Pathways to Prosperity 2019 National Conference – Poster Presentations

Poster Presentations


1. Celestina Akinkunmi, Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association and Mosaic Primary Care Network

Customized Supports through Innovative Partnerships: Facilitating Settlement and Integration for Newcomers (Download)

Partnerships between different organizations in health care and social services prove to help better understand the gaps in addressing health inequality in immigrants and refugees with lower levels of education and schooling. The Health Literacy Partnership Project brings together key stakeholders: health professionals, adult literacy education professionals, and adult literacy learners to develop targeted interventions for highly-barriered immigrant women to navigate the health system, reduce barriers to accessing health services, and improve health literacy outcomes. The project also aims to create resources that will improve communication between healthcare providers, literacy professionals and immigrants with low literacy levels.


2. Arzoo Alam, McMaster University & Ping Zou, Nipissing University

Recruitment Process of a South-Asian Immigrant Women Study in Canada (Download)

In a menopausal transition study among South Asian immigrant women in Canada, two recruitment methods were used: traditional versus technology-based approach. The technology-based approach recruited participants through various relevant Facebook groups. 75 women responded to the advertisement posting, and 35 were eligible (46.7%). The most common reason for ineligibility was not meeting the minimum age requirement (n=16, 40%). Alternatively, in the traditional method, 107 people were approached through word of mouth, and 28 were eligible (26%). This suggests that in addition to the traditional method, a technology-based approach may also be effective in recruiting participants in the South Asian community.


3. Samer Al-Bazz, Hassan Vatanparast, Daniel Beland, Mustafa Koc, Rachel Engler-Stringer, Joe Garcea, & Judy White, University of Saskatchewan

Is the Food Security of Refugee Households Challenged by Resettlement and Social Policies and Practices? The Case of Syrian Refugees in Canada (Download)

Household Food Insecurity (HFI) is a serious problem affecting the well-being of refugees, their resettlement process, and integration. There is a lack of understanding of how relevant state policies and programs can help reduce the rates of HFI. The unique nature of the government’s initiative to resettle a large influx of 25,000 Syrian refugees represents a significant policy challenge. This study aims at understanding how existing refugee resettlement policy contributes to refugees’ food security. The study employs a mixed-methods design on a sample of 400 Syrian refugee families living in Ontario, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, as well as key informants from various sectors.


4. Patti Arnold & Michelle Redfern, Cowichan Intercultural Society

SUCCEED in the Canadian Workplace: Employment Preparation for our Most Vulnerable Clients (Download)

SUCCEED in the Canadian Workplace is an innovative, needs-based language and employment program through which students earn micro-credentials that are recognized by local employers. The 3-module course provides workplace language instruction, builds knowledge of Canadian work standards and employer expectations, and develops valuable skills to prepare students for the workplace. Teaching methods emphasize experiential learning and self-reflection, and include site visits, employer presentations, workplace-related workshops and self-guided projects. SUCCEED targets the most vulnerable members of the community: unemployed refugees and new immigrants with low language levels. It was developed in collaboration with the local Employment Centre and the Chamber of Commerce.


5. Awish Aslam, University of Western Ontario

Interpreting Islam in the Workplace: The Internal and External Expectations Borne by Muslim Women (Download)

The second generation Muslim population experiences an alarming rate of poverty, despite their high levels of post-secondary education. Muslim women, in particular, report an increased likelihood of experiencing discrimination in public settings, including the workplace. Given the central role of work as a site of social inequality, this study uses in-depth interviews to explore the work experiences of second-generation Canadian Muslim women. Preliminary findings explore how these women understand the challenges they face in the labour
market and/or within their specific work settings, and what resources they draw on to overcome these barriers.


6. Angela M. Contreras, University of British Columbia

Educational and Career Pathways for Women Employed in Frontline Community Support Service Work (Download)

This pan-Canadian study placed racialized women front and center to an exploration of existing and potential pathways for post-secondary education and career mobility in relation to front-line community support service work (NOC 4212). The purpose of the study was to conduct a feasibility study with national significance for the design, implementation, and evaluation of a large-scale pilot for a new Community Worker Leadership post-secondary certificate program. The study engaged participation from employers, institutions of post-secondary education, and women employed in NOC 4212 occupations. This presentation shares findings from a Labour Market Analysis, an Environmental Scan of certificate programs, and key interviews.


