PRINCE GEORGE – Immigration and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George has been chosen to lead a Refugee Response Team in Prince George and Smithers to help refugees settle and integrate into the community.

Funding will be provided in two instalments with the first portion delivered immediately and the remainder in the summer when final settlement numbers are known. Supported by the initial $14,143.41 through the $1-million Refugee Readiness Fund, the Refugee Response Team in Prince George and Smithers will identify short-term community needs to support a co-ordinated approach to helping refugees. Examples of the work they do includes providing links with employers or other labour market opportunities and co-ordinating community supports.

“I am very proud of the work that the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George has done to support immigrants and now Syrian refugees arriving in our community and the North,” Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said. “The funds announced today will enhance the work they are doing with our community to strengthen our refugee response team.”

“This funding will help give refugees the supports they need to integrate into their new lives here in Prince George,” Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said.

The team will have representatives from the refugee service provider community: settlement organizations, private sponsors, churches, educators, health-care providers and employers. The Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training will continue to engage with settlement communities across B.C. to ensure they have the capacity to support incoming refugees.

In addition to the $1-million Refugee Readiness Fund, the province funds a number of programs for all newcomers, including: $2.6 million for 1,200 newcomers to B.C. to get language training for the job market; $1.5 million through the Canada-BC job grant to help get refugees job training and match them with employers; and $4 million for services for newcomers not eligible for federal services. Wait periods and premiums for Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage are waived for all refugees.

Each refugee student in public school in B.C. is funded from the B.C. government’s pupil funding formula. All refugees are able to access the Employment Program of B.C. In addition, all refugees are eligible for a Child Care Subsidy, the BC Early Childhood Tax Benefit – up to $55 per month per child under age six, the BC Basic Family Bonus – up to $111 per child per month when combined with the National Child Benefit Supplement and Student Aid.

Learn more about provincial supports at welcomebc.ca and federal supports for Government Assisted Refugees at cic.gc.ca/english/resources/manuals/ip/ip03-part2-eng.pdf.

For more information on the Canada Job Grant, visit workbc.ca.