The Association for Canadian Studies-Metropolis Institute is pleased to announce the
conclusion of Envisioning the Future of the Immigrant-Serving Sector
Funded by the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, the Association for Canadian Studies-Metropolis Institute would like to announce the completion of our project Envisioning the Future of the Immigrant-Serving Sector. Through our partnerships with GEO Nova Scotia, Mohr, LIFT Impact Partners, and many other actors in the settlement sector, we have completed our two-year national action research project.
In January 2021, the Association for Canadian Studies and Metropolis Institute began researching the Canadian immigrant-serving sector to discover how to strengthen the sector to be more responsive, collaborative, innovative, and sustainable.
We identified actionable solutions by engaging service providers, newcomers, policymakers, employers, and settlement sector stakeholders through a mixed-method research approach which involved conducting surveys, facilitating focus group discussions and key informant interviews, and publishing several reports on our findings.
We organized two pilot projects to create solutions for predominant challenges based on the needs we uncovered through our research: Digital Champions: A Digital Inclusion pilot project for the Canadian Settlement Sector; and Funding Diversification: A Community of Practice.
With the Digital Champions pilot, we began with an initial cohort in Nova Scotia. We worked closely with Mhor Collective, GEO Nova Scotia, and settlement agencies nationwide to deliver a tailored “train the trainer” approach for frontline settlement workers who wish to help newcomers develop the digital skills they need for everyday life in Canada. Settlement workers participated in an interactive 2.5-hour training session on the importance of digital inclusion work; why Digital Champions can make a huge difference; and how we can best support people in developing essential digital skills, including handling information, communicating, problem-solving, and transacting online. Additional information, tools, and resources, such as an essential digital skills checklist, were also provided. We generated an Implementation Guide to enable settlement sector workers to implement our model within their organizations.
Our funding diversification Community of Practice (CoP) was created to explore alternative funding approaches in the Canadian settlement sector. Working closely with LIFT Impact Partners, we delivered a series of interactive Webinars and workshops where various approaches to funding diversification were explored, such as social finance, social enterprise, strategic partnerships, grant writing and more. The objective of the CoP was to empower settlement organizations to think outside the box in diversifying revenue streams to complement core IRCC funding. The program was highly collaborative, with the goal of increased confidence and understanding, improved communication, and knowledge sharing amongst settlement organizations.
All of our research, results, and evaluations are available on our project website. Our special edition of the Canadian Diversity publication on Technology in the Settlement Sector is also available in our library.
We are also happy to announce a new initiative funded by the expanded federal Digital Literacy Exchange Program. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. settlement agency will continue to build on the Digital Champions train-the-trainer approach in partnership with The Association for Canadian Studies, the Arab Community Centre of Toronto, the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, and GEO Nova Scotia. The program will be delivered nationally among their staff.
We look forward to our project's continued positive social impact within the Canadian immigrant- serving sector!
Anila Lee Yuen – Centre for newcomers
Christophe Berthet – Immigrant Quebec
Hyder Hassan – Immigrant Services Calgary
Jack Jedwab – ACS-Metropolis
John Shields – Ryerson University
Marco Campana – Consultant
Mark Patterson – Magnet
Patrick MacKenzie – IEC-BC
Raffi Markarian – IRCC
Usman Khan – Immigrant Services Calgary
Vicki Sinclair – MANSO
Wendy Cukier – Diversity Institute
Stephanie Wilson – Lighthouse Labs
Jake Hirsch-Allen – LinkedIn