Plan aimed at helping newcomers ‘thrive’

A plan designed to help newcomers “thrive” has received regional council’s stamp of approval.

“Given the scale and importance of newcomers to our population and workforce growth, successful settlement, inclusion, health and well-being of newcomers are a priority for the region’s continued growth and prosperity,” commissioner of community and health services Katherine Chislett says in A Place to Thrive: York Region’s 2024 to 2027 Plan for Newcomer Inclusion.

The plan was developed with feedback from York Region residents, community partners and the Newcomer Inclusion Table (formerly Community Partnership Council), a community advisory group appointed by York Regional council to address newcomers’ needs. It outlines actions that include expanding awareness of and access to health and well-being services and resources, celebrating newcomers’ contributions to the region’s diversity and economy, and promoting a regional economy in which newcomers have jobs that align with their education, skills and work experience.

According to recent census figures, immigrants who’ve been in Canada for less than five years and were admitted as permanent residents – which means economic migrants, sponsored family members or refugees designated for resettlement – represented more than 84 per cent or 53,495 out of 63,455 of York’s population growth between 2016 and 2021, according to the plan. The region also welcomes temporary residents, such as international students, foreign workers, those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and asylum seekers, many of whom transition to permanent residency.

Since 2009, York Region has hosted a Local Immigration Partnership, a federally-funded, community-based collaboration that teams up with local partners to develop welcoming and inclusive communities. “Partnership is critical for successful newcomer inclusion. A collective approach is needed as no one partner is accountable for all programs, services and policies related to this work,” says Chislett.

Like other Local Immigration Partnerships, York doesn’t provide direct newcomer services but receives funding to support research, lead strategic planning and improve coordination of services facilitating newcomer settlement and inclusion. “While immigration and support for immigrants fall under federal and provincial responsibility, settlement success also depends on the efforts of municipalities and community partners,” she says.

Successful implementation of the Plan for Newcomer Inclusion will build on actions implemented through previous strategies, help optimize existing community resources, and will further strengthen community partnerships, “all aimed at improving local conditions for newcomers to settle and integrate more effectively, contributing to a region where every person can thrive,” says Chislett.  

Visit to review the York Region Newcomer Guide.

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