Operational Bulletin 509 – March 14, 2013
Settlement Program – Crisis Counselling Within Support Services
The authorities have formulated a new definition for the term “crisis counselling”. This term concerns the Settlement Program. The new definition distinguishes this type of counselling from:
- The general counselling (which the authorities provide as a part of information and orientation activities) and,
- Social or psychological counselling (health care or social service networks provide these types of counselling)
The definition of the term “crisis counselling” denotes a service that provides guidance and support to clients, as they adjust to life in Canada. This guidance and support provided would help these clients deal with problems and crises as they adjust to life in Canada. This definition applies to any kind of guidance or support provided under the scope of the Settlement Program.
In cases like these, staff in the Service Provider Organisations (SPOs) would need to:
- Assess and identify the client’s needs and,
- Determine the appropriate type of service or resource for referral
The term “crisis counselling” carries a wide range of connotations and associations. For example, it could relate to:
- The mental well-being of the client and,
- A better understanding of the overall scope and nature of:
- Counselling services and,
- Referral services
Because of this, program officers and Service Provider Organisations (SPOs) felt the need to ask for a clearer guidance on the definition of this term. It would help them identify the factors that constitute crisis counselling under the Settlement Program.
The 2010 Immigration Settlement Assistance Program evaluation highlighted the uncertainty among Service Provider Organisations (SPOs). This uncertainty stemmed from the lack of a proper understanding about the extent of service expected under crisis counselling services. Earlier, crisis counselling services also went by the terms:
- Para counselling and,
- Solution focused counselling
“Crisis counselling” denotes a service that provides guidance and support to clients. This service helps clients as they adjust to life in Canada. This guidance and support provided would help these clients deal with various problems and crises. That too, as they adjust to life in Canada. Without this counselling service, clients would be unable to take advantage of other settlement devices or recourses.
Crisis counselling services are one among several Settlement Program support services. As such, they:
- Are short term in nature and,
- Could include the identification of:
- The client’s needs
- Basic advice
- Support and,
- The determination of the appropriate type of service or resource for the referral to aid in the resolution of the difficulties encountered by the client
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) does not fund in-depth social or psychological counselling. This is especially so if the existing health and social service systems provide these kind of counselling services to clients. Therefore, officers would need to refer clients requiring detailed social or psychological counselling to the existing health and social service agencies.
Crisis counselling is a support service. Hence, it is also subject to the Support Services Expenditure Control Policy.
Officers would need to distinguish crisis counselling from generalised counselling. The authorities provide generalised counselling as part of other Settlement Program streams. These streams could include:
- Information and,
Therefore, officers would need to code the costs for generalised counselling against the stream associated with the service that is on offer.
The ultimate objective of crisis counselling is that the service provider can:
- Provide basic advice to clients, who are encountering problems while they adjust to life in Canada and,
- Bridge these clients successfully to the appropriate mainstream services, as applicable, including referring them to:
- Support groups
- Professional counselling services and,
- Peer networks
The CIC funds referral activities as part of crisis counselling. They do not provide funding for client accompaniment to referral appointments usually. However, they would provide exceptions in cases that involve:
- Vulnerable clients or,
- Vulnerable client initiatives
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)