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The Canadian Partnership Model of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services: Perspectives from ISO’s outside Ontario Lucia Lo Professor Department.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canadian Partnership Model of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services: Perspectives from ISO’s outside Ontario Lucia Lo Professor Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canadian Partnership Model of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services: Perspectives from ISO’s outside Ontario Lucia Lo Professor Department of Geography York University Toronto April

2 Interviews with Executive Directors  N=20  Atlantic provinces  Prairie provinces  British Columbia

3 Focus on notions of integration and effective partnership 1. How would you define integration? What are realistic expectations for integration in the short term, medium term and long-term? 2. How should the effectiveness of immigrant settlement and integration be measured? 3. What do you consider the essential elements of an effective partnership model? How is effectiveness measured and assessed? 4. Are current partnership models between the Canadian government and ISO’s effective? Why or why not? What are their pros and cons? 5. Can you describe your settlement sector's current relationship with federal and provincial governments?

4 Defining Integration  Multiple meanings  tangible outcomes ( speak English, get a job, social participation )  from outsider to insider position ( a two-way street )  temporal and individual variation ( support, context )  importance of feeling comfortable

5 Measuring Integration  Focus on outcomes ( not just economics )  Quantitative measures ( appropriate employment, use of community resources ) as well as  Qualitative measures ( sense of self, QOL )  Some have internal evaluation mechanisms ( self assessments, interviews, individual progress )  Importance of longitudinal data ( problem of controlling external factors )

6 Strategies for Effective Integration Programs  A more sensitized public service  More collaboration between settlement sector and mainstream civil society organizations ( e.g. public schools )  More funding  Holistic policies ( not just labour-market-related; e.g. mental health )

7 Challenges to Effective Integration  Government’s often negative messages ( e.g. on Tamil boat people in 2010 ) can be detrimental to integration  Government’s narrow understanding of newcomer needs ( e.g importance of (grand)parents for family well-being )  Lack of affordable and appropriate housing  Imposed by need to attend to TFWP and secondary migration

8 Elements of Effective Partnership  Shared goals and objectives  Open and regular communication between stakeholders  Proper resourcing  Equal share of power  Clearly assigned roles for each partner  Trust  Living/flexible as opposed to defined

9 Current Partnership as Effective?  Nuanced responses from affirmative ( good, but… ) to negative ( no true partnership )  To some, partnership effective in the sense they “we do receive money and we extend services”  To others, not partnership but business relationship  Partnership with the provinces generally viewed as closer and more effective ( “enriching…very rewarding” ) than those with the federal government ( “Ottawa is far away” )

10 Challenges to Effective Partnership  Funding ( cuts, single year only, uncertainty, bureaucratic process )  Disconnect between government funding practices and sectors’ move towards more holistic support services to all migrants  Insufficient funding to address ever increasing demands on sector ( TFWP, secondary migration )  Reporting/accountability requirements = micromanagement  Imbalanced power dynamics and dictatorial nature of relationship  Government’s lack of nimbleness and ability to respond quickly  Government staff contact  As intermediaries, no decision making power/too much discretion  Lack training in social service delivery  Regular change offers no continuity

11 Measuring Effective Partnership  Achievement of shared goals and positive program outcomes  Importance of open communication, transparency, flexibility, mutual respect and consultation  Need to assess collective outcomes (with regular surveys)  But little discussion on what outcomes can/should be measured

12 Implications  Real partnership  effective integration  Core issue: disconnect between  settlement sector: settlement and integration an ongoing long term process with multiple variable  the government: concerned with ‘fiscal success’, pay no attention to complementary programs  Suggestion – standardization, funding template to streamline application and reporting processes


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