Survey Results # 5:
Survey respondents identified a range of programs and services aimed at immigrants. Today’s post focuses on these themes and responses. These are highlights of responses from those organizations that self-identified as offering specific programs or supports/resources for immigrants. When asked to identify the specific programs, only a minority described programs specifically aimed at immigrants. Most listed general services such as the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit [OSEB] program or small business services. In other words, immigrants could access all their programs, but they did not offer anything specifically for immigrants. For example, one respondent stated:
“We don’t offer SPECIFIC programs, but we do have programs that help this sector as well as others.”
“We do not treat immigrants differently although their needs might be different. We look at a client’s needs and do the very best to help within the scope of our work.”
Among those who do offer immigrant-specific services, the most commonly-cited were settlement services, including language instruction and employment-related services.
SETTLEMENT SERVICES INCLUDING EMPLOYMENT READINESS
Some respondents provide language instruction and various employment-related supports such as the job search workshops. One noted that their services included networking and assistance with immigration paperwork. Some of the respondents mentioned having good working relationships with settlement and employment service providers, for example,
“[We] work with a regional immigration program provider to provide settlement services in our area.”
Educational institutions such as Conestoga College offer a range of services, including assessment, English classes, career readiness, bridge training and even internship opportunities. Another respondent mentioned mentorship. One service provider stated:
“We can provide potential employees from immigrant client base.”
Across Northern Ontario, organizations like PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise provides programs and services to all women especially newcomer and aboriginal women and youth who are ready to start, grow or build new opportunities.
LOCAL IMMIGRATION PARTNERSHIPS (LIP’S) AND PORTALS
Several respondents cited their relationship to LIP’s, including the Eastern Ontario LIP [5 Counties of Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry and Prescott Russell] and the Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership. Several others noted their participation in the creation of their local immigration portal, including for the region of Huron and Immigration Northwestern Ontario.
EMPLOYER ENGAGEMENT AND ADVOCACY
“to help immigrants land jobs in Ontario,”
was cited in one response. This project was initiated by the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) , with funding from Employment Ontario. Similarly, TRIEC engages employers and educates the public on issues around immigrant employment.
OTHER, SINGLE RESPONSES
- currently working on methods to support and promote the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs in the Grand Erie Region
- an outreach program provided has a focus on temporary foreign workers’ needs and supporting employers in providing access to health care, integration needs of their workers.
- a referral service for immigrants to assist immigrants navigate supports and agencies with their identified needs, and
- indirectly engaging with immigrants through Community Immigrant Retention in Rural Ontario [CIRRO]
In closing, federal and provincial government funding initiatives around welcoming and settling immigrants — namely settlement services, the LIPs and immigration portals – have resulted in most of the relevant programs cited. As such, the crucial role of government in the creation and delivery of services to immigrants cannot be overstated.
Sarah Wayland, Principal Investigator