How many newcomers to Canada have you met who landed and immediately began to ask for supports, services or advice about “settlement”? In all likelihood, exactly zero!
But we know that newcomers will most certainly land with many questions about where and how to find a place to live, how to go about putting children in school, the best way to find employment, and a host of other critical questions about what the process that is called ‘settlement’ in Canada.
Most migrants to Canada rely heavily on social networks and community-based supports outside of the formal settlement sector.
The Regional Diversity Roundtable collaborated with the United Way of Greater Toronto’s Peel Newcomer Strategy Group (PNSG) to conduct an innovative participatory study examining how the majority of newcomers access settlement supports. Spoiler alert: most of those supports are informal or from other sources apart from settlement-specific programs and services.
As well, PNSG has developed broader research that digs deep into the socio-economic trends relating to newcomer settlement. The study finds that “while some economic outcomes for newcomers in Peel show promise, there are important disparities still to address.” The Report on Peel Newcomers shares very stark findings, indicating that underemployment or misemployment is rampant, that potential for exploitation of internationally-educated migrants is high, and that many stereotypes pertaining to newcomers or migrants or refugees are patently false.
Some of the key findings include the following:
- Canadian-born residents of Peel consistently earn higher salaries/wages than immigrants
- In spite of lower median incomes, immigrants in Peel are *far* less likely to rely on social assistance income than Canadian-born residents ($0.16 to the dollar declared in social assistance by Canadian-born residents!)
- Newcomers and immigrants in Peel continue to suffer under-employment disproportionately despite high levels of educational achievement (for example, over 50% of degree-holding newcomers work in jobs requiring a high school education)
Both PNSG and RDR Peel’s research work is centred on the firsthand experiences of people in Peel Region, and most importantly, on the lived experiences and socioeconomic circumstances of migrants newly arrived to Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon.
The aim of the research is to help the sector learn and adapt, so that settlement agencies and programming are being designed to meet newcomers where their needs are. This research informs readers about how we can better support non-settlement actors and community groups who have high proportions of newcomers in their catchment areas or among their clientele.
We aim to facilitate the building of connections between formal and informal settlement supports. The lens and recommendations of both organizations’ research work are centred on how to strengthen settlement services at large — whether funded or not, formal or informal — so that we can effectively meet the ultimate goal of facilitating and accelerating newcomer integration.
Read more on RDR Peel’s part of the research at the link below: