Pathways to Prosperity 2015 National Conference – Poster Presentations

1. Branka Agic(1,2), Janet Ngo(1), Diliana Chopova(1) & Kwame McKenzie(1,2), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)1 and University of Toronto2

The Refugee Mental Health Project: An Educational and Capacity-building Resource for Service Providers

The Refugee Mental Health Project, developed by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), aims to build multi-sector capacity for supporting refugee mental health. In response to a national Refugee Mental Health study, the project offers: two self-directed, interactive online courses; an online Community of Practice (CoP); and a resource toolkit. One course each is designed for a) settlement counselors and b) health care providers. Participants can interact in the discussion forum and CoP and direct questions to a panel of subject-matter experts. These resources are free for Ontario service providers.


2. Awish Aslam, The University of Western Ontario

School-Work Transitions and Employment among Second-Generation Immigrants in Canada

This study uses in-depth interviews to explore the experiences of young second-generation immigrant adults in the school-work transition, while identifying the challenges they face and the strategies they use to navigate this transition successfully. Preliminary findings highlight the importance of social networks and the complex role of race-ethnicity during the job search process. As the labour market share of young workers with an immigrant background increases, this research will help shed light on the experiences of this population and shape policy and practice in the Canadian economy.


3. Geneviève Boivin, Laval University, Claudia Prévost, Laval University, Sylvie Tétreault, Haute école de travail social et de la santé, Vaud, Lilyane Rachédi, Université du Québec à Montréal, Daphney St-Germain, Laval University, Marie-Catherine St-Pierre, Laval University, Geneviève Piérart, Haute école de travail social, Fribourg, Alida Gulfi, Haute école de travail social, Fribourg, & Chantal Desmarais, Laval University

A Web Resource Directory for Rehabilitation Professionals Working in an Intercultural Environment (soon to be on line) is one of the tools proposed by a research project experimenting with a communications approach adapted to an immigration context. The website offers resources for rehabilitation to professionals working with immigrant families who have children with developmental disorders. The website is composed of three main categories, which correspond to facets of intervention: Optimizing my intervention, Sharing information with families, and Expanding my knowledge. The logic behind the website design, its innovative character, and its possible uses will be presented.


4. Ray D. Bollman, Brandon University

Immigrant Employment Experience by Year of Arrival in Canada

The objective of this poster is to document the trajectory of two employment variables: a) the percent of immigrants reporting some employment income (i.e., the percent employed) and b) if employed, the median employment earnings of immigrants. Our statistics were obtained from Statistics Canada’s Longitudinal Immigration Database, which, over time, follows the information reported by immigrants on their income tax forms. This poster is an update of Bollman, 2014. The expected results are that immigrants who arrived in the 1980s have higher employment rates. The employment rates of subsequent arrival cohorts are lower for each year of arrival since the 1980s. Similarly, median earnings (for those who are employed) are lower for each year of arrival from the 1980s to the present. Thus, immigrants in each arrival cohort maintain their position relative to other arrival cohorts, regardless of changes in the economy.


5. Claude Charpentier, Bishop’s University, Dale Stout, Bishop’s University & Myriam Chiasson, University of Quebec at Trois-Rivieres

The Case of Mistaken Immigrant Identity: French and English Quebecers’ Reactions to Immigrants’ Ethnic and Religious Background

In secularized societies, ambivalent attitudes toward immigrants may betray negative reactions resulting from misperceptions fusing ethnic and religious identities (i.e., all Arabs are Muslims). In this study, 376 French- and English-speaking Quebecers were asked about their attitudes toward various ethnic/religious groups as predictive of their openness towards accommodating faith-based and cultural requests. A social reciprocity reaction was found to be predictive of French, but not English, speakers’ responses. A mediation analysis suggests that Francophones are reacting to the perceived religious identity, rather than the ethnic background of immigrants. Overcoming barriers to integration means combating homogenizing misperceptions perpetuating religious stereotypes.