7. Dicky Dikamba, Canadian Volunteers United in Action Society (CANAVUA)

Shaping Our Community – Engaging Newcomers as Volunteers (Download)

Despite the existence of a broad and rich literature on formal volunteering, there is very little knowledge on volunteers who do volunteer work with newcomers to Canada. What motivates them to volunteer with newcomers? What challenge do they face in doing volunteer work with newcomers? Why do some of them continue their work with newcomers while others do not? Canadian and foreign-born volunteers have contributed to the settlement of newcomers into Canadian society. Despite their important contribution, little has been reported about the experiences and perspectives of these volunteers. In this presentation, CANAVUA wishes to share more than 9 years of practical experience of working with the immigrant community, and with immigrant volunteers in particular.


8. Anne-Cécile Delaisse, University of British Columbia, Suzanne Huot, University of British Columbia, & Luisa Veronis, University of Ottawa

Supporting Immigrants’ and Refugees’ Occupational Engagement in Minority Community Spaces (Download)

Francophone immigration is currently prioritized in Canadian immigration policies to support the vitality of Francophone minority communities. French-speaking immigrants and refugees have to navigate their integration into both the Francophone minority and the Anglo-dominant communities. This critical ethnography explored how Francophone community spaces in Metro Vancouver supported French-speaking migrants’ social participation. We completed on-site observations in a community center, a church, and a provincial association; in-depth and “go-along” interviews (i.e. participation in a daily activity) with twenty immigrants and refugees; and six key-informant interviews. The results address the interplay between space, language, power dynamics, and identity negotiation.


9. Mohammed El Hazzouri, Mount Royal University, Leah Hamilton, Mount Royal University, & Kelley Main, University of Manitoba

Racialized Newcomers’ Reactions to Targeted Public Health Ads (Download)

How do racialized newcomers react to public health advertisements that feature their group? Three focus groups were conducted with Black and South Asian newcomers. Participants saw several real public health ads featuring physical and mental health topics. Some ads included models who were White, while others included models from the same ethnicity as the participants. In general, Black participants felt more racialized by public health advertisers and were more critical of ads that featured Black models. Both groups of participants
preferred public health ads featuring White models, and they provided valuable insights on how to improve
targeted public health advertisements.


1o. Anahit Falihi, Harjeet Kaur, Julie Fleming Juarez, & Ian Shaw, Saskatoon Open Door Society

Diversity in Leadership (Download)

As Saskatchewan continues to grow as a multicultural society, the importance of involving the newcomer population in leadership roles such as local decision-making and civic development is a growing necessity. The Saskatoon Open Door Society has instituted a new initiative to encourage the city’s newcomer youth and adults to develop and expand their leadership skills to become actively involved as stakeholders in their new community. These programs encompass peer and community leadership initiatives, where participants serve as role models to further community programming that assist newcomers in developing the knowledge, skills, and confidence to engage fully alongside local civic leaders.


11. Anna Hill & Andrew Lusztyk, Together Project

Together Project’s Welcome Group Program (Download)

Together Project connects refugee newcomers and Canadians to build stronger, more integrated communities. We match “Welcome Groups” of five or more volunteers with newly arrived refugees to increase social connections and support refugee integration. We also work with our partners to host community events and programs that foster social inclusion. Together Project aims to develop evidence-driven programs that will: 1) increase refugee social capital; 2) mitigate newcomer social isolation; and 3) build more welcoming communities through volunteer engagement in refugee integration.


