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The Knowledge Hub for the Settlement Sector in Ontario
Updated: 2 years 22 weeks ago

Support for Young Entrepreneurs and Social Enterprises

Wed, 2016-05-11 07:19

At the 11th annual Ontario Centres of Excellence Discovery Conference, the province announced the successful Ontario Social Impact Voucher program will return for the second year. In partnership with the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the program will provide 200 vouchers worth up to $3,000 each to eligible social entrepreneurs across Ontario to access relevant training programs such as business planning or marketing to help scale up their business.

Last year, 125 vouchers were fully subscribed within the first six months of the program’s launch, allowing participants to grow their business in terms of both customers and partnerships through useful training programs. Participants in the pilot program include social enterprises across a range of sectors, including health, cleantech, digital media and information and communications technology and advanced manufacturing.

Ontario is also announcing the winners of the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition. Six promising entrepreneurs will receive a reserved spot in Ontario’s Summer Company program, which provides mentoring and funding to help launch new businesses.

Quick Facts

  • Social enterprises use business strategies to achieve a social or environmental impact. While generating revenues from the sale of goods and services, they also expressly intend to create positive outcomes and they measure their results. As their business grows, the social impact grows.
  • Up to 200 Ontario-based social entrepreneurs endorsed by an Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) member organization may be eligible for a voucher worth up to $3,000.
  • More than 200 videos were submitted by individuals or teams for the Make Your Pitch competition. The videos could be up to two minutes long and describe the participants idea for a new business or innovation.
  • The competition is part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy. Over 4,700 jobs have been created under the strategy since it launched in the fall of 2013.
  • Summer Company helped students launch 865 businesses in 2015.
Additional Resources

Changes to Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP)

Tue, 2016-05-10 10:14

As a result of changes Ontario has made to more closely align the streams of the program with the needs of its labour market, the province has already received the sufficient number of OINP applications to meet its 2016 federal allocation. This is further proof that Ontario remains a very sought after destination for highly-skilled workers.

Following the lead of other jurisdictions, Ontario has made the decision to place a temporary pause on the intake of applications for select, high-volume OINP streams. Other provinces have also done this in the past after fully maximizing their allotments. It’s important to note that lower-volume streams of the OINP and other options continue to be available.

  • Ontario stopped sending Notifications of Interest (NOIs) for the OINP Human Capital Priorities (Express Entry) stream effective February 16, 2016.
  • Ontario temporarily paused the intake of new applications for the following select, high-volume OINP streams effective 5 p.m. EDT on May 9, 2016:
    • Employer Pre-screen
    • International Student – Masters Graduate stream
    • International Student – PhD Graduate stream
  • All applications for the Employer Pre-screen and International Students (Masters Graduate and PhD Graduate) streams sent after 5 p.m. EDT on May 9, 2016 will not be processed and will be returned to the applicant along with the unprocessed payment.
  • The OINP will continue to accept applications from Foreign Worker and International Student with a Job Offer applicants as Employer Pre-screen applications are assessed. Only those Foreign Worker and International Student with a Job Offer applicants whose job offer has been approved through the Employer Pre-screen application process may apply to the OINPThese applicants will have 60 days from the date of the Employer Pre-screen approval letter to apply to either of these streams.
  • The OINP continues to accept and process applications for the French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream and the Corporate stream. The OINP also continues to accept Expressions of Interest for the Entrepreneur stream.
  • Ontario remains a top destination for workers and their families from all over the world.
  • Ontario anticipates that it will receive its 2017 nomination allocation from the federal government before the end of November 2016, and the province expects to be in a position to accept applications for some streams in six months.
  • Given the positive effect of the program on Ontario’s economy, the province continues to engage the federal government on nominee numbers.

