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Gateway program to make Calgary transition easier for immigrants

Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) has launched a project they say will transform the way new immigrants can access a “complex and challenging” support system.

Gateway is a program designed for new immigrants to Canada. ISC said that it will improve the way that newcomers can access immigrant services, and will make settling into Canada easier for new Canadians.

“We knew a problem existed within the system designed for newcomers,” said Hyder Hassan, CEO of Immigrant services Canada.

“The current system to support newcomers is complex and challenging, so they don’t end up accessing the services.”

The organization said many newcomers struggle to access basic services including housing, healthcare and education. The inability to do so can cause financial and mental stress.

Hassan explained that Gateway’s system uses data management and collects online newcomer data to fix these issues.

“Imagine in the next year, a newcomer family coming to Calgary,” he said.

“They would have their settlement plan done and in hand, they would know where their kids are going to be going to school, they would know what jobs are lined up for them.”

Head start on success in Calgary

Hassan believes Gateway will give newcomers confidence. That will help them grow and thrive in Canadian society.

“Gateway will help unleash the economic, social and civic potential of newcomers,” said Hassan.

He believes that Canada’s growth is centred around new immigrants.

“Canada has a declining birth rate,” said Hassan. “Our growth comes from newcomers. It makes economic sense for us to attract the best of the best.”

He said that Gateway will attract those newcomers to Calgary.

“I’ve had high net worth newcomers say to me that they wish they knew about the Gateway program before they came,” Hassan said.

He remembered meeting a new immigrant who told him that he wished he knew about certain things. His family would have been better prepared for Canadian life.

According to federal government data, four in every 10 immigrants to Canada use settlement support services.

But only half of all immigrants to Canada are aware that support is available.

To spread the word about Gateway, ISC is using a ‘phased approach’ plan.

The plan has started now and will go until March of 2022. They also have more than 30 partners across Calgary and Alberta, something they believe will bring more awareness to the program.