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Transportation

What information should I give about transportation to sponsored refugees?

Sponsors in Ontario are responsible for providing information and orientation on transportation to sponsored refugees as part of their settlement responsibilities.

As sponsors in Ontario will be aware, there are many different ways to travel within Ontario, depending on budget, time and needs.

Sponsors must inform sponsored refugees that buses, trains and airlines go to many places in Ontario, all major cities are connected by paved highways, and that remote towns and cities may be connected with paved or unpaved roads.

Sponsors ought to advise sponsored refugees that the Ontario government operates Travel Information Centres that provide transit information, maps and directions, and to call 1-800-668-2746 for more information.

Please let sponsored refugees know that if they are lost whilst they are travelling, approach the nearest available person and ask for assistance, as Canadians are very friendly and would be willing to assist.

What information should sponsors provide about travelling by air in Ontario?

Sponsors can advise sponsored refugees that they are able to take a flight between many cities and towns within Ontario. If you or the sponsored refugees need to book a flight, please contact an airline directly or ask a travel agent for more information.

What information should sponsors provide about travelling by bus in Ontario?

Sponsors can advise sponsored refugees that travelling by bus is often the cheapest way to travel around Ontario, and that it is the only way to travel between smaller towns and cities without driving.

Sponsors can inform sponsored refugees that companies offering bus services within Ontario include: Greyhound; Ontario Northland; Coach Canada; Megabus; and, GO Buses.

If sponsors or sponsored refugees would like information on bus lines and the nearest bus station, contact one of the above companies to learn about their routes.

What Information Should Sponsors Provide about Travelling by Train in Ontario?

Sponsors can advise sponsored refugees that there is train service available throughout Ontario, with train networks offering both long-distance and short-distance services.

Sponsors can inform sponsored refugees that train companies offering train services within Ontario include: VIA Rail Canada; Ontario Northland Rail Services; and, GO Train.

What information should sponsors provide about public transportation in Ontario?

Sponsors should advise sponsored refugees that most cities in Ontario offer public transportation services for the general public and for people with special transportation needs, including: buses, streetcars and/or subway, and that the cost of public transport varies by city.

Sponsors are advised to show sponsored refugees where and how to access public transportation services in the town or city they will be living in, and advise them of the costs associated with use.

For more information, sponsors and sponsored refugees can contact their local public transportation system for information on schedules, fares and other details. A list of public transportation systems in Ontario can be found at the following link: http://www.cdn.mto.gov.on.ca/english/transit/municipal-transit-systems-in-ontario.shtml

What information should sponsors provide about rental cars in Ontario?

Sponsors should advise sponsored refugees to read the contract and terms and conditions of the rental company they are renting from before signing any rental agreements. Sponsors should also advise sponsored refugees that most rental companies require insurance coverage for a rental; otherwise they may be liable for any damages that occur to the car.

Sponsors should inform sponsored refugees that some credit cards may offer car rental insurance coverage, and that the rental company will be able to provide them with insurance coverage for an additional fee.

What information should sponsors provide about travelling by taxi in Ontario?

Sponsors should show sponsored refugees how and where they can book a taxi, and advise them that when booking a taxi, they may have to provide the passenger’s name, pick-up location, destination address and contact number.

Sponsors in larger cities, can show sponsored refugees how to hail a taxi in a street by standing on the side walk and waving at a taxi that has the light on top of the roof of the vehicle, and that this light signifies whether or not that taxi has passengers in it.

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that taxis may be metered or non-metered, and how charges are calculated for each: i.e. if the taxi is metered, the rates they will be charged will be clearly defined and visible in the vehicle, the meter will display a minimum charge when they enter the car, and the taxi driver will stop the meter to show the final charge when they reach their destination; and, if the taxi is non-metered, ask how much the trip will cost before they get in the car.

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees to be vigilant when taking a taxi, and that if they feel unsafe at any time, ask the driver to stop and exit the car. Sponsors must also advise sponsored refugees that some taxis have emergency buttons that they can press to alert others that they are in trouble and require assistance.

What about other forms of public transportation?

If required, sponsors may wish to advise sponsored refugees about the following forms of public transportation:

School transportation: local school boards organize transportation to take newcomers children to school.

Health transportation: public or private ambulance operators, hospitals and care-agencies can help newcomers get to medical centres and hospitals.

Social transportation: agencies serving people with disabilities, day care centres, rehabilitation centres and other social services can assist newcomers with travel.

How do Sponsors assist sponsored refugees with arranging special needs transportation in Ontario?

The public transportation system in your city or town may provide transportation assistance for people with special needs or disabilities.

Sponsors ought to advise sponsored refugees that they usually have to meet certain criteria before using this service. Once sponsored refugees have been approved for this service, they can decide when and where they want to be picked up. Generally, a pick-up time must be booked in advance, but they may be able to book on the same day if required.

Sponsors may wish to inform sponsored refugees that it may be possible to get a subscription booking for special needs transportation to get to work, school or health appointments.

Sponsors and sponsored refugees are advised to contact their local public transportation system to see if they offer transportation assistance for people with special needs or disabilities, and for more information on the eligibility criteria.

What information should sponsors provide about walking and cycling in Ontario?

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that all cyclists must obey the rules and laws of the road, just as they would if they were driving a car. Sponsors must inform sponsored refugees that as a cyclist, they must use the road, and it is recommended that they ride by the side walk in the direction they are travelling.

Sponsors are advised to enrol sponsored refugees in a cycling safety course before cycling on the road. Please advise sponsored refugees not to let children cycle on the road without the appropriate training, equipment and supervision.

Sponsors must advise sponsored refugees that if they are walking on the street, they must be safe by following the rules of the road, obeying traffic signals and signs, and by staying visible. Sponsors must inform sponsored refugees that as a pedestrian, they should always walk on the side walk, and if there is no side walk, they must walk on the side of the road that faces traffic. Sponsors must further inform sponsored refugees that they must not cross in the middle of the road, and only cross at areas marked for pedestrian crossings when the walk signal is shown.

It is very important to inform sponsored refugees that in Ontario and Canada in general, vehicles can turn right on a red traffic light at most intersections, even if the walk sign is on for pedestrians. It is advised sponsors explain that although vehicles are supposed to let pedestrians cross first, always look out for right-turning vehicles before they cross.

What information should sponsors provide about driving in the winter?

Sponsors should advise sponsored refugees that in winter, snow and ice can affect the road conditions and it can be dangerous to drive. Sponsors should inform sponsored refugees that it is best to check the weather on the driving route before departing.

Sponsors must inform sponsored refugees that highways and roads may be closed during the winter due to poor visibility, ice and snow; and, that black ice, ice that is very difficult to see, is extremely dangerous for drivers.

Sponsors may wish to assist sponsored refugees with fitting winter tires on any vehicles that will be used during the winter, and explain to newcomers that these tires provide better performance in snow and ice and make winter driving safer.

It is recommended that sponsors assist sponsored refugees with putting together an emergency kit to keep in their car that has extra clothing, blankets, a first aid kit, salt or sand, a shovel, water and non-perishable food items.

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