Pathways to Prosperity 2017 National Conference – Canada’s Place in the World: Innovation in Immigration Research, Policy, and Practice

November 16-17, 2017
Hilton Hotel – Toronto


As we approach the end of the year in which we are celebrating Canada 150+, it is apt that we reflect on current Canadian innovation in immigration research, policy, and practice, and look ahead to how we may continue to demonstrate our leadership in this area. What are the positive features of Canada’s immigration policies and practices, and what can be improved? What are our research needs in these areas? How can policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers work together to most fully exploit our creativity, rigour, and passion? We invite you to consider these and other questions as we discuss what we know about immigration policy, practice, and research in Canada, and plan for the future.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Conference Chairs: Victoria Esses and Jean McRae, Pathways to Prosperity Co-chairs
  • Stacey LaForme, Chief, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (Video)
  • Robert Oliphant, Chair, House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (Video)

Stacey Laforme is the elected Chief of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN). Born and raised on MNCFN, Chief Laforme has served his community for over fifteen years, being first elected to Council in 1999. Chief Laforme is committed to increasing involvement and communication between Elected Council and both on- and off-reserve membership. He is very active throughout MNCFN’s traditional territory, which encompasses 3.9 million acres of Southern Ontario, not only as a Chief, but as a notable storyteller and poet. His dedication to the land, history, language and culture of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation are helping to guide his First Nation toward a prosperous future.

Robert Oliphant, MP, is the Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He was first elected to the House of Commons in the 2008 General Election to represent the Toronto riding of Don Valley West, and served until 2011. He was elected again in 2015 to represent the people of Don Valley West. Mr. Oliphant has worked in a variety of positions in business, government, church and community. Prior to his election, Mr. Oliphant worked as an accountant in the steel industry, was a senior advisor in the Office of the Premier of Ontario, and is an Ordained Minister, having held senior positions in the United Church of Canada.


9:30 AM to 11:00 AM

Plenary: Building Bridges between Indigenous and Immigrant Communities

Chair: Debbie Douglas, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)

Historically there has been little effort to bring together immigrant and indigenous communities, and to promote harmonious relations between these groups. Rather than gaining knowledge of indigenous history and culture, immigrants have often either been uninformed or presented with misinformation and stereotypes. This session focuses on strategies that can be implemented to remedy this situation and create mutual understanding, including several notable promising practices that are being used in various locations across the country to build bridges between indigenous and immigrant communities.

  • Authentic Sustainable Relationships: A Vancouver Model (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Kory Wilson, Executive Director, Indigenous Initiatives and Partnerships, British Columbia Institute of Technology
  • Colonial Persuasions: Sovereignty as the Limit of Reconciliation Education for New Canadians (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Kevin FitzMaurice, Associate Professor, Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury
  • Building Bridges: Promoting a Harmonious Relationship between Indigenous People and Newcomers in Winnipeg (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Abdikheir Ahmed, Director, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, and Maria Morrison, Coordinator, Citizen Equity Committee of the City of Winnipeg
  • Citizenship and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Alec Attfield, Director General, Citizenship Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)


11:30 AM to 1:00 PM

Plenary: Intercultural Dialogue and Mediation for Living Together

Chair: Stephan Reichhold, Director, Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI)

The diversity of immigrants to Canada today and their relations with each other and with more established communities have posed new challenges in terms of the potential for conflict and misunderstanding. In addition to supporting welcoming communities, we must now address intercultural relations within local communities, cities, and regions, bringing communities and individuals together for intercultural dialogue and mediation of potentially conflicting situations. This session provides examples of such strategies that have been used effectively to promote harmony and living together in diversity.

  • Intercultural Dialogue and Conflict Transformation in Nova Scotia (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Stephen Law, Community Outreach Coordinator, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
  • Mediation Action-Research to Promote Living Together: Lessons from Women and Feminisms in Dialogue Project (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Michèle Vatz-Laaroussi, Professor, School of Social Work, University of Sherbrooke
  • Creative Strategies for Building Bridges of Understanding and Cooperation (Video)
    Bayan Khatib, Co-Founder, Syrian Canadian Foundation
  • Inclusive Inquiry: North Shore Community Conversations (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Alison Dudley, Coordinator, North Shore Immigrant Inclusion Partnership


Note: The Powerpoint presentations from the workshops are available here.


