Publications, reports, and articles.

Access to Settlement and Other Service Information in Langley (2022)

Posted on:
May 13, 2024

The Langley Local Immigrant Partnership Research project: Access to Settlement and Other Service Information took place from November 2021 to March 2022 and explored these two questions: What hinders new immigrants from accessing information about settlement and other services? How to improve immigrant access to information?

The report presents key findings and recommendations on improving access to information for newcomers in Langley, British Columbia. The report provides recommendations such as developing a centralized digital information hub, establishing physical information hubs or welcome centers, supporting newcomers as information ambassadors, and enhancing language services and professional development for service providers.

Themes and Findings

Information Needs of Newcomers

  • Upon arrival, newcomers primarily need information related to banking, housing, education, health services (finding a family doctor, clinics), employment, transportation, and accessing community services like libraries and recreation programs.
  • Being connected to schools for their children, settlement services, including Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) where families with children can receive information and services, and language classes for adults were seen as priorities.
  • Connecting with faith organizations is also important for many newcomers.

Challenges in Accessing Information

  • Newcomers face difficulties finding information particularly about settlement and language services, as well as health-related information.
  • There is a lack of ability to provide first-language settlement services for the diversity of newcomer groups.

Sources of Information

  • Newcomers heavily rely on relatives, friends, the internet, settlement agencies, libraries, faith communities, and information boards for accessing information.
  • Those with private sponsorship tend to have better access to information and support compared to government-assisted refugees.

Gaps and Opportunities

  • There is a need for better coordination and information-sharing among service providers and community organizations serving newcomers.
  • Multiple access points, both physical and digital, are required to meet the diverse needs of newcomers. Engaging newcomers themselves as information providers by leveraging their networks and community connections can be beneficial.
  • Building capacity in language services and maintaining high standards of service delivery are crucial.

Recommendations

The report provides the following five recommendations to improve access to information about settlement and other services in Langley. Each recommendation in the report includes current strengths to build on, possibly tools and approaches to be used, related promising practices, and where the recommendation aligns with existing LIP strategic priorities and goals:

  1. Improve information flow between service providers and other associations:
  • Create a centralized system or platform for service providers to share information and make referrals to other organizations serving newcomers.
  • Facilitate better coordination and communication between settlement agencies, community organizations, and other service providers.
  1. Develop a digital hub for newcomer information and service providers:
  • Create a website or app that serves as a centralized online source for information on settlement services, community resources, and organizations serving newcomers.
  • Include searchable categories, translation features, and the ability for newcomers to ask questions.
  • Most settlement and community service providers in Langley as well as the City and the Township of Langley have informative websites that provide information about their services and programs. The building of a digital hub of settlement information should create a network between these websites, as well as include a wide range of websites offering information vital to newcomers, such as information about health, childcare, and legal issues. A digital hub could also connect to information sources that exist beyond Langley’s geography, including BC211, NewToBC, WelcomeBC and the IRCC settlement service database.
  1. Build an in-person hub (or multiple hubs) for newcomers:
  • Establish physical welcome centers or hubs where newcomers can access services, information, and support in person.
  • Leverage existing locations like libraries, schools (SWIS program), and community centers as potential hubs.
  1. Engage and support newcomers as information-providers:
  • Harness the knowledge and networks of newcomers themselves to distribute information within their communities.
  • Create volunteer opportunities for newcomers to serve as "information ambassadors" or spokespersons.
  1. Build capacity in languages and standard of service:
  • Increase funding for translation/interpretation services to provide information in newcomers' first languages.
  • There is no one standard training or specific qualification requirement for settlement workers. Settlement and community providers would benefit with more professional development opportunities to ensure that information provided to newcomers is consistent, a professional standard of service is provided, and effective referrals can be made.

Offer professional development and training opportunities for settlement workers to maintain consistent, high-quality service standards. The recommendations aim to address gaps in information access, leverage existing strengths and resources, and involve newcomers as active participants in the information dissemination process.

    Online Scan of Promising Practices

    A scan of Promising Practices in Information Sharing and Dissemination was also undertaken as the initial stage of this research. The scan focused on the following areas of practice within the settlement sector across Canada: one-stop shop for information and referrals; word of mouth; services in partnership with cities, libraries, and schools; services in partnership with professional bodies, collaboration within the sector, and the use of multimedia.

    Summary

    The Langley Local Immigrant Partnership Research project: Access to Settlement and Other Service Information took place from November 2021 to March 2022 and explored these two questions: What hinders new immigrants from accessing information about settlement and other services? How to improve immigrant access to information?
    arrow-circle-upenter-downmagnifier