2007 National Resettlement Assistance Program Conference Proceedings

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Vancouver, February 19-23, 2007

Session Notes and Powerpoint Files

Conference Introduction

The National RAP conference was held in Vancouver, February 19-23, 2007. It was sponsored by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) National Headquarters in Ottawa in consultation with the RAP Working Group. It was attended by 240 delegates, comprising staff and management from CIC and Service provider Organizations (SPOs), as well as invited guests. They came from 26 SPOs, 4 CIC regions, 10 Provinces, 13 regional, national and international NGO?s, and 6 departments within CIC National Headquarters in Ottawa. The purpose of the conference was to provide an opportunity for those responsible for the administration and delivery of the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP) to network, share experiences, upgrade skills, provide feedback on issues and develop recommendations to improve RAP in order to better serve clients.

A Steering Committee with representation from Staff and Management of Service Provider Organizations, CIC Regional and National offices and the conference convener Jangles Productions was assembled to develop the conference agenda. The theme of the conference was, ?Toward a Client Centred Approach?.

In step with that theme one of the desired outcomes was to begin to re-define and improve RAP in order to meet the emerging needs of clients. To begin this process emphasis was placed on soliciting recommendations, suggestions, ideas and feedback from delegates. In order to advance the process of re-designing RAP there was a need to hear from those directly responsible for program delivery on how it should be altered or changed. Bringing together those who administer and deliver the Resettlement Assistance Program on a national scale provided an invaluable opportunity to meet that outcome.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20

Plenary #1:

RAP Overview of Changes

This opening plenary session was designed to give delegates an overview of what has transpired within RAP since 2000. A panel, consisting of members of the RAP Working Group, provided details on the changes that have occurred and the initiatives brought forward over the past few years. This gave the audience up-to-date information and provided all delegates the background needed to develop recommendations on how to improve RAP.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Ron Parent ? Manager of Refugee Programs Delivery, CIC NHQ
  • Robb Stewart ? Senior Advisor, CIC NHQ
  • Elizabeth Gryte ? Director, Settlement Programs, Ontario Region
  • Chris Friesen ? Director, ISS (Immigrant Services Society B.C.)

Plenary #2:

Strategic Program/Policy Directions for Canada?s Refugee Resettlement Program

Current and anticipated refugee populations require more individualized and specialized attention than ever before, and their needs often go beyond what current CIC programs are capable of providing. The panel of speakers explored strategic directions that can be pursued by resettlement programs, both abroad and in-Canada. As well, they examined how existing services can be expanded to be more client-centred and focussed on the needs of refugees throughout the resettlement continuum. New strategies to improve integration outcomes and help refugees resettle in Canada were also discussed during this session.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Rick Herringer - CIC NHQ, Director, Resettlement Division
  • Jackie Holden - CIC NHQ, Director, Program Policy and Business Management Division
  • Joy Baldwin - CIC NHQ, Manager of Interim Federal Health Program

Breakout Period 1

Breakout #1:

Community Economic Development & Employment Programs (Social Cooperatives: An Innovative model for the Settlement of RAP Clients)

This breakout explored the role that social enterprise, in particular, cooperatives can play as an alternative labour market attachment strategy for refugees and new immigrants. Participants gained insights into the formation of the first Afghan refugee women's sewing and handicraft co-op in Canada - both successes and challenges. Over 90% of current co-op members were government-assisted refugees. Discussions also centred on the possible role immigrant serving agencies can play to promote community economic development activities within newly arrived immigrant populations as part of settlement supports.

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Chris Friesen - Director, ISS (Immigrant Services Society of B.C.)
  • Gulalai Habib - ISS, Community Economic Developer
  • Nicole Chaland - ISS, Coordinator of Immigrant and Refugees Co-op CED Action Network

Breakout #2:

Administration of RAP Income Support

This breakout provided an exchange of RAP income support practices, discussed issues, offered suggestions for program change, and identified the need for additional program support tools.

