Hundreds urge to restore funding to immigration settlement agencies in Toronto
Canada, 31st January: A large number of immigrants are urging the Canadian government to undo the funding cuts for immigration settlement agencies in Toronto.
Toronto Liberal MPs joined the immigrants in asking feds to reinstate funding for settlement agencies in GTA by launching a campaign named ‘The Fair Start’ Thursday.And around 500 protestors gathered on Toronto City Hall for launching the campaign ‘Rewind the Cuts’.
Funding to the tune of around $22 million will be withdrawn from various settlement programs in Toronto and these federal cuts are nearly 50 percent of the $43 million cuts in federal funding throughout Ontario.
This step will result in loss of jobs for around 1,000 people within the GTA and will make it impossible for around 10,300 new immigrants receiving immigration and settlement services.
The share of Toronto’s funding will be reduced to $118 million from $140 million. This is an attack on Toronto, not just on the South Asian Women’s Center, stated Kripa Sekhar, executive director of the agency in Toronto.
This agency will lose around $570,000 funding from federal government and will have no option but to close down.
Come April 1, 2011 and around 33 organizations of Ontario involved in providing employment, language and integration services to newcomers and immigrants will face closures.
It may be noted that the Canada immigration department had announced way back in December last year that funding for around a dozen immigration settlement agencies in Toronto will not be restored by the federal government.
MP Gerard Kennedy stated that immigrants including newcomers will not be provided immigration settlement services by agencies. Kennedy added that Toronto is seeing a cut in federal funding when the rate of joblessness and immigration is going up.
Simon Zhong, who is among several workers of Toronto settlement agencies involved in helping immigrants and newcomers and facing closure due to funding cuts voiced his frustration against the issue.
Around 300 protestors including Zhong urged Jason Kenney, the Canada immigration minister to undo $53 million federal cuts. Nawang Choedon, a Tibetan monk stated that such a move will be a big blow for hundreds of young immigrants receiving immigration settlement services.