Standing committee on public accounts

settlement and integration services for newcomers

(Section 3.13, 2017 Annual report of the office of the auditor general of ontario)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st session, 42nd parliament
68 Elizabeth II

 

 

 

 
  ISBN 978-1-4868-3090-9 (Print)
ISBN 978-1-4868-3092-3 [English] (PDF)
ISBN 978-1-4868-3094-7 [French] (PDF)
ISBN 978-1-4868-3091-6 [English] (HTML)
ISBN 978-1-4868-3093-0 [French] (HTML)

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Honourable Ted Arnott, MPP
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

Sir,

Your Standing Committee on Public Accounts has the honour to present its Report and commends it to the House.

 

Catherine Fife, MPP
Chair of the Committee

Queen's Park
February 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standing committee on public accounts

Membership list

1st Session, 42nd Parliament

Catherine fife

Chair

Peggy sattler

Vice-Chair

*toby barrett                                                                                          suze morrison

goldie ghamari                                                                                        michael parsa

jim mcdonell                                                                                                  kinga surma

norman miller

*daisy wai was replaced by TOBY BARRETT on November 28, 2018.

LAURA MAE LINDO and KALEED RASHEED regularly served as substitute members of the Committee.


christopher tyrell

Clerk of the Committee

erica simmons

Research Officer

DO NOT DELETE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

On October 3, 2018, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts held public hearings on the audit of Settlement and Integration Services for Newcomers (Section 3.13 of the Auditor General’s 2017 Annual Report) as administered by the former Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. (Most of the responsibilities of the former Ministry have now been assumed by the Citizenship and Immigration Division of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services.)

The Committee endorses the Auditor’s findings and recommendations, and presents its own findings, views, and recommendations in this report. The Committee requests that the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services provide the Clerk of the Committee with written responses to the recommendations within 120 calendar days of the tabling of this report with the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, unless otherwise specified.

Acknowledgements

The Committee extends its appreciation to officials from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. The Committee also acknowledges the assistance provided during the hearings and report-writing deliberations by the Office of the Auditor General, the Clerk of the Committee, and staff in the Legislative Research Service.

Background

More than 510,000 immigrants settled in Ontario as permanent residents between 2012 and 2016. While funding for settlement services in Ontario comes mainly from the federal government, the Province also has a mandate to settle and integrate newcomers.

In fiscal 2016/17, the former provincial Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) paid service providers about $100 million in transfer payments for settlement and integration services. Service providers include public and Catholic school boards, universities, colleges, and non-profit community organizations. These organizations provided settlement services to more than 80,000 people and language training to more than 68,000 people. They also provided education and training to almost 6,000 people through bridging programs (which help skilled immigrants get licensed or find employment without duplicating their previous training and education).

MCI also established the Refugee Resettlement Services Initiative to facilitate the resettlement of refugees in Ontario, including more than 20,000 Syrian refugees who arrived in Ontario from November 2015 to May 2017. By the end of the 2016/17 fiscal year, about 11,300 people had received services through this initiative.

 

 

Federal/Provincial Responsibilities

The federal government is responsible for setting national levels of annual immigration, defining immigrant categories, admission, enforcement, and conferring or revoking Canadian citizenship. The former provincial Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration had a mandate to maximize the benefits of immigration by providing services to successfully settle and integrate newcomers socially and economically.

The former Ministry was a signatory to the November 2017 Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, a legally-binding five-year framework that formalizes the collaboration between the provincial and federal governments with a mandate to (among other things) minimize costs, increase program effectiveness, and reduce unnecessary overlap and duplication. Three additional “annexes” to the agreement were signed in April 2017, setting out Canada-Ontario collaboration on French-speaking immigrants, international students, and the role of municipal governments as “partners in immigration.”

While the federal government and the Province both fund the delivery of settlement and integration services, eligibility for these services differs:

Federally-funded services

Generally, only newcomers with permanent resident status are eligible.

Provincially-funded services

Permanent residents, asylum seekers, and naturalized citizens (newcomers who have obtained their Canadian citizenship) are all eligible. 

Categories of Permanent Residents

A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status but is not yet a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents generally fall under the following four categories:

Economic immigrants are selected for their skills and ability to contribute to the economy.

Family class immigrants are sponsored by close relatives who are legal residents of Canada.

Refugees are people forced to flee from their home country. There are four main categories of refugees:

· Government-assisted refugees have been selected by the federal government for resettlement in Canada (while outside of Canada) and are sponsored by the federal government. The federal government provides direct income support to these refugees for their first 12 months in Canada.

