The city of Ottawa has announced a new plan that aims to attract and retain more immigrants to the Capital region.
The plan, which has been dubbed “The Ottawa Immigration Strategy,” has thus far attracted involvement from approximately 200 local groups at both the public and private level. The main focus of the plan will be to consolidate and organize the various services that are currently available to the city’s new arrivals.
In recent years, experts say, Ottawa has fallen behind most major urban centers across the country in terms of providing streamlined, user-friendly resettlement assistance to immigrants. It has also lagged in promoting itself to other regions and nations.
“We’re facing a lot more competition (from other cities),” says Dick Stewart who chairs the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership Council (OLIP). Ottawa can’t simply take it for granted that people will come here and stay here. … This is a call to action.”
Ottawa, Canada’s fourth largest city attracts approximately 12,000 new arrivals each year. Of those, just over half (6,300) are immigrants who plan to stay permanently. The others are either temporary workers or students.
The initiation of this plan illustrates how important immigrants are to the city – they account for 100 percent of the labour force growth and make up over one-fifth of the city’s population. The city recognizes the importance of addressing the needs of its immigrants if it wishes to remain competitive in the coming years.