Thursday, December 31, 2015

The CIES Chronicle - 2015 Year in Review

2015 was a big year for the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society and the third edition of our newsletter, the CIES Chronicle, offers a look back at the year that was. New leadership, new programs, new initiatives, new partnerships and more made this past year one to remember. Serving as a window into what we as an organization are involved with for staff, instructors, clients, potential clients, partners, funders and stakeholders alike, the CIES 2015 Year in Review offers something for everyone.  Please send us your ideas and suggestions for features and stories in future editions, as we would love to hear from you and enjoy our latest edition of the Chronicle. To download CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

CIES Year End Party

CIES always ends its year with a party for clients and staff alike and this year was one of our best ever! Songs, performances, awards and even a Turkey were given out with the highlight being our little ones from childcare putting on a great show. The pot-luck feast left all pleasantly plump and wonderful time was had by all those in attendance. Thanks to all those who organized, participated and attended and for making the event such a special day! Happy New Year Everyone! For more pics of the event CLICK HERE.

Immigration Outlook for Canada in 2016

A change of government for the first time in nearly a decade along with the Syrian Refugee Crisis has changed the face of Canadian immigration for 2016. Judgement aside of any of Conservative immigration policies, it is safe to say the Harper government made sweeping changes to Canadian immigration that have irrevocably transformed Canada's Immigration Landscape,  With the mandate of Canadians in the form of new Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, different perspectives on immigration now hold the reigns of power in Ottawa.

Traditionally, the Liberal Party of Canada has been the most sympathetic political party in terms of immigration. When current Prime Minster Trudeau's father Pierre Trudeau was in power his mandate in the 70's was an official pledge to support to the Canadian notion of multiculturalism. This meant the integration of newcomers into Canadian society while still encouraging them to maintain their unique identity and culture. Making multiculturalism an official mandate of the Canadian government very much defined Canada as a nation that is accepting of immigrants.

This shift in government simultaneously coming at a time when the world is also witnessing its worst humanitarian crisis since WWII in the form of the mass exodus of Syrians into the global landscape has led to many proposed changes from the Liberal government. These include but are not limited to:

  1. Double the number of immigration applications allowed for parents and grand-parents sponsorship from 5,000 to 10,000 visas per year.
  2. Double the budget for processing family class immigration applications to reduce wait times
  3. Increase points allocation to applicants who have siblings in Canada on their Express Entry application
  4. Lift the visa requirement for Mexican travel to Canada.
  5. Eliminate the $1000 Labour Market Impact Assessment fee for families seeking caregivers to care for family members with physical or mental disabilities.
  6. Restore free access to healthcare for refugee/asylum seekers pending a decision on their case by the government.
  7. Pledge to make it easier for international students to achieve Canadian Citizenship. 
  8. Restore the Canadian Citizenship residency time credit for international students in Canada.
  9. Bypass the two year wait period for “conditional permanent residence” for spouses of sponsored individuals.
  10. Restore the maximum age for dependants from 19 to 22, making it easier for immigrants to bring their older children to Canada.

There are many challenges ahead for the Liberals, but with a majority government and a pledge of a half a billion dollars, changes are coming. Let us see what 2016 brings and as always, CIES will be here for newcomers to Canada, doing whatever we can to help those who have traversed the globe to make Calgary their new home.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

CIES Attends AAISA Training

Yesterday, a few members of the CIES management team attended a professional development session for the Social Return On Investment (SROI). SROI is a principles-based method for measuring  social value not reflected in conventional financial accounts. In other words it monetizes the social change brought on by programs that cannot be directly based on dollars and cents. The session was brought to us by the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) and conducted by Mark Van Engelen and Seema Jindal of Earth Educators.

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, AAISA is a regionally and nationally recognized leader in the settlement and integration sector. AAISA’s mandate is to build sectoral capacity by providing member agencies that serve newcomers access to relevant and meaningful professional development opportunities, to act as a liaison with stakeholders, and provide a centre for knowledge, expertise, and leadership.In the end, AAISA is a representative, a hub and an amplifier of the settlement and integration sector, providing training, research, and networking opportunities for the settlement and integration sector in order to improve the quality and delivery of their programs.

We here at CIES have utilized the services offered by AAISA many times, services that have impacted our efficiency as an organization we and couldn't be more appreciative of the development and support they supply our sector.

