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Increase in allocations to Provincial Nominee Program likely to lead to influx of Israeli immigrants to Winnipeg

Israelis who have come here under PNPBy BERNIE BELLAN From time to time we’ve had articles on this website that refer to the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). If you’re not familiar with that program, here’s a summary of how it works:
Although the Federal government is ostensibly responsible for immigration to Canada, beginning in 1998, the Federal government (when the Minister of Immigration at that time was our own Lloyd Axworthy), allowed Manitoba to “nominate” a small number of individuals to immigrate to Manitoba, to fill labour needs in the province at that time.

Here is how the program first began, according to information on a Province of Manitoba website, and how it has developed since:
“Manitoba was the first province to launch a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) in 1998. As a small province with few newcomers, it needed the PNP to promote itself as a destination of choice to skilled immigrants. Since then, Manitoba has been a tremendous immigration success story. Thanks to the Manitoba PNP, immigration has played a major role in Manitoba’s population, labour force, and economic growth.
“The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) was Canada’s first PNP. It became a permanent immigration program in 1998.
“The program launched to help grow the province’s economy through immigration, based on their economic and labour market needs.
“In its first year, the MPNP welcomed 418 new immigrants. Today, the province nominates more than 4,000 new immigrants through the program per year. (Ed. note: The information on the website where we obtained information about the PNP is now quite out of date. The province nominated 6,275 individuals as candidates for immigration under the program in 2021.)
“Manitoba has been very successful with the MPNP. In fact, without it, Manitoba’s GDP would be up to 30 per cent lower.
“Manitoba is also popular among newcomers. Having a friend or relative in Manitoba helps you to immigrate through the MPNP. In addition, over 90 per cent of provincial nominees get a job in their first year. The province’s retention rate is high with almost 90 per cent choosing to stay in the province.
“The Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) seeks recent graduates, skilled workers, businesspeople and their families with the intention and ability to successfully settle and economically establish in Manitoba as permanent residents. Manitoba makes it easy to immigrate and settle in our province.
“The Skilled Workers Stream is locally driven and based on the needs of Manitoba employers. We select internationally trained and experienced workers who have the skills needed in the local labour market, and nominate them to receive Canadian permanent resident visas to settle and work in Manitoba.”

Under the program, prospective immigrants are granted “points” based upon various criteria that they meet. Points are given for skill levels, educational background, and whether they have family members already living in Manitoba.

In 2016 immigration consultant Eka Mednikov wrote an article for our paper describing how important the Provincial Nominee program has been in helping Israelis, in particular, move here. Eka also explained how the Jewish Federation has worked hand in hand with the provincial government to bring newcomers here:
“The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg has the option to support applicants interested in settling in Manitoba and become part of the Jewish community in Winnipeg. The minimum requirements are: Jewish life style, being between the ages of 21 and 45, a post-secondary education, two years of work experience and knowledge of English. Eligible applicants are asked to travel to Winnipeg for an exploratory visit during which time they will attend an interview with a Jewish Federation representative and a Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program Immigration Officer. Due to very high demand, to obtain permanent Canadian residency under this program might take between three to five years.
“Applicants who have family members who have resided at least one year in Manitoba can use the support of their family members for their immigration process. Interested applicants are screened according to a points system that is based upon the age, education, work experience and level of English of the applicant.
“The friends’ support stream is very similar to family support with one unfortunate difference: Points granted for having friends in the province are minimal and in the past two years I haven’t seen anyone able to move here relying upon friends’ support.
“Foreign workers coming to Manitoba on a work permit are eligible to apply for residency under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program after six months of continuous employment and a job offer from a Manitoba employer. This is the way used by many truck drivers to move to Canada from Israel.”

Jon Reyes
Manitoba Minister of Advanced
Education, Skills and Immigration

Recently we were contacted by a representative for Jon Reyes, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration for the Province of Manitoba, who told us that, after a lull period in the Provincial Nominee program that came about in 2020 as a result of the onset of Covid, the province is now accepting a large number of immigrants through the program once again.
We were curious to know how many immigrants had been coming from Israel under the program, so we posed some questions to Minister Reyes.
We asked the Minister: “How many immigrants is the province hoping to bring in under that program this year?”
Minister Reyes responded: Last year, the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP) nominated a record 6,275 candidates as individuals who can then apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residence. The program’s nomination allocation has not been finalized for 2022. The Manitoba government is waiting to receive its MPNP 2022 allocation from the federal government in the near future.”

We asked the Minister how many immigrants from Israel have come here through the PNP?
In the table accompanying this story you can see the number of Israeli citizens who have come to Manitoba under the Provincial Nominee Program between 2017 and 2021. The drop-off in numbers in 2020 and 2021 is directly attributable to the onset of Covid. Many individuals who had contacted the Jewish Federation about coming to Manitoba under the PNP delayed coming here for exploratory visits.

