About

Dotted Line

Mission & Vision


Eastman Immigrant Services (EIS) assists newcomers settling in the Eastman region, making the transition to a new community a positive experience, both for the newcomer and the receiving community. We empower newcomers and create welcoming communities where everyone is valued.

 

EIS is funded by the Governments of Canada and Manitoba, and has been supporting newcomers and immigrants in Southern Manitoba for 20 years. In addition to working with newcomers, EIS is invested in working together with community partners to support welcoming newcomers to Eastern Manitoba.

 

Core Values


Respect – Honoring Eastman’s history and heritage, while embracing our growing diversity.
Integrity – Accountability to newcomers and the community by operating in a fair and ethical manner.
Service – Actively identifying and meeting the needs of our newcomers.
Cooperation – Creating synergy between newcomers, residents, employers, and government to achieve mutual success.
Inclusiveness – Creating awareness of barriers faced by newcomers, encouraging respect for all people.

Our Staff

Gwen Reimer | Program Director

Languages spoken: English, Low German,

Gwen has lived in Canada all her life but loves the cultural diversity of the country. She received a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies in 2013 and taught English as a Second Language for 15 years before she started her role as the Program Director for Eastman Immigrant Services. The time in the classroom impacted her love and understanding of different cultures and gave her a greater awareness of the joys and challenges of newcomers to Canada. Gwen and her husband live in Blumenort, MB, love to ride motorcycle and have two sons. She loves to read, garden and travel.

CONTACT

Tessa Masi | Steinbach Chamber Executive Director

Languages spoken: English

Tessa lives in Steinbach with her husband Isi and their two daughters. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies from Providence College, TESOL certificate from Steinbach Bible College and worked in HR before starting the charity of Island Breeze Manitoba in 2009. She is involved in the newcomer community through her volunteer work with Cultures in the City each year as well as pioneering other events that feature the sharing of different cultural expressions in the community. Tessa finds joy in seeing people learn new things about other cultures for the first time, as well as learning herself.

Tessa has had many cross cultural experiences in the last 20 years spending time in Fiji (where her husband is from), Thailand, Ukraine, Australia, Cuba, and Nunavut to name a few examples. She is also connected to the business community and has served on the Steinbach Chamber’s Community Relations Committee for seven years and on the Board of Directors for two years. Tessa enjoys traveling, reading books on leadership and spending time with her family.

CONTACT

Barb Plett | Program Director Assistant / English Teacher Lead

Languages spoken: English

Barb was born and raised in Canada but moved several times as a child. Each new place had its own culture and she learned to adapt and discover the nuances of each new place. She graduated from Red River College with a diploma in Business Administration and has several years of experience as an Administrator. Barb enjoys learning new things and her desire to grow and learn about new cultures developed from traveling and working with an international organization. She is passionate about helping immigrants find meaningful work in Canada. Barb resides in Linden, MB with her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, watching a good movie, spending time with family, and hanging out at home.

CONTACT

Amber Reitsma | Communications

Languages spoken: English

Born and raised right here in southeast Manitoba, Amber has enjoyed life in Canada. As a young girl, she did not experience much cultural diversity around her, but moving to the big city of Ottawa for university changed that for her in the best way possible. Amber received a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications in 2007 from Carleton University and has been working in the communications/public relations field ever since.  She began working as the Communications Coordinator on a contract-basis with the Steinbach Chamber in 2016, and started doing the same for EIS in 2020.  Amber, her husband, and three children live in the country between Steinbach and La Broquerie. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, chasing chickens and chauffeuring her children to all the things.

CONTACT

Iryna Sosnii | Employment Facilitator

Languages spoken: English

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Lindsey Nadeau | Employment Facilitator

Languages spoken: English

CONTACT

Ritu Kumar | Volunteer & Integration Coordinator

Languages spoken: English, Hindi, Punjabi,

Ritu was born and raised in India. She finished her degree in Humanities, with Sociology and English Language as her majors. Before moving to Canada in 2021, she was independently running a successful event management business in India. She loves to socialize and is willing to take on any new task with special attention to the details. Ritu believes that communication is the key to success in her life and is a joyful and enthusiastic person who is always willing to help others.

CONTACT

Kris Ontong | ERIP Coordinator

Languages spoken: English, Filipino,

Kris immigrated to Canada in 2010 with his wife, Peegy. Settling in Steinbach, Manitoba, he became an active member of the local community, taking on the role of President of the Southeast Manitoba Filipino Association from 2017 to 2019. After his term, Kris gained prominence from connecting with Canada’s Filipino diaspora through his media platform, Barangay Canada and its online public affairs program. This led to a stint writing a column for the Manitoba Filipino Journal, followed by a position at the House of Commons of Canada serving as Executive Assistant to the Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North. Kris is eager to bring his diverse skill set and experience into his role with ERIP. Outside of work, Kris enjoys spending time with his family watching movies, reading books, or checking out local tourism attractions.

