Kudos for innovative immigration program
clear that our LIP group is filling a gap in the area of agencies and employers. In the longer term, we hope for increased inter- cultural knowledge and awareness and the goal of being perceived as a very welcom- ing community.”
“Don’t give up. Just start thinking creatively.”
ALEXANDRIA | The Local Immigration Part- nership (LIP) formed between the T.R. Leger School of Adult, Alternative and Continuing Education and the Eastern Ontario Training Board is being hailed as a unique one in Canada. The partnership has attracted the atten- tion of Canadian Newcomer magazine, which features the agreement on its Web site – http://www.cnmag.ca/lips/1294-five- communities-one-lip. Many of the LIPs are located in urban centres where immigrant populations eas- ily justify the partnerships. However, in the case of T.R. Leger School, which is part of the Upper Canada District School Board, the project co-leads Sarah Maynard and Di- ane Coombs decided their best chance to secure the partnership was to include the counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott and Russell. Canadian Newcomer Magazine describes it this way: “You may think that you don’t have the infrastructure to support a LIP bid and may be tempted to give up before you start. Our word to the wise on this…don’t give up – just start thinking creatively. That advice is based on a great example in Ontario that we’ll refer to as the 5EO (Eastern Ontario) LIP initiative. There were already shared infrastructures before the Eastern Ontario Training Board put forward the bid.” The magazine added: “The strategy of several counties working together toward a common goal is an inspiring example for other parts of Canada that need to be bold and imaginative to take advantage of this excellent government immigration initia- tive.” Coombs says, “As the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB) and the T.R. Leger School both serve these five counties and share a history of successful partnerships, a five-county LIP really seemed do-able. Since the school provides direct settlement services to newcomers and the Training Board frequently assists with the launching of projects, we felt that, given the chance, together we could make this happen.” Maynard adds, “The five counties were selected because they represent a common labour market. In this case, we used the definition of ‘labour market’ as the distance a person could reasonably be expected to commute to work each day.” There is a need to attract and retain immi- grants because of the growing economies and an aging population. The partners arranged several council meetings and community consultations throughout the region to build the capacity required to secure the LIP. A key strength was having the Conference Board of Cana- da provide a Workforce of the Future pre- sentation in Cornwall in November of 2011. It was a big draw and put a spotlight on newcomers and the “immigration advan- tage.” Over the next year, the 5EO LIP partners intend to fulfil all deliverables as identi- fied in their work plan. They have left some leeway for adapting to new opportunities and ideas for increasing the region’s ability to attract, retain and integrate newcomers. “In the short term,” says Coombs, “I think it’s
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