Friday, December 11, 2015

CIES Makes Shoebox Project Drop-Off @ Dream Development

Since the Shoebox project was first brought to our attention, clients and staff put together several shoebox donations. Each shoebox is filled with little luxuries, like hand cream, body spray or soaps, that a woman would enjoy, but cannot afford in difficult times. After collection is finished the boxes are delivered to women in shelters here in Calgary.

While dropping off our beautifully wrapped shoeboxes, we came to know through speaking with Marketing Manager Michael Tandara that Dream Development has donated their time and office space in order to serve as a collection point for the Shoebox Project. 

Since 1997, Dream Development has been successful in developing a number of west side communities in Calgary, for Calgarians. Their team works in partnership with consultants, engineers, planners, and architects, bringing together an array of skills to identify the best solutions to build great communities. 

CIES extends a thank you to our clients and staff who put together 27 shoeboxes, to the Shoebox Project for heading up such a wonderful holiday season initiative, and to Dream Development for volunteering their time and offices to be the Calgary collection point for the project. Such a combined effort shows we can truly make difference when people in the community come together to help those in need. For more photos CLICK HERE. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Human Rights Day

All of us here at CIES are taking the time to recognize that today, December 10th is Human Rights Day. Human Rights Day commemorates the day in 1948 when the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.

This year's Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.

CIES will do its part in promoting this United Nations campaign throughout 2016 and together we can make a difference in protecting Human Rights for all.

Who We Are @ CIES

First and foremost we want to thank everyone who entered our “Who We Are” contest. The only must called for was that all entries do their best to capture who we are and what we do. With no strict guidelines in terms of how, seeing the many different visions of the project, be it posters, displays, Power Points, Prezis or videos was truly enjoyable. In the end, the goal was to get staff and clients alike thinking about all the good we do as an organization and all the good our clients do for our community. With that in mind, I would say – mission accomplished,

In the end, CIES provides immigrants and economically challenged individuals with the tools to be successful and active participants in the Calgary community, helping them become productive and successful members of Canadian society. Assisting over a quarter of a million clients in nearly 30 years of service, while continuing to serve more than 1000 clients a day, the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society is about building Calgary, being Calgary and, above all else, about you. For some photos of entries CLICK HERE, to view a Prezi CLICK HERE and to download a Power point CLICK HERE

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Community Investors II - Horizon Housing Society

The second non-profit highlighted in the CIES Community Investors Series is Horizon Housing. The Horizon Housing Society (HHS) has been providing affordable homes to Calgarians in need since 1976. The Society owns and operates nearly 600 units in Calgary with their properties ranging from individual supported homes to multi-family apartment buildings. The type of housing provided helps reduce the stigma, promotes community integration and independent living, while enhancing the quality of life for their tenants.

People living with mental health challenges, brain injuries, and physical disabilities, as well as individuals, seniors and families living below the poverty line, and the working poor - Horizon Housing's tenants come from a varied background. Their goal is to ensure their tenants can enjoy the security, freedom and hope that comes from having a home of one's own, while being surrounded by a community of mutual respect and support.

Prospective tenants come to HHS from one of over 15 referring partner agencies and apply directly through one of these agencies. These agencies then contact Horizon Housing to begin the application process. The average rent on HHS units is nearly 60% lower than the average market rate for a one bedroom in Calgary. Tenancy is governed by the Alberta Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), which regulates the landlord and tenant relationship and any legal matters within that relationship. Before job training, before language assessment, before furthering one's education, before most anything, a roof over our heads is what's needed most. Thank you to Horizon Housing Society for the incredible impact you have on the life of Calgarians and the city of Calgary for the last 40 years. For more information about HHS visit there website. 

Canadian Immigration - A Mutual Need

With the recent refugee crisis many myths about immigrants in general have begun floating around, with social media revealing a lack of awareness. Economically speaking, concepts ranging from them being low-skilled workers to them having difficulty integrating into the labour force are common place.  Taking the time to read through the OECD’s 2013 International Migration Outlook debunks such concepts.

Immigration into Canada is not an altruist affair of government. It is needed for Canada's prosperity. First off, without our regular intake approximately 250,000 immigrants per year (yes that is how many we take each and every year) Canada’s 20 and 44 years old population aged would be in decline.This demographic, makes up most of the Canadian labour force. By extension, this is the demographic buys new houses, has children, creating new household in the process and pays the greater part of Canada's taxation revenue. Canada’s natural population growth would not be enough to sustain economic growth and welfare without immigration. End of story.

