What is a welcoming community?
There are many definitions for a welcoming community. The definition below is taken from the tool box developed by the National Working Group on Small Centre Strategies (funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada).
A welcoming community has a strong desire to receive newcomers and to create an environment in which they will feel at home. A welcoming community ensures newcomers are able to participate fully in all aspects of community life. A welcoming community ensures newcomers have access to a full range of services and programs and can find meaningful employment opportunities.
There are many benefits to welcoming communities including economic, social and individual. The economic benefits range from having enough skilled workers for employers, to immigrant entrepreneurs developing their own businesses and employing others. The social benefits range from the tangible, such as increased population and diversity, to the intangible, such as gaining a reputation as a great place for newcomers to live. Individual benefits range from developing a close relationship with newcomers to the satisfaction of helping create a better place to live and work.
- Newcomers are more likely to be attracted to and stay in communities that provide an environment which provides support and encourages them to meet others
- Having a diverse society has the power to open minds and influence the future in positive and exciting ways
- Newcomers engage in local organizations and activities, often as volunteers
- The children of newcomers enter our education system, where they develop skills and knowledge that, in turn, contribute to our economy
- Many newcomers set up their own businesses, creating jobs for other Nova Scotians
- Newcomers bring investment opportunities and connections to local markets
- Newcomers bring new ideas, new perspectives and new voices of optimism