Yesterday, the Government of Canada and community organizations across the country joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in observing World Refugee Day. Since 2000, June 20 has been designated as a day to shed light on the international refugee state of affairs.

In contrast with a similar survey done in 1993, the Ipsos-Reid poll suggests that present-day Canadians are more comfortable with granting equal rights and opportunities to recent Canadian immigrants. Nearly two thirds of respondents believe that immigrants should have just as much say in Canada’s future as Canadian-born citizens.

Forty-three million dollars over two years has been earmarked by the British Columbia (BC) provincial government to help immigrants find work in their fields and better integrate into their new communities. From improved English language training programs to employment, education, health and recreation services, ‘Welcome BC’ aims to ensure that the province remains an attractive destination for new immigrants.

Over 60 per cent of new immigrants to Canada each year choose to live and work in the province of Ontario. Recently a series of steps have been taken to ensure that professionals who received their training outside of Canada can work in their fields.

In order to better serve its visitors, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website (www.cic.gc.ca) has been reorganized to facilitate navigation and to improve user experience.

This week the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, announced the appointment of a new Chairperson for Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Lawyer Brian P. Goodman will take over the lead of the immigration tribunal for a period of 4 years.

The RBC Royal Bank Scholarship for New Canadians was created for students who have been through the Canadian immigration process. Recognizing how immigration has shaped Canada’s cultural, social, and economic development, the scholarship rewards the efforts of students who have succeeded academically while simultaneously adjusting to life in a new country.

The story of Canada’s history is one of a constant flow of immigrants arriving to help build Canada from the ground up. To document this important part of Canadian history and share it with future generations, the Scotiabank Research Centre is now being opened at Pier 21, home of Canada’s Immigration Museum.

As a multicultural society, Canadian culture is shaped by the contributions of immigrants. A new competition being run by Radio Canada International is celebrating this contribution by inviting young people in Canada to use their artistic skills to tell stories about immigrating to Canada.

In recognition of the value of online resources for individuals looking to immigrate to Canada, the Government of Canada has committed new funding to support efforts by a number of Canadian provinces to improve their online presence.

The Government of Canada is acting to help immigrants work in their chosen fields in Canada. In order to overcome the delays and difficulties of getting foreign credentials recognized in Canada, a new government office will provide services to newcomers to assist in navigating the credential recognition process.

The Ontario government has introduced the Ontario Pilot Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) designed to help Ontario employers to attract and retain the skilled immigrants needed in the provincial labour market.

Ontario has now joined every other provincial government in offering a provincial immigration program, designed to fast-track the issuance of Canadian Permanent Resident Visas for foreign workers with skills in demand.

As a wealthy and democratic country that has been built on immigration, Canada has a long-standing tradition of opening its borders to individuals seeking asylum from persecution or unsafe conditions. In the spirit of this tradition, Canada will be opening its doors to over 5,000 refugees from Bhutan who have been living in refugee camps in Nepal for over a decade.