About 200 Syrian refugees have arrived on the Island and the focus is now on integrating them into the community, say officials with the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada.

Most of the refugees have a place to live, children are attending school or daycare and adults are in language training. The association has been holding sports events for the children of Syrian newcomers, and information sessions for the adults.

"It took a while for people to kind of get their feet under them, you know get settled, find a place to live, look for work or get enrolled in full time English classes," said Valerie Fitzpatrick, who works with the association's English as an Additional Language, or EAL, volunteer tutor program.

The association has made several matches with Islanders who have volunteered to be EAL tutors, and is holding a training session Tuesday night for another 22 volunteers.

'Practicing real-life scenarios'

The tutors meet with their match once a week for a couple of hours, to practice language skills or do activities together.

"It could be as simple as just going for a walk, it could be something like going to Sobeys or the Superstore and practicing real-life scenarios, vocabulary, things like that," Fitzpatrick said.

Ten tutors have been matched with Syrian refugees, and another 10 to 15 volunteers are now being trained. The association asks for a six-month commitment, and has about 60 refugees on a waiting list to be matched with a tutor.

Refugees continue to arrive on the Island so the need for tutors will continue, Fitzpatrick said, noting refugees from other countries are also being matched with tutors. 

Association officials note the donation centre for household goods is no longer open for regular hours, but Islanders can still drop off goods if they call in advance to 1-844-237-7734.


  • A previous version of this article stated there were 60 volunteers waiting to be trained. In fact there are 60 newcomers waiting to be matched with a volunteer tutor.
    Apr 15, 2016 10:38 AM AT
With files from Angela Walker