About Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI
Immigrant & Refugee Services Association PEI (IRSA) 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 we are and what we do and, most importantly, who our clients are. Our mandate is to provide short-term settlement services, and long-term inclusion and community integration programs for new immigrants in the province of Prince Edward Island.
First generation Canadians serve on the volunteer Board of Directors. New immigrants are also employed as staff members of the organization and contracted to provide interpretation and translation services.
Work and Activities
Settlement and Integration
Our settlement and integration programs help newcomers immediately after their arrival in PEI, and later on if needed. Settlement workers:
- Assist with applying for and obtaining the essential Canadian documents and registering for available 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, by offering hands-on training and home visits
- Offer information sessions on a wide variety of topics to all newcomers
- We administer language testing which newcomers need to undergo before being placed in an appropriate English language training program.
- We train interpreters and translators based on current language needs in PEI. Interpretation services are provided for basic settlement needs to all newcomers.
Employment Assistance Service assists newcomers with:
- Assessment of strengths and skills
- Identifying and overcoming employment barriers
- Career and educational opportunities
- Referrals to other programs and services
- Resumes, cover letters and application forms
- Job search plans
- Improving interview skills
- Encouragement and support
We also provide resources and support to employers interested in hiring newcomers.
While all our departments collaborate with other community organizations, there are two programs which are specifically designed to connect newcomers with the local community.
Community Connections Program matches newcomers with local volunteers to help them achieve full inclusion into Canadian life. It manages two sub-programs:
Cultural Inclusion Training's goal is to ease the cultural transition for newcomers by fostering 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
Youth Settlement Services
The Youth Settlement Services team works with school-aged immigrant children. Our team:
- Assists newcomer families with the enrollment of children in school or kindergarten
- Helps students become successfully integrated into the PEI school system
- Connects students with recreational programs
- Organizes in-house programs and activities for newcomer children