Canada needs immigrants to sustain the country’s central demographic and bolster economic growth. In the end, we as Canadians need immigration just as immigrants need a destination such as Canada. Statistics in the image below drive this point home even further,

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Better Angels of Our Nature

Michaelle LeManne Lamb left the then Communist Republic of Czechoslovakia in the mid 80s and immigrated to Canada with her parents and younger brother when she was only 8 years old. The sacrifice made by her parents in order to give her a better life and the acceptance from Canada her family received has never been lost on Michaelle. When her parents came to Canada, they set her life and the life of her own children, her own family, on an entirely different trajectory. By extension, she understands that Canada, as much as it ever has before, stands as a symbol of freedom and a beacon of hope for so many across the world. She knows first hand the impact immigration has and all that it provides.

Since 2008 Michaelle has sponsored a CIES client and their family for the Holiday Season. It is her way of giving back, of remembering, of respecting, of keeping the circle of giving and acceptance complete and flowing. From all of us here at CIES, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Michaelle and her family for making a difference in people's lives, for appealing to what Abraham Lincoln refereed to as the better angels of our nature, and being a living embodiment of the change she wants to see in the world. All the best to you and yours and see you next year!

Michaelle with her husband and daughter, dropping off their sponsorship donations at our SE location.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Community Investors I: The Shoebox Project

The first non-profit highlighted in our inaugural Community Investors post is the Shoebox Project. Back in 2011 four sisters-in-law, Caroline Mulroney Lapham and Jessica, along with Vanessa and Katy Mulroney, came up with a unique and simple idea. They were looking for a hands-on way to give back to the community and started by asking people they knew to get a shoebox, decorate it, and fill it with little extras, small luxuries if you will, and then delivered them to women in need.

Each shoebox is filled with items valued at up $50 that a woman would enjoy, but cannot afford in difficult times. These colourful little boxes add joy to the holiday season. In their first year they delivered 156 shoe-boxes. Last year, just three years later and thanks to the generosity of so many, they delivered over 17,000.

The mission of the Shoebox Project is to "brighten the days of women living in our country's shelters and let them know that their community does care about them. Further still, those behind the project state,"We hope that those who have been inspired to participate will gain a deeper understanding of abuse, poverty, and mental illness - all factors contributing to women's homelessness in North America."

CIES clients and staff will be putting together shoeboxes and dropping them off at the Calgary location - ​1167 Kensington Crescent N.W. Suite 100. The Shoebox Project collects and distributes gifts to women in shelters across the United States and Canada. For more information watch the video below or CLICK HERE to visit their website.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

CIES Mourns the Passing of Manmeet Bhullar

It is with heavy hearts that we recognize the tragic passing of Mr. Manmeet Bhullar, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Calgary-Greenway, who passed away on November 23rd, 2015.

Mr. Bhullar became active in politics early on by helping Rick D. Orman, the first MLA for Calgary-Montrose, in his re-election campaign. ​Bhullar first sought public office in the 2008 provincial election in the constituency of Calgary-Montrose. At 28 years of age, he became the youngest member elected to Alberta's 27th legislature. He was appointed to the position of Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Advanced Education and Technology on March 12, 2008, making him the youngest politician to serve as a parliamentary assistant or secretary in Canada at the time. More recently, in late 2013 Mr. Bhullar was promoted to the position of Minister of Human Services putting him in charge of the third largest ministry by expenditures in government and overseeing more than 4,000 employees.There he has been credited with fixing Alberta's child intervention system.He changed the law to empower families to speak up about their experiences with the system, made new investments in mental health supports for families involved in child intervention, hosted the first ever Alberta Minister's Forum on Child Sexual Abuse and began a campaign to find a mentor for every child in care in the province. Mr. Bhullar was one of only 10 Progressive Conservative MLAs who were returned in the May 5, 2015 provincial election that defeated the Prentice government. He sat on the opposition benches in the Alberta legislature until his death.

Mr. Bhullar was a distinct voice in Alberta politics and was known for his contributions to the immigrant community. A frequent visitor to our offices, Mr. Bhullar was involved in the planning stages of our Northeast Welcome Centre and was one of the supporters who helped bring the project to fruition with his focus and guidance. We have been honoured by his presence and would like to extend our sympathies and support to his family and those who worked alongside him.

