How Canada works to help newcomer women across the country

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: May 16, 2023

In late March, the province of Ontario announced a $768,000 investment in the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW).

This funding is intended to help “address [employment] barriers [for women] by focusing on increasing … recruitment, retention, and advancement in non-traditional and/or growing economic sectors” through CCMW’s “Addressing Barriers to Employment for Muslim Women” project.

Such an investment is being made to help address the inequalities that women face in Canada and brings to the surface why it is vital for organizations around this country to work toward removing barriers for women in this country. This is especially true for newcomer women in Canada, who continue to struggle with fair representation in the Canadian workforce.

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The following will provide an overview of how Canada – both at the federal level through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and at the provincial/territorial level – is working to help newcomer women arriving in Canada.


IRCC has several federal programs and services for women coming to Canada, which include Women at Risk (WAR) – as part of the Urgent Protection Program (UPP) – and the Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot (RNWP) program.

WAR program

IRCC’s Women at Risk (WAR) program provides aid to “women who need urgent protection or who are vulnerable but do not have to show that they have settlement potential.”

Note: Women in this program, as well as their dependents, must still pass all required Canadian entrance examinations (medical, security etc.) in order to receive aid through the Urgent Protection Program (UPP).

RNWP program

The Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot (RNWP) program “provides newcomer women in Canada with settlement services and support to improve their employment outcomes and career advancement … [contributing] to greater opportunities for racialized newcomer women to participate equally and fully in [Canada’s] economy.”

From January 2023: IRCC announces additional funding for Racialized Newcomer Women Pilot Program


Each Canadian province and territory offers services through local organizations which aim to help newcomer women with anything from day-to-day life as they settle in Canada, to finding work, preparing for an eventual citizenship test and even finding a mentor (or becoming one).

Here is a list of at least one organization that services Canadian newcomer women in each province/territory. A more expansive list of newcomer women's services in each province/territory (excluding Quebec) can be found on this page from the Government of Canada.

British Columbia

Women’s Economic Council (Vancouver): A registered charity with a mission to “advance every woman’s participation in building resilient and inclusive economies, especially women who experience multiple systemic barriers.”

Umoja Operation Compassion Society (Surrey): A charity that works with recent immigrants and refugees of all kinds, with specialized programming to help immigrants with their daily life and finding a job. They also offer services specifically for women.


Calgary Immigrant Women's Association: An organization that provides programs that help immigrant women navigate daily life, find employment, seek a mentor, and receive general/job-specific language training (among other things).

Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta (Calgary): This organization provides services to women looking to find a job. Making Changes is “committed to creating a safe space while helping to advance futures for women in our community.”


International Women of Saskatoon – LEAD (Saskatoon): From employment and job search services to specialized language testing and settlement resources, as well as community engagement aids, the International Women of Saskatchewan has a number of programs and services for Canadian newcomer women.


Manitoba Start - Employment Solutions for Immigrants Inc. (Winnipeg): An employment services agency that offers help to immigrants with finding a job and navigating daily life in Canada, including programs specific to women.


Access Alliance Multicultural Health & Community Services (Toronto): A immigrant and refugee service provider that aims to “improve health outcomes [for those who] have been made vulnerable by systemic barriers and poverty.”

Immigrant Women Services Ottawa: This organization offers programs and services (according to their website) focused on three primary areas: crisis intervention and counselling; interpretation and translation; and settlement and integration.


Women’s Centre of Montreal: An organization that supports recent newcomer women “throughout [the] immigration process [by offering] services to facilitate … settlement and integration through individual support and/or group activities.”

Newfoundland and Labrador

Association for New Canadians (St. John’s): A “non-profit, community-based organization delivering settlement and integration services to immigrants and refugees … including [programs] that support all aspects of immigrant integration, ranging from settlement information and orientation to language learning, skills development and employment.”

Nova Scotia

YWCA Halifax: One of 32 YWCA locations in Canada that provide services to women focused on “[promoting] the leadership, health and wellness of women and girls; [advancing] women’s economic and housing security; [delivering] quality, accessible, developmental early learning + childcare and [working] to end violence against women and girls.”

Prince Edward Island

Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI Inc. (Charlottetown): An organization that provides a multitude of services for Canadian newcomers, including language programs and assistance finding employment.

New Brunswick

Northwest Resource Centre for Newcomers Inc. (Edmundston): A non-profit organization whose mission is to “help newcomers who come to settle in the region in order to facilitate their social, economic, educational and cultural integration.” They offer resources, learning and mentoring services, as well as networking and support services.


Carrefour Nunavut (Iqaluit): A French-language organization that offers services for job seekers, new immigrants, current workers and entrepreneurs.

Northwest Territories

NWT Literacy Council (Yellowknife): A not-for-profit and registered charitable organization “that promotes and supports literacy and essential skills in all the official languages of the NWT.”


Association franco-yukonnaise (Whitehorse): A French-language organization with specific services for newcomer women related to such tasks as navigating daily life and finding employment.

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