Friday, September 30, 2016

Major Minor's Nox Album Release Party

CIES' very own Graham Mackenzie is spearheading an absolutely great project for the Calgary Community. Music is as cultural relevant as it gets in terms of the arts here in Canada, but pricey tickets and over 18 venues often leave many unable to take in shows across the city. This simple truth was the inspiration for the Major-Minor Music Project.

Major Minor is an all-ages volunteer fuelled music and arts event organization. By engaging participants at all levels of music production and community organizing, Major Minor fulfils its mission to foster a participatory creative culture through popular music concerts, arts programs, experiential learning and volunteer opportunities for all ages, especially young people. Major Minor’s programs are always all ages, with a focus on young people ages 14 to 24 and new Canadians. The programs are in the artBOX, a perfectly suited, character rich community venue in the heart of Forest Lawn.

Monthly concerts promote artistic experimentation and excellence in a professional setting, leveraging industry-standard technology to showcase music and arts. Events fuse with experiential learning opportunities and a volunteer-driven structure that engages young people and new Canadians in the arts, fosters inter-generational communication and gives constituents the skills necessary to pursue their creative and professional passions. The skills participants gain at Major Minor activate future creativity, careers and leadership within the greater creative community. Major Minor engages in the arts, develops the future of the music industry and supports a vibrant Calgary culture.

Major Minor's latest endeavour, in collaboration with Invisionaries, is the NOX album release party set for Tonight at Festival Hall - 1215 10 avenue SE. For more details see the poster below.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The CIES Chronicle

So far this year onward and upward has been the theme for CIES as we have nearly doubled in size since the onset of 2016. Our latest newsletter highlights our expansion and as always the Chronicle serves as a window into what we as an organization are involved with for staff, instructors, clients, potential clients and stakeholders.

In the end, our newsletter, like our blog, is a representational tool, as we hope to spread word about our existence, and let people know the many great services we provide for the immigrant and newcomer populace of Calgary. Please send us your ideas and suggestions for features and stories for upcoming issues, as we would love to hear from you and enjoy our first edition of the Chronicle. CLICK HERE to download the latest issue of the Chronicle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016


The Employment Skills Training program (EST) launched in 2009 has now about to complete its 8th year of helping financially challenged newcomers in Calgary find suitable employment. This year however, the EST program, which has always only been offered at our SE location in Forest Lawn, is now also available at our NE Location in Whitehorn.

With an average 75% success rate the program has been very successful. Over 600 students have now completed the program, with EST students improving their workplace knowledge, their marketable skills, increasing their self-esteem and confidence levels, and securing suitable employment. The best part is that the EST program is a free, full-time program for permanent residents and refugees that have been in Calgary for less than 5 years.

This 310 hour (3 Month) program includes computer training in Microsoft Office, hardware and software training, business communications training including Canadian Business Culture, and job finding strategies as well as targeted cover letters, resumes and interview skills.Numerous guest speakers from different economic sectors present to the EST students about Canadian Business Culture, soft skills, interview techniques and how to secure a suitable job in Canada. There is also an optional one month voluntary job practicum at the programs end. For a both a testimonial as well as a full summary of the program simply click the below, or simply give us a call at 403-235-3666.

Career Education and Settlement Immigration Fair

The third annual Calgary Career, Education and Settlement Immigrant Fair is coming back to the Telus Convention Centre (South Building, MacLeod Hall, 120 9th Ave SE) on Monday, October 17, 2016, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., offering a unique and exciting environment for immigrants who are looking for information and inspiration as they look for jobs, go back to school, and settle into their new home. Free admission!

The 3rd annual event is expected to be bigger than ever, with:

  • Diverse exhibitors, including career advisors, education institutes and social service agencies
  • An interactive Resumé Clinic (bring your Resumé to get free advice)
  • A new interactive networking session run in co-operation with Toastmasters
  • Inspirational speakers’ lineup, including keynote speaker Miroslav Reljic of Reljic Coached
  • A Q & A panel session on how to start a small business
  • An English pronunciation class
  • Sessions on IELTS test preparation and Express Entry and How to become a CPA
  • Plus, an onsite Citizenship Ceremony at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

CIES Acknowledges World Peace Day

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The Day’s theme for 2016 is “The Sustainable Development Goals: Building Blocks for Peace.”

