The Comox Valley has a significant population of English-speaking immigrants from various countries such as England, the United States, New Zealand and Scotland.
Studies from Statistics Canada show that 90 per cent of the immigrant population in the Comox Valley holds the English language as their mother tongue.
The question that arises is how do the needs of these English-speaking immigrants differ from non-English speaking immigrants? And where are these English-speaking immigrants going for help when they first arrive in the community?
The Immigrant Welcome Centre hosted its first set of traditional-style tea parties recently. They were targeted at English-speaking immigrants, although all other immigrants and non-immigrants were welcome to attend.
Among the tasty sandwiches, clotted cream-filled scones and freshly brewed tea, a brief questionnaire was passed around the table for purposes of research and discussion. It was evident from the questionnaire responses that the English-speaking immigrants have the exact same needs as non-English speaking immigrants at time of arrival in the Comox Valley/Canada.
When this group of English-speaking immigrants first came to Canada, their immediate needs were employment and job market information, knowledge of rights and laws, assistance with immigration, doctors and health-care information, social/community clubs, and information of social services, all of which the Immigrant Welcome Centre provides at no cost.
Additionally, It was identified that integration into the Comox Valley was successful and took anywhere from two to six years.
Based on the positive feedback from the events, the Immigrant Welcome Centre says it will continue tea parties on a monthly basis focusing on a different topic that will help meet the needs of immigrants in the community.
The IWC is looking for a volunteer to assist with hosting these tea parties. If you are interested or for more information or to RSVP, contact Hassan Raza, marketing and public relations co-ordinator at 250-338-6359 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Immigrant Welcome Centre