New Canadian Media

A study led by Western University researchers Stelian Medianu and Victoria Esses has found that visible minorities are significantly under-represented in senior leadership positions at City Halls in London and Ottawa, with Hamilton faring better.

In London, only 7.9 per cent of senior leaders in the non-profit and municipal public sectors were identified as visible minorities compared to 13.1 per cent of the general London population.

In Ottawa, only 11.9% of senior leaders in the studied sectors were visible minorities compared to 19.4 per cent of the general Ottawa population.

In contrast, it was found that 13.8 per cent of senior leaders in Hamilton were visible minorities, closely aligned with the 14.3 per cent of the general Hamilton population who are visible minorities, according to a Western University news release

New Canadian Media interviewed Prof. Victoria Esses by email. She is Director of the Western Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations. Access the study here: Visible Minorities and Women in Senior Leadership Positions: London, Hamilton and Ottawa

Q: What would you say were the top five findings from this study?

The top five findings from the study are as follows:

In London and Ottawa, our data showed that visible minorities and visible minority women were severely under-represented in leadership positions in the municipal public and non-profit sectors. Hamilton fared better overall.

The municipal public sector had the poorest representation of visible minorities and visible minority women across all three cities. Visible minorities and visible minority women were also severely under-represented in Ontario’s agencies, boards, and commissions.

There was also evidence of under-representation of women at the senior leadership level in all three cities and Ontario’s agencies, boards, and commissions, but these effects were less severe than those evident for visible minorities and visible minority women.

Q: What do you think was your most startling finding in the representation of minority groups ?

The most startling finding was with respect to the lack of representation of visible minorities in the municipal public sector.

Q: You have been a researcher in the area of immigration and equity for a long time. What are the legitimate conclusions Canadians can draw from this study nation-wide? Is there a need for studies in other immigrant-rich cities and towns across Canada?

There is a need for studies in other cities and towns across Canada. Similar research is currently being conducted in Vancouver and we look forward to seeing their results.

I believe that one conclusion that can be drawn from these results is that there is still work to do to ensure that senior leaders who are our decision-makers represent those for whom these decisions are being made. This work may occur at the level of recruitment, as well as selection of senior leaders.

Q: Did you interview corporations and hiring managers? How did they explain the gap between the demographics of London and the representation within their own companies/institutions? Are they doing anything to fix this gap?

As mentioned, we did not look at businesses. Instead we examined the public sector and non-profits. It is also important to note that our methodology involved examining the representation of visible minorities in leadership positions and we found evidence of under-representation, but we did not address the issue of why these effects are evident. 

 

Published in Top Stories
Thursday, 13 November 2014 12:20

Imagining the Agency of the Future

In light of major changes in the way immigrants receive "settlement services" in the country, New Canadian Media invited Meyer Burstein and Carl Nicholson to write for us about the "Agency of the Future" project. This project seeks to position the settlement sector for the challenges ahead and will be an important topic of discussion at the Pathways to Prosperity national conference happening in Montreal on Nov. 24-25. All Canadians should have an interest in enabling the sector to aid future immigrants; so, please weigh in.


by Meyer Burstein and Carl Nicholson

Agency of the Future is a national project started in 2013 by Canada’s settlement sector and the Pathways to Prosperity research partnership (P2P). Its goal is to help settlement organizations capitalize on the market opportunities resulting from recent, and anticipated, policy changes and the use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs). Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has participated in the development of the Agency of the Future project because of its interest in strengthening the settlement delivery system. 

