Hi Everyone,

One of the lessons that we have all learned during this pandemic is how much change is possible so quickly. It has also made evident that skills and capability building are important.
As Liz Hilton Segel, McKinsey & Company Senior Partner puts it, sometimes people have the mindset that once they’ve built a competency in an area their learning is done. “What we’re all realizing today is that for everyone, no matter how long they’ve been at a company or at what level, there’s always a next horizon of learning, that’s important for them to stay current, given the speed at which business is changing”, Segel explains. 
Experts interviewed in McKinsey & Company's edition of The Next Normal: The Future of Capabilities explain that the next ten years will bring fundamental changes to the working world, and to adapt, employees in almost every role and industry will need to acquire new skills. By 2030, more jobs will require technological, social, and emotional skills. Leaders would do well to develop their workforce’s digital, cognitive, social and emotional, and adaptability and resilience skills.
Tim Welsh, Vice Chairman of Consumer and Business Banking at U.S. Bank, thinks that the pandemic has also taught us that a lot more can be done digitally. “But it’s critical to keep in mind that the goal is to create an environment where every person can thrive, learning and growing together and supporting one another”, Welsh remarks.
Within the settlement sector, it has not only become crystal clear that a lot more can be done virtually, but also that newcomers are already online embracing technology and innovation. The research Newcomers Report - A First Look at the Data conducted by The Media Technology Monitor (MTM) and Refugees 613 showed that out of more than 4,000 recent immigrants to Canada surveyed:
  • 98% own a smartphone
  • 7 in 10 use social networking sites or apps
  • Facebook is their most-used platform, followed by WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter
  • 81% watched YouTube in the last month
Shifting the way we currently provide settlement services is crucial and digital transformation, along with human-centred design, capability building and collaboration, are at the heart of it. How to do it?

Reading the report From Silos to Solutions: Toward Sustainable and Equitable Hybrid Service Delivery in the Immigrant & Refugee-Serving Sector in Canada coordinated by the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA) is a good first step. Let's get started!

The O2O and ISC Team

O2O and ISC Updates

The Orientation to Ontario (O2O) workshops and International Student Connect (ISC) sessions continue to being delivered online via web-conferencing platforms. We also provide tools, resources, and professional development opportunities to all partner organizations to serve their clients virtually and seamlessly across the province. Since inception, we have served 40,283 newcomers and 32,787 international students. O2O and ISC online resources and services have been accessed over 200,000 times. 

What's more, the O2O Bilingual Chatbot is now also available on WhatsApp and Telegram. Newcomers can now access standardized information about settling in Ontario 24/7 from their mobile phones. It is also a great tool for front-line staff at Service Delivery Agencies (SDAs) serving newcomers remotely. The chatbot connects users to local settlement service providers across the province and 211 Ontario. It can also be accessed at any time on the O2O website and ISC website via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Check it out today using the QR codes below!

Cannabis in Canada: Regulations and Health Effects

The use of cannabis for recreational purposes became legal in Canada on October 17, 2018. The Cannabis Act creates a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across Canada. Similarly, the Government of Ontario has rules in place to keep people safe when buying and consuming recreational cannabis.

Did you know that individuals who act outside of the law can face criminal charges? As a result, permanent residents might lose their status, and temporary residents may not be able to enter or stay in Canada.

That is why is important to educate newcomers and international students about the laws and regulations in place, as well as the health effects of using cannabis. To have a framework to start this important conversation, we have developed two new factsheets on this topic. Click below to check them out!

To learn more about Cannabis in Canada, visit

Racism and Anti-racism

Source: Ontario's Anti-Racism Directorate
Racial discrimination and racism persist in Ontario and Canada. This fact must be acknowledged as a starting point to effectively address racism and racial discrimination.

The O2O and ISC Team is committed to advancing a more inclusive Ontario, and to ensure all people are served and treated equitably. With this goal in mind, we have developed a new factsheet about anti-racism and will continue to add tools and resources to help the settlement sector staff and clients experience true inclusion and build workplaces and communities that work for all.

To read the new Anti-racism factsheet, please click here.

New travel exemptions for fully vaccinated
foreign nationals entering Canada

As of September 7th 2021, Canadian citizens (including dual citizens), people registered under the Indian Act, permanent residents of Canada, or protected persons (refugee status), and fully vaccinated foreign nationals are allowed to enter Canada.

To qualify for the fully vaccinated exemption, travellers must:

  • be eligible to enter Canada on the specific date you enter
  • have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19
  • have received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine or a combination of accepted vaccines
  • have received your last dose at least 14 days prior to the day you enter Canada
    • Example: if your last dose was anytime on Thursday July 1st, then Friday July 16th would be the first day that you meet the 14 day condition
  • upload your proof of vaccination in ArriveCAN app
  • meet all other entry requirements (for example, pre-entry test)

Accepted COVID-19 vaccines in Canada
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty, tozinameran, BNT162b2)
  • Moderna (mRNA-1273)
  • AstraZeneca/COVISHIELD (ChAdOx1-S, Vaxzevria, AZD1222)
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S)

Certified translations

If travelers received their vaccines outside Canada, it’s still accepted but proof of vaccination must be uploaded digitally in ArriveCAN and must only be in French or English, or certified translation into French or English.

To learn more, visit

What is Orientation to Ontario (O2O)?

Orientation to Ontario (O2O) is a bilingual program designed to ease the transition of newcomers by providing access to standardized information about settling in Ontario. It is coordinated by COSTI, and funded by IRCC and the Government of Ontario.
Information is provided through customized workshops at over 30 Service Delivery Agencies (SDAs) across the province. O2O offers helpful online resources: a workbook, webinars, fact sheets on various settlement topics, and a chatbot.

Check out the O2O Workbook in English and French, and learn more about the program here.

What is International Student Connect (ISC)?

International Student Connect (ISC) is a bilingual project that provides settlement support and orientation to international students pursuing post-secondary education in Ontario. It is coordinated by COSTI and funded by the Government of Ontario.

Our goal is to help international students integrate successfully should they choose to settle in Ontario after graduation. Information is provided through one to two hours Let’s Connect sessions or One-on-One sessions at Colleges and Universities.

Check out the ISC Handbook and learn more about the project here.

We want to hear from you!


Your feedback is important to us. Send us an email to and let us know what information you would like to receive in the next issue of the O2O & ISC Newsletter.
Copyright © 2021 Orientation to Ontario & International Student Connect. All rights reserved.

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COSTI Immigrant Services
2301 Keele Street, Unit 102
Toronto, ON
M6N 3Z9

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International Student Connect · 2301 Keele Street · Unit 102 · Toronto, On M6N 3Z9 · Canada

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