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“They are filling skills gaps in our community,” he said.
Mayor Kevin Davis said the future of the city is reliant on immigration.
“A large part of our population growth over the next 50 years will come through newcomers because our birth rates simply aren’t high enough to sustain the population and provide us with the growth we need,” said Davis.
“It’s important that for future, in terms of cultural diversity, inclusiveness, economically, that we be a welcoming community so we attract and retain newcomers.”
He said each of the agencies involved in the Brantford Immigration Partnership offer “different perspectives” on what newcomers need.
Most immediately important, said Vujasinovich, is help finding affordable, stable housing, education, employment and connecting to life outside work and school through places of worship and social activities.
Vats said she has been overwhelmed by the kindness of Brantford residents who offered the family first a place to stay and, recently, help moving to a new home.
Rhythm at first missed the hustle and bustle of her joint family in India, where seven adults and four children shared the same home is now thriving in senior kindergarten, said Vats.
“Her accent is so Canadian now,” she said.
Both Vats and Sharma have found jobs in retail with plans to eventually pursue careers in their fields.
“YMCA Settlement Services gave us details on schooling, housing, employment, government benefits,” said Vats. “They told us what steps we have to take to get on the right path. And they kept checking on us. You don’t feel like you’re away from family. It’s like living in the family itself.”
Vujasinovich said the relationship is symbiotic.
“Newcomers add so much colour to the social fabric with their culture, sports, food, art, music. The potential is kind of endless. It’s beneficial for all Canadians.”
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