance to maintain. Out of a desire to help, groups may do for rather than do with newcomers, reducing the newcomers’ learning opportunities—and eventually, their chances to survive independently in Canada. Independence does not imply that the refugee will sever ties with your group (though this possibility must also be allowed for). You may remain life-long friends, but your help should always be given with the goal of self-sufficiency.”