In mid-2020, we delivered our Settlement 2.0 report to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada. Settlement 2.0 encompassed an evidence-based strategic vision and action plan incorporating technology and innovative practices (online and off) to best facilitate positive settlement outcomes for newcomers to Canada.
Settlement 2.0 identified – through extensive interviews and focus groups with sector stakeholders at multiple levels – that innovation is already a crucial part of the DNA of the settlement sector at the community level. This finding couldn’t have come at amore critical time: the COVID-19 pandemic forced service providers to rapidly adopt a hybrid service delivery model to meet newcomers’ needs, within the constraints of the current sector landscape. IRCC recognized this complex situation and asked us to undertake a national expansion of the Settlement 2.0 project – Settlement 3.0 – to identify the sector’s needs in a perhaps permanently changed landscape.
Considering the geographic, cultural, and linguistic diversity across Canada, Settlement 3.0 offered an opportunity to evaluate and compare findings across communities, revealing a diverse set of perspectives while surfacing a common set of recommendations for IRCC.
With organizations having to innovate in new ways in response to COVID-19 – including embracing technology in order to continue delivering services –expanding the dialogue to a national level brought the potential to promote a whole-of-society approach to supporting newcomers in all steps of their settlement journey. We presented the Settlement 3.0 report to IRCC in August 2021.
Settlement 3.0 helped spur the creation of a National Steering Committee on Technology, comprised of 18 experts from across the country, and co-chaired byPeaceGeeks’ CEO, Jen Freeman and the Executive Director of Well and Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre, Janet Madume. Ahead of IRCC’s next Call for Proposals in 2024, the Steering Committee is tasked with creating a strategic plan for the sector, identifying the resources required to advance innovation, digital transformation, and cross-sector collaboration.