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Featured Good Idea

Peterborough, Canada

Cooking Up Opportunity

Empowering newcomer women through cooking becomes a perfect recipe for acquiring workplace English and entrepreneurial skills.

The Immigrant Futures project explores the challenges and opportunities of immigrant attraction and retention in small, medium and regional communities in Canada in an age of global migration.

Population decline and economic development needs are driving many small and regional cities to invest in immigration as a strategy to unlock opportunities for community growth and future prosperity. Municipal leaders are mobilizing new stakeholders, including employers, chambers of commerce, local NGOs, public institutions and multiple levels of government to align economic development and immigration goals for the long-term health and well-being of their communities.

The Challenge

Canada’s strategy to attract immigrants for economic purposes responds to well-established data that show immigration is a positive contributor to economic growth. However, efforts to encourage immigrants to settle outside major cities have met with limited success. Research suggests that focusing solely on newcomer-friendly services and attitudes, without promoting economic development may be an ineffective strategy. Long-term retention depends upon regional economic development and positive labour market experiences. Increasing the share of immigrants who settle in smaller and regional centres can tackle population decline, boost regional economic development, and help Canada achieve a more equitable distribution of the social and economic capital that immigrants contribute to the communities across Canada they call home.

Our Approach

Open, inclusive cities and towns acknowledge the diversity of both newcomer and receiving communities, and recognize that inclusion is complex and multi-dimensional: workplaces are also social spaces, culture connects as well divides, classrooms can inhibit as well as advance learning. Creating the conditions for success requires a whole-of-community approach, meaning the active participation of city and community leaders, institutions and employers, as well as schools, retail, recreation, faith-based organizations, and the myriad places and spaces where newcomers and locals meet and interact as friends, neighbours and colleagues.

The Immigrant Futures project is developing a community planning framework and tools to engage community stakeholders across the economic development and immigration spectrum and equip them with new approaches and strategies to address challenges of attraction and retention in ‘small city’ Canada.

Key Activities

  • Immigrant Futures Toolkit (forthcoming, spring 2020; print and online; English and French). A multi-stakeholder planning framework, tools and resources to help city and community leaders make the case for immigration as a critical strategy for local economic development, and initiate a local planning process;
  • Tools and resources. The Immigrant Futures Toolkit will help small and rural municipalities identify and leverage community assets more effectively, develop new partnerships and co-investment strategies that can contribute to an open and welcoming economy;
  • Webinar series: connecting people to ideas for peer-to-peer learning exchange. Our free online learning events support local capacity-building and help city-level stakeholders identify field-tested solutions and good ideas that work;
  • Good Practices. Find promising practices on building a welcoming economy and inclusive regional growth. From employer recruitment and hiring practices, to small business incubation, international students and city branding, there is a role for everyone in inclusive city building. Building on Cities of Migration’s internationally recognized expertise, we’ve identified dozens of promising practices in immigrant attraction and retention in small, mid-sized and regional cities – keep an eye on this space for updates!

The Immigrant Futures project explores new perspectives on the challenges and opportunities of immigration in Canada’s small cities, towns and regions. Immigrant Futures is presented in partnership with Hamilton Economic Development, the City of Moncton, The Halifax Partnership, the Leeds Grenville Local Immigration Partnership and Hire Immigrants-Magnet; with support from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

For more information, contact citiesofmigration@ryerson.ca

 

Selected Good Ideas for Small and Regional Cities:


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  • Peterborough, Canada
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    Empowering newcomer women through cooking becomes a perfect recipe for acquiring workplace English and entrepreneurial skills.

  • Satriano, Italy
    In Italy, a struggling town looks to refugees for revival

    Where welcoming refugees is an opportunity to re-populate a small town, it creates "a virtuous cycle"

  • Stockholm, Schweden
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  • Torre Pacheco, Spain
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    • Anchorage, Alaska
      Arctic Welcome for the Multicultural City

      A remote, northern city builds on its diverse traditions and values of collaboration, kindness and kinship to embrace its future as a welcoming, inclusive community

    • Nhill, Australia
      Small Towns, Big Returns

      Refugee resettlement gives regional economy a boost while welcoming Karen families from Myanmar as valued and respected members of the community.

    • Peterborough, Canada
      Cooking Up Opportunity

      Empowering newcomer women through cooking becomes a perfect recipe for acquiring workplace English and entrepreneurial skills.

    • Toronto, Canada
      Business Out of the Box

      A community-led entrepreneurial start-up creates economic opportunity for community members while revitalizing a fairly bleak concrete wasteland

    • Halifax, Canada
      Welcomed in Halifax

      A free transit pass for newcomers helps refugees access city services, get to work or school, and explore the city along with their new neighbours

    • Leamington, Canada
      From Survival Jobs to Rich Harvest

      Industry leaders in the agricultural sector discover investing in newcomers is the best recipe for a rich harvest, stable workforce and the longterm health and well-being of the community

    • Halifax, Canada
      Making Connections

      Business needs talent. Talent needs opportunity. A networking program completes the equation.

    • Brandon, Canada
      Industry Leaders Connect to Recruit Newcomers

      Recruitment and onboarding supports in the meatpacking industry help temporary foreign workers find long-term employment and a welcoming home in small town Manitoba

    • Satriano, Italy
      In Italy, a struggling town looks to refugees for revival

      Where welcoming refugees is an opportunity to re-populate a small town, it creates "a virtuous cycle"

    • Palmerston North City, New Zealand
      First Voice

      A storytelling project brings first and second generation school students and mentors together to write stories in their first languages.

    • Stockholm, Schweden
      Swedish With Your Baby

      New parents from diverse backgrounds use conversation circles to learn about one another, develop common bonds and create a Sweden for all

    • Torre Pacheco, Spain
      Thinking Big: A Film Festival Highlights Small Town Diversity

      Combining culture and education to promote intercultural dialogue

    • Botkyrka, Sweden
      The Dilemma Workshop

      Living and working together in the intercultural city means challenging discrimination and implicit bias one person at a time

    • Fishguard (Wales), United Kingdom
      Croeso Abergwaun, Welcome Fishguard

      A global refugee sponsorship initiative finds a home in Wales


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