Saskatchewan is sitting with its highest population ever, as reported by the provincial government. Many of those adding to the population are immigrants from around the world, facing different circumstances as they arrive in Humboldt and the surrounding area. The Humboldt Regional Newcomer Centre (HRNC) consistently works with newly arrived families to help them navigate everything from schools, to the health care system, to employment, and much more. Given pressures around the world, particularly the war in Ukraine, it’s been a year like no other for the staff of HRNC.
“It’s probably been our busiest year by far in the last eight years at least,” explains Director Janine Hart. “We look at information, partnership programming, and community connections.”
Part of their support programming focuses on youth and summer time activities as well as through schools during the academic year.
“We’ve been doing our youth summer program, and in that we’ve done an intergenerational program. We’ve done partnership programming with Books Canada and Computers in Schools. We’ve had our learn to swim program, bowling sessions, and attending Pow Wows.”
HRNC undertook a multicultural Canada Day event at Water Ridge Park this year. This was followed up by a series of information sessions ranging from tax filing in the spring to a very well attended winter preparedness session. Funding from SGI allowed for implementation of a car seat clinic and the driver training program was back on the road.
“We held our strategic planning sessions and attended nine “One-Stop Shops” in Regina with the provincial government to support Ukrainian arrivals from the charter flights.”
With the influx of newcomers and all the activity, the Centre has expanded its ranks with new employees taking on new duties, Hart notes. There is a new employment coordinator on a pilot program, and a new crisis support worker has come on board to support Ukrainian arrivals. There are approximately 40 refugee families who have settled in the area.
“With the increase in our client base, we are very hopeful that we are going to be able to do some renovations here so that we can stay here and continue serving clients.”
Hart sums up saying that 2022 has been fantastic.
“I don’t know where the last 12 months have gone, but I hope people keep coming through our doors and people keep partnering with employers and stakeholders. Our local immigration partnership coordinator and all the staff here at the Newcomer Centre have just been marvellous. We’ve had a fantastic year.”