News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 23, 2017


Temporary Housing, Resettlement Supports Available: Premier

The Manitoba government is working with municipal officials, non-profit settlement organizations and charities to provide emergency relief for refugee claimants crossing the Manitoba border into Canada, Premier Brian Pallister announced today, with Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart during a visit to Welcome Place. 

“Manitoba has always been a safe and welcoming place, and Manitobans have a well-deserved reputation within Canada for compassion and willingness to help those in need,” said the premier.  “Just as we have opened our arms to newcomers for centuries, our province continues to provide significant supports to those organizations offering direct services to refugee claimants.  Our focus remains on measures that will ensure both the welfare of refugee claimants and the continued safety and security of residents of border towns.” 

Today’s announcement builds upon the support already provided from various provincial government departments to the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council (MIIC)/Welcome Place and the Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations (MANSO) for refugee claimants, the premier noted. 

Included in today’s announcement were the following:

  • 14 units of emergency housing in response to the growing need for temporary shelter for refugee claimants.  These units, which will be available immediately, will be managed in partnership with MIIC/Welcome Place and will also include space for support services.
  • $70,000 in funding for MANSO to support a refugee response co-ordinator for 2017-18.  This position will support co-ordination efforts related to refugee resettlement and refugee claimant supports.
  • $110,000 in funding for Welcome Place for 2017-18 to support services for refugee claimants including paralegal services and safe transportation from Emerson to Winnipeg. 

MANSO is an umbrella organization for immigrant and refugee service providers in Manitoba.  The organization provides core settlement services, language training, employment services and welcoming communities programs.  Today’s funding extends the community refugee response co-ordinator position into 2017-18.                                                                      

MIIC/Welcome Place is a not-for-profit refugee serving organization in Winnipeg offering settlement services for government-assisted and privately sponsored refugees.  Today’s new funding agreement will ensure staff are available to meet the increased demand on services for refugee claimants and that individuals are safely transported to Winnipeg, Pallister added. 

“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the provincial government and look forward to continuing to collaborate as we provide emergency shelter and other supports to those in the greatest need,” said Rita Chahal, executive director, Welcome Place.  “The ability of our community to pull together is unmatched and we have no doubt that Manitobans will continue to open their hearts.” 

The Government of Manitoba has also been approached by the Paramedic Association of Manitoba (PAM) and is finalizing details that will see primary care paramedics located in the community of Emerson on a temporary basis.  This agreement will provide medically trained personnel within the community to supplement the efforts of local first responders in delivering emergency care to those most in need.  

“Our members understand the community of Emerson is dealing with a challenging situation at the moment and we are happy to be able to offer our expertise in order to boost the resources available to respond to medical situations within the region,” said Cameron Ritzer, chairman, PAM. 

The departments of education and training (immigration services); families; health, seniors and active living; and justice all provide additional supports to refugee claimants while they await the adjudication of their claims by the Immigration and Refugee Board.  These include Employment and Income Assistance, provincial health services, paralegal and legal aid support to assist with claim processes, and access to education and community services. 

The government also announced support for programs that assist refugees and refugee claimants in finding employment as soon as they are able to work legally in Canada. 

“There is an increased need for direct employment and labour market support, in the form of initial and ongoing educational programming including language of work,” said Wishart.  “We are pleased to be able to proceed with an innovative model that will deliver employment specific skills training and workplace preparedness.  This model will link newcomers with employment opportunities and will allow them to develop the skills they need to succeed in the workforce.”

Four employment services pilot projects have been proposed, based on an Expression of Interest process and to a maximum contribution of $1.1 million through Manitoba Education and Training for 2016-17 and 2017-18, with the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Manitoba Start, Red River College and Opportunities for Employment, Wishart said, adding each pilot will offer industry specific employment readiness, skills training and employment placement.

“Our government is grateful for the opportunity to participate in what is a true community response to this difficult situation,” said the premier.  “We are pleased to be able to offer support to the community of Emerson, front-line workers, community support networks and to those seeking safety and hope in Canada.  We will continue to work with our partners both locally and in the federal government to develop a national response to this national issue.”

- 30 -