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District of Muskoka wants to make area more welcoming

A survey has been released by the District of Muskoka diving into how to make the area a more welcoming place.

“The District of Muskoka and the broader Muskoka community have welcomed newcomers to the area for generations,” says Tina Kilbourne, Continuous Improvement Unit Team Lead. “Welcoming new people to our community includes not only being friendly but also having opportunities for housing, employment, public and community services and a sense of belonging. Newcomers bring their skills, abilities and optimism to Muskoka and are a crucial part of building our shared future. We are investigating whether having a federally supported and community-driven Local Immigration Partnership could be a part of building that future.” 

There is a survey for newcomers and employers on the district’s website. 

The survey defines a newcomer as someone who was born outside of Canada and immigrated to Muskoka during their lifetime. 
 
The survey will help form the district’s future Local Immigration Partnership (LIP).
 
District Chair Jeff Lehman explains an LIP is funded at the federal level by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and managed at the local level by a designated lead agency – in this case the district’s soon-to-be-formed partnership committee – who work collaboratively across a handful of different sectors to “improve integration opportunities and settlement outcomes for new Canadians.”
 
He points out that data from the latest census shows that more than 5,000 immigrants live in Muskoka. “Anecdotally we know this is an understatement of the impact and importance of new Canadians in Muskoka,” says Lehman. “Local employers are engaging in direct overseas recruiting, as well as busing workers from places like Barrie and North Bay, which means Muskoka’s workforce includes more new Canadians than ever before.”
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