Harris Centre Annual Report - Snapshots from around the province

Labrador WestWhere: LABRADOR WEST

Who: Dr. Delores Mullings, School of Social Work

What: Harris Centre brokered project from a Labrador West Regional Workshop

The -30 C degree temperatures and snow-covered landscape of Labrador West might be a vastly different image of home for many of the newcomers in Labrador West, but, for the growing population of temporary foreign workers in the booming mining region, that is the new reality. At a Harris Centre Regional Workshop, however, local participants expressed concerns that newcomers are not being integrated as well as they could be into the local community.

“I feel by them not being integrated into our community that we are missing out on some of their great skill sets,” said Noreen Careen, executive director of the Labrador West Status of Women Council. “Also, I feel that if they were better integrated into the community they would feel a sense of belonging and would stay for the long term. Many express concerns of lack of extended family."

Dr. Delores Mullings, assistant professor with Memorial’s School of Social Work, along with Dr. Willow Anderson, a per-course instructor in Communication Studies at Memorial, took on the project to examine the experiences of temporary foreign workers, new immigrants and refugees in booming Labrador West. They assembled an advisory team consisting of Ms. Careen (at the Labrador West Status of Women Council), Insp. Paula M. Walsh (the Officer in Charge of the Labrador West Region for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary), Hazel Ouano Alpuerto (Honourary Consul General of the Philippines in the province), and Patsy Ralph (Labrador West Chamber of Commerce).

The research team visited Labrador this past spring and met with members of the advisory group and the community.

“We made some great connections,” said Dr. Mullings. “We are currently trying to recruit participants to complete the online survey and we are returning to Labrador in the Fall of 2014 to conduct phase two of the research and to again meet with the community members.”

The team is also seeking new members for the advisory group and especially looking to encourage individuals who are temporary foreign workers, immigrants or refugees to join the team.

“It is really important for us to reach out to the community and to the people directly affected,” said Dr. Mullings. “As a province we recognize the need for immigration, it is my hope that this research project will help shape policies and programs in the province, so we can make sure when people come here they feel welcome, not exploited, and know where to go for help. It’s about developing programs and services that make people want to stay and make their home here.”

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