Getting settled in a new country is easier when you have friends.

The Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) has partnered with Together Project and COSTI Immigrant Services to invite volunteers to form Welcome Groups. These groups will be matched with Government-Assisted Refugee newcomer families to provide social support and help their integration.

Welcome Groups

Welcome Groups of five or more volunteers are matched with Government-Assisted Refugee (GAR) newcomer families based on shared preferences, location, and availability. Welcome Groups can assist their matched newcomers with practicing their English, navigating and accessing public services (healthcare, education, libraries, etc.), neighbourhood orientation, teaching them about Canadian culture, and providing friendship.

Cultural Ambassadors

Every match we make is supported by volunteer interpreters — a role we call Cultural Ambassadors. These ambassadors can speak both English and the newcomers’ native language and help Welcome Groups and newcomers communicate in-person and through the group messaging application WhatsApp.

If you already have a group of at least five members in mind or would like to help with interpretation as a Cultural Ambassador, please register at!

Learn more!

There will be an orientation workshop hosted in rooms 113-114 at CCI Ottawa (219 Argyle Ave.) on Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. Subjects covered will include how the refugee resettlement system works, how you can help newcomers integrate, and more details about the Welcome Group program.

If interested, please register here.