CAW Urges Full Funding of Immigrant Settlement Services

February 2, 2011, 4:41 PM EST

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The Harper Conservatives must reverse their decision to cut $53 million from immigrant settlement programs across Canada, the CAW is urging.

In a January 31 letter, CAW President Ken Lewenza calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to suspend the cuts and restore full funding to these service providers who help some of the most vulnerable newcomers to Canada.

In Ontario, more than 35 service provider agencies and 14 agencies in the Greater Toronto Area alone face massive cut backs that will force them to close doors to immigrants and refugees by March 31 of this year.

"It's utterly unacceptable for your government to slash $53 million out of settlement programs nationally - $43 million of which is being cut from Ontario alone - and eliminate area programs which help some of the most vulnerable new immigrants to succeed," Lewenza said.

The settlement agencies affected by the cuts provide language training, job search assistance and a host of other services essential to newcomers attempting to make Canada their home.

"We deplore the timing of these cuts, quietly announced just days before Christmas and the holiday period, as an attempt to escape attention and accountability," Lewenza said. "Instead of wasteful international summits and untendered fighter jet purchases, you should be investing in these settlement services."

"We call on you to direct Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney to suspend the cuts."

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