CONTACT

Sarah Simbi Nakure | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English, French, Swahili, Kinyarwanda,

With roots in Kenya and Rwanda, Sarah is currently married with one child and resides in La Broquerie, MB. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting from Ste Mary’s University in Halifax, NS, as well as a Missionary and Evangelism Diploma from Mount Hope Bible Training institute in Lansing, Michigan, USA. Sarah is an author and has written two books, “Miracle Escape” and “The Teenager’s Progress.” She loves to help other people and her golden rule is “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

CONTACT

Trisha Lacanilao | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English, Tagalog, Kapampangan,

Trisha was born in the Philippines and migrated to Canada in 2017 with her family. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education Major in Special Education and worked as a Licensed Teacher before migrating to Canada. Trisha worked with EIS in 2019-2020, during which she found her true passion in life is to help newcomers settle and be informed about Canada. It was a passion that did not stop and she is so pleased to be back working with EIS again. In her free time, Trisha loves travelling, camping, making and enjoying food, and hanging out with her family and friends.

CONTACT

Catherine Chlopecki | Settlement Facilitator (Interlake)

Languages spoken: English

Catherine is originally from Manitoba, having moved back here three years ago and now resides in the Interlake, just outside of Gimli. She has a background in Social Services and holds a certificate in Family Mediation from the Justice Institute in British Columbia. Catherine has extensive experience working with Indigenous people, families and children in various capacities. Catherine and her husband have two daughters, four grandchildren and an enormous dog! When she’s not working, you can find her enjoying canoeing, camping, and gardening.

CONTACT

Emily Guenter | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English, High German,

Emily was born in Bielefeld, Germany. At age 11, she moved to Canada with her parents and siblings. After living in both Alberta and Manitoba, Emily’s family decided to make Steinbach their home. She completed her studies in Human Ecology at the University of Manitoba and has since found her biggest passion to be helping others. Her career has enabled her to be involved with several non-profit organizations including working with families in crisis, teen support work in the north end of Winnipeg, and assisting those with physical and mental disabilities. She is passionate about using her skills and experiences to help newcomers make Canada their home. In her spare time, Emily enjoys gaming and playing with her dog Pippa.

CONTACT

Andrii Kovalskyi | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English, Russian, Ukrainian,

Andrii grew up in Ukraine and also lived in Turkey, Istanbul briefly before moving to Canada with his wife in 2022. He received a degree in Computer Systems from Cherkasy Stage Technological University in 2017. Andrii loves living in Steinbach because of the kind people, the peacefulness, and the beauty of winter (when it’s not -35, of course!). He enjoys helping people and getting to know new people.

CONTACT

Joelle Klassen | HIPPY Program Coordinator

Languages spoken: English

Joelle Klassen joins Eastman Immigrant Services as our first-ever Coordinator of the new HIPPY Program (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters). She has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba and a Certificate of TESL from Providence College. Joelle’s passion for teaching led her to teach middle years in Hanover School Division for nine years and ESL through Red River College for five years.  Born and raised in Manitoba, Joelle’s experiences of travelling and teaching English has drawn her in to the growing multicultural community of her hometown. She now enjoys the country life near Grunthal with her husband and two kids. You can usually find Joelle working in her garden, crafting, or sitting on her deck with her dog and a good book.

CONTACT

Angela Plett | HIPPY Home Visitor

Languages spoken: English

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Donna Pae | HIPPY Home Visitor

Languages spoken: English

Donna is originally from England, where she achieved a BA Honours in Journalism. She started her career in the healthcare field working as a medical secretary, first in a medical center and then in a specialized cancer hospital. Donna emigrated with her husband and young son to Canada in the fall of 2017, which provided them with a short period of time to acclimatize before their first Canadian winter! Before joining the EIS HIPPY program, Donna was a stay at home mom, looking after her two young children. In her spare time, Donna enjoys reading, playing with her children and going on adventures to explore Manitoba and its wildlife.

CONTACT

Magali Escareno | HIPPY Home Visitor

Languages spoken: English, Spanish,

Magali is originally from Mexico. She emigrated with her husband and three kids to Canada in December of 2022, so they were introduced to Canadian winters immediately! Before starting with EIS as a HIPPY Home Visitor, Magali enjoyed participating in the HIIPY program as a client. In her spare time, she enjoys playing and watching Disney movies with her children. Magali says she loves living in Steinbach because it is a peaceful place and people in the community help each other.

