Longtime supporters of CCI Ottawa will remember we ran a successful Matching Program for many years. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the program came to an end.

But in late 2023, we revived the program. For those of you new to CCI, here’s a primer on the Matching Program with program coordinator Eddie Mwanzia.

What is the goal of the matching program?

The goal is to provide one-on-one support to help newcomers adjust and integrate into life in Canada. We achieve this by introducing recent immigrants and to established members of the Ottawa community. The matches can be one-on-one, family-to-family or one volunteer with a newcomer family. Priority is given to those with the greatest need. The program has a twofold strategy, first is to carry out outreach activities with a view to sensitizing the residents of Ottawa to newcomers’ needs and invite them to respond to these needs by offering opportunities for direct involvement. Secondly, to help refugees and vulnerable immigrants adjust to their new life in Canada by connecting them with settled/established members of the community.

How does the client benefit?

Newcomers benefit from one-on-one support from a volunteer in their professional development, including resume building, job search, registration for further education and career mentoring. Socially, newcomers benefit by accessing one-on-one support to connect with the community and build meaningful relationships, increase their communication skills, and help Canadians understand the challenges newcomers might face and the contributions they can make in the community. Additionally, newcomers get help with navigating the city; for example, accessing public transportation, learning how to access health care, making appointments with a doctor, as well as information on available recreational facilities.

Why is it important newcomers meet Canadians?

It is important because they can understand Canadian culture, experience Canadian hospitality, learn about education, transportation, health, and social aspects of Canadian life. Also, the matching helps foster a sense of belonging, facilitates cross-cultural understanding and communication, enhances understanding of Canada and improves communication skills.

How can someone be a part of the Matching Program?

Individual newcomers, families and volunteers who are interested in being matched can contact: Eddie, Matching Program Caseworker. Email: Eddie@cciottawa.ca, 613-355-6430.