Title

Places of encounter: Enhancing the social and cultural participation of official language minority immigrants and refugees in Canada

1

Location

Studio 1

Start Time

21-10-2017 2:30 PM

End Time

21-10-2017 3:30 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Purpose: To compare the role of community spaces in the social and cultural integration of French-speaking immigrants and refugees in two Canadian cities located outside the Francophone province of Quebec. Francophone community spaces provide opportunities for people located in predominantly Anglophone cities to live, access services and socialize in French. In considering ways in which such community spaces could act as ‘places of encounter’ between newcomer and established populations, our primary objectives were to critically examine: 1) use of these spaces by French-speaking minority immigrants and refugees for their social and cultural participation; 2) their experiences of inclusion and exclusion within these spaces; and 3) how their experiences of engaging in daily occupations differed in relation to the unique geographic and socio-historic context of the two cities being compared.

Methods: A total of 56 immigrants and refugees (27 women and 29 men) from a range of countries participated in eight focus groups (4 in each city) that were conducted as part of a larger instrumental case study methodology. Questions addressed their use of Francophone community spaces, their experiences of inclusion and exclusion, and aspects that facilitated their participation and engagement within the local community. Whole text analysis of focus group interviews transcribed verbatim was followed by line-by-line coding to identify key categories and themes.

Results: Participants identified diverse challenges to their social and cultural participation within the respective Francophone minority communities examined. These challenges, and associated strategies recommended to enhance their engagement in varied occupations, will be addressed in relation to two dominant themes. The first relates to enhancing the visibility of French-speaking communities themselves, and hence of their spaces and associated opportunities for occupational participation. The second attends to the tension between the expansion of local official language minority communities and their fragmentation as related to the arrival of diverse migrant populations. The implications of the different host communities’ reception of newcomers upon their occupational possibilities will be discussed.

Implications: Existing research on immigration to Canadian Francophone minority communities has primarily attended to governmental policies and discourses. Much less is known about the daily lives of French-speaking migrants in these communities and the role of regional context in shaping their experiences of occupation. Adopting an occupational perspective to deepen understanding of how identities are negotiated in Francophone community spaces can inform the development of promising practices to support the social participation of official language minority immigrants and refugees.

Discussion questions:

In what ways do community spaces enable participation for additional minoritized immigrant populations (e.g. faith-based communities)?

How can host communities best provide spaces that enable the participation and active engagement of newcomers?

What role do such ‘places of encounter’ play in building migrants’ local capital and networks with members of the host community?

Key words: integration, international migration, participation

References

Huot, S., Dodson, B., & Laliberte Rudman, D. (2014). Negotiating belonging following migration: Exploring the relationship between place and identity in Francophone minority communities. The Canadian Geographer, 58(3), 329-340.

Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages & Office of the French Language Services Commissioner. (2015). Time to act for the future of francophone communities: Redressing the immigration imbalance. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Veronis, L. (2015). Immigrants’ narratives of inclusion and belonging in the transborder city of Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 47(2), 49-70.

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Oct 21st, 2:30 PM Oct 21st, 3:30 PM

Places of encounter: Enhancing the social and cultural participation of official language minority immigrants and refugees in Canada

Studio 1

Purpose: To compare the role of community spaces in the social and cultural integration of French-speaking immigrants and refugees in two Canadian cities located outside the Francophone province of Quebec. Francophone community spaces provide opportunities for people located in predominantly Anglophone cities to live, access services and socialize in French. In considering ways in which such community spaces could act as ‘places of encounter’ between newcomer and established populations, our primary objectives were to critically examine: 1) use of these spaces by French-speaking minority immigrants and refugees for their social and cultural participation; 2) their experiences of inclusion and exclusion within these spaces; and 3) how their experiences of engaging in daily occupations differed in relation to the unique geographic and socio-historic context of the two cities being compared.

Methods: A total of 56 immigrants and refugees (27 women and 29 men) from a range of countries participated in eight focus groups (4 in each city) that were conducted as part of a larger instrumental case study methodology. Questions addressed their use of Francophone community spaces, their experiences of inclusion and exclusion, and aspects that facilitated their participation and engagement within the local community. Whole text analysis of focus group interviews transcribed verbatim was followed by line-by-line coding to identify key categories and themes.

Results: Participants identified diverse challenges to their social and cultural participation within the respective Francophone minority communities examined. These challenges, and associated strategies recommended to enhance their engagement in varied occupations, will be addressed in relation to two dominant themes. The first relates to enhancing the visibility of French-speaking communities themselves, and hence of their spaces and associated opportunities for occupational participation. The second attends to the tension between the expansion of local official language minority communities and their fragmentation as related to the arrival of diverse migrant populations. The implications of the different host communities’ reception of newcomers upon their occupational possibilities will be discussed.

Implications: Existing research on immigration to Canadian Francophone minority communities has primarily attended to governmental policies and discourses. Much less is known about the daily lives of French-speaking migrants in these communities and the role of regional context in shaping their experiences of occupation. Adopting an occupational perspective to deepen understanding of how identities are negotiated in Francophone community spaces can inform the development of promising practices to support the social participation of official language minority immigrants and refugees.

Discussion questions:

In what ways do community spaces enable participation for additional minoritized immigrant populations (e.g. faith-based communities)?

How can host communities best provide spaces that enable the participation and active engagement of newcomers?

What role do such ‘places of encounter’ play in building migrants’ local capital and networks with members of the host community?

Key words: integration, international migration, participation