· Privately-sponsored refugees are selected for resettlement to Canada (while outside of Canada) by the federal government. They are sponsored and supported for the first 12 months by private organizations or individuals.

· Blended-sponsorship refugees have been selected for resettlement to Canada (while outside of Canada) by the federal government, and are sponsored by private organizations or individuals. The federal government provides up to six months of income support, and private sponsors provide another six months of income support.

· “Refugees landed in Canada” are those who have entered Canada on their own and sought asylum after arrival, and whose refugee claim has been approved by the federal government. They do not receive income support from the federal government.

Other immigrants are people admitted to Canada for a number of other reasons, including those selected on humanitarian or compassionate grounds.

Recent Developments

As of the 42nd Parliament, the responsibilities of the former Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration have been transferred to the Citizenship and Immigration Division of the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services with the following exceptions:

· Honours and Awards is now under the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport;

· the Ontario Bridge Training Program, and the Office of the Fairness Commissioner, are now both under the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; and

· the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program is now under the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

Audit Objectives and Scope

The Auditor General’s audit assessed whether the former Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) had effective systems and procedures in place to ensure that Ministry-funded service organizations provided newcomers with appropriate, timely, and effective services in accordance with signed agreements; that funding was allocated to service providers based on the needs of the people served and commensurate with the value of the services provided; and MCI’s program outcomes were measured, assessed, and publicly reported on.

Main Points of Audit

The audit concluded that:

The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (Min­istry) did not have effective systems and procedures to ensure that the service providers it funds consist­ently provide newcomers with effective services. The Ministry could not demonstrate that it allocates funding to its different services and service provid­ers based on the needs of those they serve and com­mensurate with the value of the services provided. While the Ministry does collect and measure some program outcomes, these outcomes are not consist­ently assessed and are not currently reported pub­licly, nor are they sufficient to monitor newcomer settlement and integration outcomes.

Issues Raised in the Audit and Before the Committee

Significant issues were raised in the audit and before the Committee. The Committee considers the following issues to be of particular importance.

Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (Ministry) representatives explained that given Ontario’s low birth rate and aging population, immigration is expected to account for virtually all the growth in Ontario’s working-age population, and to be the main source of the province’s labour force growth over the next 25 years. Immigration will also be important for meeting the demographic and labour market needs of northern and rural communities across the province. Immigrants already account for nearly a third of Ontario’s labour force, the Ministry noted, more than any other province in Canada and more than the national average.

The Ministry noted that according to the 2016 census, 72.2% of very recent immigrants to Canada (arriving between January 2011 and May 2016) aged 25 to 64 had postsecondary education. Nearly 51% of very recent immigrants to Ontario had a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree in business, humanities, arts, social science and education (BHASE) fields, with business and administration being the most common fields. Another 21.5% of very recent immigrants had a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree in science, technology, engineering or math fields (STEM), with engineering (and engineering technology) being the most common field.  Of the 110,000 immigrants who arrived in Ontario in 2017, some 18 percent were refugees.

Newcomers face particular challenges, the Committee heard, including language proficiency, credential recognition, obtaining Canadian work experience, and discrimination. The Ministry’s role is to facilitate newcomer settlement and integration by working in partnership with service providers, community organizations, the private sector, and other stakeholders. 

Representatives of the Ministry noted that work is underway to address all of the Auditor General’s recommendations, with all deliverables due to be completed in the 2019/20 fiscal year.

 

 

Ministry Funding of Newcomer Services

The audit found that MCI had not allocated funding to its settlement and integration services based on the assessed needs of newcomers; and that MCI’s processes for allocating funding were not always effective in ensuring funding was allocated to the services and service providers that could best address the settlement and integration needs of newcomers efficiently and effectively.

The processes for allocating funding to service providers are under review by the Ministry. Changes will include establishing minimum score thresholds, identifying processes for better documentation of funding decisions, and including criteria in the assessment of service provider proposals to ensure that funding is commensurate with the value of services provided.

The Auditor reported that previously-funded service providers often received funding over higher-scoring new applications from other service providers. The Committee asked about this, and at what point the Ministry stops working with a service provider due to poor results. The Ministry noted that proposal scores are one of several factors taken into consideration when allocating funding. Other factors include an organization’s past performance, the languages used in providing services, the geographic area covered, and the particular newcomer groups served. The Ministry also indicated that they have stopped funding a few organizations in the past for poor results. Ministry representatives noted that they are implementing the Auditor’s recommendation to set rigorous minimum standards and scores for funding, and to carefully document funding decisions.

