Skilled and unskilled labour shortages remain a significant concern across Eastern Ontario. Recognizing the pivotal role of immigrant attraction and retention in addressing these shortages, our municipal leaders, economic development partners, and business owners have come together. The Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) – Lanark & Renfrew, in partnership with The Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB), Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP), Réseau de soutien à l’immigration francophone de l’est de l’Ontario (RSIFEO), and St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership – Leeds and Grenville, believe that a holistic regional immigration strategy is the key to success. “Although each partnering community is distinct, we share many similarities in our community characteristics. This initiative aims to acknowledge that by collaborating, we can leverage each community’s strengths and highlight collective opportunities for the mindful and conscientious growth of newcomer populations, ultimately strengthening our communities, shares Jodi Bucholtz, Manager, LIP-Lanark & Renfrew.
The Eastern Ontario Immigrant Attraction and Retention Strategy: Supporting a Strong, Healthy, Vibrant, and Diverse Future for The County of Renfrew, Lanark County, City of Ottawa, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry United Counties, and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell aims to showcase promising practices currently implemented by Canadian municipalities in welcoming newcomers. “To ensure the region’s continued economic growth, securing a supply of talent to fuel local workforce needs will likely be the biggest challenge the six regions will face in the coming years. However, by collaborating and supporting one another, the six counties can implement a unified immigration strategy to achieve economic objectives,” shares Melissa Francis, Program Manager, St. Lawrence-Rideau Immigration Partnership – Leeds and Grenville. It also provides municipal leaders and the Eastern Ontario community with a blueprint for attracting newcomers and strengthening their integration in regional communities over the next three to five years. “This collaboration will bridge gaps for our ever-growing community; It will help with filling existing vacancies – addressing labour force shortages while encouraging newcomers to establish themselves in our area,” says Martha Woods, Executive Director of Eastern Ontario Training Board and Local Immigration Partnership for Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, Russell.
To enhance immigrant integration, municipalities can focus on three key objectives: establishing a shared vision and priorities, leveraging LIPs and RIF for bottom-up insights, and building relationships with higher levels of government. “It is essential to strengthen the vitality and demographic weight of Francophone minority communities through the successful attraction, retention and integration of immigrants while promoting linguistic duality, diversity and the Canadian social heritage,” shares Catherine St-Hilaire, Gestionnaire adjointe – RSIFEO. The Strategy includes 16 priority actions to guide the attraction of new immigrants and ensure proper coordination and alignment of immigrant settlement and retention services. By doing so, they can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for newcomers. “The Strategy is about proactively planning for the future of the region. It is about collaborative leadership between regional municipalities and working together in partnership with civil society, educational institutes, and businesses to attract newcomers to the region and to prepare the infrastructure needed for their integration,” shares Hindia Mohamoud, Director of the OLIP.
To access the Eastern Ontario Immigrant Attraction and Retention Strategy, please visit the following links:
Save-the-Date Announcement: Mark your calendars for the Eastern Ontario Immigrant Attraction and Retention Strategy Summit on Oct 4 and 5. The Summit aims to introduce and unite leaders, policymakers, community organizations, and stakeholders to explore innovative approaches and best practices in attracting and retaining immigrants in our region. Keynote speakers include Kareem El-Assal, immigration policy expert and the Director of Policy & Digital Strategy at CanadaVisa and Wali Shah, a dynamic spoken word artist, speaker, and youth advocate.