Stephen Lam Director of Immigrant Services and Community Programs with Catholic Community Services of York Region and Dr. Valerie Preston a Professor with the Department of Geography at York University were the speakers at York’s most recent KM in the AM event, held at the Police Headquarters Community Room in Vaughn. Twenty people were present to participate in the forum that brings together university researchers and non-academic leaders to explore issues and opportunities relating to Immigration and Human Services in York Region.
Stephen Lam provided a comprehensive overview of the issues from a local perspective, utilizing a SWOT approach (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to position these issues. His experiences serving as a member of the Human Services Planning Coalition, as well as supporting the development of the Welcome Centre, provided the complexity of supporting the extensive Immigrant community via Human Services provision.
Professor Valerie Preston is a resident of York Region and is a Principal Investigator on a York Infrastructure Project, which is examining immigrant experiences with regard to housing and human services utilizing recent census data and geographic information system (GIS) technology. Prof. Preston shared statistics and findings from her studies to provide an overview of the issues for immigrant housing in York Region, along with overarching challenges for supporting the immigrant population in York Region. She is also Director of The Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS).
The discussion which followed was highly engaging and provided everyone with the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences. Given the interest and discussion, York’s KM Unit will revisit this topic, as we aim to provide space for research and knowledge-based collaborative development. Thank you to all who attended and to Valerie and Stephen for their valuable contributions that helped to create and sustain the dialogue.