Helping international students, families feel at home

News release

New Dawn to forge connections between Cape Breton University students, communities, businesses

March 11, 2021 · Sydney, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Supporting newcomers is integral to realizing Atlantic Canada’s vision for a strong, diverse and sustainable future. The Government of Canada is committed to providing international students with the tools and resources they need to transition into their professional lives, achieve their career goals and feel comfortable making the region their home.  

Federal government supporting students during studies, post-graduation

Today, Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, announced a non-repayable contribution of $609,317 to New Dawn Enterprises Limited to provide community and business integration services to international students over three years.

The Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration (CBICI), a division of New Dawn, will provide support for international students and their families in an off-campus, community setting. Entrepreneurship-related training, networking opportunities, employment readiness workshops and business skills development programming will help international students learn about career opportunities. The project will also provide community and social activities to reinforce Cape Breton’s appeal as a supportive place to learn and to stay after graduation.

Strategic investments like this one position Atlantic Canada to become a top destination for talent and reinforce the Government of Canada’s commitment to building a stronger, more inclusive and resilient economy.


“We welcome the talent, skills, ideas and perspectives of international students that are helping Atlantic Canada build thriving, successful communities. We are committed to providing these students with cultural, career and networking supports as they transition from student to professional.”
- The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“It is my hope that these enriched services and resources will make it easier for more international students to find their place – and perhaps a permanent home – in one of Cape Breton’s vibrant communities.”
- Jaime Battiste, Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria

“The international students and graduates who find their way to the Island through their studies at Cape Breton University are an immeasurable gift and one that we must work, as a community, to embrace and celebrate. They offer us unimaginable new futures here. We are honoured to play a role in connecting students, graduates, and their families, with communities, businesses, and opportunities in Unama’ki/Cape Breton.”
- Erika Shea, President and CEO, New Dawn Organization

Quick facts

  • New Dawn Enterprises Limited, a not-for-profit social enterprise, is the oldest Community Development Corporation in Canada.

  • The New Dawn/CBICI International Student and Graduate Support and Integration project  builds on a pilot project from 2018 to 2020 that provided employment and entrepreneurship activities, services and referrals to students and graduates as well as community connection and integration activities, such as volunteering and outdoor activities.

  • The new project will serve 800 students the first year and scale up in years two and three to serve more students.

  • ACOA’s contribution is provided through its Innovative Communities Fund.

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Chris Brooks
Communications Director, Nova Scotia
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Nadine Paruch  
Interim Manager
Cape Breton Island Centre for Immigration

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