Key Premises

Several important premises underpin the project design:

  • That the changing settlement ‘ecosystem’ offers settlement organizations new opportunities to market expertise and services to commercial and non-profit institutions, as well as to newcomers willing to pay for customized services. Key changes include: an enlarged role for employers and educational institutions in facilitating newcomer admissions; an increase in migration to new destination communities; greater emphasis on pre-arrival services; and a growing use of ICT. Selling services to new clients will reduce the sector’s dependence on existing financial sources and allow settlement organizations to address independent priorities. These might include enhanced refugee services, better facilities, better professional training, and new technology.
  • That the settlement sector enjoys a strategic advantage over other organizations in delivering services to newcomers. This advantage resides in the sector’s ability to combine independent federal, provincial and other programs into comprehensive, creative solutions to the challenges that confront new arrivals. Settlement agencies are also able to mobilize ethnocultural and religious networks to assist them in their work.  Both the specialized program expertise and the ability to mobilize networks result from the way that settlement organizations work.  This gives them a strategic advantage over other organizations that do not operate in the same way.
  • That the size and reach of the national settlement sector results in a deep pool of ‘experimental’ projects and ideas, often using new technologies, for addressing the challenges that face newcomers and the institutions that serve them. Individual settlement agencies across the country have evolved numerous, creative and effective ‘solutions’ to problems that span employment, health, justice and civic inclusion. These innovations are not, however, widely known and are not systematically shared.  As a result, the sector’s ability to access new markets and identify new revenue sources is stunted. Interest by governments and other organizations in identifying and sharing promising practices suggests that this is a widespread problem.

Project Design

The Agency of the Future project is designed to do three things: to help the settlement sector identify strategic business opportunities involving new markets, new clients and new technologies; to identify promising practices that would allow the business opportunities to be exploited; and to establish mechanisms for disseminating information about the promising practices to settlement agencies across the country. The integration of these processes into a recurrent cycle would power innovation within the national settlement sector. The components of the cycle are elaborated below:

On a cyclical basis, the settlement sector would initiate a planning exercise to establish priorities for expanding or strengthening its ‘business lines’. This exercise would be driven by national, provincial and regional settlement umbrella associations. Input would be sought from government and from researchers using existing consultative forums. Business priorities might target particular groups or institutions, particular services, technology, or functions, such as market analysis or planning.  

Once priorities had been determined, a national search would begin for promising practices in the chosen areas. These practices would be analyzed using a proven methodology that combines documentary analysis with on-site, face-to-face interviews with agency experts.  The aim is to uncover the internal (to the organization) and external (environmental) factors responsible for the exceptional practice outcomes, so they can be replicated elsewhere and scaled.  Services based on the promising practices would be used to enter new markets and create new business lines.

National, provincial and regional umbrella associations would manage a process for identifying agencies or agency coalitions interested in extending into priority business areas. These agencies would be offered instruction in the promising practices. The training would follow a case study approach, combining presentations by experts from the promising practice agencies with analyses by researchers who had examined the practices. This would be supplemented by guides elaborating on key features and important steps in the business development process. Training could be delivered in-person or using on-line, distance education techniques.

The integration of the three elements into a coordinated and recurrent ‘Innovation Cycle’ would allow the settlement sector to leverage the ingenuity of its members and to expand along vectors that exploit their comparative advantages. CIC has a shared interest in helping to foster the Innovation Cycle.

Next Steps

Several working groups made up of settlement agency volunteers and P2P researchers have been pushing ahead on important aspects of the Agency of the Future project. Two key initiatives are under development: A pan-Canadian survey of settlement agencies and a set of pilot studies to investigate potential business lines.

(1) Pan-Canadian survey of settlement agencies  

The pan-Canadian survey of settlement agencies has four objectives:

a. To assess the business opportunity landscape available to settlement agencies by comprehensively mapping the  commercial and non-commercial (unfunded) activities undertaken, or planned, by settlement agencies; 

b. To record the depth of the ‘innovation pool’ across the sector in respect of potential business lines and business activities;

c. To create rosters of agencies with experience in various business areas, so the expertise can be readily located and accessed to advance the sector’s business interests;

d. To map the current and projected uses by the sector of information and communication technology, along with barriers and interfaces with CIC policy and analytic systems.

The survey would be directed to all settlement service provider organizations in Canada that belong to a provincial or regional umbrella association.  The help of these associations would be sought in order to encourage member agencies to complete the questionnaires. 

Work on the survey is already underway and will be discussed at the P2P’s annual national conference in November 2014.  Advice from workshop participants will be used to shape and refine the survey.

