Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Martha Kuwee Kumsa

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Much of the literature on recent immigrants focuses on a needs analysis from a deficit model where primarily formal services and programs related to employment issues are analyzed from a post-positivist or interpretivist framework. Using a strength-based approach this study examined other settlement issues including employment that are vital to the long-term viability of newcomers and the host society such as access to education, training (language and/or vocational), health care, and social network. Using Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) philosophical framework and methodology, data were generated from various sources—quantitative and qualitative text in the survey questionnaire (service providers and newcomers), discussions with Immigrant Settlement Transition Employment and Partnership (ISTEP) members, community meetings, dialogues with immigrant elders, and the researcher’s reflexive journal.

The questionnaire responses and the community discussions suggest that although the majority of the newcomers were university educated and had knowledge of English and/or French they face many settlement challenges such as unemployment, language, communication, underemployment, and social isolation. Of particular importance were the observed discrepancies between the newcomers’ perceptions and the service providers’ perceptions when answering the survey questions. This highlights the importance of consulting representative newcomers directly on all community and policy matters which will affect them. Moreover, the results reveal that the services available in this community are incompatible in relation to the needs of this highly skilled cohort of newcomers. Now that newcomers are settling in areas outside of Canada’s metropolitan cities, the results of this research provide pivotal information that will assist community service providers in planning programs and services to foster the integration of newcomers in this particular region as well as in other smaller communities. The findings of this study carry important messages for researchers and policy makers.

Convocation Year


Included in

Social Work Commons