Professional Development Conference/Spring 2010/Speaking Remarks

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Speaking remarks for Veronica Barnes, CIC

Speaking remarks for Veronica Barnes
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
At the 2010 OCASI Professional Development Conference
Nottawasaga Inn, Alliston, Ontario
May 12, 2010

Good afternoon and thank you for that warm welcome.

Bonjour et merci pour cet accueil chaleureux.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada is pleased to be funding the 2010 OCASI Cnference here at the beautiful Nottawasaga Inn.

We are also very pleased that the Federal and Provincial Governments have now extended the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement for another year.

I’d like to take a minute and reflect on all that we have accomplished together since COIA was signed on November 21, 2005.

Together, we have achieved a significant expansion and enhancement of settlement services for newcomers to Ontario.

Ensemble, nous avons contribué à l’expansion et l’amélioration considérable de la formation linguistique et les services d’ètablissment.

For example, we are now helping newcomers in many regions where settlement services were previously simply not available. And working together, we have greatly expanded the Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. This has been accomplished through initiatives such as specialized employment-related language training, which you implemented.

Through our close partnership, we have developed innovative programs for newcomer youth. For example, Newcomer Orientation Week has made a huge difference. The program gives newcomer youth a head start in their new school by familiarizing them with the school building and routines, linking them to students already attending the school, and orienting them to sources of help as well as the “culture” of the Ontario educational system.

Building on the recommendations made during the COIA consultations, we worked together with you to develop Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) to foster the development of community-level networks of service delivery that can be tailored to the unique aspects of each community.

Local Immigration Partnerships are supporting the development of self-sustaining partnerships at the community level, so that newcomer needs can be integrated seamlessly into the local planning process, and action plans can be developed to improve newcomer outcomes.

I’m happy to report that Local Immigration Partnerships have been identified as a best practice by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

Kudos to all of you in this room who have worked so hard to make LIPs such a success that it is now being held up a model for integrating the delivery of settlement services.

I am aware that many of you have concerns about what lies ahead and I can assure you that CIC is listening to you. That’s why we’ve extended the recent call for proposals deadline to June 21, 2010.

And that’s why Citizenship and Immigration Canada, in partnership with the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, is offering information sessions on the current application process. Sessions are open to all organizations interested in applying for funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Ontario Region Settlement Program. More information about these information sessions is available on settlement.org.

I want to assure you that we will approach the new call for proposal process with fairness, accountability and transparency. CIC is doing everything we can to ensure a smooth transition to the modernized approach for all our valued partners.

As professionals, you play a pivotal role in helping newcomers settle in this province and in helping to build communities. I applaud you for that.

Conferences like these give you a chance to network with colleagues, participate in professional development workshops and share best practices.

You are all making a tremendous difference in newcomers’ lives. So please accept my heartfelt appreciation for all the good work that you do. I wish you a very successful and productive conference.

Thank you. Merci.