WINNIPEG -- With a large population of immigrants and newcomers landing in Winnipeg, the City is looking at how it can be a more welcoming, racism-free and inclusive place to call home.

According to the Province of Manitoba, nearly 19,000 immigrants came to the province in 2019, an all-time high in Manitoba's 150-year history. The City of Winnipeg said more than 176,000 newcomers have settled in the city.

In light of this, the Human Rights Committee of Council has created a Newcomer Welcome and Inclusion policy to remove barriers for immigrants and address ways the city can improve when it comes to inclusivity.

The policy focuses on five priorities: a welcoming city, a city without racism, equitable and accessible services, a representative workforce, and active implementation.

The policy includes recommendations to educate newcomers on water safety and drowning prevention, as well as working with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services to address key safety issues such as pedestrian and road user safety, fire prevention and extreme cold weather.

It highlights the need to create city-wide anti-racism campaigns to reduce negative attitudes towards newcomers.

It suggests developing a "welcome pass" for newcomers that would allow people to use city programs and services, including public transit, for free or at a reduced price during their first year in Canada.

The policy also recommends the need to bring more diversity to city positions, including making it easier for newcomers to get a job or internship with the Winnipeg Police Service.

The Human Rights Committee of Council specified that other cities, such as Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Ottawa all have similar welcome policies in place.

The policy, which the Human Rights Committee of Council voted to adopt, will now go to the EPC on Feb. 18.