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Immigration to Canada is growing, and the Pembina Valley is no exception.

According to Elaine Burton Saindon, Coordinator of Pembina Valley Local Immigration Partnership(PVLIP), immigration is a necessity for longevity and long-term economic development and growth.

PVLIP works directly with leaders in the region, seeing if the communities are welcoming and inclusive, and what services resources that are available for newcomers to integrate successfully with that community.

Burton Saindon explains leaders and employers have recognized the significance immigration has on growth.

Programs and services for the community are figured out through discussions with leadership, employers and newcomers.

"As we put all these voices together at a table then we [can] see where our strengths, where our weaknesses are, and what can we do to improve our overall sense of welcoming," explains Burton Saindon. "In the long run, it will benefit all members of the community, not just immigrant newcomers but anyone moving to the region, [to] make it easier to find what they need to feel settled and included."

Currently, PVLIP is working on a strategic plan in October, with leaders from Winkler, Morden, Altona, RM of Dufferin, and RM of Rhineland, communities which are actively involved or pursuing different forms of immigration. The plan will work with all the settlement areas to combine services, making services easier for newcomer families, and finding which areas could need more assistance in providing additional services.

After a recent survey, the biggest strength in the area for newcomers is an overwhelming sense of safety says Burton Saindon. Immigrants in the area say they feel safe in their communities and they enjoy living in the smaller towns around the region.

However, she says there is a difficulty for people settling in the area of where to find the information they may need.

Some of the challenges settlement is facing is navigating through multiple websites, trying to find services and information on how to settle in the area.

Burton Saindon says many people in these communities are good-hearted and want to help, but they may not know the answers to these questions.

The common denominator for all the communities seems to be the need for a centralized hub of information says Burton Saindon.

If anyone wants to have discusses about helping newcomers, or a newcomer wishes to share their thoughts Burton Saindon encourages people to contact her at [email protected]

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