The arrival of Syrian refugees in Canada from year 2015, followed by an increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving via Roxham Road in Quebec, has brought to the forefront the precarity and vulnerability in which refugees and asylum seekers find themselves upon their arrival in their society of settlement. In that context, the Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI) and Centraide, set up the "Vivons nos quartiers" initiative in order to participate in the construction of welcoming and inclusive neighbourhoods. This initiative offers support based on three main aspects, always at the neighbourhood level: training for front-line workers, the establishment and support of communities of practice, and awareness-raising and citizen bridging activities (this last component has evolved over time to become a training for facilitators of citizen bridging activities).
The BMRC-IRMU research team associated with "Vivons nos quartiers" is accompanying and documenting the implementation of this project in various Montreal neighbourhoods, in order to observe simultaneously the transformation of local environments that welcome newcomers, with particular attention paid to the reality of refugees and asylum seekers.
The objective of this project is to identify promising practices and initiatives contributing at the neighbourhood level to the establishment of welcoming communities and avoiding the isolation of the most vulnerable immigrants.
What is your approach?
This project is based on a partnership research approach with the TCRI team that is implementing the "Vivons nos quartiers" initiative. Inspired by an ethnographic method consisting of participatory observation and semi-directed interviews, the research team actively participates in various field activities and meetings. It also follows step by step the various action committees taking part in the "Vivons nos quartiers" project in their organization and realization of activities. A close relationship of proximity has been created between the field and research teams throughout the project.
We are documenting the following activities taking place in different territories chosen by TCRI and Centraide to benefit from "Vivons nos quartiers" :
- Training for community and institutional stakeholders
- Information and awareness events for citizens
- Establishment of communities of practice and supervision groups
- GARD#qa meetings: Action-Reflection Group for the Diversity of Welcoming Neighbourhoods
- Meetings of the steering committee
- Meetings and activities of local committees for intercultural rapprochement of neighbourhoods
- Setting up of a training course on the topic of the facilitation of citizen bridging activities
We also conduct:
- Interviews with key players in the immigration sectors
- Photovoice interviews with immigrants and refugees
- On-site review of the project to understand its structure, identify the stakeholders and the supporting activities that will be documented.
- To develop reflexivity within the TCRI field team with respect to the initiative objectives and all the stages involved in the project
- Recruit and hire a bilingual graduate student (Master or PhD), who is familiar with the Montréal network to make field observations and appropriate notes (15 hours/week).
- To design the tools and templates to coordinate the field work.
- Field data collection, field notes compilation, and interview summaries.
- Quarterly results: data coding, using Nvivo software, to assess the direction and evolution of the project in order to redesign the research activities in the search of possible solutions, if needed.
- Networking with the stakeholders from Montréal and Québec that are working on the development of welcoming communities that promote active social participation for refugees and immigrants.
- To evaluate the potential to reproduce the project “Vivons nos quartiers” in other cities at the provincial or federal level.
- To draw up a research report and to establish an evaluation and follow-up protocol of the current impacts and future objectives for 2018 – 2021 (years 3, 4 and 5) of the project “Vivons nos quartiers”.
- Findings presentations at scientific conferences.
- Drawing up a summary with the findings of the research and recommendations to the relevant public authorities.
- To produce scientific publications co-authored with research assistants and community partners.
- Principal Investigator:
- Chedly Belkhodja, Concordia U. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gabrielle Désilets
- Community Partners:
- Florence Bourdeau
- Stephan Reichhold, TCRI
- Pierre-Constantin Charles, Centraide du Grand Montréal