2005 National Host Conference
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[ Section 5 ]
Conference participants from service provider organizations and government met in separate fora to consider the following questions posed by the planning committee:
- What would you like to see in the Host Program in the future, e.g. areas of development or improvement?
- If the program is expanded, what are some of the considerations (pros / cons) of expansion? What would be the challenges or concerns?
- How do we help the Host Program to grow?
- How can the Host Program support anti-racism initiatives and activities in building a stronger and more cohesive society?
Seventy service providers representatives from across Canada convened to consider the questions. The following were the main recommendations that stemmed from the questions:
- Define the purpose of the Host Program
Create a model that is clear enough to ensure accountability and flexible enough for service providers to reach these outcomes in the manner that is most effective for the clients in their local community.
- Program Promotion
Host is a small program with great possibilities for creating positive images about the benefits of immigration and integration. An aggressive national strategy to increase awareness of the program is essential. It would also assist in the recruitment of volunteers and clients who might want to participate in the program.
Current funding levels for this program are insufficient. Any expansion or redefinition of the Host Program has to be accompanied by adequate funding.
- Communication and tools to talk to each other
In addition to program promotion, it is important to keep the momentum gained during this conference by finding effective ways for the group to share ideas with Host colleagues across the country, including British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba.
Government officials also convened to discuss the same questions and the three most common issues emerged as follows:
- Initiative to examine/better define the mandate, objectives and expected outcomes of the Host Program to allow for the achievement of flexibility, national consistency and the development of effective evaluation tools and incorporation of antiracism initiatives and activities.
Host activities are nation-building activities - strengthen our society
and economy, bring expertise to our country. We need therefore to improve
client service and modernise the program to meet current needs and changing
- Expanding and preserving Host volunteer base to better meet program demands.
Demands on programs cannot be met with existing Hosts. It is recommended to count on the expertise of broader volunteer organisations and use resources available through them for other Host activities. At the same time, there is a need to provide support to volunteers, to recognize their value and their contributions.
- Marketing/Promoting Host.
Research of effective marketing tools to promote program and anti-racism should be considered. Expand common identifiers of Host using a variety of media and partnering with different networks.
Each group presented the highlights from their discussions in a plenary forum. This was followed by a short discussion period.
- If funding increases were announced, consider how to move forward and strategize allocations nationally.
- Future directions' discussions should include both improvement of current practices that work well and new ideas and initiatives that can be developed nationally.
- "Next steps" for the Host Program should include increased
focus on youth and addressing mental health issues of newcomers.
- Program Outcomes: challenge to measure what the Program achieves. Assessment and measurement of results are key.
- Both groups recognized that the Host Program is, by virtue, an anti-racism initiative. It encourages both recent immigrants and Canadians to learn about each other and therefore promotes a better understanding and fosters respect of one another. Expansion of the program and increased promotion of the program will support anti-racism initiatives and activities in building a stronger and more cohesive society.
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