The Immigration Matters initiative aims to show the benefits of immigration at the local, community level.
We are seeing how long-time residents and immigrants work side by side in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, temporary and permanent immigrants are playing a key role in Canada’s response—from taking care of our seniors to putting food on our tables. Canada will continue to attract immigrants who bring the skills our economy needs to grow, while we maintain border security to protect the health and safety of Canadians.
We’re looking for your help to find stories of immigrants who are making a strong contribution to cities, towns and neighbourhoods across Canada. We would also like your help starting the conversation in the community you know best – your own.
We encourage you to adapt and use what parts of this toolkit you feel are helpful, given the particular circumstances of your community. We’ll update the toolkit with new materials as the initiative unfolds, and are always open to your feedback.
Welcoming Week 2022
Welcoming Week is an annual opportunity to bring together new and long-time residents to build strong connections. It affirms the importance of welcoming and inclusive places in achieving collective prosperity.
This year, Welcoming Week takes place from September 9 to 18.
The Welcoming Week toolkit provides shareable content to help you spread messages of inclusion.Check out the Welcoming Week 2022 toolkit
Recognizing the economic, social and cultural benefits of immigration, the Government of Canada sets targets by category for the number of immigrants coming into the country. Immigrants are selected for their economic contribution, humanitarian needs, and to reunite families. This plan for immigration helps to distribute the benefits of immigration throughout Canada.
In the current global context where we see increased polarization of views about immigration, research conducted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) shows that Canadians continue to be supportive of immigration.
For more than 20 years, as immigration levels have increased (except during the pandemic), so too has the proportion of Canadians who respond that immigration levels are about right, or too low.
In March 2021, 60% of Canadians felt that “if the same number of immigrants were to come to Canada as before the COVID-19 pandemic, once travel restrictions are lifted,” that would be about right, and 14% felt that would be too few immigrants coming to Canada.
The research also shows that while Canadians support immigration at a national level, they are less likely to see the benefits at the local level. The objective of Immigration Matters is to highlight the benefits of immigration in communities across Canada.
Download a summary of public opinion research about immigration to Canada, by region (March 2021) (PDF, 1.2 MB).
Immigration Matters combines storytelling and facts to dispel common myths about immigrants, and promote positive engagement between Canadians and newcomers. By sharing and promoting stories of communities enriched by immigration, we want to start a conversation about the importance of immigration at the local level.
Why stories? Stories are an effective way to promote connections between people, and to share factual information so it is retained and believed.
What is the focus? The focus is on how immigration is strengthening Canada and helping communities succeed, rather than on how Canada has helped newcomers succeed.
Immigration Matters has ties to a global movement. Canada is one of many countries helping to promote a balanced narrative on migration through the international #ItTakesACommunity campaign, led by the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
Here are some suggested messages that you can include in your conversations about why immigration matters:
Immigrants contribute to the economy and create jobs for Canadians
- The strength of Canada’s economy is measured in part by the number of people working (labour force) and paying taxes to fund our public services, such as health care.
- Canadians are living longer and having fewer children. More of us are retiring, and there are fewer students in our schools. As a result, the pool of Canadian-born existing and potential workers is limited.
- Thanks to immigration, Canada’s labour force continues to grow by a small amount every year. If it weren’t for immigrants, employers would have trouble finding enough qualified workers to fill available jobs.
- Immigrants contribute to our economy, not only by filling gaps in our labour force and paying taxes, but also by spending money on goods, housing and transportation.
- The income tax paid by working Canadians pays for health care and other supports for retired Canadians. In 1980, there were roughly 6 workers for every retiree. In 2015, there were 4 workers for every retiree. By 2030, when 5 million Canadians are set to retire, the ratio will be down to only 3 workers for every retiree.
- Immigration alone cannot solve this challenge, but it can help as we look to keep our economy growing and maintain our commitments to health care, public pensions and other social programs.
- More than 80% of the immigrants we’ve admitted in recent years are under 45 years old, meaning they will have plenty of working years in Canada.
- Some employers are already having trouble finding Canadian-born workers to fill jobs.
- More than 6 in 10 immigrants are selected for their positive impact on our economy.
