B.C. allots record $25.6M in annual funding for newcomer services

The B.C. government is more than quadrupling funding for newcomer services from $6 million to $25.6 million per year, partnering with 30 organizations throughout the province.

The increased funding, announced in March, is divided between two programs: $12.2 million for the Safe Haven program, which serves refugee claimants and asylum seekers, and $13.4 million for the B.C. Newcomers program, which focuses on work and study permit holders, provincial nominees and entrepreneur immigration candidates, among others.

Combined, the programs are expected to serve more than 40,000 people per year, up from 26,000 in 2021-22, the province says.

B.C. has also significantly expanded its multilingual support for immigrants from diverse backgrounds, now offering services in over 220 languages through trained interpreters.

Meheret Basrit, the senior manager of community development at Surrey-based charity DIVERSEcity, which is leading the Safe Haven program in the Lower Mainland, said she is excited about changes to mental health supports. Under the new programs, Ukrainians fleeing war, as well as regular visa holders and refugees, will be eligible for clinical counselling.


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Author: SurreyLIP