AIMGA members assist workers of meat packing plants who have been impacted by COVID-19

AIMGA was called upon by AHS to assist in supporting Cargill Food employees and to identify other immigrant serving organizations that could provide supports. AIMGA reached out to ActionDignity as they had also been called upon by the plant in Brooks to assist. Given that CCIS which has offices in both High River (FCIS) and Brooks (BCIS), AIMGA suggested working with them. Together we’ve been working tirelessly to support the workers in ways our respective organizations can. All three organizations made calls to the 2000+ employees. CCIS reached out to other organizations to support in the making of calls as we had a 72 hour turn around time from April 24th to 26th.

A team of our AIMGA members made over 500 calls to check in on employees and their families, provide education around COVID19, and identify supports that were required in order to help families isolate safely. Items such as food, household cleaners, sanitizer were identified as some of the most immediate needs. These referrals were provided to CCIS who then later put out a “call to action” to other Immigrant serving agencies to assist with the demand for food donations and the delivery of these essential items. ActionDignity has offered webinars on the financial benefits workers can apply for as there were many questions and concerns around this area. ActionDignity also reached out to ethnocultural organizations to obtain immediate delivery of food to families over the weekend. CCIS was also delivering food to households in Calgary.

Some AIMGA members went to Brooks, AB to offer support in first language to those who needed it for the COVID19 testing that took place from April 26-28 as they too have experienced a large outbreak.

AIMGA members along with BCIS interpreters

Our members continue to work alongside AHS in Town Hall meetings to provide interpretation support where needed. They are also conducting follow up calls to ensure questions around COVID19 are being addressed and that there’s an understanding of what isolation means as the mixed messages around COVID19 can be confusing.

Deidre Lake, Executive Director wants communities and ethno-cultural organizations to know that members are happy to support in ways they can. They’ve been looking for ways to get involved in the fight against this new disease. It is important to us that newcomers have accurate information about COVID19 and that this information is provided in various languages. Therefore, our members have come together to provide videos in 19+ languages. We hope you pass these on to communities at large.

We also would like to thank AHS for leading our community task force and our members for the supports they’ve provided along with ActionDignity and CCIS/FCIS/BCIS.

Food donations and supports: If any organization is interested in donating funds for food so vulnerable families can isolate safely at home, please email Deidre Lake at

Deidre Lake

Deidre’s career started with teaching. From there, she specialized in performance-based, competency-based assessment tools related to language, communication, and workplace integration. She’s managed various programs and initiatives for non-profit organizations and large institutions. She’s been a member of various provincial and national advisory committees. From management, she moved into the areas of curriculum design and research. She’s led several research studies related to language assessment and a longitudinal study on International Medical Graduates in Canada. Deidre has been working with International Medical Graduates since 2004 and brings with her a wealth of knowledge, experience, and ideas. She has a proven track record in the development of innovative, high quality, outcome driven, online and face-to-face training programs, including the highly successful MCAP program for IMGs in Alberta. She is enthusiastic and driven to continue to lead, develop, and implement quality educational programs. She is committed to excellence and passionate about IMG education, workplace training, e-learning initiatives, and the evolution of technology in the areas of education and healthcare.