- Immigrant entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth by creating jobs, attracting investment to Canada and driving innovation.
- Many immigrants have excellent science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, and they make up about half of all STEM degree holders in Canada. These skills are important in our knowledge economy.
- Immigrants can also fill labour market needs by taking on jobs that Canadians are not interested in doing.
- Many immigrants are entrepreneurial. Beyond creating jobs for Canadians, immigrant-owned businesses improve trade ties to Canada.
- Immigrants often have a desire for goods from their home country, which broadens the variety of imports available to all Canadian consumers.
- Immigrants are also able to export more because of their networks in their home countries.
Immigrants deliver and improve our health and social services
- Because many immigrants are young and economically active, they contribute more than they receive in benefits over their lifetime.
- According to the 2016 Census, more than 335,000 immigrants work in health-related occupations.
Immigrants are thoroughly screened and respect our laws
- Canada thoroughly screens immigrants before they arrive to make sure they have not committed serious crimes, don’t pose a security risk and are in good health.
- To protect the health and safety of Canadians during COVID-19, there are measures in place for travellers during boarding, on arrival and after arrival, including mandatory quarantines.
- Immigrants who don’t respect our laws risk losing their immigration status and being removed from Canada.
Immigrants settle in communities across the country
- According to the 2016 Census, the number of immigrants settling in small and midsize communities is growing.
- Immigration in the Prairies and Atlantic Canada has more than doubled in the last 15 years.
- In 1997, only about 1 in 10 economic immigrants settled outside Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. By 2017, this number had grown to almost 4 in 10.
Immigrants integrate fully into Canadian society
- Immigrating to Canada is an adjustment at first, but with time, immigrant voting rates, sense of belonging and earnings match those of Canadians.
- Canada has one of the highest naturalization rates in the world. About 85% of newcomers become citizens.
- Overall immigrant and refugee earnings match the Canadian average about 12 years after arrival. Some economic immigrants (those selected for their Canadian experience or nominated by a province or territory) catch up much more quickly, within their first year here.
- According to the 2016 Census, one-third of immigrants volunteer and two-thirds are members of social organizations.
- Everyone between the ages of 18 and 54 at the time they apply for citizenship must take the citizenship test. This test makes sure immigrants know about Canada, its history, and the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.
Immigration and our local economies
Immigration is an important part of the Government of Canada’s plan to keep our economy growing. Find out how we select, screen and set up immigrants for success in Canada (video link).
Immigrants contribute to our economy by:
- filling gaps in our labour force
- paying taxes
- spending money on goods, housing and transportation
To find out how immigrants affect our local economies, we look at how they support the job market and businesses in communities across Canada. We use current population and labour market trends in our analysis.
- Infographic: Immigration matters to Canada’s health-care sector
- Infographic: Immigration matters to Canada’s business sector
- Infographic: Immigration matters to Canada’s food services sector
- Infographic: Immigration matters to Canada’s science and technology sector
- Infographic: Immigration matters to Canada’s philanthropy sector
Starting the conversation online
You provide a valuable connection to your community. Below are some suggested ways to identify and share content that is relevant to where you live. This is the heart of the initiative and your support will make a difference.
Start by following our social media accounts, where we share content relevant to the initiative and to your community:
Share the content that will resonate with your audience, something they can see themselves in or will take value from. When posting, add your own local insights and build connections for your audience. We encourage you to use the hashtag #ImmigrationMatters and tag IRCC in your post (please refer to the list of IRCC departmental handles for each platform provided above).
Here are 3 examples of social content from our channels that might be pertinent to your community. Ideally, you would situate the story in your own local context.
Example 1. An IRCC Facebook post about the economic impact of immigration in Canada:
#DYK? ~1 in 4 workers in Canada are immigrants? As of 2016, 600,000+ self-employed immigrants were employing 260,000 Canadians.? In 2016, over 1/3 of nurse aids, orderlies and patient service associates were immigrants? #ImmigrationMatters.
Example 2. An IRCC Facebook post about the health-care sector:
More than 40% of newcomers working in Canada’s health-care sector between 2011 and 2016 were employed in residential care facilities, nursing and home health-care services. Learn about how #ImmigrationMatters to Canada’s health-care sector and future.
