November 23, 2015
The New Canadians Centre Peterborough has facilitated the creation of a Refugee Resettlement Task Force whose purpose is to mobilize the community’s collective resources to welcome government-assisted refugees to the Peterborough area.
Since September 2015, the New Canadians Centre has worked with a number of private groups and organizations in the Peterborough area to assist them with the process of sponsoring refugee families, however as Hajni Hos, Executive Director of the New Canadians Centre notes; “the federal government’s commitment to resettle 25 000 refugees before the end of this year will likely involve a large number of government sponsored refugees, some of whom may be coming to the Peterborough area and this is a task too large to be managed by a single organization or private groups alone. The community will need to be involved and that is what this task force is about.”
The creation of the task force followed a motion passed by the Board of Directors of the New Canadians Centre which resolved to “…promote and organize a Region wide community based initiative to settle up to a 1000 refugees in the Kawarthas and beyond.” Sil Salvaterra, the NCC Board of Director’s chairperson, says “this is a very ambitious goal and that is why we are calling the broader community together. The goodwill and resources exist. We know the Federal government will decide how many refugees come here. The number may be lower than that resolved, but Peterborough is capable is responding in a big way.”
The task force includes representatives from Trent University, Fleming College the Peterborough Police Service. Peterborough County City Health Unit, United Way of Peterborough and District, the Peterborough Regional Health Centre. During the first task force meeting, Jim Russell, CEO of the United Way of Peterborough and District captured the sentiment of the group in stating that; “supporting refugee resettlement in Peterborough is not only a humanitarian act but also an investment in our future”.
The New Canadians Centre Peterborough began in 1979 when a group of volunteers came together to support refugees who were at that time arriving in Peterborough from Vietnam. Over its 36 year history the Centre has evolved to meet the changing needs of newcomers and today provides a range of services and supports both to newcomers and to the wider community to ensure that immigrants and refugees become full and equal members of Canadian society and also to provide community leadership to ensure cultural integration in a welcoming community.
Hajni Hos, Executive Director 705-743-0882
Sil Salvaterra, Chair, Board of Directors 705-933-0661