He will be sorely missed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Community Investors: Series Launch December 2nd

The non-profit sector is an important contributor to the economic health and vitality of Alberta. Charities and non-profits throughout the province support the quality of life enjoyed in Alberta, addressing social needs, providing recreational and leisure opportunities, delivering arts and cultural programs and stewarding our natural environment. Many organizations also provide services essential to support the labour force, from settlement services and ESL programs for new immigrants like us here at CIES, to skills upgrading and the childcare and elder care programs that enable individuals to participate in the workforce.

As a part of a new weekly series, Community Investors, here on the CIES blog, we will be featuring a Calgary non-profit organization each and every week. The series will launch the first week of December and highlight the work of one non profit agency, telling their story and how one can find out more about the organization.

In the end, CIES very much believes the non-profit sector of Calgary is a family of caregivers, helping those who need it most, however and wherever we can. Each has its own story, its own passion and CIES will bring them to you over the course of this series. All of us here at CIES strive towards collaboration with our non-profit family, as in the end we are all here to help those who need it most, and by extension, help in making Calgary the best city in can possibly be for all who live here.

In the meantime, just to give one an idea of incredible scope and the undeniable importance of non-profits in Alberta, take a look at the numbers below. Many might be just a bit surprised by them,

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

CIES Attends 2nd Annual Make Dollars Make Sense

A burning question board members of non-profits face is “how will we fund our work?”  Sometimes however, as an afterthought they ask “how will we manage that funding once we get it?”

Last weekend, CIES attended the second annual Make Dollars Make Sense: Funding and Financial Management 101, in celebration of National Financial Literacy Month, and presented by Board Leadership Calgary. MDMS was a one-day learning event for current or potential Board members and staff of small non-profits, as well as members of community organizations and grass roots groups. It addressed questions related to funding and financial management, and showed to all those in attedence how important it is to learn about both!

CIES was happy to attend and learned a great deal throughout the day. Thank you to the organizers for putting on such a wonderful learning event and we will see you next year! For more photos CLICK HERE.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Calgary Jobs, Information and Training

CIES always does our best to stay plugged into the Calgary community. so you can be too. From Day one CIES has always believed that strong community partnerships are the best way to have both a meaningful and sustainable impact on the life of immigrants here in Calgary.  We are affiliated with a number of key organizations throughout the city and this expansive network allows us to stay informed on your behalf. Below is a list of upcoming opportunities for a wide range of skills sets and experience levels to improve your skills, network and submit resumes for employment. Click on the provided posters for more details.

  • Career CafĂ©: Have you ever thought about a career working with senior citizens? Come to the Central Branch of The Calgary Public Library on November 27 from noon to 1 p.m. 

  • Intake for the CCIS 5th Class Power Engineering Training - Building Operator Program has begun! The program starts on February 29, 2016 and includes 18 weeks full-time training.  
  • Attend the Retail Training Program, offered by the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association. Free Childcare to those accepted! 

Mayor Nenhsi on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

The City of Calgary has a passionate and whip-smart leader. Perhaps more than anything else, Mayor Naheed Nenshi seamlessly weaves the fabric of government and humanity into a palpable cloak of justness, and in doing so reveals the political spectrum as a force of good - something that is often difficult to do these days. Now Nenhsi will have to harness this synchronicity in the name of what has become the biggest humanitarian crisis the planet has seen since WWII.

Last week the second of two forums on the Syrian refugee crisis was held at the John Dutton Theatre. Nenshi firmly believes in both Canada's commitment to do what they can for the refugees of Syria and that Calgary is steadfastly prepared to do its part. His words remind us of who we are as a country and why the city of Calgary is amongst the greatest cities in the world in which to live.

Indeed we are all in it together and yes, we are ready...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

CIES Attends CCIS Syrian Refugees Project Forum

As a project lead in Calgary, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) was asked by the Government of Alberta to facilitate conversations about this issue by inviting community service organizations, public institutions, and other interested parties, to participate in two public forums and strategy forming sessions concerning the Syrian refugee crisis and its relativity to the city. Calgary is one of four ports of entry for all Syrian refugees entering Canada (along with Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver). The five cities assigned to take in refugees here in Alberta are Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Fort Mcmurray.

