D,N - Settlement Worker

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[edit] Job title (ND)

[edit] Settlement Counsellor or Settlement Worker

[edit] General Overview

Settlement Counsellors can have various titles, which will depend on whether the employer is a not-for-profit organization, a for-profit agency or a government employer, like Immigration, Employment Insurance and Revenue Officers in Alberta. The following information applies to Settlement Counsellors who are required to support a diverse range of newcomers, through all of their needs when settling to Canada. The newcomer centre is usually a fast-paced environment. The counsellor cam provide assistance in finding affordable housing, making recommendations and establishing appointments to community programs for financial support to fulfill basic needs like food, shelter and clothing. Settlement Counsellors are also responsible for completing all the necessary immigration regulatory documents, like assistance with Permanent Residency and Canadian Citizenship applications. Approximately 10-15% of the work day is dedicated to providing solution-oriented and strength-based counselling to the newcomer population[1].

[edit] Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provide direct settlement services to the clients of the newcomer centre.
    • These services include: maintaining client database and intake procedures, orientations to newcomer programs and volunteer opportunities, developing of individual settlement plans, orientation to the community, referral to community agencies, and language interpretation (e.g., French, Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin with fluency in English).
  • Advocate on behalf of clients to ensure their equitable access to programs and services.
  • Provide advice and support to clients encountering difficulties in adjusting to life in Canada with solution-focused and strength-based counselling.
  • Provide information and advice in Immigration-related matters and assist clients to complete a variety of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) forms and applications.
  • Maintain client case-notes and service records.
  • Collaborate in the preparation of information documents used to serve clients.
  • Create and utilize client feedback forms to capture workshop opportunities and efficiencies, and compile statistical reports for government sponsors, as required.
  • Conduct networking and liaison activities with a variety of stakeholder agencies.
  • Participate in workshops and activities that promote understanding of newcomers; participate in community consultations and make presentations to groups as needed.
  • Participate in the development of new programs or service areas.
  • Assist with events and activities that contribute to a positive image of the centre[1].

[edit] Typical Workday

The usual work schedule is during business hours, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Overtime is not an expectation, and there is no unusual shift work unless the candidate wants to volunteer their own time during weekend events. Newcomer agencies can be not-for-profit or for-profit agencies, and are usually centrally located, making the sites easily accessible. This position is typically based out of an office setting and or heritage buildings, and can vary in size depending on whether the centre’s services also include ESL/LINC language classes. The work place environment can have high and low peak periods at any time of the year, since it is contingent on a variety of international circumstances affecting the migration patterns of the Canadian newcomer population. For example, the St. Catharines Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre newcomer site is usually a very fast-paced environment, and therefore appointments are typically required to meet with one of the five or six Settlement Counsellors. The normal work day involves assisting clients in their rights; supporting causes that will bring about positive change for the newcomer population and facilitating links within other community outreach programs. The Settlement Counsellor role also involves being a case-manager, by connecting clients to appropriate amenities and coordinating the use of the services. They can act as mentors, coaching and facilitating newcomers through a variety of workshop presentations. Due to the needs of the diverse newcomer population, the Settlement Counsellor can experience unpredictable and varying functions throughout a workday. Coworkers will also be representative of a diverse population, in order to accommodate the requests of most newcomers. Special tools and technologies used include computers (customized internet databases, MS office), fax machines, photocopiers, scanners and printers[1].

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

Depending on the newcomer agency, a Settlement Counsellor/Worker posting can have varying degrees of educational and other qualifications[1]. For example a posting may include the following requirements: post-secondary education, (e.g., Bachelor’s degree in social work, education or psychology) and, one year of work experience providing counselling services. Other postings may require post-secondary education in the social sciences, humanities, or adult education, and, two years’ work experience providing counselling services, or an equivalent combination of directly related training and experience[1][2]. Training in life skills counselling is not mandatory, however, it is an asset. Some newcomer centres will provide educational opportunities to their Settlement Counsellors. For example, the Canadian Mental Health Agency offers Mental Health Safety workshops which may be helpful for Settlement Counsellors. The agency prefers the applicant keep a current license if they are a registered Social Service Worker (SSW), though the Settlement Counsellor role does not require any type of licensing[1]. Knowledge of the settlement sector and services available to newcomers, cross-cultural competence and sensitivity, fluency in English required and or fluency in a second international language is an asset[1]. It is favourable to have prior work or volunteer experience in social services, familiarity with the principles of case management and client confidentiality, strong communication, interpersonal, and facilitation skills, excellent computer skills and familiarity with databases[1].

