One year in, Syrian refugees taking to new home in Red Deer

Nearly a year after more than 200 Syrian refugees came to Red Deer, they are working, volunteering or learning in the community.

Newly released data from Statistics Canada indicate 60 per cent of refugees that came to Canada in 2014 had employment income. In Alberta, employment grows to 80 per cent.

Fred Bauer, Central Alberta Refugee Effort executive director, said he didn’t have statistics on those who came to Red Deer 2016. However all of the Syrian refugees who came to the city are either working, volunteering or taking English as a second language classes so they can work.

As well, children who came are in school.

“Overall they are doing well,” said Bauer. “The signs I’m getting from the direct settlement workers, who deal with the families, they’re all positive.

“They still need lots of support. We see many of them in here on an almost daily basis with all kinds of questions including what they can do to bring their family over as well. They’re worried to death and want to make their family safe.”

A year ago, 37 government sponsored families came to Red Deer, 36 directly from Syria and one from another part of Canada. Another six privately or blended sponsored families came to the city.

“I know, in general, they’re doing well, given the difficult situation they were in before they came to Canada,” Bauer said. “Bear in mind in general, Canada took in the most vulnerable refugees. Those in the most need of support, those who have mental health issues like post-traumatic stress, people with low English language skills.”

The English as a second language classes are particularly important and because of additional federal funding, two more classes were added to what CARE and Catholic Social Services offer. There are 16 classes offered throughout the day.

“Given the community response and our capacity as immigrant settlement agencies, I think we could absorb more refugees,” said Bauer. “We haven’t been given any indication from the federal government if they want to take in more refugees.

“We’d like to help more.”

Just Posted

Mothers Against Drunk Driving hold candlelight vigil

Four-and-a-half years ago Marilyn Rinas’ husband was killed in a collision with… Continue reading

Thousands expected at memorial for fallen police officer in Abbotsford, B.C.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — The streets of Abbotsford, B.C., will be lined with… Continue reading

One person dead, five others injured in early-morning crash in Kingston, Ont.

KINGSTON, Ont. — A man who was checking the damage on his… Continue reading

Gus is a special, collaborative art exhibit inspired by motherhood

The portrait display by mother and son is showing in Red Deer

Robotics challenge sparks student interest in Red Deer

Student-built robots compete in fun challenge

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

100+ Women Red Deer donate to Christmas Bureau

About $14,000 will help with Christmas hampers and toys

Semi collides with vehicle on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

Members of the Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit dealt with a call on Highway 2 north of Ponoka

After 70 years, Red Deer veteran still remembers his traumatic war experience

Frank Krepps feels lucky to have survived the Second World War

Merritt Mountie charged with assault

Charges are in relation to an incident in May at the detachment, B.C. Prosecution Service said

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month