July 18, 2013
On June 27th, the 2nd Annual Ottawa Immigration Forum convened at the Delta Ottawa City Centre. This year, the Forum was part of the inaugural Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) – a new initiative launched by OLIP and championed by the Mayor of Ottawa; and addressed the theme: “The Building Blocks of a Welcoming Community”. Also new this year was the fact that the Forum was hosted in collaboration with the Réseau de soutien de l’immigration francophone de l’Est de l’Ontario to underscore the importance of integrated community efforts to welcome both Francophone and Anglophone immigrants.
Forum attendees (258 individuals) included representatives from local community agencies, the three levels of government, elected officials, civic leaders, academic researchers and analysts, and the business sector.
The attendees received a brief progress report by Dick Stewart and Salmatou Diallo, OLIP Council Chair and Vice Chair; and they heard a keynote speech on Manitoba’s model for welcoming and integrating newcomers from Gerry Clement, a former senior official with the Manitoba Government, and one of the principal architects of Manitoba’s highly acclaimed immigrant attraction and integration strategy.
During the second part of the Forum, a moderated panel of representatives of Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions reflected upon the opportunities and challenges they face as they seek to extend and enhance Ottawa’s reputation as an international student destination hub. In 2012, Ottawa was the fourth-largest international student destination in Canada, after Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and the first choice for international students among Canada’s mid-sized cities.
Participants’ true engagement with the Forum was reflected by the high attendance rate, their great interactions with Forum speakers, as well as their willingness to take part of ad-hoc interviews staged by volunteers from Youth Futures program, who asked them to reflect upon the quality of Ottawa’s welcome to newcomers. The Forum feedback survey also indicated that the participants appreciated the themes discussed, the quality of the pre-Forum content circulated by OLIP; and the opportunity provided to network with a wide cross section of stakeholders.
Read the Forum Program, including the Forum objectives, agenda and speakers’ profiles.
View the Forum photo gallery on OLIP’s Facebook page.
Read Participant Feedback on the Forum