The Vancouver Immigration Partnership
Helping newcomers become locals
In July 2014, the City of Vancouver and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) entered into an agreement for Vancouver to undertake a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) initiative. The Vancouver Immigration Partnership (VIP), adopted from the LIP model, lays the foundation for a process that resulted in the creation of the New Start Strategy. With the assistance, input and support of upwards of 100 local organizations and community leaders, VIP's goal is to improve the newcomer experience.
What is Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) and what can it do for newcomers?
"LIPs are community‐based partnerships that aim to: foster local engagement of service providers and other institutions in newcomers' integration process; support community‐based knowledge‐sharing and local strategic planning; and improve the coordination of services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration."*
Local Immigration Partnerships, funded by IRCC, are designed to strengthen local capacity to attract and integrate newcomers. First introduced in Ontario in 2008, these community‐based partnerships have produced innovative plans that have optimized local approaches to newcomer settlement and integration.
VIP will build on the success of the Welcoming Communities Initiative, a City of Vancouver project that involved 27 of the city's most respected community service agencies. These dynamic collaborations created innovative and effective strategies to increase understanding, expand awareness and improve communication in supporting the unique needs and perspectives of Vancouver's immigrant population. Building on this work, VIP focuses on four strategic areas:
- Enhancing Newcomers Access to Services and Programs
VIP will examine and address issues that will improve service coordination across immigrant service organizations and mainstream service sectors
- Strengthening Intercultural and Civic Engagement
VIP will propose civic engagement activities that bring together newcomers and longtime residents with the purpose of strengthening social relations and community cohesion.
- Creating Welcoming and Inclusive Workplaces
VIP will continue to seek ways of partnering with businesses and employers to foster welcoming and inclusive workplaces for all. These strategies will build on the successful pilot projects with small businesses and local Business Improvement Associations that the Welcoming Communities Project (WCP) developed in 2013.
- Engaging Governments and Public Institutions To Address Newcomers Needs
The public sector and governments play key roles in supporting newcomers' integration. This focus area for VIP will examine how governments and public institutions can respond to newcomers needs including in areas such as housing, health and access to local and municipal services.
VIP is comprised of four strategy groups, representing various community sectors, to oversee each of its focus areas. Each strategy group is responsible for analyzing existing activities, identifying gaps and needs, and proposing priority actions regarding future approaches. These priority actions will form the basis of the New Start Strategy.
In addition to the strategy groups, a Research Advisory Committee supports VIP's research activities and additional advisory committees will be formed to leverage funding and obtain newcomers' perspectives. The Mayor's Working Group on Immigration, which advises the City on immigration policy and related issues, is the overall governance group for the initiative and guides the overall direction of VIP.
The VIP Project Secretariat is made up of three staff members: Project Lead, Project Coordinator, and Research/Outreach Coordinator. Consultants are assisting with research, workshops, program evaluation and related activities.
(Source: Local Immigration Partnerships Outcomes 2008‐2013, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, April 2014)*