B.C. is increasing its newcomer support services.
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B.C. government provides more support for newcomers
Published 10:24 PDT, Fri May 6, 2022
Newcomers arriving in British Columbia now have better access to labour-market services, trauma counselling, and co-ordinated community connections through a one-time investment of $15 million to settlement-service organizations across the province.
"B.C.'s settlement sector continues to go above and beyond to support refugees and newcomers as they transition to life in Canada," said Nathan Cullen, Minister of Municipal Affairs. "To support their incredible work and to ensure those arriving from around the world are well supported, we're investing $15 million in new funding to build organizational capacity and ensure newcomers can more easily integrate into their new communities."
The funding will be dispersed over two years and includes an additional $12 million for the BC Settlement and Integration Services program, $1 million for the Refugee Readiness Fund expansion, and $1 million for community cultural organizations that are supporting displaced Ukrainians and new refugees. This also includes $1 million to expand the bc211 support service and increase staffing.
Settlement organizations will now have the ability to offer more services and build capacity to serve not only Ukrainians and their family members, but other newcomers and refugee claimants as well.
"The increased funding will create more welcoming communities for refugees, refugee claimants, Ukrainians, and other newcomers settling in our province," said Katie Crocker, CEO of the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies. "I applaud the government for recognizing the expertise of our membership and our partners in the settlement and integration of all newcomers and for taking this important step to ensure the proper supports are there when they are needed."
The BC Settlement and Integration Services program (BCSIS) provides funding to more than 30 non-profit agencies, neighbourhood houses, and other community groups across the province that provide newcomers with immigration and labour-market information, help connect them to services and resources, help them build connections to the community, and provide language services to upgrade their English.
The province has adjusted BCSIS to include support for Ukrainians with Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) visas. Previously, Ukrainians arriving in B.C. with temporary CUAET visas had been ineligible.
Most Ukrainians coming to B.C. are expected to arrive through the CUAET program. Between March 17 and April 26, Canada received more than 180,000 applications from Ukrainians under this new emergency travel program. In that time, more than 71,000 applications were approved. Ukrainians arriving through this program may settle where they choose.
The Refugee Readiness Fund was announced last year as a one-time investment of $2 million to enhance existing programs and provide additional resources for communities and private sponsors working to bring refugees to B.C. The expansion of this fund by an additional $1 million to include supports for displaced Ukrainians will allow communities to benefit from a co-ordinated approach to delivering services using shared knowledge and drawing from provincewide expertise.