Association for New Canadians working to attract newcomers to central, western Newfoundland
ANC opens new offices in Grand Falls-Windsor, Corner Brook
The number of people moving to Newfoundland and Labrador from other parts of the world has been steadily on the rise in recent years.
The Association for New Canadians has been a major helper in that trend, providing support to international newcomers in the province for nearly 40 years.
In an effort to expand services across a broader region, the primarily St. John's-based association has recently opened office in Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor.
Ken Walsh, the association's senior settlement co-ordinator for the western region, says the plan is to identify any existing gaps in newcomers' settlement on the west coast and in central, while offering support systems and assistance to ensure those gaps are being addressed.
"Newfoundland and Labrador has Canada's most rapidly aging population, as well as one of the lowest birth rates in the country," he said. "Attracting newcomers is key to the repopulation and revitalization of the province."
If you build it, they will come
Walsh says the Corner Brook area is appealing to newcomers for the same reasons it's appealing to people who've lived on Newfoundland's west coast for their entire lives.
"It's a relatively low cost of living here, there's some really good education and employment opportunities here, the communities are safe, it's a friendly, hospitable local population … if they like snow, even better," he said.
It's a relatively low cost of living here, there's some really good education and employment opportunities here, the communities are safe, it's a friendly, hospitable local population … if they like snow, even better.- Ken Walsh
From helping newcomers get driver's licences, secure jobs or learn the language, the association ultimately wants to improve immigration outcomes in all regions of the province.
"We want to help ensure communities are equipped to attract and welcome newcomers, and ensure programs and services are in place to support them and help them succeed," Walsh said.
The association offers a wide range of settlement supports not only for someone who has decided to come and study or work in the province, but also for their spouses and children.
"It's important to make sure that the family is happy, that the family is doing well, in addition to those coming here to work."
If the right supports and services are in place, Walsh says, more people from outside of Canada will be attracted to the province.
"I think it's a really positive thing to improve attraction and retention in the province," he said.
With files from the Corner Brook Morning Show