Evaluation of the Overseas Orientation Initiatives

3. Evaluation findings

This section presents the findings of the evaluation, organized by the three evaluation themes of relevance, design and implementation, and performance.

3.1 Relevance

3.1.1 Need for in-person pre-departure orientation

CIC provides pre-departure orientation to refugees and all economic classes in various locations around the world. This approach is unlike that of other countries, where pre-departure orientation is limited primarily to refugees with a focus on providing information for initial settlement and adaptation. To better understand the need for pre-departure orientation, a clear definition of what is meant by pre-departure orientation is required. The IOM, which provides pre-departure orientation for various countries, identified three components that are common to most pre-departure orientation offerings:

  • factual information about the country of destination;
  • assistance in developing the skills needed to succeed in their new environment (e.g., how to find accommodation, how to get a job, how to access health care facilities); and
  • information on the attitudes necessary for successful integration (e.g., flexibility, open-mindedness, initiative, self-reliance).Footnote 19

In describing its information and orientation program activity, CIC identifies two interrelated objectives which can be used to define pre-departure orientation:

  • to provide newcomers with relevant, accurate, consistent, and timely information that is needed to make informed settlement decisions and access settlement services; and
  • to promote a contextual understanding of life in Canada, including laws, rights, and the democratic system.Footnote 20

Therefore, pre-departure orientation, as per its ‘common’ definition, focuses on providing general information that will assist newcomers with initial settlement and adaptation.

Finding: There is evidence that pre-departure orientation, as per its ‘common’ definition is needed for refugees, as it can address initial settlement and integration challenges that they face. However, there was no evidence that this type of pre-departure orientation can address gaps and challenges for non-refugees given that their needs are on specific employment-related issues rather than initial orientation to Canada.

All interviewees (43 of 43) suggested there is a need for pre-departure orientation. Of those who provided further details, many indicated a need to manage expectations or fears (19 of 28), while some indicated a need to provide immigrants with general information (9 of 28). These reasons align with the common definition of pre-departure orientation provided above.

Variations in the need for pre-departure orientation

Research has shown that immigrants have different reasons for leaving their homeland and as a result, arrive in Canada with different motivations and resources, and face different challenges during the settlement process.Footnote 21 While pre-departure orientation is considered to be needed, almost all interviewees (58 of 60) also agreed that the need for pre-departure orientation varied, with most interviewees suggesting that the need varies based on immigration category (51 out of 60). The evaluation also found additional evidence that the need for pre-departure orientation varies according to immigration category.

Refugees

A study on refugee integration in Canada found that while immigrants are likely to face common barriers to their integration, refugees are more likely to experience difficulties in settling and integrating because of two main factors. First, they are admitted to Canada primarily on humanitarian rather than economic grounds and therefore are not being selected for immigration based on their ability to integrate and, second, the circumstances surrounding their migration are likely to be much more traumatic than voluntary immigrants.Footnote 22

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), pre-departure orientation programs are useful in assisting resettled refugees to develop a very clear picture of conditions in the receiving country and of the expectations placed on them. It can also help to reduce the anxiety felt by refugees in the first weeks in a new country.Footnote 23

These findings were supported in the interviews. In almost all of the interviews with senior managers (5 of 6), most of the interviews with representatives of IOM (5 of 8) and half of the interviews with CIC program staff (6 of 12) and SPOs (9 of 18), the need to provide pre-departure orientation specifically to refugees was mentioned.

Live-in caregivers

LCs are considered to be a vulnerable population due to a number of factors, including their dependent statusFootnote 24 and a lack of information or lack of access to information.Footnote 25 This finding is supported by the interviews with CIC staff and senior management, most of whom (10 of 18) identified LCs as a particular group for which pre-departure orientation is needed, particularly with respect to their rights and responsibilities.

LCs who participated in focus groups as part of this evaluation also felt that there is a need for pre-departure orientation. Information on both the preparation for travel to Canada as well as what to do after arrival were seen as useful. Further, participants felt they generally gained more self-confidence to come to Canada.

Economic immigrants

There is evidence from the literature that suggests that skilled migrants face constraints in ensuring overseas employment such as access to information on job openings and assistance in processing job contracts and visas; and lack of skills in English and other languages in destination countries.Footnote 26 In other cases, although they may be fluent in English and hold recognized qualifications, some are still faced with significant difficulties in career search and development because of their unfamiliarity with the host cultural code in interpersonal communication, both generally and at work.Footnote 27 As well, information flowing through networks of contacts in the destination country can be unreliable and overly optimistic as a result of attempts to appear successful in the country of settlement.Footnote 28 Therefore, the needs of economic immigrants, when compared with other groups, particularly refugees, is much less on traditional cultural orientation to a country (e.g., geography, climate, public transportation, housing) and more on what is required to integrate into the labour market.

This difference in the type of information needed by economic immigrants was echoed by a few interviewees, who indicated that skilled workers are seeking information about the labour market, employment opportunities and how to get their educational and professional credentials recognized. As well, a few interviewees felt that economic immigrants are likely to be able to find general information on their own and look to the pre-departure orientation to provide more specific information that will help them with their own labour market integration.