The Committee asked whether there was additional assistance for child care, and for mental health supports for newcomers, and heard that newcomers have no specialized access to these programs; they have the same level of access as do other Ontarians. The Committee also raised concerns about whether some newcomers are not accepting job opportunities for fear of losing access to government funding. The Ministry explained that government-assisted refugees receive federal funding for one year, and their understanding is that if these refugees work more than a certain number of hours during this time their funding may be clawed back. For those receiving provincial support, the same rules that apply to social assistance recipients also apply to them.

The Committee noted the Auditor’s finding that the Ministry has not defined what constitutes a successfully settled and integrated newcomer in order to assess whether it is meeting its objectives to successfully settle and integrate newcomers.

Committee Recommendation

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should

a) define what constitutes a successfully settled and integrated newcomer to provide a basis for assessing whether it is meeting its objectives to successfully settle and integrate newcomers;

b) assess the needs of newcomers to guide its allocation of funding to the most appropriate settlement and integration services;

c) implement rigorous guidelines and standards to ensure that funding is allocated to the most effective providers of newcomer settlement and integration services; and

d) ensure that newcomers are able to access appropriate settlement and integration services when and where they are needed.

Bridge Training and Labour Market Needs

Bridge training (now the responsibility of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities or MTCU) is intended to support the labour market integration of newcomers by providing training, employment supports and employer connections to help skilled immigrants find work either in the field in which they were trained or in an alternative career.

The Auditor reported that funding for bridging programs had decreased despite successful program results, that new applicants to provide bridge training are rarely awarded contracts regardless of their qualifications to deliver services, and that funding decisions do not consider the cost-effectiveness of programs.

The Ministry explained that the federal government is now funding some bridging programs directly rather than through the Province. The 2018/19 provincial allocation for bridging programs is $24.6 million. This amount currently funds 38 organizations which deliver 67 bridging programs that together serve an average of 6,000 skilled immigrants annually.

The Ministry noted that organizations selected to deliver bridge training are required to demonstrate a labour market need for the occupations and sectors they propose to serve. In this way, bridging programs help to address skill shortages. Service providers rely on a variety of sources to identify labour market needs, the Ministry explained, including government data, research evidence, and needs identified by occupational or regulatory bodies, business, trade or professional associations, as well as analysis of job postings in specific regions or occupations. The Ministry also uses labour market information, such as MTCU’s “Ontario’s Labour Market” website, to identify labour market needs and validate information on labour market demand submitted by service provider organizations.

Bridging programs currently serve a variety of occupations and sectors, including financial services, information technology, human resources, engineering, supply chain management, the green economy, education, nursing, and other health care occupations such as optometry, physiotherapy, and midwifery. The Committee heard that on average, 71% of clients who have completed bridging programs obtain employment in their field or a related field.

The Committee heard that since 2009, the Citizenship and Immigration Division of the Ministry has worked with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to provide bursaries to bridge training participants through MTCU’s Ontario Bridging Participant Assistance Program (with MTCU administering the bursaries).

The Ministry has also worked with MTCU and the Ministry of Education to coordinate adult education programs and services, such as bridge training, literacy and basic skills, and academic upgrading for postsecondary education across Ontario. The goal of this work is to improve the adult education system to support learners in gaining the competencies needed for labour market success.

The Committee also asked about credential recognition and licensing for newcomers. The Ministry noted that efforts are made to inform people of regulatory and licensing requirements in advance of their arrival in Ontario but that lack of Canadian experience is a significant challenge for newcomers hoping to find employment.

International Medical Graduates

The Province provides a number of supports to international medical graduates seeking to practice medicine in Ontario, including 200 dedicated first-year residency positions per year, as well as funding for standardized evaluation, training, and case management services.

HealthForceOntario (an agency of the Ontario government) provides support on licensing processes and alternative careers, as well as supporting physician recruitment by communities across the province. The Ontario Bridge Training Program currently funds projects in both non-health and health professions, including a program to help internationally trained psychologists, psychiatrists and allied mental health practitioners to obtain professional licensure and/or employment in the mental health field.

