Pathways to Prosperity 2019 National Conference – Immigration at the Crossroads: Renewing Support for Immigration to Canada at the Intersections of Research, Policy, and Practice

October 31 – November 1, 2019
Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, Toronto

Immigration to Canada is at a crossroads. Immigration levels are rising, with an admission target for 2021 of 350,000 immigrants. New contribution agreements designed to facilitate the settlement and integration of immigrants in Canada are in progress. At the same time, there is some evidence that attitudes toward immigrants and refugees among established Canadians are hardening, with populism on the rise. In this time of uncertainty and possible change, it seems useful to consider how we can renew our support for immigration to Canada, which is essential for the future of our country. This conference looks ahead, focusing on how research, policy, and practice supporting the attraction, settlement and integration of newcomers can continue to make important contributions to the well-being of Canada and those who live here, whether established Canadians or newcomers. The conference includes plenary sessions, workshops, a poster session, and opportunities to network with colleagues.


Thursday, October 31, 2019

8:30 AM to 9:15 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

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

Patrick Hunter, 2 Spirit Ojibway Artist and Graphic Designer


9:15 AM to 10:45 AM

Plenary: Goals for the Settlement and Resettlement Programs in the Coming Years

Chair: Naomi Alboim, Distinguished Fellow, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University

The theme of this year’s conference is Immigration at the Crossroads, and it suggests that immigration to Canada requires renewed support. In this leadoff plenary to the conference, we will discuss what form this support may take. In particular, the speakers will describe their visions for the settlement and resettlement programs for the coming years, their views on what the main goals of these programs should be, and what they see as the primary needs of newcomers to Canada today and for the foreseeable future. They will also discuss whether they envision new challenges on the horizon, and what overall strategies we can utilize to overcome current and emerging challenges in the settlement of newcomers to Canada.

  • Settlement and Integration — The Foundation to Canada’s Successful System of Managed Migration: Challenges and Opportunities (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Fraser Valentine, Assistant Deputy Minister, Settlement and Integration Sector, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)
  • Goals for the Settlement and Resettlement Programs in the Coming Years (Video)
    Chris Friesen, Chair, Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance
  • New Beginnings: Settlement in New Brunswick (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Stephen Chase, Manager, Settlement and Multiculturalism Unit, Government of New Brunswick’s Population Growth Division
  • Unlocking the Potential of Refugees, Newcomers, and Migrants (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Debbie Douglas, Executive Director, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants


11:05 AM to 12:15 PM

Plenary: Immigration to Smaller, Rural, and Northern Communities: What Have We Learned?

Chair: Sarah Wayland, Senior Project Manager, Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council

Most newcomers to Canada settle in a few major urban centres, with smaller, rural, and northern communities not able to reap the benefits that immigrants can provide. With the recognition that immigration can contribute to the economy and vitality of smaller centres, the regionalization of immigration has become a priority across the country, and strategies are being developed to attract, integrate, and retain newcomers in these communities. Recent work suggests that a collective and coordinated effort will be required to succeed. From the national to the local level, this plenary will discuss the challenges faced and opportunities available for smaller, rural and northern communities that seek to increase their prospects through immigration.

  • Doing Immigration Differently: Regional Economic Immigration in Canada (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Lara Dyer, Director, Regional Economic Immigration Programs and Policy, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Manitoba’s Rural Immigration Strategy (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Maria de Guzman, Immigration Program Officer, Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program and Team Leader, Municipal Immigration Partnerships
  • Best Practices for Hiring International Candidates – A Northern Ontario Perspective (Video)
    Robert Brouillette, Owner and President, City Welding Sudbury and Business Development and Technical Specialist Consultant, Ivey Immigration


12:15 PM to 1:30 PM
Lunch Provided
Spoken Word Performance by Ahmad Majid
Ahmad Majid is an Iraqi-Canadian poet who has been performing hip-hop and spoken word poetry all over Canada for the last ten years. His style combines intricate rhyme schemes with important social/political human rights issues. He is a three-time Slam-Team member and a CFSW 2013 Finalist.


1:30 PM to 3:00 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Powerpoint presentations from the workshops available here)


3:30 PM to 5:00 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Powerpoint presentations from the workshops available here)


6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Evening Cocktail Reception and Poster Session (PDFs of Poster Presentations Available Here)

Poster Awards and Evening Reception Sponsored by: World Education Services

About the Sponsor:
World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping international students and professionals achieve their educational and professional goals in Canada and the United States. They have provided credential evaluations to more than two million people worldwide. Their evaluations are widely recognized by more than 2,500 educational, business, and governmental institutions throughout Canada and the U.S.


