Measuring Welcoming Communities: A Toolkit for Communities and Those Who Support Them

Canada is in the midst of one of the largest intakes of immigrants in its 155-year history as our government looks to rebuild our economy and labour force following COVID-related disruptions. Although it is a country well known for its cultural makeup and diversity, a dedicated understanding and plan for supporting the settlement and integration of newcomers in communities of all sizes is imperative to the success of Canada’s immigration program.

Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) has taken steps to aid in this transition with the development of the Welcoming Communities Toolkits. These toolkits have been developed based on P2P’s 2010 report “Characteristics of a Welcoming Community,” but have also taken into account newer research that more aptly speaks to the current world we live in and provides practical tools that interested parties can use to engage and set their communities on the road to becoming more welcoming.

Two toolkits are being developed: the Measuring Welcoming Communities Toolkit, now released, and the Promoting Welcoming Communities Toolkit, to be released later in 2024. While they are two separate toolkits, they are being built to work in tandem.

The Measuring Welcoming Communities Toolkit has been developed to support the groundwork in understanding a community and planning how to shape it to become more welcoming. In total, there are 19 characteristics involved in the measurement process, creating a complete profile of what a community is and can offer. In addition to the main text describing what a welcoming community is, its characteristics, and their indicators, the toolkit includes:

  • A presentation deck to facilitate conversations within a community
  • Tool 1 – A set of questions that can be used to conduct an environmental scan and identify crucial features of a community that may influence approaches to assessing and working toward a more welcoming community
  • Tool 2 – A checklist to rank order the importance of the 19 characteristics for a given community and determine which are a priority for measurement
  • Tool 3 – A checklist to select which indicators will be used to assess selected characteristics and what comparisons will be made using these indicators

The Promoting Welcoming Communities Toolkit will give communities the ability to move on the findings from Toolkit I and set up our communities to be truly welcoming. By using the two toolkits, which are mutually reinforcing, interested parties will be able to easily transition from the planning phase to the action phase, ensuring that newcomers have a welcoming community to call home.

Ultimately, Pathways to Prosperity is excited to work with interested parties in using these toolkits to support the diverse fabric of Canada through the methodical and evidence-based building of welcoming communities, and we look forward to seeing them in action.