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
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
 Do you think it is effective to strengthen public service programs,
or to target newcomer’s needs through settlement programs, or
 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
Poverty among racialized immigrant
communities is a growing and complex
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
Historical, structural, institutional and everyday
barriers prevent immigrants from accessing
resources and opportunities, such as jobs,
healthcare and educational and training
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
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
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
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.

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