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Three out of four languages ain't bad

Latest Newcomers Guide launched for Filipinos

Three out of four ain't bad is the view of the people behind the latest version of a guide to help new immigrants settle into Richmond.

In 2009, the Richmond Intercultural Advisory Committee (RIAC) and the City of Richmond launched the Newcomers Guide in both English and Chinese.

On Thursday, an updated version of the guide was published, this time also in Tagalog for the Filipino community.

Corporate sponsorship is the predominate economic driver behind the guides, with the Royal Bank and Aspac Developments stepping up in the past and this week with the Western Union.

RIAC had wanted to release a Punjabi version this week also, but couldn't raise any interest among the Punjabi business community.

"This new edition is in Tagalog and is sponsored by the Western Union, a bank used a lot by the Filipino community," said Lawrence Lim, chair of the Newcomers Guide sub-committee.

"We tried to get a Punjabi version sponsored, but no one with Punjabi roots was willing to do it.

"We take the approach that, if a community feels strongly enough that they need this, then they will try to help set it up. That's what happened with the Western Union. As long as someone steps forward and pays for it."

Lim said the latest version will have all kinds of updated information to help new immigrants find their way around the city.

"There is a federal and provincial guide for newcomers to Canada, but those deal with broader issues and can be a bit overwhelming for new people coming into town," added Lim.

"Where to enroll your child in school or programs; where to get a health card; see how to get a drivers license, for example."

It was back in 2006 that RIAC was first tasked with creating an all-encompassing guide to help people recently arrived in the city to access services and understand how things work.

The demand for such a publication was highlighted after a 2006 census revealed that more than half of Richmond's estimated 100,000 population was born outside of Canada.

acampbell@richmond-news.com