Immigration Waterloo Region Weekly
July 13, 2020

Stay healthy, Waterloo Region. We are in this together.

Immigration Partnership Updates
Anti-Racism Commitment
July 2020
The Immigration Partnership has witnessed the recent police-involved deaths of Ejaz Ahmed Choudry, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd and others. We express solidarity with Black, Indigenous and racialized community members in Waterloo Region and the tens of thousands of residents that recently marched in Kitchener and Cambridge to affirm that Black Lives Matter.
For more than 10 years, the Immigration Partnership has been a collaboration of over 60 community service, business, municipal and post-secondary organizations and Waterloo Region residents working together so immigrants reach their full potential and contribute to creating and sustaining a thriving, prosperous community for everyone. Immigrants living in Waterloo Region have told us that racism and racial discrimination negatively impact their experiences and opportunities here. In the past, the Immigration Partnership has brought awareness to those experiences and called organizations and residents across Waterloo Region to take action to end racism and racial discrimination in our community.
We need to do more. Addressing racism and discrimination in Waterloo Region through a regional Anti-Racism strategy is now a goal in our recently-approved Community Action Plan 2020-2025. We affirm the Immigration Partnership’s commitment to helping eliminate systemic and individual racism and racial discrimination in Waterloo Region. We will do this first and foremost by looking inward as a Partnership, with a focus on our own accountabilities and action. We will immediately mobilize to create a concrete action plan, which will include:

  1. Reviewing, at least annually, our governance and membership with an anti-racism and equity lens, to ensure we are representative of the community and centre the voices of immigrants in our work.
  2. Listening to the experience and calls to action of racialized immigrant and other community members, and continuing to create and consider disaggregated data that provides insights into racism and systemic barriers in Waterloo Region as it relates to immigrants, as the foundation of our work.
  3. With our Leadership Council and partners, establishing parameters for engagement in anti-racism work across our Partnership and elaborating accountability mechanisms.
  4. Working with and supporting our community service, municipal, business and post-secondary partners to confront racism.     
  5. Using our voice and platform to advocate for long-needed systems change to redress systemic racism.
  6. Working with and supporting others who are engaging in this collective work towards the development of a regional anti-racism strategy.
Our work in this area will be grounded in our guiding principles which focus on having community-driven impact by being responsive, collaborative and results-oriented.
On behalf of the Immigration Partnership Council.
Pari Karem, Chair
Tracey Hare Connell, Vice Chair
Tara Bedard, Executive Director
Join a coalition of local partners in the #KeepFamiliesSafe campaign  and help flatten the curve of family violence. Discover more at
Community Service Updates  
Immigrant Services and Interpretation Open

  • The KW Multicultural Centre (KWMC) and YMCA Immigrant Services are remotely serving newcomers across Waterloo Region. 
  • New: The YMCA language assessment centre is now doing online language assessments. New clients can call to book an appointment.
  • In Kitchener-Waterloo and area, KWMC is providing interpretation services remotely (phone or videoconferencing) in over 50 languages. Visit or email if you require an interpreter.
  • In Cambridge, the YMCA is providing interpretation services (phone or videoconferencing) remotely. Languages include: Arabic, Armenian, Farsi, Persian, Dari, Pashto, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish. If you require an interpreter email
  • Reception House Waterloo Region is remotely serving government-assisted refugees.
  • The Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Supports is remotely serving refugee claimants.
  • Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre continues to meet the health needs of refugees. Call ahead.
  • Conestoga LINC classes are running remotely via Zoom/WhatsApp for any students able to join at this time. 
  • New: St. Louis LINC classes are closed for the summer. Check the St. Louis website for updates for Fall St. Louis LINC classes. St. Louis LINC offices will reopen on Tuesday, August 31, 2020 at 8:30 am. You can reach the office at: 519-745-1201, ext 224, Main Campus; ext 400, Highland Campus.
Starting School in Canada 2020 Program for Newcomer Families with Children 3-6 Years Old

YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo Immigrant Services has opened its “Starting School in Canada 2020” program to share resources and information to help parents and children prepare for the transition to the school system in September 2020. This program is offered in English (with Spanish and Mandarin support), as well as in Arabic and Tigrinya.

Federal Consultation on Immigration Levels and the proposed Municipal Nominee Program
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada is seeking input on the proposed Municipal Nominee Program  (MNP) and Canada’s immigration levels plan, including the balance between different classes and programs, and how immigration can support Canada – particularly in light of the current pandemic. Before completing the online consultation, please read the background information in English or French . Deadline: July 20, 2020.

Youth Impact Survey   Open through July 24 in Waterloo Region

The Children and Youth Planning Table (CYPT) is inviting children and youth who are 9 to 18 years old to fill out the Youth Impact survey to learn about their experiences. The results will be used to create a summary report with an overview of youth experiences in Waterloo Region.

How to Help

Please Donate Cloth Masks
House of Friendship needs donations of cloth masks to help support its programs throughout Waterloo Region. Donations can be dropped off outside 51 Charles St. E. in Kitchener.