When it comes to our city, the aim of these forums was to provide context and information regarding the Syrian refugee situation at the international, national, and local levels; to mobilize community services and social infrastructure in preparing for the potential influx of refugees in Calgary and surrounding areas; and to identify best practices for addressing their immediate and long-term needs. Finally, a compilation of these strategies was forged into a comprehensive Task-force Plan, which was presented to all stakeholders.

Today, at the John Dutton Theatre in the Central Branch of the Calgary Public Library, was the second of two forums and revealed a working group of Task-force members who have been.charged with identifying best practices and a step-by-step plan for addressing the needs of refugees in the areas of: welcoming, initial settlement, housing, living expenses, employment, youth services and connections to other community services.

CCIS has been a community leader here in Calgary for nearly 30 years and all of us here at CIES are ready to support their efforts to facilitate and coordinate this truly important cause in any way we can. A thank you and congratulations to Fariborz Birjandian, Executive Director and CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, for the outstanding effort he and his team have put forth. His many years of leadership across multiple disciplines, organizations and cultural backgrounds, along with the many years of experience CCIS has in serving the immigrant community of Calgary. shone through and no doubt will continue to do so. For more photos of the event CLICK HERE. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CIES Receives FCL Community Investment Grant

Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) is a multi-faceted organization that is based on the principles of co-operation. It is owned by 212 retail co-ops located throughout Western Canada. These co-ops are the "member-owners" of FCL. FCL provides central wholesaling, manufacturing, marketing and administrative services to its member-owners. FCL also profoundly contributes to the community with technical support, advocacy, lobbying and legal support for those in need. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Federated Co-operatives Limited for the great support in the CIES project, "Banking Options for Economic Stability." The project will assist increasing the financial literacy of both immigrants and citizens alike, with workshops, training sessions / counselling and information packages. We are privileged to receive your support. Once again a heartfelt thanks for helping us help others and for all you do for the community around us. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

CIES attends Rouleauville - Calgary’s French Connection

Rouleauville - Calgary’s French Connection is a fascinating presentation created by Ken LaPointe, local history researcher and primary English language educator of Calgary's Francophone history and heritage; a significant part of Canada's little-known history. CIES attended yesterday's very special event, presented by Le Bureau de VisibilitĂ© de Calgary (BVC), and hosted by The Fountains of Mission Retirement Residence in Calgary.

Those in attendance included recently elected Calgary Skyview Liberal MP Darshan Kang, Alberta Finance Minster and Calgary Fort MLA Joe Ceci, Ward 8 city councillor Evan Woolley, and all was recorded live by Shaw TV Calgary for future broadcast during Rendez-vous de la Francophonie (RVF) 2016, an initiative of the Canadian Foundation for Cross-Cultural Dialogue. The event was planned and coordinated by Shaw TV and Hello-Bonjour Alberta Access Producer and Calgary super volunteer Suzanne de Courville Nicol.

This special event (presented in English) entertained and informed all in attendance. The exciting visual journey led the audience through historic events to modern times celebrating Calgary’s Francophone roots and heritage. CIES was privileged to attend and sends out a special thanks to Suzanne for all her hard work and dedication, not only in making this event possible, but in her efforts to promote and improve the community of Calgary. For more pics of the event CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Demos With Donna Volume IV

The Calgary Immigrant Educational Society continues its Video Series Demos with Donna with Volume IV. Donna Clarke, a teacher of English as a second language for more than 15 years, including the last 6 with C.I.E.S. shares her experiences with the adjustments clients have to make to the Digital Narrative of modern Canadian society. With many clients arriving with little to no experience of living online, it is a challenge, but amongst the most important lessons to be learned upon arrival in a hyper connected and technological savvy country like Canada. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Volunteer ESL Teachers Wanted

A great way to learn about different cultures and help others is to volunteer with an organization like CIES. We are currently looking for volunteer teachers for our Drop in ESL program in our SE location.

The benefits of volunteering work both ways and often it is the volunteer who gets more out of donating his or her time and effort. Volunteering means establishing great connections, building your career, and supplies a sense of purpose. Additionally  Psychology Today even claims that those who  regularly volunteer live longer and healthier lives.

The position would involve teaching English to adult immigrants at a pre-basic, basic or intermediate level. We currently need volunteers for Timings would be from 1:30~4:00 pm time slot, as little as once a week. No lesson planning is needed as all the materials will be prepared and supplied to you. We are happy to train those with no experience and supply training workshops to volunteers about 4-6 times a year.

