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Investigating the challenges of migrant integration in rural Canada

Concordia takes part in the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership, developing strategies for the inclusion of newcomers in small towns
June 12, 2012
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By Tyler Yank

The successful integration of migrants and newcomers into Canada’s smaller communities is the central focus of the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership, a newly funded research initiative that will bring together government departments, community leaders and university researchers from across Canada, including Concordia’s William Reimer, professor emeritus with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

William Reimer, professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology | Photo by Concordia University
William Reimer, professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology | Photo by Concordia University

Awarded $2.5 million by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the national partnership will seek to create a network of policymakers and practitioners who can further create and implement strategies of inclusion, development and socio-economic sustainability in medium-sized Canadian towns that lack the tools to effectively integrate recent immigrants and newcomers into their communities.

“Concordia is well placed to contribute to these challenges,” says Reimer. “Welcoming strangers is not simply an economic, sociological, demographic or political issue – it is all of these and more. This poses a particular challenge for small towns and rural communities where community leaders and organizations must deal with these issues in all their complexity.”

The partnership is also committed to training future policymakers through a series of new educational opportunities developed across the country, including student exchange programs offered by participating Canadian universities, new graduate programs with a focus on immigration and policy, and field placements.

Reimer will work closely with Michèle Vatz-Laaroussi, professor at Université de Sherbrooke and a founding member of the Réseau international de recherche sur l’immigration en dehors des grands centres, to ensure that special insights regarding the Québec experience are included in the research.
“This project will build on Concordia’s long-standing tradition of multicultural integration and community engagement to address a critical feature of Canadian society,” explains Reimer.

“We will be drawing upon the considerable expertise and resources within our university to address the challenges and opportunities of immigration and diversity in rural areas and small towns – an issue that affects all Canadians.”

Related links:
•    Pathways to Prosperity Partnership news release
•    Concordia's Department of Sociology and Anthropology
•    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
•    Réseau international de recherche sur l’immigration en dehors des grands centres


 



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