On November 30th, the Regional Forum on Rural Newcomer Integration was a great example of a region coming together to improve newcomer integration throughout rural communities. The Regional Forum focussed on equipping employers with the knowledge and tools to be effective in attracting and retaining newcomer employees.
The room was full of municipal staff looking to support employers, employers who had previously been successful at newcomer integration to share strategies, and academics with supporting evidence. There were various speakers that presented their experiences and successes when it came to migrant workers, and the strategies they have implemented to ensure that newcomer employees feel welcomed and a part of the community. The keynote speaker, Lionel Laroche presented wonderful insights based off of his own personal experiences as an immigrant and offered useful suggestions that could be implemented in various employment settings. There were activities that encouraged those present to work together and come up with ideas that they could implement to better the experience of newcomers. The refreshing and effective aspect of this forum was that the employers left with toolkits and resources that they will be able to implement and use on the ground.
The Regional Forum on Newcomer Integration was hosted by Grey County with the support of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Huron County, Perth County, Wellington County, Bruce County, Rural Employment Initiative, Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Rural Ontario Institute, and the Four County Labour Market Planning Board. Resources from the workshop can be accessed at https://madeingrey.ca/newcomer-attraction-and-attention.
Written by Shannon Labelle, Mallory Smith, and Menakah Yoharaja