Frequently Asked Questions
- What is OLIP?
- Why OLIP?
- Who is involved in OLIP?
- On what belief is OLIP’s work based?
- What specifically is the mandate of OLIP?
- How is the work of OLIP organized? What process is followed?
- Why is an immigration strategy needed for Ottawa?
- How was the Ottawa Immigration Strategy developed?
- Who is implementing the new Ottawa Immigration Strategy?
- What is the role of municipalities in immigration issues?
- Why is a collaborative approach so important?
- What are the key features of the OLIP governance model?
- What will be the implications of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy and Action Plan for partner institutions?
- How can my organization participate in OLIP governance bodies?
What is OLIP?
The acronym ‘OLIP’ stands for the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership. OLIP is a community-wide, multi-sectoral partnership working to strengthen Ottawa’s capacity to welcome immigrants and improve integration outcomes through enhanced economic, social, political and civic participation.
OLIP is one of more than 30 Local Immigration Partnerships, which are now active in communities across Ontario. Local Immigration Partnerships are funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA).
Underpinning the establishment of OLIP and the other Local Immigration Partnerships is the recognition that:
- immigration is important to the future of Ontario cities;
- immigrants’ current settlement and integration outcomes are fraught with multiple challenges, and too many immigrants remain on the margins of our community; and
- local communities, institutions, and leaders have an accumulated knowledge and experience that we must leverage and build upon.
Through a broad partnership of key local institutions, OLIP facilitated a community planning process that led to the creation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy. We are now focused on promoting the implementation of the new Strategy.
Who is involved in OLIP?
The City of Ottawa and the Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI) consulted with multiple local stakeholders in 2008 to establish OLIP. Since its establishment, OLIP partners have grown in number and now include multiple departments of the City of Ottawa, local universities and colleges, the four school boards, the local Chamber of Commerce, social service agencies, and regional planning bodies, such as the LHIN.
On what belief is OLIP’s work based?
OLIP partners share a common understanding:
- Immigration is key to Ottawa’s prosperity and vitality.
- Successful integration is a community issue, not an immigrant issue. Efforts to attract and retain immigrants benefit the city as a whole. As a result, the pursuit of the OLIP vision is by all of us and for all of us.
- Complex integration challenges need to be collaboratively and systematically resolved through a combination of proactive government policies, commitment from all sectors of the community, and welcoming attitudes from the general public.
- Strong connections between immigrants, public institutions, and community members are essential to improve access and participation.
- Trust is nurtured, and bridges are established through open dialogue, shared understanding, and transparent engagement.
- Diverse partners and community stakeholders offer unique strengths that make their contributions to OLIP invaluable.
- Ottawa has a solid foundation upon which to build and transform the city into a model National Capital: a welcoming community where immigrants succeed and diversity thrives.
What specifically is the mandate of OLIP?
The mandate of OLIP is to strengthen local capacity to attract, settle, and integrate immigrants and, by so doing, enhance the benefits we all receive from immigrants’ successful integration. This includes pursuing improvements to:
- immigrants’ economic integration and greater participation in Ottawa’s workforce;
- immigrants’ access to an enhanced and coordinated system of settlement, social, health, and education services;
- community awareness about challenges faced by immigrants and what is needed to improve their integration; and
- inter-sectoral partnership development and local capacity for proactive and sustainable planning, action, learning, and adjustments.
How is the work of OLIP organized? What process is followed?
To fulfill its mandate, OLIP has carried out its work in two phases: planning and implementation.
In the planning phase, OLIP partners developed a common vision, shared understanding, and a framework for community-wide planning. The work of the planning phase culminated in the development of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy. The new Strategy was launched in June 2011.
In the implementation phase, OLIP partners are engaged in promoting the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy. A community-wide governance system supports leadership development, inter-sectoral collaboration, and the coordination of community-wide action.
Why is an immigration strategy needed for Ottawa?
An custom-build Ottawa immigration strategy is needed because our success and vitality depends on immigration. Without immigration, Ottawa cannot sustain the population and labour force growth that it needs to flourish and prosper. For example, according to the 2006 Census, immigration was responsible for 79% of our city’s population growth. Already, 100% of Ottawa’s net labour force growth depends on immigration.
Despite the importance of immigration for the city’s social and economic viability, Ottawa has not done a good job in integrating immigrants. Immigrants face multiple and complex barriers that delay their integration. These include challenges in accessing suitable jobs and public services and in making fruitful connections with their community. As a result, many immigrants remain on the margins of local life. Administrative complexities, service discontinuities, and discrimination combine to marginalize individuals, families, and communities.
How was the Ottawa Immigration Strategy developed?