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals were unanimously adopted by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at an historic summit of the world’s leaders in New York in September 2015. The new ambitious 2030 agenda calls on countries to begin efforts to achieve these goals over the next 15 years. It aims to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

The Sustainable Development Goals are integral to achieving peace in our time, as development and peace are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Sustainability addresses the fundamental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Modern challenges of poverty, hunger, diminishing natural resources, water scarcity, social inequality, environmental degradation, diseases, corruption, racism and xenophobia, among others, pose challenges for peace and create fertile grounds for conflict. Sustainable development contributes decisively to dissipation and elimination of these causes of conflict and provides the foundation for a lasting peace. Peace, meanwhile, reinforces the conditions for sustainable development and liberates the resources needed for societies to develop and prosper.

Every single one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is a building block in the global architecture of peace. It is critical that we mobilise means of implementation, including financial resources, technology development and transfer, and capacity-building, as well as the role of partnerships. Everyone has a stake and everyone has a contribution to make.


CIES to Attend YYC Culture Days Block Party

The 2016 Culture Days Block Party will take over Olympic Plaza from 11am to 2pm on Friday, September 30! Make a special trip downtown or take an extra long lunch and experience The City of Calgary’s official kick-off to a three-day celebration of our city’s vibrant art and cultural life.

You will enjoy everything from cultural music and dance performances, glass blowing, print art and speed painting demonstrations, to circus skills instruction, Capoeira and even Baby-Boomer Karaoke. In addition to the space being alive with art, song and interactive cultural activities, you’ll discover what organizations in Calgary have to offer including Calgary Arts Development, the Glenbow Museum, Calgary Philharmonic, Theatre Calgary and the National Music Centre.

September also 30th marks day 93 in the Canada 150 countdown to 2017, which will be the 150th anniversary of Canada as a nation. What does Canadian culture mean to you? We’ll be asking Calgarians to answer that question in one or two words and then get their photo taken at our official Canada 150 photo booths. Share your photo using #Canada150 and #CultureDays and watch for your image to come up throughout 2017 promoting our city’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

For a full list of all the weekends events CLICK HERE and we hope to see you all there!


The Refugee Express Drop-In ESL & Integration (REDI) project is a fast-track language training and social integration project designed for refugees to help them learn essential vocabulary and basic language skills, incorporating basic real life tasks in order to function in Calgary communities. This three-day a week project offers in-class teaching, hands-on workshops, and fields trip to help build life skills.

Starting this month, REDI began offering classes to all refugees. Classes are available for clients with CLBLA/Pre-Basic/CLB1 and offers express-access to ESL instruction (no wait-times currently) at no cost. This project is perfect for those who are sitting on the waiting list for LINC classes and helps get them up to speed with language training here in Calgary. All classes are located at our northeast Welcome Centre for New Immigrants, a short 3-5 minute walk from Whitehorn train station. If you have any additional questions, please contact the REDI project coordinator at 403-291-0002.

For more information on REDI Simply CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

United Way Campaign Kicks Off @ CIES

Every year, millions of employees get involved in workplace giving campaigns to support local United Way solutions that improve education, financial stability and health. The United Way workplace campaign unites employees in all offices or branches of a company, and gives them an opportunity to donate, volunteer and speak out for causes that matter to them. You can see the results in your own backyard, even as you're part of a larger mission to affect change worldwide.

The workforce campaign is about more than raising money for worthy causes; it also strengthens connections between employees and their community.  CIES kicked off its campaign this week and we are excited to get going! To get more information about workplace campaigns, contact your local United Way.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Alberta Minimum Wage Begins March to $15 per Hour

After promising wage increases in their 2015 campaign, the Alberta’s NDP government has officially begun to roll out.  The pay increase is set to roll out in stages.

