Peterborough Immigration Partnership Annual Members Meeting & Professional Development 2024

On Tuesday March 20, 2024, Peterborough Immigration Partnership members gathered to receive an update of activities over the year and to participate in three sessions for professional development.

Agenda for Morning Meeting:

  • Welcome (Dawn Berry Merriam) & Land Acknowledgement (Michelle Nguyen)
  • Presentation: Highlights from PIP Operational Plan 2023-2024
  • Update on the Workplace Inclusion Charter (Michelle Nguyen)
  • Factors that Impact the Retention of International Students in Peterborough (Danielle Lachance, David Anderson, Phoebe Bergeron, and Herschelle De Mel)
  • “Our Neighbourhood” Video Project (Mauricio Interiano)
  • Comments and Discussion


Afternoon Professional Development:

(A) Working with Interpreters and Interpretation Tools:  Tips and Strategies to Improve Communications


  • Ohayla Al Khatib, Interpretation Services Manager, Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre
  • Leigha MacDiarmid, Life Skills Worker, New Canadians Centre Peterborough

Ohayla has a business degree from Cuyahoga College in the USA. She immigrated to Canada in 1996 at which time she started working at Kitchener Waterloo Multicultural Centre. Moving from an administrative position to Manager of Language Interpreter Services at KWMC, Ohayla is committed to the provision of professional interpreter services and has worked with a provincial network of providers towards this goal. Ohayla is also the instructor of the Language Interpreter Training Program (LITP) at Conestoga College. The Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre has been providing trained interpreters for 30 years to various service agencies in Waterloo, Wellington, Brant regions and surrounding townships.

Leigha MacDiarmid is a dedicated life skills worker who has spent the past year developing a comprehensive program in Peterborough, emphasizing digital and financial literacy. With a background in International Development, specializing in immigration and forced resettlement policies and programs, Leigha brings a wealth of expertise to her work. Focusing on empowering clients to navigate email, online banking, translation, and using map independently, Leigha ensures that newcomers have the essential skills for resettlement and exploration in Peterborough.



(B) Employment Support for Newcomers to Canada – Sharing Best Practices


  • A demographic profile of newcomers in Peterborough
  • The difference in immigration pathways and how they may impact jobseekers’ goals
  • Credential and language assessments
  • Local opportunities for language training and skills development

Presenter: Faye Tan, Manager of Settlement Services, New Canadians Centre

Faye was born in in Malaysia and came to Canada in 2007 as an international student. She attained her BA in Psychology and Sociology from Trent University. Shortly after graduating, she started working at the NCC and has seen the organisation through its growth in different roles.

From 2014 to 2015, Faye worked at UNHCR in Malaysia and gained many insights about the complexity of refugees’ journeys from home country, to host country, and to resettlement.

Faye is driven by the goal of helping newcomers to gain independence. She has deep respect for their resilience and encourage in undertaking the journey to settle in Canada.


(C) An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence for ESL Instructors

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT-3 on November 30, 2022 led to widespread panic across the education industry. How could we stop students from cheating using artificial intelligence? Was this the end of the essay? More than a year on, while academic honesty is still a concern, instructional designers and instructors are turning their attention to the benefits of AI. This session looks at some of the ways ESL instructors can use AI chatbots, like ChatGPT, to tailor instruction to the needs of individual students, and how lesson planning, materials creation, and feedback generation can be made more efficient through the use of AI. 

Presenter: Michael Fierheller, M.Ed, ESL Instructor & Instructional Technology Coordinator. Trent University

Michael Fierheller is an ESL Instructor and the Instructional Technology Coordinator for Trent University’s ESL Department. He holds a Master of Education from Ontario Tech University and has been an ESL instructor and instructional designer for more than 20 years. As part of his duties with Trent-ESL, Michael investigates and oversees the implementation of emerging instructional technologies. He is currently focusing on how the advent of readily available artificial intelligence will impact academic integrity, individualized learning, and lesson planning and delivery. 

Michael’s slides
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