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    Peel Immigration Web Portal
    Community Consultation


    Executive Summary of Final Report



    Introduction
    Helping newcomers succeed in Peel Region
    Engaging community expertise
    Value-added insights from consultation
    Objectives of the consultation process
    Key findings of the research
    Top ten recommendations
    Building a “map” for newcomers
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    (PDF 72 KB, 7 pages)

    Introduction

    The Region of Peel is one of 13 municipalities to apply for and receive funding from the Ontario government to develop a municipal immigration web portal to support the integration of new Canadians into the community.

    A project team, responsible for overseeing and managing the work, is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of Regional staff who also seek advice, input and assistance from external partners and stakeholders. The Region is responsible for the development, maintenance and updating of the portal as well as the Regional government content; partners and stakeholders are responsible for external content.

    Helping newcomers succeed in Peel Region
    (Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon)

    The primary goal of the web portal is to support prospective immigrants and those recently arrived in Peel by connecting them to the critical information they need to:

    • Make an informed decision in considering Peel Region as a site to settle in Canada
    • Prepare themselves effectively before immigrating to Peel
    • Access services and supports available for newcomers when they arrive.

    The project team undertook detailed analysis of a wide range of immigration-focused web portals; engaged in a “newcomer simulation exercise” and undertook usability reviews to determine the kinds of information (content) that was of greatest value and highest importance to newcomers.

    The result of this work was the identification of seven “critical topic areas” for the web portal:

    • Employment
    • Housing
    • Education
    • Healthcare
    • Transportation
    • Language
    • Family

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    Engaging community expertise

    The project team entered into a community consultation process in the fall of 2007 to validate these topic areas and to ensure they were comprehensive. These consultations involved:

    • Recent newcomers who had immigrated within the last year
    • Front-line staff of immigrant-serving agencies
    • Peel employers
    • Employed newcomers who had lived in Peel Region from one to five years.

    One community-based consultation and three individual focus groups with each of key audiences (employers, employed newcomers and recent newcomers) were held to gather the data found in this report. These consultations largely validated the preliminary findings of the project team while also providing significant detail and insights into how the content should be organized and presented to make it most useful to the portal’s key audiences.

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    Value-added insights from consultation

    In addition, many of the participants in the consultations expressed an interest in making other contributions to the development of the site, including gathering core information identified in the consultations.

    Among the significant benefits of the consultation was a deep understanding that to be effective for its intended audience, the portal must realistically address and candidly describe the challenges most frequently associated with the experience of immigration. It was noted that such an approach benefits potential immigrants by ensuring they have a whole and accurate “picture” of the community where they intend to settle that enables them to prepare appropriately for the move; and it also benefits the community by helping to ensure the newcomers it attracts are knowledgeable and well-prepared.

    The Executive Summary of the consultation report that follows describes in more detail how the consultations were structured and the resulting information obtained.

    The project team supports the key recommendations of this report and believes that their execution will result in an immigration web portal that will serve its intended audiences very effectively and which can be enriched over time with feedback from users.

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    Objectives of the consultation process

    The objectives of the community consultation were to:

    • Gather content suggestions for the top seven website topics (Employment, Settlement, Health, Childcare, Education, Transportation, Family/Social);
    • Prioritize the topics/content;
    • Identify topics to add to the web portal;
    • Gather a list of gateway agencies to add to web portal;
    • Gather functionality suggestions for the web portal; and
    • Gather a list of people interested in writing/providing content for the web portal

    The objectives of the employer focus group were to:

    • Determine what role Peel region employers might have with this web portal;
    • Gather ideas, suggestions and strategies for the web portal, from the employer perspective; and
    • Gather functionality suggestions for the web portal

    The objectives of the employed newcomer focus group were to:

    • Gather content suggestions for the web portal;
    • Prioritize the topics/content;
    • Identify topics to add to the web portal;
    • Gather functionality suggestions for the web portal; and
    • Gather strategies and tips for success for the entire immigrant family, based on experiences of the participants

    The objectives of the newcomer focus group (less than one year in Canada) were to:

    • gather content suggestions for the web portal;
    • prioritize the topics/content;
    • identify topics to add to the web portal; and
    • gather functionality suggestions for the web portal

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    Key findings of the research

    Seven “critical” topics were validated through the consultations as primary categories for the Immigration Web Portal:

    • Employment
    • Housing
    • Education
    • Healthcare
    • Transportation
    • Language
    • Family

    Strong secondary categories were:

    • Recreation
    • Finance

    The strongest themes that emerged from the sessions include:

    • Be prepared
    • Perception versus reality- keep in check
    • Understand employer’s expectations
    • Get help

    Note:
    The term “settlement” was not a category title used by the focus group participants. The trend was to separate the essentials of settlement into the seven categories listed above. Therefore, it is recommended the word “Settlement” not be used as a category title, as it is a word used by service providers, not newcomers.

