OverviewMarch 10, 2013
On October 1, 2012, the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership hosted the first annual Ottawa Immigration Forum. The Forum took place in Ottawa, and theme was “Valuing and Leveraging Immigrant Contributions for Greater Prosperity, Vitality, and Inclusion.”
The Forum engaged more than 250 participants and included representatives from municipal, provincial and federal governments, elected officials, local businesses, charities and community organizations, colleges and universities, school boards, health and resource centres and private citizens. Participants came together to:
- Learn about recent activities under the Ottawa Immigration Strategy (OIS);
- Celebrate collective successes in valuing and leveraging immigrants’ contributions; and
- Contribute ideas to a public dialogue on new ways of addressing selected challenges.
The Forum not only recognized the contributions that immigrants make to Ottawa’s prosperity and vitality, but also engaged participants in a dialogue about collaborations that are needed to fully leverage this potential.
OLIP Council Chairs Dick Stewart and Salimatou Diallo opened the Forum with a review of the Partnership’s achievements during the first year of implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.
In his welcome, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson noted: “Today’s event is significant as it brings with it a community-wide recognition of the importance of immigration for our city’s sustainability, economic prosperity, and cultural and social vitality”.
Click here for opening speeches and reports from the Forum.
One of the highlights of the Forum was the launch of the Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards by Mayor Jim Watson. Immigrant entrepreneurs in five business categories were honored for their economic and social contributions to the city.
A panel of prominent leaders talked about opportunities and challenges of integrating immigrants in economic, cultural, and civic life of Ottawa. Forum keynote speaker Diana MacKay of the Conference Board of Canada spoke about the link between innovation and immigration.
Click here to read the keynote address, other presentations, and profiles of the speakers.
Participants took part in one of four thematic brainstorming sessions. Each looked at how to leverage a specific area, namely, immigrant entrepreneurship, employment, civic engagement, and cultural contributions. The discussion looked at challenges in each of these areas, with participants exchanging best practices and identifying the potential for collaboration.
Click here for the outcomes of participant discussion sessions.
The Forum’s program was complemented by a number of opportunities for reflective engagement. This included musical performances, a display of the World Languages Collection of the Ottawa Public Library, and the screening of several documentaries profiling the experiences of immigrants in Canada.
The 2012 instalment of the Ottawa Immigration Forum set the foundation for collectively celebrating, learning, and leading the process of building a more prosperous, inclusive and vital Ottawa through the inclusion and contributions of immigrants.