Retaining Foreign Workers in Canada

Retaining Foreign Workers in CanadaSettlement and Integration of Temporary Foreign Workers

Only permanent residents can access government-funded settlement and integration programs including language training. Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) are not eligible.

You, as an employer, are likely one of your foreign workers' first points of contact with their new community. There are a number of supports you can provide to help them get oriented to the basic services and amenities they'll need on a daily basis. The following suggestions can mean a lot to a newcomer trying to get established in unfamiliar surroundings.

Foreign workers, like any new employees, benefit from an orientation to the workplace, its policies and expectations. But the need for orientation does not end at the workplace. Newcomers need orientation to the larger community, its resources, services and cultural differences. The employer plays an important role in providing newcomers with some of the information they need to successfully integrate themselves.

Newcomers adjust to life in Canada byfinding a place to live, buying food andclothing, locating appropriate services,learning to find their way around the community, and in some cases,improving their English and getting their families settled.

General Information

Provide local maps, brochures onchurches, libraries, recreational activities and local points of interest. Other publications include:

A Newcomer's Introduction to Canada contains general information about Canada, the Canadian way of life and rights and responsibilities. Visit to download or order the publication.


Newcomers may require help in locating suitable accommodation. You can help by recommending resources about where to look for affordable places to live, such as rental guides, newspaper classified sections or local housing registries.


Foreign workers may need to access public transit services to get to work, make shopping trips and run other errands. Helping newcomers access transit schedules, online route planners and maps of the community can ease some of the anxiety associated with finding one's way around.


Newcomers may need assistance in setting up a bank account. Many financial institutions provide free tip sheets on banking and insurance, credit, loans and debt, credit card fraud, identity theft protection, and consumers' rights and responsibilities.


Newcomers may require information on enrolling their children in school. In addition to providing a list of local schools, you can direct employees to the information about enrolling children in school.

Workplace safety

It's important for foreign workers to understand their rights and responsibilities in promoting safe, healthy and fair workplaces for all employees. Canada Employment and Immigration provides workplace safety resources for download. You may wish to make some of this information part of their workplace orientation.

Health Care

Like other residents of Canada, foreign workers and their dependants are eligible to receive provincial healthcare insurance plan services if they are:

 legally entitled to be in Canada and living here permanently

 not claiming residency or obtaining benefits under a claim of residency in another province, territory or country

 a resident, not including a tourist, transient or visitor to Canada

Workers can receive health care coverage from the date they arrive in in their jurisdiction in Canada, as long as they apply within three months of their arrival and meet jurisdictional healthcare requirements. For workers not eligible, employers should explore private medical insurance plans.


Resources for counselling, language learning and other settlement services for immigrants may be available in your community. Immigrant serving agencies may also offer workshops on cross-cultural communication.

Prepare current employees for the arrival of new foreign workers by educating them about workforce diversity and cultural differences. Make everyone aware of Canadian workplaces expectations regarding discrimination and harassment. Canadian Human Rights and other jurisdictional human rights branches offers employers different workplace modules on topics such asa respectful and inclusive workplaces, discrimination and harassment, and duty to accommodate.

Language Training

In many communities language assessment and training is available to temporary foreign workers for a fee. Employers may want to invest in their workers by providing English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the workplace, or by providing financial support to access community language training classes.

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