May 30, 2006
Media Release

York Region launches recent immigrant report to community

Government, community services, business, education and other sectors join to discuss challenges and opportunities affecting the Region
MARKHAM – Members of York Regional Council joined representatives from other levels of government, community services, business, education and other sectors to officially launch and discuss the findings of the Community Snapshots: Recent Immigrants Living in York Region report in Markham this morning.
“This report will assist municipalities, community agencies and organizations in understanding the attributes, challenges and needs of recent immigrants so that we can work on the right balance of services and programs necessary to support their integration into York Region,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.
Community Snapshots looks at the socio-economic data pertaining to recent immigrants, including demographics, employment, income, education, language, housing, use of public transit and religion.  The report first looks at these characteristics for York Region as a whole, and then provides a snapshot of the Region’s urban municipalities – Aurora, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill and Vaughan – where the majority of recent immigrants reside.
According to the study, York Region’s recent immigrant population is growing faster than the non-immigrant population.  Between 1991 and 2001, the number of recent immigrants increased by 132 per cent, while non-immigrants increased by only 31 per cent. 
Representatives from municipal government, community services, business and education sectors participated in a panel and discussed the opportunities and challenges highlighted in the report.
“The information contained in this report will also put York Region and community services and organizations in a better position to service, plan and advocate for equitable funding – funding for immigration and settlement services that historically has lagged behind funding received in other municipalities in the GTA,” said Town of Newmarket Mayor Tom Taylor, Co-chair of the Community Reference Group.
“Today’s discussions are just the beginning of a dialogue that needs to take place throughout York Region between organizations, agencies and all levels of government,” said Rahul Bhardwaj, CEO of the United Way of York Region and Co-chair of the Community Reference Group.  “We are at a critical point in public policy where as a community we can make a difference to the quality of life for those new Canadians moving to York Region.”
Community Snapshots: Recent Immigrants Living in York Region was prepared using Statistics Canada data by York Region’s Community Services and Housing Department. This study is the first product developed under the Region’s Community Social Data Strategy (CSDS) in partnership with the Community Reference Group.  The report and Highlights are available on the Region’s Web site, and will be circulated to partners and stakeholder groups.
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