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


Who We Are

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

The WE LIP 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 (WE LIP) initiative by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

What We Do

The Windsor Essex County Local Immigration Partnership (WE LIP) 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, developmental disability 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 WE LIP 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 -  Hugo Vega, YMCA of Southwestern Ontario, Windsor Learning Centre
  • Vice Chair - Sarah May Garcia, Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network
  • Member-at-Large - Nick Beluli, Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County
  • Member-at-Large - Charlotte LeFrank, Windsor-Essex Children's Aid Society
  • Member-at-Large - Didier Marotte, Centre communautaire francophone Windsor-Essex-Kent

Terms of Reference -

2018-2019 Terms of Reference

WE LIP Coordination Team:

  • Project Manager - Mary Ellen Bernard
  • Community Connector - Michelle Suchiu
  • Communication Assistant - Marina George

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 Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly 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 IRCC. 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 WE LIP to transition from a research advisory group to a community planning body;
  • An action plan with identified priorities which will lead the WE LIP over the next two years; and 
  • A foundation for the ongoing work of the WE LIP which will explore ways to enhance services, minimize duplication and develop ways to evaluate the progress of the WE LIP.

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