Frequently Asked Questions during COVID-19 pandemic/shutdown

Although our doors may be closed, our staff continue to support, connect, advocate on behalf of, and otherwise meet the needs of newcomers to Cape Breton — virtually!

Settlement Services

How are ‘Needs Assessments’ and ‘Settlement Plans’ being completed with no in-person appointments?

Our settlement counsellor is currently completing ‘Needs Assessments’ via email. To begin the assessment process or for additional information, please contact us. Once assessments are finalized, all settlement plans will be completed and delivered remotely.

Contact Info

Nadine Paruch
Settlement Services Coordinator
[email protected]

How do I get a ‘Language Assessment’?

Use the online assessment tool: This tool will produce results to be used for determining your reading and listening levels.

Once levels are determined, you can find appropriate activities on the online resource booklet for levels of learning 1-8, put together by ISANS (Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia):

Do I have access to any face-to-face English instruction classes?

In keeping with COVID-19 precautions, there is no availability for in-person language classes at this time.

Alternatively, there are links to several online resources, including live videos, via the LENS (Language Assessment Services) Facebook page:

And the BBC:

The LINC Home Study program is also an option for English learning, depending on your assessed level (intermediate only). For more information, contact ISANS:

Will my ‘Endorsement Application’ still be processed by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) as part of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. NSOI is still processing all applications related to the AIPP. However, expect delays in processing times.

What happens if I didn’t file my income tax yet?

The deadline for filing income tax with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has been extended to June 1, 2020.

For more information, please visit:

For those who were hoping to attend a tax clinic for free filing with a CRA Community Volunteer: CRA will be updating its website as soon as it has plans in place for any possible clinics to be offered post-COVID-19 protocols:

Immigration Application

What is my client ID?

Your client ID, also referred to as a UCI (Unique Client Identifier), is on all documents you get from the government of Canada. It is an 8- or 10-digit number that looks like this: 1234-5678 or 12-3456-7890.

What if some of the questions on the application form don’t apply to me?

If a question does not apply to you, write “not applicable” (or “N/A”) in the space. That shows you have read and filled out the form fully. Wherever possible, you should fill in all spaces on immigration application forms. If you are applying online and the form does not allow you to type “N/A” for a question that does not apply to you, leave the space blank.

I do not know what dates to put in the history section on my Immigration Form. What do I do?

There are three HISTORY fields on the form:

  • WORK

Each has a ‘TO’ section: this is where you put when you finished that activity or moved from that address.

If you are still working or studying, or if you still live at that address, write “TODAY” or the date you are signing the application.

If you do not know the exact dates, use your best guess.

If you need more space to explain your situation, attach a separate sheet of paper. On the paper, give the full answer. Next to the answer, write the letter or number of the question you are answering.

Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

How do I qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)?

To qualify for a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP), you must have graduated from a public institution or a recognized degree program at a private institution. These institutions may include a university or college.

Can I apply for a PGWP before I get my diploma?

You do not have to wait until you physically receive your diploma or attend your graduation ceremony to apply for a PGWP. All you need to apply is an official letter from your school that confirms you have completed your study program AND an official transcript (or a copy of your transcript from your school’s website).

You have 180 days after your school issues your final marks to apply for a PGWP. To be eligible, your study permit must have been valid at some point during these 180 days.

Can I apply for a job before I get my PGWP?

Yes, but only if:

  • You were a full-time student at a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in a post-secondary academic, vocational, or professional training program; AND
  • You already completed your program of study; AND
  • You did not exceed the number of hours you could work on and off-campus.

If your post-graduation work permit application is refused, you must stop working immediately.

Can I work anywhere, in any type of job, under the PGWP program?

The PGWP is an open work permit: this means that you can work in any occupation anywhere in Canada, and change employers any time you wish.

NOTE: You may not work for an employer on the ‘Ineligible Employer List‘.

Can I work while I am waiting to receive my PGWP?

You can work full-time while waiting for a decision on your PGWP application if at the time you submitted your application:

  • You had a valid study permit; AND
  • You had completed your program of study; AND
  • You were eligible to work off-campus without a permit; AND
  • You did not work off-campus more than 20 hours a week during academic sessions.

How can I show a potential employer I’m allowed to work while I wait for my PGWP?

You can show a potential employer you’re allowed to work by giving them a copy of all of the following documents:

  • Proof that you completed your program(s) of study, such as a COPY of your transcript from your school’s website; AND
  • A COPY of your study permit; AND
  • A COPY of the acknowledgement of receipt from your PGWP application, if you applied online

To be allowed to work right away, your permit should say: “May accept employment on- or off-campus if meeting eligibility criteria per paragraph R186(f), (v) or (w); must cease working if no longer meeting these criteria.” The acknowledgement of receipt must have been received before your study permit expired.

You can use these documents to work only until a decision is made on your application. If your application for a post-graduation work permit is rejected or refused, you need to stop working as soon as you’re notified.