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Certainty and Uncertainty

Portrait photo of Lily Lumsden, HIPC Chair

The past year has been a challenging one for many of us. By the beginning of our fiscal year on April 1, 2020, we knew things were going to be different, including the uncertainty of the pandemic and the transition to working exclusively online and from home. At the same time, HIPC itself was on solid footing: we had received a five-year grant from the federal government, the longest term of funding in our history. Our opportunities to engage with the public and to host events had declined, but we were able to engage in longer-term planning, and to focus on foundational and strategic pieces, including the launch of a strategic plan and the formation of our new council.

During the past year, HIPC stepped up to showcase the strength and resiliency of immigrants in Hamilton through the Essential Immigrants video series. HIPC has supported the work to combat COVID-19 in various other ways: HIPC promoted multilingual public health resources with messaging to various communities, has continually shared research about differential impacts of COVID, and reported to Hamilton’s Emergency Operations Committee about the impact of the pandemic on newcomers.

As the year comes to an end and our new council and committees begin their work, we are eager to see improved settlement outcomes and a growing sense of belonging, and to support our community of friends and neighbours in safe and meaningful ways.


An image of Lily Lumsden's signature

Lily Lumsden, HIPC Chair

2020-2021 Achievements

New Strategic Plan

HIPC approved a strategic plan for the period 2020-2025 based on a collective impact model, including an evaluation framework and new operating principles.

The HIPC Logic Model

Launch of New Council

HIPC launched a new term of council. This year, more than half of the Council has lived experience of immigration (e.g., they are immigrants), as do close to 80% of committee members.

Working Groups

In order to create timely responses to emerging needs, HIPC struck four ad hoc working groups over the past year.

In June, an Anti-Racism Working Group formed to make recommendations for steps HIPC can take (1) to mitigate racism in its own structures and activities and (2) how it might communicate these to a broader public. This group has met four times, submitting recommendations for modifying HIPC’s Terms of Reference and for how HIPC could adopt an ARAO lens for its work. This working group is ongoing.

To provide direction for evaluating our collective impact work, in the fall HIPC formed an Evaluation Framework Working Group that met three times with Centre for Community Based Research. This work resulted in an evaluation framework to guide HIPC through the next five years and a workplan for the coming year.

Also in the fall, a Governance Working Group met several times to review HIPC’s Terms of Reference and recommended changes. Incorporating the recommendations from the Anti-Racism Working Group, these changes were approved by HIPC’s Steering Committee and then by our broader Council in December.

Finally, from January to March 2021, a Transition Working Group helped HIPC navigate the period between the official close of the 2017-2020 Council and the formation of a new Council by Spring 2021. The Working Group designed a process for recruiting and selecting Council and Committee members, recommended a slate of new members to HIPC’s Steering Committee, and ensured that the transition process was transparent and aligned with HIPC’s vision.

Thanks to the more than 20 individuals who forwarded our work through participating in one or more of these working groups!

Activities During COVID-19

  1. HIPC staff surveyed local newcomer serving organizations at request of COH EOC and submitted a report on newcomer needs (April). Worked with Mayor’s Office and EOC to ensure translation of COVID information.
  2. Worked with Public Health on translation and distribution of multilingual COVID screening tools.
  3. Shared research about differential impacts of COVID on newcomer and racialized communities to raise awareness among our partners and council members.

HIPC Communications

Social Media

  1. Twitter followers hit 2000 by end of 2020, an increase of 20% from 2019
  2. Average 20,000 Twitter impressions per month
  3. 525 Instagram followers, up more than 40% from 2019.


Image of HIPC website home page
Image of HIPC website home page

In February of 2021, the HIPC team launched a new website that displays the work of HIPC in a sleek, accessible and user-friendly fashion aligned with our brand and visual identity. It features HIPC's most recent activities as well as current and upcoming projects.

ImmPress Bi-weekly Newsletter

Focused on immigration news, local newcomer issues and programs, and community announcements.