Contact Melissa at or give us a call at 403-235-3666 if you're interested in joining the CIES team.

CIES Pays Tribute to its Founding Father

In honour of our founding member Mr. Salim M. Sindhu, the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society marks the one year anniversary of his passing,  on this 10th day of November, 2015. From our humble beginnings back in 1988, he worked tirelessly and as a result of his dedication CIES grew from 5 volunteers in a single office to an employer of nearly 90 dedicated staff members and over 100 volunteers.

CIES now operates and is in full ownership of both our main office building in Calgary’s SE Forest Lawn district and our branch building in Calgary’s NE Whitehorn district. Since its inception, CIES has assisted nearly a quarter of million clients to strengthen their identities as members of Alberta society, offering services valued at tens of millions of dollars. And even though Mr. Sindhu served as the Executive Director of CIES for more than quarter century, he also consistently found time to volunteer around the city of Calgary as a public speaker, ambassador, and committee member.

Salim left much behind on the day of his passing and we here at CIES will continue the mission he set forth more than 27 years ago -  to provide immigrants and economically challenged individuals the tools to be successful and active participants in the Calgary community. Below CIES president M'Liss Edwards recounts the history of the Society and the life of Salim M. Sindhu - as they are one in the same.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Who We Are - Let the Contest Begin

As a follow up to our previous post, this coming Monday, November 9th, CIES will launch its "Who We Are" Contest. The contest's overall objective is to have clients understand and express the overall mission of CIES, while familiarizing staff and arming them with the best ways to describe what CIES does as an organization.  All classes will participate as a group and the top class from each building will receive a prize. A third group will receive a prize for most original / unique project.  There are no strict guidelines in place, as the project could come in the form of writing, photos, or both, a video, a presentation or even a play.  The only must is that whatever the project may be, it captures who we are and what we do. To help you with your focus, a summary of CIES, with our mission, goals and vision has been supplied to you.  When working on this project, always ask yourself if the work  being produced comes back to what you read below.

Organizational Summary

The Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (C.I.E.S.) is a non profit registered charitable organization established in 1988 with one primary goal: to provide Calgary immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals with a solid foothold in Canada and afford them the opportunities to grow into productive, confident and contributive Canadians.  C.I.E.S. is governed by a Board of Directors made up of devoted community minded volunteers and operates through funding from both government and private organizations. From our humble beginnings, C.I.E.S. has grown from 5 volunteers in a single office to an employer of about 90 dedicated staff members and over 100 volunteers. C.I.E.S. now operates and is in full ownership of both our main office building in Calgary’s SE Forest Lawn district and our branch building in Calgary’s NE Whitethorn district. Since its inception, C.I.E.S. has assisted nearly a quarter of million clients to strengthen their identities as members of Alberta society, offering services valued at tens of millions of dollars.

Mission Statement: Provide immigrants and economically challenged individuals the tools to be successful and active participants in the community


  • To provide English as a second language classes to newcomers 
  • To assist newcomers and low income Canadians to be more sufficient through employment 
  • To provide fair access to newcomers to existing services and organizations by helping them overcome various barriers 
  • To promote mutual understanding and respect between the mainstream and the ethnic communities on cultural issues 

Objective / Vision: To help newcomers and economically challenged Calgarians become productive and successful members of society

**Deadline for all entries is December 9th, 2015**

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Calgary Jobs, Information, and Employment

CIES always does our best to stay plugged into the Calgary community. so you can be too. From Day one CIES has always believed that strong community partnerships are the best way to have both a meaningful and sustainable impact on the life of immigrants here in Calgary.  We are affiliated with a number of key organizations throughout the city and this expansive network allows us to stay informed on your behalf. Below is a list of upcoming opportunities for a wide range of skills sets and experience levels to improve your skills, network and submit resumes for employment. Click on the provided posters for more details.


  • Hi Flyer Foods is hiring cashiers and cooks for their KFC and KFC-Taco Bell locations. Youth aged 15-24 can come to the Youth Employment Centre on November 6 from noon until 3 p.m. for an on-the-spot interview.
  • CO-OP Hiring Fair on November 6 from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Centre for Newcomers.  
  • Cert Logistics is hiring for a variety of Warehouse Worker roles! Recruiters will be conducting on-site interviews on November 12 and November 17 from 4 p.m. to  8 p.m.  


