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Immigrant agencies losing federal funds

At least 10 Greater Toronto immigrant-service agencies have been told by Citizenship and Immigration Canada that their program funding will not be renewed next year, with up to 35 others across Ontario also facing “significant” cuts.

At least 10 Greater Toronto immigrant-service agencies have been told by Citizenship and Immigration Canada that their program funding will not be renewed next year, with up to 35 others across Ontario also facing “significant” cuts.

The settlement agencies, which offer language classes, help in finding jobs and other integration programs for thousands of newcomers each year, stand to lose tens of millions in funding. In all likelihood, the 10 agencies face closing next year, as the bulk of their funding comes from Ottawa.

Hundreds of jobs are also on the line in the sector, where settlement workers and administrators are now living in “a climate of fear,” sources say.

Among the agencies losing their federal funding are the South Asian Women’s Centre and Tropicana Community Services, which serves disadvantaged Caribbean families and youth.

“We’ll have to shut down without their funding,” said South Asian Women’s ­Centre executive director Kripa Sekhar, whose agency received $570,000 or 67 per cent of overall funding from Ottawa. It served 14,000 clients last year. “There will be a vacuum in servicing these women.”

In total, $53 million is being cut from settlement programs across Canada. More than $43 million of that will come from Ontario, which will see its 2011 settlement funding down to $344 million.

 
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