OLIP Partners Refreshed the Ottawa Immigration Strategy (OIS)December 22, 2016
The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) was created in 2009 by the City of Ottawa and LASI (Local Agencies Serving Immigrants). After extensive consultations involving numerous Ottawa-based institutions and stakeholders, the Ottawa Immigration Strategy (OIS) was released in June 2011. At the same time, machinery was introduced for thinking, for devising plans and activities, and for exercising stewardship over the OIS.
By any measure, the Ottawa Immigration Strategy has been a major success: innovative projects are underway; local stakeholders are engaged and contributing; immigrants and refugees are benefitting; and a spirit of collaboration, learning, and excitement pervades the enterprise. Given this success, OLIP’s Council and Executive Committee did not see the need to initiate a wholesale review of the project. Instead, the governing bodies opted for a more limited recalibration of the project so it is better able to respond to environmental changes, expanded stakeholder capacities, and knowledge gleaned from five years of activity.
The reasons for tweaking the Ottawa immigration strategy are set out below:
1.Since 2011, there have been significant shifts in Ottawa’s economy, in federal and provincial fiscal capacities, in newcomer admission and settlement policies, and in the institutions implicated in recruiting and welcoming newcomers. These shifts have altered the opportunities and challenges confronting the Ottawa partnership, making it necessary to adjust the project’s focus and activities.
2.Since the introduction of the original OIS, a significant number of promising practices have emerged along with information about their potential for up-scaling and transfer to other, related areas of practice. Many of these innovations are local in origin, but interesting practices have also been developed by other LIPs across the country. The OIS refreshment will allow OLIP to take advantage of these ‘experiments’ in designing – or re-designing – Ottawa-based initiatives.
3.Five years of strategizing, planning, and implementing shared endeavors have enhanced the ability of OLIP institutions to think and work together. Participants have acquired new sources of information; they have learned about the capabilities and networks of their partners … and how to access these assets; and they have learned to trust each other. In short, OLIP has generated social capital. The OIS refreshment affords the partnership an opportunity to reappraise how best to utilize its new collaborative capacities.
4.The formation of OLIP partnerships – both within and across sectors – coupled with the introduction of innovative approaches to delivering services and conveying information have revealed potential synergies in several areas of practice. Refreshing the OIS allows OLIP to focus on these synergies and to marshal support for acting on the opportunities they represent.
The emerging refreshed priorities are already guiding OLIP partners work since the Fall of 2016.
A full report on the refreshed Ottawa Immigration Strategy will be released to partners and stakeholders at the Ottawa Immigration Forum: Monday, June 26, 2017.