Immigration Waterloo Region Weekly
Immigration Partnership News
The Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership is now accepting applications for support for initiatives that facilitate the welcoming, settling and integration of immigrants and refugees in Waterloo Region.

Call for Applications. Organizations, groups and individuals can now apply for support through the Immigration Partnership Fund for Immigrant and Refugee Initiatives and the Fund for Immigrant Economic Wellbeing: 

1. Applications open for the Immigration Partnership Fund for Immigrant and Refugee Initiatives. Established at the Waterloo Region Community Foundation as a signal of the welcoming community Waterloo Region strives to be, this fund will now support initiatives that facilitate the welcoming, settling and integration of Ukrainians fleeing war and Afghan and other refugees in the Region. Through the generosity of residents and businesses, there is currently $114,000 available in the Fund.

2. Applications open for the Fund for Immigrant Economic Wellbeing. This Fund targets initiatives that enhance the employment, entrepreneurship and economic wellbeing of immigrants in Waterloo Region. Supported through the Region of Waterloo’s Equity Fund, a total of $1 million is available for granting.

Visit for further information on both Funds, eligibility, deadlines and application links.

For more information, please contact Tara Bedard, Immigration Partnership Executive Director at
Waterloo Region Celebrates Welcoming Week 2022 in September!
The Immigration Partnership and community partners, in collaboration with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), celebrate Welcoming Week 2022 from September 9 to 18.

Save the Date: We invite you to join this week to celebrate diversity, inclusion and belonging in Waterloo Region. This week provides newcomers with the opportunity to connect with community services and participate in fun and informative activities to get to know their new home. It is also a great opportunity for quality interactions between old and new residents. 
About Welcoming Week

Welcoming Week is an annual campaign and celebration to showcase the movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants. This year’s Welcoming Week marks the 10th anniversary of what is now a global event, Canada’s third year participating nationally and Waterloo Region's first year joining this event.

We recognize the important work of many immigrant settlement organizations, community organizations and ethno-cultural groups in welcoming immigrants through their initiatives and events. Welcoming Week is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the people, places and values that ensure everyone feels welcome and belongs in their local community, no matter where they come from.

Visit to check details and registration links of the events and activities happening during Welcoming Week
Last week, Statistics Canada released new data on languages from the 2021 Census. According to the census,"4.6 million Canadians speak predominantly a language other than English or French at home (...). These individuals represent 12.7% of the Canadian population, a proportion that has been increasing for 30 years." In Waterloo Region, the census reveals that Punjabi, Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish surpass German as top foreign languages.

Key Indicators in Waterloo Region:

  • More than a quarter of the population have a first language that is not English or French.
  • 69.2% have English as a first language
  • 1.0% have French as their first language
  • 26.0% (151,325 individuals) have a non-official first language. This compares to 26.9% across Ontario and 21.4% across Canada. In the 2016 census, 23.4% (123,990 individuals) had a non-official first language. This is an increase of 27,335 individuals and equivalent to 52.6% of Waterloo Region’s total population increase over those five years.

More key findings here.

Key Indicators in Canada:

  • English is the first official language spoken by just over three in four Canadians. This proportion increased from 74.8% in 2016 to 75.5% in 2021.
  • French is the first official language spoken by an increasing number of Canadians, but the proportion fell from 22.2% in 2016 to 21.4% in 2021.
  • Aside from English and French, Mandarin and Punjabi were the country's most widely spoken languages. In 2021, more than half a million Canadians spoke predominantly Mandarin at home and more than half a million spoke Punjabi.

More key findings here.
A Webinar for Employers

We have partnered with Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) of Southwestern Ontario and WILL Immploy to host a webinar this Fall for employers that will focus on information and best practices in creating welcoming and inclusive spaces within the workplace. Our guest speakers for this session include:

  • Roger Faulkner - President, Owner & General Manager of General Coach Canada
  • Tarndeep Singh - Social Research/Project Assistant, Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership

More details and registration, here.
For more details on these events and other immigration, anti-racism and community initiatives, follow us on our social media accounts!
Community Partner Highlights 
Immigrant Services and Interpretation Open

Bring your questions, big ideas, ongoing projects and interest in a more equitable community to the upcoming Community Collaborative Event Series organized by the Region of Waterloo. These events will enable residents to connect with others who are working to create change in Waterloo Region to improve the health and wellbeing of our community with a focus on Truth and Reconciliation, anti-racism, and other areas of equity and inclusion.

At these events, community members will be able to come together to collaborate, share resources and to learn more about the diversity of work happening in the community. They are also an opportunity to hear more about funding programs available to you including the Upstream Fund, Waterloo Region Racial Equity Fund, ROW Equity Fund, and the Immigration Partnership Fund for Immigrant Economic Wellbeing.