CONTACT

Roxanne Buhler | SWIS Worker

Languages spoken: English

Roxanne grew up in southern Manitoba and spent the majority of her adult life in various communities throughout the province. Living in different ethnic towns gave her perspective on what it means to “come from away”, and this was further enhanced when her family spent a year in Mexico as missionaries/teachers. Steinbach is now her home of 16 years. Roxanne and her husband live on the south side of the city where they love working in the yard and taking walks with their two dogs. She also likes to read, play video games, knit and crochet.

CONTACT

Isaiah Loewen | SWIS Worker

Languages spoken: English

Isaiah grew up in the Philippines as a missionary kid till he was 12 years old, then moved to the Steinbach area. He has always been intrigued by studying different cultures and learning about the cultures of the world. Isaiah enjoys watching sports and doing things outdoors. He lives with his wife in the Blumenort area.

CONTACT

Opportunities

Opportunity Closing Date

Settlement Partner (Volunteer)

Eastman Immigrant Services Logo

Settlement Partner (Volunteer)

The Settlement Partner Program is designed to match an Eastman resident with an individual who has recently settled in the area. Partners assist newcomers in learning about the community and about Canadian culture.

Primary Responsibilities
– Introduce newcomer to resources and activities in the area
– Assist newcomer in understanding Canadian culture
– Provide friendship and encouragement

Qualifications and Skills
– Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– A valid and current criminal record check may be required

Location and Time Commitment
– Settlement partner meetings will be held at various locations in the community, depending on the preference of the applicant and volunteer
– 3-month commitment
– Meet 1-2 times per week
– 1.5 hours per meeting

One-to-One Citizenship Tutor (Volunteer)

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One-to-One Citizenship Tutor (Volunteer)

In order to become a Canadian citizen, each applicant must pass a test on various aspects of Canadian history, geography, and government. Many individuals appreciate the assistance of a tutor in their preparations for the test.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Familiarize yourself with the material in the ‘Discover Canada’ guide
  • Assist permanent residents who are applying for Canadian citizenship in their preparations for the citizenship test
  • Ensure that participants are aware of the citizenship test requirements and expectations

Qualifications and Skills

  • Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting
  • CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) 6 or higher, if applicable
  • A valid criminal record check may be required

Location and Time Commitment

  • Tutoring sessions may be held at the Eastman Immigrant Services office, or elsewhere in the community, depending on the preference of the applicant and volunteer
  • Minimum 6 week commitment
  • Meet 1-2 times per week
  • 5 hours per meeting

Language Buddy (Volunteer)

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Language Buddy (Volunteer)

This program is designed to match an English-speaking person with a newcomer who would like to improve their English-speaking skills and confidence levels.

Primary Responsibilities
– Help newcomers develop their English language skills
– Prepare materials and topics of discussion for each meeting
– Provide clients with feedback on their progress

Qualifications and Skills
– Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) 6 or higher, if applicable
– A valid and current criminal record check may be required

Location and Time Commitment
– Language buddy meetings may be held at the Eastman Immigrant Services office, or elsewhere in the community, depending on the preference of the applicant and volunteer
– 3-month commitment
– Meet 1-2 times per week
– 1.5 hours per meeting

Citizenship Class Facilitator (Volunteer)

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Citizenship Class Facilitator (Volunteer)

In order to become a Canadian citizen, each applicant must pass a test on various aspects of Canadian history, geography, and politics. Citizenship classes assist applicants in studying for this test.

Primary Responsibilities
– Lead citizenship classes to maximize student success on the Canadian citizenship test
– Prepare material for each class, based on the ‘Discover Canada’ guide
– Ensure that students are aware of the citizenship test requirements and expectations
– Track attendance and provide to program coordinator

Qualifications and Skills
– Fluent in English with a CLB of 8 or equivalent
– Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
– Ability to instruct and offer guidance to groups of students
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– Strong time management and organizational skills
– Ability to work independently and in a team setting
– Previous teaching experience is an asset

Location and Time Commitment
– Classes will be held at the Eastman Immigrant Services offices
– 8-10-week commitment
– One hour of teaching time per week, plus additional preparation time

Interpreter (Volunteer)

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Interpreter (Volunteer)

Primary Responsibilities
– Provide unofficial oral (spoken) interpretation in various environments
– Translate documents into English

Qualifications and Skills
– Fluency (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) in the non-English language
– Fluent in English (speaking, listening, reading and writing) with min. English CLB of 8
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– Previous interpreting and translation experience is an asset

Location and Time Commitment
– Interpretation may take place at the office or in the community
– Time commitment is on an as required basis. Availability can be discussed with the volunteer coordinator.

    Why Work With Us?

  • When we were newcomers to Canada, EIS welcomed us. When we needed to learn English to work, EIS helped us. When we applied for nomination to the province and for permanent residence, EIS supported us during the whole process. We love them.

    - Oscar Rada & Catherine Sanchez

How Can We Help You?

We offer our services in a variety of languages: English, French, High and Low German, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Gujarati and Hindi.

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