Happy Multiculturalism Day

In 1971, the government of Canada adopted a multiculturalism policy, and later on in November 2002, a Canadian Multiculturalism Day was identified on June 27 of each year.

For as far as I can remember, especially when I was an International Politics student at the University of Rome, in Italy, Canada was always mentioned as “the” case study for its multiculturalist approach opposite to the well-known “melting pot” adopted in the USA.

Canada is a place where one can keep their ethnic identity without losing the privilege to be Canadian. It appears that by accepting and recognizing Canada’s diversity, democracy is strengthened, and a common, inclusive inheritance is created by all and for all.

How is this relevant to our area?
Approximately 75% of newcomers to Canada settle in larger cities such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Conversely, a new trend is forming with immigrants considering a new life in smaller, rural places like the Quinte Region and Hastings County as a result of affordable housing prices and a better support network when setting up a business. This is the best place to raise a family, start a business and, if you are lucky enough, to retire…not to mention how easy it is to access services with a smile!

According to the Quinte Local Immigration Partnership (QLIP) there are about 10,000 immigrants in the Bay of Quinte area at large. I am one of them, having moved to the area about nine years ago from Italy. In 2007, I was welcomed by Yvonne Ferguson who at the time worked with Quinte Immigration Services (QUIS) as a settlement worker. She was my lighthouse in the storm, and I cannot thank her enough for being such a great resource for me.

QUIS works with newcomers to ease the transition and settling, check out their website at http://www.quinteimmigration.ca/

In order to provide a social network and as a retention strategy, in September 2014, The United Nations Association in Canada Quinte Branch (UNAC-Quinte) joined forces with the City of Belleville and launched a new program called “Ambassadors for Belleville” to retain new immigrants to the area. Through the Ambassadors’ gatherings newcomers and Canadians alike have had a time and a place to meet, chat and mingle. The program has been running since and offers a window to the diversity in our region. If you wish to learn more about the Ambassadors for Belleville Program and UNAC Quinte, please contact Dr. Aruna Alexander globalperspectives@cogeco.ca

In March 2016, a new Immigration portal was launched to offer information and resources to newcomers investigating the idea of relocating to the area. Watch video testimonials of happy people who chose to start their new life here: http://immigration.bayofquinte.ca/

Ciao and enjoy Multiculturalism day!