The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, one of the busiest newcomer settlement assistance organizations in the province of Alberta, is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this month.
CCIS has been helping refugees, immigrants and temporary foreign workers by providing shelter, language programs, and a variety of other forms of assistance. Formed in 1981, with only a small handful of staff, the organization now employs 240 people with about 1,500 volunteers.
Though immigration has long been a strong part of Canada’s heritage, only recently has Calgary become a major attraction for newcomers. This is mostly due to the economic boom of the early- to mid-2000s, in which employers across the province faced mass labour shortages, and were forced to amplify wages to attract workers.
Though the recession has slowed the influx somewhat, experts in Calgary are bracing themselves for more arrivals as the local economy shows signs of recovery.
“I think people have to be ready to accept that immigrants are coming to Canada and are coming to Calgary,” said CCIS executive director Fariborz Birjandian. “Immigrants now are no different from those who came a hundred years ago. They’re immigrants at first and then they’re your neighbours or classmates.”
The CCIS plans to continue its support of newcomers, particularly with the opening of a new resettlement centre in Calgary.
Source: Calgary Herald