Celebrating the Clients of SOPA (Settlement Online Pre-Arrival) on its 1st Year!

Arrived Prepared in Ontario, Celebrating the Clients of SOPA (Settlement Online Pre-Arrival) on SOPA’s 1st Year!


These are exciting times for SOPA (Settlement Online Pre-Arrival) program at World Skills Employment Centre and to the rest of immigrant serving agencies representing SOPA in six provinces across Canada!

We’re so proud that we’ve just marked our 1st birthday this November as a part of SOPA national team serving pre-arrival clients from all parts of the world who are destined to settle in the province of Ontario.

World Skills Employment Centre and Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) are the representatives for the Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) program, a virtual hub providing guidance and customized pre-employment support designed to help newcomers find and retain employment in Canada.

We could have never done it without our clients – dedicated, determined-to-succeed new immigrant talents who believed in the SOPA program and the quality of the services we provide, so thank you!

Even better, we’re celebrating with SOPA graduates testimonials! Why? Their success is our success! It gives us a glimpse and a clear perspective of the impact the program has on pre and post arrival clients SOPA has served and currently serves.

Clients’ success inspires SOPA course facilitators like me and intake counsellors to continue doing what we are doing, hard at work in polishing these “precious gems and their armories, equipping them with a GPS relevant to the “new world” they have chosen to be a part of.

Most of all, it gives us a sense that the human efforts poured out on a virtual world channeled through a Learning Management System platform is not “lost in vain” but has proven to be an effective and innovative way of learning and connecting in this digital age.


We’ve captured some pre and post-arrival testimonials of SOPA clients in Ontario that focuses on core themes of the program:

Canadian Workplace Integration

For every newcomer to Canada who would want to know about Canadian workplace culture and understanding its power dynamics, this is a must-go-to course.  The offerings of this online course include topics on how to adapt, communication styles, expanding your soft skills, cultural communication and a lot more geared to providing information on workplace integration.

SOPA definitely turns out to be a very wise way of getting the foreign nationals prepared starting from the very initial stages of their adaptation. The contents of the course exceeded my expectations and undoubtedly helped me to actually learn the skills identified throughout the workshop.

SOPA Client, Russia

Job Search Strategies

This is a highly interactive course and involves regular contact with a Facilitator with extensive experience in pre-employment process and future job seekers learn about the job search process (the Canadian way) and practice skills which make them more competitive for positions in the Canadian labour market.

Here are some snippets of what Ontario SOPA clients have to say about the Job Search Strategies Course:

Though this course seems like a typical job search learnings that you can just pick up along the way but in reality this JSS course was very helpful and informative. This has given me a new insight for job search and should be very useful once we start looking for jobs in Canada soon.

SOPA Client, Singapore

” I have learned a great deal in this SOPA Course! I have learned how to target my resume and cover letters towards specific job posts. I have also learned what Canadian employers expect from their candidates. Before taking this course, I didn’t know what the job search process would be like in Canada. Now I feel much more confident in my job search strategies. I know how to prepare for an interview and have better knowledge in Canadian job search.”

SOPA Client, United Kingdom

Soft Skills: Professional Communication and Working with Others

Talking about soft skills, the communication tools crucial for success in the Canadian workplace is explored. Using videos and other media, the participant gets to explore different types of interaction and be workplace ready in areas such as networking, negotiating, conflict management, meetings, presentations, constructive feedback and a lot more!

A SOPA client adjusting to his new role on his first job in Ottawa wrote to his facilitator:

It’s just because of your valuable guidance and constant motivation. You won’t believe how much time I use paraphrasing and other techniques. 

Within 2 months of my job, my supervisor gave me additional responsibilities. Now I attend morning meeting daily with top management and participate actively. Tips and techniques given in course are really helpful to establish myself as good professional. Thank you very much for all your efforts in me. 

Creating a SOPA Culture of Pre-Arrival Clients

It is in the best interest of immigrants preparing for a new life in Canada that the SOPA program was conceived and created. By tapping into what SOPA have to offer, immigrants will arrive better prepared, be more confident about Canadian cultural expectations and enter the workforce sooner.

Andriy from Russia who secured a job within two months upon arrival to Toronto shared his success story with our Intake Counsellor in Ontario. He wrote:

I would like to say, that SOPA is a very great resource. Even when you are very experienced and when you have read a lot, you can still get a lot of useful information. 

First, the one-on-one consolation that I’ve had with you: you gave me several good pieces of advice about my resume and resources I might use. One of the most important advice I had was to create my portfolio. I have also updated my LinkedIn profile to make it look professional.

Second, the online courses, they provide a lot of useful information. Even in simple situations – soft skills, everyday skills that you need to have to succeed in a Canadian company – these things I can still remember and in my mind I return to them now while I’m becoming a part of a Canadian corporate culture.

All the advice and all the information on presenting yourself, interview process and workplace culture have helped me to land a perfect job in a very aspirational company. Moreover, I had two job offers from two companies, which was totally unbelievable! Some might say I was lucky, but I know it’s not luck – it’s the only thing — never think you are too smart to learn something new. Be open to knowledge and advice you can get FOR FREE, as this is a truly valuable knowledge and if you put it into life, you will succeed!

As the SOPA Team blow their 1st birthday candle for this year, we hope that we continue to grow, serve and support the many new Canadians in their successful settlement and economic integration in Canada. It is a fabulous beginning!


About the Author:

Gemma Follini is currently a Job Search Strategies course facilitator for Ontario province at Settlement Online Pre-Arrival (SOPA) program at World Skills Employment Centre located in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. She had been working with World Skills Employment Centre in progressive roles for over 8 years, focused in supporting, equipping and inspiring New Canadians in their career integration in the province of Ontario.

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