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Settlement 2.0 Project: Innovation is in our DNA (2020)

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August 25, 2020

The intent of this report is to provide a strategy for a brighter future for the sector - a Settlement 2.0 - one that prioritizes empowering newcomers to be agents in their own settlement journey and which builds the overall capacity of the sector to embrace innovative mindsets and more sustainably support newcomers over time. The Settlement 2.0 Project strives to understand the pre-conditions necessary for effective change, and how the sector can embrace tech and innovation in service delivery and strategic principles.

Background

The Settlement 2.0 project consisted of two phases:

Phase 1 involved the undertaking of a situational analysis of the settlement sector across Canada, which explored the effectiveness of current service delivery models and challenges to open and collaborative innovation in the settlement sector.

Phase 2 built on the findings of the phase one situational analysis to design and convene community consultations between stakeholders in the settlement sector across British Columbia’s Lower Mainland, with the goal of collecting data on how effective collaboration and promotion of innovative responses could address challenges identified in the previous phase.

What the first and second stages of the Settlement 2.0 Project accomplished can be summarized as follows: the Situational Analysis provided a national “lay of the land” to help PeaceGeeks understand the state of technology, innovation and open practices in the settlement sector across Canada. The Community Consultations held across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia bolstered the national findings and offered local examples of how innovative and collaborative practices are being implemented at the community, municipal, and regional levels. Further, the Community Consultations identified specific preconditions necessary for the settlement sector to more widely and comprehensively embrace innovation and collaboration in the future.

This final third report takes the national and local findings and presents them together to demonstrate:

  • A national view of what is needed for the sector to evolve into a more innovative and collaborative space, and
  • How local stakeholders are striving for innovation and collaboration within their settlement environments

The latter examples provide food for thought for IRCC to consider how to support the national settlement sector in moving toward more innovative and collaborative practices as a whole, thus bringing all phases of the Settlement 2.0 project to key focus points that can be carried forward into further conversations with more of the settlement community as IRCC moves toward a Settlement 2.0.

Recommendations

The resulting recommendations detailed in the body of this report are carefully linked to IRCC’s “CORE” Principles, as they were formally implemented into IRCC’s 2019 five-year Calls for Proposals. These CORE Principles align with the 12 Core Values of Settlement Work identified 20 years ago by the sector itself (CCR 2000).1 Language used to describe innovation (both in describing IRCC’s CORE Principles and by civic tech and other innovation actors), such as client-centric, co-creation, openness, transparency, empowering communities, addressing  vulnerability, and knowledge sharing is directly connected to the immigrant and refugee-serving sector’s principles in approaches to service provision, program development, and system change. The sector’s innovation foundation is already in place.

The authors provide actionable, scalable, stakeholder-developed recommendations to IRCC and other relevant settlement stakeholders, to build on this foundation, facilitate widespread collaboration and innovative practices and technologies in the sector, to better serve newcomers now and in the future.

  1. Invest in technology access, literacy & infrastructure as it evolves, and client use of it changes
  2. Engage in conversation with the settlement sector about how funding structures might shift to better encourage, support, and incentivize innovative and collaborative practices and processes, to continue to make effective use of resources, and further build trust between funders and funded agencies
  3. A sector-wide capacity-building approach is needed that builds on existing professional development efforts, and which is also open to exploring innovation approaches from other service-providing sectors
  4. Formalize and implement knowledge mobilization efforts & practice
  5. Ground settlement work in communities to support newcomers in bridging their settlement journey from the early stages of their settlement to when they feel ready to meaningfully call Canada their home
  6. Pursue asset-based language, programming, and outreach across the sector and beyond
  7. Engage the broader Canadian community in conversations about immigration and settlement

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Summary

The intent of this report is to provide a strategy for a brighter future for the sector - a Settlement 2.0 - one that prioritizes empowering newcomers to be agents in their own settlement journey and which builds the overall capacity of the sector to embrace innovative mindsets and more sustainably support newcomers over time.
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