OCASI Presents on Settlement Services to Parliamentary Standing Committee


OCASI Executive Director Debbie Douglas appeared as a witness before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration to present on ‘Promoting Economic Prosperity through Settlement Services' on March 26, 2015.

She made the following observations in her presentation:

  • Employment is a critical aspect of settlement, however having a job - even a good job doesn't mean that all settlement needs have been met. Other supports are needed to maintain employment, including job integration issues, health and mental-health, and the settlement needs of the accompanying family members. Those who arrive in Canada with a job offer will also face these challenges and will need support.
  • Family reunification is an important element that contributes to better economic integration, and family separation can negatively affect job search and retention. Without family, we are creating a lonely world that will affect integration. Economic success is not possible without social integration. A sense of belonging can support economic integration, better health, mental health and well-being.
  • Francophone immigrants face major challenges in trying to get a job in the primarily Anglo labour market outside of Quebec. Unilingual French speakers in Ontario are most disadvantaged. A recent joint study by OCASI and FrancoQueer ( a provincial group concerned with the social, legal and economic well-being of Francophone LGBTIQ communities including immigrants and refugees) highlights the complex challenges of being a new immigrant, racialized, and LGBTQ, with the primary challenge being finding employment and housing in a LGBTQ-safe environment.

The following are some of the many recommendations that were offered to the Committee:

  • Settlement services should be delivered seamlessly from pre-arrival to post-arrival support. Some aspects of settlement will be realized only after arrival, and immigrants will need settlement support in Canada after arrival. Local immigrant serving agencies are best positioned to do that well.
  • Bring Francophone services sector on par with Anglophone services. The desirable goal is to ensure that unilingual (and bilingual) Francophone immigrants have access to the full range of services available in English as well as French – from language training to settlement to employment including employment mentorship and bridge-training.
  • We must not neglect the importance of family reunification. Economic and social integration are inter-connected, and no woman or man is an island.

Click here for audio recording of the presentation.

See links below for the complete submission.