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

The essential skills include eagerness, open-mindedness, maintenance of a professional demeanour for continuous learning, possessing the ability to conduct independent research and resourcefulness in finding information. Organizing and planning tasks through critical thinking, and problem solving is considered an asset. This includes displaying self-motivated qualities with strong organizational and effective listening skills whether providing information or completing government applications and intake forms with clients. The environment can be a fast-paced that requires a high level of trouble-shooting through creative problem solving skills. The Settlement Counsellor must be patient, non-judgemental, accommodating and flexible when working with others, and possess the ability to communicate effectively and detailed focused when completing documents for a newcomer population[1][2].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

The Brock University Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology[3], in collaboration with Sheridan College, Social Service Worker (SSW) diploma[4], offers all of the necessary knowledge and skills required for a Settlement Counsellor career[1]. Undergraduate training in Psychology is relevant to the Settlement Counsellor occupation in the following ways. The development of analytical skills, attention to detail, an understanding of research collection methods, and interpretation of statistics gained from the Psychology BA will assist in creating surveys/questionnaires, and finding the necessary services for newcomers. Many of the courses within the Psychology degree also cultivates an empathetic view of individual differences, mental health challenges, such as knowing the emotional, behavioural and physical effects of stress, drugs and alcohol on the body. Some of the hybrid Sociology, Linguistics, Child and Youth courses also emphasizes the importance of possessing patience, a non-judgemental demeanour, and provides knowledge about the needs of both minority and marginalized groups, including those with cultural differences, special needs, and LGBTQQ. The learning provides knowledge of immigration trends and the impacts of past and present day globalization and political matters. The BA also offers a specialized course in counselling approaches, which teaches all the traditional Client-Centred Strength-Based, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Narrative counselling techniques. There is also a variety of online courses which instils the importance of working independently, how to use most of the Microsoft Office applications, how to create websites and online PowerPoint videos. The courses also require the student to work effectively in groups and facilitate presentations. These skills and knowledge transfer well to the multifaceted advocacy, case manager, mentor, facilitator and counsellor functions of a Settlement Counsellor. [1][3].

[edit] Salary Potential

The potential salary range is $20.15 to $25.50 per hour, and the average contract term is one year[1][5]. The starting salary may vary from region to region, and from province to province, and may be due to average cost of living. The variance may also be related to experience and skill sets. Precise salary, can often be negotiated during the hiring process. Salary may depend on the newcomer centre’s budget. The salary would be on the higher end if the incumbent speaks a second language, and has previous work related and volunteer experience with diverse groups. Due to cost of living, the salary may also exceed the $25.50 per hour if the Settlement Counsellor role is situated in metropolitan cities like Toronto and Calgary. Alberta has Immigration, Employment Insurance and Revenue Officers who have similar qualifications and are paid $29.46 per hour on average[6][7].

[edit] Job outlook

The Canadian government (Federal[8], and Provincial) funds many of the approved (usually not-for-profit) immigration assistance agencies, like multicultural centres across Canada, which all employ Settlement Counsellors/Workers. These immigration centres are in most Canadian cities, for example, in the Niagara Region, there are centres in Welland, Port Colborne, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. Metropolitan cities like Toronto, will offer many more options for counsellors employment. Counsellors who are fluent in the most prominent top four languages, besides French and English (Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and East-Indian dialects, like Punjabi), may have more employment options. Language requirements can change from year to year depending on immigration trends and the service area[9].

