Canadian Orientation Abroad Participant Workbook

A pre-departure guide for newcomers to Canada

Number of Pages: 
Electronic copy only

Please note that this online copy is not the full publication and only features select pages.

To request for an e-copy of the entire workbook, kindly email

For more information about the programme, please visit the COA web page.

The Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) programme is a global initiative funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and implemented worldwide by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in about 60 locations annually.

The COA Participant Workbook presents practical information that refugees need to know before they resettle to Canada, so they can make informed decisions about their new life. Information contained in the workbook is presented in simple language and in a visual manner that both conveys meaning and aids in retention. It is a tool used during in-person pre-arrival orientation sessions and during refugees’ self-study.

The COA Participant Workbook was developed in consultation with IRCC, external partner organizations who assist refugees, field experts and refugees themselves.

The workbook covers topics, such as travel preparation, initial settlement and life in Canada, which includes services, housing, health, education, employment, budgeting and transportation. It contains tailored information on mental health, Indigenous Peoples in Canada, diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, sexual characteristics, as well as information about people with disabilities. It also includes a section on the linguistic duality of Canada and information about Francophone communities. Throughout the workbook, content on diversity, rights and responsibilities, family law and cultural norms is included.

Table of contents: 
  • Instructions on using QR codes
  • Symbols
  • Activities
  • 1. Overview of Canada
  • 2. Travel
  • 3. Supports and services
  • 4. Housing
  • 5. Health
  • 6. Education
  • 7. Employment
  • 8. Budgeting
  • 9. Transportation