The Province of Ontario is contributing an additional $17.5 million to assist vulnerable immigrants and new refugees as they learn to settle in their new country. “This new investment addresses service gaps and helps improve the long-term success of newcomers, giving them the tools and opportunities to make valuable contributions to our communities and our economy,” says Laura Albanese, minister of citizenship and immigration.
This funding, which will be added over the next two years, will go toward 95 different projects throughout the province. The large range of services that will be supported through this new investment include programs that provide vulnerable newcomers with mental health support, job placements, violence prevention lessons and peer support.
The Refugee Youth Project, under the Go Girls! program at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel, is one of the initiatives who will benefit from the new investment. With the help of its new funding, the project will see female adult mentors and female refugee youth connect over activities that promote self-esteem and healthy living.
“Programs like … Go Girls! in communities like Brampton need our support,” says Harinder Malhi, Ontario’s minister of the status of women. “Which is why it is important that the government of Ontario is investing in these much-needed social and economic integration services for refugees, refugee claimants and vulnerable newcomers, including women.”
The new $17.5 million investment is in addition to the $110 million the province committed to spend on immigrant and refugee support programs between 2017 and 2018.
With Ontario, according to the provincial government, taking in almost half of Canada’s refugees, investments like these are vital and necessary, according to Minister Albanese.
“The successful settlement and integration of refugees and vulnerable newcomers,” she says, “is important for the prosperity of our province.”