With increasing demands of the specialized skilled workers, the Canadian government is projecting more than 285,000 new immigrants in 2015 in the Permanent Residency programs alone. These figures do not include Federal Skilled Workers programs and refugees of war-torn/terrorized countries like the Middle-East, Africa and South America, from present and past years. Immigration trends are on the rise, which will continue to place demands on the Settlement field. By 2017, 95% of visible minorities will live in metropolitan areas, and 75% will take residence in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The Canadian government is estimating that one-third of the national population, many of whom are foreign born, will be visible minorities by 2031[10][11].


[edit] To know more

A few local public colleges offer placement experience and a two year SSW certification and diploma with a specialty in the immigration stream, like Niagara College[12], Sheridan College[4] and Humber College[13]. The colleges may also provide a one year credit, if the applicant has a university degree, thereby condensing the SSW certification from a two to a one year period. Trillium College[14] is a private academy, which offers a Community Social Worker diploma within a nine month period.

  • Please be aware that there are many unofficial immigration sites, which appear to be affiliated with the Canadian government. There is only one official CIC (click here) website[8] providing the most reliable up to date immigration trends, and expectations of newcomers when they enter Canada, as well as, throughout the different settlement adjustment periods. Many years are involved in the Refugee, Permanent Residency and Canadian Citizenship and English/French language acquisition processes and requirements[15].
  • The CIC website is also a great training tool that provides all the necessary documents required of newcomers, which can be completed and submitted online or by mail[16].
  • Studying immigration consulting would be another way to specialize in the immigration field, which will give an individual a better chance at acquiring a Settlement Counselling position, and can also lead to further specialization in an immigration career. There are also online options, for example: Herzing College[17]
  • The following sites will provide more details on centres and Settlement Counselling job postings[18][19][20][21]:

--Nd00ao 21:30, 29 March 2015 (EDT)

[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 http://www.folk-arts.ca/index-2.html.
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.saskjobs.ca/jsp/joborder/detail.jsp?job_order_id=630464.
  3. 3.0 3.1 http://brocku.ca/social-sciences/departments-and-centres/psychology/undergrad.
  4. 4.0 4.1 https://www.sheridancollege.ca/academics/programs-and-courses/social-service-worker.aspx.
  5. http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/jobposting.do?searchstring =settlement+counsellor&button.submit=Search&id=16161382&source=searchresults
  6. http://occinfo.alis.alberta.ca/occinfopreview/info/browse-wages/wage-profile.html?id=1228
  7. http://www.accesemployment.ca/index.php/job-seekers-toronto-gta/job-postings/job/476/1/list
  8. 8.0 8.1 http://www.cic.gc.ca.
  9. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/pub/multi-state.pdf
  10. http://www.cicnews.com/2014/11/canada-aims-attract-285000-immigrants-2015-114047.html
  11. http://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/canadas-immigration-policy-focus-human-capital
  12. http://www.niagaracollege.ca/content/Programs/FulltimeStudies/CommunityStudies/SocialServiceWorker.aspx.
  13. http://www.humber.ca/continuingeducation/program/border-and-immigration-services-certificate
  14. https://www.trilliumcollege.ca/community-service-worker/
  15. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/settlement/coia-summary.asp
  16. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/partner/menu-partners.asp
  17. http://www.herzing.ca/toronto/programs/immigration-consultant
  18. http://www.ymcagta.org/en/newcomers/
  19. http://www.ymcagta.org/en/newcomers/
  20. http://www.westofwindsor.com/img/settlement%20counsellor%20isap%20march%207%202011.pdf
  21. http://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=A0LEVjr1gdpUNPYAESonnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTE0OTI1aTJqBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMTAEY29sbwNiZjEEdnRpZANZSFMwMDFfMQ--/RV=2/RE=1423635062/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f2fwww.polycultural.org%2fsystem%2fresources%2fW1siZiIsIjIwMTQvMDcvMDcvMTMvMTIvMTIvMzI3L1NldHRsZW1lbnRfQ291bnNlbGxvcl9NYW5kYXJpbl9TcGVha2luZ19KdWx5XzIwMTQucGRmIl1d%2fSettlement%2520Counsellor_Mandarin%2520Speaking%2520July%2c%25202014.pdf/RK=0/RS=K8N6fBbYT.9a1foNfODqcs7QXLc-
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