LEWISPORTE, N.L. — The small Newfoundland town of Lewisporte has said goodbye to the second of two refugee families sponsored by the community.
Both families moved to Windsor, Ont., in search of better job security, proximity to family and friends, and a larger community of Arabic speakers.
In 2015, community members in Lewisporte banded together to sponsor one family from Iraq and one from Syria through the blended visa office-referred program, holding fundraisers and taking donations to bring them to Canada.
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Community efforts in central Newfoundland's small towns have brought several refugees families to the area since 2015, with the town of Gander bringing five families so far, but the province has the lowest refugee retention rate in the country.
Kerri Neil, who co-authored a report out of Memorial University looking at best practices to integrate refugees and encourage them to stay in the province, says refugees moving out of small communities are motivated by many of the same economic factors as other Newfoundlanders.
The Lewisporte Refugee Outreach Committee has officially dissolved, but committee member Carolyn Parsons says it may be easier for newcomers to integrate in the future with the province's investment in four satellite resettlement centres for new Canadians that opened in rural areas over the past year.
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