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Moncton prepares for arrival of Syrian refugees


December 18, 2015

Residents invited to public Cultural Competency training session on January 11

MONCTON – With the impending arrival of several hundred Syrian refugees to the tri-community in the coming weeks, the City of Moncton has been working closely with MAGMA (Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area) to support the organization’s resettlement activities.  MAGMA is the immigrant settlement agency responsible for receiving and settling refugees in Greater Moncton.  

“The City’s immigration and economic development staff have had frequent discussions with MAGMA, as well as many other community partners who are stepping up to lend a hand in this major national initiative, to ensure our community’s readiness in welcoming our newest residents,” said Moncton Mayor George LeBlanc. “Canadian cities are being asked to provide a safe and welcoming home for these refugees who have faced so much hardship and heartbreak. Moncton has always been known as the City with a Heart, and the people of Moncton are stepping up to offer help, as always.”

“All levels of government recognize the value that immigrants bring to our nation and to our communities; Moncton has invested in this approach in various ways over the past several years to boost our economic and population growth,” explained Moncton’s Director of Economic Development, Kevin Silliker. “Newcomers bring a wide range of skill sets and new ideas that contribute positively to our labour market and to our local economy.  Providing assistance and support where needed and helping to facilitate this initiative is a natural fit for our team, which aims to fulfill the welcoming community mandate.”

To facilitate the “Welcoming community” component, a public Cultural Competency training session will be held on January 11, 2016, from 6-9 pm, at the Peace Centre (22 Church Street). Residents can learn more about the perceived definition of culture, cross-culture communications, and the value of diversity to society. The event is free; simultaneous translation will be offered.

The City’s plan, in support of MAGMA’s mandate to resettle these newcomers, focuses on five key areas:

  • Facilitation and coordination;
  • Cultural competency training;
  • Public transportation;
  • Welcoming communities; and
  • Communications

The City of Moncton has already offered Cultural Competency training to 150 front-line employees. In addition, the City is helping to facilitate dialogue between the numerous partners and stakeholders, and has formed working groups to help coordinate and meet the needs of the community’s newest residents.  Initially, the focus remains on the basics, such as health, housing and transportation. In the medium term, education (including language classes for adults) and integration activities become increasingly important.  Finally, a successful transition to employment or establishing new businesses with meaningful economic opportunities is the most important indicator for successful immigrant retention.

MAGMA typically resettles 70 refugees per year. The arrival of 250-400 refugees over the next 2 to 3 months is an extraordinary situation for Moncton, but it is a challenge that 35 other municipalities across the country are also adapting to in true Canadian fashion, through grassroots approaches (ex. knitting clubs making tuques), as well as community organization-based activities (such as the clothing drive held on Dec. 12th by the NB Multicultural Council and the NB Association for Community Living). 

Organizations and individuals that are privately sponsoring refugees are encouraged to register with the City of Moncton by sending an email to immigration@moncton.ca

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REFERENCES:
http://www.intercultures.ca/cil-cai/ci-ic-eng.asp?iso=sy#cn-4
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/welcome/index.asp

Media contact:

Nicole O. Melanson
Communications, City of Moncton
506-961-7334 / nicole.melanson@moncton.ca