New welcome centre for immigrants opens in downtown Calgary
Gateway Newcomer Welcome Centre will support newcomers, including Ukrainian evacuees, with vital services
Calgary, Alberta, April 21, 2023 – Today Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) unveiled the Gateway Newcomer Welcome Centre, where immigrants and refugees can easily access or be connected to resources they need to build new lives in Calgary and Alberta.
“To thrive in a new country, learn a new language, or start a new career, the right support must be in place. ISC’s newly transformed space provides newcomers with on-site and in-person services including English language and needs assessments, employment services, and interpretation and translation services in a more welcoming, inclusive, and modern environment. With increased immigration levels, including the recent influx of Ukrainian evacuees, this is a crucial time to open a welcome centre in downtown Calgary,” said Shirley Philips, interim Chief Executive Officer at Immigrant Services Calgary.
Made possible by funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the Government of Alberta, and Cenovus Energy, the new space is centrally located in the Northland Building downtown. It will provide in-person Gateway services, computer labs, a testing room for language assessments, lecture theatres for skill-building workshops, child-minding services for parents attending programming, and lounges for clients to work on resumes and collaborative projects.
“Newcomers and refugees are essential to Canada and help build our society, culture and economy in long lasting and enduring ways. Service Provider Organizations such as Immigrant Services Calgary help provide newcomers with the information they need to start their lives in this beautiful country we call home. The new Gateway Newcomer Welcome Centre will help newcomers learn Canada’s official languages, find work, and build successful lives in their new communities,” said the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
“Community grants help non-profit organizations provide programs and services that improve the lives of Albertans across the province. As Alberta’s economy continues to prosper and attract more immigration, organizations like Immigrant Services Calgary and its services are important to Alberta’s newcomers. Through the Community Facility Enhancement Program, Alberta’s government is proud to support Immigrant Services Calgary with their building renovations so they can continue to assist new Canadians in feeling welcome and at home in Alberta,” said Jason Luan, Minister of Culture, Government of Alberta.
“Immigrant Services Calgary provides crucial services that help newcomers become better positioned for success in a new life in Canada. The re-opening of the Gateway Newcomer Welcome Centre is a significant milestone for Immigrant Services Calgary, allowing the organization to continue to make positive impacts on people’s lives and our communities more resilient, which strongly aligns with our community investment priorities at Cenovus,” said Wafa Kadri, Cenovus’s Manager, Social Investment.
The space will be co-located with the Bank of Montreal (BMO), which will support immigrants and refugees in need of financial resources.
"BMO is proud to partner with Immigrant Services Calgary to help more newcomers to Canada make real financial progress. The opportunity to co-locate a new BMO branch within ISC’s new office is an important opportunity to support new Canadians while allowing them to focus on making progress towards building their new lives,” said John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies Central Region, BMO.
Support for newcomers provided by ISC and all newcomer-serving agencies in Calgary is becoming more important in the context of provincial immigration trends. The Government of Alberta estimates the province’s population will increase by almost two million residents by 2046, and immigrants account for over half of that expected growth, while the Government of Canada announced in November 2022 that it plans to welcome 1.45 million immigrants by 2025.
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About Immigrant Services Calgary
Immigrant Services Calgary supports more than 15,000 newcomers annually, helping them settle, succeed, and build a sense of belonging in their new community. Since 1977, Immigrant Services Calgary has supported immigrants and refugees through settlement programs and services. Today, Immigrant Services Calgary is a recognized leader in the newcomer-serving sector in Calgary, collaborating with agencies, government, and the private sector to support newcomers through transformational projects, including the Gateway initiative. For more information, visit www.immigrantservicescalgary.ca.
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Director, Communications & External Relations