Who we are

Immigration Partnership is a collaboration of community service, business, municipal and post-secondary organizations and Waterloo Region residents working together.

Our Vision

Immigrants reach their full potential and contribute to creating and sustaining a thriving, prosperous community for everyone.

Our Mission

We work together to create the conditions for immigrants to succeed and help build a welcoming, dynamic community. We achieve this through leadership, collaboration, research, engagement, education and advocacy.


In 2006, the Waterloo Region Immigrant Employment Network (WRIEN) was established as a forum to address the employment gaps for immigrants in Waterloo Region. After several years of collaboration, community partners in Waterloo Region began to develop a Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) as an enhanced community-based partnership to plan services around the broader needs of immigrants and refugees.

A proposal was submitted to Citizenship and Immigration Canada which provided funding for the development of a settlement strategy in Waterloo Region. During 2009 and 2010, stakeholders developed the LIP strategy including structure of the partnership and action plan, assisted by the Centre for Community Based Research. Community consultations were completed and a structure for the Local Immigration Partnership and a draft action plan were developed.

There was a growing recognition of significant overlap between WRIEN and the LIP. The decision was made to fully integrate WRIEN within the LIP. The resulting integration saw implementation of the Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership.

Since April 2011, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada) has provided funding to the backbone structure of the Waterloo Region Immigration Partnership to facilitate implementation of its Community Action Plan.


The Immigration Partnership is multi-faceted, consisting of a leadership Council and three Steering Groups representing three pillars: Settle, Work and Belong. Action groups may be formed by the Immigration Partnership Council and/or Steering Groups to facilitate specific projects and implement initiatives. Immigration Partnership is accountable to the Waterloo Region community and its funders.

  • The Settle Pillar addresses the transitional challenges faced by immigrants and refugees when they first arrive and start to settle in Waterloo Region.
  • The Work Pillar addresses issues that immigrant and refugee job seekers experience in finding employment and that employers experience in accessing immigrant talent.
  • The Belong Pillar addresses the long-term challenge of ensuring immigrants and refugees have a strong sense of belonging in Waterloo Region. The Belong Pillar defines belonging as "an essential human need to be accepted and valued by others in order to reach one's full potential in connecting, participating, integrating and thriving in the community." The Belong Pillar emphasizes the importance of involving both immigrants and the broader community in a process of mutual learning and inter-relatedness.

As depicted in the graphic below, Immigration Partnership operates on the basis of shared responsibility and mutual accountability for decision-making and action. There is two way communication between the volunteer Council and Steering Groups and the staff team to give guidance and report progress. Immigration Partnership as a whole reports to the community on its actions and outcomes. 

The Immigration Partnership Council provides leadership and approval of strategic directions, and conducts advocacy. Steering Groups each determine priorities and implement actions. The staff team provides backbone support, and implementation and communication leadership across all partner groups. It is hosted by the Region of Waterloo and funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

IP Partnership framework