Blog Post

WTF (What's the Future) of Settlement Work - a sort of weekly, occasional email newsletter

By: Marco Campana
August 20, 2021

I publish a semi-regular email newsletter that helps pull together some thoughts, find threads, etc., from time to time. You might find it interesting. Of course you'll want to sample it first. You can view the newsletter archive. Here's my most recent post:

Oh hey, wow, it's been a while since I wrote. Sorry about that. I'll blame Summer brain. Even though things don't slow down during the Summer like they once did when I started my career, it's still a time to pull back a bit, spend time with family, hopefully find some time to disconnect from work and tech. I hope, all things considered in Canada and the world right now, you've managed to carve our some peace and tranquility where you are.

I've got lots to share, with the thread of tech weaving through all of it, of course.

First off, I've had some really great and interesting conversations recently for my podcast, Technology in Human Services. Of course, you're subscribed, so you already know that. 😉

What's that? Perhaps not subscribed? That hurts dude. OK, here are three really great conversations you won't want to miss:

TiHS Episode 28: Whitney Loewen – Newcomer Introduction to Classes Online (NICO)
Welcome to episode 28 of the Technology in Human Services podcast. In this episode, I’m chatting with Whitney Loewen the manager of E learning and special projects at The Immigrant Education Society in Calgary. I reached out to Whitney after discovering their Newcomer Introduction to Classes Online project, or NICO.

TiHS Episode 29: David Phu – it’s time to start making videos
Welcome to episode 29 of the Technology in Human Services podcast. In this episode, I talk with David Phu from Nonprofit Video Comms, a nonprofit video and communications consultancy.

TiHS Episode 30: Kassia Clifford – on personal and organizational cybersecurity
Welcome to episode 30 of the Technology in Human Services podcast. In this episode I chat with Cybersecurity professional Kassia Clifford.

Next week I'm excited to interview someone about human centred/user design, so send along any questions you might have or want to know about that!

Some great recent research

Settlement 3.0 - Innovation is in our DNA (2021)
This research builds on PeaceGeeks' previous Settlement 2.0 project focused on innovation and technology adoption. In this phase, researchers sought to validate previous findings and explore new themes by taking a deeper dive into regional and small centre perspectives.

Finding Solutions for the Immigrant Serving Sector - Literature Review/Analysis (2020)
This literature review provides a snapshot of the various trends that existed in settlement sector with respect to how newcomers settle in Canada before the COVID-19 pandemic started, as well as examples of how the settlement sector has significantly changed in response to the pandemic.

Building a Knowledge-Driven Nonprofit Sector - 2019-2020 Alberta Nonprofit Data Strategy Final Report and Project Plans (2020)
The Alberta Nonprofit Data Strategy was launched in 2018 to enhance the nonprofit and voluntary sector’s use of data. This project interviewed informants about the current state of data capacity, data sharing, and the access and use of open data in the nonprofit and voluntary sector, and what steps were required at organization and sector levels to appropriately meet the needs of the sector. Informants also considered how a data hub could support the sector’s use of data.

Exploration of Newcomers’ Access to Internet Literacy (2012)
The purpose of this study was to examine how the distribution of resources within and outside an Enhanced Language Training Program (ELT) affected a group of newcomers’ access to Internet literacy development; and to discuss ensuing pedagogical and curricular implications for the ELT Program.

Using Machine-Learning to Triage Canada’s Temporary Resident Visa Applications (2021)
This report defines several introductory concepts relating to artificial intelligence and machine learning and provides a review of existing literature that acknowledges efforts made to establish clarity on how the Canadian government uses artificial intelligence to manage migration to date.

I've been adding a lot of research over the summer, you can find it all here. So much more to add, including great reports and studies from many years ago that help to illuminate where we're at and what lessons we should have been learning along the way. For example, ahem, Task Force on Access to Professions and Trades in Ontario (1989)...

Do let me know if you come across interesting research to share. Reply or share here.

Sector news and priorities

Francisco Rico-Martinez died last week. We have lost one of the good ones. Francisco was a presence in our sector. I feel lucky to have known and learned from him.

Afghanistan. What can I say about it? A contact asked me to comment on a LinkedIn thread, so here's my contribution to information. The situation is in flux and changing constantly, so I'll share what I know and have found, with the caveat that it will change almost as soon as I hit reply here. Also, if you're already connected and working with federal government reps, you likely have the most up to date information about what is ACTUALLY happening, not aspirational programs and private sponsorships, etc., that may roll out in the coming days, weeks, and months. An update today from the federal government today: Supporting Afghan nationals: About the special programs

Connect with your local MP if you haven't already. Yes, they're in election mode, but still have a responsibility to their constituents, and may be able to move things along. I read something useful online to be aware of: "MPs’ offices are currently closed due to the election. Please meet your MPs on their campaign trail." You may need to track your MP down, but it may be worth it.

Check out the #cdnimm hashtag on Twitter. There are many advocates and immigration lawyers sharing information and what they know:  If you need a recommendation for a lawyer to help move things along, you will find some great folks in this conversation. People like Wei William (Will) Tao, Arghavan Gerami, Jamie Chai Yun Liew are excellent, responsible.

As well, there are journos who are sharing what they know and find out, such as in this recent thread.

Threads like these contain useful "fine print" about who will be eligible, current government plans, and how the situation might be changing.

Advocates like Senator Ratna Omidvar are pushing for specific policy and practice shifts. This won't help you in the immediate term, but its useful information in terms of what others might get behind and people like Senator Omidvar have influence, so it's useful to be aware of what they're proposing for what might eventually become policy. Additional advocacy.

People are already discussing a community response similar to the Syrian refugee influx, so expect to hear more about private sponsorship evolving in the coming days, weeks, months. Too much is in flux, but these may be some useful connections and steps.

As well, in terms of gaining a bird's eye view of internet, social media, and smartphone usage in Afghanistan (which will be important when it comes to comms and digital services with Afghan arrivals), the Data Reportal is a great starting point for an initial understanding of tech/digital trends that Afghan refugees may be aligned with (although, of course, you should always connect directly with clients to confirm, as the excellent Toolkit outlines!). The initial slides contain global data. Specific country information for Afghanistan starts on page 17.

Be well everyone.

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