Immigration, settlement and integration are multifaceted and complex phenomena. These issues have been studied and debated since large-scale immigration to Canada began in the early nineteenth century. Various facets of the phenomena become the focus of academic and applied publications at different points in time as a result of patterns of continuity and/or change either in immigration flows, settlement patterns, settlement services, and integration dynamics, or in any policies and programs related thereto. We have chosen, for this special issue of Canadian Ethnic Studies, an eclectic group of articles on settlement and integration services and needs of newcomers. Some of the articles are general and wide-ranging in nature, particularly Wilkinson et al. and Ashton et al., while others delve into specific situations and specific settlement issues. However, it is our hope that, taken together, the reader will find the whole to offer a reasonably comprehensive look at some contemporary settlement and integration issues.
Within this issue, some of the subjects covered have received extensive attention in the extant literature while others have received very little, if any, attention. These articles address the following topics: economic integration challenges faced by newcomers; the devolution of responsibility for housing for refugees from the state to the community; the increased role of municipalities and neighbourhood organizations in the settlement of newcomers; the capacities of service provider organizations to operate and provide services in medium- and small-sized communities in the Prairie provinces; reforms to modernize the federal settlement services provision program; power relationships and their effects on racialized professionals in the social work profession; the challenges of providing services designed to eliminate and to mitigate the adverse effects of honour-based violence among the members of certain newcomer groups; and the resettlement of refugees.
Lori Wilkinson et al. (Understanding Job Status Decline Among Newcomers to Canada) examine the problem of the extent of skill devaluation for newcomers in the Canadian labour market. The analysis of data collected from more than three [End Page 1] thousand respondents in Western Canada with a focus on their pre-arrival and post-arrival job statuses reveals a significant decline in the job status for newcomers. The analysis also reveals variance among them based on where they were educated, their province of residence, and the length of time in Canada.
Ray Silvius (Neo-liberalization, Devolution, and Refugee Well-Being: A Case Study in Winnipeg, Manitoba) focuses on the role of the state and society in meeting the housing needs of refugees. More specifically, his article examines the impact of neo-liberal ideology in shifting the extent of support for housing from the state to various societal entities, including ethnocultural agencies, religious agencies, and familial or kinship networks of the refugees. In addition to drawing attention to the different sources of housing supports for refugees, this article provides interesting and important insights into what the author refers to as the “possibilities and limitations” of community-based approaches to providing various types of supports and services to refugees.
Shibao Guo and Yan Guo (Immigration, Integration and Welcoming Communities: Neighbourhood-based Initiative to Facilitate the Integration of Newcomers in Calgary) provide compelling evidence of the importance of municipal governments for the successful settlement of newcomers. A central theme in their article is that special efforts should be made to involve municipalities, even more than has been the case to date, as key partners in the multi-level governance context in which all governmental and non-governmental stakeholders are involved. The article sheds light on some important roles assumed by the City of Calgary in partnership with various community partners at the neighbourhood level in developing what they refer to as “a hub model of community-based initiatives” in the settlement and integration of newcomers.
Bill Ashton et al. (Assessment of Settlement Services Systems in Western and Northern Canada: Perceptions of Settlement Provider Organizations) provide an overview of the perceptions of officials from SPOs in almost three dozen medium-and small-sized rural and remote communities regarding their capacities to provide settlement services, communicate and coordinate with stakeholders, meet reporting requirements established by governments, and invest in governance and strategic planning...