OLIP Open House for Immigrant LeadersJanuary 31, 2013
OLIP believes that immigrants themselves have to play a significant role in achieving systemic change that responds effectively to their needs and maximizes the benefits of immigration in Ottawa.
On December 13th, 2012, OLIP organized its first Open House for Immigrant Leaders. Its purpose was three-fold:
- facilitating immigrants’ participation in the OLIP process;
- connecting immigrants to opportunities; and
- strengthening and sustaining communication with immigrant communities
Close to 100 community leaders from a cross-section of cultural backgrounds attended the event. They had an opportunity to learn about ways they can participate in the OLIP process, which include: contributing their knowledge and perspectives on various aspects of integration; acting as connectors between new immigrants and OLIP partners; and broadcasting opportunities offered by OLIP partners through their networks.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson addressed the participants and in his welcoming remarks stressed the importance of immigration for Ottawa’s continued economic, social, and cultural vitality. He encouraged participants to use the services offered by the City and various OLIP partners to support the integration process.
Thirteen community organizations and departments of the City of Ottawa hosted information booths to showcase services including those related to employment, self-employment, and civic education. A special booth targeted Francophone service providers whose clientele tends to be underserved in the integration sector.
Under the headline of “Connecting Immigrants with Opportunities,” a panel of presenters provided an overview of new and exciting programs for immigrants in Ottawa. Presentations included:
Theme I: Access to Civic Engagement Opportunities
“What is OLIP and How to Participate” – Hindia Mohamoud, OLIP
“City Advisory Committees & How to Participate” – Leonore Evans, City of Ottawa
“Citizens Academy Ottawa” – Caroline Andrew and Manjit Basi
Theme II: Access to Economic Opportunities
“Access to Microloans”– Michael Oster, Ottawa Community Loan Fund
“City of Ottawa Trades Manual and Videos”– Jephtée Elysée, City of Ottawa
“Connecting Employers to Immigrant Talents”– Magdalene Cooman-Maxwell and Ying Xie, LASI Coalition
Participants reacted positively to the Open House.
“As a recent newcomer, I felt encouraged to fully integrate in Canada!”
“I really liked this event. It created a great opportunity for strengthening the communication among the communities. Myself, as a new immigrant, also got a lot of useful information!”
“This get together was a great idea. The meeting was a great opportunity to network.”
It is hoped that OLIP’s Open House for Immigrant Leaders will become an annual event. OLIP is committed to facilitating the engagement of immigrants in the building a more vibrant, prosperous, and inclusive national capital, strengthened through the contributions of newcomers.
If you are an immigrant and have views and ideas about creative ways to address immigrants’ needs in Ottawa, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org