That said, results of the survey of FSWs revealed that almost all participants in the pre-departure orientation sessions strongly agreed or agreed (97%) that taking an orientation session prior to departure was important.

Family class

The document review conducted for this evaluation did not reveal any research on the information and/or orientation needs of family class immigrants. As well, very few interviewees provided any comments on the need to provide pre-departure orientation to this group. Among those who did comment, opinions seemed to be evenly split between those who felt it was not necessary, given that these individuals are sponsored by family members and therefore have access to information and support, and those who felt it was necessary in order to ensure they receive accurate information, particularly with respect to their rights.

Some interviewees (18 of 60) also suggested that the need for pre-departure orientation will vary by source country, noting that there are cultural and language differences among the countries from which immigrants originate. These differences may be more prominent than in the past, as Canada’s source countries for immigration have changed. As indicated in Table 3-1, European countries accounted for 75% of all Canadian immigrants in 1966, but only 16% by 2010. Correspondingly, the percentage from Asia and Pacific, and from Africa and the Middle East have grown dramatically (from 9% to 46% for Asia, and from 3% to 25% for Africa). The percentage of permanent residents from South and Central America also doubled over this fifty-year period, and represented 10% of the total immigrant population in 2010.

Table 3-1: Permanent residents in Canada, by source area (1966 and 2010)

Region 1966 2010
Africa and the Middle East 5,842 3.0% 66,693 23.8%
Asia and Pacific 18,111 9.3% 135,006 48.1%
South and Central America 7,790 4.0% 28,355 10.1%
United States 17,527 9.0% 9,243 3.3%
Europe and United Kingdom 145,473 74.7% 41,319 14.7%
Unknown 0 0.0% 65 0.02%
Total 194,743 100% 280,681 100%

Source: 1961-1966: Canadian Demographics at a Glance, Statistics Canada, 2008.
2001 & 2010: Canada Facts and Figures, Citizenship & Immigration Canada, 2010.

In summary, while there were strong opinions from interviewees and orientation participants regarding the need to offer pre-departure orientation to newcomers, the type of information needed varies among immigration categories and by source country. Given this wide range of needs, pre-departure orientation (as defined by the IOM and CIC) that focuses on general information about life in Canada and how to access settlement services upon arrival, may not be most useful to all immigration categories.

3.1.2 Provincial and federal roles in in-person pre-departure orientation

Finding: While there is no legislative obligation to provide pre-departure orientation services, interviewees believe there is a role for the federal government in delivering these services to ensure consistent messaging overseas; however, there is a lack of clarity regarding the respective roles of the federal government and provincial governments in delivery.

Legislation

One of the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) is to promote the successful integration of permanent residents into Canada.Footnote 29 With respect to labour market integration, the legislation commits the federal government to “work in cooperation with the provinces to secure better recognition of the foreign credentials of permanent residents and their more rapid integration into society”.Footnote 30 The legislation, in both cases, does not specifically refer to pre-departure orientation as a means of assisting in the integration of newcomers. Section 8 of IRPA permits the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to enter into agreements with provinces regarding any issues legislated by IRPA. In addition, section 10.2 specifies that “The Minister must consult with the governments of the provinces respecting (…) the measures to be undertaken to facilitate their integration into Canadian society”.

Roles of the federal and provincial/territorial governments

The roles and responsibilities of the federal and most provincial/territorial governments with respect to immigration are outlined in immigration agreements. In most cases, these agreements do not refer directly to pre-departure orientation programs. Exceptions are the agreements with British Columbia and Manitoba which stipulate that responsibility for the design, administration and delivery of settlement services rests with the province;Footnote 31 however, the provision of pre-departure orientation is clearly identified as a federal government responsibility. As well, the Canada-Quebec Accord gives the province sole authority for the administration of reception and integration services for clients in that province.

None of the interviewees questioned raised any concerns regarding the current role of the federal government in providing pre-departure orientation, indicating that its role is one of leadership and ensuring uniform and consistent messaging overseas. With respect to the provincial government role, interviewees from CIC (6 of 13) noted an increased interest by some provincial governments in becoming more involved in the provision of information at pre-departure, although in some cases it was felt this interest may be more on recruitment rather than on orientation. Some provincial government representatives (3 of 7) also indicated an interest in becoming more involved in providing province-specific information. This is particularly the case with respect to the CIIP, which now targets pre-departure orientation sessions to PNs in addition to FSWs. As a result, certain province-specific curricula have been developed and some sessions are now targeted to individuals destined to a specific province.

Given the current agreements with the provinces of Manitoba and BC, increasing direct involvement between these provinces and third-party service providers to develop and deliver province-specific pre-departure orientation does not appear to be in alignment with the stated roles and responsibilities of each level of government. In addition, the delivery of specific curricula to PNs destined to specific provinces means that the same amount of national information is not being delivered through all of the pre-departure orientation initiatives.

