Settlement and Language



The strategies under the settlement area of focus enhance and develop programs and initiatives that provide opportuntiies for immigrants and newcomers to fully participate in the community by:

  • Supporting immigrant and newcomer volunteerism
  • Providing support to immigrants and newcomers who live outside the city of Sarnia
  • Enhancing opportunities for immigrant cnildren and youth
  • Providing support to Lambton College’s international student population
  • Supporting healthy living and increasing access to healthcare information for immigrants and newcomers
  • Offering a large variety of language training opportunities that meet the needs and levels of all English language learners
  • Increasing access to professional interpretation services so local organizations can better serve their non or limited English-speaking clientelle


Sarnia Gives Newcomer Program

SarniaGives logoSarnia Gives, a local volunteer centre, launched its Newcomer Program to support immigrants and newcomers in their volunteer experiences. The program includes valuable information on the benefits of volunteering, misconceptions about volunteering and how to overcome barriers to volunteering. In 2012, Sarnia Gives also provided a Cultural Diversity Training Session for local service providers to promote the benefits of having a diverse volunteer roster and to offer resources and tips for recruiting and working with culturally diverse volunteers.

International Student Volunteers

Over the past three years, Sarnia Gives, in collaboration with the Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership (LIP), has given presentations to Lambton College’s international student population. The International Department, through the International Student Working Group (see below), has also encouraged (and provided support to) their students to volunteer as a way to learn more about Sarnia and life in Canada. These activities resulted in an increase in the number of international students volunteering at Sarnia-Lambton LIP events as well as other local community events such as Sarnia Artwalk and Sarnia’s Centennial celebrations in 2014.

International students volunteering at City Hall on May 7, 2014 to celebrate Sarnia’s 100th Birthday.


Rural Research

In 2011, the Sarnia-Lambton LIP conducted research to assess the specific service and support needs of immigrants and newcomers in rural Lambton County. The findings of this research concluded that while resources are more scarce in areas outside of the city of Sarnia a number of positive outreach initiatives to engage immigrants were underway in the rural areas of the County.

These outreach activities included:

  • Library services for newcomers
  • Supports for migrant and temporary foreign workers
  • Attracting immigrant entrepreneurs through business succession planning

For the full report, please click here.

Supports for Migrant Workers

Lambton County welcomes around 200 migrant workers annually. The Sarnia-Lambton LIP collaborated with the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers and other local groups to create and distribute the Welcome Booklet for Migrant Workers. The booklet includes information on:

  • Employment contracts, rights and benefits
  • Health and safety
  • Fire and bike safety
  • Spiritual and social activities
  • Emergency contact numbers

The booklet is currently available in English and English/Spanish.

A version of the booklet is also available with a section on accessing services in the following communities in Lambton County: Arkona, Bright’s Grove, Forest, Sombra, Thedford and Watford. Click here for that version.

Municipal Council Presentations

During the 2013 year, the Sarnia-Lambton LIP shared this information with all 10 municipalities outside of Sarnia through council presentations. Each municipal council was provided with local demographic data on immigrants and newcomers in their area as well as information on the outreach initiatives and services happening in the county. A number of the municipalities linked this information to their websites to share on a wider scale.

*A Rural Resources section on the Newcomer Portal is currently under construction. When completed, more comprehensive information on the above initiatives as well as useful demographic and statistical data on immigrants in rural Lambton County will be available.* 


Sports-ballsImmigrant Youth Focus Groups

In collaboration with Lambton Public Health, the Sarnia-Lambton LIP conducted a series of focus groups with immigrant children and youth in order to gather information on their sport and recreation interests and experiences, their barriers to participating in local opportunities and suggestions for overcoming these barriers. In total 24 youth (ages 9 – 18) participated in 4 focus groups in 2013. Five recommendations resulted in these consultations:

  1. Provide diversity training opportunities for coaches, teachers, and administrators of sports teams and recreation programs
  2. Establish a youth group with a focus on the arts
  3. Encourage schools to offer non-competitive intramural sport opportunities for students
  4. Promote and market current sport and recreation programming to cultural and ethnic groups
  5. Enhance promotion of volunteer opportunities to immigrant children and youth (and youth in general)

The implementation of these recommendations is currently underway. For the full report, click here.


Artwalk.PhotosbyBCInternational Student Working Group

In 2012, the Sarnia-Lambton LIP met with the International Education Department at Lambton College to address concerns about settlement and integration challenges for international students in an open forum which led to the creation of the International Student Working Group. This group brings local cultural and religious groups, International Department staff and student representatives together on an add needed basis to discuss (and take action on) ways to improve supports for international students in the community. The collaboration has resulted in the following outcomes:

  • Comprehensive orientation week including care packages, presentations by community groups, transportation and shuttle services and social events
  • Clarity about health care options and health insurance coverage
  • Creation of an 8-month lease by some local landlords
  • Development of a mentorship program and a Home for the Holidays program that match international students with local individuals/families for social activities
  • Increased communication through social media (Facebook Page)
  • Increased opportunities for volunteering


Health & Wellness Information Session

In 2013, the Sarnia-Lambton LIP and Lambton Public Health conducted a facilitated discussion with students from the YMCA’s English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in order to get a better understanding of how immigrants and newcomers access local health services and what challenges they face when doing so.

Three concerns came out of this discussion:

  1. Information on health services needs to be provided in a variety of ways (e.g. online, print materials, presentations)
  2. There is a need for clearer information on health care options locally and on how to navigate them
  3. More accessible interpretation services are necessary for more comprehensive care

The following initiatives are underway to address these concerns.

Health Pages on Newcomer Portal

The Health Pages on the Newcomer Portal provide comprehensive information on health care in Canada and in Sarnia-Lambton. The pages include information on:

    • Health care in Canada
    • Health care options (e.g. community health centres, family health teams, and public health units)
    • Finding a doctor and local hospitals
    • Mental health services
    • Information in multiple languages

Please click here to visit the Health Pages.

Health Presentations for Immigrants

 In 2015, YMCA Settlement Services will be hosting a series of monthly Health Presentations through its Community Connections Program. The purpose of these presentations is to inform immigrants and newcomers of the health care options available to them in Sarnia-Lambton.  A variety of local organizations, including Lambton Public Health and Community Mental Health Association, will be participating in these presentations.

Interpretation Services

Please visit the Language & Communication page for information on initiatives related to increasing local access to interpretation services.


The strategies under this priority area focus on improving communication for immigrants and newcomers locally by:

  • Offering a large variety of language training opportunities that meet the needs and levels of all English language learners
  • Increasing access to professional interpretation services so local organizations can better serve their non or limited English-speaking clientelle


There are a number of organizations locally that offer English as a Second Language (ESL) courses including:adult learners

Together, these organizations provide opportunities to English learners of all ages and skill levels. Along with the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership, they are working on a shared plan to promote and market theses programs in a more collaborative way. Some marketing initiatives currently underway include promotional videos and print materials.


AL logoSarnia-Lambton Community Interpreter Access Program (CIAP)

The Sarnia-Lambton Community Interpreter Access Program (CIAP) was established in 2012 to address the lack of professional interpretation services locally. The program, run by Across Languages Translation and Interpretation Service (AL) and funded by the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton, covers the cost of professional interpretation services for eligible non-profit organizations in Lambton County. The program covers both in-person and over-the-phone interpretation services.UWlogo1

For more information, click here.