12. Suzanne Huot, University of British Columbia, Perdita Elliott, University of British Columbia, Leanne Fells, University of British Columbia, Anne-Cécile Delaisse, University of British Columbia, Mary Kam, S.U.C.C.E.S.S, & Sandra Almeida, S.U.C.C.E.S.S

Intersectional Perspectives on ‘Productivity’ from Female Refugees with Disabilities (Download)

Vulnerable social groups — including recent immigrants and people with disabilities — are more likely to be living in low income and to be constructed within neoliberal discourses as a burden upon the state. This study examined experiences of labour market participation among female refugees with physical disabilities. Interviews were conducted with five female refugees with disabilities and four primary caregivers. Findings generated five themes: stigma and discrimination; lack of cohesion and information across services; inaccessible and inadequate housing, English as a gatekeeper, and restrictive traditional labour market. Results highlight the complex challenges created by intersecting forms of oppression experienced by this population.


13. Maryam Karimi, Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Agencies

Key Factors for Successful School Integration of Refugee and Immigrant Students (Download)

To meet the diverse needs of immigrant and refugee students in the province, the Saskatchewan Coordination Program of SWIS completed the preparation of a Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan is an ambitious description of goals and objectives, incorporating a comprehensive set of action strategies which have been developed to work towards the successful achievement of these goals. Saskatchewan SWIS programming is developed within a common set of Best Practices. These Best Practices are carefully considered by program planners in the creation of performance goals and objectives and are reflected in the action strategies that are developed by our implementation partners.


14. Lily Kaufmann & Danielle Gaucher, University of Manitoba

At the Crossroads: Understanding the Future of Immigration in Canada through Youth Perspectives (Download)

In this poster, we will discuss and seek feedback on the development of the Youth Attitudes toward Immigration Survey. Using novel online methods to connect with local youth, in this survey we will examine youths’ knowledge of, and general attitudes towards, Canadian immigration. Additionally, we will assess whether and how factors such as friendship development and the level of school diversity (currently ranging from 1.2% to 62.7%) affect local youths’ intergroup attitudes. Ultimately, this study aims to identify areas for support with the goal of improving social programming and immigration-related information available to young Canadians.


15. Yu Jier Kou, Kingston Community Health Centres

Art and Play Therapy for Refugee Children and Families (Download)

Refugee children have challenges that put them at additional risk for mental health conditions. Addressing these challenges could promote resiliency and help them thrive in Canada. This project examined trauma-informed play and art therapy with refugee children. Since 2015, the City of Kingston has welcomed over 350 refugees, and mental health was one of the most prevalent concerns, particularly among children and youth. 26 children and 10 parents received 8 sessions of art or play therapy. Preliminary analyses showed that after therapy, children felt happier and parents reported that their children talked to them about feelings more.


16. Katherine MacCormac & Megan MacCormac, University of Western Ontario

Narrative Entanglements with Food, Identity, and Belonging: A Qualitative Exploration of Canadian Childhood Immigration Stories

This poster documents findings from a critical narrative inquiry which examined the childhood immigration stories of multilingual students. Through narrative analysis, it was found that when speaking about their integration into the Canadian school system, food differences created a sense of ambiguity for immigrant students in relation to their identity development. Findings overwhelmingly indicate that when food and culture were discussed in meaningful ways during in-class activities, immigrant students reported positive feelings towards their identity and sense of belonging. These findings suggest the need to incorporate greater intercultural understanding into curricular planning to create inclusive learning spaces for immigrant students.


17. Lauren Matheson & Catherine Bryan, Dalhousie University

More than Economic Integration: An Independent Evaluation of ISANS’ English in the Workplace Program (Download)

Drawing on 30 in-depth interviews with newcomers and their employers, this poster elaborates the findings of our independent evaluation of English in the Workplace (EWP). Offered by Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS), EWP facilitates social and economic integration through workplace language proficiency and workplace practices that correspond to Canadian social and cultural norms. Holding in balance the practical need for language and the social need for insight into Canadian workplace culture, the program supports newcomers and employers in their efforts to communicate effectively. The result is workplace integration, improved co-worker relations, greater confidence, and likelihood of retention and promotion.


18. Iman Mohamed & Corina Carvallo, Skills for Change

IRS Hub @ 791: Bridging the Gap through Multi-stakeholder Partnership to Facilitate Holistic Settlement Integration (Download)

Skills for Change offers the IRS Hub @ 791 which involves programs and services to support the integration of newcomers. In order to achieve this, we have created a model of stakeholder engagement to ensure the implementation of holistic and non-restrictive services while recognizing the multi-dimensionality of client needs. Our vision of stakeholder engagement involves two-way conversations and honest information exchange. In this poster, you will be presented with tools and techniques to help coordinate partnerships to achieve mutual and organization-specific goals while also building and maintaining stakeholder engagement that creates a lasting and meaningful impact.