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    Top ten recommendations

    There are ten key recommendations related to the content/development of the Immigration Web Portal:

    1. Focus on employment
    2. Include the primary categories on the home page
    3. Focus on the theme of “be prepared”
    4. Focus on the theme of “perception versus reality”
    5. Include recreation
    6. Include interactive elements to the web portal
    7. Incorporate visuals and “Canadiana” branding
    8. Include links to external websites
    9. Include resources and links specifically for employers
    10. Include services/organizations that can help

    This report concludes “information-giving” is not enough to be a useful Immigration Web Portal. Additional tips, strategies for success, and a theme of realism must be thread throughout the Web Portal to move the user from simply “information gathering” to a stage of “comprehension” (grasping the meaning of the information). This might mean the difference between applying this information to solve or avoid potential problems, or having to face the same challenges of so many newcomers who have come before.

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    Building a “map” for newcomers

    Based on the findings of the community consultation and three focus groups, the recommended navigation map for the web portal is as follows:

    Be Prepared

    • Chart of basic monthly costs (related to all seven primary categories)
    • Budgeting form/tool for users to determine monthly costs
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Immigration/Settlement
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story


    • To Do Checklist- before arriving
      • Where to live
      • Money to bring
      • Important documents to bring
      • Have credentials translated into English and assessed
      • Research Occupation/Industry
      • Determine steps to employment in own occupation/licensing requirements
      • Obtain temporary health insurance

    • To Do Checklist- after arriving (first month in Peel Region):
      • Apply for Social Insurance Number
      • Apply for Health Card
      • Open a Bank Account
      • Locate a settlement agency close to your home
      • Locate the Newcomer Information Centre
      • Locate the Employment Resource Centre
      • Register children in school
      • “14 things to do your first week in Canada”, Settlement Workers in School (SWIS) resource
      • Locate low-cost/ethnic grocery/clothing/household stores

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    Employment

    • Most important:
      • Accreditation/Professional Process
      • Links to local employers
      • Job postings/job bank (local)
      • Organizations that can help with job search/employment
      • Employer Expectations (Reality of Job Search/Career in Canada; Progression)
      • Cycle/Process of a typical job search with timelines
      • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story
    • Other:
      • Typical cycle, with timelines, to obtain professional licensing
      • Local labour market information
      • Links to Government websites/departments related to Employment
      • “How to” of job search/tools (resumes, interviews, Etc.)
      • Job Search Suggestions/Tips from Employers
      • Self-Assessment Activities/Tools/Quizzes (employment; job readiness; skills)
      • Starting a Business

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    Housing

    • Renting
    • Buying
    • Home Insurance
    • Shelters
    • Subsidized Housing
    • Condo versus Apartment
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Housing
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    Education

    • Credentials Assessment
    • Schools (pre-school, elementary, middle, high school)
    • Apprenticeship
    • Private, Public, Faith-based Schools
    • Colleges, Universities
    • Continuing Education
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Education
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    Healthcare

    • First 90 Days
    • Health Service in Peel Region
    • OHIP Card
    • Walk-in Clinics
    • Finding a Doctor
    • Community Health
    • Tele-Health Ontario
    • Hospital/Emergency Services
    • Special Care/Special Needs
    • Senior Care
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Healthcare
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    Transportation

    • Public Transit
    • Getting Around (bicycle, taxi, toll, highway, accessibility)
    • Driver’s License
    • Auto Insurance
    • Transporting Children
    • Maps (public transit; directions)
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Transportation/Licensing
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    Language

    • Language Assessment/Centres
    • Benchmarks
    • Length of time (average) to reach a benchmark level/improve language skills
    • LINC/ESL/ELT
    • Language Expectations of Employers
    • Sector-specific Language Expectations/Required Levels
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Language/Programs
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    Family

    • Family Services in Peel Region
    • Children Services
    • Childcare Options
    • Youth Services
    • Adult Services (for the Individual)
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Family/Social Services
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    Recreation

    • Family Fun (free and low cost options in Peel Region)
    • Festivals and Events in Peel Region
    • Cultural/Multicultural Events in Peel Region
    • Physical Activity (free and low cost options in Peel Region)
    • Canadian Holidays
    • Links to Government websites/departments related to Parks and Recreation
    • Past Immigrant’s Experience- Real-life Story

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    For Employers Only

    • Ask a Question (live assistance or email)
    • Chat/Blog for Peel-based Employers
    • “Filter” tool (or checklist) for job seekers to fill out before accessing job postings (Did I…practice my interviewing skills; get help with my resume; research my occupation and industry, etc.)
    • Post Jobs (With a free trial period)
    • Understanding Credentials Assessment/Information About
    • Demographic information (who is using the site, for the purpose of job postings)

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    Get Help

    • List of “Gateway” Agencies:
      • Vocational Pathways Inc. (VPI)
      • Newcomer Information Centre (NIC)
      • Mississauga Community Connections (MCC)
      • LINC Assessment Centre
      • Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
      • Peel District School Board
    • List of websites to find help in Peel Region:

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    Functionality

    • Chat/Blog for newcomers
    • Language translation tool
    • Calculator (for budgeting purposes)
    • Ask a Question (live assistance or email)


    Revised: Wednesday February 04 2015

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