Local Immigration Partnership Councils: A Promising Canadian Innovation

It is in this evolving context of immigration policy challenges and opportunities that the Local Immigration Partnership Councils (LIPs) introduced through the 2005 Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA) represent an important and timely Canadian innovation.  The rest of this paper elaborates this point, analyzing the emergence and early work of the LIPs as a promising form of multi-level collaborative governance well-suited to the challenges and opportunities of 21st century immigration.  It begins by briefly situating the LIPs in a wider set of recent immigration policy debates from both Canada and around the world. Of particular interest here are new ideas about what has come to be known as “interculturalism”, and the concomitant rising importance of local policy spaces. Next we focus on the signed LIP agreements in Ontario to understand the particular structures and processes emerging across cities and communities, highlighting key similarities and differences in design and implementation.  Drawing on insights gathered through interviews with several policy makers and community leaders, we summarize the lessons from the LIP start-up period and offer suggestions for moving forward.  Our conclusion is that the LIPs provide the foundation for a new round of policy innovation that will provide better outcomes for newcomers and receiving communities while also positioning Canadian governments for continued international leadership in approaches to diversity and social sustainability. […]