Friday, May 29, 2015

W.R.I.P. @ C.I.E.S.

At CIES we are always searching ways to better serve the immigrant community. The Welcome Resources Information Program (WRIP) is an initiative launched by CIES with the objective of helping new immigrants experience smooth settlement and integration into Canada. The program provides information and orientation, needs assessment and referral, along with community connection. The services are being delivered come at the pre-arrival, on arrival and post- arrival stages of an immigrant's journey to Calgary.

The program has become successful in achieving its goal. Increased numbers of immigrants visit us inquiring about the program and the website has been viewed by thousands of  people in countries around the world.

Here at CIES we strongly believe that ethno-cultural community organizations play important role in settlement and integration sector.  Hence, the program partners with many of them to identify the needs of the immigrants and find amicable solution to address those needs. The WRIP advisory committee comprising the representatives from ethno cultural communities, faith based organizations and non-profit agencies are continuously providing guidance for the smooth implementation of the program.  

For more information on the WRIP program visit our website, check out Calgary Connects or give us a call at 403-291-0002.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

CIES Photo Contest - What is Canada?

What is Canadian Culture to you? Newcomers to Canada will often have a unique perspective on what represents Canada. They are much more aware of culture than those born and raised here and for that reason we have launched the CIES What is Canada? Photo Contest.

The rules are simple. The contest is open to any CIES client at both our SE and NE location. Photos can be of anything - people, places, things - the entrant feels is representative of Canada / Canadian culture. Only one photo can be submitted per person and the deadline to do so is August 15th, 2015. The top three photos will be announced at the annual CIES Summer Festival on August 25th with those chosen being presented with prizes. Photos can be submitted to our Facebook Page, Tagged with our Twitter Account emailed to or a hard copy can be dropped at the reception desk of either location.

Best of luck to all applicants and keep your eyes open for all things Canadian! 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

CIES Volunteers at the Calgary Children's Festival

The Calgary International Children's Festival was held over the weekend from May 20th through the 23rd. Children's Fest is a wonderful performing arts festival with professional theatre, music and dance for young audiences.

Since its inaugural year 1987, the festival has grown into an international leader in presentation arts with productions tailored for preschoolers up to 16 years of age. The festival's success is due to its respect and empathy for young people, as they are treated as a singular audience in their own right, who need access to the best creative talent available.

CIES has always been a strong supporter of community events and clients from Graham Mackenzie's class in our SE location volunteered at the festival and a fun time was had by all. More pics of the event can be seen here.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fire Drills @ CIES

Fire drills are an important part of of fire safety procedures for any organization and at CIES we conduct drills on a regular basis at both our SE and NE locations. Not only do fire drills ensure that all staff, clients and visitors to our locations understand what they need to do if there is a fire, but they also help you to test how effective your fire evacuation plan is and to improve upon it.

As well as testing that your fire alarms are working, carrying out a full fire drill will help you to check other equipment such as emergency exits or lighting. Knowing how often to carry out a fire drill will depend on the level of risk that is present in your building, with an often suggested minimum a minimum of at twice a year. CIES conducts at least a half dozen per year, far exceeding such standards.

Our SE location carried out a surprise fire drill just today and as per usual was done in both a timely and efficient manner. Great job everyone, most especially out littlest clients!

Friday, May 22, 2015

CIES Offers Coaching at Job Seekers Boot Camp

At the Calgary Immigrant Educational Society, being a part of the city of Calgary's community has been an ongoing priority for nearly three decades now. We recently attended the Boot Camp for Job Seekers, a two day event that took place on May 20th and 21st at the Civic Centre on Third 3rd Ave SE in Chinatown. The event covered all kinds of resources for job seekers and was sponsored by the Government of Alberta (Alberta Human Services Department).

David Wright, our very own Employment Skills Training Coordinator,  spoke at the event on behalf of CIES and served as a coach and mentor at one of the several stations set up to offer and advice and counselling in landing a job here in Calgary. Things like labour market information, self assessment, social media networking, researching employers,  resume writing,  interview skills and an HR panel for Q and A were all part of the workshop. We look forward to attending again next year and invite all those newcomers in their search for work to come down to CIES any time. We're always here to help you.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shell Supports CIES with Community Service Fund

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemicals companies, with around 90,000 employees in more than 80 countries and territories. The volunteer efforts of employees, retirees and retailers/agents are recognized and rewarded by the Shell Community Service Fund (CSF), which provides grants to support not-for-profit organizations where Shell people regularly volunteer.