Committee Recommendation

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the appropriate regulatory bodies, to

a) identify barriers to newcomer participation in bridging programs and develop and implement strategies to address those barriers; 

b) assess labour market demand to determine whether there is a need to either add or reduce capacity in existing bridging programs, or to develop new bridging programs;

c) ensure that criteria for funding bridging programs prioritizes both cost-effectiveness and successful outcomes for participants; and

d) follow up with clients who have completed a bridging program but not found employment in their field; identify the reasons that they have not found such employment, and take appropriate action.

 

 

Monitoring of Service Providers

The Auditor found that MCI did not validate the accuracy of service data and most of the financial information it collected; did not sufficiently monitor whether newcomers had access to services; and did not consistently monitor whether service providers met their contracted service targets or assess whether providers were operating in a cost-effective manner.

The Committee asked how the Ministry is addressing the Auditor’s recommendations for ensuring greater accountability for transfer payments made to service providers. The Committee heard that the Ministry is working with an internal audit team to develop systems for verifying the accuracy of service and financial information reported by Ministry-funded agencies. The Ministry explained that it is enhancing its performance measurement and monitoring systems to ensure that services are cost-effective, timely, and meet newcomer needs.

Committee Recommendation

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

3. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should

a) implement a process for periodically validating the accuracy of service and financial information reported by service providers;

b) identify instances when service providers do not meet their contracted service and financial targets, follow up to assess the reasonableness of deviations from targets, and take corrective action when needed;

c) periodically review and assess whether significant differences between service provider costs are reasonable, and take corrective action when needed; and

d) periodically collect relevant information (such as wait times and barriers to accessing services) from service providers, newcomers, and other stakeholders, and take corrective action when needed.

Performance Measurement

The audit found that MCI did not

· collect sufficient performance information about its services;

· regularly analyze performance information that it did collect;

· have consistent performance indicators from year to year to enable it to measure the progress of newcomers and the effectiveness of services provided to them; and

· have an indicator to measure the number of newcomers receiving social assistance.

The Committee asked about the Ministry’s progress in developing milestones for newcomer settlement and integration to enable measurement of the effectiveness of programs and services. The Ministry explained that it plans to have a set of milestones by the second quarter of 2019/20 that it will use to design, evaluate, monitor, and allocate funding to programs. The Ministry noted that it currently looks at program-level indicators. Based on the Auditor’s recommendations, the Ministry expects to have a more uniform set of indicators to evaluate and assess outcomes.

The Committee heard that a Ministry-wide data strategy is being implemented in order to enhance the quality, reliability and timeliness of data to support decision-making and improve policy and program outcomes. The Ministry is also working with Statistics Canada to link several federal and provincial databases. These linked datasets will provide information such as how many newcomers are on social assistance, as well as enabling the Ministry to conduct analysis on newcomer outcomes and provide insight on supports that are effective in achieving successful long-term outcomes for newcomers.

The Committee noted the importance of using an anti-racism and anti-discrimination lens when assessing the outcomes achieved by service providers. For example, discrimination and/or racism may be additional barriers to employment for some newcomers.

Committee Recommendations

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

4. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should

a) clearly define the benchmarks and time frames of successful newcomer settlement and integration;

b) establish performance indicators and targets that provide sufficient information to help the Ministry measure the progress of newcomers and the outcomes from specific settlement and integration services provided; and

c) consistently monitor the performance of service providers and services to identify and take corrective action where needed.

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with the Anti-Racism Directorate to

a) develop a protocol for newcomers to report their perceived experiences of racism and discrimination in accessing and using settlement and integration services; and also in accessing employment information and opportunities; and

b) use information collected about newcomers’ perceived experiences of racism and discrimination to improve settlement and integration services and programs.

 

 

Communications with Newcomers

The audit found that MCI websites about newcomer settlement and integration services were provided only in French and English, which limits accessibility for newcomers who are not proficient in either language. As well, MCI did not have a formal communications strategy and had not assessed the effectiveness of its communications efforts to determine whether it was meeting the needs of newcomers. External evaluations, MCI service data, and feedback from service providers indicated that newcomers may not always be aware of the services available to them.

The Committee heard that the Ministry now provides online information about newcomer services in 26 languages. The Committee emphasized the importance of ensuring that service provider staff are diverse and also speak the languages of their clientele. Ministry representatives agreed and noted that as part of the redesign of processes for funding allocation and assessment of service providers’ proposals, more attention will be paid to the composition and diversity of staff to ensure that they can meet the language and other needs of their clientele.

