Envisioning the Future of the Immigrant-Serving Sector


With support from the WES Mariam Assefa Fund, the Association for Canadian Studies and Metropolis Institute is leading a two-year national action research project entitled Envisioning the Future of the Immigrant Serving Sector.

In January 2021, the Association for Canadian Studies and Metropolis Institute began conducting nationwide research to discover how to strengthen the sector so that it is 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.

Currently in our second year of the project, we are organizing two pilots based on needs that we uncovered through our research. These pilots are in development between June 2022 and April 2023.

Digital Champions: A Digital Inclusion pilot project for the Canadian Settlement Sector

The Metropolis Institute will be introducing the Digital Champions training model to the Canadian settlement sector. Beginning with an initial cohort in Nova Scotia, we will be working closely with our partners, the Mhor Collective, GEO Nova Scotia and settlement agencies across the country as we scale our project nationally.

The Digital Champions pilot will 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 as part of holistic support. Settlement workers will participate in an interactive 2.5 hour training session where topics include 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 will also be shared.

Digital Champions don’t need to be digital experts, just patient communicators with a commitment to helping the people they stand alongside. If you or your organization is interested in participating, please email: sarah.kooi@acs-aec.ca

Funding Diversification: A Community of Practice

The Metropolis Institute will be creating a Community of Practice (CoP) to explore alternative funding approaches in the Canadian settlement sector. Working closely with LIFT Impact Partners, we will deliver a series of interactive Webinars and workshops where we will explore various approaches to funding diversification such as social finance, social enterprise, strategic partnerships, grant-writing and more. The CoP will empower settlement organizations to think outside the box in diversifying revenue streams to complement core IRCC funding. The program is highly collaborative, with the goal of increased confidence and understanding, improved communication and knowledge sharing amongst settlement organizations. If you or your organization is interested in participating, please email: sarah.kooi@acs-aec.ca

Our Partners


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

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