There are many ways to immigrate to Ontario:

  • The federal government determines the maximum number of nominations Ontario can award annually. Each year, there are about 300,000 immigrants that come to Canada. Of these, Ontario is allowed to select 5,500 through the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) in 2016. This program, which represents only 1.8 per cent of total immigration to Canada, is targeted towards filling labour market gaps with skilled workers. It is just one option for immigrating to Ontario.
  • Please visit the specific webpages for those streams that are still accepting applications or expressions of interest: the French-Speaking Skilled Worker stream, Corporate streamand Entrepreneur stream.
  • In addition, other options are available from the federal government.

Please monitor the OINP update webpage for news, announcements and new developments with the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.

For more information, please visit their Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Ontario aims to provide an efficient and streamlined application processing system.  Improvements to the OINP application process will be implemented in the coming months – including a move to an online application processing system.  Their goal is to make it easier to apply, and to improve processing times.

Information Session:

The Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade has scheduled an information session for May 16, 2016 – 10:00am-11:30am (EDT).  Please RSVP to Eric Knott at by Friday, May 13th to confirm your interest in this session. Teleconference details will be provided to you.

Access more details.

New Connecting Communities Web Pages

Tue, 2016-05-10 09:25

CLEO has also added a new tool, the Training materials database, to help community workers find materials developed by Connecting projects. The database can be searched using a variety of filters, including topic, audience, format and language. CLEO’s intention is to make these resources accessible so that community workers can use or adapt them and not re-invent the wheel when they are preparing legal information training in their communities.

Access the site and provide your feedback.

Aligning Skills Development with Labour Market Need

Tue, 2016-05-10 08:48

Despite Canada having one of the highest levels of educational attainment in the world, employers often voice concerns about a lack of skills among recent graduates. As a new class of post-secondary graduates prepares to enter the world of work, a new Conference Board of Canada report suggests that Canadian post-secondary institutions need to do a better job at matching their education programs to labour market needs.

“Aligning skills to the labour market is critically important to our overall economy and Canadians’ life satisfaction,” says Michael Bloom, Vice-President, Industry and Business Strategy, The Conference Board of Canada. “Skills mismatches can result in underemployment or overemployment, which in turn leads to unhappy employees, and poor workplace performance.”


  • Canadian companies often have difficulty finding people with the right skills for available jobs.
  • Canada’s post-secondary institutions need to do a better job at matching their curricula, pedagogy and programs to labour market needs.
  • Better matching would be possible through multiple strategies including improved labour market information systems, shorter school-to-work transitions, partnerships between employers and educators, and informed employers.

Roughly 53 per cent of Canadian adults hold a university or college credential, and another 12 per cent hold trade certificates. However, previous Conference Board research found that over 70 per cent of employers saw gaps in job candidates’ and recent hires’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Between one-third and one-half also said that they observed deficits in literacy, communication, and teamwork skills among recent graduates and job candidates.

The report, Aligning Skills Development With Labour Market Need, examines the paradox of rising levels of education attainment and skills shortages. It finds that the skills gaps and mismatches can be explained in part by how much individual disciplines align to the world of work.

Many programs of study—most notably in business, finance, engineering, and health care—have excellent alignment between curricula, the development of knowledge, essential skills, technique and workplace skills and their application. These programs offer a clear pathway from post-secondary education to supervised training and mentorship and actual practice. Graduates from vocationally-oriented disciplines are much more likely to work in their field and also tend to earn more.

However, graduates from programs that lack cooperative education, internships or apprenticeships are more likely to develop skills that are not as relevant to employers or where the fit to the world of work is not as close.

The report recommends four strategies to address weak alignment between skills development and labour market needs, including:

  • Ensure recent graduates and employers have access to the latest information on Canada’s labour market to make the best possible decisions (e.g., skills needed and skills available);
  • Improve collaboration between governments and post-secondary institutions to adapt curricula and respond to increases in demand for skills;
  • Encourage partnerships between employers and educators to integrate cooperative education, internships and apprenticeships into post-secondary learning; and
  • Expand scale and scope of employee training to enhance employees’ skills and capabilities for innovation and high performance.

Access this report, Aligning Skills Development With Labour Market Need.

