Building Newcomer Integration Infrastructure:

Networks, Knowledge & Policy

OCTOBER 13, 2023

8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


7 Bayview Station Road


The 7th Biennial Ottawa Immigration Forum (BOIF) will be hosted on Friday October 13, 2023, at 8am – 3:30 pm, at Ottawa’s Innovation Center, 7 Bayview Station Road. A pre-forum webinar on newcomer housing will also be hosted by the Forum Partners, to help us learn about the context and conditions shaping newcomers’ housing experience.

The theme of the Forum (& its related pre-forum virtual webinar) is Building Newcomer Integration Infrastructure: Networks, Knowledge, and Policy. Twenty-seven expert speakers from across the country will reflect on new opportunities and challenges in the integration of immigrants in the context of rising immigration levels, changes in the labour market, and new policy opportunities.

The Forum theme and topics are timely as OLIP partners have renewed the Ottawa Immigration Strategy just this summer and have begun implementation of priority goals in key sectors. Learnings and insights generated by the Forum will feed into how we organize ourselves to curate progress towards our collective vision of a more vibrant, prosperous, and inclusive Ottawa, strengthened by the contribution of immigrants.

The Forum will consist of six sessions including two plenary panels, two concurrent, afternoon sessions and several presentations, including a message by the federal minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and a welcoming address by Mayor Sutcliffe. All sessions will be moderated, and participants will have the option to ask questions. The Forum will offer simultaneous interpretation in English and French.

Questions Addressed by the Forum

  • What are the top immigration priorities at the federal and municipal levels?
  • What is needed to secure the successful integration of significantly higher numbers of newcomers arriving in Ottawa from across the world?
  • In light of historic skills shortages, how can the labour market better tap into underutilized newcomer talent?
  • How can we alleviate the settlement services gaps for temporary residents?
  • What progress has the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) recently made, what have we learned from OLIP’s 14 years of active collaborative leadership across five sectors; what are OLIP’s plans looking ahead?

Who Should Attend the Forum & Why?

The Forum content is designed to add value to the work of OLIP partners and stakeholders including non-profit organizations’ executives, staff, and board members; civil society leaders; immigrant civic groups; leaders of industries experiencing skills shortages; researchers and university students; government executives and policy makers, and community-based funders. Participants can expect to:


  • Hear from 27 expert speakers on the latest immigration developments in Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, and Quebec.
  • Learn about good practice policies and programs to support the settlement and integration of immigrants, international students, refugees.
  • Understand OLIP’s recent progress and its current strategic priorities.
  • Contribute to community conversation on newcomer integration.
  • Network with colleagues working in multiple sectors.


Marc Miller

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Martine Lagacé

Associate Vice-President, University of Ottawa

Mark Sutcliffe

Mayor, City of Ottawa

Lida Aghasi

Executive Director, Centre social d’aide aux immigrants (CSAI)

Dominique Dennery

OLIP Chair

Soukaina Boutiyeb

Executive Director, Alliance des femmes de la francophonie canadienne

Debbie Douglas

Executive Director, OCASI

Luisa Veronis

Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at University of Ottawa

Kareem El-Assal

OLIP Senior Research Fellow & Director of Policy and Digital Strategy at CanadaVisa

Sheilagh Doherty

Program Manager, High Economic Impact Projects, City of Ottawa

Kathryn Dennler

Research Associate, Conference Board of Canada (CBoC)

Alexis Dominguez-Ochoa

Acting Manager of the Community Economic Development (CED) Program at OCISO

Jelena Zikic

Associate Professor, York University

Andrea Gardner

Associate Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Ottawa

Myriam Mekni

Executive Director, Catholic Centre for Immigrants Ottawa

Suzanne Obiorah

Executive Director- Somerset West Community Health Centre

Jill Hanley

Professor, McGill University

Roxana Merello

General Manager, Service Intégration Travail Outaouais (SITO)

Dr Vera Etches

Medical Officer of Health, Ottawa Public Health

Suzanne Le

Executive Director, Multifaith Housing Initiative

Brian Ray

Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics at University of Ottawa

Damaris Rose

Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies at the Urbanisation Culture Société research centre of the INRS

Fran Klodawsky

Professor Emerita, Carleton University

Sandra Saric

Founder and Managing Partner, Inclusive Path Inc.

Jason Burggraaf

Executive Director of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association

Forum Master of Ceremony

Ray Leroy

Analyst, Accessibility, Diversity, and Inclusion, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission


Friday, October 13th, 2023 | 8:00 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.| Bayview Yards Innovation Centre

8:00 A.M.

Arrival, Registration, Breakfast, & Networking



9:00 A.M.

Welcoming Address & Messages

Welcoming Address & Messages


9:30 A.M.

Keynote Panel: Immigration Levels, Settlement Policy & Nation / City Building

What happens to Canadian society, national identity, and immigration and settlement policies as we increase immigration levels significantly? What is needed to secure successful integration of a lot more immigrants? How can we sustain the current public support for immigration in Canada as the immigration levels increase? What would be the implication of higher levels of immigration on community connections and social cohesion?




11:00 A.M.

Health Break

11:20 A.M.

Progress & Key Pathways in Building Newcomer Integration Infrastructure

Drawing from 14 years of active partnership, community-based strategic planning, and a strong collaborative leadership across five sectors, OLIP will present its two-year progress report and new data on immigration in Ottawa. Luisa Veronis will reflect on OLIP’s work, drawing from recent research and policy opportunities.


Speakers :

12:15 A.M.



1:30 P.M.

Reconciling Skills Shortages & Chronic Underemployment

This session will analyze immigrants’ access to employment opportunities in tight labour markets and unpack what is behind the on-going co-existence of skills shortages in key industries and underemployment of qualified immigrants. Panelists in this session will merge field knowledge, research, and policy to examine the challenges and opportunities in front of us, as OLIP partners advance shared Immigrant Economic Integration Strategy.



1:30 P.M.

Services for Temporary Residents

The panel will discuss settlement services for the growing numbers of temporary residents living in Canada, Ottawa, Gatineau and reflect on temporary residents’ current access to services. Panelists will discuss how temporary residents’ ineligibility for settlement services affects their access to other critical services like primary care.




3:10 P.M.

Harvesting Ideas from Concurrent Sessions and Pre-Forum Webinar

Moderators of the concurrent afternoon sessions and of the pre-forum, virtual newcomer housing session (held on October 12th) will summarize the ideas discussed at by panelists and forum attendees. This will allow all Forum attendees to learn of new challenges and opportunities and key approaches to addressing them to support the integration of newcomers.



3:25 P.M.

Forum Remarks

Acknowledgements and Closing Remarks

Pre-Forum Virtual Event on Newcomer Housing

Thursday, October 12, at 3:15 P.M. – 4:45 P.M.

3:15 P.M.

Newcomer Housing

Newcomer Housing Challenges

The struggle to find and keep affordable rental and owned housing is increasing for newcomers just as it is for so many Canadians. This panel examines the challenges facing migrants and discusses current policies and opportunities for solutions. Panelists will be asked three questions: what are current housing challenges for immigrants? How well do current policies address these housing challenges? What needs to be done in terms of research and policy?





We are grateful for the generous contributions of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Social Sciences, Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Ottawa Public Health, Catholic Centre for Immigrants, Conseil Economic et Sociale d’Ottawa Cartleton (CESOC), Ottawa Community Immigrant Service Organization (OCISO), and the City of Ottawa. Without their support, the Forum would not have been possible.