(2) Suite of market studies investigating potential business lines

Six potential business areas have been identified for the pilot studies. These include:

  • Concierge service for employers, helping them to navigate the Express Entry system for processing skilled immigrants;
  • Pre-arrival services for prospective immigrants helping them to facilitate their labour market insertion and settlement in Canada.
  • Services aimed at public and private institutions implicated in refugee resettlement but lacking specialized knowledge, and assistance to private sponsorship groups to help with organization, fund raising and preparation;
  • Support for immigrant entrepreneurs and agencies interested in economic development as well as succession planning for SME’s in smaller centres and remote areas;
  • Services for international students and educational institutions to boost recruitment and student retention, especially in smaller centres;
  • Services directed to businesses that recruit highly skilled temporary workers.

Three pilot studies will be conducted, in each case assessing the needs of potential clients, delineating possible services, assessing the size and location of potential markets, analyzing the existing service environment, and assessing the comparative advantage of settlement agencies relative to competitors.     

Sponsors are currently being sought for both the pan-Canadian survey and the market studies. Using the insights derived from these analytic platforms, it is hoped that an initial version of the Innovation Cycle can be launched in late 2015 or early 2016.


This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Policy

by Priya Ramanujam (@SincerelyPriyain Toronto

When it comes to research pertaining to immigration and new Canadians, things are definitely picking up quickly this fall. In the second installment of Research Watch we take a look at some important research coming out of other parts of the world on migration issues, as well as the upcoming Pathways to Prosperity research conference and an exciting new research collaboration between Ryerson University and the Maytree foundation.


The Ryerson Maytree Global Diversity Exchange

As of September 15, a section of the Maytree Foundation – projects, staff and resources – will have a new home: inside the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. Through what is shaping up to be a dynamic research collaboration that will focus on effectively bringing about increased inclusion of immigrants and racialized minorities in the Canadian business world, four specific projects will come to Ryerson with Maytree: DiverseCity onBoard, HireImmigrants, Cities of Migration and Flight and Freedom. It truly speaks to the important role immigrants play in our country’s economy, explains Wendy Cukier, founder of Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and Vice-President of Research and Innovation.

“I think that increasingly people are recognizing equity and diversity are grounded in a commitment to human rights and that it is the right thing to do from an ethical perspective,” Cukier says. “But, increasingly, they are recognizing the business case and how addressing [diversity] issues appropriately is critical for the competitiveness of businesses, for the effectiveness of government, and, in fact, for Canada as a nation.”

According to Cukier, the new initiative’s Executive Director Ratna Omidvar, and her team, is looking forward to being able to tap into Ryerson’s faculty and students to get involved in current projects. Cukier says this partnership will bolster the expertise, contacts, networks and partners Maytree has as a leading organization in reducing poverty and inequality since 1982. It will also further expand on Ryerson’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

But increasingly they are recognizing the business case and how addressing [diversity] issues appropriately is critical for the competitiveness of businesses, for the effectiveness of government and in fact for Canada as a nation.

Canada has a history of being a country of immigrants, and other countries are trying to catch up, Cukier explains. Leaders from countries around the world – she notes the president of Germany, Joachim Gauck, will be here later this month – come to Canada to find out how the nation has been so successful at inclusion of immigrants and racialized minorities.

At the same time, we know we can do better,” she adds. “I hope this partnership pushes that envelope.”

Misconceptions about migration to EU

Interestingly, over 90 per cent of the children I interviewed have a family member in the U.S., with just over 50 per cent having one or both parents there.

In recent years, the European Union (EU) has faced considerable economic turmoil. And as such, something has to be blamed. For many, that something is migration. Although political leaders once staunchly defended migration, since the 2008-09 financial crisis, defenders are few and far between. Views such as migrants-are-not-needed in the EU or migrants-take-up-all-the-jobs, run rampant. But, the Migration Policy Centre at the European University Institute challenges these notions with a new research paper: Is what we hear about migration really true? Questioning eight stereotypes, edited by researcher Phillipe Fargues. A combined effort of 10 authors and contributors, the 92-page report provides in-depth analysis that debunks eight specific stereotypes of migration in the EU.

