Virden and District Settlement Services

Newcomer immigrants on an informational tour of Virden,

Newcomer immigrants on an informational tour of Virden  by Beatrice Norton.  © Used by permission

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Q&A with Beatrice Norton, Settlement Services Coordinator
Virden District and Settlement Services

September 27, 2016

English Online (EO): Does Virden have a large newcomer population?

Beatrice Norton (BN): Virden’s population, like you’ve noted, is just over 3000 people. In 2011, it was noted as 3411, with 3.2% of that being immigrant newcomers. Since then, the newcomer population has grown over the last four years, as I have witnessed. It’s difficult to give numbers, as so many of them come, and leave for better opportunities, or some enter the community, and are not keen to use the services because they may have others helping them. But, I will say that there is a large newcomer population.
 
EO: Virden is a beautiful and bustling town! Do you project a steady increase in the newcomer population in the coming years?

BN: Virden is a bustling “oil” town, but with the drop in the oil industry right now, it’s hard to see that steady increase of newcomers, especially if we are thinking of immigrant newcomers. Most of these immigrants come into the area for work other than in the oil industry, but seek better opportunities outside as they get adjusted to life in Canada.
 
EO: I see. But right now, who are eligible to receive settlement services?

BN: Permanent Residents and Refugees are eligible to receive settlement services, but Virden has not seen any refugees making their homes here, so we work with Permanent Residents only at this time.

“I sincerely recommend the Settlement Services to other immigrants because just as I was helped in finding my way through a job and better communication skills, they too can benefit.”

EO: Do you have other service offerings that are not listed on your website or new and upcoming projects?

BN: Apart from our listed services, we seek as many opportunities for our clients to be involved in the community through volunteering, and working with various organized activities that are organized in the town.
 
EO: Do you have newcomer success stories that you wish to share?

BN: I’m sharing Mariette’s story here:

“Hi! My name is Mariette Maurice, and I have been in Canada for almost 5 years. I am from Mauritius Island. I am thankful for the Virden and District Settlement Services through whose help I was able to comfortably settle, first in the Hamiota area, and now in Virden MB.
 
“Working with the Settlement Services brought me to the place where I finally found a job that I’m comfortable with, as the Settlement Facilitator, coached me and even helped in finding my right fit. Through this office, I was also referred to an EAL program in Virden where I have been attending classes since 2012. Because I was referred by the Settlement Services to this English class, I can communicate in a better way in my daily life and at work, make more friends from different countries who attend classes, and in the various events sponsored by the Settlement Services. Now, I’m able to help my children with their homework and have an entire conversation with people in English.
 
“I sincerely recommend the Settlement Services to other immigrants because just as I was helped in finding my way through a job and better communication skills, they too can benefit.”

EO:Do you have any other message for incoming immigrants (pre-arrivals) and newcomers looking to move to Virden?

BN: Incoming immigrants/newcomers need to be more efficiently prepared about their credentials with which they come. Many newcomers come into Canada/Virden, highly qualified in their professions, according to their country’s standard, but are then told in Canada that this is not so. They are more in shock, as I can see, about not being able to work in their professions than they are about the weather.

Non-English speaking immigrants also need to know the importance of registering for English classes, and not just depend on their elementary age children to teach them English. They need to know that speaking English proficiently adds merit to them being employed in a very good way.

***

About Virden:

The town of Virden is located in South Western Manitoba, just off the TransCanada highway. It is known as the “Oil Capital of Manitoba” with oil exploration starting there as early as 1948. It has a population of 3,400 but has 12,000 people living within a 30 mile radius.

This beautiful town offers historic and cultural sites, as well as a variety of contemporary recreational facilities. It boasts of verdant parks (Victoria Park, Centennial Park, Eternal Springs), heritage buildings (Canadian Pacific railway station, the Aud Theatre, St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Goulding House), and amazing museums and sports centres.

Virden District and Settlement Services
Settlement services offered:

  • Information and orientation about life in Canada and your community.
  • Help filling out forms and applications, such as: Manitoba Health, Social Insurance Number (SIN), Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program, Permanent Residence, Criminal Record Check, etc.
  • Support, information and assistance concerning immigration issues.
  • Advocacy.
  • Referrals for education, employment and housing.
  • Cultural Diversity Training.
  • Commissioner of Oaths and Notary Public services.

Contact person: Ms. Beatrice Norton
Email: virdenssf@mts.net
Phone: 204-748-1560

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