The P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada launched its website on Wednesday (www.peianc.com) after a team of experts and translators worked on it for the past year. That team includes, from left, Byoung Bae Choi, Korean translator, Rosalie Murphy, communications and web editor, and Beti Andric, web developer, writer and translation manager. Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Craig Mackie describes it as opening a doorway to Prince Edward Island and Canada as a whole.
The executive director of the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada is talking about a new feature on their website â€” www.peianc.com/guide â€” the organization launched on Wednesday.
It features hundreds of pages of information, including the first steps newcomers should take after they arrive, obtaining important Canadian documents as well as information on health, housing, employment and much more.
â€œPeople are getting a doorway to Canada through this website,â€™â€™ Mackie said.
The guide pages are organized by topic and easily accessible through user-friendly navigation systems. Links to external web pages, government sites and community resources will provide additional information. Visitors will be able to share the pages via Facebook, Twitter or email and pages and chapters will be available in a print-friendly format.
The website is available in English, French, simplified Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Spanish. Itâ€™s very easy, too, to switch from one language to the next by clicking on tabs at the top of every page.
â€œThis is an important day for us,â€™â€™ Mackie said. â€œJust imagine arriving in a foreign land where you donâ€™t speak the language . . . youâ€™re given all these forms to fill out . . . itâ€™s too much. Try to imagine how alienated it is to feel like that. They donâ€™t know the language and theyâ€™re trying to figure out whatâ€™s going on.â€™â€™
In the past, newcomers have received a handbook and itâ€™s not exactly to update a handbook, especially when so much information in society changes rapidly, whether itâ€™s the fee to get a driverâ€™s licence or changes to the road system to include the new roundabouts or new laws governing Sunday shopping. There even loads of information on things like money which Mackie feels would be ideal for young students.
Beti Andric, who arrived on P.E.I. from Croatia with her husband, Sasha, in the mid-1990s thought it was time to turn to the Internet and formed a team of translators to help out. She also solicited the help of Sasha to help with programming, used Catherine Ronahan as a researcher and writer and Rosalie Murphy, who handles communications for the newcomers association, took on the role of web editor.
Beti Andric said it took the past year to get the site off the ground.
â€œThis year has been a labour of love,â€™â€™ she said. â€œIf I had this website (when I came to P.E.I.) I would have been so grateful. There is so much information I didnâ€™t have.â€™â€™
Innovation and Advanced Learning Minister Allan Campbell was impressed with what he saw at Mondayâ€™s launch.
â€œWow! Fantastic job,â€™â€™ Campbell said, noting that it augments the provinceâ€™s efforts to attract new immigrants.
Andric said the priority with the site is merely to help newcomers with everyday life.