For any city and its residents to enjoy a bright, inclusive and prosperous future, growth is essential. When that city is located in a more remote area, ensuring that growth continues to occur takes a lot of behind-the-scenes planning.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has been doing great work across the country through a specific mechanism they’ve created called Local Immigration Partnerships. There are hundreds of them in Canada and five are located in northern Ontario. Of those five, two are hosted within municipal governments: Greater Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.
These LIPs support the development of community-based partnerships and they do a lot of thoughtful, strategic and creative planning that is centred around the unique needs of newcomers. It’s a massive undertaking with a really wide scope, and includes key stakeholders such as employers, school boards, health centres and networks, boards of trade, levels of government, professional associations, ethno-cultural organizations, faith-based organizations and the community and social services sectors.
The Sudbury LIP in particular focuses on a number of activities that encourage welcoming communities and newcomer retention, including arranging regular council and working group meetings, identifying and engaging in research, liaising between community partners and different levels of government, ongoing outreach to community groups, providing cross-cultural awareness and anti-racism workshops, and working with other partners on welcoming community initiatives and campaigns.
If that sounds remarkably comprehensive, it’s by design, and it illustrates just how much large-scale cooperation and coordination is required. The partnership’s aim is to identify issues, share solutions, build capacity and preserve collective memory. The work, as you can imagine, is ongoing and takes time.
Some might wonder why all this attention is being paid to attracting newcomers to Greater Sudbury; others might even question whether this is really necessary. In reality, it’s not enough that any one city is able to simply attract newcomers, it’s about the proper settlement of newcomers. They need to make sure that new residents are included and retained, so that they will want to make the city their permanent home.
“The Sudbury Local Immigration Partnership focuses on the development of different initiatives to ensure that Greater Sudbury continues to be welcoming for newcomers of all walks of life,” says Bela Ravi, Chair of the Local Immigration Partnership. “The organization has played a key role in bringing together various organizations across the city to continue to develop a welcoming and inclusive community.”
The program is funded by the Government of Canada and falls within the city’s Economic Development Division.
The Sudbury LIP started in 2010 but has expanded its activities dramatically since 2018. While it doesn’t provide direct service to newcomers, it identifies gaps, leverages community capacity and supports all activities that increase retention rates and promote a welcoming community for all.
“Immigration is one of the different avenues to secure and strengthen our social and economic prosperity,” explains Enrique Paraco, Immigration Development Officer. “The Local Immigration Partnership works to ensure all newcomers have the opportunity to become prosperous as they grow roots in the city they now call home.”