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What is the current issue, and how do we fix this? 

Canada Struggles to Alleviate the Effects of Assimilation and Post-Migration on Families 

Canada is one of the most cosmopolitan countries in the world. Twenty percent of the population was born outside Canada, a statistic that is climbing yearly. Half the population of the Greater Toronto Area, currently North America’s fourth-largest urban area, is foreign-born.

A major settlement destination for immigrants and refugees to Canada, Peel is also an immigrant-majority population. According to 2016 census data, immigrants account for 51.5 percent of Peel’s population of 1.37 million residents. Among them, 94,105 are immigrants and refugees who arrived to Canada during the 2011- 2016 census period. This means that over this five-year period, Peel welcomed an average of 18,821 newcomers annually.

While Canada has been described as an ethnic mosaic, where cultural differences are respected, there is a significant level of assimilation during / post-migration that affects families and their relationships.


This arduous process is layered with challenges. Adjusting to a new country requires learning a new language, upgrading skills, attending educational training programs, and seeking a career. Adjusting to a culture with different norms and values has many complexities.

Our project will focus on the population of foreign-born residents who arrived in Canada at any time over the past five years. They could come as immigrants or refugees. We will use the Report on Peel Newcomers to build our Family Needs Framework to create better and more effective services that help immigrants and refugees settle in Canada. 



Report on Peel Newcomers

According to the Report on Peel Newcomers published by the Peel Newcomer Strategy Group, in March 2019 outcomes for immigrants and refugees in Peel are promising, however, are important disparities that need to be addressed.

Immigrants and refugees require more effective formal and informal settlement supports

  1. Formal settlement services need to evolve to better address a wider spectrum of newcomer priorities. 

  2. Service providers can benefit from increased support to facilitate cross-sector partnerships, service navigation, and client referrals, as well as the ability to measure impact.

  3. While a majority of newcomers rely on informal support to facilitate their integration into the community, many newcomers recommend the assistance of formal, government-funded settlement services

Needs for training 

Building and enhancing the capacity and knowledge of settlement service providers through professional development, training and collaborative connections to enhance frontline settlement services.

There is a great need to strengthen the intersection of settlement and mental health

Such as crisis, trauma, addictions, and abuse – increasing potential community partnership opportunities as well as areas for focused settlement-worker support and capacity-building

Imperative information is often missing, resulting in piecemeal approaches and investments in newcomer and refugee resettlement programs

  1. Mental health

  2. Referral pathways to other community service providers

  3. Settlement best practices

  4. Crisis and trauma

  5. Domestic violence

  6. Newcomer data and trends 

  7. Self-care

  8. Child protection

  9. Generational client diversity (youth, seniors) 

  10. Gender identity/LGBTQ

Mental health and trauma continue to feature prominently in community planning discussions. 

It was also noted that more culturally appropriate mental health services are “critically needed” to support those experiencing mental health and addiction challenges, as well as overcome stigmatization that often prevents newcomers from seeking assistance.

According to the Report on Peel Newcomers the ten urgent needs of the population ranked

  1.  Employment and job training support

  2. Cultural adjustment

  3. Ethno-cultural, language-specific services

  4. Housing and shelter

  5. School, education

  6. Language and translation

  7. Healthcare

  8. Income support

  9. Youth-specific programming

  10. Transportation

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