Settlement Services in NWO

When you move to a new country it is not always easy to find the services that you need. The following organizations can help you when you first arrive in Northwestern Ontario:

Thunder Bay Multicultural Association (TBMA)

The Thunder Bay Multicultural Association (TBMA) provides free settlement services in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario. Settlement workers will provide you with practical assistance for dealing with challenges in everyday life in Canada.

Services are available to help you obtain the proper documentation to live and work in Canada including: Ontario Driver’s License, Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) identification, and Social Insurance Number (SIN) identification. TBMA also provides consumer and community information such as where to find employment, how to enroll your child in school, which stores sell imported food and ingredients and; needs assessment and referrals to other agencies including English language skills assessment, referrals to local medical, educational and social services, and more.

TBMA regularly offers information sessions to newcomers in the following areas:

  • Immigration and Citizenship preparation
  • Driver’s education
  • Health issues (such as women’s health issues and child immunization forms)
  • Job preparation skills
  • Income tax clinics
  • Parenting skills
  • Canadian law

When you first arrive, there may be times when you will need communications and language assistance. TBMA provides translation and interpretation services in over 40 languages and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Though Canada has two official languages; English and French, Northwestern Ontario is predominantly English speaking. It is strongly encouraged that you take an English as a Second Language (ESL) course so that you can fully enjoy your new life in Canada. 

TBMA is where you will find the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) School and Assessment Centre. The LINC School provides free full-time, part-time and evening English classes to Landed Immigrants and Permanent Residents who are 18 years of age or older. 

An important part of settling into a new community is meeting people who can help you learn more about your new home. The Host Program offers friendship and support to newcomers to Canada so you can feel at home sooner. Staff at TBMA will match you with a Canadian volunteer or “host” according to your common interests, where you live, gender and age. 

The Youth Host Program is also available to newcomer youth between the ages of 13 to 24. By participating in the Youth Host Program your son or daughter will make new friends, participate in group activities (such as bowling, sports, cinema, etc.) and get help with their English language skills and homework.

DOORS to New Life Refugee Services (Diocesan Office of Refugee Services)

Doors to New Life offers support and assistance to refugees in Thunder Bay. DOORS delivers the Newcomer Settlement Program (in partnership with TBMA) to refugees, refugee claimants, permanent residents and newcomer clients who are now citizens. It also works closely with the Diocesan Coordinator to promote and facilitate refugee sponsorships, especially through our parish churches. Settlement workers offer assistance with initial settlement, immigration, health issues, housing issues, family issues, citizenship application support, employment related matters, education, social services  and sponsorship related issues. 

211 Ontario North

211OntarioNorth is a public web site that provides free access to an online, up-to-date, accessible, searchable, database containing comprehensive information about social, community, health, and government services in the City of Thunder Bay and District.

This web site, a shared commitment of the Lakehead Social Planning Council and the United Way of Thunder Bay,  complements the 211 telephone service available in the City of Thunder Bay and District that provides information on a wide range of community programs and services. This service is available to Newcomers and residents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone or online, offers multilingual phone services, and is available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing via TTY.

For more information, visit, call 211, toll-free 1-866-586-5638,
TTY1-888-622-4651, or send an email to

The Multicultural Association of Kenora and District

The Multicultural Association of Kenora and District (MAKD) has been providing settlement services to newcomers and established immigrants in Kenora and surrounding area for over 25 years. 

Services include needs assessments, referrals, advocacy, consumer and community information, help completing Citizenship applications and all forms related to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and orientation/information sessions. MAKD also provides trained interpreters to district agencies through the Community Interpreter Access Service program.