Workshop on Attraction, Retention, and Integration of Immigrants in Smaller Communities

 October 7, 2016, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

 Sheraton Hotel, St. John’s, Newfoundland

This workshop explores challenges and promising practices for effectively attracting, retaining, and supporting the economic, social, and civic/political integration of immigrants in smaller communities in ways that improve newcomer outcomes and benefit the communities in which newcomers settle. This includes the sharing of initiatives, strategies, findings, and experiences in order to meet the challenges specific to smaller communities. The workshop includes panel presentations, table and open discussions, and breakout sessions.


Session 1: Attraction of Immigrants to Smaller Communities
Chair: Gerry Mills, ISANS
This session will explore the challenges experienced in attempting to attract immigrants to smaller communities – which are at times in dire need of immigration to renew their population, boost local economies, and offset looming labour shortages – and different approaches that have been taken to overcome these challenges. Lessons will be derived regarding key features of promising practices in this area.


Session 2: Integration of Immigrants in Smaller Communities
Chair: Tony Fang, Memorial University
This session will explore strategies to integrate immigrants in smaller communities, which may not have a history of immigration and diversity as a base. Issues to be discussed will include challenges in the economic, social-cultural, and civic/political integration of immigrants; approaches to engaging mainstream organizations and engaging the host community; and strategies for filling immigrant needs with at times limited resources available to do so.


Session 3: Breakout Groups

A.  Promoting Welcoming Communities in Smaller Communities
Facilitated by:

  • Petrusia Hontar, St. Thomas – Elgin Local Immigration Partnership (Download PowerPoint)
  • Ricardo Morales, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

This breakout will discuss strategies for ensuring that smaller communities are welcoming of newcomers, including the key components of this welcome and how we can work toward ensuring that they are in place.


B. The Role of Temporary Foreign Workers and International Students in Supporting Immigration to Smaller Communities
Facilitated by:

This breakout will discuss the transition of temporary foreign workers and international students to permanent residents, and how smaller communities can benefit from these transitions to retain these newcomers on a long-term basis.


C. Retention Strategies for Smaller Communities
Facilitated by:

  • Michelle McKenzie Lander, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
  • Corinne Walsh, Platinum Leadership (Download PowerPoint)

This breakout will discuss the importance of retention strategies for smaller communities and key features of effective strategies that can be used to retain immigrants in these communities.


Session 4: Refugee Experiences in Smaller Communities

Chair: Victoria Esses, University of Western Ontario

Smaller communities have an important role to play in welcoming and settling refugees from around the world. This session will discuss the experiences of refugees in smaller communities, the variety of needs that must be filled in order to promote successful resettlement, and the supports and resources needed to ensure that these experiences are favourable, both in the short- and long-term.

  • Jean McRae, Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria (Video)
  • James Baker, McMaster University and Association for New Canadians (Video)
  • Tilak Chawan, Association for New Canadians (Video)


Session 5: Next Steps and Plans for Collaboration
Chairs: James Baker and Scott Fisher, P2P Standing Committee on Northern, Rural, and Remote Communities

In this session we will discuss strategies for continuing this conversation and for sharing promising practices across smaller communities. We will also discuss the specific research needs of smaller communities and how researchers within the Pathways to Prosperity can step up to play a leading role in filling these needs.