Author Archives: AAISA Communications

Refugee Alberta – all sections live!

Have you heard? is a provincial hub of information for refugees, immigrant-serving organizations and the community at large. As part of AAISA’s Provincial Refugee Coordination project, and in response to the influx of Syrian refugees in 2015, Refugee Alberta was created to be an educational resource to access information on refugee resettlement.

The site houses information on integrating into daily life in Alberta, resources for organizations to build their capacity to serve newcomers, and opportunities to volunteer, donate and sponsor refugees. Have a look around, and share with your clients, colleagues and networks!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please contact:

New study on newcomer access to mental health

In Canada, one in every three people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lifetime. In conjunction, newcomers such as refugees may have been subject to excessive violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, family separation, torture, and the deaths of loved ones. All of these experiences impact mental health and how a person seeks professional help.

AAISA is therefore proud to undertake a new study on newcomer access to mental health services in Alberta.

The aim of this research is to advance our understanding of the diversity of mental health services available to newcomers and offer a breakdown of accessibility.

Since newcomers often face the added pressure of culture shock, lost identity and language and cultural barriers after they arrive in Canada, the focus of this study will be on social and cultural themes including language, cultural relevancy and ethno-cultural identity and expectations.

Learn more about the project here.


Possible Canadas: Youth’s Visions for the Nation’s Future

What is more important for Canada today – to showcase our democratic institutions or to use our natural resources wisely? What should our nation’s priorities be for the next 50 years? What is Canada’s place in the world and where do we want to be?

These were just a few of the questions posed at AAISA’s roundtable with more than 10 newcomer youth on Tuesday. Facilitated and organized by ImagiNation 150 (i150), young people had a chance to sit down with two Members of the Order of Canada – Fariborz Birjandian and John Currie C.M. – to discuss their visions for the future and how they might be fulfilled.  It was an eye-opening experience to hear such a range of visions and opinions, shaped by diverse cultural backgrounds and lived experiences.

Conversations were based around six themes:

  1. Using Our Natural Resources Wisely
  2. Renewing Our Democratic Institutions
  3. Making Our Pluralism Work
  4. Taking Our Proper Place in the World
  5. Increasing the Innovativeness of our Economy
  6. Building Healthy Communities

The afternoon’s discussions were recorded for use in a vision document, which will be shared with policymakers and the community at large, as part of i150’s sesquicentennial legacy project.

A big thank you to Members of the Order of Canada, youth participants, as well as clients and staff from the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society for participating and making this event an overwhelming success!

Young people are among the least represented in Canadian politics, but together with i150, we can empower the youth of today to be the leaders of tomorrow.

i150 will hold a minimum of 30 roundtable discussions in and around the Calgary area, consisting of 6-12 youth (ages 15-25) and two to four Members of the Order of Canada. To hold your own roundtable or to learn more, click here.