We also asked the Minister this question: “Are there particular classes of immigrants that Manitoba is wanting to recruit? e.g., computer programmers, nurses, etc. (also good hockey players)”
The Minister responded:
“The MPNP is an economic program that aims to address labour market needs by nominating skilled workers and business investors who satisfy program criteria – and who are employable in their areas of professional experience – across all industry sectors.
“Based on the Manitoba government’s Labour Market Outlook 2021-2025 and recent Manitoba occupations gap analyses for the 2022-2026 period, the need for the following occupations is expected to be acute until 2026, given new and expanding businesses and organizations and replacement of retiring workers:

· Retail salespersons
· Transport truck drivers
· Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates
· Retail and wholesale trade managers
· Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
· Food counter attendants, kitchen helpers and related support occu- pations; and
· Elementary school and kindergarten teachers

Going forward, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg is anticipating quite a large increase in the number of immigrants who will be coming here under the PNP. As Dalia Szpiro, GrowWinnipeg Director for the Federation, told me recently, there is a large backlog of prospective immigrants who delayed coming here for exploratory visits. In the past little while many individuals have now been coming here on those exploratory visits.
In our next issue we hope to have detailed information from the Federation about the number of individuals who are hoping to come here under the PNP with the assistance of the Jewish Federation.

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Winnipeg-born Elliot Lazar to star as Paul Simon in “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” at Centennial Concert Hall

By BERNIE BELLAN Elliot Lazar’s career has long been chronicled in the pages of The Jewish Post & News. Do a search for his name in our “Search Archives” button and you will find a multitude of stories about Elliot from the time he was five years old.
A talented singer, musician, and musical arranger, also a graduate of Gray Academy, the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music, and the Boston Conservatory, Elliot has appeared many times in Winnipeg, including most recently last summer in Rainbow Stage’s production of “Rent.”
He’s been constantly busy – as a review of some of his past acting credits reveals. Last season alone, in addition to his performing in “Rent,” Elliot also appeared in the National Tour of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “The Band’s Visit” (Huntington/Speakeasy Stage).
We’re excited to announce that Elliot will be appearing in Winnipeg for one night only, May 21, starring as Paul Simon in “The Simon & Garfunkel Story.”

Here’s Elliot’s own story about his growing up in Winnipeg:
“I grew up in Garden City, attended Gray Academy (K-12) and majored in vocal performance at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music. I lived in Winnipeg until I was 22, so I’m pretty connected with the arts scene there still. The venue we’re playing, the Centennial Concert Hall, I was last seen in Guys and Dolls in concert with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Rainbow Stage (2019), and before that I sang with the Manitoba Opera Chorus in 3 productions there. My last performance in Winnipeg was in Rent with Rainbow Stage this past summer. Other local performing arts companies I have a history with there are Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Winnipeg Studio Theatre, Dry Cold Productions, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Manitoba Underground Opera, Little Opera Company, and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. I grew up going to see shows at the Concert Hall, so it’s a wonderful full circle moment for me.”

Elliot Lazar (second from left bottom row) as Paul Simon

About “The Simon & Garfunkel Story”:
Nostalgia-inducing unforgettable hits! The internationally-acclaimed hit theater show The Simon & Garfunkel Story ( returns to the road in 2024 with a North American tour to more than 25 cities. Kicking off in Richmond, Kentucky on January 28, 2024, the immersive concert-style tribute show will recreate the magic and authenticity of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel on stage and chronicles the amazing journey shared by the iconic, GRAMMY-award winning folk-rock duo. It tells the story from their humble beginnings as Tom & Jerry, to their incredible success as one of the best-selling music groups of the ‘60s, and to their dramatic split in 1970. The Simon & Garfunkel Story culminates with the pair’s famous “The Concert in Central Park” reunion in 1981 which had more than half a million fans in attendance. Tickets are on sale now.
The show features a set list of nearly 30 songs and uses state-of-the-art video projection, photos and original film footage. A full live band will perform all of the hits including “Mrs. Robinson,” “Cecilia,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Homeward Bound” and many more complete with the unmistakably perfect harmonies that will transport audiences down memory lane.
With more than 100 million album sales since 1965, Simon & Garfunkel’s unforgettable songs and poetic lyrics poignantly captured the times made them one of the most successful folk-rock duos of all time. Over the years, they won 10 GRAMMY Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1977, the Brit Awards honored their “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album with Best International Album. In 2003, Simon & Garfunkel were awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the following year saw their “The Sound of Silence” awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

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Ida and the late Saul Alpern have donated 2 ambulances and a scooter to Magen David Adom in past 4 years

Saul z"l and Ida Alpern

By BERNIE BELLAN Saul Alpern passed away in 2022, but before he died he and his wife Ida had decided to make Magen David Adom a major recipient of their generosity.

