Immigration surge has newcomers’ association seeking more resources

September 28, 2017

By Kevin Yarr, CBC News |

With about 50 per cent more immigrants landing on Prince Edward Island in the last two years, as compared to the previous two, the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada is finding itself short on resources.

Executive director Craig Mackie says about two thirds of the association’s funding comes from the federal Department of Immigration.

But that funding is based on a three-year rolling average, Mackie said.

“We had two very low years and then 2016 jumped up and 2017 is on track to be another big year,” said Mackie.

“We’ve been in conversation with them saying we need some funding released sooner because we really need more staff to be able to keep up with demand.”

Not only are there more immigrants, said Mackie, their needs are changing as well.

There has been a higher proportion of children under 15 arriving, he said, who need help adjusting to the school system.

Also, he added, the more recent immigrants are arriving with better English skills, so instead of language training they are in need of employment counselling sooner.

Countries of origin changing

Over the last decade China has been the number one country of origin for P.E.I. immigrants, and that has not changed in the last two years, said Mackie.

But further down the list there have been changes. There are fewer coming from Iran, and more from India, the Philippines and Egypt.

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