There was plenty to celebrate as the Celebration Evening for the Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) project took place on Thursday, June 16 in Smiths Falls.
Approximately 60 people were on hand at the Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre as the official announcement of the project in the Smiths Falls area was made by Mary Barr, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).
Smiths Falls is one of 45 LIP communities in Ontario with funding for the project being provided by CIC. The Town of Smiths Falls is the project partner.
Under the LIP initiative, the recently appointed Local Immigration Partnership Council (LIPC) will act as a strategic planning body that works to coordinate and enhance the integration of newcomers in the community. The council has broad representation from newcomers to settlement service providers to the business community.
The first phase of the LIP project is to be completed by March 31st, 2012. During that time period, the members of the council will develop a local settlement strategy and a corresponding implementation plan, meanwhile gathering the information and feedback necessary to support these deliverables. As part of that work, consultations will take place with newcomers, employers and service providers in the community.
An initial step in the consultation process took place on June 16 as those in attendance were divided into discussion groups to gather feedback on the challenges and opportunities for immigration in the community (See Complete Report on Focus Group Feedback under Downloads).
The celebration evening for LIP truly had an international flavour. That included the entertainment, which opened with Aira Sarmiento on the guitar singing songs in English and the Tagalog language of her native Philippines, followed by Jason Yang playing the Chinese harp.
Following their performances, Ming Shan Gu shared her experience of what it was like to leave her homeland of China to come to Canada and start a new life, eventually settling in Smiths Falls with her family in 2008.