Research Release: Immigration Beyond MTV (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver)

On September 25, the Canadian Coalition of Community-Based Employability Training (CCCBET) released a report entitled Immigration Beyond MTV (Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver).

Based on a longitudinal qualitative research funded by the Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program, the data shows that very recent immigrants and employability training organizations located outside the major Canadian cities face a double challenge that pairs typical integration difficulties with region-specific obstacles. The constraints encountered vary from one province to another and even from one community to another, a heterogeneity reflected in the rich diversity of intervention approaches rooted in the realities of unique local socioeconomic profiles.

In the report, the CCCBET makes six pan-Canadian recommendations, including calling for the federal government to ensure diversified, adequate, complete, and ongoing funding to support the integration of new immigrants into the Canadian job market, by mobilizing all the key stakeholders affected by the issue and recognizing the key role that frontline community-based employment trainers plays in immigrant integration.

According to Chris Atchison, Chair of the CCCBET, “the implementation of the solutions emerging from this study – whose goal is to address the challenges identified in order to facilitate the social and profes­sional integration of foreign-trained individuals – will require the concerted involvement of all stakeholders”.

The Full Report is available at:

Characteristics of a Welcoming Community

As an initiative for the Welcoming Communities program, a report was prepared which provides a description of the key characteristics of a Welcoming Community.   The report is based on an extensive survey of the relevant scholarly literature, government reports, descriptions of best practices, and case examples from the public and private sectors.  The report also identifies gaps in the available evidence and in the concluding section it proposes a strategy for filling these gaps.

The report was prepared for the Government of Canada, the Integration Branch of Citizenship and Immigration Canada as there is a “growing awareness in government that more attention needs to be paid to both communities’ receptivity to and long term integration of immigrants”.

Following are the ranking order of those 17 characteristics:

  1. Employment Opportunities
  2. Fostering of Social Capital
  3. Affordable and Suitable Housing
  4. Positive Attitudes toward Immigrants, Cultural Diversity, and the Presence of Newcomers in the Community
  5. Presence of Newcomer-Serving Agencies that Can Successfully Meet the Needs of Newcomers
  6. Links between Main Actors Working toward Welcoming Communities
  7. Municipal Features and Services Sensitive to the Presence and Needs of Newcomers
  8. Educational Opportunities
  9. Accessible and Suitable Health Care
  10. Available and Accessible Public Transit
  11. Presence of Diverse Religious Organizations
  12. Social Engagement Opportunities
  13. Political Participation Opportunities
  14. Positive Relationships with the Police and the Justice System
  15. Safety
  16. Opportunities for Use of Public Space and Recreation Facilities
  17. Favourable Media Coverage and Representation

Details on all 17 characteristics, including example of best practices and outcome indicators can be found at

Study of Innovative & Promising Practices within the Immigrant Settlement Sector

The core of the June 2012 report is based on a detailed analysis of nineteen case studies of settlement initiatives from across Canada including the South Okanagan region.  The aim was to identify excellent practices and a process for replicating them.  The nineteen initiatives span a range of service areas and client groups.   Detailed face-to-face interviews were then conducted with senior agency officials responsible for the initiatives using a specially developed interview guide that focused on the underlying features that contributed to the effectiveness of these initiatives.  The study sought to determine whether those features could be replicated in other locations, for different target groups, different areas of service and at different operational scales.  A key part of the study had to do with developing and confirming the effectiveness of a methodology for eliciting information about key features of promising practices.  These are the practices that would need to be transferred to other organizations or locales in order to replicate success.  The list of practices chosen for analysis are as follows:

Civic and Social Engagement of Immigrants

1. Active Living Program, YMCA Centre for Immigrants, Halifax

2. Authentic Canada, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Calgary

3. My Circle Program, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS BC), Vancouver

Integrated Needs Assessment and One Stop Shop

4. Regina Open Door Society Newcomer Welcome Centre, Regina

5. Immigrant Centre Manitoba Inc, Winnipeg

6. Welcome Centres, York Region

Transitioning Immigrants to General Community Service Organizations

7. Easing the Transition, Association for New Canadians, St. John’s

8. Settlement Workers in Schools, Cross Cultural Learner Centre, London

9. Program of three-year funding to other ministries for capacity building, Welcome BC, Ministry of Jobs, Tourism & Innovation, Vancouver

10. Integrated Immigrant Seniors Program, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria, Victoria

11. Immigrant Public Education and Information Consortium Project, Justice Education Society, Vancouver

Delivery of Settlement Services to Smaller and More Isolated Cities and Towns, and to Rural Regions

