October 7, 2020—Ottawa—As part of its commitment to deliver high-quality settlement services to newcomers, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is launching an expression of interest process for service delivery improvements (SDI) funding on October 15, 2020.

Since 2017, SDI projects have centered on developing innovative approaches to better support the settlement and integration of newcomers. As part of a government-wide response to the current pandemic, IRCC will allocate approximately $30 million in SDI funding in the first year toward settlement services for newcomers to safely and sustainably recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, many settlement services have moved online. SDI funding will help IRCC determine the kinds of services newcomers need while taking into account the increased reliance in online service delivery. Funding will continue to support newcomers’ successful integration in the COVID-19 recovery period.

As part of this funding process, projects will address the following priorities:

  • Leveraging technology: IRCC is looking for projects that will identify technologies that can deliver remote settlement services. Projects will also identify barriers that newcomers face in accessing and using these technologies, and how these barriers can be addressed.
  • Increasing employer involvement: The pandemic is having a major impact on the short- and long-term employment prospects of newcomers. Projects under this priority will test approaches that encourage employers to get more involved in the integration of newcomers.
  • Building the capacity of the sector: Under this category, organizations with expertise in social research and development will partner with IRCC-funded agencies to help them develop the skills and tools needed to research, design and evaluate services for newcomers. This will help address some of the challenges faced by newcomers, including racism and marginalization.

Throughout the projects, funding recipients will provide regular reports to IRCC about outcomes and lessons learned. The goal of these projects is to find ways to improve IRCC’s high-quality Settlement Program so that it’s more effective and better equipped to adapt to the needs of newcomers and support them in their integration journey.

More information about SDI and this funding process is available online, and detailed funding guidelines will be posted on October 15, 2020.