Newcomer Services

Newcomer Information Centre (NIC)

The YMCA Newcomer Information Centre (NIC) is a first stop for all newcomers to Canada.  The Newcomer Information Centres (NIC), located in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, have friendly multilingual staff that provide up-to-date information and can refer you to various programs throughout the Niagara Region.  Both sites offer a variety of workshops related to settlement and all visitors receive an orientation to YMCA services.  Our team of trained information specialists are here to listen and provide you with information and opportunities.  NIC staff members speak the following languages: English, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hindi, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Urdu, Pashto and Punjabi.  Whenever possible, the families may be served in their first language. 

All services provided are FREE. The centres are equipped with computers, photocopiers, printers and telephones for customer use.

At each NIC you can receive information on many topics including:

  • Essential Government Documents and Benefits
  • Immigration and citizenship
  • Employment
  • Education and Training
  • Credential Assessment
  • Language classes (LINC, ESL, FSL, etc.)
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Legal and Social Services
  • Child, Youth and Family Resources
  • Community and Recreation
  • Consumer Information
  • Personal Finance and Income Tax
  • Shelter, Food and Clothing and more…

St. Catharines Newcomer Information Site
YMCA Employment and Newcomer Services
285 Bunting Rd   St. Catharines, Ontario   L2M 7T9
905-684-3500 ext 450 or Email

Niagara Falls Newcomer Information Site
YMCA Newcomer Information Centre
8123 Lundys Lane, Niagara Falls, Ontario, L2H 1H3
289-296-7369 or Email

Some helpful websites:


SWIS (Settlement Worker in Schools)

The YMCA Settlement Workers in Schools Programs (better known as SWIS Program) is funded through Citizenship and Immigration Canada and is delivered in partnership with the District School Board of Niagara and the Niagara Catholic District School Board.  Schools are one of the first services that newcomer families connect with in the community.  With the cooperation of the school, the YMCA SWIS staff are able to connect with newcomer families to orient them to school, community resources and to refer them to specific services.  SWIS workers are a link between newcomer families, the school and the community. The SWIS program serves all schools in the boards mentioned above.  The role of the SWIS Worker is to create awareness and acceptance with both the newcomer and their new school community in Canada.

The SWIS worker will:

  • Provide the students and families information and referral
  • Provide support and encouragement for the student
  • Provide Newcomer orientation
  • Organize group information sessions and workshops
  • Provide cultural interpretation
  • Consult with school staff on settlement issues
  • Help in translation during Parent-Teacher Interviews
  • Help students deal with problems of adjustment such as not fitting in due to dress code such as the Hijab, language barrier, and cultural differences

SWIS Coordinator can be contacted at 905-684-3500.  Staff can communicate in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Hindi, Korean, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Urdu, Pashto and Punjabi. 

Helpful links:

Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral System (CLARS) Centre

YMCA Newcomer Services provide language assessment for immigrants over the age of 18. Individuals are assessed with the appropriate language assessment tool (CLBA, CLBLA, CLBPT, ELTPA).  These tools were developed by the Canadian Language Benchmarks to help place learners in a class appropriate to their ability in four English language skills:

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing

Classes and assessments are offered throughout the Niagara Region and are free of charge for eligible adults. Learners are then referred to a language instruction class or program. 

Please note that a language assessment may take up to four hours. To book an appointment for a language assessment, please call 289-213-5311 or 289-407-3682.

Useful Websites

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