The Year in Review – 2014
The Pathways to Prosperity Partnership has had a busy and productive year. We are very pleased with the increasing level of productivity and engagement in 2014, though there is always room for improvement. We welcome all suggestions in this regard.
As announced in the February 2014 eBulletin, the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance – Alliance canadienne du secteur de l’établissement des immigrants (CISSA-ACSEI) has assumed the role of co-chair of the Pathways to Prosperity, and is currently represented by Jean McRae of the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria. CISSA-ACSEI is an alliance of provincial and national organizations that represents 450 immigrant and refugee settlement agencies across Canada. This partnership with CISSA-ACSEI has worked very well, and Jean McRae and Victoria Esses, principal investigator and academic co-chair, have been working together to chair the P2P Board of Directors and Management Committee.
The Board of Directors and the Management Committee of the Pathways to Prosperity are now running smoothly. The Board of Directors held a successful in-person meeting following the National Conference in November 2014, with 30 Board members participating, including community/municipal partners, co-investigators, and provincial and federal partners in an ex officio capacity. Plans are underway to engage the Board more fully in the activities of the P2P and communicate more regularly. The Management Committee, comprising a subset of Board members, held four teleconferences over the course of 2014, and proved efficient in terms of discussing key issues and making timely decisions. Dates for future Management Committee teleconferences will be set at the beginning of the year to facilitate participation and planning.
As a large national project, Pathways to Prosperity has sought to establish governance structures that give voice to its various constituents, while focusing on its main research and dissemination functions. Up until now we have been allocating over a third of our annual funding to the regional nodes for administration, communication, and management activities. In consultation with the co-investigators who were administering the regional nodes, and in order to optimize our use of resources, we have decided to eliminate the administrative functions of the nodes and will be allocating this funding to research and regional workshops instead. In terms of research, as described below, we have launched co-investigator led projects across the country, as well as initiating an annual Call for Proposals for projects focusing on P2P National Themes. The regional workshops are in the early planning stage, and more details will be available in future eBulletins.
Two additional changes to our governance in 2014 have involved personnel. We have added several new co-investigators to the Partnership, including Yoko Yoshida in the Atlantic, Carlos Teixeira in British Columbia, and Danielle Gaucher in the Prairies. In addition, we are fortunate to have Marjie Brown of the FCFA, and Gerry Clement, a former official in the Manitoba Government, co-chairing the Standing Committee on Francophone Immigration. In terms of the Standing Committees, we would also like to mention that following a successful workshop at the November 2014 Conference, the Standing Committee on Northern, Rural, and Remote Communities has now been established and will begin work shortly.
This year saw a great deal of research activity within the Pathways to Prosperity, including a number of completed projects, many of which are now posted in the P2P website library (or will be shortly), and a large number of new projects that are currently underway. In terms of completed projects, 2014 saw the implementation of a large-scale research project for Citizenship and Immigration Canada on the Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) and the Réseaux en immigration francophone (RIFs), with a focus on strategies for increasing alignment and collaboration and for developing performance measurement tools. This project included seven researchers, a postdoctoral fellow, and three graduate students on the team, with representation from across the country. The Pathways to Prosperity also researched and produced a series of videos in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada showcasing promising practices by Local Immigration Partnerships in the areas of coordination of services, engaging employers, leveraging resources, and creating welcoming communities.
In 2014, several projects on Official Language Minority Communities and Immigrants were completed (or are nearing completion), including: a report using data from the Census and the Canadian Community Health Survey to examine the integration of immigrants of differing Official Language ability and use; the development and validation of a new survey to examine the attraction, retention, and integration of Official Language Minority Immigrants; a report focusing on analyses of IMDB data to examine the individual and community level determinants of the retention of Francophone immigrants across Canada; and a study of promising integration practices in Francophone Official Language Minority Communities. In collaboration with Career Edge, members of the P2P also conducted an evaluation project on internships for internationally trained immigrants, which was presented as a poster at the November conference. In addition, a multi-year project on postsecondary bridging programs for internationally educated health professionals was completed in 2014, and will be released by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario on February 24, 2015. Finally, a subcommittee of the Agency of the Future project produced a report on the uses and challenges of new information and communications technologies by settlement organizations.
In line with the goal of boosting the P2P’s research activities, a national Call for Proposals for initial projects focusing on P2P National Themes took place in June 2014, with five projects funded in this round. These projects focus on Pre-arrival Strategies, Services, and Information Sources for Immigrants; the Study-Migration Pathway for International Students; Strategies for Fostering Immigrant Employee Retention; and the Role of Employers and the Private Sector in Supporting Immigrant Integration. We look forward to the completion of these studies, the results of which will appear in forthcoming eBulletins, with reports posted in the P2P website library. The successful launch of this initiative and the level of interest encourage us to make the Call for Proposals for research addressing P2P National Themes an annual event.
