The now & future of settlement work – a couple of new reports

Two reports came out within the past week which I have had the pleasure of being part of. They’re both about the now and future of the immigrant and refugee-serving sector. I hope you find some time to read them.

COVID & Canada’s Settlement Sector Survey: Report

We had 166 respondents who completed the full survey. They represented nine provinces and two territories. True to what we know of the sector, workers and leadership are resilient, adaptable, & committed to the well-being of their clients. Both workers & leaders are getting used to a new workday flow. While they balance life with families (both in-home, extended, and overseas), all are working to create some structure in their day.

Many miss in-person connections, but are using video chat technology to its full advantage. For some it is still not the same. They “find that the job is not the same without face to face visits with clients.” Perhaps surprisingly to some, these comments are in the minority. Overall, staff and leadership are anxious, like most in society, but are adapting to the interim normal. Newcomers are being served. In some cases new clients are being served. The recognition for policy development when it comes to business continuity, remote work, digital services has moved from a nice to have back burner idea to immediate and urgent.

It will be useful sooner rather than later to embark on a learning and knowledge mobilization process so the entire sector can learn from each other. This is a useful time for the sector and its funders to build a digital/remote work foundation of capacity that will lead out of the interim normal into a new normal.

Settlement 2.0: How might we best leverage technology and innovation to facilitate settlement outcomes for newcomers?

PeaceGeeks received funding from IRCC to develop a vision and action plan for exploring how technology and innovation can best facilitate settlement outcomes for supporting newcomers. The intent is to provide a strategy for a brighter future for the sector that prioritizes empowering newcomers to be agents in their own settlement journey and which builds the overall capacity of the sector to embrace innovation towards more successfully and sustainably supporting newcomers over time.

Settlement 2.0 explores the pre-conditions necessary so that change can happen, and how the sector can embrace technology and innovation in service delivery with the goal of helping newcomers to Canada to thrive.

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