Mount Allison University
Research Collaboration with Mount Allison University, New Brunswick
The main objective of this project is to document the lived experiences of the offspring of Central American refugees (the so-called “second generation”) in Toronto, focusing on the obstacles they face and the strategies they use for economic and social integration. The research will inform decision-making around youth programming and practices for service delivery at the Hispanic Development Council (HDC) and other community agencies to further support the economic and social integration of this population. The research will also inform policy-making and practices, and influence attitudes in Canadian society that impact the integration of this population and other similarly positioned immigrant/refugee-origin youth in Canada over time. The partnership will address the following four specific objectives:
To document the lived experiences of second-generation Central American youths in Toronto.
To develop an understanding of the obstacles to economic and social integration they face (in education, the justice system, employment, and elsewhere in Canadian society).
To develop an understanding of the individual and collective strategies used by them for social and economic integration in Canada.
To inform policies, practices, programs and public discourse towards the promotion of economic and social integration for them and potentially for second-generation youth from other immigrant/refugee-origin communities in Canada.
With changes in entry policies in the contemporary period and a corresponding reduction in immigration flows from the Central American region, the needs of the Central American origin community in Canada have also shifted over time. Programming at the HDC for Central Americans in Canada initially targeted first generation families, but as fewer Central Americans settle in Canada and the community matures there is increasing focus on the needs of the second and subsequent generations.
Unlike their parents, the second generation has grown up in Canada and their experience has been shaped by the rapidly changing context of reception. The HDC therefore requires a better understanding of the lived experience of the second generation over time in Canada to inform appropriate programming and service delivery to the community going forward.
We will explore the research questions using qualitative methods, namely focus groups that incorporate the creative methodology of Photovoice narratives. We draw on Lederach (1996) by taking an elicitive approach to studying acculturation, which acknowledges that participants often already know what they need (in this case) for effective integration, in contrast to a prescriptive approach where the researcher is assumed to have the expertise.
• Drug addiction and Substance abuse
• Mental Health
• Community Services
• Educational and Vocational Resources
• Other such as Benefits and Taxation