Almost 1,000 people are expected in Halifax this week for what's being called Canada's largest national dialogue on immigration.
The National Metropolis Conference is being held at the Halifax Convention Centre from March 21 to 23 and will focus on immigration trends, policies, challenges and opportunities.
The event is co-chaired by the CEO of the Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), Jennifer Watts.
She said Canada has been continuously shaped by immigrants who have brought with them the skills to help develop the country.
"Communities [are] able to benefit from their ideas, from their investment, from the global competitiveness that they bring because they speak different languages and have connections in different countries, and the innovation," she told NEWS 95.7's The Rick Howe Show.
Watts, a former Halifax councillor, said immigration is often viewed as a federal or provincial issue, but municipalities have a big impact on making sure newcomers stay in the Maritimes.
Halifax mayor Mike Savage, along with the mayor of Moncton, Dawn Arnold, will be participating in a discussion on the role cities have in attracting immigrants.
"Many newcomers say that the welcome here has been very warm, very positive and very supportive," she said.
"I think one of the things we need to understand when immigrants come to our country, it's not just what they can do for us, it's also how we can change to help welcome them and have them feel comfortable here."
She encourages Nova Scotians to reach out to the newcomers in their communities to help them feel included and accepted.
"Say hello, initiate conversations, invite them to local events to help people feel comfortable in their communities, and strike up conversations so you learn what their experience is and they learn from you."
The conference will feature panels, speakers and workshops on a wide variety of topics related to immigration and diversity.