René Dumont is like a member of the family. He’s there to lean on for help when times get stressful and he’s a part of the celebration when it all goes well. Working as support services for temporary foreign workers through the Town of Banff, in partnership with Calgary Catholic Immigration Services, for the past four years has made him a big part of hundreds of lives in Banff. (He opened 462 new files in 2014 after the government made several changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program.) With a knack for remembering the ins and out of immigration rules and a passion for learning more about the people he meets, René says he feels rewarded through his job, which also sees him lending support to those on the path to permanent residency.
“The human factor is the most rewarding part of the job. It makes me so happy when it all works out for people,” he says. “It’s also amazing how thankful people are for having support through this process.”
And they’re grateful because of the effort and dedication René puts into their individual situations, says Banffite Sheena Sabas.
“René is really hands on with all of the people that ask for help. He even helps outside of work hours to answer any questions being asked,” Sabas says. “He inspires, helps, and shares with knowledge with others and he has changed a lot of people’s lives in the Bow Valley community.”
René says he does his best to find solutions because: “People work so hard to stay in Canada and it’s heart breaking when it doesn’t work out.”
Originally from a small town in Quebec, René moved to Banff 20 years ago and while a lot has changed for him — his first job was cleaning windows and he’s now married to his wife Lia — one aspect has remained the same: he loves the people he’s met here.
“Everyone is from somewhere else and so it’s been easy to make new friends. I enjoy connecting with people, which is why I like my job so much. Yes, the immigration information is the same, but everyone has such a different story.”