Moving to Castlegar made easier for immigrants

CBAL's settlement worker committed to help in a wide variety of ways

Settlement services getting renewed focus by CBAL

Unless you’ve been living in the same town and same neighbourhood, working at the same place for your whole life… chances are you’ve got some experience as the newcomer to a situation. You know what it’s like to be unfamiliar with the lay of the land, the way things are done… and who to go to for help with getting established in a new location.

Newcomers need a helping hand and the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) wants to encourage the whole community to help them get it.

According to recent trends the West Kootenay region is the destination for about one per cent of immigrants to Canada. The diversity they bring is a benefit to all of us. Cultural variety makes our communities more vibrant and interesting.

Megan Read (pictured below), CBAL’s local settlement worker paid a visit to the Castlegar News on Thursday, Sept. 12 to spread the word about services available to new residents.

Providing verbal and written information, Read outlined the program.

“Certainly there are services for anyone who is learning English,” Read began. “There’s a one-to-one tutor program, there are English classes at the library… and they’re all free.”

But frustrating roadblocks can likely exist, even for the immigrant who is fluent in English.

“Coming into a new country is pretty overwhelming,” Read pointed out. “We forget that everything is still brand new… how to get your health insurance, or where to go for a driver’s licence, for example… all these things are new, not done the same way as where the person is from.”

The CBAL plan for easing the transition of newcomers has a part that you and I can play. It’s called First Contact Training and it’s designed to allow each of us to be helpful to someone making this their new home. There’s a class coming up toward the middle of next month, Megan can let you know the details if you’re interested. She’s fully prepared and eager to respond to all queries.

As one of four settlement workers (based in Castlegar, Nelson, Trail and Grand Forks) Read can:

• provide information to individuals or small groups about housing, banking, shopping, transportation, daycare, schools… volunteer and mentoring programs;

• acquaint people with services relating to employment, health and various other points about adapting to life in Canada. She can also provide referrals.

Those eligible for these services include permanent residents (or those with a letter of approval), live-in caretakers, new Canadian citizens, refugees, or those in the Provincial Nominee program.

Printed information on how to access details of the Settlement Services is available at numerous locations in Castlegar, and online as well, but the most straightforward link to share here, now, is Megan Read’s contact information. Call her at 250-687-4714 or email


Just Posted

Born 1 pound, 11 ounces, Winlaw premature baby comes home

Indra Greaves was born at the Nelson hospital after just 24 weeks of gestation

Rebels beef up blueline as trade deadline closes

Tyson Soobotin, 18, was playing for the Nelson Leafs, and Elijah Havers, 17, joins the team from the Coyotes in Osooyoos

Scammers using Castlegar home for rental fraud

Local realtors say the problem is happening more frequently with their properties

Updated: Outbreak prompts advisory for visitors to extended care wing in Trail hospital

A respiratory infection has been active in Poplar Ridge Pavilion since Monday, advises IH

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Keep focus on helping Canadians at home, Trudeau tells MPs at start of meeting

Trudeau said the Liberals will offer Canadians hope amid issue like climate change and global tensions

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found on Vancouver Island

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

B.C. VIEWS: Fact-checking the NDP’s speculation tax on empty homes

Negative-option billing is still legal for governments

Most Read