Agency Data on Migration Pilot Project

Community-based immigration and settlement agencies, working on the front lines of immigration, routinely collect information and statistics on newcomers and temporary migrants that use their services. Administrative data, collected by such institutions and organizations, have been widely used in social science research due to its numerous methodological benefits: it is unobtrusive, less costly and longitudinal. However, few migration studies have taken this approach.

In light of the potential opportunities in agency data coupled with government cuts to funds supporting evidence-based research, ADMIG explores the feasibility of a potentially rich source of data – migrant agency data – to fill major gaps in our knowledge, particularly in relation to temporary residents’ experiences in Canada.

In other words, temporary migrants are a vulnerable and less visible group in research studies because of the lack of data and access to them. However, there is potential to share the data that agencies collect, which would reveal and improve our understanding of this growing and increasingly at-risk group and thus better inform policy and program changes.

ADMIG also explores the potential to fill in gaps in our knowledge of temporary and permanent migrant trajectories and transitions through cross-sector collaboration. There are already innovative models of partnerships between community agencies and academic institutions such as the TIEDI Project, which provided agencies with statistical analyses of Statistics Canada data, and OCASI’s Making Ontario Home project, Ontario’s first province-wide survey of immigrant and refugee use of settlement and integration services.

A community-academic research partnership based at York University, this pilot study is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant and runs from July 2012 to May 2015. ADMIG is divided into three overlapping phases, each adopting a different methodological approach.

Phase I: What data do agencies collect? A scan of agency information systems.
Method: Survey of agencies (Years 1-2, currently active)

Phase II: What can we learn about temporary migrants using agency data?
Method: Analyses of administrative data from two agencies in the GTA (Years 1-2, currently active)

Phase III: Developing a model for cooperation and collaboration with agency data.
Method: Focus group discussions with agency experts (Years 2-3)

THE RESEARCH TEAM

The ADMIG Project is the product of an innovative model of partnership between community agencies and academic institutions. The project draws on the expertise of a multidisciplinary research team of academic researchers with diverse interests in the various modes of temporary migration and wide-ranging experience with both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and of community agency representatives with a combination of policy, research and direct frontline experience with newcomers and various groups of temporary and permanent migrants.

Researchers

Ann H. Kim (Principal Investigator) is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at York University. Her primary research interests are in the trajectories of immigrant and ethnic integration. She has demonstrated experience in leading and collaborating with large research teams, and partnering with local community organizations. She has extensive experience in the analysis of large-scale census and survey data in North America, as well as in conducting qualitative studies on immigrants.

Luin Goldring is associate professor in the Department of Sociology at York University. She has contributed to developing the concept of precarious status, and empirical research on precarious status, status transitions, precarious employment in Canada, and knowledge mobilization.

Luann Good Gingrich is associate professor in the School of Social Work at York University. Her research focuses on processes and outcomes of social exclusion/inclusion with various populations engaged in transnational livelihoods. Her work has engaged with Low German Mennonite (im)migrants from Latin America; women migration from Mexico and Guatemala to Canada; and the trajectories of immigrants and racialized groups.

Philip Kelly is professor in the Department of Geography at York University. His current research examines the labour market integration of Filipino immigrants in Toronto, the transnational linkages they create with communities and families in the Philippines, and the process of socio-economic change in sending areas. Conceptually, he is interested in the interface between political economy approaches to class and labour markets, and cultural approaches that explore the intersection of class and other bases of identity.

Valerie Preston is professor in the Department of Geography at York University. She has extensive experience conducting research about housing and immigration issues, managing complex research projects and disseminating their findings. Her research has examined the impacts of immigrant settlement on land uses in Canadian and Australian cities, geographical barriers to women’s employment in Canadian and American cities, and residential mobility patterns. She brings to the ADMIG project her valuable experience doing collaborative research with immigrant-serving agencies and government ministries throughout the GTA and province to develop productive partnerships with civil society and government partners.

John Shields is professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Ryerson University. He has over 20 years of university teaching experience in the areas of public administration and public policy, the politics and policy of communications and culture, the political economy of labour market and welfare state restructuring, immigrant settlement and integration policy and practices, and nonprofit sector studies. His most recent research explores alternative service delivery and partnerships between governments and the third sector, public administration reform, labour market restructuring with a focus on contingent work and immigrant populations, and knowledge transfer in support of public policy and advocacy. He has also focused on comparative examination of settlement services.

Reem Attieh is a PhD candidate in the Graduate Programme in Sociology at York University. Her research interests include poverty, migration and feminist thought. As the Project Coordinator and Analyst of ADMIG Project, she provides overall administration and coordination for the study, and she is currently analyzing the administrative data of two migrant serving agencies using Stata.

Community Partners

Access Alliance
Yogendra B. Shakya, Senior Research Scientist

Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services is a non-profit, charitable organization that improves health outcomes for the most vulnerable immigrants, refugees and their communities. It provides accessible, community-governed, inter-professional, primary health care services to ensure that all people who face barriers to good health have access to high quality primary health care within an integrated system of care.

Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
Erika Gates-Gasse, Policy and Research Coordinator
Debbie Douglas, Executive Director

OCASI was formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant serving agencies and to coordinate responses to shared needs and concerns. It is a registered charity governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its membership is comprised of more than 200 community-based organizations in Ontario.

Social Planning Toronto (SPT)
Navjeet Sidhu, Researcher and Policy Analyst
John Campey, Executive Director

Social Planning Toronto is committed to independent social planning at the local and city-wide levels in order to improve the quality of life for all people in Toronto. It is committed to diversity, social and economic justice, and active civic participation in all aspects of community life. Program priorities are mandated by the Board of Directors and developed by staff.

World Education Services (WES)
Sophia Lowe, Research and Policy Analyst

WES is a not for profit organization with over 30 years’ experience in evaluating international credentials. It facilitates the integration of internationally educated individuals into the employment and education environment of their newly adopted country. WES is a member of the Alliance of Credential Evaluation Services of Canada, which is a powerful source of information about education systems and evaluation methodology around the world.

For more information, please contact:

Reem Attieh, Project Coordinator and Analyst
813 Kaneff Tower
York University, 4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3
Tel: 416-736-2100 x.22678
Fax: 416-736-5688
Email: admig@yorku.ca