6. Xiaojie Chen, Christiana King, Ellen Painter-Zykmund, Kaitlin Watt & Suzanne Huot, The University of Western Ontario

Making Difficult Decisions: Immigrants’ Experiences of Employment Preparation and Participation

Immigrants engage in complex integration processes that are mediated through daily occupations: a central element of which relates to labour market preparation and participation. We examined how immigrants experienced occupations relating to preparing for, seeking, and gaining employment. A secondary analysis of transcripts from interviews held with ten immigrants to London, Ontario was conducted. The participants’ employment-related occupations were characterized by the overarching theme of ‘making difficult decisions’ that was connected to four related sub-themes: 1) mechanisms of exclusion, 2) learning the host country’s culture, 3) the influence of one’s outlook on the decisions made, and 4) accessing support.


7. Caroline Duteau, Linamar Campos Flores, Magninin Koné, Abdelaziz Laaroussi, Annick Lenoir, JavorkaSarenac Zivanovic & Michèle Vatz-Laaroussi, Rencontre interculturelle des familles de l’Estrie (RIFE)

CauseRifes: Spaces of Participation, Mediation and Recognition

Various organizations and associations have developed methods to promote the intercultural rapprochement in their region. For over 20 years, the organization Rencontre interculturelle des familles de l’Estrie (RIFE) has organized about four intercultural bridge-building meetings a year, commonly referred to as CauseRife. In this presentation, we propose a modelling of this type of meeting, offer thematic examples of the meetings, and present possible impacts associated with such meetings. In particular, we describe the manner in which these meetings serve as instruments to promote participation, mediation, recognition, and ‘inter-recognition’ among participants.


8. Rana El Kadi, University of Alberta

Cultural Empowerment and Antiracism Education through Ethno-Musicology: A Curricular Intervention for “Newcomer” Classes

This poster describes a flexible ethno-musicology curriculum I developed for teachers, researchers, and program coordinators to use in Canadian “newcomer” classrooms. It includes student-led interviews with parents and peers, critical dialogue about cultural identities and social circles, peer teaching and learning music and dance traditions. Drawing on three interventions I conducted within Edmonton schools, I demonstrate how this curriculum may be implemented in refugee- versus immigrant-dominated classrooms. Post-intervention evaluations show that students begin to view their parents as valuable sources of knowledge, feel validated by their peers and teachers, and break cultural stereotypes and barriers to intercultural friendships.


9. Melissa Fellin, Wilfrid Laurier University, Jennifer Long, Wilfrid Laurier University, Secil Erdogan Ertorer, York University & Victoria Esses, The University of Western Ontario

Developing Inclusive Workplaces for Immigrants: Gaps and Promising Practices in Diversity Training

Many employers are engaging with diversity and inclusion training in response to the changing immigration environment in Canada. However, training often has little effect on the hiring and promotion or inclusionary practices that create welcoming environments for immigrants. Drawing on 18 interviews with diversity trainers, this study examines the current gaps and promising practices in diversity training currently being offered in Canadian workplaces. Further, it explores diversity trainers’ experiences of facilitating training and the models that inform their educational practices. This study is part of a larger project on diversity and intercultural competency in Canadian workplaces.


10. Justin Friesen, University of Winnipeg, Danielle Gaucher, University of Winnipeg & Katelin H. Neufeld, University of Manitoba

The Link between the Motivation to Justify the Status Quo and Reception to Newcomers to Canada: An Empirical Snapshot of Current Attitudes towards Immigrants

We conducted a nationally representative survey of Canadians’ attitudes towards immigrant groups. Consistent with social psychological theorizing, we found evidence that Canadians engage in compensatory stereotyping – that is, they ascribed positive traits to economically disadvantaged group members to compensate for their lower status (e.g., refugees were perceived as lower in competence but higher in interpersonal warmth) and negative traits to economically advantaged group members to compensate for their high status (e.g., economic class immigrants were perceived as higher in competence but lower in interpersonal warmth). Additional findings and social implications will be discussed. Note: This poster presents work in progress and preliminary results.


11. Danielle Gaucher, University of Winnipeg, Jorge Fernandez, Immigrant Centre, Winnipeg, Vicki Sinclair, Immigrant Centre, Winnipeg, Katelin H. Neufeld, University of Manitoba & Justin Friesen, University of Winnipeg

Public Perceptions of the Immigrant Centre, Winnipeg: A University – Community Partnership

The Immigrant Centre has helped thousands find employment in Winnipeg. The public should be overjoyed with the Centre’s successes and the success of other centers like it. To date, however, no research has systematically assessed the public’s opinion of the Immigrant Centre. What aspects of the Centre are most valued? What information does the public need to increase current levels of support? Findings from this collaboratively designed survey will be discussed. We highlight this case as an example of a mutually beneficial community-academic partnership and discuss implications for other groups who assist Canadian newcomers or academics who seek community partners. Note: This poster presents work in progress and preliminary results.