Example 3. A tweet highlighting an Immigration Matters video about Friesens Corporation:
When the local employment market wasn’t able to fill available jobs, Friesens Corporation decided to look outside of Canada. See how immigration has helped grow their business in Altona, Manitoba. #ImmigrationMatters
Create your own content
We’ve created a suite of Immigration Matters visuals that you can download and use to supplement your own social media and web content. As each graphic is available in both official languages, we ask that you post both English and French versions.
The visuals are saved as .zip files for faster download. Generally, .zip files can be opened with the default software installed on your computer. To download and unzip the files below, follow these instructions:
- Right click the file link below and click ‘Save as’
- Save the file to a location of your choice or open it to see the contents
Each .zip file covers a different aspect of Immigration Matters: the economy, business, health and social services, and settlement. We’ve also included a file of generic images, not related to a specific theme. In each file you will find graphics for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as a range of banners for your website. (If you require a web banner with different dimensions, please contact us and we’ll prepare one to your specifications).
Each graphic in the .zip file is formatted as a .jpg which works best when used online. If you require files formatted for print, please contact us.
Examples of the available graphics
Facebook economy example
Twitter health and social services example
Instagram settlement example
Web banner example
Link to Immigration Matters website
If you add a banner to your website or link to the Immigration Matters homepage from your social media channels, please use this link:
Continuing the conversation
We encourage you to have conversations with your community.
Instead of holding an in-person gathering during the pandemic, please follow the advice of local health authorities and consider hosting virtual events.
The Community Conversations Toolkit is designed to help you organize your own community conversation on immigration. It provides guidance and tips on:
- engaging with your community online
- planning outreach activities
- templates for presentations
- a post-activity survey
- other strategies for successful engagement
We encourage you to use and adapt the parts of the toolkit that you feel are helpful. We are always open to your feedback.Download the Community Conversations Toolkit (PDF, 1.6 MB)
Order our products
Contact us to order Immigration Matters buttons or business cards for use at local events:
Buttons (available in blue, purple (shown), green and pink)
Business cards (available in blue and purple (shown) or green and pink)
(We’ll do our best to accommodate your request, but please be aware that quantities are limited.)
Developing stories of your own
All stories should clearly show the positive impact of immigration in a community. The focus should be on the community as much as the individual.
This positive impact can have a wide scope and can come from any point in the immigration process, including first, second, third and fourth generation immigrants, and onward. One common theme is that perseverance and hard work pay off. An essential part of this initiative is to address the obstacles to integration and show that they are surmountable.
Showing how people have overcome challenges makes a story more compelling. However, the challenge may not be an obstacle the immigrant has faced. For these stories, it will more likely be a challenge the community faced that the immigrant helped overcome. These stories are about how a community was transformed thanks to an immigrant or immigration, so it is important to show the transformation that takes place.
We’re looking for clear and compelling stories that you want told and retold. Stories about:
- demonstrable differences in a community, or challenges overcome
- smaller communities outside larger urban centres
- places that have survived or thrived thanks to a particular immigrant, or an influx of newer immigrants, as well as more established communities that were built on immigration
- historic and present-day examples showcasing immigrants’ contributions to communities in a variety of areas:
- entrepreneurship/small business
- arts, culture, music
- charitable/philanthropic activities
- immigrants who create jobs for Canadians, who deliver and improve our social services, including health care, or who help enforce our laws and uphold justice
- immigrants demonstrating their commitment to their community and Canadian society
- Determine who you want to talk to and what they are likely to say. Aim to interview at least 3 people:
- a community influencer tied to the topic/story (for example, a mayor or a chamber of commerce representative)
- a community member/citizen who is directly affected or has benefited
- the immigrant
- Choose strong characters who will provide compelling stories and emotion.
- Ask for specific examples and try to get quotes and statements from people who were the ones directly affected/influenced/benefited.
- Verify with each interview subject that their preferred name, organization and contact information is correct.
- Ensure each interview subject signs a personal release and consent form (DOC, 18 KB) to authorize sharing the story publicly.
- Most people are reluctant to talk to strangers about things that really matter to them, so try to build a relationship with the person you are interviewing.
