Hugo Vega, regional settlement and integration director for the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, describes the newcomer assessment initiative at the Capitol Theatre, Windsor, November 28, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Newcomers to benefit from new assessment initiative

A host of Windsor-Essex agencies is now offering a streamlined plan to help immigrants reach their potential in Canada.

The YMCA of Southwestern Ontario’s Windsor Learning Centre unveiled its new information-fueled and capacity-focused settlement initiative, the WE Value assessment, to stakeholders during a media event Thursday at the Capitol Theatre in Windsor. The partnership consists of 23 settlement-based organizations throughout Windsor-Essex, plus over 30 organizations that have supported the initiative through the support of referrals for newcomer clients.

New arrivals to Canada often have to navigate a complex web of bureaucracy in the areas of documentation, housing, health care, education, employment and others. Andrew Lockie, CEO of the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, said the WE Value assessment helps bring it all together.

“For newcomers, WE Value means less confusion, more confidence, and increased self-worth through streamlined experiences,” said Lockie. “It means fruitful community connections and more opportunities to use their assets, skills, talents, and gifts.”

Hugo Vega, the regional manager of settlement and integration services for the YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, said each client will now have a simple profile, but with access to a host of information.

“This includes a summary of their personal information, and the capacities and assets their assessment screens for,” said Vega. “Customized referrals to community supports, as well as the short-term and long-term goals to give them the best possible start to their settlement here in Windsor-Essex.”

The three-year pilot project took about 15 months to develop, and it had a soft debut in mid-October. So far, 69 newcomers have been assessed through the WE Value program with the goal of seeing one thousand by March 2021. Settlements are conducted in Windsor at the YMCA’s Victoria Avenue offices.

Workforce Windsor Essex and the University of Windsor are primary partners, along with backing from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

For complete information on the WE Value assessment initiative, visit the official website.

Silhouettes in the seats at Windsor's Capitol Theatre signify newcomers who have yet to be met, November 28, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Silhouettes in the seats at Windsor’s Capitol Theatre signify newcomers who have yet to be met, November 28, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.