  1. 26 issues of ImmPress published, with a total of 64 issues since launching in 2018.
  2. 316 subscribers at end of 2020
  3. Average opens of 67%, an increase of 15.5% from 2019

Essential Immigrants Video Campaign

Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council (HIPC) created a six-part video interview series in fall 2020 to highlight how newcomers and immigrants have helped keep Hamilton running during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign featured short video interviews, shared on Twitter and Instagram along with a fact about immigration or a snippet of participants’ personal stories, accompanied by the hashtags #HamiltonForAll and #ImmigrationMatters.

The goal of the series is to highlight the role of immigrants serving in frontline occupations during the COVID-19 pandemic. HIPC profiled six immigrants of different professional and ethnic backgrounds who are working and living in Hamilton.

The campaign was positively received by the public and HIPC’s partners. The first immigrant interview video was retweeted by IRCC in French and English, and Minister Marco Mendicino also shared the video on his personal account. The exposure exceeded 33 K in views on Twitter, with HIPC’s original post receiving 78 likes and 86 for Mendicino’s retweet. The campaign has also received a notable mention in the opening remarks of Minister Marco Mendicino at the Annual National P2P Conference in November of 2020.

Community Events

  • In July of 2020, HIPC sponsored a workshop for service providers on managing wellness and work during the pandemic with 40+ service provider staff from Hamilton. The workshop was hosted by the Hamilton Mental Health Working Group which includes HIPC, and it was delivered by Christine Yip of Organizations for Impact.
  • HIPC has long been an organizing member of the Multicultural Wellness Fair. This past year, the event took place virtually on Zoom and was broadcast on Facebook yielding more than 250 attendees. The event featured multiple speakers who addressed various inequities in our community and gave tips on dealing with the current climate in our city and our world.

Collaboration with SWO LIP

HIPC attends monthly meetings with our local immigration partners (LIPs) across southwestern Ontario. These regular sustained connections over the past year resulted in several collaborative initiatives. LIPs in the region are collaborating on a discrimination survey described below, collective activities around Newcomer Day, and online immigrant employment workshops.

Collaboration with No Hate in the Hammer

No Hate in the Hammer (NHH) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working together to be an effective tool for social change through education, collaboration, knowledge sharing, and advocacy. The NHH mandate aligns with the aspirations of HIPC in creating an inclusive Hamilton for everyone. HIPC regularly attends meetings with the NHH group. HIPC has contributed to the planning and execution of a six-part educational speaker series on the different ways hate manifests itself in our communities and how to combat it. HIPC is also contributing to the planning efforts of Listen Learn Act: An Anti-Hate Community Summit hosted by NHH in May of 2021.

Ongoing HIPC Projects

HIPC initiated several projects over the past year that will continue with direction from the newly struck HIPC committees. These include:

  • Produce a guide for research with newcomers. HIPC is collaborating with McMaster Research Shop to develop a guide focused on best practices and protocols for doing research with newcomers.
  • Promote uptake of healthcare interpretation locally. Building on the WE Speak initiative from Windsor Essex, HIPC will work with partners and local providers to promote centralized access to interpretation services for newcomers in healthcare settings.
  • Survey experiences of discrimination. HIPC is one of eight local immigration partnerships participating in this random-sample survey led by Western University. The survey includes samples from immigrant/racialized population, Indigenous peoples, and the broader community. HIPC will work closely with community partners and Hamilton Urban Indigenous Strategy leads to identify actions arising from survey results./li>

Over the past year, HIPC has supported external projects that help our community in different ways:

  • Support McMaster opinion poll on attitudes towards immigration during COVID. In order to generate local findings, HIPC funded an oversample of Hamilton respondents for this Canada-wide random sample poll led by Prof. Bruce Newbold. HIPC representatives also provided input on the survey questions. Part two of this survey goes in the field this spring.
  • Facilitate roll out of train-the-trainer model for newcomer mental health. This IRCC-funded project is led by Punjabi Community Health Services to build the capacity of settlement service providers through a series of mental health train-the-trainer sessions.
  • Connect local practitioners to UTM Refugee Children and Mental Health research project. Led by Centre for Child Development, Mental Health, and Policy, this project explores the emotional and social development and mental health of refugee children and caregivers.

HIPC in the BOOKS!