Presentations:

Resources:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Joan Pullen ? Regional Program Advisor, CIC Prairies/NWT RHQ, Winnipeg
  • Sadhna Gupta ? Settlement Officer, CIC Edmonton
  • Louise Odland ? Settlement Officer, CIC Lethbridge

Breakout #3:

Consultative Workshop on Interim Federal Health Program

The Interim Federal Health Program (IFH) is a crucial element of newcomer healthcare support. It?s important for all those responsible for the delivery of the program to understand fully its operations. Ms. Joy Baldwin is the National Manager of the IFH program. She explained in detail the application of the program, eligibility of services, the length of term applied and recent developments. Delegates had the opportunity make suggestions around program design issues.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Joy Baldwin ? Manager of Interim Federal Health Program, CIC NHQ

Breakout Period 2

Breakout #4:

Identifying and Responding to Communicable Diseases

Identifying and responding to communicable disease is crucial to the health of clients and all those involved in service program delivery. With continual changes in source countries occurring service providers must be constantly vigilant of changing healthcare needs. Dr. Anderson, a Medical Health Officer in Vancouver Coastal Health, provided practical information on communicable diseases found in refugee populations and how to respond. This was followed by an open discussion with the audience who gave examples of promising responses and protocols regarding communicable diseases.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Dr. Anderson ? Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health

Breakout #5:

Building Community Partnerships and Inter-Agency Cooperation

This workshop covered new ways of looking at old challenges. The panel explored the role of place-based or community-based approaches in policy and program development aimed at facilitating successful integration, specifically as this relates to refugees. Examples were showcased that demonstrate the importance of horizontality, collaboration and joined-up initiatives that involve all three levels of government, the voluntary sector, the private sector and local partners, such as local school boards.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Naomi Alboim - Vice Chair of the Queen's Policy Studies Forum
  • Susan MacDonnell - Director of Research Allocations & Community Services, United Way of Greater Toronto ? Action for Neighbourhood Change
  • Danièle Boudreau - Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles, Montréal

Breakout #6:

Finding Clients Permanent Housing

Securing housing for clients is an on-going struggle across the country. Working within budgets and finding accommodation that meets the needs of clients is very often a difficult task. The panel members offered examples of how they secure housing for clients in their particular area of the country. They offered methods and techniques they incorporate to find housing and examined the process challenges and successes. This session will be an open exchange of best practices among the panel and audience in order to facilitate the advancement of recommendations on program design.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Carlos Vialard - MIIC, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, Winnipeg
  • Gordon Ajak - SISO, Settlement and Integration Services Organization, Hamilton
  • Zakim Tokhy - K/W Reception House, Kitchener-Waterloo
  • Zeljko Dragicevic - CCIS, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20

Plenary #3:

Profile of Vancouver?s Bridge Clinic: Successes and Challenges in Building Links with Medical Community

This plenary session provided an example of how a local Service Provider Organization developed a partnership with a local health clinic in order to better meet the needs of clients. Chris Friesen, the Executive Director of the Vancouver based SPO (ISS-Immigrant Services Society) and Dr. Telford of the Vancouver Bridge Clinic both described how they established a working relationship to better serve the clients. They explained the challenges and successes they encountered in the process and offered the audience the benefit of their experiences.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Dr. Telford - Bridge Clinic, Vancouver
  • Chris Friesen - Director, ISS, Immigrant Services Society B.C.

Breakout Period 3

Breakout #7:

Workshop on General Immigration Matters

This session explored a number of issues that test the flexibility of program policy, design and legislation. Working from case studies and suggested themes, participants contributed their experience and ideas for problem clarification, resolution and change.

Resources:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Bill Stewart - CIC Program Advisor, Atlantic Region , Halifax
  • Sadhna Gupta - C&I Counsellor - CIC Edmonton
  • Kim Winter - C&I Counsellor - CIC Vancouver
  • Asifa Rahman - C&I Counsellor - CIC Charlottetown

Breakout #8:

Promising Practices in Ensuring Client Retention of Information

There is a significant amount of orientation information newcomers need to obtain upon arrival. Imparting that information and trying to ensure retention of information is a constant challenge for SPO Counsellors. Clients very often feel overwhelmed with the amount presented and this can quickly lead to information over-load. This practical seminar shared how SPOs are delivering orientation material in such a way as to maximize client retention of information.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Lynde Yasui - COSTI, Toronto
  • Joseph Oywak - K/W Reception House, Kitchener-Waterloo
  • Pradeep Navaratna - SISO, Settlement & Integration Services Organization, Hamilton
  • Ahmed Mohammed - SISO, Settlement & Integration Services Organization, Hamilton

Breakout #9:

Establishing Links with the Medical Community

In order to facilitate the healthcare needs of clients, many Service Provider Organizations have developed links or programs with local medical community healthcare providers. During this session SPO panel members gave examples of how they have established, or are in the process of establishing, relationships with local medical organizations. Audience members were asked to offer their own experiences.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Fariborz Birjandian ? Executive Director, Calgary Catholic Immigrant Society, Calgary
  • Kevin Arsenault- Executive Director, PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, Charlottetown
  • Marta Kalita ? MIIC, Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council, Winnipeg
  • Danièle Boudreau ? Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés Culturelles - Montréal
  • Allison Ivany ? ANC, Association for New Canadians (St. John?s, Nfld.)

