top of page
  • Writer's pictureCarmen Castro

Newcomer Families in Metro Vancouver: Resources for a Successful Start in Canada

Updated: Feb 25

Hello and welcome to your new life in Canada. We understand that the road to a new life is even more difficult when you have children who rely on you, but it is also a lovely way to convey your love in the shape of new ambitions and better possibilities for your children.

BC provides a number of services to assist you and your family in your settling journey. We have prepared a list of important resources, to help newcomer families settle in this beautiful country.

Newcomer families, Happy family, sunny day, going for a walk

Table of Contents

Newcomer Families Resources

The resources and links in this section can be used by the whole family. Give yourself some time to go through them, as there is a lot of important information.

Family Resource Programs of BC: Childcare, family resources, indigenous organizations and services, mental health and parenting education.

BC Council for Families: Online parenting programs to help families facing challenges in their parenting journey.

Family Services of Greater Vancouver: Early childhood community consultant, family preservation, foster family support services, project parent, victim services, trauma counselling, parent education support group.

City of Vancouver Activities: Register your kids (and yourself) for different classes, including swimming, art, engineering, science, dance, and more. Registrations start every season at certain time (depending on each city) with swimming, gymnastics and climbing being some of the most popular classes, so we recommend you to sign up a head of time in the system, to be able to register your kids for this activities right at the time they open to the public.

*Please check your community centre for activities near you.*

Family Meetup: Meet other parents and kids and get social; this is a good way to find your new tribe and connect with local parents.

Find support across Canada: Virtual or in person resources and services for the whole family.

Parks and Recreation: There are plenty of green areas and playgrounds in Metro Vancouver; here are some for you to set on an adventure to check them out with your kids.

Newcomer Families Resources for Early and Middle Childhood

It is widely known that the first years of a child's life are very important, which is why offering the right experiences and development will help form the foundation for a bright and healthy future.

In BC, there are many organizations that offer programs, resources, and information for parents and kids, some of which are completely free of charge.

La Leche League: Breastfeeding support and local meetings. An amazing place if you are starting your breastfeeding journey and need guidance and community.

Public Library Family Services: Parenting and child care, pregnancy and postpartum, adoption, fostering, and guardianship, health and wellness, legal and financial.

Public Library Programs: Public Libraries also have free programs and events for parents and caregivers with babies and young children, where you will meet other parents and children while enjoying songs, rhymes and stories.

  • Public Library baby story time: For babies ranging in age from newborn to 18 months old.

  • Toddler story time: For young children ranging from 18 months old to 3 years old.

  • Family story time: For children of all ages.

*For a full schedule of events, please refer to your local public library or go to Vancouver Public Library website.

Car seat best practice: Great information to learn how to keep your children safe on the road. Also visit car seats for the littles for recommendations, recalls, and car seat shopping.

Early Learning Programs

Learning: Learning is an important part of any child's development. In Canada, there are different ways of achieving learning success, including public schools, independent schools, and homeschooling. Here's what you should know about them:

Public school

Public schools are free in BC. You can register your child for Kindergarden starting in November prior to the school year you are enrolling your child in.

To complete the registration process for your child, the following documents are required:

  • Child's birth certificate.

  • Child's immunisation record.

  • Proof of residence address, such as a BC Hydro receipt, rental agreement, rent payment receipt, or internet/cable receipt.

  • Proof of Status in Canada for both parents and children.

  • School reports, with certified English translations if necessary.

Please ensure that you fill out the form corresponding to the city in which you reside.

Private and Independent school

Private and Independent schools are schools that the province partially funds. The more funding they receive from the government, the more affordable they become. This is a good alternative to choose if you want a different learning approach than what public schools offer.

Types of private schools in BC:

It is critical to select the type of school ahead of time to be able to make a good decision and select a school that better fits you and your child's needs. Keep in mind commutes, philosophy, and tuition as well.

Homeschooling Homeschooling is legal in all Canadian provinces and can be done by the parents or caregivers of the child who wish a different, more independent approach to learning. Parents or caregivers must follow a curriculum to provide this type of education; however, it doesn’t need to be the same curriculum used in public schools, and you don’t have to report to anyone. In order to homeschool, you need to register your kids at any public school, including public Online Learning schools by September 30th each year. Here is a list of participating schools where you can register your kids for homeschooling.

If you are interested in this learning approach, there are a lot of resources for you to review:

Appetite to Play: Get ideas and information for eating and playing. Also learn about the different developmental milestones for early childhood.

Let's Play! Activities for Families: Get ideas for activities through engagement, communication, identities, and well-being. These books are offered in nine different languages, including English.

Play Today a Guide for Families: Get ideas for quality play time with your kids. This guide is for parents with kids ages three to eight.

Kids Book Clubs: For early readers to meet at the library branch or virtually.

Further Reading:

Newcomer Families Resources for Adolescence and Youth

Kids grow fast, and so do their curiosity and interests. Adolescence and youth are fun and beautiful stages that don't come without their own challenges. As we keep caring for our children and look for the best way to help them gain valuable tools for life, moving to a new country at this age might be overwhelming for them. Rest assured that kids have an amazing way to adapt to new situations and environments, and with the right guidance from you and the community, they will have a successful start.

Health Link BC: Parenting teens 12-18 years old

Government of Canada: Here you'll find information on youth services and programs, settlement, education, mental health, and support.

Public School: If your child was not born in Canada and is not yet a Canadian citizen and you would like to register them at a public school in BC, refer to:

Public Library Teen Services: Everything from book clubs and writing camps to help looking for jobs, mental health, service hours, and more.

Health BC: Parenting young adults 19 years and over

Work BC: Youth services to career exploration, skills needed to enter jobs in demand, as well as how to start looking for a job and how to start a business.

S.U.C.C.E.S.S.: Support and services to help youth achieve their goals and create positive relationships.

AMSSA: Multilingual services and health resources for newcomer youth.

ISS of BC: Multicultural youth programs and circles to help connect with other newcomer youth.

Wrapping up:

We wish you the very best in this beautiful journey to your new life, and as always, we invite you to search for the resources and programs closest to you. We understand that BC is a big province, so the links shared here only show a small part of what there is. 

If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to reach out, and we will do our best, if not to answer them, to put you in the right direction. Once again, welcome to Canada!


bottom of page