Region of Waterloo

As soon as the federal government announced its commitment to resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, planning began for this community to receive a large influx of Syrian refugees. The Immigration Partnership, a community collaborative hosted by the Regional Municipality, quickly prepared a primer outlining the impact on the community as a designated resettlement community which was shared with Regional Council and community partners across many sectors.

Within days, Immigration Partnership hosted our first community preparedness planning day where centralized coordination was identified as a need. Subsequently, a community Refugee Settlement Steering Committee was struck to help coordinate the necessary response across organizations and sectors in Waterloo Region, modeled on the Region's existing pandemic preparedness plan. In recognition that refugee resettlement requires a whole of community response and engagement across all levels of municipal government and other service sectors, the committee was co-chaired by a senior representative of the regional municipality (the medical officer of health) and a community agency (the executive director of our local refugee resettlement agency).

This has been the first such integrated and collaborative response by municipal and community partners to a community issue using this approach in Waterloo Region. It demonstrates advanced integration of human services delivered by a municipality across departments, advanced integration of human services delivered by multiple tiers of municipal government, as well as advanced integration of human services provided by municipal and community partners.