Blog Post

Understanding Social Participation Opportunities for Immigrants (webinar recording)

By: Marco Campana
November 27, 2020

During this virtual session research findings from a study addressing community-based outcomes for successful integration were shared. Interviews with representatives from a range of service-providing organizations in the Lower Mainland were conducted and highlight challenges and opportunities for immigrants' social participation.

Research summary

Service Provider Perspectives on Enabling Migrant Social Participation: Supporting Social Identity Shifts by Cultivating Space, Occupations and Connections.
Alex Tham & Jaqueline Brower
Supervisor: Dr. Suzanne Huot

With the ongoing arrival of immigrants and refugees (migrants) to Canada, non-profit organizations play a pivotal role in offering occupational opportunities that enable social participation within their host communities. However, few studies have adopted an occupational lens to explore service providers’ perspectives. 

Objective: This study investigates service providers’ perceptions of their agencies’ provision of occupational opportunities that promote migrants’ social participation, as well as the benefits of, and barriers to engagement in these occupations. The following research questions were specifically addressed:

  • How do service providers promote migrants’ social participation through occupational opportunities?
  • What are the perceived benefits and barriers to migrants’ engagement in these occupational opportunities?

Methods: Key informant interviews were conducted with 20 representatives from service providing organizations that serve the general population and/or migrants specifically. Each semi-structured interview lasted approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis steps of familiarization, coding and theme generation.

Results: Emerging themes highlight the following key considerations: cultivating social occupations; cultivating social spaces; facilitating connections; and enabling social identity shifts.

Conclusions: Resulting themes can inform knowledge translation amongst community service providers and occupational scientists/therapists regarding occupational opportunities that have been shown to enable migrants’ social participation within Canadian society. Analysis of perceived benefits and barriers to participating in occupations highlights both the strengths and gaps of current service provision in a region.

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