Friday, November 1, 2019


8:15 AM to 9:15 AM

Race, Immigration and Politics:  A Changing Landscape (Video)

Special Keynote Speaker: Kamal Al-Solaylee, Professor of Journalism, Ryerson University and Author of Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone)

In this talk, author and university professor Kamal Al-Solaylee takes a look at what the refugee crisis and the rise of populism in many liberal democracies, including Canada, tell us about new forms of racial discrimination and anti-immigration sentiments. Whether in Europe or North America, Asia or Australia, political and economic discourse is shaped by a seemingly sudden awareness of skin colours (brown in particular), ethnic identities and religious affiliations. Will multiculturalism and the political centre survive this shift?


9:15 AM to 10:30 AM

Plenary: The Ever-Changing Terrain of Attitudes toward Immigrants and Refugees

Chair: Ümit Kiziltan, Director General and Head of Evaluation, Research and Evaluation, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Attitudes toward immigrants and refugees in Canada are thought to be relatively favourable, particularly in an international comparative context, yet they demonstrate some variation over time, with dips and rises. And not all immigrant groups in Canada are viewed in an equally favourable light. What are the factors that are influencing Canadians’ attitudes, and what roles do national, regional, and local policies play? Do Canadians have different views of different classes of immigrants, specifically economic immigrants versus refugees? Are Canadians susceptible to populist, anti-immigrant sentiment? And what role do the media play? Speakers in this plenary will attempt to address these and other questions surrounding the ever-shifting terrain of attitudes toward immigrants and refugees in Canada.

  • Canada as a Beacon for Migrant Acceptance: Is This Reputation Deserved? (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Keith Neuman, Senior Associate, Environics Institute for Survey Research
  • Strength of National Attachment and Attitudes toward Ethnocultural Diversity in Quebec and the Rest of
    Canada (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Antoine Bilodeau, Professor, Department of Political Science, Concordia University
  • Addressing Issues of Immigration in the Canadian Federal Elections (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Jennifer Watts, CEO, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)


11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Powerpoint presentations from the workshops available here)


12:30 PM to 1:45 PM
Lunch Provided

Musical Performance by Frank Bessai

Frank Bessai is an Edmonton based multilingual violinist, vocalist and songwriter who is also a Team Leader with the Immigration and Settlement Service of Catholic Social Services. In his work with the agency Frank has created many unique and successful integration programs for newcomers including the Family Wellness and Community Enhancement Program, and the Newcomer Outdoor Wellness and Education Program. Throughout his colorful music career, Frank has expanded international musical borders in order to interpret different world folk traditions. Fluent in English, French, Russian and Spanish, Frank brings forward a creative and unique Canadian multicultural style, and has recorded two full length albums with his band Le Fuzz,


1:45 PM to 3:15 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Powerpoint presentations from the workshops available here)


3:30 PM to 4:45 PM

Plenary: Developing an Evidence Base and Sharing Settlement and Integration Practices that Work

Chair: Katie Rosenberger, Executive Director, The Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC

This plenary will provide an in-depth view of the IRCC-funded project led by Pathways to Prosperity focusing on the sharing of settlement and integration practices that work. The background, rationale, and current state of the project will be presented, and we will hear about several examples of promising practices that have been highlighted to date. The unique aspects of this project include the focus on innovative practices with empirical evidence of their effectiveness, and the dissemination of information about these practices through videos in which their creators describe their key features. Please come prepared to vote on priority areas of practice for future calls for nominations, as we will conclude the session by soliciting feedback and suggestions for future themes and areas of practice on which to focus.

  • Science Behind Successful Settlement Services: Fundamentals of Effective Program Design and Delivery  (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Fariborz Birjandian, Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
  • Industry Driven Promising Practices: Barista Training for Newcomer Youth (In Partnership with Starbucks Canada)  (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Vibha Vohra-Bhalla, Director, Services and Community Engagement (Peel Region), ACCES Employment
  • IRCOM House Inc. – Welcoming our Newcomer Families  (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Dorota Blumczynska, Executive Director, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba


4:45 PM to 5:00 PM — Location: Metropolitan East and Centre

Summing Up and Closing Remarks

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