Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Josephine Naidoo

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This research is an evaluation of the processes and outcomes of an Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP) in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. ISAP was established to facilitate quick and easy adaptation of newcomers in the region. The study utilized the stakeholder approach to evaluation, where I worked in collaboration with the program staff and a client in defining the stages of the research process. The study also explored other areas which were considered central to settlement and adaptation. These include client-counsellor relationship, family experiences, clients’ self-esteem, and moral support provided by counsellors. Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, I conducted personal interviews with 30 randomly selected participants of the program, and also a focus-group interview with four full time counselors. Data were analyzed using content analysis, frequencies and percentages. The findings indicate that ISAP is performing very well in meeting its process and outcome goal. However, there is more room for improvement. Several comments from participants indicate they perceive the program as being very beneficial to them. Many commented that integration into the community would have been difficult had they not met their counsellors on arrival. The major themes that emerged included lack of adequate information, lack of close contact with counsellors, lack of follow-up on clients’ progress, and their loneliness and isolation. Clients’ unemployment was a major factor affecting overall well-being, self-esteem, and self-reliance. Thus, the vitality of employment in successful adaptation to the host country, Canada, was highlighted. This research has helped identify the strengths and weaknesses of the program and, therefore, provides the opportunity for counsellors to reflect on services provided newcomers. Generally, the study contributes significantly to the meager literature on settlement and adaptation issues. It also serves as a model for evaluating similar settlement programs. The several recommendations offered by stakeholders and myself, based on the research findings, should improve ISAP services in important ways. For example, ISAP advocating on behalf of its clients to work on “probation” basis with interested companies and linkage with helpful employment support groups should alleviate the stress of job searching for the new Canadians.

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