Surrey – SurreyCares Community Foundation has provided a $12,470 Emergency Community Support Fund grant to the Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC) to support the employment of two first language COVID-19 Community Navigators (CN) for three months (January-March 2021). The new Community Navigators will be responsible for reaching out to isolated newcomer mothers to help them navigate Canadian systems and local communities. This outreach extends to helping with social services and school systems, virtually connecting to the community for resources and support, and providing referrals, especially during COVID-19.
Before COVID-19, many newcomer mothers were unfamiliar with Canadian systems/local communities and did not have proper support in Canada. The pandemic magnified the challenges faced by newcomer mothers and their families as many settlements and social supports were accessible only virtually. This increases the mothers’ isolation as many do not have access to technology nor have digital literacy skills. Even as in-person support has slowly been made available, mothers are concerned about taking public transit with their young children. Additionally, many service providers have to limit the number of clients they see due to social distancing regulations. Isolated newcomer families languished during COVID-19 without receiving targeted support. Many are still dealing with a variety of additional issues including food security, concerns about health and safety, job loss, and changes in children’s routine (especially school aged children).