The Year in Review — 2016
2016 was a busy and productive year for the Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) Partnership, with vigorous research activity, workshops in Montreal, St. John’s, and Ottawa, and the National Conference, which attracted a record-breaking 350 attendees. New P2P activities and resources recommended by our membership were also developed. We thank the members of the Management Committee, Board of Directors, Standing Committees, Planning and Evaluation Committees, and P2P staff for their dedication and contributions to the continuing success of the partnership.
All of the P2P governance structures were operative in 2016. The Management Committee held teleconferences throughout the year, and were able to discuss key issues on a regular basis and make timely decisions. The Board of Directors, comprising over 30 community/municipal partners, co-investigators, chairs of the three standing committees, and provincial and federal partners in an ex officio capacity, held a teleconference in the summer and an in-person meeting following the National Conference in December. This gives voice to our constituents and promotes their input into strategic direction-setting.
The three Standing Committees have an important role to play in P2P, ensuring that key themes and stakeholders are represented in the partnership’s activities. The Standing Committee on Northern, Rural, and Remote Communities, chaired by Jamie Baker and Scott Fisher, participated actively in the workshop on Attraction, Retention and Integration of Immigrants in Smaller Communities held in St. John’s, Newfoundland in October 2016. The Standing Committee on Francophone Immigration, now chaired by Christophe Traisnel and Irving Lewis, developed new strategic priorities and activities, some of which are well underway. The Standing Committee on Student Engagement continues to contribute its energy, enthusiasm and new ideas to the Partnership. One new activity initiated by this Committee in 2016 for which there was a great deal of enthusiasm is the Graduate Student – Faculty workshop on Migration Related Research. Two such workshops were held in 2016: one at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Calgary and the other during the Pathways to Prosperity National Conference in Ottawa. We thank Guliz Akkaymak and Heather Holroyd for their leadership of the Standing Committee on Student Engagement in its formative years and wish them well in their post-PhD careers. We also thank Claudia Prévost (Université Laval) and Serperi Sevgur (Dalhousie University) for assuming the role of Co-chairs for the coming year.
2016 saw a great deal of research activity within the Pathways to Prosperity, including more than a dozen completed projects, most now posted in the P2P website library, and a number of new projects underway. This included projects led by P2P co-investigators, projects funded through National Calls for Proposal for Research on P2P Priority Themes, and additional projects led by P2P members.
The co-investigator led projects completed in 2016 include a project on the settlement and housing experiences of recent immigrants in small- and mid-sized cities in the interior of British Columbia; a project on secondary migration of immigrants to Canada, with important implications for settlement service providers, municipalities, and policy makers; a project on recruitment and integration of Francophone immigrants in Prince Edward Island; a project on public perceptions of immigrant-serving agencies and strategies for most effectively promoting these agencies to the public; and a project on immigration regionalization organizations and their practices in employment settings in five regions of Quebec. Several additional co-investigator led projects are due to be completed within the next few months and will then be added to the P2P website library. For 2017, we are initiating co-investigator led collaborative cross-regional projects that address common issues. Discussion of the themes for these projects were a focus of the regional roundtables at the 2016 Pathways to Prosperity National Conference, and further discussions with the Board of Directors are ongoing.
Three projects funded through the P2P National Calls for Proposals for P2P partners and collaborators were completed in 2016. These include projects on (i) the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, (ii) family councils and long-term care for immigrant older adults, and (iii) fostering immigrant employee retention within companies. A variety of additional partner and collaborator led studies are ongoing, and the results will soon appear in the P2P website library. For those who are interested in applying for funding for new projects, the 2017 National Call for Proposals will be announced in the Spring.
Three additional projects led by P2P investigators were completed in 2016 and appear in the P2P website library — a project examining the representation of visible minorities and women in senior leadership positions in London, Hamilton, and Ottawa; a project focusing on increasing newcomers’ sense of belonging; and a project synthesizing research on immigrants to official language minority communities in Canada. In addition, members of P2P completed two major projects for the Government of Alberta, one designed to improve refugee outcomes in Alberta and Canada through an analysis of integration challenges and strategies for improving economic, social, and civic/political integration; and the other focusing on understanding the social and economic factors driving migration patterns.
