Regina Open Door Society
A Collaborative Approach to
Group Processing in Regina,
Group Processing
To share the organization’s involvement and
experiences as a Service Providing Organization(SPO) in the group processing of the Karen
refugee group
To share the successes and challenges through
the experiences of an SPO in a state of
significant change
A Collaborative Approach
 For four years now, cooperative efforts of the Regina
and Area Refugee Support Group, Regina CIC and the
Regina Open Door Society to promote the plight and
the contribution of refugees to our community has
resulted in annual World Refugee Day celebrations, the
release of a 2007 public education calendar “Dispelling
the Myths” and increased numbers of Joint Assisted
Sponsorships and volunteer participation.
A Collaborative Approach
 Through the combined efforts of the Regina Open
Door Society, Regina CIC and the Regina and Area
Refugee Support Group (RARSG), the community
resettled 220 GARS, 30 over the target of 190. 133
were Karen refugees.
 In 2006, Regina truly committed itself to sponsoring by
welcoming the Karen refugees to our community. 96 of
133 individuals were sponsored by 17 JAS groups
Regina Open Door Society-Challenges
• April 2006 – The number of
GARs to Regina was reduced from
196 to 190, asked to wind down
LINC Child minding and
transportation services and a
successful life skills pilot could not
be continued past March 31, due to
lack of funds
• To cope with the reductions and
improve service delivery, RODS
restructured its human resources in
June of 2006
• Specific to Settlement, the
Settlement and Integration
Manager and RAP Coordinator
positions were eliminated
• Manager of Family Services
became Manager of Settlement &
Family Services overseeing RAP,
ISAP, Families In Transition and
• Major office renovations began to
accommodate the new structure
that affected about half of RODS
• Preparations were well underway
with Regina CIC, RARSG and
RODS preparing to resettle a large
group of Karen refugees
Prior to Arrival
• Locating and booking temporary
• Locating permanent
accommodations (Regina Housing
Authority and Landlords)
• Locating service providers to offer
furniture packages
• Contacting shopping centers and
stores for basic household
• Getting orientation
materials/packages translated into
Karen languages
• Locating/hiring Karen interpreters
• These items were not done in
isolation, but collaboratively
between RODS S&F staff,
Community Services staff, CIC,
RARSG and community
• Meetings and planning with CIC &
JAS regarding Karen arrivals
• Karen’s would be arriving as CR1s,
CR5s and VOR (Visa office
Some of the Challenges
• Affordable, appropriate housing
for large families (need to be close
to others, gender issues) and for
those with medical and/or
accessibility needs
• Additional funds were provided &
staff were being interviewed, hired
and trained during and following
the Karen group arriving and as
services were being delivered
• Delay in travel for various medical
and other reasons resulted in the
majority of Karens arriving in
November during Regina’s one
week annual international
Agribition Show affecting
reservations and length of stay in
temporary accommodations
• Within one month we saw growth
within the Settlement programs
from 3.5 FTEs (front line staff) to
8 including interpreter/support
caseworkers, life skills trainers and
admin support.
• Continued to receive and settle non
Karen arrivals with special needs at
the same time. Most experienced
caseworkers (3) were assigned to
Karens while others were trained
to meet the needs of current
• Meeting the Health Care Needs
• Protocols for after hours arrivals,
emergency healthcare, lines of
communication were established
First Karen Arrivals
• First family arrived in September (CR1s and VORs) Support
was provided to all as they belonged to the same family and
volunteers did not have sufficient experience to provide all
necessary services.
• Experienced settlement caseworker thoroughly documented
services for 6 weeks. RAP and Life Skills assistance resulted in
52.5 hours of service delivery
• Conjuctivitis and other issues continued to delay the majority of
• Prior arrangements had to be changed again and again
• Continuous communication with
CIC, JAS, community and
volunteers regarding the needs of
• Excellent support from
community, funders and volunteers
• Karen people are extremely
cooperative and supportive of one
• Interpreters – Fortunate to
eventually hire 2 excellent, caring
Karen interpreters/support
• Orientation materials “Settling in
SK translated and provided in
orientation packages
• Bringing JAS groups (CR5s) first
and then CR1s. Allowed staff to
focus on CR1s while collaborating
with JAS to ensure the needs of
JAS and VORs were met
• Thanks to the IOM - Needs
assessment questionnaires offered
guidance, understanding and
appreciation for the Karen families
by staff. Staff made adjustments to
better meet the needs and prepare
a more culturally welcoming
• Matt’s Furniture out of Fort
Qu’Appelle submitted the best
quote for furniture. (Quality, price,
service including pictures for
clients, delivery into the city and set
• Giant Tiger in Regina agreed to put
together household packages based
on family needs for pick up by staff
• Regina City Police met with
newcomers to assure them of their
safety when immediate move into
permanent accommodations was
required due to Agribition.
• Support from Regina Housing
Authority, however challenges were
large families, gender make up of
children, accessibility, etc.
• Wheelchair loans from SK Abilities
• RODS van, mini bus and staff
vehicles accommodated the large
• Community donations of clothing
and household items
• Royal Bank assigned additional
staff members to assist with
cashing start up cheques and
opening accounts
KidsFirst: Families and Children
Families with children under
the age of two were referred
to RODS KidsFirst Regina
program for intensive home
visit support
Collaborating with the
Settlement team, KidsFirst
home visitor offered
additional intensive support
that is not offered to families
under the Settlement
Welcome to Regina
Airport Reception
Donations from Caring Volunteers
Orientation to Temp
Life Skills Services
The Past 8 Months at RODS
• Increased from 35 to 51 staff
members with support from CIC
and the Provincial Immigration
• Opened, renovated and moved into
a 3rd location to accommodate
growth. Board/Staff Facilities
Committee continues to develop
plans for facility enhancement.
• Approved by province to open new
licensed Child Care Centre.
Recently completed major
• In cooperation with CIC, expanded
from 6 to 11 LINC classes to
accommodate over 150 learners.
• Additional teaching staff,
disabilities specialist, admin
• Newly funded Enhanced Host and
Volunteer Training project and
Health Services Educator
• Planning for commencement of
new provincially funded programs
and services as SK expands
nominee program. Working to
attract & retain up to 5000
immigrants annually by 2008.
Thank you team for your
dedication, commitment,
compassion & professionalism!

Regina Open Door Society Inc.