19. Emily Mooney, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Foundations of Settlement Work in Ontario: Building Capacity of Immigrant and Refugee Service Workers (Download)

Foundations of Settlement Work is a book and corresponding course that provide invaluable information and resources for practitioners to build capacity to serve newcomers. It is an invaluable resource for everyone in the immigrant and refugee-serving sector in Ontario, with direct relevance to practitioners across Canada. This poster will provide an overview of both resources. Covering immigration history, policy, and law, as well as concrete ways to support people through common barriers and challenges to successful settlement and integration, this book and course were developed in partnership with settlement workers who are on the frontlines of providing services.


20. Julia Nie, MOSAIC

A New Discipline Concept Exploration – “Migrationology” in the Context of Canada (Download)

Canada is a global leader in immigration management and integration. Canada should brand itself in migration research as well. The researcher is exploring the possibility of creating a new discipline concept – “migrationology” in the context of Canada, in which immigration scholars, settlement practitioners, and representatives of all level of government could establish a more vibrant intellectual dialogue on new immigration trends, policies and practice in Canada from a multi-disciplinary perspective, resulting in contributions to the wellbeing of Canada. This poster will provide an overview of the concept of “migrationology”, literature review, SWOT analysis and the discipline framework constructed in this research.


21. Paolo Palma & Michael Haan, University of Western Ontario

Absence May (Not) Make the Heart Grow Fonder: Investigating Marital Non-Cohabitation and Divorce in Canada’s Immigrant Population (Download)

Canada’s aging population and low fertility rates pose problems for the country’s labour force and tax base — an issue that has been primarily addressed through immigration. Despite this, Canada’s policies focus primarily on skilled migration rather than family reunification. This focus on skilled migrants may lead to unintended behaviours where families separate as the more “skilled” spouse migrates to Canada first, sponsoring their family at a later date. This project investigates the degree to which Canada’s married immigrants arrive without their spouse, and if this separation adversely affects their relationships. Consequences for immigrant services, stakeholders, and policies are discussed.


22. Janice Parsons & Fatimah Rathore, Memorial University

Food, Fun & Finding Family: A Journey of Inter-cultural Connection 

With attitudes toward immigrants hardening in Canada, universities that recruit international students as potential future immigrants must proactively address this challenge. Our lived experiences as (respectively) a Canadian-born academic and a Pakistani-born international student/now graduate have come together in our families’ shared journey of inter-cultural connection across racial and religious differences. Photographs collected over several years and related narratives offer insight into how these relationships developed, evolved and have enriched our lives. In this poster presentation, we reflect on what we have learned about the benefits of building such connections and about what universities might do to foster these.


23. Jose Daniel Rito Farias, YMCA of Greater Saint John

Evaluating the Sector Specific Employment Language Training Pilot @ YMCA-GSJ (Download)

Finding employment is a key determinant of success in a newcomer’s integration in Canada. The challenge of finding a job is difficult for newcomers while they are still learning English. The YMCA-GSJ incubates a Sector-Specific Employment Language Training (SSELT) program to help newcomers overcome this challenge. SSELT offers an approach to language training and employment readiness. We are evaluating SSELT, with client outcomes at the core. This project’s objective is to assess our prototype and determine whether it might be a scalable alternative for LINC clients who want to engage with the local labour market sooner without sacrificing language acquisition.


24. Domine Rutayisire, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT)

CCVT is Making a Positive Impact in the Lives of Refugees Settling in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) through its Mental Health Program (Download)

Every year about 45,000 refugees come to Canada; 60% of those refugees settle in the province of Ontario; 2/3 of refugees in Ontario live in the GTA. A significant number of refugees have faced the complexities of Trauma from an unstable and often violent history. These refugees come to CCVT presenting with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and other mental health disorders. This project aims to explore mental health concerns, and possible effective interventions. The factors explored include: Mental Health Assessment and Treatment, using Client centered Intervention approaches.


