• Event Time 9:00 am-11:30 pm
  • Event Start Date October 12, 2016


The Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council has been helping newcomers adjust to their life in Newfoundland for over 30 years! We do this through ESL classes, legal, personal, immigration advice, employment, education, paperwork help, social events, and anything else that new Canadians might need to help them fully participate in our community. The Association for New Canadians restricts services to Government Assisted Refugees and sponsored newcomers. All of our services are free and open to every person. RIAC has no consistent funding and pays for all operations with donations, fundraising initiatives, and grants.

We are currently operating on the third floor of our building which contains our office space, and ESL classroom. As part of our programs we often host forums, large sessions, and social events for which we rent external spaces. We have been in our space for over 16 years but have been steadily outgrowing it.

The second floor of our building has become vacant. We want to renovate it to become a part of RIAC’s headquarters by building a Conference Room, a Community Room, and a Child-Minding room . Along with our already-established space on the third floor, this initiative will nearly double our space and improve the type, quantity, and quality of services that we provide our clients. To make this project sustainable, we will rent out these new spaces to the public to support community events and initiatives.

The conference room will allow us to hold forums and larger information sessions. More class space will increase our capacity to offer ESL classes. The additional space will save us venue rental fees, equipment transportation and catering costs.

The community room will allow us to offer the After School Program for Newcomer High-school Students and the Adult Literacy for Newcomers in Isolation program. Both of these programs will target those Newcomers who are vulnerable to resettling in St. John’s.

A significant impact will come from the Child-Minding room. Newcomer parents will be able to use this service for free as they participate in classes, information sessions, advice programs and training activities. Many newcomers do not have extended family or funds for babysitters and therefore have a greater risk of isolation. Having the Child-Minding area will allow them to participate more fully in the community. The Child-Minding area will break down barriers, and provide new opportunities for newcomer parents. The child-minding area will also be available for rental for public community events.

We are seeking funding to get this initiative started so that we could develop a stronger community of newcomers. The second floor is dilapidated that will require serious renovations. Tables and chairs, office supplies, projectors and sound equipment would improve the quality of instruction for ESL students. Child caring supplies and toys will be needed for the Child Minding Area. We need to create a permanent position for a promoter and service provider. A permanent position will be created and numerous opportunities for volunteers and interns.

There is a real lack of affordable community space in St. John’s and this initiative can strengthen our community at a time when the provincial budget has us all feeling squeezed! Contributing to this initiative isn’t just investing in RIAC, it’s investing in other small not-for-profits and charities that can use our spaces at affordable rates or in-kind. Investing in RIAC is investing in parents, children, artists, grassroots movements, and in people just like you and me!

When RIAC started 30 years ago, it was a tiny one table “office” at the back of a craft store. Moving into our own office space was just as daunting. Hiring more staff is always daunting. Facing huge influxes of refugees in times of crisis has been daunting too! However, we have overcome every hurdle, grown and persevered. We are more active now in the community than we have ever been

This is how you can help us this time:

  1. We need you to go to Aviva’s site and VOTE for our project. Is a competitive opportunity
  2. The more VOTES we get the better our chance to be granted our request
  3. You will have 18 votes available. You might use them all with us or spread them to other initiatives
  4. Go to this link, find the REGISTRATION button
  5. Fill the form with name, email and a temporary password
  6. Go to your email service and verify the authenticity of your email
  7. Once in the Aviva site, scroll down to the search option and type “Riac”
  8. It will show you our project, scroll a bit down and you will see, to the left, a ruler that you will displace to use as many votes as you want
  9. That is it, no need to come back again or do a follow-up.
  10. And, spread the word, forward this instructions and link to your friends, port it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all over the place