NowNS: Immigrant Services Association plays part in growing Nova Scotia

Gerry Millsby Heather Laura Clark, Chronicle Herald. 

The night Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, crashed, right around the time Citizenship & Immigration Canada’s site did.

ISANS executive director Gerry Mills says she’s not sure how many U.S. citizens will actually follow through with their threats to move to Nova Scotia, but those who do can seek support from ISANS.

“We support increased immigration, as do most people in Nova Scotia,” says Mills. “Wherever somebody comes from, we’re looking for people to come here to build their lives — find work, send their kids to school, purchase goods and services, and contribute to our community.”

It’s been an important year for the largest multi-service immigrant settlement organization in the Atlantic region. Mills says the number of immigrants coming into Nova Scotia is increasing, and ISANS has been responding to that need.

ISANS provides everything from initial settlement and language support to assistance finding employment and connecting with people. Mills says a wide range of services is important because every immigrant is coming from a different situation.

“We have folks who maybe didn’t finish high school in their own country, and we have internationally-educated physicians and engineers,” says Mills. “Our services need to be able to respond to everyone.”

She says it was an honour for ISANS to be nominated for a Now! Nova Scotia Good News Award by Robyn Webb, the director of labour market development at the Halifax Partnership.

If ISANS is awarded the $20,000 prize, Mills says they would put it towards services that are difficult to obtain funding for, such as medical equipment for refugees coming to Nova Scotia. She believes Nova Scotia, as a province, has “really stepped up” this year by welcoming more than 1,500 people who were forced to leave their homes because of war.

“Clearly this has been an extraordinary year for us with the influx of so many refugees,” says Mills. “When we look back on this year, as an organization we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved — and also proud of being able to build on the support of Nova Scotians.

“Our province has grown, not only in numbers but in our role as global citizens. We’re really proud to play a part in that.”