Total projects funded
New projects in 2020
Funds disbursed (CAD)
Research in this cluster explores the interlocking factors that influence the social integration of refugee children and youth. These include family background, family dynamics, and institutional, social, and organizational experiences. Researchers in this cluster incorporate refugee youths’ perspectives on their own integration by including their voices and involving them as researchers. This research helps us understand the diversity of integration experiences, challenges and barriers, and the effectiveness of available resources and supports. In 2020, there were two new projects in this cluster: one exploring how to facilitate independence of newcomer clients at a service provider organization in Edmonton, and one looking at reception, retainment, and integration of Francophone immigrants in the Atlantic provinces.
Who defines what successful refugee integration looks like?
The media play a key role in how refugees are portrayed.
Elke Winter and colleagues (2020) found a theme in Canadian and German media: Canadian and German citizens were represented as generous for helping refugees integrate, while refugees themselves rarely had a voice.
Refugee youth define what integration means to them.
Refugee youth in western Canada surveyed by Joseph Garcea (2019) and refugee youth in western Ontario surveyed by Reza Nakhaie (2019) felt…
- They were integrating and becoming Canadian.
- A stronger affinity to Canada than to the countries their parents were born in.
- The importance of carrying on the values and traditions of their ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
- The importance of establishing ties with and practicing the values and traditions of people in Canada.
Refugee youth also talked about challenges with social and economic integration – including loneliness, racism, discrimination, and the high cost of living.
What supports refugee integration?
Ethnocultural community organizations spearhead initial integration.
Ray Silvius and colleagues (2019) found that ethnocultural community organizations in Winnipeg are often newcomers’ first point of contact. They play an important role for newcomers who may not initially trust formal institutions.
Recreational opportunities for youth promote long-term integration.
Nicole Ives and colleagues (2019) studied Camp Cosmos, a recreational summer camp in Montreal, and found that refugee children’s self-esteem and confidence increased through the supportive camp environment. The camp also helped children learn new skills and make lasting friendships.
What more can be done to support refugee integration?
Cooperation between people and organizations is important.
Better relationships and communication among ethnocultural community organizations, service provider organizations, and the municipal government would help support refugees (Silvius, 2019).
Collaboration among schools, families, and community groups would help refugee youth with interrupted schooling (Silvius, 2020).
Partnerships among translators or cultural brokers, refugee parents, and schools would help refugee parents become more involved in their children’s learning (Chen, 2020; MacLeod, 2020).
Engaging stakeholders at different levels, including refugees, citizens, and policymakers, is key for promoting refugee health (Browne, 2020).