Federal, Provincial and Local Updates
COVID-19 Information and Resources
Regional Council recently passed by-laws that require the wearing of masks on transit and in enclosed public places. Visit the Region of Waterloo website to learn who is required to wear a face covering, if it will affect summer day camps, if businesses require proof of exemption, and more.
Through this survey, Grand River Hospital hopes that community members can provide their thoughts about what went well and what can be improved. This feedback will be used to help guide planning for the future. Please complete the survey by Sunday July 19, 2020. It takes just 10 minutes.
In t his study Southeast Asian and Korean groups both reported that 40 per cent have experienced a work disruption during COVID-19, followed by Black participants (38 per cent), South Asian (37 per cent), Latin American (34 per cent), Arab (33 per cent) and Chinese (31 per cent).
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered the way of life for Canadian families, parents and children. The purpose of this Statistics Canada report is to provide a snapshot of the experiences of Canadian parents and families during this unprecedented time.
Other Information and Resources
Due to easing of global travel restrictions in some regions, Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada is now able to facilitate travel to Canada for approximately 150-200 Government Assisted Refugees in the coming weeks, and expect that some Privately Sponsored Refugees may also begin arriving in very small numbers.
Launched in 2018 as a live event, Startup & Slay aims to raise the profile and visibility of diverse Canadian entrepreneurs: women of colour or racialized women, persons with disabilities, Indigenous women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and refugees. Applications are due July 31, 2020.
This guide contains key lessons from the Toronto Refugee Hiring Event held in 2019 and provides communities across Canada with a blueprint for hosting similar events to successfully match refugee talent with hiring employers.
This special edition of Canadian Diversity created by the Association for Canadian Studies in partnership with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO is calling for all to take an active role in supporting, investing, learning and helping the Black community prosper.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced a change in the interpretation of “parent” under the Citizenship Act. The change allows non-biological Canadian parents who are their child’s legal parent at birth to pass down Canadian citizenship to their children born abroad in the first generation.
Spending Time at Home during COVID-19
The Region of Waterloo Library is hosting a Summer Reading Club for parents, children and any member of families. It is free and it’s designed to encourage life-long reading habits. Registration is now open! Summer readers are welcome to sign up at any point before Summer Reading Club finishes on August 31.
Virtual Events and Webinars
Summer 2020 Programs
YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo Immigrant Services offers different resources and support to help newcomers navigate their new home during Summer time.
Dealing with Isolation & Loneliness webinar, July 16, 10-11am
Join Canadian Mental Health Association Waterloo Wellington for this webinar for some quick and easy strategies to help manage feelings of isolation and loneliness and to feel more connected.
COVID-19 Best Practices for Restaurants in Waterloo Region Panel, July 16, 10-11am
The purpose of this online panel discussion led by Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation is to hear what some restaurants are doing to set up their patios, follow public health guidelines and other new best practices. This session is truly a one-stop shop for restaurants in Waterloo Region.
“In Her Shoes (Women)” Employment & Entrepreneurship Training Program, starting July 20
This program is amid at visible minority newcomer cis and trans women and non-binary individuals with a focus on building computer and digital literacy skills, employment skills and entrepreneurship and starting your own online business.
Basic Coping Strategies for Caregivers - Online, July 22, 2-3pm
This Community Family Services on Ontario workshop will provide basic coping strategies to help caregivers understand and reduce daily stress. It is provided in Mandarin. Register: 416-979-8299, Ext: 262 or email:
Web Conference for Internationally Educated Nurses, July 23, 1-2:30pm
Canadian Immigrant launches a new Web Conference Series – a free, live industry-specific web conference series, to assist newcomers with information and inspiration in specific professions. The first session has been specially put together to assist internationally educated nurses and will feature speakers from across Canada who are experts in the industry.
Returning to Work During COVID-19, July 28, 11am-12:30pm
In this Cleo Connect webinar for frontline workers, experts from the community legal sector will be sharing up-to-date and practical information on workplace rights and income benefits at this stage of Ontario’s reopening. ASL interpretation will be available.
Managing Your Finances During Uncertain Times, July 28, 10:30am
Prepare for Canada brings this webinar that will cover: Practical tips and steps that newcomers can take to reduce your financial stress; what financial resources are available to manage financial uncertainty; and effective strategies to manage debt and save for the future.
COVID-19 Support Services for Newcomers Webinar, July 15, 10am and July 29, 11am
Service Canada is offering this webinar to review types of Employment Insurance benefits, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, the actions required for maintaining benefits, earnings while on claim and other resources to support return to work endeavours.
COVID 19 Coverage and other News

The Immigration Waterloo Region calendar has information about local programs and events for newcomers. Subscribe for a digest of events coming up in the next week or add your own events to share .
Feel free to send suggestions or relevant events/resources to include to the Immigration Waterlooo Region weekly by emailing  Dan Vandebelt ( ) and Alejandra Amezquita Gutierrez ( )
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