This Saturday, October 1st minimum wage will be $12.20 per hour – then, a second increase to $13.60 an hour on October 1, 2017, ending with the final bump up to $15 on October 1, 2018. According to a press release, over 59 thousand Albertans currently work on minimum wage. The province also intends to change the minimum wage for servers and bartenders – this is due to the fact usually is a dollar less per hour to compensate for tips. It’s also important to note that women dominate the ranks of Alberta’s lowest paid workers. More than 60 per cent of workers who earn less than $12 are women. While not a panacea, increasing the minimum wage helps to close a systemic pay gap for women.

The move is seen as controversial or even dangerous by some, but it would be safe to say not by anyone currently making minimum wage.

Terry Fox Run

When people think of Canada, they think of hockey, snow, maple syrup and Terry Fox. A Canadian icon in the truest sense of the word, each September, thousands of Canadians participate in fundraising runs to honour his memory and continue his fight against cancer. In doing so, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised nearly three quarters of a billion dollars for cancer research in the 37 years since his passing.  More than 1,300 people participated in the Calgary run this year.

Terry Fox CC OD was a Canadian athlete, humanitarian, and cancer research activist. In 1980, with one leg having been amputated, he embarked on a cross-Canada run to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Although the spread of his cancer eventually forced him to end his quest after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi), and ultimately cost him his life, his efforts resulted in a lasting, worldwide legacy. The annual Terry Fox Run, first held in 1981, has grown to involve millions of participants in over 60 countries and is now the world's largest one-day fundraiser for cancer research.

Nearly 4 decades since his passing and this true Canadian Hero continues to inspire, not just Canada, but people around the world.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CIES to Participate in YYC Welcoming & Employment Fair II

Back in June The YYC Welcoming and Employment Fair was held at the Calgary Stampede Park with over 900 people attending. The intent was to showcase many of the services available to support newcomers in the Calgary area as well as employment opportunities for those with lower levels of English and lower levels of education. 

The YYC Welcoming and Employment Fair II is now scheduled to be held on October 26th at the Red and White Club/McMahon Stadium at the University of Calgary.  This time with a focus on newcomers to Calgary with higher skills/higher English speaking ability, limited work experience in Canada, and who have arrived over the last five years. A particular focus of this event will be on the Industry Associations and Professional Certification Bodies who will have information booths and can speak on industry/sector and the process to become certified in their specific profession. The various social service agencies that work with newcomers will also have information booths highlighting their services.

Getting to know the market and making connections is really the challenge for a lot of people seeking work. An event like this gives that opportunity and helps get newcomers moving on their way to success. CIES is happy to take part and looks forward to seeing you there! 

CIES to Host Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program

CIES is proud to host the next Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program (RSTP) information session at our NE location in Whitehorn on September 23rd from 4:30 pm to 8:00 pm. RSTP is a Canadian refugee resettlement program. The objective of the RSTP is to address their information and on-going training needs as well as the initial information needs of sponsored refugees.

Through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees program, Canadian citizens and permanent residents can engage in the resettlement of refugees from abroad. As members of organizations, associations and groups, citizens and residents can sponsor refugees from abroad through Groups of Five, Community Sponsorship and Sponsorship Agreement Holders.

Private refugee sponsorship does not rely on public resources, but rather taps the energy and funds of faith communities, ethnic groups, families and other benevolent associations. These organizations typically fund-raise or use their personal income to provide for and support the sponsored individual or family for 1 year in Canada.

They initiate a refugee resettlement undertaking by submitting a refugee sponsorship application package to the Centralized Processing Office in Winnipeg and honour their commitment through to the end of the sponsorship period which is typically 12 months from the date of the sponsored person’s arrival in Canada.  For more information visit their website and to register for this free event simply CLICK HERE.

Monday, September 12, 2016

CIES Joins 12CSI

Late last week CIES attended the monthly 12CSI (Community Safe Initiative) meeting after its summer break. The organization represents Crossroads, Malborough, Malborough Park, Applewood, Penbrooke, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, Alberta Park / Radisson Heights, South View, Dover and Erin Woods and is a local crime prevention collaborative that fosters community action on the issue of crime prevention by providing support, facilitation and advocacy, thereby creating safer neighbourhoods for all who live, work and volunteer in the Twelve Communities. A truly collaborative approach that involves many local organizations and individuals, multi-faceted strategies incorporating Community Education, Community Engagement, Community Energy and Community Evaluation serve as the 12CSI engine.

