All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.   

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council Chair
The WOW seminar on immigrant women’s nutrition and health was a step in the right direction towards closing the gap between academic researchers and service providers.

Josephine Etowa
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Ottawa
The OLIP Council is committed to leadership.  In only a few years, we have a common vision and priorities, and are up to the task of implementing the Ottawa Immigration Strategy.

Salimatou Diallo
OLIP Council Vice Chair, Assemblée de la francophonie de l'Ontario
The City of Ottawa will continue to play a lead role in the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, just as we did in the founding of OLIP.

Steve Desroches
City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
Welcoming Ottawa Week is wonderful platform to demonstrate our city’s longstanding openness to immigration and commitment to supporting newcomers’ successful integration. …

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa
The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre

Sector Table: Economic Integration

The Economic Integration Sector Table tackles challenges related to immigrants’ economic participation and labour market outcomes. This Sector has developed and is implementing a comprehensive strategy that involves immigrants, employers, service providers, and the economic development sector. Current action plans include: establishing clearer pathways to economic opportunity; creating specialized routes to employment and capital through mentorships, internships, business start-up micro-loans and training; developing immigrant attraction and retention strategies; and improving coordination among partners to increase efficiency and impact when helping immigrants achieve their economic goals.

Priorities and Collaborative Initiatives

Priority #1: Help immigrants navigate toward job opportunities

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

Clearer pathways for immigrants seeking job opportunities in the trades
The City of Ottawa has created two guides and 10 experience-based videos to help immigrants navigate and start a businesses in the trades sector. The initiative is a partnership between Invest Ottawa and the YMCA-YWCA Enterprise Centre who are working in collaboration with the Economic Integration Sector Table. The lead on this initiative is the City of Ottawa’s Community and Social Services Department.  For information, contact Jephtee Elysee:

Municipal Work Experience Program
In partnership with the Federal Internship Program and OLIP partners at the Economic Integration Sector Table, the City of Ottawa is developing a work experience program for immigrants to access careers at the municipal government.  For more information, please contact Bev Dewan, Human Resource Manager, at the City of Ottawa:

Priority #2: Support entrepreneurship among newcomers

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

Increasing access to micro-loans
Since 2000, Ottawa Community Loan Fund has been serving those who cannot access a traditional bank loan.  In fall 2012, OCLF expanded their character-based micro-loan and counseling programs with benefits targeting immigrant groups.  Ontario Centres of Excellence funded an Immigrant-focused pilot program from October 2012 to March 2013 with excellent results. Based on one-month follow-ups, 45% of attendees reported that they had taken actions to improve their credit score; and 10+ loans have been disbursed or are in process to support Professional Development and business ideas for improved Immigrant integration and success. Encouraged by these results, Community Foundation of Ottawa has provided bridge funding so that OCLF can continue this program during summer 2013, featuring Smart Out-reach to selected Immigrant Communities by Government-funded Summer Students under OCLF supervision. OCLF is in advanced discussions with both Ontario Trillium Foundation and Citizenship and Immigration Canada for additional multi-year funding to continue and extend the program with focused benefits to Immigrants.  For more information, please contact Michael Oster, President of OCLF:, or Laura Koivisto-Khazaal at

In addition, micro-loans of up to $15,000 are available specifically for Francophone immigrants in Ontario who wish to start small businesses. Applicants are also eligible for a training program to help them apply for and secure credit to establish their business. The lead partners are FedDev Ontario, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Fondation Franco-Ontarienne. For more information, please contact Ronald Bisson:

Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards to recognize immigrants’ contributions to economic development
The City of Ottawa’s Economic Development Department, the Ottawa Business Journal, and partners at the OLIP Economic Integration Sector Table have developed annual awards to recognize, promote, and showcase immigrant business leaders in our City. The first edition of the Immigrant Entrepreneur Awards was launched at the Ottawa Immigration Forum in October 2012 and honoured entrepreneurs in five areas: innovation-oriented enterprises; social enterprises; fast-growth enterprises; young entrepreneurs; and women entrepreneurs. The lead is the City of Ottawa’s Economic Development Department. For information, contact Angela Scanlon, City of Ottawa Economic Development Department:

Priority #3: Improve Ottawa’s capacity to attract and retain newcomers, including permanent residents and international students

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

Redevelopment of the Immigration Portal
The City of Ottawa, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, local colleges and universities, OLIP, Reseau de soutien de l’immigration francophone de l’est Ontario, and the Ontario node of Pathways to Prosperity, have undertaken a complete redesign of the local Immigration Portal. Content upgrades will ensure the Portal is aligned with the Ottawa Immigration Strategy and provide more comprehensive information on Ottawa’s social and cultural life, the services available to immigrants, educational facilities, and employment opportunities. The new Portal will also provide more content in languages other than English and French. For information on the Immigration Portal, please contact Jephtee Elysee:

Priority #4: Improve coordination among agencies involved in immigrant economic integration and provide justification when activities overlap

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

Merge the Internationally Trained Workers’ Partnership with the OLIP Economic Integration Sector Table
The advent of the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, the subsequent launch of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, and the creation of the OLIP Economic Integration Sector Table created a sense that there was a significant overlap between the work of the Internationally Trained Partnership (ITWP) and that of OLIP’s Economic Integration Sector Table. The ITWP’s priorities were part of the OIS’s Economic Integration Strategy, and the two forums had a largely overlapping membership. For local stakeholders who were part of both initiatives, this overlap resulted in a duplication of effort. In light of this, leaders from the Economic Integration Sector Table and the ITWP decided to merge the two forums.

OLIP Partners at the Economic Integration Sector Table



Mengistab Tsegaye Executive Director, LASI World Skills, Co-chair of the Economic Integration Sector Table
Michael Oster President, Ottawa Community Loan Fund, Co-chair of the Economic Integration Sector Table
Jean Huard Service Delivery Manager – Ottawa, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
 Laura Koivisto-Khazaal Director, Immigrant Partner Programs, Ottawa Community Loan Fund
Kate Sherwood Rumley Program Coordinator, Ottawa Community Loan Fund
Sherry Beadle Program Manager, Economic Development Planning Infrastructure & Economic Development Department, City of Ottawa
Sonya Parno Manager, Social Support Centre West
Community and Social Services Department, City of Ottawa
Linda Manning WCI Co-Leader, Workplace Integration Domain & Senior Fellow, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa
Kelly Mertl Director, Community Initiatives, United Way Ottawa
Ingrid Argyle Program Manager, Ottawa Employment Hub, Algonquin College
Leslie Emory Executive Director, Ottawa Immigrant Services Organization
Karyn Steer Manager, Community Economic Development, Ottawa Immigrant Services Organization
 Pierre Louis Valin Operations Manager, Community Partnerships and Immigrant Programs & Services, La Cité des affaires
Edwige Affaa Agente de projet, Le Réseau de soutien à l’immigration francophone de l’est de l’Ontario
Henry Akanko Director, Hire Immigrants Ottawa
Ying Xie Manager, Employment Programs, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
Katie SextonKendra Duval Senior Director, Employment and Immigrant Services, YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital RegionActing Senior Director, Employment and Immigrant Services, YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region
Ray Barton Vitesse Reskilling, Vitesse Canada
Jennifer Fontaine A/Regional Manager Eastern Region, Employment and Training Division, Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development