25. Monica Schlobach & Danic Ostiguy, Collège de Maisonneuve

Highly Skilled Immigrants: A Professional Cartography as a Tool to Plan Their Successful Professional Integration

This poster will present the results of research developed between 2016 and 2018. This research has four phases. First, a survey answered by a hundred highly skilled immigrants allowed us to build a typology with four different paths. Building on this typology, a qualitative phase, consisting of semi-directed interviews with 24 professionals, resulted in the identification of the main barriers encountered and strategies used to address them. These results were used to co-construct, with career counselors, a cartography of pathways or trajectories of professional integration. In the last phase, the counselors tested this cartography and evaluated its efficacy.


26. Anna-Christine Weirich, Goethe-University Frankfurt/INRS Québec-Montréal

Migration and Multilingual Electronic Communication (Download)

This project under construction investigates the plurilingual writings of East-European migrants in electronic media such as social media, instant messaging, email, etc. This interest follows from the hypothesis that multilingual individuals use a larger part of their linguistic resources when writing in these media than when they write in other contexts. This is of relevance in so far as written language competences are an important asset in the labour market, yet much more difficult to learn than informal oral language. In this sense, electronic writing could serve as an entry point for the acquisition of formal literacies.


27. Nirupa Varatharasan & Janet Flynn, Prosper Canada

Financial Empowerment for Newcomers: Evaluation Insights from a Pilot Project (Download)

The Financial Empowerment for Newcomers project is a partnership between Prosper Canada and three newcomer-serving organizations: Saskatoon Open Door Society, AXIS Career Services, and North York Community House. The objectives of the project were to provide newcomer-serving frontline staff with training and resources to enable them to a) accurately assess newcomers’ financial literacy and connect them to appropriate information and resources, and, b) coach newcomers to plan financially for successful settlement and empower them to do it independently. Project evaluation insights will shed light on innovative models of implementation and integration of financial coaching into newcomer-serving organizations in Canada.


28. Yuhui Zhang, Mount Saint Vincent University

Staying in Canada: Exploring Successful Adaptation and Integration Stories of Chinese International Students in Nova Scotia (Download)

This study used the Chinese immigrants in Nova Scotia as an example to explore the successful transitional journeys from international student to permanent resident in Canada. Data was collected through in-depth interviewing of eight participants who had already graduated from universities in Nova Scotia and were employed in jobs which met the criteria of IRCC to get permanent residency status in Canada. The findings of this research not only uncovered the positive successful integration experiences of the participants but also have important implications for retaining more skilled international students for the demand of the Nova Scotian labour market.


29. Ping Zou, Nipissing University

Menopausal Experiences of Chinese Immigrant Women in their Hosted Countries: A Literature Review (Download)

Eighteen studies were included to summarize Chinese immigrant women’s menopause experiences in hosted countries. Findings suggested that although Chinese immigrant women experienced a wide range of physical symptoms, muscle and joint pain was highly prevalent. Women also experienced psycho-behavioural symptoms including emotional changes, depression, memory loss, and sexual dysfunction. Cultural expectations of “stoicism” and “silence” cause women to be less vocal about their menopause experiences and lead to feelings of repression and loneliness. Chinese immigrant women were willing to incorporate traditional medicine into their health care. Some studies initiated the discussion of appropriate community participatory interventions to support menopausal transition.



30. Isobel Goddard, Toronto East Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership, & Sizwe Inkingi, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

Honouring Queer Newcomer Voices of Toronto: Building Capacity of Service Providers to Create a More Welcoming Scarborough (Download)

LGBTQIA+ newcomers typically originate from countries where they face overt discrimination, violence and persecution because of sexual orientation and gender identity. Those that land or move to Scarborough access settlement, support and community services outside the region. Using surveys and a focus group, the research aimed to understand the effectiveness and accessibility of service provision in Scarborough through the experiences of service users. The results highlighted three themes, demonstrating opportunities for service providers to build capacity and accessibility to support this community. This research amplifies the voices of LGBTQIA+ newcomers and introduces a tiered system of priorities to be addressed.