Welcome to Ontario, the most multicultural province in Canada, where half of all new immigrants make their home. Ontario is a land of opportunity. It is a prosperous, democratic society built by the hard work of generations of immigrants. It is also the hub of the Canadian economy. It is a magnet for manufacturing, finance, tourism and other industries. It’s also a leader in science and the arts. Our population of 12 million includes people from 200 countries who speak as many as 130 languages. Our cities are vibrant and our scenery spectacular.
Ontario has a strong, diversified economy, with many kinds of work and many different industries. Most immigrants come to Ontario because of the opportunities offered here. Our people are our greatest asset, and we welcome the talent and energy that newcomers bring to our province. In return, we offer opportunities and a quality of life that are second to none.
In Your Own Language
As you are getting settled, you will probably have many questions about how things are done. These links will help you to learn about living, working, doing business and studying in Ontario in your own language.
- Visit Settlement.org at http://www.settlement.org/ to access more information about settlement services for newcomers online in your own language.
- For information on living and working in Ontario, get the Welcome to Ontario Guide to Programs and Services for Newcomers to Ontario at http://www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/english/newcomers/index.shtml The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration produced this helpful booklet. You can read it online or download it. It is available in 17 languages.
- Publications and Resources: Welcome to Ontario; First Days in Ontario; Building a New Life in Ontario
The Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada
The Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada provide programs and services that can help you access many services. These services are available at one-stop service centres.
ServiceOntario is the Ontario government information and service centre. You can get help online, in person, at kiosks and by phone, for services such as:
- Health card registration
- Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Driver and vehicle licensing
- Business registration
- Fishing and hunting licences
- Newborn Registration Service
ServiceCanada is available on the Internet and at more than 600 places across the country, including call centres. It can connect you to many Government of Canada programs and services, including those in:
- Education and training
- Income assistance
- Personal documents such as obtaining a Social Insurance Number
- Starting a business
Newcomer Settlement Program
The Ontario government supports the Newcomer Settlement Program. Community settlement agencies right across Ontario deliver this program. These agencies can help you:
- Get settled in your community
- Find housing, a job or childcare service
- Register your children in school
- Access other programs such as English or French language programs, employment services, skills training and foreign credential assessment
- Get information about provincial or federal government services such as healthcare and social services
- Fill out forms and applications to access government programs and services
- Access interpretation services or have documents translated.
These services are open to all newcomers, including permanent residents, Canadian citizens, and refugee claimants.
Go to the Newcomers page for other information on services available to you.
First Days in Ontario
No matter where you plan to live, work or study in Ontario, you will probably arrive at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. Basic information is available at this airport. Look for the Immigrant Reception and Information Services (IRIS) booth.
A public library may have information and services to help you settle, learn English or French, or find work. Visit Toronto’s public library website for information about the many services offered. Find a library near you by using the Ontario Public Libraries directory.
Services to Help You Settle – information in 17 languages
The first days in a new country can be overwhelming, especially if you and your family are tired from a long trip. This section of OntarioImmigration.ca links you to information to help you during your first few days here. It directs you to newcomer settlement agencies, and information on opening a bank account, getting a driver’s licence and using public transit.
Settling in Ontario
- Welcome Ontario is a guide to programs and services for newcomers to Ontario (available in 17 languages).
- Your First Days in Ontario: A Newcomers Guide gives useful information for when you first arrive. You can learn about where to find help, housing, using Canadian money, getting around, banking and shopping (available in 24 languages).
- Building a New Life in Ontario provides information about the many settlement services in your community to help you settle (available in 17 languages).
- In my language is a website that provides information about health, housing, work, education and other daily life topics in 11 languages.
- Ethno-Cultural Settlement Assistance Organizations and Finding an Agency both provide information about agencies that can help you settle in Ontario.
Cost of Living
- Banking in Canada here you will find information about opening a bank account and protecting your money anywhere in Ontario.
- Things to know about personal finances learn about cost of living, income tax, acquiring credit cards and saving money.
- Protecting your money in Canada
For information on getting a driver’s licence in Ontario or to find a public transportation system in your community, see our Getting Around section.
Grants and Funding for Organizations
Grant and/or funding programs are available for organizations that help newcomers settle, get licensed and employed in their fields, learn English and French, participate in Ontario communities and offer language interpretation services to victims of domestic violence who have limited English skills.
Grants Ontario provides Ontarians with one window access to information about grants offered by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
Find out what grants are available to you, how to apply for those grants and how to check the status of your grant application.
Government of Ontario support for organizations
- Language Interpreter Services: This program supports a network of not-for-profit community organizations to deliver spoken language interpretation services across Ontario. These services help victims of domestic violence who have limited English or French language skills get social, healthcare and legal services, including in the Domestic Violence Court System. Interpretation services are available in over 60 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.