Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is investing more than $14.3 million to provide more settlement services in the three Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
In August last year, Ottawa issued a call for proposals under the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) and for case management services. The federal government then selected 14 projects to offer more services to refugees and other vulnerable newcomers in the Prairies.
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Thursday, Ottawa announced those investments would include more than $10.1 million to extend case management services in 11 communities in both English and French. That’s to help vulnerable newcomers with support and referrals to successfully settle into their new communities.
$4.2M to Fund 3 New Settlement Service Providers
The new funds also include more than $4.2 million to add another three service providers under the RAP in Fort McMurray and Grand Prairie, Alberta, and Winkler, Manitoba.
Canadian immigration officials describe these organizations as “key to enhancing access to support services for refugees in smaller and rural communities and providing newcomers with the tools needed for their long-term success in the years ahead.”
Canada is bullish on immigration, setting its sights on record-breaking numbers of new permanent residents to the country over the next three years.
Under the immigration levels plan presented by immigration Minister Sean Fraser earlier this year, Canada plans to welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year, and 451,000 in 2024.
“We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there,” said Fraser.
“Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy.”
Provincial governments in the Prairies share that enthusiasm for immigration.
Earlier this month, Saskatchewan introduced its Labour Mobility and Fair Registration Practices Act to help it grow its population to 1.4 million in the next eight years, up from its roughly 1.18 million residents now.
That legislation is also expected to help create 100,000 jobs over the same time period.
Immigration to Prairies Rebounded Last Year to Almost Pre-Pandemic Levels
Last year, immigration to Alberta rebounded to hit 40,040 new permanent residents, IRCC figures reveal.
That’s almost double the 22,955 new permanent residents who moved there during 2020 but still a shade under the 43,690 new permanent residents to the province in 2019, the last full year before COVID-19.
In Saskatchewan, too, immigration rose somewhat last year, to 10,955 new permanent residents from the 7,400 in 2020 but closed last year still down 30.9 per cent off the 15,855 new permanent residents in 2019.
Manitoba saw a similar rebound, welcoming 16,585 new permanent residents last year, almost double the 8,630 in 2020 but still down almost 12.3 per cent compared to the 18,910 new permanent residents who settled there in 2019.
“Newcomers and refugees have long been a driving force behind Canada’s society and economy. Our country has a proud tradition of being an international leader in resettlement and integration,” said Marie-France Lalonde, parliamentary secretary to Canada’s immigration minister.
“This success could not be achieved without vital settlement service organizations that help newcomers learn Canada’s official languages, find jobs and build successful lives in their new communities.”
Under the RAP, Canada supports government-assisted refugees and other eligible clients upon arrival in all provinces outside of Quebec. The program provides newcomers with direct financial support and funds service provider organizations that deliver immediate and essential services.
Those financial supports include a one-time start-up allowance and monthly income for up to one year. RAP service provider organizations deliver services to immigrants within their first six weeks of arrival in Canada.