Grant will help county settlement services maximize reciprocal benefits

By Cecilia Nasmith

From left, photo shows Northumberland County director of economic development Dan Borowec and chief administrative officer Jennifer Moore, with Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd, Northumberland County Warden Bob Sanderson, Northumberland Settlement Services Co-ordinator Emilio Ojeda, Cobourg Mayor John Henderson and Northumberland Hispanic Cultural Club director Antonio Sarmiento.

In order to make the most of what Northumberland-Peterborough South MP Kim Rudd termed the reciprocal benefits of immigration, Northumberland County Settlement Services will receive a grant of $351,733 over three years.

The investment comes to the county through the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship's Resettlement Assistance Program.

Making the announcement in Cobourg Monday, Rudd expanded on this thought.

“As a community, we have welcomed people into our culture, into our lives, into learning and enjoying the reciprocal opportunities to learn from other culture and other people,” the MP stated.

“We know these settlement services play a crucial role in helping Canadian newcomers become vibrant members of our culture and provide those tools that will expediate their own opportunities.”

Canada represents a beacon of hope for so many people throughout the world, Rudd said, and they bring so much.

While the vast majority of immigrants will gravitate toward the opportunities offered in Canada's largest cities, Rudd cited the case of an accountant who could not fill two positions and set out to recruit international students at some of Canada's northern colleges and universities who may not have considered living in a smaller community.

Another economic opportunity Warden Bob Sanderson mentioned is entrepreneurship.

“There are a significant number of newcomers who are coming up with ideas, and their enthusiasm is catching,” Sanderson said.

“Northumberland County is without a doubt one of the best counties in Ontario, and bringing ore people from other diverse cultures is only a positive.”

“Immigration does bind us together,” Rudd stated.

“I think the synergy we get from each other is certainly something I cherish and, as a nation, we are stronger and better for our diversity.”

Northumberland County Warden Bob Sanderson agreed that the benefits of immigration are a two-way street.

“Unless you have been in those shoes, none of us know what it's like to be a newcomer to a new culture – it's got to be very difficult,” Sanderson said.

For those who are considering Northumberland County as their new home, the settlement services offered deliver programs that respond to newcomer needs. With Monday's announcement, base services such as needs assessment and referrals, information and orientation, and employment-related services will be enhanced.

Northumberland County works with community organizations and partners to create the kind of infrastructure to support this work, director of economic development Dan Borowec said.

“This comes at a time when economic and fiscal pressures are looming across the province with an aging population, low birth rates and high immigration. It's a real opportunity for new Canadians.”

Sanderson said some of the most moving moments he has experienced in public life come at citizenship ceremonies where new Canadians are sworn in.

“Forty-five people from across the world beaming back at you as they take their Canadian citizenship – it's a very emotional event,” he said.

Borowec said another such ceremony is planned for another 45 new Canadians Oct. 24 in Cobourg at Victoria Hall.