2016 was the second year of the student and postdoctoral exchange program, designed to allow graduate students and postdoctoral fellows to participate in new research or broaden the scope and breadth of research they already have underway. Two postdoctoral fellows and one graduate student benefited from this program in 2016. Jamie Baker moved to Hamilton to conduct postdoctoral research at McMaster University under the supervision of Vic Satzewich. Stelian Medianu travelled to Ottawa to conduct postdoctoral research at the Research and Evaluation Branch of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada under the supervision of Cedric de Chardon. Nikola Brassard-Dion traveled to Montreal to conduct some of the research for his dissertation at Concordia University under the supervision of Mireille Paquet. The 2017 National Call for Proposals for the Student and Postdoctoral Exchange Program will be announced in the Spring.
Pathways to Prosperity continues to actively engage partners, collaborators, and stake-holders through a variety of knowledge mobilization products and activities. The bimonthly eBulletin – covering new research findings, P2P activities and events, research opportunities, and partner and collaborator activities – now has over 3,200 subscribers, reaching a broad audience well beyond P2P’s formal membership. The P2P website has been rapidly expanding, with many new additions to the library, new videos, and the addition of key contacts and resources for Réseaux en immigration francophone this year. The website attracted approximately 5,500 visits per month in 2016. The P2P also publishes content on four YouTube channels, which have received over 310,000 views to date (over 100,000 in 2016 alone) and have close to 900 subscribers. The most popular is the Immigrant Story Bank, a series of approximately 45 video interviews focusing on the personal stories of immigrants in Canada and highlighting their journey to Canada and reasons for choosing Canada, as well as discussing issues of settlement, integration and identity. Initiated just before the 2015 National Conference, we tweet @P2PConnects. We tweet about news related to Canadian and international immigration, updates about new P2P research and activities, and we promote the activities of our partners and collaborators.
In 2016, P2P held a variety of one-day workshops, focusing on priority topics identified by our partners and collaborators. The first was a workshop held at Concordia University in Montreal in May as a day of reflection on Quebec’s new policy on immigration, participation, and inclusion. Chaired by Chedly Belkhodja, Mireille Paquet, and Daniel Salée, the workshop was aimed at introducing, analyzing, and critiquing the new policy presented on March 7 by the MIDI (Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness). A full report on this workshop is available on the website here. In October, P2P held a workshop on Supporting Immigration to Northern, Rural, and Remote Communities in St. John’s, Newfoundland, organized in partnership with the Association for New Canadians (ANC) and the Atlantic Region Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies (ARAISA). Attracting over 60 participants, many new ideas were discussed, both local to the Atlantic region and national in scope. Powerpoint presentations from this workshop are now available on the website here.
Two workshops were held in Ottawa in November as preconferences to the Pathways to Prosperity National Conference. The first was a workshop for Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) and Réseaux en immigration francophone (RIFs), organized with the support of the Southwestern Ontario Local Immigration Partnerships Working Group (SWO-LIPs) and the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada (FCFA), and chaired by Mary Ellen Bernard and Michaël Paulin. Attracting more than 130 participants, the workshop provided an opportunity for the Local Immigration Partnerships and Réseaux en immigration francophone to exchange information and discuss common areas of interest. Powerpoint presentations and videos from this workshop are now available on the website here. The second — a small, targeted workshop of 30 participants, funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada — focused on research on Francophone immigration to Francophone minority communities in Canada, and was chaired by Luisa Veronis and Suzanne Huot. The Powerpoint presentations from this workshop are available on the website here, and a full report will be posted shortly.
Participants expressed enthusiasm about all of the P2P workshops, while providing valuable feedback that will inform our future planning. In order to plan future events, we will also be fielding a survey of our membership shortly to determine priority topics of interest. Please be on the lookout for the announcement of this survey so that we can obtain your input. The one topic from the previous round of priorities that we have not yet addressed is how to use technology most effectively to provide information and services to newcomers. Plans are underway to present this as a webinar, with more information to be available shortly.
To cap off the year, in December the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership held its Fourth Annual Conference in Ottawa – Shaping Immigration to Canada: Learning from the Past and a Vision for the Future. Spanning two days, it included five plenary sessions, twelve workshops (solicited for the first time this year through a very successful call for proposals), five roundtable sessions, and a poster session. Special features included an opening address by the Hon. John McCallum, Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and a special keynote address on immigration, inclusion, and citizenship by John Ralston Saul, award-winning philosopher, novelist, and essayist. Judging by the enthusiasm of participants and the more formal feedback, the conference was a tremendous success, with ratings of all presentations uniformly positive and even higher than those of the previous year. All Powerpoint presentations and videos from the conference are now available on the website here.
Thanks for another great year!
Victoria Esses and Jean McRae