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Information for Newcomers: Your Family

Meet a Settlement Worker

MOSAIC settlement workers have supported thousands of newcomers in identifying their needs and making a plan for settling in the Lower Mainland. You can talk to your settlement worker about any of the topics on this page, or attend a workshop. Our services are free for permanent residents and live-in caregivers.
Our settlement workers speak English and one or more of the following languages:
Français فارسی Kinyarwa كوردى Kiswahili
عربي Filipino Kirundi Русский Türkçe
中文 日本語 한국어 Español Việt Ngữ

Your Family

Children's education

Each Canadian province or territory administers its own system of education, so there may be slight differences from region to region. In B.C., children between the ages of five and 16 must attend school. Besides public schools (run in English or French immersion), there are private, distance-learning and home schooling options. Schools also offer English Language Learner (ELL) support for newcomer students, as well as programs for children with special needs. School boards/districts in the Metro Vancouver area include:

Most children enrol in the school that’s nearest to their home. As a parent, you should visit the schools in your district as soon as possible. Some schools have Welcome Centres to provide information to newcomer parents.

Childcare and benefits

There are many programs in Canada that support families and children. Some of these even provide tax credits (for example, kids’ fitness and arts programs), which you may apply for when you file your taxes.

Canada Child Tax Benefit

This is for families with children under 18 years old.

BC Benefits Family Bonus

You may be eligible for this if you are a low-income family in BC with children.

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

The Government of Canada encourages saving for your child’s education with tax incentives such as the RESP.

Seniors' activities & benefits

English and computer classes, field trips and information sessions on such topic as health are available for seniors in many communities. Most are free of charge.

Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)

These pension programs are available to Canadian citizens age 65 and older, who have lived in Canada for at least 10 years. Through agreements between Canada and certain foreign countries, some residents may be eligible for OAS or GIS without the 10-year residency requirement.

Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters (SAFER)

BC Housing provides rental assistance for seniors with low-to-moderate income. Please note: there is often a waitlist for this program.

Family sponsorship

It is possible to reunite with family members through family sponsorship once you have settled in Canada. However, you must be able to prove that you can support your relatives before you can become eligible to apply for this type of sponsorship.

Back to Information for Newcomers

MOSAIC believes in providing support to clients while receiving services. Please visit our dedicated client subsection that provides information on

  • Client Rights and Responsibilities,
  • Opportunity to tell your story,
  • Client satisfaction survey, and
  • Complaints procedures...by clicking here.