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CIBC and the YMCA of Greater Toronto launch program to help newcomers settle in Canada

    CIBC YMCA Access to Opportunity™ will connect newcomers to employment
    opportunities and support financial literacy

    TORONTO, June 25 /CNW/ - Among the many challenges faced by newcomers to
Canada is getting meaningful information about day-to-day banking - accessing
credit, opening a bank account, starting a business and most importantly,
getting financial advice to help them plan their future in their new country.
As well, foreign trained newcomers often face the added challenge of finding a
job in their field. To help overcome barriers to settling in Canada, CIBC and
the YMCA of Greater Toronto today launched a new program, CIBC YMCA Access to
    Building on the YMCA's strong history of connecting with newcomers, and
CIBC's focus on financial advice, banking services and community support, CIBC
YMCA Access to Opportunity will feature a series of seminars called Facts &
Finance™. The seminars are designed to provide the information newcomers
need to make informed decisions about financial services, build credit
history, save, start a business and invest in their families' future. In
addition, the program also includes an innovative six-week job readiness
training program, CIBC Connection to Employment™, that will put qualified
individuals directly in touch with the skills they need to access employment
at CIBC and in financial services.
    "Newcomers play an important role in shaping Canada's future and we are
excited to join forces with the YMCA of Greater Toronto to assist new
Canadians as they get settled in Toronto," said Sonia Baxendale, Senior
Executive Vice-President, Retail Markets for CIBC. "The first days and months
in a new country are both exciting and challenging and getting solid advice
about financial options is critical to getting a great start. Whether it's
knowing how to open a banking account, or understand how to invest for your
children's future in a new country, CIBC YMCA Access to Opportunity will
assist newcomers as they get started."
    "Finding a job upon arrival in Canada is also a key priority," added
Baxendale. "Through CIBC Connection to Employment we are investing in
qualified individuals to give them the skills and knowledge they need to get a
job at CIBC or in the financial services sector."
    "At the YMCA of Greater Toronto, we're committed to helping newcomers
transition into their new lives here in Toronto. We connect with one out of
two newcomers to Toronto, by giving them the tools and information needed to
settle into this country successfully. We have a broad range of programs at
the YMCA for newcomers and are proud to build on our longstanding relationship
with CIBC to deliver this new program that will specifically help newcomers
with financial capacity, confidence, and awareness of the financial services
in Canada as well as create a talent pool for potential employers," says Scott
Haldane, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

    About Facts & Finance

    Facts and Finance provides advice and information to enable newcomers to
make informed financial decisions on how to save, establish credit history,
start a business and invest in their families' future, Facts & Finance
includes financial literacy seminars on:-  Banking in Canada
    -  Starting your own business
    -  Teaching your children about moneyThe seminars will be hosted at the YMCA Newcomer Centres in the GTA with
the first series commencing in July and August.

    About CIBC Connection to Employment

    The inaugural CIBC Connection to Employment program will run in the fall
2008, with the first group graduating in November. The free six-week job
readiness program will focus on the technical, cultural and job specific
training qualified newcomers need to get a job at CIBC or in financial
services. Information on the criteria and curriculum, as well as applications
for the program will be available at YMCA Newcomer Centres in July.
    "We are proud to be the founding sponsor of this unique newcomer
program," added Baxendale. "CIBC has a long history with the YMCA through the
CIBC Youthvision Scholarship Program™ and corporate donations. We also have
a long history of supporting new Canadians and were recognized in October 2007
by Canadian Immigrant Magazine as one of Canada's Top Employers for Workplace
Diversity. We were also recognized this year by the editors of Canada's Top
100 Employers as one of Canada's Best Employers of New Canadians."
    CIBC YMCA Access to Opportunity builds on CIBC's continued focus on
addressing the distinct needs of newcomers through a diverse employee base,
relevant product solutions like a newcomer mortgage and credit card as well as
our broad multicultural capabilities across our branches, call centres, ABMs
and website.
    For more information, visit

    About YMCA

    The YMCA of Greater Toronto is one of the region's most dynamic
charities, connecting with and touching the lives of nearly half a million
people in the GTA every year. With a budget of $150 million, we are the
second-largest YMCA in North America with 3,000 employees and 3,500 volunteers
in over 200 locations. The YMCA is actively engaged with some 250
corporations, organizations and community partners, and our role in the
community is far reaching. Our extensive connections with the community
include newcomer programs, youth outreach and intervention, fitness and
recreation, education and employment programs, family support and social
services, child care, and overnight and day camping.

    About CIBC

    CIBC is committed to supporting causes that matter to our clients, our
employees and our communities. We aim to make a difference in communities
through corporate donations, sponsorships and the volunteer spirit of
employees. With a strategic focus on youth, education and health, and employee
commitment to causes including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run
for the Cure, United Way and the CIBC World Markets Children's Foundation, we
are investing in the social and economic development of communities across the
country. In 2007, CIBC group of companies contributed more than $36 million
worldwide to charitable organizations and community initiatives. Of this,
$27 million was invested in Canada to support national regional and local
organizations. To learn more, visit

    FACT SHEET-  Canada accepts more than 250,000 newcomers on an annual basis and
       connecting to the financial mainstream is just one of the many
       challenges they face.

    According to the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS):

    -  When immigrants are better equipped to make informed financial
       decisions, they will reach self-sufficiency more quickly and integrate
       into their new communities more successfully.
    -  The upward mobility of newcomers is ultimately linked to their ability
       to make informed financial decisions. New immigrants' access to
       accurate and timely financial information soon after their arrival
       helps to shape their financial future and strengthen communities.

    According to the 2006 Census:

    -  Recent immigrants are more than twice as likely as someone born in
       Canada to have a low income. Recent immigrants earn only about
       60 per cent of what Canadian-born workers are paid.
    -  Immigration is the area that breaks the link from education to
       earnings. Education attainment of immigrants has been rising, yet a
       recent male immigrant with a university degree earns 48 per cent of
       what his Canadian-born counterpart gets.
    -  Immigrants account for 45.7% of the Toronto's total population of
       5,072,100, up from 43.7% in 2001. This represents over 2.3 million
    -  An estimated 253,600 newcomers, just over one-half (56.6%), are in the
       prime working years of 25 to 54.
    -  72% of prime working-age immigrants in Ontario have a degree from an
       international university. Only 25% of the same age group from
       Ontario's total population are as educated.
    -  In 1980, recent immigrant men earned 85 cents for every dollar of
       their Canadian-born counterparts. In 2005, that number plummeted to
       63 cents. The drop was even more pronounced for immigrant women, who
       went from earning 85 cents by comparison in 1980 to only 56 cents in
    -  Recent immigrant men holding a degree earned only 48 cents for each
       dollar their university educated, Canadian-born counterparts did. Some
       30 per cent of male immigrants with a university degree worked in jobs
       that required no more than a high-school education - more than twice
       the rate of those born in Canada.
    -  The gap was actually less for non-university educated immigrants, who
       earned 61 cents to every dollar earned by their Canadian-born
For further information:
For further information: YMCA: Celecia Partap, Manager, Public
Relations, (416) 413-1020, ext. 2350,; CIBC: Doug
Maybee, Director, External Communications and Media Relations, (416) 980-7458,