Written by: Hannah Kost, Communications Specialist, Partner Success
For over 40 years, Immigrant Services Calgary has worked to make a meaningful difference in the lives of newcomers in Alberta. More recently, with its partners’ help, it launched Gateway, a program designed to remove the guesswork from newcomer settlement journeys.
Canada will keep its doors open to newcomers
After welcoming over 405,000 newcomers last year, the Government of Canada announced on Nov. 1 that it is now setting even higher targets: 465,000 permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024, and 500,000 in 2025.
The reason? Canada is facing critical labour market shortages, the government said in a news release – and “immigrants have been essential to Canada’s post-pandemic recovery.” Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said the immigration plan would help businesses find the workers they need, contribute to Canada’s long-term success, and support vulnerable people fleeing violence, war, and persecution.
But the key to thriving in a new country, learning a new language, or starting a new career is ensuring the right support is in place – and the current system for newcomers to Canada is complex and hard to navigate. It’s why research estimates that 60 percent of them don’t ask for help.
Connecting newcomers to the right resources in Alberta
Recognizing the need to fill the gap in the system led to the conceptualization of Gateway. This collaborative program has over 65 various organizations working together to ensure newcomers to Alberta get connected to the right service at the right agency.
Its goal is to create a standardized system for intake, assessment, and referrals for all newcomers to Alberta so that resources, including language classes, mental health services and financial assistance, are more accessible.
To accomplish this, a plan is developed for each newcomer, including their dreams, goals, skills, and priorities in mind. The plan refers newcomers to best-fit programs and services in the community.
The Gateway team then follows up with each client to ensure they’re reaching their goals, while feedback from clients will be utilized to improve programs and services.
It means newcomers don’t have to attend unnecessary appointments with multiple agencies, navigate confusing amounts of services in the search for the right help, or repeat their stories to different agencies in hopes of getting the support they need.
Meanwhile, the increased collaboration fostered between agencies allows for a better understanding of service uptake, the ability to recognize gaps and eventually, the creation of a knowledge hub for partners and researchers.
Ultimately, Gateway seeks to unleash newcomers’ economic, social, and civic potential while helping to refine services provided by the organizations that serve them. And these services will likely be essential for Canada as its newcomer population grows.
If you want to get involved, there’s more to learn on our site, where newcomers can get started with a free plan – or follow along on social media.