12. Linyuan Guo-Brennan & Michael Guo-Brennan, University of Prince Edward Island

Building Welcoming Communities for Newcomer Youth in Prince Edward Island

Major urban areas across Canada have received significant numbers of newcomer students who have come from immigrant and refugee backgrounds, and local educational systems are struggling to respond appropriately to meet the diverse needs of these students. Adopting Brofenbrenner’s Model as the overarching conceptual framework, this study examines how schools, communities, and NGOs can work collaboratively to support the personal, social, and academic development of the immigrant and refugee students. Conducted in four cities across Canada, including Charlottetown, St. John’s, Calgary, and Winnipeg, this study aims to promote the integration of newcomer students through a reciprocal process of investigating, learning, and problem-solving with participants, investigators, collaborators, and partners. Focusing on the context of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, policies and practices related to support for newcomers’ integration into the schools and community were analyzed. A deeper understanding of the relationships, issues, challenges, and hopes of newcomers to the island will be shared.


13. Heather Holroyd, University of British Columbia

The Role of Neighbourhood Houses in Newcomer Settlement and Citizenship Training

The North American Settlement House movement emerged in response to the influx of European immigrants in the late 19th century and gave rise to the network of community-building and service-delivery agencies that are today known as Neighbourhood Houses. Canadian Neighbourhood Houses continue to use place- and strengths-based approaches to support waves of newcomers with various needs and skills in an ever-changing policy landscape. This poster draws from two years of qualitative fieldwork (41 interviews and participant-observations) in two Vancouver Neighbourhood Houses to highlight how the structure and programming of Neighbourhood Houses offers a unique form of citizenship training.


14. Suzanne Huot, The University of Western Ontario, Andrea Bobadilla, The University of Western Ontario, Antoine Bailliard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill & Debbie Laliberte Rudman, The University of Western Ontario

Discursive Constructions of Asylum Seekers as the ‘Other’ in the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act

We conducted a critical discourse analysis of Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA) and its associated Backgrounder documents published by the Canadian government. Our analysis was guided by ‘Othering’ theory (Grove & Zwi, 2006) and Bacchi’s (2009) ‘What’s the problem represented to be’ methodology. Three dominant discursively constructed problematizations of forced migrants and three proposed solutions were identified. Documents construct a binary between ‘legitimate’ refugees who are resettled from abroad and ‘other’ forced migrants who arrive to Canada seeking asylum.


15. Isidora Benítez Janezic, Laval University

Empathy as a Key Concept in the Process of Changing Attitudes toward Immigration

Newcomer integration represents one of the main concerns of host societies, as well as the backbone for a functioning community. Yet, discrimination can sometimes become a barrier to the integration and the full participation of the immigrant population in the social and economic life of their new country. That being said, positive attitudes towards newcomers can be optimized by mobilizing the media and by arousing empathic responses to tackle discrimination. In that respect, social marketing tools, especially public service advertising, are particularly important, as they target, precisely, individual changes based on personal motivation and action in order to, ultimately, bring about a societal change.


16. Erin Kelly, Arya Momtazi, Soo Jin Park, Tyler Smith & Suzanne Huot, The University of Western Ontario

The Occupational Experiences of Refugees: A Scoping Review

International or internal migration as a result of unexpected circumstances, such as those experienced by forced migrants (i.e., refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons), can disrupt established occupations. Our aim was to identify and synthesize current knowledge of the occupational experiences of forced migrants. This scoping review was conducted using the framework articulated by Arksey and O’Malley (2005). Twenty-four articles were included and six themes emerged as a result of the data extraction and synthesis process: occupational deprivation, occupational imbalance, occupational adaptation, occupational change, efforts to maintain/re-establish identity, and outlook for the future.