Using some of the funding saved by reducing administrative expenses and toward the goal of boosting P2P research activity, 2014 also saw the launch of 12 co-investigator led projects across the country. Descriptions of many of these projects were presented in a plenary session at the November conference, and fall under four P2P National Themes – Warmth of the Welcome; International Students as Future Citizens; The Role of Employers and the Private Sector in Newcomer Integration; and Regionalization and Immigration to Non-metropolitan Communities. Working titles are as follows:
- Immigrant Language Ability, Occupational Choice, and Employment Skill Match Quality
- Exploring the Social and Economic Consequences of Sponsored Parent and Grand-parent Migration
- Immigrant Seniors
- Muslim Immigrants and Integration Challenges
- The Art of Immigration
- International Students as Future Citizens: Understanding the Relation between Universities and Cities
- Fostering Partnerships for Improved Labour Market Integration and Employment of Immigrants
- Recruitment and Retention in the Atlantic Provinces
- The Recruitment and Integration of French-speaking Newcomers to Prince Edward Island
- The Practices of Regionalization Organizations and their Partners in the Area of Employment
- Settlement Experiences, Housing Careers and the Regionalization of Immigration to Mid-sized Cities in the Interior of B.C.
- An Empirical Snapshot of Current Attitudes toward Immigrants and Strategies for Increasing the Warmth of the Welcome
Several additional projects by P2P researchers were launched in 2014. Two of these projects focus on interagency collaboration. The first is a study with the Immigrant Sector Council of Calgary (ISCC) and their Labour Market Integration Committee, which focuses on strategies for improving collaboration among services working on immigrant labour market integration in Calgary to promote better employment outcomes for immigrants. The report will be released in the spring of 2015. The second, currently in progress, focuses on interagency collaboration in Ottawa – including settlement agencies, employers, and colleges and universities – with the goal of developing new opportunities for local agencies to provide recruitment and integration services.
In addition, a P2P-led project examining the pre- and post-arrival information needs of immigrants to Canada and strategies for filling these needs has been funded by SSHRC and launched in 2014. This is a multi-year project that will be conducted in collaboration with interested partners. A final study initiated in 2014 is the evaluative component of a two-year project aimed at increasing skilled worker and business immigration and improving the settlement capacity of three Northern Ontario municipalities.
The Pathways to Prosperity knowledge mobilization has continued to grow over the course of 2014. The bimonthly eBulletin, published in both English and French, has expanded, averaging 20 pages in each language per issue, and now has over 2,700 subscribers. 2014 saw the launch of an interview series in the eBulletin, which has been very well-received, as well as regular listings of new publications, presentations, and grants, so that members can stay up-to-date on their colleagues’ activities and successes. The FactSheet, top media stories, and updates on P2P research and activities also continue to be mainstays of the eBulletin.
The P2P website has been rapidly expanding, with many new additions to the library, new videos, and the updated Sites of Interest section, with links to over 600 relevant organizations. The website now attracts approximately 5,000 visitors per month (up from 3,000 per month in 2013), with a 50:50 ratio of new and returning visitors. These include approximately 85% Canadian visitors and 15% international, from the USA, UK, Brazil, France, India, Germany, and many other countries. Of note, with the removal of regional administration, the regional websites will be difficult to maintain. Thus, at the Board of Directors meeting in November 2014, it was agreed that the regional sites should be merged with the pan-Canadian sites, with all information posted on the main English and French sites. This change will be implemented in the coming months.
The P2P also publishes content on four YouTube channels, which have received over 100,000 views to date (up from 25,000 at the end of 2013) and visitors from more than 150 countries. These include past conferences of Pathways to Prosperity (with presentations from the November 2014 conference to be posted in the coming weeks); the Immigrant Story Bank, focusing on the personal stories of immigrants to Canada; a variety of Pathways to Prosperity interview series, including the Reflections from the Past interview series and the Local Immigration Partnerships’ Promising Practices series; and presentations by members of the P2P in the Western Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations colloquium series.
As described on page 6, to cap off the year, the Pathways to Prosperity held its Second Annual Pan-Canadian Conference in Montreal in November 2014, with 250 attendees, including both the federal and the Quebec immigration ministers. Feedback obtained from the post-conference survey indicates that the conference was viewed very favorably and that many attendees plan to attend future P2P Conferences on a regular basis. We also appreciate the suggestions provided for enhancing future conference experiences and will take these into account as we begin the next planning cycle.
Graduate Student Engagement
The P2P Standing Committee on Student Engagement provided valuable input into P2P activities over the course of 2014, and met in person following the November national conference to discuss continuing and new activities. A major new initiative for graduate students developed in 2014 and launched in the current issue (see page 7) is the Student Exchange Program, providing opportunities for students to conduct research in new locations under the supervision of P2P members. The P2P has applied for and obtained pre-approval on a number of Mitacs internships for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows each year, and we encourage our partners to consider the opportunities available through this program (see https://www.mitacs.ca/en/programs/accelerate#business).
A variety of new ideas were developed at the November Standing Committee on Student Engagement meeting (see article on page 9), which will be taken up in the coming months. We look forward to increasing student participation and connections in 2015.
Thanks for a great year!
Victoria Esses and Jean McRae