Friday, November 17, 2017

8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Special Keynote Speaker: The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Chair, World Refugee Council (Video)

The Honourable Lloyd Axworthy is the Chair of the World Refugee Council – an independent group of global leaders and innovators aimed at advancing new solutions to the global refugee crisis. Hon. Axworthy has served in several cabinet roles, including Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Employment and Immigration. He also served as President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Winnipeg where he expanded the university’s Indigenous Studies program and worked to increase access to education for Aboriginals and newcomers to Canada. Hon. Axworthy has devoted his life’s work, in academia, politics, and civil society, to highlighting and building the United Nations as a vehicle for peace and to promoting Canadian leadership and engagement in the UN. In 2017, Hon. Axworthy was invested as Companion of the Order of Canada. He was also a recipient of the Canadian Red Cross’ Manitoba Humanitarian of the Year Award and the 30th Pearson Peace Medal.


9:30 AM to 11:00 AM

Plenary: New Strategies for Determining the Effectiveness of Settlement Programs

Chair: Yoko Yoshida, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Dalhousie University

As the number of immigrants to Canada continues to rise, it is more than ever of central importance to ensure their successful settlement and integration into Canadian society. A variety of novel and well established settlement programs are being provided to new immigrants to support their settlement and integration, but empirical evidence as to their effectiveness and empirically-driven identification of promising practices are somewhat lacking. This session will discuss methods of assessing the effectiveness of settlement programs and identification of promising practices, including the use of pre-existing datasets and new strategies for data collection.

  • Innovations in Canadian Longitudinal Research on Immigrant and Refugee Settlement: Ontario’s Refugee Resettlement Measurement Framework (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Alex Lovell, Senior Policy Analyst, Ontario Refugee Resettlement Secretariat, Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
  • “Turning the Tide” on Demographic and Labour Market Decline: How Social Innovation Labs are Introducing User-Centered Design, Systems-Thinking and Experimentation to Improve Settlement, Integration and Retention Outcomes in New Brunswick (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Alex LeBlanc, Co-lead, New Brunswick Economic Immigration Lab
  • Let’s Talk about Outcomes: Renewing our Approach to Settlement and Integration (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Tracey Donaldson, Director, Settlement and Integration Policy Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • On Our Way to Determining Settlement Outcomes … or Bust (Video)
    Kathy Sherrell, Associate Director, Immigrant Services Society of BC (ISSofBC)


1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Plenary: Understanding and Addressing Public Anxiety about Immigration

Chair: Chérine Stevula, Project Coordinator for LIENS – Réseau de développement économique et d’employabilité (RDÉE) PEI

Though Canada is defined as a nation of immigrants and we pride ourselves on our openness to diversity, there is at times underlying public anxiety about immigration, and recent surveys suggest that this anxiety is particularly salient at this time. This session explores the determinants and drivers of public anxiety surrounding immigration, and discusses strategies for allaying fears and concerns that individuals and groups have about the role of immigration in our nation-building, and for supporting more favourable attitudes that benefit us all.

  • How Inclusive are Canadians @150? Public Opinion and Immigrant Experience (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Keith Neuman, Executive Director, Environics Institute
  • The Politics of Immigration Policy — The View from Parliament Hill (Video)
    Stephanie Levitz, National Politics Reporter, The Canadian Press
  • Brexit and Trump: Lessons for Canada (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Keith Banting, Stauffer-Dunning Fellow and Professor Emeritus, Queen’s University
  • The Role of Nonprofit and Community Organizations in Addressing Public Anxiety about Immigration (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Farah Kotadia, Acting Executive Director, Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC (AMSSA)


3:15 PM to 4:45 PM

Plenary: What Have We Learned about Refugee Resettlement? Lessons from the Syrian Refugee Program

Chair: Josie Di Zio, Senior Director, COSTI Immigrant Services

The large-scale resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada has presented both challenges and successes. Stepping back from the publicity surrounding the Syrian Refugee Project, what have we learned about refugee resettlement from the experiences over the last two years and where should we put our future efforts in this regard? The speakers in this session will discuss strategies that can be implemented to assist refugees in the process from pre-arrival to integration. The lessons learned can be applied not only to future large-scale resettlement projects, but also to refugee resettlement in Canada more generally.

  • Refugee Resettlement: Using the Past to Inform the Future (Video)
    Gerry Mills, Executive Director, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)
  • We Used to Watch a Cartoon Series Called Adnan Wa Lina (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Ümit Kiziltan, Director General, Research and Evaluation Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and Tracey Donaldson, Director, Settlement and Integration Policy Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • Resettlement Funding: Are We Missing the Opportunity? (Video)
    Cara Benjamin-Pace and Len Senater, Co-founders, Newcomer Kitchen, Toronto
  • Refugee Resettlement in Victoria: Looking Back and Moving Forward (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Winnie Lee, Director of Operations, Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA Greater Victoria)


4:45 PM to 5:00 PM

Summing Up and Closing Remarks

Conference Chairs: Jean McRae and Victoria Esses, Pathways to Prosperity Co-chairs