The organization's Planning Council, and its Action Committees believe every community member has the right to feel safe in their community and to be treated with dignity and respect. Their work aims to foster an enhanced feeling of community pride and a greater involvement of residents. This involvement includes children and youth which will lead to a reduction in youth crime, which by extension produces a greater understanding of our diverse community and a greater involvement from those within it to help eliminate hate crimes and build inclusion. Above all else, 12CSI 's ultimate goal is to be sustainable and effective organization that will raise community expectations and standards of the residents in the twelve communities.

CIES is proud to join 12CSI in its mission and looks forward to contributing. For more information on 12CSI visit their website.   

The 12CSI Team meeting last Thursday at Dover Community Centre

The CCCA / CIES Cultural Forum 2016

Do you want to further advance your career? How to find the fine balance between technical skills and interpersonal skills? How to make your boss notice your contribution and ability? How to break the glass ceiling while facing industry downturn and cultural difference?

Canada China Commercial Association (CCCA), together with Calgary Immigrant Educational Society (CIES), are hosting the 2nd Cultural Forum to help you advance your career in Canada. At the forum, experts will provide you with practical skills and techniques to concur the barriers in your career, and successful Chinese immigrants will share their experiences and stories.

CCCA is a registered non-profit organization in Alberta dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of trade developments, business investment, innovation and technology exchange between Canada and China. CCCA’s principles include resource sharing, strength complementary, mutual benefit and cooperative development between all company and individual members. CCCA hosts different seminars, workshops, conferences and networking events according to its member’s requests.
Tickets are free for current CCCA Members. Please send an email to to register your membership. For non CCCA Members early bird prices (Before September 30) are $10, before October 22 prices $15 and tickets at the door are $20.

For more details on the event and to purchase your advice tickets visit the CCCA website. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

AAISA Introduces One-Stop Shop for Information on Refugee Resettlement

 CIES has been a proud member of the Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (AAISA) since its inception and all of us here would like to congratulate AAISA on the launch of their new website - The website is funded by the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and serves as a one-stop shop for refugees to access information on settling in Alberta and services to support them in their new life.

Following one of the largest resettlements of refugees in Canadian history, the website’s launch responds to a significant need across the province. Another wave of Syrian refugees is set to arrive in the province this fall. Service providers, such as our valued members, offer a variety of programs and services across Alberta.  AAISA has designed this website to help support refugees as well as to build the capacity of organizations that serve them with vital information related to their resettlement journey in Alberta. The website has the following features:

AASIA also recognizes that in order to support the successful resettlement of refugees in Alberta, building the capacity of the organizations and community members working with refugees is vital. With that in mind, two additional aspects of the website will launch this fall.

I am an Organization is a portal that will support organizations, such as AASIA members and I Want to Help, will support community members, whether they are private sponsors, donors or prospective volunteers with information on what they can do to help.
Resettlement Assistance Program providers. The website will provide information related to professional development and resources relevant to resettlement as well as settlement and integration practice. The second portal,

Once again CIES offers our congratulations on a job well done and we look forward AAISA's next phase of what is an important project for the provinces entire settlement sector. 

Antyx Community Arts Gets Eyes on the Ave

Formed in January 2010 (when All Nations Theatre and Urban Youth Worx (ANT/UYW) merged and began operating as a single organization),  Antyx Community Arts is a community arts company that uses the arts and community development processes to create opportunities for youth to become more engaged in their community and experience increased community connection.  Their community arts strategy involves developing collaborative community arts projects that engage youth and communities. Projects are planned with community partners and direct input from youth. Past projects have included: community murals, performances of plays reflecting community issues, video and music projects.

