A welcoming home for newcomer families in Canada
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A welcoming home for newcomer families in Canada

Aug 6, 2020

As a one-of-a-kind community organization in Canada, the Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba (IRCOM) provides wrap-around support for immigrant and refugee families starting a new life here. Inside two large, well-kept apartment buildings, IRCOM offers not only housing for 3 years upon arrival for 500 individuals, but also a variety of programming and services to help their community members adjust to their new home. Supported by a staff speaking up to 45 different languages and working around the clock, the team guides newcomer families through the initial steps in their journey and empowers them to integrate and succeed in their new country.

With the arrival of COVID-19, the team at IRCOM needed to ensure that all of their families were able to understand the information being sent out through Government and Health agencies. Timely and accurate information would keep these families safe and healthy through a confusing and unchartered time.

"All families have been impacted by COVID, the uncertainty of what is happening, changes in public health orders, and life being turned upside down. But for newcomer families, the impacts have been magnified."

Through a grant provided by the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, IRCOM organized a strong language team of interpreters to safely connect with each tenant and provide them with updates in their first language. Funding also secured a VOIP service to support these connections and allow for safe virtual conversations to take place whenever help was needed.

"Language barriers which would have made public health information inaccessible, leading to increased anxiety and fear, were immediately removed..."

Through our partnership over the last few years, the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation ensures that IRCOM has the resources they require to keep newcomer families safe during this rapidly changing time, along with the resources that newcomers need to start a safe and healthy life in Canada. 

“All families have been impacted by COVID, the uncertainty of what is happening, changes in public health orders, and life being turned upside down. But for newcomer families, the impacts have been magnified. Thanks to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, IRCOM supported over 700 vulnerable refugees with critical and timely information,” says IRCOM Executive Director Dorota Blumczyńska. “Language barriers which would have made public health information inaccessible, leading to increased anxiety and fear, were immediately removed as IRCOM underwent a rapid digital transformation, and with the TFFF gift, mobilized an Interpreter and First Language Team. Speaking over 40 different languages, we called every participant's household to share critical information, answer questions, and helped families feel less isolated and afraid. Thank you TFFF for making this possible.”

The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation is proud to support IRCOM and their continued efforts to support new families in Canada and to empower them for success in their new home.

Authored by:
TELUS Friendly Future Foundation
The TELUS Friendly Future Foundation
In partnership with IRCOM
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