Priority 1: Create a culture of inclusion
All residents of Durham Region, whether they are newly arrived or have been in Durham for generations, have a right to fully participate in their community. Inclusive communities ensure that all people have a right to and a responsibility for civic engagement, labour force participation, and social inclusion. By creating a culture of inclusion, all Durham residents will benefit.
It takes an entire community to create a culture of inclusion, to successfully welcome, integrate and settle newcomers. All residents, working in partnership, can contribute to the suite of services necessary for successful settlement and integration. Newcomers are families, extended families and individuals with independent needs. Growing the capacity of all service providers in Durham Region will result in improved and accelerated settlement outcomes for Durham residents.
- Diversity is valued in local communities and intolerance and discrimination are challenged.
- Diverse populations are engaged and represented in civic affairs.
- Agencies, organizations and institutions have an understanding of newcomer needs and incorporate those needs into planning processes.
Priority 2: Support labour market attachment of newcomers
An integral component of local labour market and economic development strategies is to establish Durham Region as a community that actively welcomes and values the experience and training that all residents possess. Newcomers bring a wealth of technical skills, knowledge and international industry contacts to the Canadian economy. Ensuring that newcomers and local employers find a mutually beneficial match is critical to building a strong, resilient economy.
Ontario’s Immigration Strategy acknowledges that “mastering language fluency and cross-cultural communication quickly is critical for immigrant success and building strong, two-way global connections in our economy.” Programs exist in Durham that provide both newcomers and employers with opportunities to learn about each other thereby decreasing barriers to employment for newcomers. The Enhanced Language Training (ELT) program, for example, provides newcomers with language skills for the workplace as well as providing Canadian work experience through internships. The Mentorship Training Program (TMP) pairs newcomers with experienced professionals, providing newcomers with insights into their field of work and access to professional networks. Supporting and promoting innovative programs such as these fosters a welcoming community that allows all residents to contribute their best. Programs exist in Durham that provide both newcomers and employers with opportunities to learn about each other thereby decreasing barriers to employment for newcomers. The Enhanced Language Training (ELT) program, for example, provides newcomers with language skills for the workplace as well as providing Canadian work experience through internships. The Mentorship Training Program (TMP) pairs newcomers with experienced professionals, providing newcomers with insights into their field of work and access to professional networks. Supporting and promoting innovative programs such as these fosters a welcoming community that allows all residents to contribute their best.
- Newcomer-focused labour market partnerships are supported and promoted.
- Settlement, integration services and employment supports for newcomers are coordinated at the community level.
- Agencies, organizations and institutions understand and promote settlement resources to newcomer clients.
Priority 3: Engage employers in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce
“Immigration is not a one-way ticket. Newcomers to Ontario arrive with vital ties and connections to their former homelands that can be leveraged to produce economic growth and prosperity for Ontario.” There is a worldwide competition for the best and brightest. To attract skilled workers to Durham, employers need information and tools to assess credentials and experience. There are a variety of resources available to assist employers to do this, including employer and business associations, human resource professionals and employment service providers.
Attracting newcomers is only one half of the equation. Retaining skilled workers is important to economic growth and to deepening the pool of talent in Durham Region. Ensuring the relationship between new employee and employer is a good one requires adaptation and learning on both sides. Promoting best practices and innovative ways to achieve mutually beneficial working relationships is critical.
- Chambers of Commerce and boards of Trade understand and promote tools and resources for hiring and retaining a diverse workforce.
- Employment service providers understand and promote tools and resources for hiring and retaining a diverse workforce.
- Local employers support programs that provide Canadian work experience to newcomers.
Priority 4: Support two-way integration of diverse populations
Integration is a two-way process; newcomers to a community need to explore and learn and the host community needs to take the time to ask questions and seek mutual understanding. Host communities may change and alter the way things have always been done, new holidays may be celebrated, new games played and new languages may be added to translation services. Newly arrived community members will change as well, and they must be provided with the information to make that change a positive process – whether it’s information about putting out the recycling bins or information about the importance of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to everyday life. Providing opportunities for that two-way learning and eventual two-way integration is a role that all members of the host community can play.
- Volunteering and opportunities for civic engagement are promoted to newcomers, especially newcomer youth.
- The rights and responsibilities of life in Canada are celebrated and promoted to newcomers.
- The Local Diversity and Immigration Partnership council (LDIPC) continues to act as an incubator for ideas, measuring trends, identifying needs and mobilizing the appropriate community resources to meet those needs.
 Ontario’s Immigration Strategy
The First Diversity and Immigration Community Plan
The first Diversity and Immigration Community Plan covered the years 2010-2015. You can find copies of that plan in the links to the right.
The LDIPC produced four annual report cards reporting on the progress against the priorities identified in the first Diversity and Immigration Community Plan. You can find copies of those reports in the links section to the right.