Refugee families and building resilience in a second-tier city of Quebec: The resettlement experiences of Syrian refugees in Gatineau

The purpose of the project is to:

  • Shed light on the local characteristics that have contributed to but also limited the overall resilience of the Syrian of have resettled in Outaouais since 2015;
  • Understand how local actors involved in the areas of health, housing, adult "francization", schooling of children, employment and general support (sponsored group or religious community for example) have contributed to their resilience;
  • Explore the role of family dynamics in the resilience of individuals; Serve as a platform for discussion and exchange between researchers, Syrian migrants and local stakeholders involved in the resettlement process in the City of Gatineau;
  • Make recommendations to help improve the provision of local services that aim to build the resilience of individuals and families.

More than 300 Syrian refugees resettled in the City of Gatineau in 2015-2016 with the hope of finding safety and leading a decent life. The City took specific measures and many citizens, community organizations and other members of the civil society mobilized to welcome them and to help them overcome these challenges. Two years later, these actors wish to know where things stand, what has contributed to and what may have hindered the resettlement of these Syrian refugees. They also want to share their experiences and knowledge on this matter so that lessons can be learned, and recommendations made for improvements in the future. Syrian migrants themselves also wish to share their experiences from their viewpoint and in their own voices.

The desired timeline for the next steps is as follows:

  • December to February: Survey
  • February to April: Analysis of survey data
  • End of February: Second meeting of the advisory committee (preliminary results of the survey & preparation of semi-structured interviews)
  • March to May: Semi-structured interviews
  • Early May: Third meeting of the advisory committee (final results of the survey & provisional results of semi-structured interviews)
  • End of May: Presentation of provisional results at the ACFAS (Association francophone pour le savoir) congress Regards croisés sur la résilience des personnes immigrantes en milieu urbain ? quatre échelles d'analyse at the Université du Québec en Outaouais
  • End of August: Fourth meeting of the advisory committee (final results & formulation of recommendations)
  • September: Public conference at the Université du Québec en Outaouais.

Principal Investigators:

  • Anyck Dauphin, Professor
Reasearch Team(Master students, Université du Québec en Outaouais:
  • Fadoumo Farah
  • Maxime Drolet
Community Partners:
  • Accueil-parrainage Outaouais (APO);
  • Service Intégration Travail Outaouais (SITO);
  • Ville de Gatineau;
  • Emploi Québec;
  • Commission scolaire des portages de l’Outaouais

What is our approach?

A mixed-methods approach will be used. First, we will conduct a survey of Syrians who arrived as refugees as early as 2015-2016. Among survey participants, about fifteen Syrian migrant families will be identified for semi-structured interviews.  Fifteen key informants will also be interviewed representing the diverse sectors of intervention.

The project started slowly. During the summer, the advisory committee was formed and the research assistant were recruited. A literature review on the resettlement of Syrian refugees and a review of quantitative surveys of immigrant resettlement were conducted. From there, collection instruments were drafted and a research ethics certificate was obtained. The first meeting of the Advisory Committee was held in early December and aimed to present and improve the objectives and methodology of the study and to identify its challenges and limitations. The meeting was also used to decide on the recruitment strategy of the participants and the data collection instruments.