Enter the Settlement.Org Survey to Win Prizes

Mon, 2016-05-09 14:01

If you and/or your clients are immigrants who live in Ontario and visit Settlement.Org regularly, you are eligible to fill out the Settlement.Org User Survey. The survey only takes a few minutes to complete. The information from the survey will be used to improve the website’s content.

Individuals who fill out the survey can enter a random prize draw. The prizes are $100, $50 and $25 electronic gift cards to Amazon Canada.

Supporting Survivors and Challenging Attitudes on Sexual Violence and Harassment

Mon, 2016-05-09 11:03

Through the $2.25 million Creative Engagement Fund Ontario is funding 11 artistic projects that will provoke public dialogue on consent, rape culture and gender inequality to challenge attitudes that cause sexual violence. These projects will include performance, videos, installations and Indigenous art.

Ontario is also fostering innovation to help address the unique needs of survivors through seven pilot projects; part of the $3 million Innovation Fund. Organizations will pilot projects like flexible employment programs, mobile support units, and bilingual or culturally appropriate intervention methods. The best practices gained from these pilot programs will be shared with other service providers across the province.

The Creative Engagement Fund and Innovation Fund are part of It’s Never Okay  – Ontario’s Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. The plan aims to help change attitudes, improve supports for survivors and make workplaces and campuses safer and more responsive to complaints about sexual violence and harassment. It will aims to help ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety and is free from the threat, fear or experience of sexual violence and harassment.

Quick Facts

  • One in three women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime.
  • Ontario released a progress report in March on It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment.
  • 15 per cent of both the Creative Engagement and Innovation Funds are allocated to support Indigenous projects.
  • May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about sexual assault and focus on the measures being taken to stop violence and support survivors.
Background Information

Additional Resources

Mayor to Launch YouthTO Web Portal for Toronto Youth

Mon, 2016-05-09 07:43

Mayor John Tory and Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina), Toronto’s Youth Equity Advocate, will attend the official kickoff and provide remarks. 

Date: Monday, May 9
Time: Noon, remarks at 12:15 p.m.
Location: Mattamy Athletic Centre, 50 Carlton St., Alumni Lounge, 4th floor

The website will provide one-stop access to information about services, health resources, employment, volunteer, recreation and cultural opportunities for youth.

Developed in consultation with youth and with content from City divisions and Findhelp/211, and funded by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, YouthTO will help Torontonians discover existing youth services and programs in their communities.

Access the YouthTO website.

Ontario is Helping More Schools Become Community Hubs

Fri, 2016-05-06 08:34

As a response to recommendations in Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan, the province committed to supporting the use of schools as community hubs. Community hubs bring together and integrate a range of needed services under one roof to better serve their communities. A community hub can be a school, neighbourhood centre or other public space that houses coordinated services. Ontario’s nearly 5,000 schools offer the ideal location for community hubs, as many of them are the heart of their community and are accessible.

As part of today’s $90 million investment to further enable the development of community hubs, the province will provide:

  • $20 million to create space for new child care and child and family support programs through Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres in schools
  • $18 million to retrofit existing child care space within a school to open up more spaces for children under four years old
  • $50 million to renovate surplus school space to make it available for use by community partners and the public
  • Expanded eligibility for school capital funding to include building replacement space for eligible community partners in new schools or additions to existing schools in the event their original school location is closed.

Ontario is also making it easier for community partners to create community hubs in schools by expanding the list of public organizations able to purchase or lease surplus school property before it is placed on the open market. This list will now include Children’s Mental Health Agencies, First Nations and Métis Organizations and others. More time will also be allowed for organizations to place an offer, allowing greater opportunity for continued use of these properties by the community.

