Niagara is strengthened when a new child, a new graduate or a new immigrant becomes part of our community. Our region’s vitality, inclusiveness and future sustainability depends on how we welcome these citizens, help them to get established and include them and their contributions. The presence of child care and supports for children and their parents or caregivers is a measure of the success of a region in giving children a healthy start in life.
What we are doing well…
Newborns in Niagara and their families benefit from supports provided by Niagara Region Public Health, Niagara Early Years programs, and public and private day care facilities. Refugees and immigrants coming across the border into Canada at the Fort Erie Peace Bridge point of entry are met by the Peace Bridge Newcomers’ Center and Canada Border Services. While most of these people travel on to larger urban centers in Ontario and Canada, others establish temporary or permanent residency in Niagara. New graduates from secondary schools, colleges, trades and apprenticeship programs and universities can access employment search supports and service learning opportunities as they seek rewarding work to establish an adult life in Niagara.
By working together, we can improve the experiences of those getting started in Niagara as a child, a young adult, or an immigrant
Continuing to build a community that is friendly and accessible for all ages and backgrounds will increase everyone’s sense of belonging, boost productivity levels, and utilize citizens’ diverse assets. Niagara could actively involve parents in understanding their critical role in actualizing the areas identified by the Early Years Niagara Planning Council, to help ensure that children are learning, healthy and safe; and families are strong, stable and connected. Immigrants and their families could best make a rich contribution to our communities, schools and places of work, if we develop a more proactive approach to welcoming and valuing their talents and skills. Ongoing attention should be paid to coordination, effectiveness and timeliness of efforts to recognize immigrants’ prior credentials, to offer language training, settlement services and education. A stronger future for Niagara would result from attracting and retaining youth and young adults through innovative opportunities for education and employment. Identifying optimal ways to integrate and utilize the assets and potential of youth, young adults and seniors would increase quality of life for all of Niagara.
- The Children’s Charter Enacted report shows evidence that the Charter has guided positive changes in the way children’s services are delivered. This shows that as a community we consider our children and youth to be one of the most important assets to invest in for everyone’s future.
- There is a growing sense that creating a culture and climate that supports starting up in Niagara will attract new people, engage youth and young graduates to feel they are part of Niagara’s future. It will also encourage new businesses and enterprises to innovate in Niagara.
Suggested Action Steps
that emerged from the data, and discussions with community expert opinion leaders:
- Continue to describe the impact of the Niagara Children’s Charter on the lives of children, families, agencies and the community.
- Create a forum that includes researchers, community members and academics, along with public policy experts to identify opportunities to leverage our Niagara-specific data on immigration, specifically as it relates to the social and economic health of the Niagara Region.
- Actively involve and inform parents about their critical role in actualizing the areas identified by the Early Years Niagara Planning Council to ensure that: children are learning, healthy and safe; and families are strong, stable and connected.
- Create an intersectoral strategy for, and dedicate resources to attracting and retaining youth through innovative employment and leadership opportunities.