Every year in early September, Canada celebrates Welcoming Week to showcase and promote the inclusion of immigrants and refugees in our communities. This year, Welcoming Week takes place from September 8th-17th. The week highlights the positive impact immigration has made on our society and celebrates diversity by fostering connections with new Canadians.
Immigration is crucial to Canadian society, as newcomers help fill the workforce with skilled labour and create jobs while driving innovation. Immigration is also the foundation of Canada’s diversity, as it enriches the social fabric by creating a more inclusive and vibrant society through the mixing of culture, art, cuisine, religion, and ideas. With declining birth rates and an aging population, Canada is aiming to welcome over 450,000 newcomers each year from 2023-2025. In 2022 alone, 431,645 newcomers started calling Canada their home. While there are many ways to immigrate to Canada, some of the most popular channels include express entry for skilled workers, family sponsorship, Francophone immigration, permanent residence pathways. Canada also offers protection to those fleeing persecution, conflict, and war.
Welcoming Week is for everyone to celebrate! Here are just some ways you can participate and show that immigration matters:
Match with a Newcomer on Canada Connects
Canada Connects offers volunteer opportunities to community members who wish to help a newcomer on their settlement journey. You can participate by entering your postal code or city, after which you will be able to search for a local settlement organization. There are dozens of great settlement agencies in Markham and York Region that will set you up with newcomer mentorship.
Share Your Favourite Activities, Resources, and Pastimes
Getting to know a new neighbourhood can be a stressful experience. Just imagine trying to figure out some of the basics like getting groceries, using public transport, and finding a pharmacy within the first week of arrival. Take the opportunity to meet newcomers in your community and share some of your favourite resources and activities.
Lend a Helping Hand
Moving is an exhausting experience and moving countries is even more daunting. Newcomers often have to find basics like furniture and warm clothing immediately after arrival. You can lend a helping hand by donating items to your new neighbours or help out by offering a ride.
Check Out the Immigrant Story Exhibit at Aaniin Library
In celebration of Welcoming Week, Aaniin Library is hosting the Immigrant Story Exhibit from August 26th to October 27th. The Exhibit is a mosaic of immigration accounts from newcomers across the globe. Creator and developer Sholom Wargon launched the Exhibit "to acknowledge the brave souls who paved the way to the better tomorrow we are now experiencing" and highlight the stories of strength, courage, and hope that centre around leaving one's home.
Learn More About Immigration Experiences
Whether you immigrated recently or settled in Canada generations ago, learning about immigration and refugee experiences can help you better understand the hardships newcomers face. Check out the Immigration Matters page to read stories of recent arrivals to Canada. Our library collection also offers great books about the immigration experience. Checkout these stories below: