Meeting the Needs of Immigrants Throughout the Life Cycle
This paper is funded by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
In order to achieve the successful economic and social integration of immigrant families, Canada needs to address systemic barriers to social inclusion and participation. In addition to ensuring that diversity is reflected and respected in government departments and all institutions, Canada must establish infrastructure and policy level supports for all members of immigrant families.
Using a family life cycle/lifespan approach, this paper identifies a range of key issues that influence the successful integration of children, youth, couples and seniors. While much of its content applies to a variety of Canadian settings, the primary focus is the Region of Peel.
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In an effort to come to a greater understanding of the factors of successful integration, the paper explores the following issues:
- For children
- Access to quality childcare and education programs that are culturally respectful
- Early academic disengagement that may lead to dropping out of school
- Language proficiency and the retention of home language while learning English
- Generational problems
- Socio-emotional consequences of certain migration trajectories
- For youth
- Language proficiency
- Social exclusion and social inclusion
- Intergenerational tensions and conflicts
- Health and health risk behaviours
- Academic disengagement
- Access to employment
- Poverty and lack of resources
- Crime and the justice system
- For couples
- Promoting healthy marital relationships and preventing divorce and intimate partner violence (IPV)
- Addressing the service needs of women experiencing IPV
- For seniors
- Social isolation
- Service gaps
- Access barriers
Although different issues are identified for each lifespan group, there are many similarities between the groups in terms of their needs and the strategies and solutions put forward to address them. In each case, this requires the collaboration of various levels of government in concert with different social sectors, including the community. Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be considered at every step.
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Implications/ Proposed Actions
The paper outlines a number of promising strategies and solutions that the Region of Peel can consider to address each issue and, thereby, enhance the well-being of its increasing immigrant family population.
Collaboration with schools and with municipal and community-based organizations is needed to provide effective outreach and encourage immigrant families and communities to become more involved in determining needs, finding culturally and linguistically appropriate solutions and developing effective mechanisms for program delivery. Thus, building and supporting community capacity and facilitating reciprocal exchanges between mainstream and community organizations for learning and practice is critical.
It is clear that the Region of Peel has an important role to play in ensuring that newcomers know about and can access the programs and services they need in order to thrive in their communities. This requires significant outreach, consultation and community engagement. It is also clear that access barriers must be addressed in order for any interventions to be successful. The Region of Peel has a key role to play in coordinating regional, municipal and community care, and in ensuring that no one falls between the cracks.
Finally, the paper identifies several service gaps that come under the jurisdiction of the Region of Peel. These include ECEC programs, community and family supports to seniors, and services for immigrant women experiencing intimate partner violence.
Read Executive Summary (63 KB, 3 pages)
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