17. Brianne Labute, Bakhtawar Khan & Wayne Caldwell, University of Guelph

Best Practices Pertaining to Immigrant Attraction and Retention in Rural Ontario

Many rural communities are facing population decline and labour shortages, thereby creating challenges for their viability and sustainability. Attracting and retaining newcomers has been identified as a potential strategy to revitalize rural regions. A team of researchers working on the Rural Immigration Project at the University of Guelph are documenting best practices from four counties across Ontario that have initiatives to attract, integrate, and retain immigrants. Preliminary findings point to the importance of strong relationships, political will, community buy-in, dedicated resources, the use of best practices, collaboration, and research-based decision-making in order to create a climate for successful immigrant attraction and retention. This three-year project is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.


18. Cynthia Murphy, Colleges and Institutes Canada

What is Planning for Canada?

Planning for Canada is a pre-arrival program that arms economic- and family-class immigrants with the right information, tools, and Canadian contacts before they leave home. As a result, newcomers are better equipped to find work that reflects their skills and education. Planning for Canada is jointly delivered by the Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) program and the Canadian Immigrant Immigration Program (CIIP). COA is a program of the International Organization for Migration and CIIP is a program of Colleges and Institutes Canada. Planning for Canada offers full day group orientation sessions on preparing for life in Canada; personalized one-hour planning sessions on career and settlement goals; connections to Canadian organizations for additional guidance; and access to specialized online information sessions, workshops, and exam invigilations. Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Planning for Canada is offered worldwide, in-person and online, in English and French.


19. Katelin H. Neufeld, University of Manitoba & Danielle Gaucher, University of Winnipeg

Belongingness among Newcomers in Canada: A Profile and Associations

To best serve Canada’s ever-growing population of newcomers, it is necessary to understand factors that influence adjustment to life in Canada. The current research focuses on the role of belongingness – the fundamental need to see oneself as socially connected (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Walton & Cohen, 2007). Nationally representative data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada (LSIC) were used to a) create a comprehensive profile of belongingness among newcomers to Canada; b) demonstrate the unique contributions of belongingness to important health, economic, and social outcomes; and c) show that belongingness predicts these outcomes over and above other relevant factors.


20. Katelin H. Neufeld, University of Manitoba, Danielle Gaucher, University of Winnipeg & Kira Matthes, University of Winnipeg

How to Increase Newcomers’ Sense of Belongingness: Lessons from Social Psychology

A strong sense of belongingness, or “seeing oneself as socially connected” (Walton & Cohen, 2007, p. 82), is associated with favourable health, economic, and social outcomes. As these outcomes are crucial to optimal newcomer settlement, it is important to understand how to enhance belongingness. The current research is a compilation of best practices from social psychology to increase newcomers’ sense of belonging. Specifically, we provide concrete, evidence-based strategies for employers, schools, and community members on how to create welcoming communities. Strategies for newcomers to enhance their own feelings of belongingness are also discussed.


21. Mark Patterson, Magnet, Ryerson University

MagnetTechnology Innovation in Matching and Connecting Immigrants to Employment

Innovation is needed in Canada’s newcomer employment system to improve efficiency and outcomes for immigrant job seekers. Magnet is a social innovation founded by Ryerson University, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce that uses powerful job-matching technology to connect immigrant job seekers to opportunities that match their skills and experience anonymously. This innovative technology is used by over 4,000 employers across Ontario to meet talent needs and collect real-time, accessible local labour market data on supply and demand. This case study provides an overview of Magnet and its implications for labour market trends, public policy, and program planning.


22. Alexandra Pileggi, University of Guelph

Finding the Alternative: Neoliberalism, State Accountability, and Temporary Worker Policy in Canada

As globalization increases mobility, Canada is guilty of hindering migration patterns with strict eligibility criteria and the securitization of borders (Tomic & Trumper, 2012). Focusing on the favouring of just-in-time labour migration, specifically the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program (SAWP), this research addresses the ways in which Canadian immigration policy has been used to advance the neoliberal agenda. Evidence of this transition is twofold: in the despotic recruitment and eligibility practices, as well as the neoliberal values of competition and individualism reflected in the program. Thus, state accountability and efforts to revolutionize the goal of immigration policy is the necessary response.


