In the end, we all lose.
Waterloo Region has a proud history of welcoming newcomers to our community. Yet, our Region is also not realizing the potential brought by immigrants. Past research in our region has pointed out the need for local action. It is time to bring together leaders from our community to find ways to make better use of immigrant skills as a means of strengthening our community.
"Canada's economic future is dependent on attracting highly educated and skilled people from other countries. We must create an environment that enables immigrants to be able to optimize their talents and skill sets."
- John Tibbits, President, Conestoga College
"There is a growing realization that the skills of many new immigrants are being lost to Canada through their inability to work in the fields for which they have been highly trained. This Summit is an opportunity to address how we all collectively might make quicker and better use of these skilled people who have chosen Canada to be their home."
- Ken Seiling, Regional Chair
"The Immigrant Skills Summit builds on work that we have been doing since 1987. We all benefit when we make good use of the enormous resources already available here at no cost. Skilled people, willing and able to work - imagine the possibilities!"
- Myrta Rivera, Executive Director, Multicultural Centre and Working for Work
"The McGuinty government is committed to working to integrate New Canadians into our economy and our communities. Local organizations are a key element in achieving this goal."
- John Milloy, MPP, Kitchener Centre
"Immigrants are drawn to our area and we benefit tremendously from the education and skills they bring. It is important that new Canadians have opportunities to put their talents to work in our community."
- Carl Zehr, Mayor, Kitchener
"Everyone should be as lucky as the staff at the New Canadian Program. Each day we hear accolades about this community from new immigrants, business friends and people from outside this Region. We should all be very proud of where we are today and where we are going in the future. This community is indeed a role model for the country."
- Marlene Kramer, Executive Director, New Canadian Program
"In our city, we know our diverse backgrounds make us stronger. The last census has shown us that immigration is not only a clear asset, a catalyst for our own population, but it is also a matter of survival. Statistics Canada tells us that immigration could account for virtually all labour-force growth in Canada by 2011."
- Karen Redman, MP Kitchener Centre
"Immigration will be a particularly vital component in labour force growth in Canada 's Technology Triangle in the coming years. The Immigrant Skills Summit provides a forum to begin to devise strategies that will help us to attract and welcome talented people whose skills and education meet the Waterloo Region's future work force requirements. The community needs to ensure that immigrant skills are more optimally used to the benefit of immigrants and their families, the economy and the community."
- John Tennant, CEO, Canada 's Technology Triangle, Inc.
"From a social planning perspective and through our work with the Cambridge YMCA Immigrant Services, we have seen an urgent need for trained immigrant professionals to be able to connect with employers who recognize their skills. I'm hoping to see that out of this summit there will be momentum towards creating an environment that will help immigrants to succeed in their new home."
- Linda Terry, Executive Director, Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries
"Employing people and allowing people to exercise skills to the maximum extent possible not only improves their life but also enhances the life of our community. Brain waste is debilitating to us all."
- Andrew Telegdi, MP Kitchener-Waterloo