Sherbrooke, Canada - Intercultural City
Sherbrooke, the sixth largest city in Quebec, is located in the southeast of the province. It is privileged by its proximity to big cities such as Montreal, Quebec City, New York and Boston. Representing 50% of the Estrie region's demographic weight, Sherbrooke is its cultural, administrative and institutional hub.
Sherbrooke is rich in cultural diversity, thanks to the more than 130 communities that make it vibrant. The city's unique atmosphere is enhanced by the presence of these many cultures. Important fact to note: Sherbrooke is the first of the “merged cities” in Quebec to have adopted a welcoming and integration policy for immigrants.
Sherbrooke is the third largest immigration centre in Quebec, welcoming some 15,000 citizens of immigrant origin, 50% of whom are refugees. Elsewhere in the province, the average number of refugees received is between 10% and 15%.
Sherbrooke offers the opportunity to learn in both French and English, from elementary school to university. Throughout their education, students in Sherbrooke have access to recognised institutions that are as prestigious as they are enjoyable to attend. As a major university city, Sherbrooke has 20% of its population in post-secondary education. Of the approximately 4,500 students from outside Quebec, the Université de Sherbrooke welcomes an average of approximately 2,000 international students from 102 countries and territories each year. As for the territory's English-language university, Bishops University, it welcomes several hundred students from around the world each year.
Sherbrooke has been collaborating for several years with the Ministère de l'Immigration de la Francisation et de l'Intégration. The goal of this collaboration is to implement immigration action plans that aim to foster intercultural interaction and the promotion of diversity.
Sherbrooke has a consultation body (ICI Sherbrooke) that brings together all the stakeholders, organisations and agencies that work closely or remotely with immigrants. This body coordinates actions related to reception and integration, including employability, health, education and quality of life for citizens of immigrant background. ICI Sherbrooke also participates in research and development in the field of immigration and integration and collaborates in the reflection on the adaptation practices of organizations to ethnocultural diversity.
Sherbrooke is a city with a human dimension that offers an incomparable quality of life, thanks in particular to the feeling of mutual aid and the effervescence of neighbourhood life that reigns there. Sherbrooke is a privileged place to live, to study, to undertake, to innovate and to invest, all in a spirit of great openness to diversity.
By joining the Intercultural Cities programme, Sherbrooke aims to take advantage of the ICC INDEX diagnostic to lay the foundations for the renewal of its Policy for the Reception and Integration of Immigrants. In addition to giving it an up-to-date view of where the City stands in terms of interculturality, this diagnosis will provide it with a clear vision of the actions to be taken to renew its reception and integration policy and make it reflect the City's plural image.
The Intercultural Cities programme will also provide Sherbrooke with the opportunity to benefit from exceptional expertise that will enable it to improve its various action plans and policies in the area of diversity.
The sharing of ideas and best practices in this field can only be beneficial for the Sherbrooke territory and its better living together. Sherbrooke aspires to become an even more welcoming and inclusive city! It wishes to become the best in terms of diversity management, to be more attentive to its citizens, its staff members and its partners. In Sherbrooke, we want to remove the barriers to the harmonious integration of newcomers.
Sherbrooke hopes to be the next city to be recognized by the Intercultural Cities programme and thus join the 140 or so cities around the world that, like it, wish to put diversity at the centre of their actions, for an open community enriched by interculturality.