As Myron Love noted in an October 2020 article the Alperns had been contributing small amounts to the Canadian Magen David Adom for some time, but it was in that year they decided to donate $160,000 for the purchase of a Mobile Intensive Care Unit for Israel’s Magen David Adom.

As Myron wrote in that 2020 article, an MICUA (which is larger than an ambulance, is staffed by paramedics, and responds only to the most medically serious cases) was donated “to the people of Israel in memory of Saul Alpern’s parents and siblings who perished in the Holocaust.

“It is an expression of my love for my family and my love of Israel,” Saul Alpern said at the time.

In early 2022 the Alperns donated yet another $170,000 for the purchase of a second MICU for Magen David Adom.

The scooter recently donated by Ida Alpern in memory of her late husband and parents/plaque imprinted on the front of the scooter carrier box

Saul Alpern passed away in November 2022, but Ida Alpern has now continued the legacy of giving to Canadian Magen David Adom that she and Saul had begun several years before. Just recently Ida contributed $39,000 toward the purchase of an emergency medical scooter. According to the CMDA website, “the scooter, which is driven by a paramedic, can get through traffic faster than the Standard Ambulance or MICU and provide pre-hospital care. It contains life-saving equipment, including a defibrillator, an oxygen tank, and other essential medical equipment.”

I asked Ida whether she wanted to say anything about the motivation for her and her late husband’s support for CMDA. She wrote, “Having survived the Holocaust, and being a Zionist, Saul felt that supporting Israel was of the utmost importance.”

On May 7, CMDA will be honouring Ida and Saul z”l Alpern at a dinner and show at the Centro Caboto Centre. Another highlight that evening will be the announcement of the purchase of an ambulance for CMDA by another Winnipegger, Ruth Ann Borenstein. That ambulance will be in honour of Ruth’s late parents, Gertrude and Harry Mitchell. The evening will also commemorate the late Yoram East (aka Hamizrachi), who was a well-known figure both in Israel and here in Winnipeg.

For more information about the May 7 event or to purchase tickets phone 587-435-5808 or email

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Simkin Centre looking for volunteers

A scene from last year's Simkin Stroll

We received the following email from Heather Blackman, Simkin Centre Director of Volunteers & Resident Experience:

Happy Spring Everyone! Hope you all are well. We have a number of upcoming volunteer opportunities that I wanted to share with you. Please take a look at what we have listed here and let me know if you are available for any of the following. I can be reached at or 204-589-9008.
Save the date! The Simkin Stroll is on June 25th this year and we need tons of volunteers to assist. This is our annual fundraiser and there is something for everyone to help with from walking with Residents in the Stroll to manning booths and tables, event set up and take down and much more. Volunteers will be needed from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on this day. Come and help for the full event or for any period within that timeframe that works for you.
Resident Store – This tuck shop style cart will be up for business shortly. Residents will be assisting to stock and run the store for 2 hours 2- 3 times per week in the afternoons. Volunteer support is needed to assist residents with restocking items and monetary transactions.
Passover Volunteers
Volunteers are needed to assist with plating Seder plates for Residents (date to be determined for plating)
Volunteers are needed to assist Residents to and from Passover Services and Come and Go Teas.
Times volunteers are needed for services/teas:
April 22cnd – First Seder 1:30-3:30 p.m.
April 23rd – Passover Service Day 1 – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
April 23rd – Second Seder – 1:30-3:30 p.m.
April 24th – Passover Service – Day 2 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
April 29th – Passover Service – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
April 29th- Passover Tea – 1:30-3:30 p.m.
April 30th – Passover Service – 9:30 -11:30 a.m.
April 30th – Passover Tea – 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Admin/Paperwork Volunteers – Volunteers are needed to assist with filing and other administrative duties. A monthly volunteering job is also available to input information on programming into Recreation activity calendars. Support would be provided for this.
Adult Day Program – A volunteer is needed to assist with the Mondays Adult Day Program Group. A regular ongoing weekly commitment on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Assist with Recreation programming and lunch supervision for our Adult Day Program participants that come in from the community for the day.
Biking Volunteers – Take our residents out for a spin on one of our specialty mobility bicycles. Training is provided and volunteers will be needed throughout the Spring, Summer and early Fall.

With summer coming there is also opportunity to assist with outings and other outdoor programming! Please let me know if you are interested!

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