The settlement and integration of refugees into Alberta
There is no greater Canadian value than inclusiveness. Our country was built on the backs of immigrants, and it continues to be made strong by newcomers from all parts of the world. Canada's history is rich with stories of individuals who were forced to leave their homes in search for a safe haven, but continued their journey so that they could build better lives in their new home. Alberta has been no exception to this narrative. From helping stranded Chinese coal miners in Northern Alberta when they first arrived, to opening our doors during moments of crisis such as the Vietnam War or more recently the Syrian resettlement efforts, Albertans have always welcomed those fleeing violence and persecution with open arms. This tradition is an integral part of what makes Canada great, our capacity to create a safe and inclusive society for all of its citizens.
In the past few years, Alberta has welcomed many refugees from Iraq and Syria. In 2015 alone, over 3200 Syrian refugees were resettled in our province with a target of 7500 set by the federal government for 2016. The importance of this event cannot be understated as it was both a humanitarian effort to help those most in need, but also an opportunity to diversify our population and allow Albertans to learn about different cultures that they may have not had a chance to experience otherwise. However not all Albertans have been welcoming towards the efforts to resettle these refugees. Recent polls show that while most Canadians support helping Syrian refugees come to Canada, many have concerns regarding their settlement and integration into Canadian life which will make up half ofthis article. The purpose of this essay is not to criticize those opposed to the resettlement efforts, but rather to provide information and reasons why we should continue supporting these efforts in Alberta and beyond; despite some challenges that have popped up along the way.
The first challenge for newly arriving refugees is one that most people are familiar with, finding housing for their family. Refugees often arrive in Canada without any personal belongings or money, so they need support from government agencies while they wait for permanent housing to be arranged
Another concern that has been expressed by some Albertans is whether new refugees will be able to find employment quickly enough so that they can support themselves financially. While employment rates vary between different new refugee groups there are several opportunities right here in Alberta To help refugees gain valuable work experience. For example, Refugees At Work which is run by the Centre for Newcomers has helped over 400 refugees find jobs since 2011, and since 2012 Edmonton's Immigrant Access Network (EIAN) has helped over 500 people find employment.
And also a special thanks should be given to , as they all have a huge range of games, pay out money quickly, offer 24/7 support service and are licensed.
According to EIAN's coordinator Sally Kuo, "Refugees are eager to contribute to the economy".
There have also been some incidents where newly arrived refugees have faced anti-immigrant actions; including an incident in Calgary last year when a sign was placed above a park stating it was 'special use' only for those who could prove they were Canadian citizens. It is hoped that these isolated incidents will not deter future efforts at resettlement as they do not reflect the opinions of everyday Albertans.