  • Directions for Immigrants is offering a no-cost Study Group for Internationally Educated Pharmacists to prepare for the Pharmacy Board of Canada Evaluating Exam.  Group will meet on Wednesdays from February 3 to June 29, 2016 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m..  

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

CIES attends TESL Conference in Lake Louise

The Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language (ATESL) is a professional organization that promotes the highest standards of teaching and English language program provision for all learners in Alberta whose first language is other than English. CIES staff has been affiliated with ATESL for many years and encourages our team's involvement in what is an invaluable organization in the ESL community.

The 2015 TESL conference was held in beautiful Lake Louise, Alberta this past weekend and several representatives of CIES were in attendance, including conference presenters Kerry Howard, Jana Ciobanu, Patricia Sandurska and Tayabeh Shalmani.  All in attendance describe the event as a great success and a wonderful experience. Jana and Kerry were kind enough to give us to the link to their presentation (seen below) and for photos of the weekend event simply CLICK HERE.

Monday, November 2, 2015

CIES - Who We are, What We Do

November 9th The Calgary Immigrant Educational Society will launch a competition for clients and staff to come up with ways to best describe who we are and what we do as an organization. CIES in fact does so much, it can be a challenge to come up with the best possible description. Are we a school? Are we an information centre? Are we employment centre? Who are our clients? Why is it important to serve them? Who benefits?

Competitions are about a lot more than great prizes and having fun. They allow participants to learn and show their skills. Creativity is the mandate for this contest and your ideas can be demonstrated with words, images or both. Prizes will be awarded to the top entrants. More details coming soon.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Childcare Education @ CIES

An initiative here at CIES that offers a tremendous opportunity to those with children at home but who still wish to study is our Childcare program.  To help students stay focused on their studies, and thus expediting their integration process into Canadian society, our free of charge childcare services are available to help nurture their children while they’re in class. By creating a welcoming environment, this program helps children between the ages of 19 months and 6 years build necessary social skills, establish new relationships, and, when necessary, cope with the effects of dislocation and trauma.

Our certified childcare specialists plan regular activities that are appropriate for the ages and abilities of participating children. In order to foster respect and understanding within a multicultural context, we encourage children’s creativity while taking into account their variations in physical, mental, and emotional development. Our team is dedicated to helping children to make a positive transition to Canadian society.

Halloween is a uniquely North American holiday and thus it was cultural day in some regards at CIES. Today the childcare team took our little ones for some in-house trick or treating, escorting them through CIES headquarters in the SE, from office to office. Candy was given to everyone and a great time was had by all. For pics of the day's fun CLICK HERE  and Happy Halloween from all of us here at CIES!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Calgary Jobs, Training and Information

CIES always does our best to stay plugged into the Calgary community. so you can be too. From Day one CIES has always believed that strong community partnerships are the best way to have both a meaningful and sustainable impact on the life of immigrants here in Calgary.  We are affiliated with a number of key organizations throughout the city and this expansive network allows us to stay informed on your behalf. Below is a list of upcoming opportunities for a wide range of skills sets and experience levels to improve your skills, network and submit resumes for employment. Click on the provided posters for more details.


  • Kal Tire is hiring tire technicians for their busy fall season. On the spot interviews will be held at the North Hill Kal Tire on October 30 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  
  • Attend the Diversity in Supply Chain Career Fair on November 5 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the University of Calgary Down-town Campus. 
  • Loram, a North American railway maintenance company, is hiring General Labourers.  An orientation session and interviews will be held at the Fisher Park Alberta Works Centre on November 12 from 9 am. to 2 pm.  



  • The Opportunities Knock program can help you to improve your Job Search Skills and succeed in finding the job you want.  Attend their Open House Information Session on November 6 from 9 a.m. to noon.  Please see attached poster for more information.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

CIES - The New Era

For nearly three decades the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society has been an integral part of the Calgary community, having served more than 250,000 clients since 1988. As we move further into the 21st century, we continue our mission - to provide Calgary immigrants and economically disadvantaged individuals with a solid foothold in Canada and afford them the opportunities to grow into productive, confident and contributive Canadians - and today serve more than 1000 individual clients each and every day.

After several ideas and proposals, our Board of Directors voted in a new version of our logo and to no longer use a separate logo for our NE location. Further streamlining the Society, we now have only one website, rather than one for each location. The new logo has been swapped into all online entities (including right up top here on our blog) and you can click here to checkout our new improved and unified website.

