Province boosts supports for newcomers arriving in BC.
Newcomers, including international students and foreign workers and more will soon pick up some extra enhanced supports to help them thrive in new communities as they contribute BC's economy.
The Province will increase funding for settlement services from $6 million to $25.6 million annually.
"As an immigrant myself, I know how important it is to have access to services and supports upon arrival. Newcomers are incredibly important to our past, present and future," said Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs.
"The experience, skills and cultural perspectives they bring enrich the lives of everyone in BC. When newcomers thrive, our communities become stronger. The steps we're taking today will help ensure that newcomers receive the services they need to flourish in BC."
These settlement services, delivered under the BC Settlement and Integration Services (BCSIS) program, empower temporary residents and naturalized citizens to successfully integrate into their new communities, find meaningful employment, access education and health care, and contribute to the social fabric of their new community.
"The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA) welcomes the announcement of increased funding to migrant services," said Katie Crocker, CEO, AMSSA. "Increased funding for the BCSIS program will enable settlement and integration service providers to better support temporary residents and naturalized citizens in their social and economic integration journey."
Carla Lopez, a former BCSIS Program beneficiary, said: "I came to BC from Colombia in 2022 with my family, with minimal knowledge of the resources and supports available to me. Thanks to the wonderful staff at MOSAIC, I received support to secure housing, find a job, attend English classes and register my child at school. We are now applying for permanent residency. It feels like home more and more every day now."
BC's investment will enhance supports and services currently in place, improve workforce readiness for newcomers, expand outreach and build capacity in the settlement system, and support poverty reduction and homelessness prevention. The expanded settlement program will launch in spring 2024 and is expected to serve more than 40,000 clients per year.
In the fiscal year 2021-22, BCSIS helped more than 26,000 newcomers. The federal government provides settlement services to permanent residents. The Province, through BCSIS, supports temporary residents (including foreign workers, international students and refugee claimants) and naturalized Canadian citizens. BCSIS services are available to Ukrainians arriving through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel program. Since February 2022, more than 12,000 Ukrainians have settled in British Columbia.