Throughout 2011 the L.I.P. surveyed immigrants, community agencies and local business and political leaders on the subject of immigration. The goal of this process was to obtain an accurate assessment of the strengths and challenges, as well as general impression on immigration and its effect on our economic and social future.
We certainly faced our own challenges throughout this process. Community agencies were very willing to participate, many through a valuable commitment by participating in our council. Extracting information and feelings from both immigrants and general population did come with certain challenges. Immigrants were often reluctant to share information, indicating fear of reprisal. Focus groups were difficult to arrange due to the large geographical region and lack of concentrated areas of immigrants. Diligent work and extensive communication did win out, and we managed to get enough information to accurately assess the current state of immigration to our region.
This region is largely rural and has a lower than average unemployment level combined with a higher than average older population. Economic challenges for the future are further compounded by the trend in youth out-migration. The ability to attract, integrate and retain new workplace talent is going to be extremely important to the continued economic and social health of this region. The region needs to band together to overcome the challenges, strengthen the weaknesses and promote a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers.
The LIP Council has developed a strategy targeting four key “Action Areas” based on the results of this extensive research and open community dialogue. The council looks forward to assisting the community in addressing these key areas for the long term best interest of all community members. Throughout the next year, council will work at guiding the implementation of changes to existing services as well as the development of new, sustainable initiatives.
Working together with a wide representation of community leaders from a variety of backgrounds (Settlement Agencies, Employment Ontario service delivery sites, Social Services, Municipal and Provincial politicians etc.) and with the “voice” of our immigrant and non-immigrant populations, we look forward to the implementation of this Strategy.
Diane Coombs and Denis Thibault
Five Eastern Counties L.I.P. des cinq Comtés de l’est
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Community Connection & Social Integration
Racism & Discrimination