Analysis  of  governance  structures  and  policy  discourses  shaping  migration  and  resilience

What are the objectives of this project?

The proposed project corresponds to a transversal theme that will be relevant to the Partnership's examination and understanding of resilience in relation to immigration and settlement across the two provinces (ON&QC) and 8 city networks. Governance structures and policy discourses are driving and shaping resilience processes and outcomes at multiple scales, from the individual/family/household to neighborhood, community, civil society, local/urban and regional levels.  On the one hand, it is important to identify the jurisdictional and institutional context that helps to shape the immigration and settlement landscape in Ontario and Quebec and the 6 city networks. Adopting a political economy approach to understand the governance structures at various scales and how they have changed over the recent past (partly through processes of state restructuring) will provide essential background information to inform and support the comparative analysis of the project findings across the two provinces and 8 city networks.  On the other, much can be learned from how different levels of government support and/or hinder resilience. To advance the conceptual, policy and practice contributions of the Partnership, we need to consider how the concept of resilience has been mobilized in a productive manner (or not) by various actors, including governments, non-profits, and communities themselves.

How will this project be implemented?

Based on multiple conversations among team members (including at the BMRC-IRMU Strategy meeting on June 8-9, 2017), we propose a framework built on three interrelated and complementary analytical lenses. The proposed Transversal project 1 will focus on the structures of governance and policy discourse of the three levels of government and will provide the bases for the other two (to be developed later):

Transversal project 1: High level analysis of governance structures and policy discourse (duration: 18 months, September 2017-February 2019)

Governance: Jurisdictions/institutional arrangements at various levels and changes over time

Policy discourse: How is resilience used by the state and framed in policy documents?

-Develop a common methodology to address these across six city networks, two provinces, and at the federal level of government

Transversal project 2: Examination of institutional practices and experiences
-How is notion of resilience implemented/taken up by policy makers?
-What are the impacts on/strategies of policy/programme design, development, and/or implementation?

Transversal project 3: Impacts on settlement sector and practitioners
-How is notion of resilience implemented/taken up by settlement sector organizations and practitioners?
-What are the impacts on/strategies of nonprofits/service providers?

What are the phases of this project?

Research activities (18 months: September 2017-February 2018)

Stage 1. Data Collection (September 2017-May 2018)

Aim 1: Develop methodology and tools for data collection and analysis.
Aim 2: Identify, retrieve and select relevant government documents (at federal, provincial, and municipal levels; e.g., policy documents, government reports, memos, websites, etc.) for analysis at Stage 2.

-Review of and draw from existing scoping review approaches such as Arksey & O’Malley’s (2005): (i) identifying the research question; (ii) identifying relevant documents (including quality assessment); (iii) selecting documents; (iv) charting data; (v) collating, summarizing, and reporting results.

Stage 2a. Analysis of governance structures (September 2017-December 2018)

Aim 1: Identify and map/chart governance structures and practices (at federal, provincial, and municipal levels).
Aim 2: Document change and contextualize governance structures within broader political economy (from about 2006-2018).

-Review existing literature on Canadian structures of governance, policies, and practices relating to immigration and settlement.
-Secondary data analysis of selected government documents (federal, provincial, municipal).

Research questions:
-How are immigration and settlement responsibilities shared across the three levels of Canadian government? How is Quebec different from the rest of Canada, and more specifically Ontario? What role do municipal governments play? How are participating city networks involved in immigration and settlement related issues? What are local approaches to immigration and settlement and which actors are involved? What are the main funding mechanisms? What main processes of restructuring, de/re-centralization have shaped current structures and practices across the three levels of government and participating city networks?

Stage 2b. Policy discourse analysis (September 2017-December 2018)

Aim 1: Critically analyze how the term “resilience” is used by the state (at federal, provincial, municipal levels of government).
Aim 2: Undertake a genealogy of the term “resilience” as used by the state over time (early 2000s-2018).
Aim 3: Identify potential indicators to measure resilience (at individual, community, institutional levels).

-Critical discourse analysis of policy documents.

Research questions:
-How is resilience framed in policy documents? What ideas and practices lie behind the term as employed by the state? When did the term start appearing in state discourses? How has its meaning changed over time? When did “integration” become “resilience”? What are the implications for communities and/or various social groups (gender, youth, families, LGBTQI2S+, status, etc.)?

Stage 3. Write up and dissemination (September 2018-February 2019)


Knowledge mobilization

Community outreach

Mesana, V. and Veronis, L. Newcomers, Resilience and Settlement: Knowledge Exchange. Building Migrant Resilience in Cities Partnership, Toronto, June 5-6, 2018

Technical reports

Praznik, J. & Shields, J. 2018a. City of Toronto’s Role in Immigration and Settlement. BMRC-IRMU Report and Ryerson University, 39 pages.

Praznik, J. & Shields, J. 2018b. Government of Ontario’s Role in Immigration and Settlement. BMRC-IRMU Report and Ryerson University, 58 pages.

Academic conferences

Veronis L. and V. Mesana. Immigration et résilience au niveau municipal : analyse comparative des discours politiques et des structures de gouvernance à Ottawa et Gatineau. ACFAS 2019, 30 Mai (Gatineau).

Veronis L. and V. Mesana. 2018. Policy discourse analysis of immigration and resilience in Canada’s three levels of government. Annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers held jointly with the International Geographical Union, IGU-CAG 2018, Québec (QC), 6-10 August.

Mesana, V. and Veronis, L. 2018. Framing migrant resilience within Canada’s federal government policy. Annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers held jointly with the International Geographical Union, IGU-CAG 2018, Québec (QC), 6-10 August.

Mesana, V., D. Boutin, R. Bhuyan, V. Leung, S. Proulx-Chénard, and L. Veronis. 2018. Multi-level comparative analysis of immigration and resilience within provincial and municipal discourse across Ontario and Quebec. Annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers held jointly with the International Geographical Union, IGU-CAG 2018, Québec (QC), 6-10 August.

Who is involved in this project?

Principal Investigators: 

Christina Gabriel, ChristinaGabriel@Cunet.Carleton.Ca

Luisa Veronis,



Virginie Mesana (University of Ottawa), Brian Ray (University of Ottawa), Rupaleem Bhuyan (University of Toronto), John Shields (Ryerson University), Chedly Belkhodja (Concordia University), Gabrielle Désilets (Concordia University), Damaris Rose (INRS), Margaret Walton-Roberts (Wilfrid Laurier University)


Community Partners:

Enrico del Castello, IRCC; Ville de Gatineau; Hindia Mohamoud, Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP); Stephan Reichhold, Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI); Tara Beddard, Waterloo Region Local Immigration Partnership (WRLIP).