Refugees

About Alberta

Alberta

Government Assisted Refugees coming to Alberta will be originally settled in one of six official resettlement cities. These cities are Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Brooks.  Each of the six resettlement centres have a Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) provider and other services available to help get refugees off to a successful start in their new home.

Privately Sponsored Refugees may settle outside of these six cities.

Click on the links below, or the dots on the map, to find programs and services in your community or by using our searchable database.

To learn more about weather in Alberta and First Nations culture, please see the infographic and sections below.

Living in Canada

The Canadian government’s Living in Canada tool will ask you questions to help you plan your settlement and guide you to helpful resources, according to your needs.

7,004

Refugees have arrived in Alberta

Since November 2015

Canadian Weather

There are four seasons in Canada:

  • Fall (September 22-December 20)
  • Winter (December 21-March 19)
  • Spring (March 20-June 20) and
  • Summer (June 21-September 21)

Alberta’s winters are long and cold. To protect yourself, you’ll need to dress warmly. You will need to cover your body with warm, water resistant clothing. It is recommended to wear a heavy coat, a hat, boots, and gloves.

Check the weather forecast before going outside. Weather alerts identify different types of threats/hazards related to extreme cold, wind chill and reduced visibility. When there is extreme weather, schools may close. The weather network will tell you whether schools are open or not. Environment Canada also issues special alerts.

Sometimes, in Alberta, a warm wind coming from the Pacific Ocean called a Chinook will come during the winter and melt the snow.  This means there is big change in temperature, and you will need to dress properly. For some people, the pressure change may cause headaches or migraines.

For more information about preparing yourself for severe weather, see Environment and Climate Change Canada – Winter Severe Weather.

Newspapers, television, the radio and Internet all provide current information about the local forecast.

Calgary

Edmonton

Red Deer

Lethbridge

Medicine Hat

Brooks

The First Nation People

Before European settlers came to this land, the First People were here. They call themselves Aboriginal, Indigenous or First Nations People. The Iroquois are Indigenous People from Eastern Canada and when the settlers first arrived they asked, “What land is this?”  They were told it is “Kanata,” an Iroquoian word meaning “village” or “settlement.”  Today it is Canada.

Aboriginal Peoples and Communities

The First People of North America and their descendants include First Nations, the Inuit People of the North and the Métis, who have a mixed heritage of First Nation and French ancestry. There are 45 First Nations in Alberta and three treaty areas including numbered treaties 6, 7 and 8.   Each group has its own rich and distinct language and culture, and are a major part of Canada’s history.  For a closer look at the Nations in each treaty area, please visit Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.  For more information on the First Nations people in Canada, please visit the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network for the latest news in the Aboriginal community.

We Are all Treaty People

Treaties are formal Nation to Nation agreements and legal contracts that were signed between the First People Nations and the Queen of England in the late 1800s. Many First Nations are in the courts to defend their Treaty rights as the First People.

The British Law recognizes Treaty rights in Section 25 of the Canadian Constitution.

Today, here in Alberta and in Canada, we are all Treaty People and there are obligations and benefits on both sides of these treaties. In exchange for the use of First Nations land in Canada, the Government made promises and commitments to the First Nations.  They agreed to enter into a respectful relationship together.

Residential Schools

Aboriginal human rights have not always been respected. Their experiences of persecution may be similar to your own.

It is important to understand the history of residential schools in Canada. During the 20th century, the Catholic and Protestant Churches used Residential Schools to take thousands of very young Aboriginal children from across Canada away from their families to live at the schools, so they could force the First People to live like them.  Aboriginal ceremonies and beliefs were even against the law. This practice has ended, but this dark chapter in Canada’s history with the First Nations People has long-lasting consequences. First Nations people experienced physical, sexual, emotional, cultural and spiritual abuse here. For this reason as a group, they have extremely high suicide, violence, addiction, and poverty rates.

Truth and Reconciliation

In 2008 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established to begin to mend the relationship with Aboriginal people. Every Canadian has a role to play in truth and reconciliation with Aboriginal People. For more information, we encourage you to listen to First Nation Senator and former Justice Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, who speaks about What is Reconciliation.

The Glenbow Museum First People’s Exhibit is great to visit to find out more in-depth information about what life was like for the First People pre- and post-contact with settlers.  The Alberta Native Friendship Centres are also great places to help you find out what activities take place in summer to get to know your First Nations neighbours.  They are friendly and have a great sense of humour! You will love the colour and energy of the Pow Wows that happen in various locations every weekend during the summer months.  Please see this Pow Wow Calendar in Alberta.

Aboriginal Cultural Icons

Examples of First Nations cultural icons in Canada include internationally renowned Cree woman singer/song-writer Buffy Sainte-Marie, contemporary electronic musical artists A Tribe Called Red, Mrs. Universe 2015 Ashley Callingbull-Burnham, and plains Cree painter Allen Sapp from the Red Pheasant Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan, whose paintings depict what life was like on the prairies post-contact with Europeans.

Resources

Indigenous Populations Interactive Map

Aboriginal Art in Canada

Aboriginal Powwow – Travel Alberta

Elder in the Making – Documentary