Breakout Period 4

Breakout #10:

Refugee Arrival Patterns

This breakout session discussed the arrival patterns of GARs. International Region of CIC explained factors that impact timing of GAR movements and in-Canada stakeholders explained the importance of orderly flows and described effects that uneven arrivals have on service delivery.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Fiona Corbin ? CIC Regional Program Advisor, Ontario Region
  • Amila Smailbegovic ? Analyst, CIC International Region, NHQ
  • Mary Williamson ? Executive Director, LCCLC, London Cross Cultural Learning Centre
  • Betty Zangari ? Settlement Officer, CIC Windsor
  • Ahmad Fahim - IOM, Ottawa

Breakout #11:

Making Effective Referrals After RAP

This workshop looked at opportunities for harmonizing RAP and ISAP and explored roles and responsibilities of the Government and Service Providers. It focused on best practices in referring GARs to settlement programs and services, best practices in accommodating specific needs of GARs within settlement programs and services, service gaps in the resettlement-settlement continuum, and intergovernmental partnerships.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word


Presenters

  • Elizabeth Gryte ? Director, Settlement Programs, CIC Ontario Region
  • Ugur Ayman - YMCA of Greater Toronto
  • Mary Gallivan ? Catholic Immigration Services, Edmonton

Breakout #12:

Programming for Illiterate Clientele

An increasing number of clients are arriving in Canada with limited or no literacy in their first language. Many have had little or no previous education. Communicating with this group of clients is very challenging. Ms. Paula Tang, co-author of a Literacy Assessment tool, discussed ways of recognizing and identifying low levels of literacy, provided insight into the learning capabilities of clients with limited or no literacy, highlighted techniques to communicate more effectively with this group and offered suggestions for using community resources such as translators or volunteers.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Paula Tang ? ESL Instructor and Literacy Assessment Tool Author

Breakout Period 5


Breakout #13:

Identifying and Responding to Client?s Mental Health Issues

Over the past few years Service Provider Organizations across the country have indicated that they are seeing a growing number of clients who arrive with psychiatric needs. Dr. Soma Ganesan, a psychiatrist with the Vancouver General Hospital, was the lead presenter for this session. A former refugee himself he has focused his practice on assisting newcomers with emotional and mental difficulties. He provided an overview of how to identify and respond to clients who are suspected of having psychiatric problems. A panel of SPO representatives offered their experiences and agency promising practices in meeting the psychiatric needs of clients.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenter

  • Dr. Soma Ganesan, Psychiatrist, Vancouver General Hospital

Panel

  • Bindu Narula ? CCIS, Calgary Catholic Immigrant Society, Calgary
  • Marufa Shinwari ? Manager, Settlement and Integration Organization, Hamilton

Breakout #14:

Innovations and Gaps in Resettlement Research and Evaluation

This session showcased recent innovative resettlement research, identified and explored data gaps for GARs, and examined areas for further research, evaluation and/or monitoring with a focus on outcomes for resettled refugees. It explored ways to further research in refugee resettlement and identified needs and gaps regarding refugee outcomes and indicators of integration.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Susan McGrath ? Director Refugee Studies Centre, York University
  • Jennifer Hyndman ? Professor, Human Geography, Simon Fraser University
  • Jessie-Lynn MacDonald ? Research Manager, Research & Evaluation, CIC

Breakout #15:

Issues Around Information Sharing and Protection of Personal Information

This session reviewed the key sections of the Privacy legislation in relation to the collection and use of personal information gathered to administer the Immigration Refugee and Protection Act. Panelists reviewed and examined the balance between the need to know and the extent of disclosure required specific to the needs of our RAP clients and in order to administer IRPA.

