Shortly after arriving in their new home of Tatamagouche, a family sponsored through the North Shore Refugee Settlement Group seized an opportunity that unfortunately saw them move to Halifax.
Ron MacNutt, a spokesperson for the group, said they can’t fault the family for taking the opportunity given them.
“They are like a lot of families – some come here because they feel it’s the best opportunity for them,” MacNutt said, adding the group is still responsible in some ways for supporting the family, no matter where they live.
Through the federal government’s program the group signed up for, a contingency plan was already in place in case situations similar to this one arose.
“There is a process for passing the responsibility to another group, individual, or family,” said MacNutt. “From our financial standpoint, we had allocated so much money for them per month. There’s no negativity on either side of things, and we want to make sure we fulfill our commitment we made on behalf of those that supported us.”
In an email, MacNutt said members of the group were somewhat taken by surprise, and had many questions about the family’s decision.
“Discussing all of the factors that led to this decision, we now believe this to be a positive development, and sincerely wish the family success and happiness, wherever they may settle,” he wrote.
MacNutt said the group had a good rapport with the family, and were as helpful as possible based on the family’s needs. He said the family made a decision on what could offer the best path to settlement and integration into society.
“Many other families, from here and abroad, have been faced with the same decision to move from/to our community. In this case, it seems the ability to be employed in a familiar trade and become self-sufficient quickly were the key factors,” said MacNutt.
Based on the financial needs of the family, and whether or not that financial support is transferred to another group, family, or individual, MacNutt said the group will be looking at their position and whether or not there’s an opportunity to assist elsewhere.
“We’ll be looking at, ‘are we in the position to help, and do we have the resources?’ We could possibly be looking at another family. And, some of the government programs have changed in the meantime. So until we understand completely and whether we finalize to move support financially to another group, we didn’t want to make any commitments to the community,” he said.
The process, said MacNutt, could take several months, but the group is committed to remaining open in their accounting and obligations to all parties involved.