When immigrants arrive in Nova Scotia and elsewhere, they can face many barriers to successful settlement. The time and effort that is necessary to learn English, find appropriate and affordable housing, secure childcare, and access health and community services are just a few examples, and these can overlap and compound when immigrants or their dependents live with complicating factors such as trauma or disabilities.
As a service provider whose mission is to help immigrants build a future in Nova Scotia, we are continuously engaged with our clients and the communities we serve so that our ever-evolving suite of community-driven, educational programs and workshops on intercultural equity, diversity, and inclusion (I-EDI) reflect their emerging needs and lived realities.
This year, our Service Delivery Improvement project, or SDI, has actively sought to partner with newcomer communities that face compounding, intersectional barriers to settlement success and equity. Together with these communities, ISANS has designed several new I-EDI workshops that increase our capacity, as well as the capacity of the community, to address their complex concerns, improve their access to services, and help them feel valued and included.
We’ve also been working hard over the last year with four key partners in HRM – Reachability Association, The North Grove Community Family Centre, Square Roots Food Bundle Program, and HRM Recreation – to deepen our understanding of the way common barriers work together to further marginalize immigrants with complex settlement needs. As a result, we have innovated four new workshops to help service providers and community members offer more equitable, inclusive, and accessible support to immigrants. As we pilot and test these new offerings in 2023, ISANS will remain engaged with our community partners so that we can be sure to deliver the most appropriate, client-driven, and up-to-date I-EDI training available in HRM.
The work of achieving equity, diversity, and inclusion is the responsibility of all people. Our success and growth as a multicultural community in Nova Scotia depends on our collective willingness to apply the values of I-EDI in everything we do. ISANS’ Intercultural EDI workshops help us all discover how we create shared happiness and open, welcoming communities together.