Webinar: Immigrant Futures: Regional Strategies for Northern Attraction and Retention

November 18, 2019

 From Atlantic to Western and Northern regions, smaller and rural communities across Canada (and the U.S.) are facing the unprecedented challenges of demographic change and population decline. Recent research plots an aging population and plummeting birth rate against a growing gap in local labour markets exacerbated by the out-migration of rural youth and working-age population.

The Northern Policy Institute (NPI) responds to these challenges in a new report series. Its Northern Newcomer Strategy offers a regional analysis of local policies and programs that can attract new immigrants and revitalize small and medium sized communities across Northern Ontario. In Thunder Bay and North Bay, Ontario, city and community leaders have identified immigration as an economic growth strategy with potential to reverse population decline and meet local demand for skilled and professional trades. Community leaders are working with the municipality to engage local employers, service providers and residents to build a welcoming economy where everyone can thrive.

What makes a community “outside the Big City” attractive to newcomers? Is there a regional recipe for building open, inclusive communities where everyone thrives today and for the long-term? Join us online to learn more about how the Northern Policy Institute, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, and North Bay & District Multicultural Centre are shifting policy into practice with a dynamic vision for the prosperity and well-being of their community futures.

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The Northern Attraction Series by Northern Policy Institute


Cathy Woodbeck, Executive Director, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association

Cathy Woodbeck is the Executive Director of the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, an immigrant serving organization that serves all of Northwestern Ontario (a region the size of France).  She has been a member of the National Settlement Council and has represented rural, northern, remote and smaller centres in a number of capacities.   She has spent 25 years in the Immigrant Settlement and Language Sector and has been a mentor to many Executive Directors and agencies, having assisted agencies across Canada in developing programming and proposals.   Cathy is a member of the Executive Advisory to Thunder Bay Police and was responsible for the development of the “Developing Diversity in Policing” project.  Cathy’s advice is sought by municipalities, agencies and businesses who want to effectively settle newcomers to Canada. She often represents Northern Ontario at Federal and Provincial discussions on settlement of newcomers, language acquisition, small centre strategies for building welcoming communities, the Rural and Northern Immigration pilot and issues of institutional change with respect to diversity.  She holds a Master’s Degree in English and is currently the provincial appointee on the Lakehead Police Services board.

Meg Ramore, Project Coordinator, North Bay Local Immigration Partnership (NBLIP), North Bay & District Multicultural Centre

Meg Ramore is passionate about building safer and welcoming spaces throughout her community. As the coordinator of the North Bay & Area Local Immigration Partnership, she develops programming and resources with LIP partners in order to increase her community’s capacity to recruit, retain, service, integrate and fully value newcomers to Canada. She believes that those doing this work must recognize how the systems we work in often reinforce barriers to inclusion. Meg is an experienced facilitator on topics like anti-oppression, positive/safer spaces, and power and privilege. She practices inclusion in process and action, and welcomes opportunities to do better. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her partner, family, and two dogs, and volunteers with Amelia Rising Sexual Violence Support Centre as chairperson of the board of directors.

Christina Zefi, former Research Analyst, Northern Policy Institute

Christina Zefi is a former Research Analyst at Northern Policy Institute. She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminology from the University of Toronto as well as a Graduate Certificate in Public Administration from Humber College. Her research interests include immigration reform and policy related to Indigenous Affairs, the environment, and mental health. Prior to her role at NPI, Christina worked at TD Canada Trust as a Financial Advisor

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

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