According to the 2011 National Household Survey, 69,720 immigrants live in the Niagara Region representing 16.5% of the Region’s total population.
Newcomers “face barriers related to non-recognition of their prior education and credentials, language barriers and challenges to finding appropriate and meaningful employment”.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
“Men and women who immigrated to Canada more recently (since 1991) experience a higher degree of poverty with 35% of new-immigrant men and women living below the Low Income Cut-Off. According to 2001 census data, 49% of children in recent immigrant families are low income.”
Living in Niagara Report
Furthermore, “Niagara is close to the bottom compared to other municipalities in our ability to attract young people from other areas”.
Niagara Connects (formerly The Niagara Research and Planning Council) recognizes that “volunteering enriches the volunteer and contributes much to the community, the local economy and the non-profit sector to build the overall social capital of a region” and that a strong, healthy community is composed of “people who engage in…charitable activities or give generously of their time, talents, leadership, energy and money”. With respect to volunteerism, the Living in Niagara 2011 report supports the recommendation to “…continue to develop a Niagara-wide culture of involving citizens in civic engagement…” and “acknowledge and measure non-paid, not-for-profit work and its impact on Niagara’s individuals, organizations and the economy”. Volunteerism, as identified in the 2011 Sustainable Niagara Phase 2 report, is 1 of the 12 Priority Indicators to measure sustainability in Niagara. It states that, “Engaged citizens are healthier and more likely to take part in civil, social and recreational activities, resulting in healthier communities.”.
Sustainable Niagara Report It is with these considerations that The Niagara Newcomer Bursary was formed. The Niagara Newcomer Bursary is a non-profit bursary fund established in 2014 in association with Niagara Folks Arts Multicultural Centre (NFAMC). It receives funding from private donations. Funds are held in a dedicated account with NFAMC. Five bursaries of $1,000 each are to be awarded annually to newcomer youth. Presentations to recipients will be made during the Niagara Folk Arts Festival Open House, held at the end of May.
The purpose of the Niagara Newcomer Bursary is:
- To help newcomer youth achieve their career goals by pursuing post-secondary studies;
- To reward the role of volunteerism and community service;
- To encourage newcomer youth to remain in the Niagara Region after graduation and
- To promote awareness of the activities of NFAMC to the broader Niagara community.