Quick Facts

  • This $90 million dollar investment and changes to Regulation 444/98 support the goals of Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan. Changes to Regulation 444/98 will be effective September 1, 2016.
  • A community hub can be a school, neighbourhood centre or other public space that offers co-ordinated services such as education, early years support, health care and social services.
  • Overall, the province has invested about $13.5 billion in local school infrastructure, including 758 new schools and more than 735 additions and renovations since 2003.
  • In April 2015, the province announced $120 million in new funding dedicated to building safe, high-quality, licensed child care spaces in schools across the province. So far, $90 million has been allocated, resulting in almost 3,200 new licensed child care spaces coming soon to communities across Ontario.
Additional Resources

Resources for Employment Criminal Reference Checks

Fri, 2016-05-06 08:29

All Service Providers partnering with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to deliver Settlement and Resettlement programs have the responsibility to ensure that all personnel employed by or volunteering with your agency to deliver IRCC programs should be fully screened in accordance with applicable policies, laws and regulations including, where necessary, criminal record checks.  This is particularly applicable where staff or volunteers are dealing with vulnerable populations.

Please find below additional information regarding criminal record checks and the screening of volunteers on the RCMP and Volunteer Canada websites:

Organizations delivering direct services should continue to ensure the confidentiality, safety and security of all clients served, including protection of their personal information.  IRCC has the expectation that you would protect the personal information of clients and not share it with others without their consent or for unauthorized purposes.  Further information about privacy and security obligations can be found in section 7.0 of the Service Provider Organization contribution agreement.


Essential Information for Criminal Lawyers Whose Clients are Non-Canadians

Thu, 2016-05-05 14:47

Criminal lawyers have a duty to advise clients who are not Canadian citizens and are contemplating guilty pleas or being sentenced that:

  • there may be immigration consequences and
  • they should seek the advice of an immigration lawyer before entering a plea/sentencing.

LAO has prepared a presentation for panel lawyers who take certificates from clients who are refugee claimants and immigrants to help the bar respond appropriately about the potential for collateral consequences.

Access the presentation entitled Immigration consequences of criminal dispositions and sentencing.

Questions should be directed to LAO LAW at 416-979-1321, toll-free at 1-800-265-1392 or email at

Growing Demand for Start-up Visa Program

Thu, 2016-05-05 14:37

As of May 2, 2016, 51 entrepreneurs had become permanent residents of Canada through the program, representing 26 start-ups that have launched or will be launching in communities across Canada, including Sydney, Halifax, Fredericton, Toronto, Mississauga, Waterloo, Thunder Bay, Calgary, Whistler, Vancouver and Victoria.

The Start-up Visa Program is drawing successful applicants from a diverse range of countries, including Australia, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Iran, South Africa and Uruguay, and across a number of industries, including technology, food product manufacturing, education, medical research, banking, human resources, and advertising.

This five-year pilot program allows entrepreneurs who have the support of a designated Canadian entity to apply for permanent residence as they establish their company in Canada. Demand for this program is growing, with more than 50 additional permanent resident applications still in process from entrepreneurs from around the world who have the support of a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group or business incubator to launch their start-ups in Canada.

Associated link

New Website of Resources for Emergency Contraception

Thu, 2016-05-05 14:31

This website has information for clients who think they might need emergency contraception, also known as EC.  EC is used after sex to lower the risk of pregnancy.  Most people don’t know there are three kinds of EC.  This site describes all three, so that people can choose the one that’s best for them.

It also contains a list of frequently asked questions, and health clinics in Toronto.

Access the website.

CERIS Panel Discussion on International Students as Newcomers to Canada: Presentations Available

Wed, 2016-05-04 14:06

The panel discussion was part of the 2016 National Metropolis Conference from March 3–5 in Toronto.

The title of the presentation is International Students as Newcomers to Canada: Demographic Characteristics, Settlement Needs, and Transitioning.

Amidst the current emphasis on international students as a source of income and human capital for Canada, we often lose sight of the challenges they face as newcomers. Focusing on Ontario, this workshop highlighted the settlement need-service profile, as well as the demographic characteristics and post-graduation trajectories, of this population.

Access the presentations in PDF.

