The information below will assist newcomers, Durham Region residents and service providers in the region.

Federal and Provincial Government services and supports

Federal Government

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)

IRCC provides information on resources and supports provided by the federal government including supporting Canadian citizens and newcomers arriving, returning to, or staying in Canada.

IRCC can assist with: 

  • Applying to immigrate to Canada or travel under emergency authorization (e.g. CUAET visa).
  • Applying for refugee status.
  • Travel, testing and borders information.
  • Extending your stay or restoring your status in Canada.

For more information on coming to Canada, the IRCC Help Centre provides answers to frequently asked questions. You can also call 613-321-4243.

Province of Ontario 

The Province of Ontario provides resources to support settling in Ontario including:

The Ontario Ministry of Health is providing newly arriving refugees and people arriving through other exceptional humanitarian authorizations with access to health-care programs including primary care providers, specialists and mental health service providers.

Contact the toll-free multi-lingual Refugee HealthLine at 1-866-286-4770 for more information about available supports and to be connected with a health care provider.

Durham Region immigration and settlement supports

Many partners in Durham Region work together to build welcoming communities and to help settle immigrants and refugees in communities.

The Region of Durham works with community partners to co-ordinate settlement and other community services to best meet the needs of newcomers. Below are key settlement service providers and programs, and other helpful community services in Durham Region:

Durham Welcome Centre Immigrant Services

Welcome Centre Immigrant Services is a place for newcomers to Durham Region. You can ask questions, get information, access settlement and other services and join programs. Welcome Centre services are government-funded and free of charge. Language interpretation supports are available. These services include help with:

  • Filling out forms
  • Finding housing
  • Common questions
  • Applying for your health card
  • Applying for a social insurance number
  • Getting settled in Durham
  • Employment
  • English language classes
  • Accreditation information

There are two locations in Durham Region. More information is below.

Ajax Welcome Centre

Address: 458 Fairall Street, Unit 5, Ajax, Ontario L1S 1R6

Phone: 289-482-1037 or toll-free: 1-877-761-1155  



Pickering Welcome Centre

Address: 1400 Bayly Street, Unit 5, Pickering, Ontario L1W 3R2

Phone: 905-420-3008 or toll-free: 1-877-761-1155  

Conseil des Organismes Francophones de la Région de Durham (COFRD)

The Conseil des Organismes Francophones de la Région de Durham (COFRD) offers settlement services to French-speaking newcomers to help integrate and settle into the region's Francophone community. Here you can get information on housing, education, social services and health care. 

(905) 434-7676

Télec : (905) 434-7260

Courriel :

English language classes

You can take English classes through the Durham District School Board and the Durham Catholic District School Board. English classes range from basic literacy to advanced English. To qualify for these classes, you must have your language skills assessed, be 18 years of age or older and either a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, landed immigrant or refugee claimant. In some cases, free child supervision is available while you are in class. You may also be eligible for free transportation assistance.

Available locations:

English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are available for school-age children from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. Contact a school board below to locate the school closest to your home and to find out about ESL classes for your child. 

Public school boards

Catholic school boards

Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) Program

Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) is a program for newcomer families that is available in all elementary and secondary schools in Durham Region. It connects newcomer families to services and resources within the school and community.

Services include:

  • Group information sessions about schools in Canada.
  • Orientation with school staff.
  • Assessing needs of new students.
  • Newcomer orientation week (NOW) for high school (secondary) students.
  • Welcome and information for newcomers (WIN) program (a one-day program for students in Grades 6 to 8).

For more information:

Other helpful services and supports

Ontario Works (social assistance)

Ontario Works assists individuals who are in financial need. Some newcomers will be eligible for social assistance.

Feed the Need in Durham 

Immigrants and refugees experiencing food insecurity are encouraged to contact Feed the Need in Durham at 905-571-3863.

Finding a Home

Here can you find information about finding a home in Durham – including renting or buying a home, affordable housing and temporary housing solutions. The Region of Durham website has information and resources on shelters and homelessness. 

Urgent Care Durham (UCD)

UCD is a local urgent care clinic supported and staffed by Durham Doctors and Nurse Practitioners. Urgent Care Durham can assist with routine medical care and mental health needs. Contact Urgent Care Durham online or by phone at 905-706-9798.

Ukrainian specific information

Durham Ukrainian Relief Project

The Durham Ukrainian Relief Project is a group of community members that have organized to support Ukrainian newcomers fleeing war and arriving in Durham Region. To connect with the Durham Ukrainian Relief Project, contact the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) Durham Chapter by emailing or call 204-333-8435.   

Local Ukrainian Churches

Additional Information:

  • Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) is accepting a range of donations to support the arrival of newcomers and displaced Ukrainians in Ontario. OCASI will co-ordinate regionally to support Ukrainians in Ontario communities. To donate goods, services, employment or housing, visit the OCASI donation portal to find the appropriate application forms.

  • Job Bank – Jobs for Ukraine. This program matches employers and Ukrainian newcomers arriving in Canada as a result of the war in Ukraine.

How Durham Region residents can help

Offer housing

Volunteers for host homes can connect with COSTI, an organization that is screening and working with volunteers to best support newcomers in their homes. They match volunteer hosts with newcomers arriving to Durham and the broader GTA.

If you are interested in volunteering housing assistance, email COSTI at or visit the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) website and complete the Housing Assistance for Newcomers Form.

Provide health care

Members of the medical community who can take on new clients, including immigrants and refugees, can email

Hire newcomers

Connect with local Welcome Centre employment services to reach newcomers in search of employment. Learn more about how to hire, onboard and retain newcomers in the workplace


Sponsor refugees and support family reunification efforts. Learn more about sponsorship.

Volunteering and donating

Learn more about how to volunteer or donate to help Afghan refugees settle in Canada: How Canadians can help -

earn about how Canadians can help Ukrainians arriving and settling in Canada: Ukraine measures: How Canadians can help -

Be a welcoming and inclusive community member

Arriving in a new community having fled war and crisis can be extremely stressful. Being friendly and welcoming can help make the newest residents feel good and that they can belong as they get to know their new community, make friends and start their new life. We all have a role to play in building welcoming and inclusive communities. Learn more at

Learn more about Canada’s Values, about Integration and about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Contact Us