The Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society of Prince George (IMSS) has added its support to the call to bring Ukrainian refugees to Prince George.
IMSS has also sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, following Prince George municipal and regional government leaders who did the same, urging action to facilitate bringing Ukrainian refugees to the city.
Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall along with Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan, Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty, MLAs Shirley Bond and Mike Morris, and Fraser-Fort George Regional District chair Art Kaehn gathered together on March 18 to send a letter to the Prime Minister and Premier, indicating that Prince George is willing and ready to welcome refugees.
“Prince George has many attractions for newcomers. It is a welcoming community it is situated in an area of abundant natural resources,” wrote Ravi Saxena, executive director of IMSS.
He explained that Prince George has the infrastructure for welcoming newcomers. IMSS provides newcomers with full settlement services including employment services, English language instruction for youth, women and seniors, childminding, and has been serving newcomers and refugees in the northern B.C. region for the past 45 years.
“During the Syrian crisis, we welcomed families either through government or private sponsorship, and volunteers from the community provided many supports to enable them to settle well,” said Saxena.
“The people of Prince George are ready and willing to do this again for the Ukrainian community and many churches community organizations and individuals are ready to welcome newcomers on a very short notice.”
IMSS also requested the federal government help encourage more immigrants and refugees in other parts of the world to come to Prince George.
“We also remain open to welcoming refugees and immigrants from other parts of the world including Afghanistan,” said Saxena.
“We need the federal and provincial governments to expedite and facilitate immigration to smaller centres such as Prince George. Our members of parliament and MLAs are anxious to facilitate this process, and IMSS and our community are ready to help.”
A volunteer group called Prince George For Ukraine, composed of government leaders as well as representatives from the local Ukrainian community, has also formed to help organize efforts.
Prince George for Ukraine is preparing to launch a website that would provide important information about how people can help and what needs have been identified and is looking for additional fundraising efforts to support families that will arrive in Prince George in the future.