What you need to know before you come to London, Ontario, Canada

Before You Come to Canada


Immigrating to Canada is an exciting time for many people. But being a newcomer to a new country can be challenging. There are some important things you need to know before you depart your home country.

Documents & Applications

There are different ways that people can immigrate to London, apply for citizenship or a permanent residency card, or apply for refugee protection.

This process is handled by the federal government and can be supported by settlement agencies in London. However, we strongly recommend that you have all the appropriate documents and have made the appropriate applications. 

The Government of Canada offers many resources on its immigration and citizenship page that can help you begin the process.

Free of Fear Services for All 

Free of Fear Services for All


It is important to know that the City of London provides services to residents regardless of their immigration status.

When you apply for, or use City services, City of London employees will not ask about immigration status or personal information unless there is a legislative requirement to do so. In such cases where immigration status must be documented, staff will not disclose your immigration status to the Canadian Border Services Agency or to the police.

In many cases, City services may be accessed with proof of identification only. Proof of identification or residency is not necessarily an official government document. Depending on the service, proof of identification or residency can be as simple as a telephone bill that shows your address. 

For more information, please Free of Fear Services for All section of the City of London Newcomer Strategy. 

Your Rights in Canada: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees certain rights and protections for all:

The rights include, but are not limited to:

  • freedom of religion, of thought, of expression, of the press and of peaceful assembly;
  • the right to participate in political activities and the right to a democratic government;
  • the freedom to move around and live within Canada, and to leave Canada;
  • legal rights such as the right to life, liberty and security;
  • equality rights; and
  • language rights
Your Rights in Canada: Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: 

In addition, there are specific rights for immigrants and refugees as part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The objectives of this Act with respect to immigration are:

  • to permit Canada to pursue the maximum social, cultural and economic benefits of immigration;
  • to enrich and strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal, bilingual and multicultural character of Canada;
  • to support and assist the development of minority official languages communities in Canada;
  • to support the development of a strong and prosperous Canadian economy, in which the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions of Canada;
  • to see that families are reunited in Canada;
  • to promote the successful integration of permanent residents into Canada, while recognizing that integration involves mutual obligations for new immigrants and Canadian society;
  • to support, by means of consistent standards and prompt processing, the attainment of immigration goals established by the Government of Canada in consultation with the provinces;
  • to maintain, through the establishment of fair and efficient procedures, the integrity of the Canadian immigration system;
  • to facilitate the entry of visitors, students and temporary workers for purposes such as trade, commerce, tourism, international understanding and cultural, educational and scientific activities;
  • to protect public health and safety and to maintain the security of Canadian society;
  • to promote international justice and security by fostering respect for human rights and by denying access to Canadian territory to persons who are criminals or security risks; and
  • to work in cooperation with the provinces to secure better recognition of the foreign credentials of permanent residents and their more rapid integration into society.


The objectives of this Act with respect to refugees are:

  • to recognize that the refugee program is in the first instance about saving lives and offering protection to the displaced and persecuted;
  • to fulfil Canada’s international legal obligations with respect to refugees and affirm Canada’s commitment to international efforts to provide assistance to those in need of resettlement;
  • to grant, as a fundamental expression of Canada’s humanitarian ideals, fair consideration to those who come to Canada claiming persecution;
  • to offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, as well as those at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment;
  • to establish fair and efficient procedures that will maintain the integrity of the Canadian refugee protection system, while upholding Canada’s respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all human beings;
  • to support the self-sufficiency and the social and economic well-being of refugees by facilitating reunification with their family members in Canada;
  • to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to maintain the security of Canadian society; and
  • to promote international justice and security by denying access to Canadian territory to persons, including refugee claimants, who are security risks or serious criminals.
Last modified:Monday, June 26, 2023