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Caring for kids new to Canada

A guide for health professionals working with immigrant and refugee children and youth

Getting Started

Caring for Kids New to Canada is intended to help health professionals provide quality care to immigrant and refugee children and youth. There are many ways to navigate the site, and this page is just one possible starting point. Here we’ve collected some of the site’s key resources to help you learn more about working with newcomer families.

  • Medical Assessment: Details on both the clinical and communication aspects of an immigrant or refugee child’s first visit with a physician. Covers history-taking, physical exam, lab tests and follow-up visits. Includes electronic tools to help with medical assessment, and with determining differential diagnoses for common symptoms and laboratory findings. Also offers suggestions for health professionals to help build trust with the patient and their family.
  • Using Interpreters: How do you provide effective care when there is a language barrier between you and your patient or the patient’s family? Should children be asked to interpret for their parents? This document provides guidance.
  • Travel-Related Illness: Immigrants travel frequently to their home countries to visit friends and relatives. This document discusses potential risks and pre-travel advice.
  • An Overview of Immigrants and Refugees in Canada: Provides details on recent Canadian immigration patterns, such as top countries of origin. Also describes how the Canadian government classifies immigrants and refugees, which is important to understanding health care coverage for newcomers.
  • Cultural Competence: Describes why health professionals need to be sensitive to differences between their own and their patients’ cultural backgrounds, and offers suggestions for providing culturally effective care.
  • Case Studies: Short vignettes intended to help clinicians become aware of specific issues faced by children and youth new to Canada. 
  • Community Resources: A list of local resources from across Canada that offer settlement and other social services to newcomers. Useful for health professionals who want to help immigrant and refugees access community support.

Last updated: February, 2023