Coming to Canada
What does it take to come to Canada as a refugee? Learn more about the refugee immigration system in Canada and find links to the resources you need.
What is Alberta like? Learn facts about Alberta and get to know the province you will soon call home.
Your Resettlement Journey
Welcome to Canada!
Settling in Canada as a refugee can seem confusing. Whether you are privately sponsored or sponsored through the government, it is important to understand the steps in the process for your arrival, settlement, and integration into your new community.
There are many steps between arriving in Canada as a refugee to becoming integrated to life in Alberta. Understanding Alberta’s refugee resettlement journey will help you to find the agencies and resources you need.
Privately-Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) and Blended-Visa Office-Referred refugees (BVORs) should actively participate in their resettlement process to have a similar experience as the fully guided Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs).
Find Resettlement Cities in Alberta
Government Assisted Refugees coming to Alberta will be originally settled in one of six official resettlement cities. These cities are Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Brooks. Each of the six resettlement centres have a Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) provider and other services available to help get refugees off to a successful start in their new home.
Privately Sponsored Refugees may settle outside of these six cities.
In Alberta there are more than 1,400 programs and services designed to help refugees and immigrants settle and integrate into their new community. To find programs and services in your area, visit the Find Settlement Services section.
Calgary is a city in southern Alberta, 80 km east from the Rocky Mountains. The city of Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, and third largest municipality in Canada. During 1875, the Canadian government sent a group of North West Mounted Police to bring Canadian law to the west. The group established a fort in present day Calgary, and named it after Colonel James Macleod’s ancestral home in Scotland. According to the 2016 municipal census, there are 1, 230, 915 people living in Calgary. Each year in July, the city plays host to the Calgary Stampede. This event is the largest outdoor show on earth, and brings world renowned cowboys to compete for prizes.
The city of Edmonton is located in the centre of the province, and acts as the capital of Alberta. As of 2014, the population of Edmonton was 877,926 people and growing. During the 1800’s, the North West Company and Hudson’s Bay Company built fur trade outposts around the area that is current day Edmonton. Eventually the two companies merged, and made Fort Edmonton the centre of its operations due to its location. Current day Edmonton is known as the “Festival City” as it hosts an array of different multicultural events each year. These include the Edmonton Fringe festival, Taste of Edmonton, and Interstellar rodeo to just name a few.
The city of Red Deer is located in Central Alberta, north of Calgary and south of Edmonton. The town was formerly inhabited by the Blackfoot, Cree, Stoney and Metis peoples, before being settled by European settlers. The city takes its name from the Red Deer River, which the Cree had originally called Waskasoo Seepee. Waskasoo Seepee actually means Elk River, not Red Deer River. At the time, British settlers believed that elks were not the same animals as the European red deer. As of the 2016 census, there are 99, 832 people living in Red Deer. Today, the city is known for its production of cattle, grain, and oil. The city features five museums that chronicle Albertan history.
Located in the southeast of Alberta, close to the Montana border, lies the city of Lethbridge. In the early 18th century, Blackfoot tribes used the Lethbridge area for hunting purposes. After colonization, large scale mining by Northwest Coal became a large part of the area. The town originally started as a mining camp, named after North West Coals First President William Lethbridge. Today Lethbridge has 96, 828 people, each brining a unique cultural view. The Japanese gardens, Casa art centre and Galt Museum are all located in Lethbridge and help to make it a vibrant city.
Medicine Hat is also located in southeastern Alberta. The city is known for its natural gas reserves and is named the “Gas City.” The name Medicine Hat comes from the Blackfoot word Saamis, which refers to eagle tail-feather headdress of medicine men (traditional/spiritual leaders.) Modern day Medicine Hat is known for its winter activities, as many snow shoe and cross country trails are made for public use.
The city of Brooks is located in southeast Alberta. Previously, the area around Brooks used to be a hunting territory for the Blackfoot and Crow Peoples. As of the 2015 municipal census, there are 14, 185 people living in Brooks. The economy of Brooks is centered mainly on energy and agriculture. Brooks is now known as “The City of 100 Hellos” because it has a large immigrant, refugee and temporary foreign workers. Currently, over 3000 new Canadians make their home in Brooks, each from a range of 100 countries.
Alberta’s Resettlement Cities
Alberta has six official refugee resettlement cities, each with a designated Resettlement Assistance Provider.