The Program Director for Eastman Immigrant Services (EIS) is calling it "very great news" what the province announced Friday afternoon.
Freddy Muganza is referring to the $38,951 of additional funding that is coming to Steinbach Chamber of Commerce in order to support Ukrainian newcomers. Five other organizations were also promised funding for a total of $456,000.
"We see that the province is really acknowledging the work that we are doing for our community," says Muganza.
He notes the extra money will allow them to increase their capacity at a time when their capacity is being stretched.
"We were not expecting this," he adds. "That shows that the government is really monitoring what you are doing and appreciates the effort that you are doing."
Muganza says from April 1st, 2023, until July 13th, 2023, Eastman Immigrant Services served 158 Ukrainian newcomers. That means 49 per cent of all newcomers they served during that period, were from Ukraine. Rounding out the top four countries are Philippines (54 individuals), Mexico (21) and India (15).
In announcing the additional funding, the province stated that the money will assist with employment counselling, resume preparation, short-term training, job search assistance, job referral and job placement with local employers.
"We've been trying our best just to meet the needs of our clients," explains Muganza. "And then to see the government come to our rescue and give us more money, I think the money will go to increasing our capacity."
Muganza says when assisting newcomers, one of the first things they will do is help them integrate into a community by setting them up with jobs and housing. If there are newcomers needing help for their children, EIS will set them up with their Settlement Workers In School (SWIS) program. If someone wants a job, their employment department will attend to that. For other settlement-related assistance, Muganza says they have expert facilitators who can assist.
Muganza notes he speaks from experience when he says settling into a new country is not easy. But he says a big thank you to our provincial government for the support it has shown in making the transition a little easier for newcomers.
"We just want to thank the provincial government," he says. "I know Canada is a country of immigration and people always prefer to come to Canada. And if we get the support from the government, it's always welcome."