Steinbach MLA and Education and Training Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced that the province is investing up to $3.1 million in services that support newcomers to Manitoba.
“Our strategic investments will improve the settlement, language, employment and community supports newcomers that need as soon as they arrive in Manitoba to put them on a path to success,” said Goertzen. “Our province continues to grow largely because of immigration, and we’ve seen the many ways newcomers benefit our culture, communities and economy.”
The province is reinvesting revenue generated by Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) application fees into 17 organizations across the province. In November 2016, the province announced MPNP enhancements to eliminate a backlog in processing times, fast-track nominations and reinvest revenue generated by a new $500 application fee for skilled workers and existing $2,500 application fees for businesses. The reinvestment would help immigrants and refugees integrate and settle in the province at no additional cost to Manitobans.
The province is entering into agreements with 17 agencies that include Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council – Welcome Place in Winnipeg and Eastman Immigrant Services in Steinbach.
“As Manitoba’s largest settlement agency, we’re thrilled to accept the province’s investment to help integrate newcomer refugees into Canadian society,” said Rita Chahal, executive director, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council. “We look forward to continuing our work with multicultural, multi-linguistic and multi-faith communities in Manitoba to support newcomers.”
The province will direct funds to service providers in four key areas to build a continuum of service:
- settlement and integration hubs in Winnipeg,
- rural service hubs,
- supports for clients who are high risk or face multiple barriers, and
- access and community partnerships.
“Newcomers play a very important role in the growth and development of the Eastman region and we are thankful for the support of Manitoba Education and Training,” said Michelle Bezditny, executive director, Steinbach Chamber of Commerce and Eastman Immigrant Services, which provide programming to support newcomers and the community in which they are settling. “These new community members contribute to the stability in our region, which has a significant positive impact on our social and economic environment. This funding allows our settlement program to service newcomers in ways we have not been able to do in the past.”
The province held several newcomer roundtable consultations to identify which service areas could benefit from strategic investments. Participants recommended programming to better integrate newcomers with multiple barriers or special needs, as well as targeted supports for newcomer youth and families that face unique challenges.
“Newcomers are better positioned to succeed if they are supported at key points along the pathway to permanent residency and full citizenship,” said Goertzen. “Settlement services help to ensure they receive orientation to their communities, know how to access health and community services, have opportunities to practice language and connect with a broader social network.”