With a solid and unified online presence in place that integrates our website with our blog, Facebook and Twitter pages, the latest initiatives now in the works include online scheduling and access, a shared filing system and online teachers resource centre, amongst others.

A call for an organizational upgrade and adaptation to the technological revolution of which we are now in the throes is now our mandate and this ongoing shift symbolizes how a bottom up, self-organizing system here at CIES, will help immigrants adapt to how Canadians both live and learn in today's world - and that is our ultimate goal.

Monday, October 26, 2015

CIES Set to Kick Off United Way Campaign

For more than two decades CIES has received funding, to varying degrees, from the United Way. In return, for some 20 years we have been participating in the workplace United Way Campaign and will kick off things for 2015 on November 1st. Via a variety of events, CIES will raise money throughout November and at month's end will donate all proceeds to the United Way. An truly invaluable arm of the community, the United Way provides Calgary with the services and programs that are needed to improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens. This is no doubt why we are always grateful for the opportunity to participate in this yearly campaign.

A few of our fundraising activities for the United Way can be see below:
  1. Jeans day. Staff can pay $5.00 for the week or $2 a day. Fridays are still casual days so there will be no need to pay on Fridays.
  2. Change/coin drive – classes collect coins for the month and the class that collects the most coins will receive a pizza party!!
  3. Yard Sale/Student Bake Sale on November 17. $5 to rent a table. All proceeds of table rental will go to United Way. Proceeds made at the table with go to class/individual running the table.
  4. Bake Sale (Details to come)
For more information about the United Way and how you can help simply visit their website

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Neighbourlink Moves Forward

About six months ago, the Calgary charity NeighbourLink was set to close its doors, but director of operations Nikki Golnik wasn't having any of it. After months of hard work, and voluntarism by many, former employees and otherwise, NeighbourLink will be ready to once again take on new clients as of November 2, 2015.

Chris Jost, NeighbourLink’s new executive director, also played a vital role in the long standing organization's resurrection. Dedicating himself fully to getting this truly valuable organization back on its feet, Jost went to work and said that Neighbourlink owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to their creditors, who forgave the organization’s debt.

NeighbourLink primarily assists people who are transitioning out of homelessness by providing them with furniture and other household items, as well cribs, diapers and formula to families in need. We would like to congratulate Nikki and Chris, as well as all those who worked so tirelessly to save what is a much needed charitable organization and long-serving organization here in the city of Calgary. And remember, we here at CIES are ready to do whatever we can to help. Best of luck in the new Era of Neighbourlink!

You can help with donations of furniture and diapers and baby formula are always welcome. Like Neighbourlink on Facebook or visit the organization’s website for more information 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Calgary Downturn in Oil and Gas Creates 'Multiskilling'

Research reveals that the oil price is expected to hover between $40/bbl and 60$/bbl throughout 2016 with little chance of recovery until 2017. Many oil and gas related jobs will continue to disappear in Calgary and many like myself may never return to the business.

The down turn will likely continue in Calgary as profits from oil and gas, service, financial, construction, trucking and real estate industries will decline.  On the flip side some industry sectors like health care, social services, warehousing and logistics will continue to see growth.

The future of the oil and gas industry in Calgary will likely involve more downsizing, salary reductions and increased cost cutting as the industry transforms itself.

Successful companies will likely use a "Multiskilling" approach to jobs.  The idea is that with investment in re-training, one skilled worker can become proficient at doing the job of two or three skilled workers.  While I believe that cross-training should always be encouraged there are advantages and disadvantages.

Multiskilling can improve workforce quality, increase reliability and advance careers.  Specialists can be reassigned more easily, the workforce is more flexible and overall operational costs can be substantially reduced.

While it may reduce costs for some specialized roles in the oil and gas industry there can be no substitute for years of on the job experience.  Multiskilling will increase individual workloads and increase stress, and there may be a higher risk of accidents with employees that have limited experience and are unfamiliar with procedures.

Double Rainbow Over A Canadian RigMultiskilling will become a calculated risk the longer the downturn continues and cost reduction activities are needed.  Companies will need to practice restraint and be more cautious.  The problem is that cost efficiency measures will tend to continue despite future recovery.

As the experience drain continues a greater range of responsibilities are placed on oil and gas staff.  Hopefully overall cost savings from multiskilling are not lost to increases in incidents.