Committee Recommendations

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should require service providers to assess the language needs of their clientele, and have staff who are proficient in the languages needed.
  2. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should implement a formal communications strategy, and assess the effectiveness of its communications efforts to determine whether they are meeting the needs of newcomers.
Silos in Federal/Provincial Service Delivery

The audit noted that there was limited coordination between MCI and the federal government to avoid duplication of the integration and settlement services they both provide. Specifically, approximately $30 million in MCI-funded services provided to newcomers in 2016/17 duplicated services already funded by the federal government.

The Committee asked the Ministry what steps it had taken to reduce duplication of services already provided by the federal government. The Ministry explained that the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, signed in November 2017, along with related memorandums of understanding, outlines the roles, responsibilities, and joint priorities of the two levels of government. It was explained that a committee will be formed to implement the Agreement which will serve as a framework enabling the Ministry to better align federal and provincial services to ensure they are complementary.

The Ministry indicated that a May 2018 Memorandum of Understanding will enable information-sharing that will provide additional data on federally-funded settlement services in Ontario. The Ministry is also working on mapping federal and provincial services across the province to identify duplication.

The Committee also suggested that it would be useful to survey newcomers to learn more about why they have chosen specific federal or provincial services. Some services which appear to be duplicating each other may actually have some distinguishing features, for example, federally-funded language classes that also offer child care.

Committee Recommendations

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should coordinate with the federal government to ensure that provincially-funded newcomer settlement and integration services complement, but do not duplicate, services funded by the federal government.
  2. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with other ministries providing newcomer settlement and integration services to survey newcomers about why they have chosen specific federal or provincial services.
Cost of Irregular Border Crossings

While this issue was not part of the Auditor’s 2017 report, a majority of the Committee raised concerns about the cost to Ontario of increased numbers of asylum seekers who do not arrive at regular points of entry. The Ministry is advocating for additional federal funding to support the estimated $200 million costs of supporting this group of asylum seekers in Ontario. Ministry staff explained that information on service use and client outcomes will be tracked to inform discussions with the federal government on these costs.

The Committee asked how these costs were estimated and heard that the breakdown is $74 million for temporary housing in Toronto, $3 million to the Red Cross to support refugees who were temporarily staying in college dormitories, $12 million for costs incurred by the City of Ottawa, an estimated $20 million for primary and secondary education spaces and an estimated $90 million in social assistance costs. The Ministry noted that it is difficult to give a precise estimate of the cost of social assistance for this particular group because the Ministry knows only that an applicant is an asylum seeker, and not how or where they crossed the border.

The Committee discussed the significance of the terminology used to describe people who cross the border at irregular ports of entry in order to seek asylum. Concerns were raised by Opposition Members on the Committee that the term “illegal border crossers” is divisive and may perpetuate racist attitudes towards asylum seekers.

 

 

At its meeting on October 24, 2018, the Committee passed a motion on division requesting that the Auditor General conduct an audit of

the costs associated with illegal border crossers as it relates to all services provided through the government of Ontario and its municipalities for the three years ending July 31, 2018.

Special Needs Refugees

The Committee asked how the Ministry is meeting the needs of “special needs refugees” (as defined by the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement) who have suffered the effects of systemic discrimination and/or who have mental health needs. The Ministry explained that it currently supports the delivery of services including settlement and mental health supports, skills training and employment services for clients with high needs, including special needs refugees who have suffered the effects of systemic discrimination and/or who have mental health needs.

Settlement and mental health agencies work in partnership to provide services such as intensive case management for special needs refugees; trauma counselling and support groups to deal with the effects of war, violence, and discrimination; and mental health and wellness workshops. In addition, province-wide training on war trauma and refugee mental health is given to frontline settlement workers. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health offers mental health case consultation support for settlement workers across the province to help them better serve and refer special needs refugees.

Inter-Ministerial Coordination

The audit found that, with few exceptions, there was little formal coordination between MCI and other ministries that provided services that may contribute to the settlement and integration of newcomers. One of the exceptions to this was the former Syrian Refugee Resettlement Secretariat, which led cross-government efforts to support the settlement and integration of Syrian refugees in Ontario. The Auditor reported that MCI was not aware of total spending related to newcomers across all ministries in Ontario, and had advised that no one ministry has this information. As well, MCI did not have formal arrangements in place to receive information from other ministries on the number of newcomers they serve and their outcomes.

