Abbotsford – DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society has been chosen to lead a Refugee Response Team in the Fraser Valley to help refugees settle and integrate into the community.
“With a comprehensive team, representing Surrey, Delta, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, we are pleased to be leading the Fraser Valley Refugee Response Team,” said Neelam Sahota, CEO of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society. “The team of close to 30 members has met twice already and is eager to start implementing the Action Plan that is being developed as a result of these first two meetings. Coordinating our responses to the resettlement of so many refugees in such a short period of time across this diverse and growing region is a big task, but one that is very much needed, and one that we are excited to be a part of.”
Funding will be provided in two instalments with the first portion delivered immediately and the remainder in the summer when final settlement numbers are known. Supported by the initial $70,599.48 through the $1 million Refugee Readiness Fund, the Refugee Response Team for the Fraser Valley will identify and prioritize short-term community needs to support a coordinated approach to helping refugees. Examples of the work the teams may do include providing links with employers or other labour market opportunities and coordinating community supports
“Abbotsford is stepping up and graciously welcoming many new Syrian families into our community,” Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas said. “DIVERSEcity has taken on this monumental task and we support their work as they help refugees settle in our community.”
The team will have representatives from the refugee service provider community: settlement organizations, private sponsors, churches, educators, health care providers and employers. The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training will continue to engage with settlement communities across the province to ensure they have the capacity to support any incoming refugees.
In addition to the $1-million Refugee Readiness Fund, the province funds a number of programs for all newcomers, including: $2.6 million for 1,200 newcomers to B.C. to get language training for the job market; $1.5 million through the Canada-BC job grant to help get refugees job training and match them with employers; and $4 million for services for newcomers not eligible for federal services. Wait periods and premiums for Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage are waived for all refugees.
Each refugee student in public school in B.C. is funded from the B.C. government’s pupil funding formula. All refugees are able to access the Employment Program of B.C. In addition, all refugees are eligible for a Child Care Subsidy, the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit – up to $55 per month per child under age six, the BC Basic Family Bonus – up to $111 per child per month when combined with the National Child Benefit Supplement and Student Aid.
Learn more about provincial supports at welcomebc.ca and federal supports for Government Assisted Refugees at cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/ip/ip03-part2-eng.pdf.