Of the eight stereotypes, six are argued as point-blank wrong – we do not need migrant workers; migrants steal our jobs; we do not need low-skilled immigrants in the EU; migrants undermine our welfare systems; migration hampers our capacity to innovate and our southern coastline is flooded with asylum seekers. The authors counter these stereotypes with research proving otherwise; for example, an aging population and waning work force in the EU means immigrants will help stimulate the economy. The final two stereotypes – economic migrants are trying to cheat our asylum system and our children suffer from having immigrants in class are deemed complex issues that are not as cut-and-dried to easily proven or disproven.

The misconceptions of migration are not limited to the EU, it seems. In July, The American Immigration Council released a study by researcher Elizabeth Kennedy, No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes, which worked to get to the bottom of the influx of unaccompanied child migrants in the United States coming from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Perhaps, what stood out the most about Kennedy’s findings was this passage, “Interestingly over 90 per cent of the children I interviewed have a family member in the U.S., with just over 50 per cent having one or both parents there. Most referenced fear of crime and violence as the underlying motive for their decision to reunify with family now rather than two years in the past or two years in the future. Seemingly, the children and their families had decided they must leave and chose to go to where they had family, rather than choose to leave because they had family elsewhere. Essentially, if their family had been in Belize, Costa Rica, or another country, they would be going there instead.”

Through this finding, Kennedy shows that it isn’t so much about the United States and the pursuit of the American Dream that brings the children across the border, as is widely reported, but rather it is serious issues such as organized crime, gangs and violence. The report also speaks to the fact that leaving their country is often a last resort for these young people and that the children and their families often don’t trust their own national governments to help them.

P2P's second annual conference in Montreal

A benefit of attending this conference is to receive up-to-date information from a variety of stakeholders about the latest research being done on cutting-edge issues

Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), which unites university, community and government partners in the work of promoting the integration of immigrants and minorities across Canada, will bring together its researchers with policy and program officials from all three levels of government, graduate students and community service providers to set research priorities for the coming year. The 2nd annual conference, being held on November 24 and 25 in Montreal, builds off of last year’s success, which conference co-chair Victoria Esses says created real connections between community partners and academics, which led to meaningful work.

“A benefit of attending this conference is to receive up to date information from a variety of stakeholders, about the latest research being done on cutting edge issues,”says Prof. Esses, who is the Director of the University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Research on Migration and Ethnic Relations.

Six main sessions are scheduled, themed around issues such as regionalization and immigration to communities outside of metropolises and changing entry pathways, including students, temporary workers and transition classes. Workshops and roundtable discussions will be held to set research priorities regionally – remote Northern communities, Quebec, Ontario, the Atlantic provinces, the Prairies and British Columbia are all focus areas, for example.

As Prof. Esses points out, not only will this conference help shape the priorities of P2P’s academic collaborators in the coming year, but it will also help finesse how projects are identified and how existing studies will be re-aligned to better suit community/government goals. The conference will also provide an excellent platform for graduate students to network and find out what’s new in the field, while they seek out possible thesis ideas or gain insight on how to narrow down broad thesis statements. Registration is now open.


This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in National

A national organization which aims to bring together stakeholders to promote the successful integration of immigrants and minorities has just released a video series highlighting ideas on how to do just that.

Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), an alliance of university, community and government partners, recently filmed a series of interviews with individuals working through Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) in Ontario.

The video series includes:

  • Audrey Andrews, Durham Region Local Diversity and Immigration Partnership: promoting funding opportunities for community organizations by disseminating  a compendium of  funding opportunities  and by organizing  forums in which funders discuss their programs with interested parties;
  • Alex Goss, Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership: engaging employers through facilitation of a mentorship program in the region and development of tools and resources for businesses that may be interested in hiring  immigrants;
  • Don Curry, North Bay Local Immigration Partnership: engaging employers through the establishment of an employers’ council that develops resources and arranges activities to promote the attraction and retention of immigrants in the region;
  • Hindia Mohamoud, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership: promoting a welcoming community through the Welcoming Ottawa Week that showcases the diversity of Ottawa and connects newcomers and established residents;
  • Bill Sinclair, Toronto South Quadrant Local Immigration Partnership: coordinating services for immigrants through a common intake and assessment form, a common welcome brochure on local assets, common staff training, and common research.