The Committee heard that the Ministry is planning to add structure to existing cross-government partnerships through formal agreements and other mechanisms to facilitate information sharing and inter-ministerial coordination. An inventory of provincial programs and services for newcomer integration is to be developed to provide the Ministry with a baseline of existing programs and services to build on.

 

 

Committee Recommendation

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with other ministries that provide services to help newcomer settlement and integration to

a) collect information on the number of, and outcomes for, newcomers served, and use this information to assess the degree to which newcomers are settling and integrating; and

b) identify opportunities to increase the use of services that make a significant contribution to the settlement and integration of newcomers.

Language Training

The Auditor reported that need for language training had declined and as a result, the amount spent for language-training programs from 2011/12 to 2015/16 totalled $24 million less than what was budgeted. In addition, MCI learning targets for language training provided little insight into whether newcomer language training goals were met. The Committee asked about the audit finding that 25% of newcomers who attended MCI-funded language training in the previous school year had been in Canada more than ten years, and 45% had been in Canada for five years or longer, and questioned whether this indicated that the language training offered is not effective.

Ministry representatives explained that this is likely due to non-economic immigrants, for example, refugees or people who have come to join their families (family reunification). These groups of newcomers may have greater needs than economic immigrants who have been selected as immigrants for their skills, including their language abilities.

Committee Recommendation

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should evaluate the effectiveness of provincially-funded language instruction for newcomers and ensure the funding is allocated to appropriate and effective language training providers.
 

 

Consolidated list of Committee Recommendations

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should

a) define what constitutes a successfully settled and integrated newcomer to provide a basis for assessing whether it is meeting its objectives to successfully settle and integrate newcomers;

b) assess the needs of newcomers to guide its allocation of funding to the most appropriate settlement and integration services;

c) implement rigorous guidelines and standards to ensure that funding is allocated to the most effective providers of newcomer settlement and integration services; and

d) ensure that newcomers are able to access appropriate settlement and integration services when and where they are needed.

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the appropriate regulatory bodies, to

a) identify barriers to newcomer participation in bridging programs and develop and implement strategies to address those barriers; 

b) assess labour market demand to determine whether there is a need to either add or reduce capacity in existing bridging programs, or to develop new bridging programs;

c) ensure that criteria for funding bridging programs prioritizes both cost-effectiveness and successful outcomes for participants; and

d) follow up with clients who have completed a bridging program but not found employment in their field; identify the reasons that they have not found such employment, and take appropriate action.

3. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should

a) implement a process for periodically validating the accuracy of service and financial information reported by service providers;

b) identify instances when service providers do not meet their contracted service and financial targets, follow up to assess the reasonableness of deviations from targets, and take corrective action when needed;

c) periodically review and assess whether significant differences between service provider costs are reasonable, and take corrective action when needed; and

d) periodically collect relevant information (such as wait times and barriers to accessing services) from service providers, newcomers, and other stakeholders, and take corrective action when needed.

4. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should

a) clearly define the benchmarks and time frames of successful newcomer settlement and integration;

b) establish performance indicators and targets that provide sufficient information to help the Ministry measure the progress of newcomers and the outcomes from specific settlement and integration services provided; and

c) consistently monitor the performance of service providers and services to identify and take corrective action where needed.

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with the Anti-Racism Directorate to

a) develop a protocol for newcomers to report their perceived experiences of racism and discrimination in accessing and using settlement and integration services; and also in accessing employment information and opportunities; and     

b) use information collected about newcomers’ perceived experiences of racism and discrimination to improve settlement and integration services and programs.

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should require service providers to assess the language needs of their clientele, and have staff who are proficient in the languages needed.
  2. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should implement a formal communications strategy, and assess the effectiveness of its communications efforts to determine whether they are meeting the needs of newcomers.
  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should coordinate with the federal government to ensure that provincially-funded newcomer settlement and integration services complement, but do not duplicate, services funded by the federal government.
  2. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with other ministries providing newcomer settlement and integration services to survey newcomers about why they have chosen specific federal or provincial services.
  3. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should work with other ministries that provide services to help newcomer settlement and integration to

a) collect information on the number of, and outcomes for, newcomers served, and use this information to assess the degree to which newcomers are settling and integrating; and

b) identify opportunities to increase the use of services that make a significant contribution to the settlement and integration of newcomers.

  1. The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services should evaluate the effectiveness of provincially-funded language instruction for newcomers and ensure the funding is allocated to appropriate and effective language training providers.