December 1, 2016 4:12 pm

Nova Scotia will hire Arabic-speaking welfare case worker to help refugees

Syrian refugees wave to the camera at an Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia event on December 30, 2015.

Alexa MacLean / Global News

Nova Scotia is hiring an Arabic-speaking welfare case worker as it prepares for the end of federal sponsorship support for Syrian refugees.

About 1,300 Syrian refugees have come to Nova Scotia since last December, sponsored both federally and privately, with more expected to arrive before January.

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Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard said Thursday an Arabic-speaking case worker will be hired in the coming weeks as her department readies for an expected influx of Syrians requiring income assistance.

Bernard said she expects an initial group to begin seeking help in January, as federal sponsorship support for refugees expires after a 12-month period.

“We have French-speaking case workers, we have Mi’kmaq-speaking case workers,” Bernard said.

“We’re trying to be pro-active – it’s much easier for people to come seek services from government if there’s someone there that can speak their language.”

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She said there are always strains on the income assistance budget, but the department has the capacity to provide the needed help.

“People who come to us – there’s no cap on it. If you qualify, you’re approved,” she said. “There’s always fluctuations.”

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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