$2 Million For School Settlement Workers

$2 million for school settlement workers

By Sheila Reynolds
Surrey North Delta Leader
Published: December 16, 2008 9:00 AM
Updated: December 16, 2008 9:12 AM

The Surrey School District has received $2 million from the province to fund a second year of the Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) Program.

The program allows qualified staff who often speak multiple languages to help immigrant and refugee children adjust to school, as well as increase parent involvement and connect them with other community and government resources. Settlement workers also increase cultural awareness and sensitivity within schools.

Since the SWIS program began in Surrey last fall, more than 5,000 students and their families have received settlement counselling.

Being part of an immigrant family, I know first-hand the importance of equipping our schools with the necessary tools to efficiently assist newcomer children and their families with the settlement process, said Surrey-Tynehead MLA Dave Hayer, who also serves as Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Immigration. Our schools face a number of challenges and the province's continued commitment to this program is vital to assisting schools with providing new, innovative models for welcoming newcomers into our community.

The Agreement for Canada-B.C. Co-operation on Immigration provides funding through the transfer of approximately $109 million per year from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to the B.C. government. Settlement services are then administered through WelcomeBC, which supports immigrants and their families in succeeding both economically and socially.