The following is a message by Executive Director Carl Nicholson published in our 2016-2017 annual report.

This fall, the federal government announced its immigration targets for the next three years. During this time, Canada will welcome almost 1 million people.

It’s a move supported by the majority of the Canadian public. We recognize that immigration is necessary to ensure our future prosperity.

But to ensure 1 million people integrate into life in Canada successfully requires programs and services that evolve to meet the needs of this diverse group.

That’s the work of the Catholic Centre for Immigrants. Our mission also includes working in the community so that it is equipped to welcome newcomers and to make space for them in an ever-increasing diversified city.

I want to highlight for you some of the stories and numbers behind the work we do every day.

Last year, we provided temporary housing to 1,013 refugees at Reception House, the first home for refugees when they arrive in Ottawa.

More than 5,000 newcomers attended 1,300 individual and group sessions that covered off such topics as health, positive parenting, basic banking, transportation and budgeting.

In our Careers Transition program, we helped more than 100 internationally trained health care professionals find work in their field or start the transition to a new career.

We provided workshops and activities to more than 350 youth to help them adapt to their new community.

During the last year we have seen a significant increase in the demand for mental health counselling. Many refugees are fleeing violence, poverty, war and persecution. When they arrive, they are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues. Last year, we provided counselling to more than 90 people. This year we hope to offer services to even more newcomers. 

Those are just some examples of the work we do. And we do it for every newcomer regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or age. We do all of this because we believe deeply in creating a harmonious community.

I want to thank our staff for their tireless work in helping every newcomer thrive in our community. I want to thank our board for providing strategic guidance.

Most importantly, I want to thank you. We have been in your community for more than 60 years and you have been there with us every step of the way.

Whether you volunteered, made a donation, sponsored a family or advocated on our behalf, you have made a tremendous and positive impact in the lives of those less fortunate.

Carl Nicholson
Executive Director