In recent years, Yorkton has seen a wave of international immigration unprecedented since the early 20th century. This year, the Saskatchewan Ability Council’s Partners in Settlement and Integration will start celebrating the contribution of immigrants to the community with an inaugural Immigrants of Distinction Awards program.
“It started when [Partners in Settlement and Immigration was] honoured at the Chamber of Commerce regarding diversity,” explained Edith Montesclaros, settlement coordinator. “We’ve been thinking about it for a while already, and then we thought, there’s so many doctors that’s been here for a long long time, contributing to the community, not just their services, but they volunteer, so we thought maybe it’s about time that we should recognize them.”
She added that she was just using doctors as an example. The nomination process is open to any immigrant (a person not born in Canada) from any walk of life or group as long as they live or operate in Yorkton and surrounding communities of east central Saskatchewan within 150 kilometres of the city. Nominators must also be from the area. Self-nominations will not be accepted.
Montesclaros said she was not aware of other communities the size of Yorkton that had such a program, but the bigger centres provided a model.
“Of course, the bigger cities like in Calgary and in Toronto and in Vancouver, have those awards,” she said. “It inspired us to do those too.”
Nominations open today and close October 17. An awards gala is scheduled for November 15 at the Painted Hand Casino.
There are eight categories: Volunteer, Business, Distinguished Service, Organizational Diversity, Youth Scholarship, Arts & Culture, Immigrant Group of the Year and Immigrant of the Year.
Finalists and recipients will be chosen by a selection committee made up of representatives from the community.
Nomination Forms and full guidelines are available at the Partners in Settlement office or at the Yorkton Newcomer Welcome Centre website, www.yorktonnewcomercentre.ca.