Ontario Promoting Student Well-Being in Education

Wed, 2016-05-04 13:25

Research shows that children who have a positive sense of well-being are more resilient and better positioned to make positive and healthy choices to support their life-long learning. Students cannot achieve academically if they do not feel safe or welcomed at school, if their well-being is at risk or if they lack the tools necessary to live active and healthy lifestyles, both at home and in the classroom. Children who have a positive sense of self are better equipped to meet the challenges of a fast-paced and increasingly interconnected world.

Informed by First Nations, Métis and Inuit ways of knowing and holistic perspectives of education, starting in the fall of 2016, Ontario will build on the release of the discussion document by launching an engagement process with its education partners to establish a common understanding of what promoting well-being means in schools and to develop ways to measure progress in promoting child and student well-being. In future years, the province will also seek feedback about enhancing well-being for children in the early years, as well as educators and staff.

Ontario’s Well-Being Strategy for Education discussion document highlights well-being initiatives already underway in schools across Ontario, including fostering and promoting:

Quick Facts

  • Promoting well-being is one of the four goals for the early years and education systems, along with achieving excellence, ensuring equity and enhancing public confidence.
  • Through the newly revised Health and Physical Education Curriculum, students are provided significant opportunities to learn about well-being.
  • Since 2011, School Mental Health ASSIST is helping Ontario’s school boards build professional capacity to promote mental health for all students.
  • Between 2004-05 and 2015-16, the government invested more than $540 million in safe schools and equity and inclusive education to support the work of school boards and school communities. In 2016-17, total projected funding of $65 million will be invested to further support schools and school boards in providing safe, inclusive and accepting schools to support the achievement and well-being of all students.
  • Launched in 2009, Ontario’s award-winning Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy aims to help the education community identify and address discriminatory biases and systemic barriers to support the achievement and well-being of all students.
Additional Resources

Expansion of Two Programs to Help High School Students Better Prepare for the Workforce

Wed, 2016-05-04 13:16

This fall, the province’s Specialist High Skills Major program will be expanded to accommodate an additional 2,000 students and just over 100 new programs for the 2016-17 school year. As a result, more than 48,000 students will be enrolled in 1,835 Specialist High Skills Majors programs across the province – an innovative, high demand program that lets high school students focus on a career path that matches their skills and interests while meeting the requirements of their high school diploma.

By the end of 2016-17, all Specialist High Skills Majors programs participants will have access to an innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship module that was developed in partnership with the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. This training will encourage participants to develop innovative and creative solutions to real industry or sector-related problems – a skill is that is valued in today’s economy.

Ontario is also expanding the Dual Credit program to include 400 more students across the province next year. This program helps students earn credits that count toward their high school diploma as well as their postsecondary certificate, college diploma, degree or apprenticeship certification.

Quick Facts

  • The Specialist High Skills Major program was awarded the Gold Innovative Management Award from the Institute of Public Administration of Canada in 2013.
  • Students can choose to explore their skills in 19 different sectors including environment, health and wellness, and transportation to help them prepare for apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.
  • Ontario has offered Specialist High Skills Majors programs since 2005 and 165,000 student have been enrolled. The program has been expanded over the last 10 years.
  • This fall, 22,800 students will be participating in Dual Credit programs at school boards and colleges of applied arts and technology – this represents 400 additional students compared to last year.
  • The new Premier’s Highly Skilled Workforce Strategy Expert Panel is developing a strategy to help the province’s workforce adapt to the demands of a technology-driven economy.
  • In 2015, the five-year high school graduation rate was 85.5 per cent, which is more than 17 percentage points higher than the 2004 rate of 68 per cent.
  • Ontario is helping more students achieve excellence in numeracy through its renewed math strategy.
Additional Resources

2016 Census Information in Multiple Languages

Wed, 2016-05-04 09:10

The 2016 Census is now being conducted. Each household in Canada has received a letter about the census. All residents of Canada are legally required to participate in the Census. A member of your household must complete the census questionnaire by May 10, 2016. There are two versions of the Census, a short form and a long form. Only 25% of homes will receive the long form.

Census information is necessary for planning services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, and skills training for employment.

