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York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy at halfway point

Newmarket – The Regional Municipality of York and the Community Partnership Council today announced they are at the halfway point of a three-year action plan set out in the York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy.

The announcement was made this morning at Building Bridges, the York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy Symposium, which brought together over 100 immigration professionals and newcomers.

Building Bridges provided an opportunity to profile actions York Region is taking to help newcomers integrate and thrive in our community,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. “This growing and vital segment of our community provides many positive contributions to our local culture and economy.”

During today’s symposium, an update was provided on the progress of the York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy. Of the 10 collective actions and 115 individual actions outlined in the document, 10 per cent are complete, 70 per cent are already in progress and 20 per cent will be initiated in 2014 and 2015.

“Moving to a new country presents many challenges and opportunities, both economically and socially,” said City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Co-Chair of the Community Partnership Council. “Through our strategy, we are helping new Canadians integrate quickly in York Region, creating a healthy community for all residents.”

To date, some of the completed collective actions in the York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy include:

  • Hosting The Gateway, York Region’s first conference for Internationally Educated Professionals on October 23, 2012, with more than 485 newcomers and employers attending
  • Expanding settlement programming for newcomers at all nine local municipal library systems
  • Establishing the first region-wide Municipal Multicultural Reference Group to actively engage all nine local municipalities, hospitals, school boards and the United Way of York Region together on diversity and inclusivity
  • Expanding the Mentorship Partnership Program to the City of Markham, Town of Newmarket, York Regional Police and York Region District School Board

“Today’s event provided an excellent networking opportunity, as well as serving as a check-in point on the progress of the York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy,” said City of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of York Region’s Community and Health Services Committee. “It’s clear that ideas are moving to action, and many initiatives are underway to better support our newcomer residents.”

The symposium also featured a presentation introducing a new online tool available on to help newcomer entrepreneurs access information easier. An online resource will provide international students with links to community supports and will be released in the next few weeks.

 “York Region has one of the largest immigration populations in Canada,” said Stephen Lam, Director of Immigrant and Community Services, Catholic Community Services of York Region and Co-Chair of the Community Partnership Council. “The web enhancements provide potential newcomers with access to information about our community before they get here.”

The York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy, released in 2011, was created in collaboration between York Region and the Community Partnership Council. It was developed under the Local Immigration Partnership initiative and funded through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The tools and enhancements to  have been funded by the Province of Ontario.

Online versions of the Immigration Settlement Strategy Progress Report and York Region Immigration Settlement Strategy are available at

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Media Contact: 

Kimberley Henderson, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York
Phone: 905-830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 72053, 
After-hours: 905-806-1216,

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