P2P says that “the long-term aim is to develop a comprehensive body of videos on promising practices for networks such as the LIPs and the Réseaux en immigration francophone (RIFs), and for community organizations working with immigrants so that they can share practices and activities that they have found to be successful in meeting their goals”.  Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Integration Branch funded the video series.

See each of the videos here:

Audrey Andrews

 

Alex Goss

 

Don Curry

 

 

Hindia Mohamoud

 

Bill Sinclair

Published in Policy

by Yaa-Hemaa Obiri-Yeboah

The immigrant service sector may be on the verge of a “fiscal cliff,” faced with reduced funding from several levels of government and a dramatic shift in the profile of newcomers arriving in Canada, an Ottawa conference heard on the weekend.

In a presentation that was designed to be provocative, Meyer Burstein, director of policy and planning for Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), highlighted some of the shifts underway: more immigrants headed to western Canada, a higher number settling in rural areas and an “explosion” in the number of non-permanent migrants. P2P describes itself as “an alliance of university, community, and government partners dedicated to fostering welcoming communities and promoting the integration of immigrants and minorities across Canada.”

Mr. Burstein talked about the “rapid changes” that have occurred in “the whole settlement ecosystem” - from the ‘flatlining’ of immigrants through the family class to the dependence of many settlement organizations on government funding, while cutbacks occur at the federal level and are expected at the provincial level as well. He commented on the sector’s lack of capacity to respond to these and other changes and the need for innovation and to “capitalize on key strengths” in the sector.

There is arguably a “reduced need for service,” he said, urging settlement agencies to use new technologies and existing networks to identify new sources of funds.

Jon Worren, of MaRS Discovery District, also discussed innovation in the sector, and presented a business model framework for use by the sector. Adnan Qayyum of Pennsylvania State University stressed the importance of smart targeting and “high touch” services for newcomers – some of whom may be exposed to a deluge of information.

Some Pathways participants expressed opposing views, noting that the sector has adapted from a focus on refugees to that of skilled workers. Challenges to sharing information and best practices were also noted given the competing nature of contribution grants and contracts.

Quebec's secular charter

The Quebec node of Pathways to Prosperity hosted a roundtable discussion on the Quebec Charter of Values and its implications on immigration. Panelists from universities both within and outside of Quebec, as well as provincial networks working with minority groups, addressed the reasons behind the charter’s development as well as its implications for minority (ethnic and language) communities.

Chedly Belkhodja of the University of Moncton stated that the charter’s development is “politics at its best,” noting that Pauline Marois’ Parti Quebecois is seeking to “define its turf” and be in a clear position before the next provincial election. Prof. Chedly also stated that the discussion in Quebec is “not different from the discussion in other countries,” countries that are also retreating from multiculturalism and blaming immigrants (e.g. Arabs, Muslims) for internal issues.

Pathway investigators sought to use the panel discussion to identify needed research areas. Participants noted a need to find out what immigrants in other parts of Canada are thinking, as well as the views of religious Quebeckers before and after the establishment of the charter.

Pathways organizers expressed a desire to set up a “repository of information” and to make the sector’s voice more visible in research. From the audience, Getachew Woldyesus, of Saskatchewan Association of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Agencies (SAISIA) offered a “challenge to the academic community,” noting their power and that government “policies are based on what [they] write.” Mr. Woldyesus, with visible support from others in the audience, addressed the need for the academic community to be aware of its role and to serve as “an ally” and to work with local service providers.

Pathway organizers intend to make the conference an annual event, providing future opportunities to bridge and reinforce the relationship between researchers and settlement service practitioners.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Top Stories

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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