July 2, 2008
Media Release

York Region web portal to serve immigrants

Welcome to York Region – www.yorkwelcome.ca – a collaboration of information
NEWMARKET – Representatives of both Provincial and Regional governments joined community leaders today to launch Welcome to York Region – www.yorkwelcome.ca – a significant information resource that welcomes prospective and recent immigrants to The Regional Municipality of York.
Ontario Citizenship and Immigration Minister Michael Chan co-hosted the event with York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch and the York Region Human Services Planning Coalition Co-Chairs Joyce Frustaglio, City of Vaughan Regional Councillor and Bill Hogarth, York Region District School Board Director of Education.
“Newcomers play a key role economically and culturally in making Ontario strong and prosperous,” said Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Michael Chan.  “This new website will help York Region promote itself to newcomers and potential immigrants whose skills, education and knowledge will help fuel the local economy.”
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration provided York Region with a one-time capital grant of $300,000 to build the portal, which was developed to provide relevant, credible information to help recent immigrants to access programs and services and make a smoother transition into the community.  Prospective immigrants may use the information to make informed decisions prior to moving to York Region.
“We all recognize the important role immigrants played in our past and more people are realizing that the cycle of welcoming newcomers must continue over the coming decades,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “I encourage our federal and provincial partners to continue working with York Region to fine-tune immigration settlement policy and ensure their policies take into account the kind of rapid population growth that York Region will continue to experience.”
On the advice of the Human Services Planning Coalition, York Region staff consulted with 60 newcomers to identify their information needs.  The data was provided by more than 100 immigrant service providers, including businesses, public and Catholic school boards, community groups, the York Region Welcome Centre Immigrant Services in the City of Vaughan, Seneca College, the United Way of York Region, local municipalities, York Region and the Province.
“The York Region immigrant portal compliments the work done by York Region and the Human Services Planning Coalition in making our communities more ethno-culturally inclusive,” said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Co-chair of York Region’s HSPC.  “Our vision – the vision expressed by York Region residents – is of a community where immigrants are able to contribute their rich experiences and skills to enhance our social fabric and enrich our economy.”
Welcome to York Region – www.yorkwelcome.ca – provides immigrants with the information they need to build connections with their new community, adjust quickly to their new lives and help themselves and their families become fully integrated and contributing members of society.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
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Media Contacts: Tim Paleczny, Corporate Communications Specialist, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
 Cell:  905 251-6413  Email:  tim.paleczny@york.ca

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