A group representing the City of Humboldt and the Regional Newcomer Centre headed to Regina on August 25 to participate in a “One-Stop” event designed to provide support for Canadian newcomers. The event was, in part, an effort on behalf of urban municipalities and various agencies to provide information and meet with those who might have an interest in moving to one of Saskatchewan’s rural communities. 

The event was organized by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) where municipalities, agencies and employers were invited to meet with Ukrainian citizens who arrived on government chartered flights. 

“Service Canada was there, Sask Jobs was there, along with various municipalities from around the province,” explains Janine Hart, director of the Humboldt Regional Newcomer Centre. 

Hart was contacted by the City of Humboldt to arrange for the Newcomer Centre’s attendance.  Settlement organizations like the one in Humboldt will be attending a further one-stop style event in Regina or Saskatoon. The goal, she says, is to provide newcomers with information on the benefits of living in rural Saskatchewan and the settlement support such agencies have in place. 

“This is not new to us in terms of what we provide as an agency,” says Hart. “What is new to us is the response to what is happening around displaced Ukrainians and the needs we’re having in rural communities.”

The Newcomer Centre is doing some asset assessment in rural communities in their region in the form of a survey that has been sent out. The purposes are to develop a community contact point for each location and to determine the readiness of communities to receive newcomers.

“We don’t know how many families we might receive,” notes Hart. “Families will either land in Regina or Saskatoon depending on flight arrangements.”

Already around 17 individuals have arrived in the region and the Newcomer Centre has worked to provide settlement supports. The Newcomer Centre is also working with translation services to help with language barriers and work toward securing language courses for new arrivals. 

Hart looks forward to communities’ participating in the survey to better determine availability of groceries, housing, employment and other critical services. With the information, the Newcomer Centre and municipalities can better provide newcomers with information on rural locales.

“We’re taking baby steps right now because people who are arriving who don’t have connections to rural communities are tending to stay in the two larger urban centres.”