John Mannix, a recent retiree who worked out of the Shell Calgary office. has put in more than 52 hours of volunteer time for us at our SE location, teaching in our Drop in ESL Program. For his efforts, Shell has donated $1000 to CIES. Both John and Shell believe that by going out and volunteering in your community, you are doing the important job of helping to create stronger communities. In doing so, John is setting a wonderful example not only for all Shell employees, but for all Calgarians, to do the same.

Thank you John, we salute you for you efforts. It is people like you who make CIES possible!

Friday, May 15, 2015

CPR Training @ CIES

Once a term  Employment Skills Training (EST) students at CIES receive professional CPR and First Aid Training. At CIES we always do everything we can to help prepare our students for employment in Canada. We know it may seem intimidating putting together a resume and thinking about what to include. Employers like to see a variety of experiences that you can bring and having a CPR certification can set you apart from the rest of the candidates, no matter what industry you work in. A certification in CPR and/or First Aid can tell an employer that you value education and are willing to do the extra things to make yourself more valuable to an organization.

When interviewing for a new position, you can tell your possible employer that you are confident and able to react quickly in any given situation. Even if there isn't a medical emergency, you have the training needed to think clearly and quickly. A CPR certification can demonstrate that you take pride in educating yourself, even when not a requirement, not to mention in the skills that one day could prove to be the difference between life and death. There will be many people applying for jobs who wont think to pursue this type of education, and it can show an employer that you are willing to go above and beyond all the rest.

Dan Bresnahan of Rapid Response has been coming to our SE location for more than a year to give our students CPR and First Aid Training. Prior to starting Rapid Response and heading up the organization as President, Dan was responsible for the Emergency Response Programs which included the fire warden and first aid teams. While there, Dan realized that all employees, not just members of the first aid team, should have the opportunity to learn emergency skills they could use not only in their place of business, but in their everyday life as well. Because of this observation, Rapid Response was established to meet these training requirements. In the past, Dan has taken emergency medical technician and paramedic training and has worked in the emergency medical services field for many years. Dan has over 20 years experience teaching first aid and CPR for St. John Ambulance and is certified to teach all levels of First Aid, CPR, AED, and WHMIS.

Originally from Eugene Oregon, Dan admits he was a bit nervous his first time coming to CIES, as he anticipated a language barrier and had not priorly worked with such an internationally diverse group. He was pleasantly surprised at the ease of communication and further still, how CIES students were so very down to earth, keen on learning and excited to have the opportunity to be part of his workshop. All students are officially certified in CPR and First Aid at the end of his two day class. Pics of the two day seminar can be seen here. 

For more information visit or call 403-630-4869.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Childcare @ CIES

To help students stay focused on their studies, our free of charge child-minding services are available to help nurture their children while they’re in class. By creating a welcoming environment, this program helps children between the ages of 19 months and 6 years build necessary social skills, establish new relationships, and, when necessary, cope with the effects of dislocation and trauma.

Our staff plans regular activities that are appropriate for the ages and abilities of participating children. In order to foster respect and understanding within a multicultural context, we encourage children’s creativity while taking into account their variations in physical, mental, and emotional development. Our team is dedicated to helping children to make a positive transition to Canadian society.

  • Must be a Permanent resident of Canada or Conventional Refugee
  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Child is between 19 months and 6 years of age
  • Parent is enrolled in L.I.N.C. classes at either our NE or SE location
  • Child-minding is not a daycare service. Parents are required to remain in the building with their children at all times -- and vice-versa.

Monday, May 11, 2015

CIES Congratulates the Flames

It will take some time, but the disappointment of how it ended - a gut wrenching  3-2 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs – will eventually fade, It will the be replaced with the realization of what an incredible and entirely unexpected season our Calgary Flames played. Back in September, no one even expected for our boys to even make the play-offs. They gave us a great season and then 11 heart-stopping exciting games of play-off Hockey... far more then anyone foresaw. From all of  us here at CIES, congratulations on an amazing year and thank you for the thrills. We already cant wait for next year! 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Momentum @ CIES

C.I.E.S believes that strong community partnerships are the best way to have both a meaningful and sustainable impact on the life of immigrants here in Calgary. C.I.E.S. invites guest speakers from different fields in Calgary to give informative presentations to our clients to help them better integrate and assimilate into Canadian society. Organizations like Alberta Health Services, Alberta Works, City of Calgary, Volunteer Calgary, Calgary Police Services, ATB Financial, Bow Valley College, Canada Revenue Agency, Calgary Board of Education, H & R Block, and Mount Royal University just to name a few regularly come to both our NE and SE locations. These guest speakers bring the most updated information about living and working in Canada.

