Published in Aylmer Express, Feb 11, 2015

New rules will soon require immigrants to have enough of a working knowledge of English or French to be able to take their citizenship test without the help of a translator, Shelley Harris of the St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership told Malahide councillors Thursday, Feb. 5.

And the test wasn’t easy to start with, she said.

Councillor Mark Widner tried and online version,

“It’s pretty consistent with every other test I have taken in my life,” he chuckled, adding, “The second time I got perfect.”

Ms. Harris said many of the newcomer to Elgin , such as a recent group of Cambodians, were working on farm, and didn’t have a lot of opportunity to improve their literacy skills.

She noted that immigrants who applied to take the test before June would still be able to have a translator.

Ms. Harris noted that Malahide’s population of 8,990 included 3,080 first-, second-, or third-generation immigrants who spoke German, 350 Spanish and 255 Dutch.

German, she noted, included both the Low-German speaking Mennonite population as well as those who came directly from Germany.

She noted immigration in this area was well established and Malahide was in the top 10 of rural destinations for newcomers to Canada, both to work in agriculture and also to develop their own entrepreneurial businesses.

Mayor David Mennill said at a recent meeting, he was told that job creation in Malahide was running four times higher than the rest of Ontario.

“There’s got to be a connection between the two,”he said.

Ms. Harris said “The economy will be fuelled by newcomers and immigration.”