Newcomer Services Are Improving

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SISO’s end left info gap, say social planners (Oct. 19)

We would like to emphasize that after conducting and reporting on the extensive effort to review and analyze the system of newcomer services in Hamilton, the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton has concluded this system of services is improving. This improvement will continue to be aided by the ongoing collaboration between service providers through the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council.

In addition, as a community, Hamilton is better equipped to measure the extent of improvements to the system over the course of this year and beyond. The survey of front-line service providers we conducted as part of the Strengthening Newcomer Services project will be replicated by other community partners again next year. This will give us an ongoing measure of how quickly the knowledge gap of services is narrowing.

We appreciate that although there is no “one-stop shop” for newcomer services, this is not the only option for an effective model of service supports. There are important benefits to having services to newcomers provided by multiple agencies across the community.

We know, for example, a varied model engages more mainstream organizations in sharing responsibility for developing policies and practices to serve newcomers adequately. It has the potential to make the support services in Hamilton more inclusive and more accessible. The results of the next survey measuring awareness of services will tell us a great deal about the success we are having with our current approach.

Don Jaffray, M.A., Executive Director, Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton

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