May 18, 2005

HSPC and community groups launch Inclusivity Action Plan to make York Region an ethno-cultural community

NEWMARKET – Community groups comprised of human service providers from across York Region, including governments, employers, ethno-cultural organizations and individual residents, today officially put a plan into action to make York Region an ethno-culturally inclusive community.
Sponsored by the Human Services Planning Coalition (HSPC), the Inclusivity Action Plan is a community initiative to increase York Region’s capacity to meet the needs of immigrants and new Canadians.
“This initiative is exciting because there are so many people working together towards the same goal – to make people who live here feel welcomed and the sense of belonging to a caring community,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Co-Chair of the HSPC.  “When newcomers integrate smoothly into Canadian society, they are productive and contribute to the community, which adds to the quality of life for everyone.”
“Service providers are the first point of contact with immigrants, and their challenge is to remove barriers that prevent immigrants from accessing or participating in all aspects of work and life here in York Region,” said HSPC Co-Chair Bill Hogarth, York Region District School Board Director of Education.  “We want to help newcomers begin to share the rich experiences, skills and abilities that they bring to Canada.”
“We’re going to focus on creating opportunities to include immigrants and newcomers in mentoring, networking and training,” said York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge.  “By engaging members of ethno-cultural communities in such activities, we will help develop leadership skills that will result in more representation of members of ethno-cultural communities at all levels of organizations that serve our communities.”
At the launch, Ranjit Kumar and Faduma Awow Mohamed, community members of the HSPC from Markham and Vaughan respectively, spoke about their experiences and expressed encouragement to others to get behind the Inclusivity Action Plan.
Today the HSPC also released What do all these organizations have in common? – a brochure that outlines the six specific areas of the Action Plan:
• Development of a welcome centre for immigrants to help people become settled into appropriate employment and housing and to gain access to education, health care and social services
• Language development programs
• Region-wide education campaign to raise awareness of inclusivity practices
• Learning opportunities for children to advance inclusive and respectful character traits at an early age
• Volunteer opportunities for immigrants and the development of their leadership skills
• Tools to help organizations become more inclusive
Community groups developed the Inclusivity Action Plan, and are taking leadership in implementing the six action areas.
The Inclusivity Action Plan is the result of six months of community consultations and an Inclusivity Summit earlier this year, attended by 180 people representing 95 different organizations in York Region.  Representatives from the organizations and ethno-cultural communities attending the summit formed working groups to develop recommendations for approval and implementation.
Anyone wishing to become involved is encouraged to contact Susan Taylor, Director of Human Services Planning Branch, York Region, at (905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, Ext. 1514.
For additional background information, including where to obtain a copy of the brochure or the Inclusivity Action Plan, please visit the publications section of or call Susan Taylor directly.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at:
Contact:   Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Services, York Region
(905) 830-4444 or 1-877-464-9675, ext. 1238

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