Innovative new approach launched to bolster immigrants’ integration success

Calgary, Alberta (September 21, 2020) – Immigrant Services Calgary is initiating a transformation in the way newcomers to southern Alberta access the support they need to become thriving members of Canadian society. The agency is launching a project to create Gateway, a novel approach to coordinating and delivering settlement services that aims to improve the effectiveness of the immigrant-serving sector and make it easier for newcomers to navigate the system.

“Gateway will help unleash the economic, social and civic potential of newcomers,” said Hyder Hassan, Immigrant Services Calgary Chief Executive Officer. “The new settlement model envisions a single point of access for streamlined services to provide more effective support for immigrants along their entire journey until they feel confident they have the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their new home.”

Federal government data shows that only four in every ten immigrants to Canada use settlement support services and half aren’t even aware support is available. That means many newcomers are left struggling to access even basic services such as housing, health care and education. While there are many excellent programs available, it is largely left up to the individuals to locate services offered by different agencies.

Gateway will address this problem by creating a single point of intake to the range of settlement services offered across southern Alberta. A standardized needs assessment and settlement plan will identify the priority support necessary for the family or individuals. They will then be referred to relevant programs at various agencies. Newcomers will be followed through their journey ensuring the supports are adjusted as their needs evolve, to make their integration as smooth as possible.

Aggregated newcomer data will be stored and analyzed in a highly-secured Knowledge Hub, which will be used by researchers and policy advisors to assess settlement program effectiveness and make improvements.

“Through the concept of Gateway, Immigrant Services Calgary is leading the way in this sector by delivering high-quality services to ensure the successful settlement and integration of new Canadians,” said Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada Minister Marco Mendicino. “Gateway’s focus on cross-sectoral collaboration and the use of data to improve effectiveness and accurately measure outcomes is precisely the innovative direction that’s needed to create a more impactful newcomer experience.”

The Gateway project is primarily funded by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Immigrant Services Calgary is leading the Gateway initiative in close collaboration with more than 30 community partners, including Calgary Local Immigration Partnership, Centre for Newcomers, Cité des Rocheuses, The Immigrant Education Society, and the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Other organizations engaged with newcomers have also indicated interest in Gateway, including the Alberta International Medical Graduates Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Public Library, Distress Centre Calgary, Platform Calgary, Prospect, Women in Need Society, Windmill Microlending, Young Women's Christian Association, and multiple other leading organizations. The initiative is being endorsed by the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary.

Since 1977, Immigrant Services Calgary has been providing a wide range of settlement services to immigrants and refugees looking to begin a new chapter of their lives in Canada. The organization employs a client-focused, integrated approach when working with individuals and their families to help them settle in the community. The aim of Immigrant Services Calgary is to reach newcomers in a timely and responsive manner to facilitate a smooth transition, proper settlement and successful integration into the Calgary community.