They are helping newcomers to Saskatchewan get back on their feet.
© Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg
Jordan Hall talks with one of the people at the IAF community information night at the library on Thursday evening.
The John M. Cuelenaere Public Library held a community information night for immigrants interested in the Immigrant Access Fund (IAF) on Thursday evening.
“I’m here with the Immigrant Access Fund and I’m here talking about programming,” Jordan Hall, outreach/marketing co-ordinator for IAF Saskatchewan said. “I am sharing awareness of our program and what it is to potential loan recipients who could qualify for our program.”
The program is designed to help newcomers utilize their skills in the province and get through the red tape that may be holding them back.
“We provide micro loans to internationally trained immigrants so they can get trained to work in their field,” Hall said. “They can get licensed or accredited to work in their field that they previously worked in prior to coming to Canada.”
Micro loans are an effective tool to alleviate poverty for those unable to access other credit due to lack of employment, credit history and collateral.
IAF offers loans up to $10,000 for immigrants who are skilled workers or professionals -- people who are trustworthy and of good character. According to their website, they lend to “people not based on where they are today, but where we believe they will be in the future.”
“The goal is to integrate them back into the economy at their full skill set, using previous knowledge and skills that they have, back at their full capacity, being part of the economy again,” Hall said.
Since they only have offices in Saskatoon and Regina, IAF partners with other organizations in communities in order to connect with immigrants.
“That is partially why we are out and come to place like P.A. -- It is to reach potential clients,” Hall said. “We are a non-profit and we have limited resources as well so we do use affiliates like libraries and use their space because we can’t have an office everywhere.”
Anyone interested in the IAF micro loans can either call their toll free number at 1-855-423-2262 or visit the website at www.iafcanada.org, he said.
Hall was happy the library partnered with IAF to put on the information night in Prince Albert.
“The library was generous enough to donate this space to us and do this as a joint project here to get community organizations out and able to talk about their programs,” Hall said.
In addition to IAF, representatives from YWCA Regional Newcomer Centre, the Prince Albert Multicultural Council, SIAST and the library were also on hand to discuss the services they can offer to help.
All the organizations have services that can help immigrants transition into their new lives in Prince Albert.
Hassan Ibrahim, a settlement advisor with the Newcomers Centre, said he helps families in the city apply for Sask. Health, a social insurance number, family residency and other important paperwork. They will also help with resumes, job applications, finding a home and many other services.
“We offer our services for free, so we just want to let the newcomers know our services are free instead of them paying consultants and lawyers a lot of money that they cannot afford,” Ibrahim said.
The Newcomer Centre is located on 15th Street West and can be reached at 306-765-2530 or online at www.princealbertywca.ca.