May 5, 2009
SAINT JOHN (CNB) - The provincial government is making an investment of $258,166 to establish a multicultural and newcomer resource centre in Saint John.
The announcement was made by Supply and Services Minister Ed Doherty, who was representing Greg Byrne, minister responsible for the Population Growth Secretariat, as well as representing Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault. Five mayors from Greater Saint John also attended.
"This centre will provide the Saint John region with a one-stop shop where all newcomers may be welcomed and obtain essential services," said Doherty. "We are making a significant stride in increasing the immigrant retention rate in order to achieve self-sufficiency by 2026."
The Population Growth Secretariat is provding $149,416, while the Department of Post-Secondary, Training and Labour is investing $108,750.
The Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Resource Centre Inc. is the non-profit organization that will be providing an integrated approach to settlement services for newcomers, including one-on-one employment counselling as well as referral and placement services. The centre is at 47 Charlotte St., Saint John City Market.
The government funding will enable the centre to accomplish its five mandates:
The funding from the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will result in the hiring of employment specialists to provide employment counselling and assistance with gaining access to appropriate training.
These specialists will also be available to help with job search skills, such as resume writing and interview techniques. The goal is to link clients to local employment opportunities, while making potential employers aware of the needs of the immigrant population.
"As we reflect on the economy today and any possible impacts to job markets, we must ensure that we recognize the importance of employment services in our various communities," said Doherty. "These resources will encourage secure employment and ensure that those relocating to the province have access to the same employment services available to New Brunswickers."
The centre is being supported by five municipalities - Saint John, Rothesay, Quispamsis, Grand Bay-Westfield and St. Martins. It is also being supported by various private-sector and non-profit partners, including Enterprise Saint John; PRUDE Inc. (Pride-Race-Unity-Dignity-Education); Citizenship and Immigration Canada; Service Canada; and the YMCA newcomer program.
The five mayors applauded the creation of the centre, noting that no one organization has been responsible for overseeing services for newcomers.
"We have been long-time supporters of establishing a destination centre for newcomers to Saint John as our region is experiencing a time of tremendous growth, economically, socially and culturally," said Saint John Mayor Ivan Court. "As our immigrant population grows, the centre marks the beginning to a new welcome for immigrants to greater Saint John."
An immigration and multicultural advisory board, which will run the centre, is being supported by all three levels of government. It will also serve as the voice for immigration and multicultural issues in the community.
Byrne said the establishment of the centre was a response to the workforce expansion recommendation made in the Benefits Blueprint report.
"This project represents an important infrastructure investment that will serve as a gateway for all newcomers looking to be involved in the significant projects on the horizon in the Saint John region," he said.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Sheri Strickland, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-453-8617; Brendan Langille, communications, Population Growth Secretariat, 506-471-3264; Paul Emile Chiasson, Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Resource Centre Inc., 506-648-5782.