Services for Newcomers to Canada

Our Settlement Services’ team is here to help newcomers to Canada adjust to life in St. Thomas and Elgin County.

Settlement Services


Information on important settlement issues to help newcomers make informed decisions about life in Canada.


Orientation to the St. Thomas-Elgin community and to Canadian life.



Referrals to programs and services in the region including employment, health care, language and skills training.


English language training for eligible adult learners.


Employment-related supports for newcomers looking to build their professional networks.


Community Connections’ activities to help adults and youth make friends and engage in the local community through our Newcomer Networking Circles and the Newcomer Youth Club.



Interpretation services in some languages to help newcomers navigate settlement-related issues.

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English Language Classes

We offer free English as a second language training for adult immigrants who are Permanent Residents of Canada. Our instructors use settlement themes to teach reading, writing, listening and speaking skills within the framework of the Canadian Language Benchmarks. Learners also receive information about the local community, Canadian culture and the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship. Classes are available during the daytime in St. Thomas and at Sommerfeld Mennonite Church and in the evenings in Aylmer and St.Thomas.

Why Choose Us?

  • Language for everyday life
  • Small class sizes
  • Computer activities
  • Transportation support
  • Make friends and have fun

Who Can Join?

To be eligible for our English language program, you must be 18 years or older and one of the following:

  • a landed immigrant, Permanent Resident, Convention Refugee or other person permitted to remain in Canada
  • able to show an original, valid immigration document such as a Permanent Resident card, Confirmation of Permanent Residence, Notice of Decision etc.
  • A newcomer who has arrived under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET)

To participate in the program, individuals must complete a placement test by an assessment centre. In our region, the London Cross-Cultural Learner Centre (CCLC) provides language assessment and referral services. To book an assessment, please call CCLC at 519-432-1133 or fill out the online request form: If you need assistance with the booking process, please contact the YWCA.

**Please note, the English language program will be on summer break as of June 10.  Classes will return mid-September 2024.  Please contact the YWCA if you would like to learn more about the language classes or are interested in registering. **

Class Locations

YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin

16 Mary Street West
St. Thomas, ON
N5P 2S3

Phone: (519) 631-9800

Aylmer Community Services

Aylmer Community Services

20 Talbot Street East
Aylmer, ON, N5H 1H4

Phone: 226-210-6800

Fax: 226-210-6799

Sommerfeld Mennonite Church

6700 Springfield Road
Aylmer West, ON
N5H 2R2

Newcomer Networking Circles

Our group information sessions help newcomers to Canada learn about important settlement topics and about life in St. Thomas-Elgin. The sessions also provide opportunities to meet new people and connect to services in the community.

Some of our past sessions have covered:
• Banking in Canada
• Getting ready for school
• Protecting yourself from fraud and scams
• Fire safety
• Voting in an election

Click here to see upcoming events

Newcomer Youth Club

The Newcomer Youth Club provides newcomer youth between the ages of 10-17 with a safe and supportive space to build friendships, improve their English language skills and learn about life in Canada. The club helps youth to develop a sense of belonging to the local community and to build positive relationships with adults and peers. It also helps youth to strengthen the soft skills they need to succeed in school, work and life in Canada.

Some of our past activities include:
• Bowling
• Tree planting
• Robotics and coding
• Stained glass art
• Tours of local fire and police stations

Newcomer youth looking for help completing their high school volunteer hours are encouraged to speak with settlement staff.

Click here to see upcoming events

young boy at school

Settlement Worker in Schools (SWIS) Program

As a member of the London, St. Thomas-Elgin SWIS Partnership, the YWCA offers school-based settlement services at several locations in the area. The SWIS program provides information, referrals and support to newcomer students and their families to help them adjust to the Ontario school system and the local community.   

SWIS services are currently available at the following schools in English and Low German:

  • East Elgin Secondary School
  • Forest Park Public School
  • McGregor Public School
  • Monsignor Morrison Catholic School
  • Port Burwell Public School 
  • Springfield Public School
  • St. Joseph’s Catholic High School
  • St. Mary’s Catholic School (West Lorne)
  • Straffordville Public School 
  • Summers‘ Corners Public School

If you are a school principal and have newcomer families in your school who would benefit from SWIS services, please contact us.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development

Souhaitez-vous obtenir des services en français?

Si oui, cliquez ici

Would you like to receive services in French? If so, click here.

Collège Boréal 

Carrefour Communautaire francophone de London

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