This past week Ko Luu from Momentum paid us a visit to offer our clients a workshop on financial planning in Canada. Central to Momentum's work in community economic development are the principles of the sustainable livelihoods model. Simply put, this model is based on the notion that in order for a person to increase their financial assets and stay resilient, they need to build strength in five different asset areas. Those areas are personal, physical, social, human and financial.

Its organizations like Momentum and people like Ko that make CIES possible. We salute Momentum for their long term support and Ko for providing us with his expert knowledge.  

For more information visit or call 403 272 9323

Thursday, May 7, 2015

CIES Projects: Conducting a Survey

In April, The CLB 6/7 class at the Welcome Centre conducted a school census. This activity involved several steps and several days' work. The end result was a set of lessons that utilized all four skills and were, I hope, fun and engaging for the students. These types of separate-but-connected multi-stage activities take a lot of class time, but are often worth it in the end. Here are some of the steps involved in this one:


After introducing the idea of a census, the class was divided into three groups of 4-5 students. Each group came up with at least five survey questions. At this stage, we reviewed question forms and discussed which questions were culturally appropriate to ask their peers.

Conducting a survey

Students learned how to make polite requests and ask permission using modals, and role-played conversations with their classmates. They needed to open, maintain and close each conversation, and we focused on accuracy when asking questions. Even though higher-level students are familiar with question forms, they often fail to use the correct form in everyday speech. When the time came to conduct the survey, other teachers were kind enough to let us interrupt their classes for about 15 minutes. Representatives from each of the three groups went into every class and asked as many students as they could their questions.

Compiling the information

Asking the questions turned out to be the easy part! Sorting through the results proved much more challenging. Luckily, in all of the confusion, students did a lot of communicating. Finally, each group produced a single sheet of paper with their results.

Tables, graphs and charts

In the computer lab, each student was responsible for creating a graphic representation of at least one question. They used Word or Excel, and produced bar graphs and pie charts to visually represent their data. Some students were already pros at creating graphs, while others had never done this type of work before. After a brief introduction, I helped students as needed, and students helped each other as well.

Interpreting the data

Finally, with the data represented both graphically and numerically, each group produced a written summary of their survey results. Prior to writing the summary, we had a lesson on describing graphs and charts from the LINC 5-7 Classroom Activities binder. Once the surveys were completed, the results were posted on the bulletin board outside the classroom.

What we learned

Here are some of the graphs produced by the students:

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New Era, New Logo? Part VI

Once again, we at it....  There is a sill strong contingent who want the full name of the organization. I've also once again taken into account the preference of some for "Information, Education, Employment" over "Building the Future."  What has been arrived at as standard however, is the primary colours of red and white and the need for a predominant place within the logo of the Canadian flag or Maple Leaf. That said, and hot of the presses, below is the most recent incarnation of our logo proposal. As always, your feedback is welcomed.

Friday, May 1, 2015

CIES and Employment Standards Alberta

Alberta Employment Standards is a vital source of information for all Albertans. In a nutshell, The Employment Standards Code is a provincial law describing the minimum standards that must be provided to employees working in Alberta. The code includes such areas as minimum wage, hours of work, overtime, vacation time and much more. CIES regularly books informative workshops for our clients so they are aware of their rights as employees here in their new home and at times, offers refresher workshops to our admin and management team.

Our most recent presenter, Brian Krueger, visited us on Friday and did a great job bringing our Management team up to speed. Born and raised on a farm near Midale, Saskatchewan, (home to the highest recorded temperature in Canadian history!Brian moved to Calgary in 2005 and immediately began work with Employment Standards Alberta. A great presenter, he supplied our team with a professional and in-depth understanding of the topic at hand along with a good dose of Saskatchewan farm boy humour. Thanks for stopping by Brian and what the hek... Go Riders!

For more information visit the Employment Standards website or call 1-877-427-3731.