Statistics Canada has created general information fact sheets in 11 languages to help answer the most common questions about the Census:


The questions are translated for reference purposes only. The census questionnaire must be completed online or on paper, in either English or French.

The information about the Census is also available in a American Sign Language (ASL).

Resilient Neighbourhood Economies Project Report

Tue, 2016-05-03 15:00

Working alongside community partners that were already active in economic development in these two neighbourhoods—East Scarborough Storefront, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, Thorncliffe Park Women’s Committee, and the Centre for City Ecology—Metcalf Foundation designed a program framework that allowed them to shift their goals and alter activities based on what was being tested and learnt by their partners on the ground.

Charting the origins of the pilot project, its undertakings, and the lessons learned along the way, the report is intended to inform others interested in undertaking local economic place-based work and forging community-foundation partnerships.

Access the report on Resilient Neighbourhood Economies: A Foundation’s strategic learning from a three-year investment in local economies.

High School Graduation Rate Reaches All-Time High of 85.5 Per Cent

Tue, 2016-05-03 10:52

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced this milestone at York Mills Collegiate Institute in Toronto today with Liz Sandals, Minister of Education. In 2015, the five-year graduation rate surpassed the government’s goal of 85 per cent for the first time. The 2015 rate has increased more than 17 percentage points since 2004, when the graduation rate was just 68 per cent.

For the second year in a row, Ontario is publishing school board level graduation rates from across the province. This gives parents, students, teachers and school boards access to data that can help inform efforts to improve student achievement.

The government has introduced a number of innovative programs through its Student Success Strategy that are credited with helping to sharply boost the graduation rate since 2004. These include Specialist High Skills Majorsdual credits and expanded cooperative education.

Quick Facts

  • The percentage of students graduating within five years of starting high school in Grade 9 reached 85.5 per cent in 2015, up from 84.3 per cent in 2014.
  • The percentage of students graduating within four years reached 78.3 per cent in 2015, up from 76.3 per cent in 2014. In 2004, the four-year graduation rate was just 56 per cent.
  • Since 2004, about 190,000 more students have graduated than would have if the graduation rate had remained at the 2004 level. That is more than the population of Guelph and Belleville combined.
  • Ontario’s elementary students also continue to improve their results, with 72 per cent of Grade 3 and 6 students meeting or exceeding the provincial standard of a B grade in reading, writing and math.
Background Information

Additional Resources

Gender Wage Gap Consultation Summary Report

Tue, 2016-05-03 08:57

Feedback received during the consultation is now being reviewed and considered by the Gender Wage Gap Strategy Steering Committee as they develop recommendations to help the government create a strategy aimed at closing the gender wage gap, with the help of business, government, labour and all Ontarians.

The recommendations will be presented to the government later this year.

Access the press release.

Access the summary report.

A Guide to Process for Family Cases at the Superior Court of Justice

Mon, 2016-05-02 15:29

Please refer to Ontario’s Family Law Rules and the Practice Directions of The Ontario Superior Court of Justice for changes that have been made since that April 2016.

There will be either a Superior Court of Justice or a Family Court in your community. There may also be an Ontario Court of Justice where some family cases are heard. If you client is seeking a divorce or there are property issues, either on their own or with other claims, their case must be started in the Superior Court. Cases that only include claims for custody and or access of a child or support can be started in the Ontario Court of Justice, if there is one in your community. There will be some differences depending on whether their case is at the Superior Court of Justice or the Family Court which are explained below. This guide gives basic legal information about the steps in a family case. It does not provide a summary of the family laws that may apply in your client’s situation. It also does not give legal advice. It is recommended that your client try and speak with a family lawyer for advice regarding their case. You can find information about how to find a lawyer at page 7 of this guide. The Superior Court of Justice thanks Community Legal Education Ontario, Legal Aid Ontario, Mediate393, TAG and Pro Bono Law Ontario as well as family lawyers Cheryl Goldhart, Lorna Yates, and Carol Smith for their assistance with the preparation of this document.

Access the guide.