23. Clint Thomson & Victoria Esses, The University of Western Ontario

A Look into How a Mentorship Program Influences International Students’ Integration into University

In this research, focus group interviews were conducted with international students following the students’ participation in a mentorship program. Questions pertaining to the students’ general social integration experience and the helpfulness of the mentorship program were explored in the interviews. Analysis of the interviews suggested that, while students felt welcome on campus, they had difficulty establishing friendships with Canadians and, thus, appreciated the opportunity to learn about Canadian culture and practice their conversational skills. It is concluded that mentorship programs can provide a valuable service to help international students overcome some of the integration barriers they may experience at university.


24. Toronto South Local Immigration Partnership & Toronto North Local Immigration Partnership

TOgether Healthier Campaign: Promoting Newcomer Health

Coming to Canada shouldn’t be a health risk. Newcomers arrive in Canada healthy. Within five years their health declines. Why? This public education campaign aims to promote newcomer health by a) raising public awareness of the social determinants of health; b) building an understanding that health is not simply the absence of disease; and c) emphasising that everyone’s health is important and affects us all. The campaign is targeting university and college students and requests supporters to do two things: 1. ‘push the conversation’ through social media and their social networks and 2. sign a letter to the four main federal party leaders requesting parties to consider newcomer issues when developing policies and programs. Our website encourages people to get involved in health equity activities and lists a number of great educational resources and links.


25. Marc Yvan Valade, Ryerson University

Attracting Immigrants to Non-Metropolitan Cities in Canada: Is Being ‘Welcoming’ Enough?

The aim of this exploratory investigation is to test the validity of the hypothesis that ‘welcoming’ attributes of non-metropolitan cities (NMC) in Canada, such as the presence of settlement services, facilitate immigrant settlement. Statistical analysis of data from 2006 to 2011 on a sample of 131 communities could not confirm the initial thesis. However, economic and human capital factors were found to be strong predictors of changes in the variation of immigrant population. This suggests that, for NMC looking to attract new immigrants, focusing solely on improving immigrant-friendly services and attitudes without promoting economic development may be an ineffective strategy.


26. Mamta Vaswani, Lina Alviar & Benjamin Giguère, University of Guelph

Cultural Identity Clarity: Building Resilience Against Race-Based Rejection Sensitivity

The present study examined the role of cultural identity clarity (one’s perception that one’s culture is clearly and confidently defined) on the relation between race-based rejection sensitivity (sensitivity to rejection based on one’s racial group) and well-being in a community sample of Latino-Canadian immigrants (N=137). We observed that cultural identity clarity decreased the negative effects of race-based rejection sensitivity on bicultural stress, self-esteem, and life satisfaction, in particular for highly sensitive participants. Maintaining clarity over one’s culture after immigration may help build resilience against the negative effects of perceived discrimination and is, therefore, important to the well-being of immigrants.


27. Yan Wang, Laval University

Entrepreneurship – Professional Choices of Skilled Chinese Immigrants in Quebec City: An Exploratory Research on their Networks

We examine the migratory process of skilled workers of Chinese origin who wish to integrate into the Quebec labour market and manage to requalify themselves by undertaking independent activities. Our research project focuses on professional choices and the building and utilization of networks. We want to study their general strategies of professional integration into the host society, while taking into consideration existing networks or networks developed through immigration and integration. We also examine the entrepreneurship of skilled immigrants, as well as its influence on their reconstruction of identity and their integration into Quebec society.


28. Ping Zou, Nipissing University, Monica Parry, University of Toronto, Cindy-Lee Dennis, University of Toronto & Ruth Lee, McMaster University

Integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine Food Therapy for Chinese Immigrant Hypertension Control: A Culturally Sensitive Dietary Intervention in the Community

This study examined the feasibility and potential effects of an 8 week dietary intervention, which incorporated the DASH diet, sodium reduction with the food therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, among middle-aged and senior Chinese Canadians in the community. This is a 2 group pilot randomized controlled trial with 60 participants. The intervention included a resource manual, two sessions of classroom instruction delivered in Mandarin, and a 20 minute telephone follow-up. Participants adhered to the intervention and were highly satisfied with it. Compared to the control group, the intervention group had better dietary behaviours, enhanced reduction of blood pressure, and improved health-related quality of life.