WINNIPEG -- A new policy will remove barriers and make for an easier transition for newcomers to the city.

On Tuesday, the mayor’s Executive Policy Committee (EPC) approved the Newcomers Welcome and Inclusion Policy, a framework designed to help newcomers gain access to city services more easily.

“Having a welcome and inclusion policy that has clear accessibility features for newcomers creates a promising future for newcomers to be able to engage with the city services,” said Abdikheir Ahmed, director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg.

Some of the objectives outlined in the policy include developing a welcome page on the city’s website for newcomers. Another objective is the implementation of a welcome pass. The welcome pass would act as a low cost bus pass, and would also grant access to city owned recreation centers like indoor pools for a low cost.

Jennifer Chen, the public engagement lead for the Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba immigrated here in 2009. She said she believes this policy addresses one of the biggest challenges newcomers face.

“Many recommendations from the policy address the racism issue,” she said. “That’s the number one issues that community members are looking at.”

Ahmed said 15 of the 35 action items in the Newcomers Policy require no funding, the rest will need money from the city. Both Ahmed and Chen are hopeful all the action items will be implemented by the city.

“I’m looking forward to the city investing some resources to make this work,” Ahmed said.

Mayor Brian Bowman said there are still some decisions to make.

“There are a number of budgetary items that council will ultimately have to consider going forward,” the mayor said. “But I’d like to be able to do it in the context of a framework that’s approved by council.”

The Newcomers Welcome and Inclusion Policy passed EPC and is now awaiting final approval from City Council.