The Ottawa Immigration Strategy was developed by a broad range of local stakeholders. The OLIP Secretariat facilitated the development of the new Strategy by following a 3-step methodology:
- Step 1: Building a Shared Understanding
As a starting point and over a period of six months, the OLIP Secretariat conducted a series of consultations, launched a number of research projects, and shared key findings. The aim was to build a common understanding of the city’s landscape of services and supports and to identify the challenges facing newcomers, employers, local institutions, agencies, and the community at large.
- Step 2: Developing Strategic Priorities
In this stage and over a period of four months, teams of expert stakeholders worked to develop the Ottawa Immigration Strategy (also referred to as the Strategy, or OIS), which was subsequently endorsed by the OLIP Council. The OIS includes six sectoral strategies. These focus on: Economic integration; Settlement; Education; Health and Wellbeing; Language; and Integration capacity development. There is also a horizontal strategy that focuses on inter-sectoral collaboration.
- Step 3: Planning for Implementation
In this stage, OLIP partners and key community stakeholders planned for the implementation of the Strategy with a focus on two principal activities: (1) determining how best to action the priorities; and (2) designing a community-wide governance model to lead and support the implementation of the new Strategy.
Who is implementing the new Ottawa Immigration Strategy?
The implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy is a shared responsibility that involves local institutions, funders, policy-makers, governments, employers and employer associations, immigrants, and immigrant civic associations. The OLIP governance and leadership structure facilitates collaboration among multiple stakeholders and sectors.
What is the role of municipalities in immigration issues?
Immigrants settle in cities and among local communities. This means that successful settlement and integration strategies require detailed knowledge of local conditions, local opportunities, and local institutional arrangements. Municipalities are the level of government that is closest to local citizens. For the same reasons that they care about the prosperity, security and vibrancy of cities and neighbourhoods, they also have an important leadership role in the social and economic success of immigrants.
In addition to expertise, municipalities are involved in immigration issues because municipal services play an important role in newcomer attraction and integration. This includes economic development policies, cultural services, sports and recreation, policing, transportation, and zoning. In Ottawa, the nation’s capital, symbolic activities for which the city is responsible, such as celebrations, festivals, and the use of public space, may also come into play.
Why is a collaborative approach so important?
Immigration is a community issue as much as it is an immigrant issue. Successful integration benefits the city as a whole and results in vibrant, exciting, and prosperous neighborhoods. Conversely, poor integration or exclusion is felt throughout, producing an impoverished city and a blighted, unhappy cityscape.
Furthermore, the challenges that confront immigrants and organizations involved in integration cut across jurisdictions and organizational mandates. Concerted action that focuses on the issues and not on organizational boundaries is essential for success.
For example, lowering high school dropout rates and improving scholastic achievement among immigrant students living in low-income neighborhoods cannot be left to school boards alone. Neighborhood-based health and resource centres, settlement and language service providers, universities and colleges, and a host of other institutions all have a role to play. Among the changes that are required are: greater parental involvement; better support for schools in poor neighborhoods with high proportions of immigrant families; improved language training and better interpretation services; improved job prospects for parents; curriculum improvements; and greater diversity of school staff, including teachers.
What are the key features of the OLIP governance model?
The OLIP governance model is designed to ensure the development, coordination, sustainability, and growth of successful immigrant integration practices in all sectors identified in the Ottawa Immigration Strategy. The key components of the OLIP governance model are:
- five specialized and multi-perspective Sector Tables tasked with leading the implementation of the sectoral strategies;
- a multi-sectoral leadership table with responsibility for the strategic steering and coordination of work by all sectors;
- a community-wide assembly of champions, named the OLIP Council, which brings together key institutional, policy, and business leaders from the six sectors identified in the Ottawa Immigration Strategy; and
- an annual forum for reflection, learning, and community engagement.
Additionally, OLIP partners follow an agreed-upon protocol to promote inclusive and streamlined decision-making processes, transparent operations and accountability, and an on-going cycle of meaningful collaboration.
What will be the implications of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy and Action Plan for partner institutions?
OLIP partners will benefit from partners’ complementary work and mutual support and thus build greater capacity for success in their own organizations. In addition, OLIP partner institutions can view their work as contributing to collaborative action and the achievement of a shared vision. They will develop a deepened understanding of challenges related to immigrants’ settlement and integration, as well as awareness of the gaps, evolving policy directions, and future opportunities.
In other words, new synergies and capacities will emerge from the collective planning and concerted action that is being facilitated by OLIP.
How can my organization participate in OLIP governance bodies?
Please contact the OLIP Project Director to ask how your organization can get involved in the OLIP process or OLIP governance and leadership system.