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Our Story

IWS was formed in 1985 by a group of newcomer women who wanted to help other newcomer, immigrant, and refugee women settle and adjust more effectively to their new life in Saskatoon. Guided by feminist, anti-racism and anti-oppressive principles, the founding members dedicated the early years of the organization toward giving voices to the multiple barriers, personal and systemic, experienced by newcomer women during their settlement journey. Funding from multiple sources including the Government of Saskatchewan enabled the organization to deliver on its target goals for employment, domestic violence prevention, and capacity building.

In 2005 the IWS mandate was expanded to provide programs and services to support the entire family through their settlement journey.

We were thrilled to receive our first formal funding commitment from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) in 2007. Since then, we have been continuously entrusted with federal funding to implement important newcomer settlement programs.

For example, in 2014 we received federal funding to establish the first centralized Language Assessment and Referral Centre (LARC) in Saskatoon. A few years later, between 2016 and 2023, we expanded LARC services to Regina, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and Lloydminster.

In 2020, we were entrusted by IRCC to implement our Centralized Needs and Assets Assessments and Referral Services (NAARS) program in Saskatoon and Regina.

To further expand our services to newcomers in Saskatchewan, in 2023 we received funding from the Saskatchewan Government to conduct CLBPT language assessments for non-PR clients in urban centres in Saskatchewan.

Today, IWS is providing the foundation for settlement in Saskatchewan. Newcomers, immigrants and refugees begin their settlement journey by participating in an introductory orientation program called Welcome to Saskatchewan (W2SK), followed by a settlement needs and language assessment. Thereafter, our team facilitates the referral of our clients to our partner agencies for continuing settlement and language learning support.

Today, over 90 IWS employees are providing newcomer and settlement support services in Saskatoon and Regina, with our LARC and CLBPT services extended to clients in Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and Lloydminster.