Providing a ‘Pathway’ for Immigrants

New community-university project aims to help immigrants settle in smaller communities.

By Communications Staff, Western News

London, Ont. — In 2001, more than three quarters of immigrants to Canada settled in one of only three cities: Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. A decade later, an ever-increasing number of newcomers are finding homes in smaller communities across the country.

Now, a new community-university research partnership will help facilitate this transition.

Awarded $2.5 million over seven years by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership will bring together researchers, government departments, and community partners from coast to coast to improve policies and practices that help attract, settle and integrate newcomers in communities across Canada – particularly in medium-sized and small cities and towns.

“We plan to equip community organizations and governments, including municipal governments, with the tools they need to devise and implement evidence-based strategies that promote inclusion, local development and economic and social sustainability,” said project founder Victoria Esses, a professor of Psychology and director of the Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations at the University of Western Ontario.

The network of researchers, policy-makers and practitioners will involve itself in analyses of promising and effective practices as well as evaluative studies of policies and programs, with a view to driving innovation in the integration field. The network will also focus on the sustainability of Francophone minority communities and the particular challenges of Northern and remote communities.

The partnership has obtained solid commitments of support from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and partnering provincial immigration ministries. Its work will complement the efforts of federal, provincial and territorial governments working to improve the settlement and integration outcomes of newcomers to Canada. As part of this effort, the network will contribute research expertise to the development of Local Immigration Partnerships as they are established across the country.

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