The Alberta government is inadequately funding social agencies and programs aimed at helping immigrants successfully transition into Canadian society and the workforce, says Liberal Leader David Swann.
Swann unveiled his party’s five-point plan on Saturday that would bolster local immigration agencies, improve English language and jobs training, streamline the foreign credential review process, and add $25 million for settlement funding.
“We do not believe the PCs have done a good job in preparing and supporting new Canadians and helping them adequately to have their credentials, their training (and) their expertise recognized here,” Swann told roughly 50 supporters at a northeast Liberal campaign office.
Settlement agencies the provide essential services to newcomers lack the resources to adequately meet demand, Swann said.
“It’s impossible to succeed in this culture without a strong basis in language learning,” Swann said. “We don’t see a strong commitment there by the Alberta government.”
The Tory government was criticized last month for slashing millions of dollars from specialty grants to school boards in the budget, including nearly $3 million from the ESL grant.
“Some people transition easily and in six months … some people are going to take longer,” Swann said. “The provincial government has to help people make whatever the transition timing is right for them and their families.”