About Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI
Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI (IRSA, the Association) was incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization in 1993 under the name PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC). In 2021, we changed the organization's name to better reflect who our clients are and what we do.
IRSA's mandate is to provide short-term settlement services and deliver long-term inclusion and community participation programs for new immigrants settling in the province of Prince Edward Island.
To help us better understand and meet the needs of our clients, new immigrants are represented on the Association's volunteer Board of Directors and staff. We also engage newcomers as contractors for various services, including interpretation and translation.
Work and activities
Our settlement programs help newcomers immediately after they arrive in PEI and later on as needed. Settlement workers:
- Assist with obtaining essential Canadian documents and registering for provincial and federal government programs and services
- Assist immigrants with orientation, translation, interpretation, and referral to other service providers
- Provide newly arrived refugees with guidance and support as they adjust to life in Canada and PEI
- Offer information sessions on a wide variety of topics to all newcomers
- Provide counselling support services to those who need them
The Employment Assistance Service (EAS) helps job-seeking newcomers:
- Assess their strengths and skills
- Identify and overcome employment barriers
- Plan careers and access education and skill-development opportunities
- Compose resumes and cover letters, and fill out application forms
- Develop job search plans
- Improve interview skills
- Understand Canadian workplace culture
The employment services at IRSA include resources and support for employers.
The Youth Settlement Services (YSS) team works with school-aged immigrant children and their families. The YSS team:
- Assists newcomer families with the enrollment of children in school or kindergarten
- Helps students become successful within the PEI school system
- Connects students with recreational programs
- Organizes programs and activities for newcomer children
Language-related services include:
- Referrals to language testing required for enrollment in an appropriate English language training program for new immigrants
- Training of interpreters and translators and engaging them to provide interpretation and translation services to all newcomers for basic settlement needs
While all our departments collaborate with other community organizations, the community engagement programs are specifically designed to connect newcomers with the local community.
Community Connections Program matches local volunteers with newcomers to help them achieve full inclusion into Canadian life. It manages two sub-programs:
The goal of the Cultural Inclusion Training is to foster a welcoming and understanding community. We provide public education on a variety of topics, including:
- Recognizing and eliminating prejudice and discrimination
- Cultural sensitivity and competency
- Cultural diversity
Parallel to the regular community engagement programming, we also organize various social groups and activities that connect new immigrants with established Island residents.