This summer Antyx Community Arts helped youth learn how to take a variety of perfect pictures and revealed how photography can transform community through its Eyes On the Ave Initiative. Antyx joined forces with local photographers and community leaders to engage youth ages 13-18 in using photography to make positive social change.  The camp culminated with the completion of a large scale photography exhibition that is now featured on International Avenue at what has become the heart of the Forest Lawn Community Arts and Development, the ArtBOX.  For a quick peek of how it all went down take a look below.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

CIES Expansion Continues With First Calgary Financial Grant for Entrepreneurial Financial Literacy Project

First Calgary Financial has long been a champion of community investment here in Calgary and CIES is pleased to announce their support and funding for our Breaking the Economic Barriers for Immigrant and Low Income Earning Calgarians project. The overall goal of the project is to improve the standard of living of immigrants / low income earning Canadians in Calgary, by removing barriers to entrepreneurial success.

Goals aside, the purpose of the project is to equip immigrants with knowledge and skill to start a new business by providing adequate information and offer financial literacy education offered by different financial institutions in the city. Improving their knowledge and understanding about the Banking System / New to Canada Banking Program, graduates will be equipped with entrepreneurial skills and knowledge required to start small businesses on their own. CIES will organize financial literacy education in both Orientation on Banking Services for Newcomers to Canada and Entrepreneurship Development Training.  

CIES would like to extend its heartfelt thanks to First Calgary Financial for their support and for more information on the project give us a call at 403-291-0002.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

National Read-A-Book Day

Today is September 6, so pour yourself a cup of tea, find a nice place and curl up with a good book because it's National Read A Book Day.

Research has shown that reading can have several health and social benefits. Frequent readers tend to have lower stress levels than non-readers. In addition, reading can stimulate brain activity and improve memory. Socially, reading can reap a lot of benefits - well-read people tend to be more empathetic and aware of social issues and differences.

Although e-books are more common than ever, research shows print books are still more popular than digital books among Canadians, but a book is a book! Regardless of your preference take the time to read, find out more about your favourite author, visit your local library or anything that lends itself to our ever-present option to learn, grow, go on an adventure or just have fun! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Labour Day Was Canada's Gift to the World

When people think of Labour Day today, fairs and festivals, and the last long weekend of the summer come to mind. It's original intention was a very historic one however - a heartfelt celebration of workers, their rights  and their families.

In a time when the news of labour "problems" are dominated by disputes between millionaire athletes and billionaire owners, a historical look back on the origins of Labour Day  provides some much needed perspective on a time when working people had to fight to work less than 12 hours a day. The "Nine Hour Movement," began soon there after. Today, we take paid holidays, we have safe work places, unemployment insurance, medical benefits, fair hours, overtime pay and a weekend to ourselves.

Labour Day is celebrated around the world, but the first ever Labour Day celebrations originated in Canada, beginning on April 15, 1872. This was only five years after Confederation and speaks to how the Canadian progressive approach as a nation was there from day one. On that historic day the Toronto Trades Assembly, the original central labour body in Canada, organized the country's first significant worker's strike. A demonstration was organized to protest poor working conditions and although the short-term effects were very damaging, as many lost their jobs, the long-term effects speak for themselves. After 1872,  nearly all union demands,  including the nine-hour day / 54-hour work week, were met.  Thus the Toronto printers pioneered the shorter work week for all of North America. Campaigns for an eight-hour day were already growing, and eventually took hold as well.

In the end, April 15th, 1972 was a defining moment in Canadian labour history, opening the door to what eventually became the Canadian labour movement, leading the way for what is now an annual workers' holiday around the world. In Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia it is known as "May Day" - or International Workers' Day - and it is celebrated on May 1. In New Zealand, it is held on the fourth Monday in October, and in Australia the date varies from state to state across the country.

Countries and dates aside, it remains a day that acknowledges the hard work and the dignity of those people that do so everywhere. And this remains one of the key reasons Canada continues to stand as a beacon of fairness, respect and hope to people around the world. And so, from all of us here at CIES, have a great Labour Day weekend! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Happy Birthday Alberta!

Alberta, once a district of the Northwest Territories, officially became a province on Sept. 1, 1905. Celebrating the 111th anniversary of the founding of the Province of Alberta, the creativity, ingenuity and hard work of successive generations of Albertans have become our hallmark.  So from all of us here at CIES.... Happy Birthday, Alberta and here's to 111 more!