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SPU Partners with CHEO to Deliver New Education Program for Professionals Who Support Newcomers to Canada

The School of Ethics, Social Justice and Public Service has partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to develop the new National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4) Online Program.

“This program is in the spirit of what Saint Paul University does best: building knowledge and competencies from the humanities and social sciences for use in practical settings where the human touch is essential,” said Matthew McLennan, associate professor at Saint Paul University and academic partner of the N4 Online Program. “We have been given a wonderful opportunity by our partners at CHEO to make our work impactful.”

The N4 Online Program was developed for service providers who help newcomers to Canada navigate social and health services. Throughout the year-long program, participants learn about ethics, social justice and how to provide culturally sensitive care.

“Our students from healthcare and settlement are already doing amazing and important work, but [in this program] we strive to give them a rich set of additional resources and a structured space to reflect upon ethical issues and judgments, interpersonal communication, cultural competencies, social justice, and aspects of conflict,” McLennan explained. “These are matters that affect their work in very real ways day to day. We hope that these competencies will help our students to excel in their fields.”

In addition to online learning, the program includes two practicum placements. In these placements, participants are able to apply their knowledge in real work settings.

The program’s first cohort – a group of 30 professionals from across Canada – began their online courses in January 2020. They are currently nearing completion of the first segment of the program, titled Social Justice, Interpersonal Relations and Immigration.

“The first cohort’s high academic achievements, professionalism, and dedication to the program have really impressed the team at Saint Paul,” said McLennan. “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly impacted them, since most of them are currently on the front lines. We are amazed at their tenacity and commitment to working together and succeeding in this program.”

In June, this first cohort will continue the program with the second segment, Serving Diversity: Settlement and Integration Needs and Challenges.

“As the program unfolds, I’m heartened to see a stellar example of how institutions and professionals can combine their strengths for the good of newcomers and of all Canadians,” McLennan concluded.

For more information about the N4 Online Program, please click here.

About the National Newcomer Navigation Network (N4)
The N4 is a national network for the diverse providers who assist newcomers in navigating the complex Canadian healthcare and social service systems. For more information about the N4, visit

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