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Canadian Orientation Abroad

What is Canadian Orientation Abroad?

Successful integration into a new society depends to a large extent on the ability of newcomers to
quickly understand the dynamics of their new country. To address this aspect of integration,
Citizenship and Immigration Canada introduced, in 1998, a new initiative called Canadian
Orientation Abroad (COA). Orientation sessions are offered to future immigrants so that they will
have some familiarity with life in Canada before their arrival.

What are the objectives of COA?

Orientation sessions presented abroad are intended to facilitate the settlement, adaptation and
integration of future immigrants by providing them with an idea of what life in Canada is like. With
a more realistic view of life in Canada, immigrants are better prepared to face the initial demands
of adaptation and settlement.

Who is eligible for COA sessions?

COA sessions are offered to all classes of immigrants and refugees who have been selected for
permanent resident status. However, places are limited and are awarded, in order of priority, to
refugees, then to independent immigrants and finally to members of the family class. The
particular circumstances of the participants, however, require that the length and location of the
sessions be flexible.

What is covered in COA sessions?

The one-, three- and five-day modules are designed to meet the needs of a diverse clientele. The
same subjects are treated in every module, but in greater or lesser detail depending on the length
of the sessions. All subjects are presented in a simple, straightforward manner, and all
emphasize the importance of arriving in Canada with realistic expectations. Topics include
introduction to Canada, the settling-in period, employment, rights and responsibilities, climate,
finding a place to live, living in a multicultural society, cost of living, family life, education,
communications and adaptation to Canada. In most cases, the sessions are delivered in the
language of the participants.

Where are Canadian Orientation Abroad sessions offered?

COA locations are determined in consultation with the Canadian missions, and take into account
the countries that produce a high volume of immigrants. The International Organization for
Migration has delivered COA sessions on behalf of CIC in Vietnam, Kenya and the Balkans.
Sessions have also been provided in Egypt, Djibouti, Tanzania and Ethiopia. New locations may
come on stream and others may be discontinued, depending on the greatest need and the
resources available.

Where should you go for more information on Canadian Orientation Abroad?

For more information, contact:

Settlement Division
Integration Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
300 Slater Street
Ottawa, Canada K1A 1L1