WICWP Thompson Nicola Region . Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces . WICWP.
Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Workplaces
The Welcoming and Inclusive Communities and Work Places program is a four phase program developed by Welcome BC. Its focus is on building a community’s/regions capacity to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that will retain immigrants and allow them to attain a desirable life. This is achieved through four basic elements;
Developing partnerships, both locally and regionally
Knowledge Development (Gap analysis, needs assessment, and asset mapping) and information exchange.
British Columbia’s & Kamloops Future
British Columbia faces a difficult future with the economic slowdown, skilled labour shortages and a demographic crisis stemming from an aging population. The future population figures for British Columbia are a strong indicator of the impending changes that will shape this province’s economy and society.
A report written by Jennifer Hansen and published by BC Stats examined the future population of British Columbia for the period from 2010-2036. It projected that BC’s population would “expand by just over 1.6million people” and that “Three quarters of the expected growth” would be as “a direct result of internationalmigration” (2010) . Furthermore, natural increase will cease to exist; in “2009 about 120 new residents were born, while 85 people died”, the projections for 2036 show that “there will be around 175 deaths per day, far outnumbering the 140 births per day” (2010). The direct effect of a population crisis includes future labour shortages stemming from an aging workforce that will retire placing heavier demands on social institutions.
The labour shortages of the future will be as a direct result of the changing demographic of British Columbia. A report written by Dan Schrier and published by BCStats states that the retirement of baby boomers “is likely to escalate in the coming years, which could have serious implications for the provinces labour force” (2010). The areas that will feel the shortages the most will be in “the primary industries, particularly among managers and more skilled occupations”(2010). This will particularly impact industries such as logging and mining in the Thompson-Okanagan and the Cariboo. Additionally the shortages will not just be exclusive to skilled labour, an aging population will leave gaps in unskilled positions. This is due to the fact that older workers would no longer be able to perform physically demanding work. These gaps will need to be filled and the migration of workers will be necessary to meet the demands.
The future of British Columbia seems to be heavily dependent on the immigration of young skilled workers to fill the gaps left by an aging population. This means as a province and as individual communities an effort must be made to develop a welcoming and inclusive environment that retains newcomers. This will be particularly important in rural areas where retention of immigrants proves to be a challenge. Agencies like Kamloops Immigrant Services and programs such as WICWP will become increasingly important in establishing the foundation for immigrants to thrive and succeed
The WICWP project was proposed to develop the regions ability to create a welcome and inclusive environment that would increase the retention of immigrants.
Rural communities in many instances do not have the same access to immigrant specific services as those found in larger centres. The establishment of regional linkages and partnerships make these services more accessible for everyone.
Their were originally 9 participating communities with one recent addition;
Ashcroft, Barriere, Cache Creek, Chase, Clinton, Kamloops, Lillooet, Lytton, Merritt and Clearwater.
- City of Kamloops
- Community Futures Sun Country (Ashcroft)
- Thompson Rivers University
- Venture Kamloops
- Kamloops Immigrant Services
Kamloops (45), Ashcroft(12), Merritt (8), Lillooet (8), Barriere (6), Lytton (5),Chase (5),Clinton (4)
“80% of respondents agree that their community should be more welcoming and inclusive. In order to address this concern we recommend that small cities and municipalities engage in dialogue to consider the implications ( to policies, procedures, activities) in the various community contexts.”
“Facilitating partnerships inside and outside of the community should be strengthened at various levels.”
“Increased communication and sharing of resources is essential.”
“Information, brochures and activities should be made available in other languages.”
The web site is a resource directory that brings all of the Thompson Nicola Regions resources together in one central location.
It is designed to provide specific information on programs and services for immigrants, employers and service providers.
The website provides a specific page for each participating community that can be updated or modified by that particular community at any point over the next year.
Debra Arnott, Community Futures Sun Country
Dr. Julie Drolet & Yasir Ali, Thompson Rivers University