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Ottawa on Track to Become Canada's Most Welcoming City for Immigrants

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/24/13 -- To: Assignment Editors, Reporters and Producers

Editors Note: There is a calendar of events and a backgrounder associated with this press release.

On June 26, at 8 a.m., at a breakfast reception with business executives, civic leaders and representatives of faith communities in the region, the Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson will proclaim June 25 to 30, 2013 as the first-ever "Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW)." The Mayoral proclamation reception is one of several activities planned during WOW to bolster the capital's reputation as a welcoming city for newcomers. The calendar for the inaugural Welcoming Ottawa Week is marked by a series of engaging dialogues and celebratory activities, including community sports events, public lectures and seminars, a movie screening in a neighbourhood park, music, artists' gatherings, and the 2nd Annual Ottawa Immigration Forum.

"We have long recognized the value of immigration to our city's prosperity and vitality," says the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson. "The Welcoming Ottawa Week will underscore our genuine respect and hospitality to newcomers, while at the same time creating opportunities for dialogue and interactions between newcomers and established residents."

This year's Ottawa Immigration Forum, hosted by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) in collaboration with the Reseau de soutien de l'immigration francophone de l'Est de l'Ontario, is themed "The Building Blocks of a Welcoming Community." The Forum will take place on Thursday, June 27, from 8 a.m. to 12:00 noon, and coincides with Multiculturalism Day.

Forum attendees will hear about Manitoba's model for welcoming and integrating newcomers from Gerry Clement, a former senior official with the Manitoba Government and one of the principal architects of Manitoba's highly acclaimed immigrant attraction and integration strategy. Representatives of Ottawa's post-secondary institutions will also reflect upon the opportunities and challenges they face as they seek to extend and enhance Ottawa's reputation as an international student destination hub.

In 2012, Ottawa was the fourth-largest international student destination in Canada, after Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and the first choice for international students among Canada's mid-sized cities.

"As a community, we are committed to strengthening our capacity to welcome and integrate immigrants," said Dick Stewart, Chair of the OLIP Council. "The 2013 Ottawa Immigration Forum will help us learn from the successes of other cities; and enable us to discuss ways in which we can maintain and enhance what works well."

The Forum will also celebrate the successes of the OLIP partners over the last eight months and continued progress towards the goals of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, launched in 2011.

Welcoming Ottawa Week events begin on June 25 with two seminars: one on "Building Sustainable Capacity for Welcoming Organizations" featuring three prominent speakers and the tabling of a summary report on Phase 1 of Ottawa's first-ever Equity Project; the other on "Les Enjoux de l'immigration francophone a Ottawa."

The Mayor's proclamation and breakfast reception will anchor the Week, with an official proclamation ceremony on June 26. Local artists and arts organizations will gather on June 28 to discuss how to promote pluralism in the arts.

The Week will conclude on June 30 with the Community Cup event at Brewer Park. Over 2,000 guests are expected to gather to enjoy this fun-filled family event, with soccer competitions, demonstrations of sports such as cricket and Tai Chi which are popular among immigrants and minority residents, children's games, an international food bazaar, and a citizenship reaffirmation ceremony during which 200 Ottawans will renew their vows to Canada and to each other.

"We are excited about WOW," said Hindia Mohamoud, OLIP director. "A lot of good work is being done by the OLIP partners and countless Ottawans are welcoming to immigrants. The Welcoming Ottawa Week is about joining our voices and conveying clearly and unequivocally that we are intentioned to being the most welcoming city in Canada to newcomers both current and prospective."

Initiated by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership and championed by the Mayor of Ottawa, Welcoming Ottawa Week is designed to create recurrent opportunities for Ottawans to express and reflect on the warmth of our welcome; and for newcomers and long-time residents of Ottawa to have quality-based recreational and intellectual interactions that will foster trust and understanding.

Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership

The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) was founded in October 2009 by the City of Ottawa and Local Agencies Serving Immigrants (LASI). The partnership is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada with the mandate of improving local capacity to attract, settle and integrate immigrants. OLIP is one of over 40 Local Immigration Partnerships in Canada. Visit the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership online at www.olip-plio.ca.

A media advisory is available here.

To view the calendar of events associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://file.marketwire.com/release/wow_calendarofevents.pdf.

To view the backgrounder associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/olip0624backgrounder.pdf.



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Delta Media Inc.
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leigh@deltamedia.ca
www.deltamedia.ca

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