Fostering Research Partnerships for Improved Labour Market Integration and Employment of Skilled Immigrants and Refugees in Edmonton, Calgary, and Fort McMurray

Research team: Julie Drolet, University of Calgary; Planned student participants and institutional partners

The integration and utilization of immigrants’ skills in the labour market has emerged as a significant issue for Canadian immigration policy. With an increasing number of immigrants arriving in Alberta to live and to work, there is a need to better understand how social services and immigrant settlement sector agencies contribute to the labour market integration of recent skilled immigrants and refugees.

This project will enlist social service and immigrant sector agencies in order to better understand how to improve labour market integration and employment outcomes for skilled immigrants and refugees in Edmonton, Calgary, and Fort McMurray.

Key questions centre on:

  • What employment support measures exist for newcomers?
  • What demographic shifts and labour market trends are occurring?
  • What effect do policies have on labour market integration?
  • How can immigrant sector agencies work better with employers?
  • What employer engagement strategies are effective?

The study will undertake a literature review and a review of data on settlement and employment services in each city. It will also conduct interviews with key informants from immigrant sector agencies, social services, and community organizations. The interviews will explore service availability; the role and strategies adopted by settlement agencies; the integration challenges facing newcomers; and how those challenges are conceptualized by service agencies. Advice will be sought on policy development, on employer engagement, and on strengthening relations between employers and settlement agencies. Findings will be shared through academic and professional networks and via conferences.