12. Regional Programming in Manitoba, Government of Manitoba, Winnipeg

13. Southern Alberta Settlement Services for Rural Communities, Calgary Catholic immigration

Society, Calgary

14. Connection between Services, South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services, Penticton

Building Relationships with Employers

15. Cultural Competency Training for the Workplace, Multicultural Association of Fredericton, Fredericton

16. Employer services, Service Intégration Travail Outaouais, Gatineau, March 5

17. North Bay Network Employers’ Council, North Bay and District Multicultural Centre, North Bay, March 6

18. Immigrant-Employer Learning Partnership, Ottawa World Skills, Ottawa, March 7

19. Safeway Project, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, Calgary

The study team was impressed not only by the quality of projects and practices, but also by the quality of leadership within the sector.  Details on the 19 case studies and explanation on how the study team arrived on their recommendations, please visit,

Welcoming Communities?  An Assessment of Community Services in Attracting and Retaining Immigrants in the South Okanagan Valley

Undertaken in partnership with UBCO and metropolis, the report focused its research into the state of community services that reach and support various immigrant population living in smaller urban communities.  It pursued the goals of

1)   identifying gaps in the delivery of services to immigrant populations living in the South Okanagan

2)   developing recommendations that would remedy those gaps with the understanding that the relevant stakeholders would receive the findings of this report for eventual implementation

3)   examining the role of community services in the successful attraction and retention of permanent immigrants to the South Okanagan area.

After one-on-one interviews and foucs group with both recent and more settled immigrants living throughout the South Okanagan, this report states that “if the region wants to attract and retain a greater share of the immigrants in light of its demographic realities, it must measures to improve the quality and delivery of community services with policies that expand the palate of economic opportunities among other factors that ultimately shape the settlement decisions of immigrants.”

For more Information visit,

 Best Practices in Settlement Services

In March 2010, the House of Commons Standing Committee on CIC presented a report, which points out that under the new settlement program funding structure (The new funding structure is described in CIC’s Modernized Approach to Settlement Programming — A Brief Description, October 5, 2009) a greater emphasis on results will be placed on service providing organisations.

It the same report, the committee defined how service provider organizations would conduct programs under one or more of six broad themes: information and orientation, language and skills development, labour market participation, community connections, needs assessments and referrals, and support services.  Further, it also indicated how each program would have to demonstrate how it contributes to one of five expected results:

  1. Newcomers make informed decisions about their settlement and understand life in Canada;
  2. Newcomers have language/skills needed to function in Canada;
  3. Newcomers obtain the required assistance to find employment commensurate with their skills and education;
  4. Newcomers receive help to establish social and professional networks so they are engaged and feel welcomed in their communities; or
  5. To ensure effective delivery and achieve comparable settlement outcomes across Canada.

To understand how this new approach to settlement funding has the potential for a promising platform for further reform, please visit,

Developing Criteria for Best Practices in Settlement

In its March 2010 report titled Best Practices in Settlement Services, one of the recommendations put forward by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, were to have an operational website in fiscal year 2011-2012 to enhance “existing on-line resources in order to be more responsive to the needs of clients and stakeholders, engage new partners, share lessons learned and fuel innovative settlement and resettlement programming”.

While technical work for website architecture was underway, in the meantime, CIC retained the services of the Centre for International Migration and Settlement Studies at Carleton University to:

1) Develop a set of criteria for best practices in settlement services;

2) Validate them with a panel of key experts in the area of settlement and integration from across Canada;

3) Gather accordingly an initial list of best practices in settlement services with the widest representation possible from

a) federal and provincial / territorial jurisdictions,

b) expected result categories of CIC’s integrated Settlement Program, and

c) services tailored to different newcomer populations; and

4) Provide a profile of the sampled best practices in a standard form to

a) populate the website at the outset and

b) set the stage for the growth of content by submissions from service providers and other stakeholders in newcomer settlement and integration.

Presented in March 2011, this report aims to take the first step in this four-step process.

Details on the core values from which best practices guidelines originate,

Best Practice Features of Quality LINC Programs

The fourteen best practices identified the learner’s responsibilities, their progression through curriculum, availability of teaching materials, characteristics of the classes, teachers’ qualifications and skills, and a formal system of evaluation.  The features of Quality LINC program examines its relationships

  • to the learning process of the learner
  • to the process of instruction
  • to the community it serves
  • to evaluation

The report sheds light on multiple aspects including project inception, survey questions, approaches to the development of the best practices guideline, and putting those guidelines to work can be found at