Projects Funded Through 2018 National Call for Proposals

Theme: Economic Integration of Immigrants in Canada

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

Research Investigator: Catherine Bryan, Dalhousie University

This qualitative study takes as its focus an innovative one-to-one language and cultural training program offered by the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) called English in the Workplace (EWP). Drawing on the experiences and perspectives of EWP participants, the objective is to provide a robust account of the Program and its potential benefits, while identifying ways in which it can be strengthened. At present, while the Program appears to be successful—as revealed in instructor assessments and anecdotal evidence provided by participants—its success and potential value has not been systematically demonstrated. This project fits well with the research priorities of Pathways to Prosperities as it simultaneously addresses the economic, social, and cultural integration of immigrants in Nova Scotia, as well as the role of the settlement sector in ensuring that integration. This study will set the groundwork for a larger project, which will focus on immigrant employment across Nova Scotia, and the role of settlement services in fostering welcoming workplaces.

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Theme: Health and Well-being of Immigrants in Canada

Protecting Refugees’ Health: How is the Reinstated Interim Federal Health Program Working in Ontario?

Research Team: Yin-Yuan Chen, Jamie C.Y. Liew, and Vanessa Gruben, University of Ottawa

Canada’s Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides temporary health care coverage to refugees, refugee claimants, and other protected persons who are not eligible for provincial/territorial health insurance. After experiencing extensive cuts in 2012, the IFHP was fully restored in 2016. There is presently a dearth of information on how the reinstated IFHP is meeting its goal of protecting refugees’ health and safety. To address this gap, the research team conducted a pilot study in 2017 with service providers in Ottawa, which found the current IFHP, despite significant improvements from the years of cuts, falls short in several aspects. The current project aims to expand on the 2017 pilot study and to piece together a fuller and more nuanced picture of how well the current IFHP is working. Focusing on the Greater Ottawa Region and the Greater Toronto Area, the team will undertake a policy analysis to clarify the nature of the administrative challenges reported by service providers in the pilot study; they will interview IFHP beneficiaries as well as service providers from professions not previously examined; and, they will explore interviewees’ experience with new changes to the IFHP that were introduced since spring 2017. The experience learned and data gathered from this project will serve as the springboard for a cross-regional collaborative study, which will generate valuable insight into how the IFHP is faring nationwide and how it may be further improved to facilitate refugees’ and refugee claimants’ health care access and utilization.


Barriers and Facilitators to Community Mental Health Services for Immigrant Youth

Research Team: Jason Brown, University of Western Ontario, and Mohamed Al-Adeimi and Rajaa Al-Abed, South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre

The purpose of this research is to: a) develop a working partnership between professors, university students, settlement services, front line staff and youth in south London neighbourhoods using the principles of participatory research, in order to b) address research questions that will assist in understanding the barriers and facilitators to accessing community mental health services from the perspectives of immigrant youth. The research project will be guided by the principles of participatory research. Research questions to be answered include: 1) What kinds of problems do immigrant youth face that affect their mental health? 2) Who do immigrant youth talk to about mental health problems? 3) What makes it difficult for some immigrant youth to talk to a counsellor or doctor about a mental health problem? and 4) What would make it easier for immigrant youth to talk to a counsellor or doctor about a mental health problem?

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How Do Newcomers React to Public Health Advertising that Features their Group? Understanding and Improving the Effectiveness of Targeted Public Health Communications

Research Team: Mohammed El Hazzouri and Leah Hamilton, Mount Royal University, and Kelley Main, University of Manitoba

Public health communications have been widely used to promote public health in areas like AIDS awareness, contraceptive use, and smoking cessation. A common practice in health communications is targeting specific segments, especially those who are deemed at risk or vulnerable. Previous research shows that targeting health communications towards ethnic minorities has become a common practice and that minority individuals respond negatively to being targeted by such advertising as they feel they are being negatively stereotyped by the advertisers. Anecdotal evidence suggests that ethnic minority immigrants are being targeted in public health communications through featuring ethnic minority models in communication materials (advertisements, brochures, etc.). Using experimental methods, this research will explore whether health communications targeted towards ethnic minority immigrants produce a similar backlash effect to the one documented in previous work. Importantly, the research team intends to identify factors that would positively influence immigrant minority members’ reactions to such targeted public health communications.


Stakeholder Perspectives on the Well-Being of Newcomer Young Men in Canada: The Migration, Masculinities, and Mental Health (3MH) Study

Research Team: Carla Hilario and Bukola Salami, University of Alberta, and Josephine Pui-Hing Wong, Ryerson University

The primary aim of this research is to engage stakeholders in identifying and addressing the mental health needs of newcomer young men in Canada. In this study, newcomers refer to individuals who moved to Canada within the last 10 years. The study will engage stakeholders from newcomer-serving organizations in Alberta and BC to answer the following research questions: 1. What are the stakeholders’ perspectives on the mental health and well-being of newcomer young men living in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver? 2. What do they consider as priority mental health care needs for newcomer young men? 3. What are the challenges and opportunities they have encountered in addressing the mental health of immigrant and refugee young men? The study will use multiple methods to answer the research questions: focus groups, including pre-focus group surveys, and in-depth individual interviews. Results of this study will contribute to addressing current knowledge gaps on mental health care for immigrant and refugee young men and will inform the development of inclusive policies and effective practice.

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