Presentations:

Presenters

  • Jennifer Mensink - CIC Regional Program Advisor, BC/Y Region
  • Deborah Goble - CIC Information Administrator, BC/Y Region
  • Don McColl ? Senior Public Rights Administrator, CIC NHQ


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22

Plenary #4:

National Roll-Out of Life Skills Program

This breakout session examined the national roll-out of the Life Skills program. Panel members detailed the lessons learned and observations made.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Fiona Corbin ? CIC Regional Program Advisor, Ontario Region
  • Fariborz Birjandian ? Executive Director, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society
  • Morteza Jafarpour ? Executive Director, Settlement Integration Services Organization, Hamilton
  • Tara Blanchard - Executive Director, Moose Jaw Multicultural Council

Breakout Period 6


Breakout #16:

Services for Children and Youth

This workshop was part of the Children and Youth National Strategy Development initiative currently underway. Findings to date were reviewed and participants helped build options for a potential 12 month national strategy.

Presentations:

  • Kappel Ramji Consulting Group - Powerpoint [100 Kb]

Session Notes:Microsoft Word


Presenters

  • Kappel Ramji Consulting Group (Betsy Kappel, Zubeida Ramji)

Breakout #17:

Conflict Resolution Skills

This interactive and informative session talked about how change, stress and a new situation can be a hotbed for conflict. Add in a cross-cultural component and the situation can become quite challenging. Discussed in this session:

  • How power and trust play a role in conflict situations
  • How to identify whether the situation is becoming adversarial rather than cooperative
  • How to manage your emotional reactions and the emotional responses of the other person
  • Some of the essential dynamics to watch for in a conflict situation so that you can intervene effectively

Presentations:

Presenters

  • Deborah White, B.S.W., M.A.

Breakout #18:

Dealing with Family Dynamics in the Resettlement Process

Ms. Operine Banton looked at the issues of family dynamics in relation to resettlement. She provided an overview of the issues that can impact family life for refugees as they learn to become part of a new society. The stresses and strains, the feeling of loss and powerlessness all can lead to abusive situations. The audience learned practical ways in which to identify and respond to situations of suspected abuse.

  • Brief definition of partner abuse, indicators, as well as its forms
  • Offences under the criminal code
  • Should you ask about abuse and why?
  • Considerations for effective communication
  • Towards effective service provision

Presentation and Notes not available


Presenters

  • Operine Banton ? MSW , Registered Clinical Counsellor

Breakout Period 7


Breakout #19:

Compassion Fatigue and Work Related Stress

Compassion Fatigue is quite common to settlement workers. It is described as secondary traumatic stress and is transmitted through empathy. This workshop examined the symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and its stages of progression. Participants completed a Self-Test to assess if they are currently impacted by Compassion Fatigue and learned methods for prevention and treatment.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Patricia Dunnigan ? Specialist in Compassion Fatigue, the Accelerated Recovery Program and Organizational Health Consulting

Breakout #20:

RAP Contribution Agreement Workshop

This workshop examined the management and administration of RAP Contribution Agreements. The session covered key aspects of the Treasury Board transfer payment policy and CIC's approach to managing contribution funding. Specific RAP issues were addressed.

Presentations:

Resources:

Microsoft Word Template

Session Notes:Microsoft Word


Presenters

  • Joan Pullen - Regional Program Advisor, CIC Prairies/NWT RHQ, Winnipeg

Breakout #21:

Diversity Analysis: The Unique Needs of Refugee Populations

This session focused on the unique needs of diverse sub-groups, namely women, youth and the elderly in resettlement and integration in Canada and compared best practices with other resettlement countries namely the US.

Presentations:

  • Amos Kambere - Powerpoint [18.4 Mb]
  • Dr. Hamdi Mohamed - PDF [90 Kb]

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Jeff Chenoweth - Division Director, National Programs, Catholic Legal Immigration Network
  • Dr. Hamdi Mohamed - Executive Director, Ottawa Community Immigrant Organization (OCISO)
  • Amos Kambere - President, Umoja Operation Compassion Society of B.C.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23

Plenary #5:

Group Processing and Client-Centred Approach

Group processing represents a fundamental shift in policy and program approach to refugee resettlement. There are many benefits to group processing including securing sufficient referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and matching limited resources and resettlement spaces to those refugees most in need of Canada's protection. This session explored the settlement and integration challenges and opportunities when groups of refugees are destined together to a same place.

Presentations:

Session Notes:Microsoft Word

Presenters

  • Heather Macdonald - United Church of Canada
  • Darcy Dietrich - Executive Director, Regina Open Door Society
  • Joy Baldwin - Manager of Interim Federal Health Program, CIC NHQ
  • Michael Casasola - UNHCR Ottawa