Settlement Online Pre-Arrival Program is offered jointly by the Catholic Centre for Immigrants and World Skills. The program delivers a series of online courses to new immigrants in Canada or immigrants who are destined for Canada. These online courses help newcomers integrate better into Canadian society and the workforce. The following is a firsthand account from one participant who found his first job in Ottawa.

I learned about SOPA (Settlement Online Pre-Arrive) thanks to a message board last year and saved the link in my favourites before even receiving my immigration visa.

When I received a notification from IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) to submit my passport, I went ahead and created an account with SOPA. I only wish I had joined SOPA earlier and took all of the offered courses.

It was February 2016 when I had my first online session with Andreea Glavan, who patiently answered all of my questions and sent me an extensive list with useful links that I started using right away. I was planning to land in Ottawa, the nation’s capital, and so she sent me all relevant information about the city and useful services for immigrants.

When I enrolled in Job Search Strategies (JSS) online course, I was lucky to have Nery Munoz as my facilitator as she was always ready to give me extensive feedback and reply to my numerous questions about how to tailor my resume and cover letter. 

Thanks to participating in the course and completing all of the assignments in a timely manner, I was able to understand what an employer was expecting from me as an employee and I tried to work on my resume so that it also reflected the skills the employer was looking for.

I actively used for my job search, set up notification alerts with specific keywords for jobs in Ottawa, which I still keep receiving on a daily basis. Before arriving in Canada, I applied to about 60 jobs and received invitations for an interview from several of them. Currently I’m working at an Ottawa-based IT company, which replied to my resume while I was in my homeland.

I landed in June and within the first weeks of my arrival I had a chance to meet the Ontario SOPA team in Ottawa. I was also lucky to meet people behind the SOPA Program from various provinces of Canada and share my experience as an end-user who benefited from the program.

I would highly recommend participating in the SOPA Program, especially JSS and Canadian Workplace Integration as they help you to arrive in Canada prepared with the necessary tools to succeed in your new home.

I wish all of the newcomers good luck in their preparations and thank the whole SOPA team, especially Nery and Andreea, for being always there for me and other new immigrants to Canada.

– Temur Davronov