By RON FANFAIR
To facilitate a seamless integration, newcomers to Ontario have a new tool they can now access before they land in the province.
Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) launched the Ontario Day to Day workbook and video last week at St. Lawrence Hall. The one-hour video is produced in 10 languages and the resource book contains valuable information, including useful social service organization websites, to supplement the topics covered in the DVD.
Immigrants can access the resource material at overseas missions, Lester B. Pearson International Airport and service provider organizations in Ontario.
“This package is particularly meaningful because it represents a new and innovative attempt to provide newcomers with an effective tool that will help them understand what everyday life is like in Ontario,” said Darlyn Mentor, the CIC Director of Settlement Programs for the Ontario Region. “Newcomers need to know what to expect when they arrive and they need to have a realistic view of what Ontario is and of the beauty of this province, but also the challenges they will face as they move on their journey to integration.
“We are hoping that through this process, we will be providing our newcomers with tools that will help take them on the road to economic and social success. That is our ultimate goal.”
Mentor expects the resource tool will help newcomers overcome some of the challenges new immigrants face such as accessing jobs and registering their children in educational institutions.
“We are looking to contribute to the needs of all members of immigrant families and through this tool and through our partners, we know immigrants will get the right integration orientation,” Mentor said. “When we increase the success of newcomers, the entire community benefits and so does Canada as a whole.
“This tool ensures that newcomers have timely, useful and accurate information that is needed to make informed settlement decisions and that newcomers understand life in Canada, including our rights and responsibilities and how to access some community resources in the settlement process.
“It also provides settlement sector organizations with the tools they need to be able to help newcomers, look at their individual needs and support them through the help of this resource.”
Mentor, who was brought to Canada from Haiti at age two, said the initiative is an integral part of the Canada-Ontario Immigrant Agreement first signed in November 2005. Last May, the agreement – intended to last five years – was extended until 2011.
Nearly 120,000 newcomers arrive in Ontario annually.