Growth initiative for immigrant-serving organizations

LIFT’s “Better Beginnings, Bigger Impact” to help newcomer organizations expand capacity, reach and impact

Vancouver, BC – LIFT Philanthropy Partners (LIFT), with funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, is pleased to announce the 10 Canadian immigrant-serving organizations selected to participate in its new Better Beginnings, Bigger Impact initiative.

This unique initiative was created to help 10 organizations expand their capacity and reach to deliver real change in the lives of Canadian newcomers. LIFT sought organizations helping individuals overcome barriers specific to the newcomer experience, integrating newcomers into Canadian life, and supporting individuals to build a cohesive and diverse society. Core service areas include language skills, employment assistance, community connections and needs assessments for smooth integration.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 1.2 million newcomers settled in Canada between 2011 and 2016. There is a significant need for newcomer transition services, says Bruce Dewar, President & CEO of LIFT.

“As a national organization, we are well positioned to leverage our unique methodology – which combines business expertise and strategic support – to grow the impact of Canadian immigrant-serving organizations through Better Beginnings, Bigger Impact,” says Dewar. “We are excited to partner with 10 organizations from across the country that will be able to have a bigger influence on newcomers seeking better lives for themselves and their families, while building a better Canada for everyone.”

“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that high-quality settlement services are provided to all newcomers, including refugees, across Canada,” said the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. “I’m excited to see the positive impact this initiative will have as LIFT begins to help these organizations increase their capacity to better serve newcomers.”

The 10 selected newcomer organizations are:

  1. Association for New Canadians, St. John’s: provides wrap-around services, including settlement information and orientation, language learning, skills development and employment counselling to Canadian newcomers.
  2. Furniture Bank, Toronto: facilitates the soliciting, transporting, storing and distributing of furniture to people in need; helping to contribute to Canadian newcomers’ sense of belonging.
  3. Global Gathering Place, Saskatoon: drop-in centre offering English language training, life skills, settlement advice, individual client support, mental health counselling, and a variety of supplemental programs for immigrants and refugees.
  4. Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, Winnipeg: offers safe and secure affordable housing to newcomer families, complemented by holistic, wrap-around settlement service for the whole family, including after-school programs, financial planning and ESL training.
  5. Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia, Vancouver: provides B.C. employers with the solutions, tools and resources they need to attract, hire and retain qualified immigrant talent.
  6. Immigrants Working Centre, Hamilton: offers orientation and settlement assistance, English language training, employment services, and community networking and volunteer opportunities.
  7. Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto: provides community employment counselling, language instruction, community mental health counselling and networking opportunities.
  8. New Brunswick Multicultural Council, Fredericton: is a bilingual, umbrella organization committed to supporting immigrant-serving agencies, and multicultural and ethno-cultural associations in New Brunswick through advocating and promoting the economic, social and cultural value in diversity.
  9. WIL Employment Connections, London: works directly with employers and job-seekers to provide employment support and career development including assessment, counselling and preparation, assistance with licensure for internationally trained professionals, and volunteer placements.
  10. Windmill Microlending (formerly known as Immigrant Access Fund), Calgary (head office): provides microloans of up to $10,000 to internationally trained immigrants so they can obtain the Canadian licensing or training required to work in their field in Canada.

The 10 organizations represent a special portfolio of service providers that have demonstrated positive impact for newcomers in communities across Canada and, importantly, want to do more.

“We are already stronger as an organization just by going through the selection process. It has confirmed the value in what we are doing and sharpened our focus on those areas where we need to build capacity to benefit even more people. We look forward to working with LIFT as part of this special initiative,” says Patrick MacKenzie, CEO, Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia.

“Engaging and supporting immigrants and refugees to integrate and thrive in Canadian society benefits everyone. I welcome this opportunity to help grow our impact in Saskatoon,” says Belma Podrug, Executive Director, Global Gathering Place.

“Newcomer families are coming to fill critical gaps in our labour market and to participate in the Canadian dream. They bring skills, talent, and a deep determination to make their lives and our country a better place. If we can provide them with better beginnings and accelerate their integration, it will surely enrich their lives, our communities, and strengthen our economy,” says Alex LeBlanc, Executive Director, New Brunswick Multicultural Council.