The Federal Government Has to Walk the Talk

By Aaron Berhane January 4, 2011 In December 2010, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a $43-million funding cut to settlement agencies. This ...

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By Aaron Berhane
January 4, 2011

In December 2010, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a $43-million funding cut to settlement agencies. This huge budget cut will put the survival of some settlement organizations at risk. The main victim is Ontario which faces more than $43-million cuts, starting in 2011.

What surprised me is the contradictory tone and action of the federal government. The Conservative party always talks about the importance of immigration to Canada, and the significance of helping newcomers to integrate into our society. But their actions do not support their words.

Mr. Kenney’s announcement still puzzles me. Is Mr. Kenney trying to distribute the funds fairly to immigrants who are settling in other provinces, as he claims? I don’t think so. The funds have been distributed fairly in the past. Ontario receives more than 140,000 newcomers every year, and about $3,000 per immigrant in settlement services. And it will continue to receive the same number of newcomers despite the budget cuts.

I believe the federal government is planning to streamline the ethnically specialized settlement organizations in Ontario. There are about 200 ethnic settlement agencies that provide outstanding services to new immigrants in a language they can understand, but the federal government seems to be undermining the contribution of these organizations by cutting 70% of their budgets.

Streamlining these agencies will definitely have a negative impact on Canada. It will slow down the process of integrating newcomers into our society.

Whatever the reason for these budget cuts, it will definitely not benefit Canada. The federal government must review this issue and walk their talk.

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