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As the population growth in Northwestern Ontario is stagnant, new employee pools, such as new immigrants, are being explored to ensure a qualified workforce exists. Unfortunately, only 0.15% of newcomers land in Northwestern Ontario (Northern Ontario Immigration Profile, 2015). 

The way organizations and communities welcome new members plays a vital role in recruitment and retention, especially when it involves new immigrants. However, little is known on how to increase the perception of ‘community welcoming’ for new immigrants, and even less for those relocating to small and isolated areas. Through our research project, we hope to change that. Our study focuses on three communities in Northwestern Ontario: Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout, and Atikokan. Our objective is to thoroughly understand the associations between welcoming, by communities and organizations, and inclusion for new immigrant recruitment and retention. We hope to uncover the most prominent inclusion and diversity barriers, develop strategies to overcome them, and enable communities and employers to build cultural competence, reduce bias and discrimination, and encourage welcoming of new immigrants. This knowledge will be critical for the ongoing economic development and sustainability of Northern and rural Ontario.

A key component of our research will be collaborating with community partners in order to obtain accurate and relevant findings. That said, the project is designed for three specific segments of the community:  the new immigrants, the organizations that employ them, and the community leaders that have the potential to effect change through their formal and informal roles within the community. To find out how you or your organization can get involved, visit our ‘Get Involved’ web page.

This Project is funded in part by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. The Government of Ontario and its agencies are in no way bound by any recommendations contained in this document.

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