June 24, 2009
MIRAMICHI (CNB) - Government will invest $150,000 to establish a multicultural and newcomer resource centre in Miramichi.
The announcement was made today by Donald Arseneault, minister of post-secondary education training and labour, who was representing Victor Boudreau, minister responsible for the population growth secretariat.
"This centre will help the Miramichi region attract and retain more newcomers' said Arseneault "It will be a one-stop shop where all newcomers will be welcomed to gain access to essential services."
The Population Growth Secretariat and the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour will each provide about $75,000 to the new centre.
The announcement follows the recent launch of a similar centre in Saint John. The goal of the centres is to fulfil government's population growth commitment to improve immigrant settlement services in all regions of the province.
"In our Population Growth Strategy we committed to recruiting 5,000 immigrants per year by 2015 in order to increase the province's population and achieve self-sufficiency" said Boudreau. "Not only must we attract immigrants, we must also encourage them to stay by providing access to essential settlement services."
The welcoming centre will be managed by the Miramichi Region Multicultural Association (MRMA), a non-profit organization that provides newcomers with settlement services, and supports multiculturalism in the region. The centre is located at 1808 Water St.
The government funding will enable the centre to:
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 resumé writing and interview techniques. The goal is to link clients with local employment opportunities, while making potential employers aware of the needs of the immigrant population.
"As we reflect on the economy today, we must ensure that we recognize the importance of employment services in our communities," said Arseneault. "These resources will encourage secure employment and ensure that those relocating to the province have access to the same employment services made available to New Brunswickers."
Gerry Cormier, mayor of Miramichi applauded the investment.
"The City of Miramichi is keen to attract and retain newcomers to our region," said Cormier. "We appreciate the economic, social and cultural contributions that newcomers have made to the community, and would like to see more coming to our city. The city is working closely with the MRMA, and supports its efforts in promoting Miramichi."
Until recently the Miramichi region was without any unique settlement and integration support services for newcomers. With today's announcement, the Population Growth Secretariat and the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, along with their partners - the City of Miramichi, Canadian Heritage, the Multicultural Council of New Brunswick and Citizenship and Immigration Canada - are filling this gap.
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; Michael Mersereau, co-ordinator, Miramichi Settlement Services, 506-773-5272.