The Perspectives of Government Officials on Migration and Resilience: A Comparative Examination of Canada's Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments

The proposed project aims to add to and complement the ongoing 'transversal' project entitled "Analysis of governance structures and policy discourses shaping migration and resilience: an examination of Canada's federal, provincial and municipal governments" by conducting semi-structured in depth personal interviews with representatives of the three levels of government. These representatives will all work in ministries, departments and/or offices that relate directly to immigration and, in the case of Montreal and Toronto, to resilience. The objective of the project is two-fold:

  1. to discuss and verify the findings of the transversal project on policy discourse analysis with officials of respective levels of government;
  2. to investigate government officials' views and perspectives on how the notion resilience is mobilized and framed by their respective levels of government.
The latter issue will be discussed in relation to:
  1. The broad use of the notion resilience within their respective level of government;
  2. The use of the notion resilience within their particular ministries/departments/offices;
  3. Their own views and understandings of the notion resilience in relation to immigration and immigrants in Canada;
  4. The translation and enactment of these abstract notions of resilience into concrete policies and programs.

The semi-structured interviews will provide an important opportunity to enrich the findings of the policy discourse analysis, thus enhancing our understanding of how different levels of government understand, mobilize, and frame resilience (e.g. support and/or hinder migrant resilience), and to refine our data analysis through triangulation. The project outputs will contribute to the overall Partnership by helping to advance the conceptual, policy and practice contributions of the larger project. We anticipate these findings to be of interest to the partners, including governments, nonprofits, and communities themselves.

  • Stage 1.Ethics & Data Collection(Aug-Dec2018)
    1. Aim1: Develop interview guide and submit ethics application (Aug2018)
    2. Aim 2: Conduct interviews with government representatives as follows: 2 Federal government, 2 Ontario, 2 Quebec, 5-7municipal governments (at least 1 each in Montreal, Ottawa, Gatineau, Toronto, and Kitchener-Waterloo), 1Resilience Office in Montreal, and 1 Resilience Officer in Toronto. Total interviews: 13-15.
    3. Methods: semi-structured in-depth personal interviews.
    4. Team: In each city network, respective co-PIs and co-investigators will conduct the interviews with corresponding levels of government as follows:
      • Montreal: Gabrielle Désilets (Quebec; City of Montreal; Resilience office)
      • Ottawa-Gatineau: Virginie Mesana and Luisa Veronis(Federal; City of Ottawa; City of Gatineau)
      • Toronto: Rupaleem Bhuyan(Ontario; City of Toronto; Resilience officer)
      • Kitchener-Waterloo: Margaret Walton-Roberts (Kitchener-Waterloo)
    5. Research questions:
      • How is resilience understood and mobilized by officials depending on their respective levels of government?
      • According to them, what ideas and practices lie behind the term as employed by the state and in their particular ministry/department/office?
      • When do the informants think that the term started to appear in documents produced by their ministry/department/office?
      • Why is this term important/central in goals/strategies/missions stated in these documents?
      • Do they think thatits meaning has changedover time?If so, how?
      • What are these informants'views and understandings of the notion resilience in relation to immigration and immigrants in Canada ?
      • According to them, how does the term "resilience" impact communities/social groups (gender, youth, families, LGBTQ, status, etc.)?
  • Stage2. Analysis (October2018-April 2019)
    1. Aim 1: Qualitative data analysis -thematic analysis based on constructivist and interpretive paradigms (Cloke et al. 2004)
    2. Aim 2: Triangulation with data from the policy discourse analysis
    3. Team: All+ RA
  • Stage 3. Write up & dissemination(winter-spring-summer 2019)
    1. Team: All+ RA
    2. Networking activities:
      • Regular meetings will be held within city networks as needed.
      • Regular conference calls will be held across city networks as needed, especially for design of research instruments and for data analysis.
      • We will take advantage of the Writing retreats planned in the 'transversal ‘project and of Partnership meetings to meet as a team and undertake analysis and write up of findings: Writing retreat infall 2018;Partnershipmeeting (spring 2019) for data analysis, draft summary reports & policy briefs, plan & prepare dissemination activities.

Principal Investigators:

  • Virginie Mesana,
  • Luisa Veronis,
  • Gabrielle Désilets
  • Margaret Walton-Roberts
  • Rupaleem Bhuyan (University of Toronto)
Community Partners:
  • E.del Castello, IRCC;
  • Cristian Penca, Ville de Gatineau;
  • Hindia Mohamoud, OLIP;
  • Stephan Reichhold, TCRI;
  • OCASI;
  • Tara Beddard, WRLIP

What is our approach?

Specifically, based on a Foucauldian notion of governmentality (Rose 1999; Larner 2000),the interviews will give new insights into how public servants and policy makers as individuals within an institution understand, mobilize and use the notion resilience(discourse), why they do so (rationale),and how they translate these into concrete policies/programs (technologies of power)in relation to immigration and immigrant settlement and integration in Canada(see Trudeau & Veronis; Mountz 2011).