Upcoming Events: 
  • Aug 23, 5:30-8:00, Cambridge, Kinbridge Community Association (200 Christopher Dr. Cambridge) 
  • Aug 25, 5:30-8:00, Victoria Hills Community Centre (10 Chopin Dr, Kitchener) 
  • And many more throughout August and September 

Refugee Integration Updates

Community members can support Afghan and other refugees arriving in the region in many ways: Providing affordable housing or primary care, making monetary donations to the Immigration Partnership Fund or Reception House Waterloo Region, donating clothing and other items, sponsoring refugee families, supporting family reunification efforts,etc. Visit for more information on the Afghan Resettlement in Waterloo Region!

Visit to learn how residents of Waterloo Region can support the Ukrainians coming to Canada. In addition, visitors will find helpful information and tools shared by the federal government specifically for Ukrainian individuals and families such as service access instructions, welcome to Canada checklist, SIN for Newcomers, etc.
Information and Resources

Conestoga College hosts an IRCC funded training dedicated to supporting newcomers to gain in-demand employment skills and build confidence and workplace communication skills. This FREE 6-week course delivers three main components: Core employment skills and leadership strategies, Hands-on activities to build your network and Digital skills and keyboarding skills.Two Fall 2022 deliveries available: Sept 13, 2022 and Nov 7, 2022. Fully online/remote evening delivery.

Conestoga College hosts an IRCC funded project dedicated to supporting newcomers who are focused on starting their own businesses. This FREE 19-week program delivers three main components: Expert entrepreneurship training, 1:1 mentoring support and Networking opportunities. Start date: Oct 25, 2022. Space is limited. Fully online/remote evening delivery.

The Racialized and Indigenous Supports for Equity (RISE) Fund is a community grant that provides support for community-led organizations, programs, initiatives or events meant to decrease inequities and increase opportunities and well-being for Black, Indigenous and racialized communities in Kitchener. Applications for the RISE Fund are open until September 15.

Waterloo Region is pleased to announce the launch of the Upstream Fund, a $2.1 million annual fund to support community-led initiatives in Waterloo Region that align with the Community Safety and Wellbeing Plan (CSWP).  
Organizations, groups and individuals can now make a proposal for funding through the Upstream Fund. Submission will be accepted until September 23, 2022. 
Getting Ready to Go Back to School in September
You are not alone! As a new school year approaches, we want to tell newcomer parents and children that you are not alone! There are many resources available to help you to make your transition to school as smooth as possible. See below for some Back to School resources.

Attending high school (grades 9-12) for the first time in September? Join YMCA of Three Rivers Immigrant Services Aug 29-31 from 9:00am to 3:00pm for Newcomer Orientation Week that provides an orientation to school, tips for success and an opportunity to make new friends! To register, call 519-742-8220 or email

YMCA school-based settlement service assists parents and their children with settlement needs through outreach to all new arrivals, needs assessment and action planning. Settlement Workers in Schools also provide orientation and information on school and community, and provide referrals and assistance to access additional community services.

The Welcome Centre of the Waterloo Region District School Board is the essential starting point for secondary newcomer students where staff support students and families in the transition to their new schools. Welcome Centre Teacher Assessors make academic program and course recommendations, based on interviews and assessments. Information about booking an assessment with the Welcome Centre, please email: or call
Events and Webinars
City of Waterloo Summer Events
The City of Waterloo invites families to enjoy the last days of Summer with its fun activities and events, such as Art Market, Campfire, Movies in the Park, Public Art and Historical Uptown Waterloo walking Tour and much more.
Startup Business Basics, Aug 23, 10-11am EDT
Waterloo Region small Business Centre invites entrepreneurs to learn the necessary steps to start their business. Including: The various forms of business ownership, government regulations, the importance of a business plan, forecasting cash flow, identifying your target market and client profile and when and why to register for HST. Registration is required to receive the ZOOM Link. Registration for other entrepreneurship webinars on video production, content marketing, email marketing and more here.
Accepting Identity & Finding Connection for 2SLGBTQ+ Newcomers, Aug 31, 6pm
This online event is brought the City of Cambridge Newcomer Outreach Program will cover the following topics: KW Unity Mosque Yes! You can be Queer and Muslim, Wilfrid Laurier Self-Care and Safety for Queer Newcomers, Newcomer Outreach Program, Spectrum Resources and more.
Walk this Way: March of 1,000 Umbrellas, Sept 15, 11am
Join the United Way Waterloo Region and hundreds of local businesses, organizations and community members to show support for our local agencies and all the people that provide the critical work on the ground in Waterloo Region. Special performance by Cambridge native Stacey Kay, Canada’s Got Talent Finalist.
Newcomers' Trip to Crow Shield Lodge, Sept 22, 9am-2pm
All-day bus tour for newcomers: City of Cambridge's Newcomer Outreach Program is pleased to announce a bus tour to Crow Shield Lodge. Crow Shield Lodge provides access to Indigenous worldviews and cosmovisions which are available to people of all Nations. The purpose of the bus tour is to introduce our newcomer community members to the Indigenous values, worldviews, practices and land.
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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