The Windsor Essex County Local Immigration Partnership
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Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership

The Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WELIP) is an initiative of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) to encourage communities across Ontario to develop a comprehensive plan for the delivery of newcomer services. 

The WELIP initiative represents a process to examine the whole system of services currently available and considers how the system could be enhanced to facilitate access to service and to promote the long-term settlement and integration of immigrant newcomers into Windsor and Essex County.

In November 2008, the City of Windsor was given the lead for the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership (WELIP) initiative by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

The Windsor Essex County Local Immigration Partnership (WELIP) engages stakeholders through information sharing, events and a locally-driven strategic planning process to help make Windsor-Essex a more welcoming and inclusive community. 

The partnership strives to assist non-settlement service providers and the community in developing a greater understanding of newcomer needs and services.

To provide better outcomes, our key objectives include:

  • Partnering with service sectors such as health care, education, housing, children's services and police to discuss the unique needs of immigrants within those sectors and how we, as a community, can work together to ensure that immigrants have complete access to these services;
  • Raising the profile of immigrants by celebrating local success stories;
  • Improving employment opportunities for immigrants by reaching out to employers and demonstrating how diversity enriches the workplace;
  • Promoting collaboration between organizations to improve access to services for immigrants;
  • Strengthening social integration by helping to remove barriers; and
  • Encouraging social and cultural connections, active civic participation and a sense of the rights and responsibilities of Canadian citizenship and the value of diversity.

To achieve this, a Partnership Council was established including a variety of community stakeholders from:

  • Employment and trade
  • Community and social services 
  • Education
  • Government
  • Service providers
  • Health care
  • Ethno-Cultural groups
  • Economic and workforce boards

Members of the WELIP Council plan their programs and services with a clear understanding of the needs of immigrants while valuing the contributions immigrants can provide to our region.

Members include:

  • Chair - Debra DiDomenico, Greater Essex County District School Board, Language Assessment & Employment
  • Vice Chair - Hugo Vega, Settlement, Health and Well-Being
  • Member-at-Large - Frédéric Boulanger, Collège Boréal
  • Member-at-Large - Charlotte LeFrank, Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society
  • Member-at-Large - Sarah May Garcia, Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network

Terms of Reference - 2015-2016 Terms of Reference

 WELIP Coordination Team:

  • Project Manager - Mary Ellen Bernard
  • Community Connector - Michelle Suchiu
  • Project Assistant - Renee Marentette

The team works to facilitate the objectives of the Council by coordinating, providing organizational support and overseeing the development of a local settlement strategy and targeted action plan.


January, 2009 marked the first meeting of the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership Council, an assembly of committed stakeholders working towards a common goal ~ creating a welcoming community for newcomers to Windsor-Essex.

In April 2010, A Community Plan to Promote the Settlement and Integration of Immigrants in Windsor and Essex County was submitted to City and County Councils and to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The full report and the Executive Summary are attached in PDF format in English and French:

Over that summer, the Partnership Council continued to meet to refine the strategies outlined in the original report. In September 2010, a follow-up report was submitted to CIC. The document, Moving Forward ... A Supplement to a Community Plan to Promote the Settlement and Integration of Immigrants in Windsor and Essex County produced the following:

  • A governance model which allowed the WELIP to transition from a research advisory group to a community planning body;
  • An action plan with identified priorities which will lead the WELIP over the next two years; and 
  • A foundation for the ongoing work of the WELIP which will explore ways to enhance services, minimize duplication and develop ways to evaluate the progress of the WELIP.

The Moving Forward report is available on the website in English and French:

For more information, please contact:

Mary Ellen Bernard
Manager of Social Policy & Planning / Project Manager for the Windsor Essex Local Immigration Partnership
(519) 255-5200 ext. 5270 or



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