Vancouver bike ride
Canada introduces newcomers to bike riding

This week, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced a $970,000 investment to fund a project that supports increased physical activity and healthy living for immigrant populations in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax.

The Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISSofBC) will use this funding for the “Newcomer Bike Mentorship Program,” which supports newcomers in making cycling a regular form of transportation during their settlement processes.

The project will match immigrants and refugees with local bike riding experts and enthusiasts who will provide them with support, resources, ideas for activities, and organise group bike riding events.

Through this mentorship program, newcomers in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax will have the opportunity to become familiar with their city’s bike riding routes, rules, and culture while regularly exercising. This will also help people learn about the life-long health and chronic disease prevention benefits from bike riding as a regular form of exercise.

Research shows that most immigrant adults coming to Canada tend to see their health decline after their arrival. This decline is due to decreased levels of physical activity, poor diet, stress, and social isolation. These can in turn lead them to become more prone to chronic diseases.

Minister of Health, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos said: "Newcomers to Canada are an integral part of what makes our country so strong. Ensuring they maintain healthy behaviours after their arrival is also integral to their long-term health. Urban cycling is developing quickly in many Canadian cities and is making cycling a safe, affordable, and practical transportation mode and a great way to keep active. Through mentors, newcomers will get to know their new community better and develop healthy behaviours that will help reduce their risk of developing chronic disease."

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