Last year distance and separation were felt by all of us due to the continuing impact of the pandemic, but this year we’ve come back to offer more in-person services as well as successfully maintain and enhance service continuity. We have strengthened connections through digital literacy training and supports, blended service delivery, and educational resources – such as accessible vaccine information – that enables immigrants to develop confidence and skills to engage and integrate more fully in our community.
Unfolding humanitarian crises over the past year have reminded us of our connection to people around the globe. We are honoured to be part of Canada’s humanitarian commitment to provide a safe home for increasing numbers of refugees. Our team provided key support for Canada’s response to the Afghan crisis at both national and provincial levels, and we are actively engaged with the provincial response to the Ukrainian crisis. We also marked 10 years as a Settlement Agreement Holder (SAH). As a SAH, we have proudly sponsored and facilitated the sponsorship of hundreds of refugees from all over the world, working with community groups to help them start fresh in their new homes, and building a more diverse and enriched province as a result.
Continuing our province’s enrichment, ISANS has supported immigrants’ full engagement in Canada’s and Nova Scotia’s economic future. International qualifications recognition, bridging programs, language classes tailored to labour-market needs, and specialized programs for racially visible immigrant women and youth are some of the many services we offered this year. We were also proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Multi-Stakeholder Work Group initiative that has championed the reduction of barriers for health care professionals, engineers, trades workers, and many more.
New partnerships this year have deepened our connections as well. GEO Nova Scotia is a Collective Impact initiative that coordinates a network of partners, including ISANS, who work together to ensure immigrants in need and many people across the province have equipment and financial support to access the internet. Additionally, the Black Rock Curling Initiative and Mayflower Curling Club have helped us introduce newcomer youth to the sport of curling, as well as help curling clubs become even more welcoming and inclusive.
As we challenge and deepen our commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in our province, our connections with community partners are further strengthened. Our Artist in Residence program continues to lift first-voice perspectives on important social and cultural months of recognition; our Reconciliation Working Group challenges us to engage and be accountable to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action; and our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion team is actively building intercultural competence among ISANS colleagues, community members, and organizations. It is exciting and critical work that holds us accountable in our relationships with one another.
Thank you for your engagement with us – our connection to you is so important and deeply appreciated as we build a community where all can belong and grow.