The Impact of Policy on Effective Integration and Inclusion
Download The Impact of Policy on Effective Integration and Inclusion...
Jim Frideres, University of Calgary Ilene Hyman, Ryerson University Priya Kissoon, University of British Columbia Ingrid Waldron, Dalhousie University Research Assistants Trisha Dempsey, Dalhousie University
To investigate the impact of policy initiatives leading to structural changes on integration outcomes among immigrants. Key question: Are policies implemented by various government levels and involving different sectors (e.g., school, private) aimed at changing broader social structures are necessary for effective integration and inclusion?
Literature review Key informant interviews Examples of Questions:
In your opinion, how well do public service programs (e.g. employment services, training services) meet the needs of newcomers? Do you think it is effective to strengthen public service programs, or to target newcomer’s needs through settlement programs, or both? In addition to CIC funded settlement programs, are government policies aimed at changing broader social structures necessary for effective integration and inclusion? What kind? What types of strategies do you think are needed to impve immigrant integration today (e.g. resources, partnerships?)
Newcomers to Canada face multiple and intersecting structural barriers to social, political and economic integration, notably poverty, underemployment and social exclusion. Poverty among racialized immigrant communities is a growing and complex challenge. Tackling poverty must include policies to bridge the widening gulf between the poor and the well-off.
The lack of recognition of international credentials and lack of Canadian experience are the most commonly cited barriers to economic integration. Historical, structural, institutional and everyday barriers prevent immigrants from accessing resources and opportunities, such as jobs, healthcare and educational and training opportunities. Removing barriers to community public services (e.g., schools, parks and recreation, public health services, libraries) is critical to the full participation of newcomers in their communities and may contribute to their overall social inclusion.
I think there’s a recognition that the responsibilities and the ownership for the immigration file so to speak is much broader than CIC, it is much broader than the federal government, the provincial government and it is inclusive of Canadian society as a whole. (FED #4) Programs that have involvement by all three levels of government are the most successful. LIP’s are the best example. They address universal needs; both newcomers and host community and deal with “pressure” points in the community. (FED #7)
Promising policies and programs involve local partnerships, attention to access to community services and community capacity building initiatives. Uncertainty about the role that municipal governments should play in addressing structural barriers to immigrant integration and inclusion.
“the most effective programs at the community level are going to be locally delivered as opposed to provincially delivered” (PROV #10).
Settlement agencies and immigrant-specific programming are vital and will likely always be necessary.
To yield a long-term inclusive society? Certainly for us, language instruction is key, key, key. And we think it’s key whether your goal is some of the shorter term objectives about the labour market participation, or whether it is those longer term goals around building an integrated, inclusive society. (CIC - NHQ - Group Interview)
There needs to be more money put into partnerships and developing partnerships. It’s not just about telling people you need to develop a partnership, but you have to invest funds so that organizations are funded properly to partner… so that we can hire more people to work on partnerships, but not using existing positions to work in partnerships. (ISO #14)
Multiple and intersecting structural barriers to social, political and economic integration, include poverty, underemployment and social exclusion. The effective integration and inclusion of immigrants to Canada requires policies that address these structural barriers as well as effective ISO programs to address immediate settlement needs. Multi-level governments policies, both universal and immigrant specific, can and must play a major role in changing social structures. Multi-level government policies and partnerships with departments and sectors are needed to provide and increase the accessibility of all services and contribute to social inclusion overall. Few participants spoke directly of the need to implement broader laws and policies to address poverty or to eliminate institutional racism in all sectors.