Hawa Mohamed, co-ordinator of the Canadian Somali Mothers Association, attends the launch of the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership at city hall yesterday.

A city-wide strategy was launched yesterday to attract skilled immigrants to Ottawa and help them successfully settle here ‘ something other major Canadian cities have already had for some time.

“Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax ‘ they all have local immigration strategies and they’ve had them for years,” said Dick Stewart, chair of Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP). “So we clearly needed to get in on the game.”

The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership brings together groups that offer services for immigrants ‘ small non-profits, school boards, universities and colleges, health- and social-service agencies, the city and local businesses. The idea is that the organizations’ services will be more accessible if they work toward common goals.

There are about 45 local immigration partnerships (LIPs) in Ontario ‘  the product of work by the federal and provincial governments and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario in 2006.

Hawa Mohamed, a co-ordinator for the Canadian Somali Mothers Association, said OLIP will help prevent Ottawa’s skilled immigrants from “slipping through the cracks.”

“When you come here you look at two things: you look at a job and you look at education for your children. If you don’t get these two, you are almost nothing, and that’s what OLIP is for,” she said.

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