- Explain what you want and how their interview will fit into the bigger picture of the story you are telling.
- Most people being interviewed are eager to help. However, remember that you are talking to an individual who may be nervous or unsure about what to say or do.
- Be empathetic, show respect and don’t overreact to any surprising answer.
- Thank the interviewee afterward for taking the time to participate.
Sample interview questions
- What has the immigrant done to benefit the community?
- How has the community changed/improved as a result?
- What was the community like before they arrived? What were the gaps?
- How did this person influence you?
- What changes have you experienced as a result of their work/presence?
- Focus here should be on the values they share with Canadians, and why they wanted to contribute to the community.
- Why did you choose Canada? What is it about Canada that attracted you?
- How did you feel when you learned you were selected to come to Canada?
- What is it about this community that made you want to give back?
- Text should be at most 200 words on Instagram and 300 words on Facebook.
- Shorter is better: one to five sentences.
- A direct quote can add interest and a personal touch to the story.
- Text can’t include bold or italics.
- Instagram will not allow for paragraph breaks. A common practice is to include a single asterisk on its own line to create space.
- A candid or action-oriented photo is better than a posed photo.
- Use a high-quality photo if possible (typically 300 dpi and at least 1 MB in size).
Instagram text example:
Toos Giesen-Stefiuk moved to Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan from the Netherlands in 1981. From its earliest days, the community has welcomed newcomers who helped it grow from its origins as a French-speaking settlement into a multicultural hub. Over the past 37 years, Toos and her family have owned and operated a construction company, built the Gravelbourg Inn, and opened the Café Paris, an important community gathering place. Toos currently runs a bed and breakfast called La Maison 315.
On top of her business ventures, Toos is a 15-year veteran of the Gravelbourg town council. She’s involved in preserving Gravelbourg’s heritage buildings, and she organizes an annual international food festival that celebrates Gravelbourg’s diversity and culture. “Immigrants bring new ideas and energy”, Toos says. “My family has always worked to create jobs and give back to Gravelbourg because we felt so fortunate to live here. In Canada, you really can make a difference”. “Toos recognized the tourism potential in Gravelbourg and the economic spin-off that it could have on the community. With her vision and leadership, businesses and residents alike were able to build on strong roots in heritage and culture”, says Daryl Demoskoff, Tourism Saskatchewan.
Facebook text example:
Shaping Small-town Saskatchewan – Toos Giesen-Stefiuk moved to Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan from the Netherlands in 1981. From its earliest days, the community has welcomed newcomers who helped it grow from a French-speaking settlement into a multicultural hub. Over the past 37 years, Toos and her family have created many jobs and boosted local tourism in Gravelbourg. They owned and operated a construction company, built the Gravelbourg Inn, and opened the landmark Café Paris, an important community gathering place. Toos currently runs a bed and breakfast called La Maison 315.
“Toos has been a councillor for many years. She was part of a group that spearheaded the Summer Solstice Festival, which is an important economic driver for our community. Without her, this annual event may well have been discontinued. I am honoured to be able to work alongside her for the betterment of our community”, says Robert Bowler, Mayor of Gravelbourg.
On top of her business ventures, Toos is a 15-year veteran of the Gravelbourg town council. She is involved in preserving Gravelbourg’s heritage buildings and she organizes an annual international food festival that celebrates Gravelbourg’s diversity and culture.
“Toos is a remarkable individual who recognized the tourism potential in Gravelbourg and the economic spin-off that it could have on the community. With her vision and leadership, businesses and residents alike were able to build on strong roots in heritage and culture”, says Daryl Demoskoff, Tourism Saskatchewan.
Toos hopes that her story both encourages immigrants to become part of their communities, and inspires Canadians to welcome people from other countries. “Immigrants bring new ideas and energy”, Toos says. “My family has always worked to create jobs and give back to Gravelbourg because we felt so fortunate to live here. In Canada, you really can make a difference”.
We invite you to promote the stories you find – on Instagram, Facebook, in your newsletters and with local media.
Promoting your story through earned media
In the simplest terms, earned media is the opposite of paid media exposure (such as advertising). Earned media is exposure gained through outreach efforts.
