It was a chance to build relationships.

Emergency services personnel in Windsor welcomed about 800 new Canadians Thursday, in a hands-on, interactive event meant to break down stigmas and show new Canadians police, fire and ambulance are here to help.

“We need everyone to know that emergency service, police are here and ambulance, to help people,” says Windsor Sgt. Steve Betteridge.

The day-to-day reality in Windsor is that all emergency services are dealing with a changing community and new Canadians don't always know what to expect when police, fire or an ambulance show up at their door.

In other countries, emergency services operate differently, and not always to Canadian standards. Some new Canadians have lived in countries where police organizations in particular have been perceived to be corrupt or oppressive.

That's why the learning on both sides is so important.

According to Halton regional police diversity officer Nishan Duraiappah, what everyone has learned so far has proven to be not only enlightening, but so important it may actually save lives.