I have had the great good fortune of living all over Canada.  I was born in Calgary, studied in Edmonton and Montreal and worked in London, UK, Vancouver and, now, Windsor.  I have recently started to describe myself as a settler Canadian in order to situate myself as neither a newcomer, nor an Indigenous person.  My family immigrated to Canada sometime in the late 18th century and went forth to ‘discover’ and ‘create’ modern Canada.  Some of my feelings about that are great pride and others are much darker.

My consulting practice emerged from a career that included working as a trial lawyer, a human rights activist and a government efficiency expert.  My business ‘slogan’ is that “I believe what you believe, that our communities can be just, safe, open, accessible and effective.”  That statement contains the core of my commitment – to government and community policy that is evidence-based, strategic, outcome oriented and committed to respect for human rights and openness.

I accepted the role on WE Value because it aligns with my beliefs.  Welcoming newcomers is not only an exercise in being friendly, but in actively ensuring that people can become integrated into a community that values their skills and abilities, welcomes their cultures and beliefs and respects their right to autonomous self-determination.  When I came to Windsor as a newcomer, only from British Columbia, I didn’t know anyone and I had to rebuild a career from scratch. People actually wanted me to prove that my law degree from McGill was the same as one from University of Windsor.  So, I understand, to a limited degree, what being new is like.  But as a settler Canadian, I also understand what being settled is like.  I think I can bridge an important gap in the work of newcomer settlement.

The work of being new is difficult.  The newcomer settlement system should make that easier, not harder.  But government policy has placed barriers in the way of newcomers even as it has stretched out an open hand to welcome them.  WE Value brings a much-needed newcomer strength focused lens on how to make the work of being new easier and welcoming.  I look forward to the successes to come.


Melinda Munro

Munro Strategic Perspective