Chatham-Kent is an Open and Inclusive Community

A message of Chatham-Kent Council

Chatham-Kent Council wants the world to know that Chatham-Kent is an open and inclusive community. In light of the Syrian refugee crisis, on November 23 Council approved a motion by Councillor Trevor Thompson that Chatham-Kent reaffirm its inclusive principles in a public statement.

“Refugees from Syria are welcome in Chatham-Kent,” said Councillor Thompson. “Chatham-Kent has been an open and inclusive community of indigenous people and immigrants for more than 200 years. First Nations people were joined by settlers from Europe and other parts of North America. Then came fugitive slaves from the southern United States, finding freedom in a new home.  After World War II, we welcomed a whole new wave of people displaced from their homes in Europe. Since then, newcomers from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have come to build our community. Newcomers and their descendants have been essential to the success of Chatham-Kent and have created the rich local culture we enjoy. We are proud of this tradition and are determined to carry it on.”

At the direction of Council, the municipality established its Resident Attraction and Retention division to showcase Chatham-Kent to residents, visitors and newcomers including active retirees, young people and immigrants. One initiative of the division is the Chatham-Kent Local Immigration Partnership (CKLIP), funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, which has brought together community organizations to develop and support local settlement strategies. At the request of community groups, in October the partnership facilitated an information session to provide community members with sponsorship information and other options to assist international relief efforts. CKLIP has also introduced the newly formed Chatham-Kent Welcome Network, a support group of local businesses and organizations that will connect refugees with the people and services that can help them. CK LIP invites organizations to join the Chatham-Kent Welcome Network. Anyone interested can e-mail cklip@chatham-kent.ca or telephone 519-354-0430 extension 267.

As the federal government works to bring refugees to Canada, Chatham-Kent is preparing to receive some as new members of our community. Community groups and citizens have been at the forefront of collaborative planning efforts to welcome and support refugees. A range of municipal departments, including Health and Family Services (Public Health Unit, Housing Services, Employment and Social Services), and Community Development (Resident Attraction and Retention, Community Services, CK Public Library, and Fire and Emergency Services) are also preparing to support the community and to welcome new community members.

For more information, visit Refugees - Chatham-Kent is ready to help! and the Chatham-Kent Local Immigration Partnership.