Media is earned by developing good relationships with the people and organizations who create the content we consume. This means “pitching” a unique or captivating story to bloggers, social media influencers, reporters, editors and producers.
Step 1: Identify your outreach objectives
- What are you hoping to achieve?
- for example, you want to promote a story about the positive impact that a particular immigrant has made on your community or region
Step 2: Research influential content creators in your area
- In particular, look for those who have covered similar stories or have expressed interest in the subject in the past.
- gather their contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, social media “handles”)
Step 3: Develop a proposal for a story (or stories) that may be of interest to each content creator, reporter, editor or producer
- The story proposal is your “pitch”.
- Develop pitches that align with the recipients’ previous work or the interests of their audience.
- Focus on subject matter, geographic location, demographics, and new and interesting topics not previously covered but of interest.
Step 4: Tailor your pitch to each recipient
- Pitches can be in the form of an email, a direct message on social media, or a phone call.
- If applicable, personalize each pitch and reference the recipient’s previous or similar work that aligns with your pitch.
- for example, “You’ve recently written about a Syrian family that has settled in Canada so we think this story may also be of interest to you and your readers/viewers”
- Keep it brief but captivating. If it is too long, they will lose interest.
- Always include ways for the recipient to easily access more information.
- for example, hyperlink to press releases, a website, research, similar stories or contact info, this makes their work easier
- keep in mind that some may do the story without ever responding to you about the pitch
Step 5: Pitch the story via email, a direct social media message or a phone call
- The pitch must clearly reflect the aspect of the story you feel will catch the interest of the listener, reader or viewer. this is the story “angle”
- If the pitch is made via email:
- use a unique and captivating subject line and include the recipient’s name
- for example, “Attn: Anne Jones – Immigrant makes significant contribution to economy of Gravelbourg”
- ensure that emails are sent from professional email accounts to give credibility to the source
- If contact is made via a direct social media message, make your note short and courteous.
- direct messages are an entry point, not the place for the full pitch
- ask to continue the conversation over the phone or via email once they have responded
- If making contact by phone:
- be courteous and respectful of the person’s time and ask to set up an alternate time to discuss, if needed
- offer to send a follow-up email with a summary of the discussion and additional details
- if no answer, leave a brief message and follow up immediately with an email (making note of the call)
Step 6: Wait 2 to 3 business days, and follow up with a phone call
- If a content creator, reporter, editor or producer seems interested but isn’t keen on the angle, be prepared to provide creative alternatives.
- for example, If they’ve already covered a similar topic and aren’t keen to do so again, offer a different angle or an entirely new topic
- Use good judgement to assess interest.
- follow up once or twice at most and then stop if they don’t respond, or reply with a clear “no” at any point
- Remember: it is important to maintain good relationships with media outlets beyond the scope of this project.
Step 7: Work closely with anyone who chooses to cover your story
- Provide them with any details or contacts they need in a timely manner.
- Assist with setting up interviews, as requested.
- Be responsive!
- remember that media work to deadlines
- the decision to run with your story may be made on the day before, or even on the same day a media outlet will run it (particularly in the case of television and radio)
- be prepared to accommodate what may seem like last-minute requests for further information or interviews
Step 8: Monitor the coverage your story receives and evaluate your efforts
- Close the loop with reporters, editors and producers.
- thank them for their time and effort
- also thank those who turned down the opportunity, but took the time to respond
- Keep a record of all the coverage, including notes on the tone of the articles.
- Did the result meet your objective from Step 1?
Note: When dealing with reporters, keep in mind that it is their job to report critically. While a media story may be largely positive, there may also be some opposing views, as it is the reporter’s job to present multiple perspectives on a topic.
Remember: earning media coverage is not easy. It requires strategy, tact and persistence. For every 10 pitches, you may only get 1 positive response – but that coverage can still be very influential.
The more you do it, the stronger your relationships with content creators, reporters, editors and producers will be, and the easier it will be to get earned media coverage in the future.
If you post or publish a story, email us. We ask that when you uncover and share such success stories, that you use our hashtag #ImmigrationMatters.
We can then help promote your local stories through our website, our social media channels, and at events, speaking opportunities and panel discussions.
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