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Increased Funding for Canadian Immigrant Settlement Services and Programs

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Large funding allocations have been made over the past month by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) at the national, provincial, and regional levels. An important focus is on newcomer integration; easing the transition of immigrants into Canadian society and the Canadian workforce. CIC and regional service groups provide services and guidance to help newcomers become engaged in their new communities.

$121.6 million will be provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada over the next three years to help provincial governments with the settlement and integration of new immigrants. The new CIC funding, which is in addition to the $1.3 billion allocated in the 2006 budget, will go towards programs and services that provide information and orientation to newcomers. The $121.6 million is divided among provinces and territories outside Quebec and Ontario. These two provinces have separate bilateral immigration agreements with the federal government. Provincial services made possible by CIC funding are an important addition to federally-run immigrant settlement programs (the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program, the Host Program, and Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada).

In addition to funding current settlement supports, CIC is also preparing for future trends in Canadian immigration and settlement by financing research into globalization, migration, and diversity. Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) have pledged $7.5 million over five years to the national Metropolis Project, which supports research and public policy development on immigrant integration in cities in Canada and around the world.

“We have much to gain from exploring the effects of migration on the strength of our economy, the security of our nation, and the relationships between different cultures living side by side within out borders,” stated CIC Minister Diane Finley. Dr. Chad Gaffield, President of SSHRC explained that, “The Metropolis Project is addressing urgent societal issues as we attempt to build a more inclusive society and to understand the connections between immigration and globalization.”

New regional funding has also made headlines this month. $38 million has been allotted by CIC to 15 partner agencies in the Halton and Peel Regions of Ontario, two of the fastest-growing immigrant communities in Canada. Additionally, the Quebec provincial government recently announced that Montreal will receive double the amount of funding this year as it has been given in past years for immigrant settlement programs.

Commenting on the wave of federal funding from CIC, Minister Finley stated: “With this new funding, we will continue to respond to the needs of newcomers and help them become part of our community and our economy. Ultimately, their success is our success as we continue to build and strengthen our country.”