I am a relative newcomer to Canada and a visible minority.
When my family arrived in Vernon in February 2022, we were hard-pressed to find other people of colour around the city. They were few and far between. When we did, there was a keen sense of excitement, curiosity and relatability.
Over the past 12 months, we have witnessed the exponential growth in the visible minority population, no doubt largely due to the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP), which is the same program through which my family and I were granted permanent residence in Canada.
The intention of the RNIP is to attract skilled workers to the region, as meeting local labour needs remains a challenge.
As a health equity scholar, I believe in the principles of inclusion. As such, my hope is, as Vernon becomes more diverse, our beautiful city continues to embrace newcomers in the same way we were positively received, and that the city remains the warm, welcoming and safe place we found on our arrival and a wonderful place where we can all work, play, raise families and live in harmony.
Diane van Staden