3.1.3 Alignment with government-wide priorities and CIC settlement objectives

Finding: All three pre-departure orientation initiatives are well-aligned with CIC priorities related to settlement, more specifically those related to informing settlement decisions and supporting labour market integration. The three programs are also linked to federal priorities related to humanitarian assistance and foreign credential recognition and labour market integration. With planned changes to the selection process for economic immigrants, there may be a need to examine the role of pre-departure orientation to ensure that it continues to be aligned with those changes.

Alignment with CIC settlement objectives

CIC’s commitment to helping newcomers settle and succeed is reconfirmed annually in the Departmental Performance Report and Report on Plans and Priorities. It also figures prominently in the Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, which states that “the key to maximizing the benefits of immigration is ensuring that newcomers have the information, tools and opportunities to realize their potential and become fully engaged in all aspects of Canadian society”.Footnote 32

The provision of pre-departure orientation services is aligned with CIC’s strategic outcome 3 which states “newcomers and citizens participate to their full potential in fostering an integrated society,” through the settlement program activity. Information and orientation is a sub-sub-activity under the settlement program. In describing this activity, the department states that the provision of settlement-related information and orientation is fundamental to the successful settlement of newcomers in Canada. Under this program activity, the focus of orientation efforts is to inform settlement decisions and to promote a contextual understanding of life in Canada.Footnote 33 The COA is aligned with the information and orientation sub-sub-activity, as it focuses on the provision of information to enhance knowledge and to ensure that individuals know how to obtain assistance upon arrival.

Information and orientation is also a component of the foreign credential referral program sub-activity under the settlement and integration program activity in CIC’s Program Activity Architecture (PAA). This activity is undertaken by the FCRO, which was established to help internationally trained individuals receive the information, path-finding and referral services to have their credentials assessed as quickly as possible so they can find work faster in the fields for which they have been trained. Under this program sub-activity, the focus of orientation efforts is to support labour market integration. The CIIP is closely aligned with this program sub-activity, as its objective is to “enable prospective economic immigrants to Canada…to effectively prepare to meet foreign credential requirements and achieve labour market integration”.Footnote 34

The AEIP’s objectives touch on both the information and orientation and the foreign credential referral elements of the PAA. The AEIP seeks to “support the settlement, adaptation and integration of newcomers into Canadian society by providing pre-departure guidance…that will facilitate the adjustment process in Canada, and promote community and labour market engagement”.Footnote 35

Therefore, CIC’s three pre-departure orientation initiatives are aligned with CIC’s settlement objectives, both in the information and orientation sub-sub-activity and the labour market integration sub-activity.

Alignment with government-wide priorities

While the federal government has not identified pre-departure orientation as a priority, it has indicated the importance of foreign credential recognition in recent Speeches from the Throne.

  • In the March 2008 Speech from the Throne the government committed to “work with the provinces to make the recognition of foreign credentials a priority, attract top international students to Canada and increase the uptake of immigrant settlement programs”.
  • In March 2010 the government reconfirmed its commitment to “work with the provinces to strengthen recognition of foreign credentials through the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications”.

The Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications is a joint commitment by federal, provincial and territorial governments to work together to advance the integration of internationally trained workers into the Canadian labour market.Footnote 36 CIC, through the FCRO, has been identified as the lead department on the pre-arrival component of the framework.Footnote 37 This priority was further emphasized in the Prime Minister’s speech at the World Economic Forum, in which he stated that economic concerns would be the primary driver of Canada’s immigration policy.Footnote 38

Based on this evidence, it would appear that the objectives of the CIIP and the AEIP are aligned with the current government priorities related to foreign credential recognition and labour market integration. That being said, recent changes to the selection criteria for the economic category may modify the role that pre-departure orientation may have. These changes will include requirements for higher language proficiency and more emphasis on pre-assessment of foreign credentials and pre-arranged employment. Therefore, in the future, the source countries for economic immigrants may be different. In addition, economic immigrants may require different types of information prior to arrival (e.g., how to have a pre-assessment done) and the time at which that information is needed (i.e., it may be needed before selection).

The COA, which identifies refugees as its main priority and is the only initiative that provides pre-departure orientation to this group, is in alignment with the government’s continued commitment to fulfilling its humanitarian obligations. However, it is worth noting that only 34% of the population served by COA between 2005-2006-2010-2011 was refugees, with other participants being FSWs, LCs, and FC—immigration categories that are not included as part of humanitarian obligations.

3.2 Design and implementation

3.2.1 Alignment of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives with one another

Finding: CIC’s three pre-departure orientation initiatives do not overlap with one another as they have different objectives, locations, and offerings, although there is one area of duplication with respect to COA and CIIP in the Philippines. The information provided to participants is in alignment with the specific objectives of the initiatives and the different groups that are targeted. In addition, CIC delivers pre-departure orientation services for refugees similarly to other countries.

The evaluation examined the extent to which COA, AEIP and CIIP complement/duplicate each other in terms of reach (e.g., geographic areas covered, immigrant classes targeted), scope and depth of information provided (e.g., topics, level of detail, length), and linkages to post-arrival settlement services.

The objectives of the three initiatives are different in that their emphasis varies—initial settlement and adaptation to Canadian society versus integration into the Canadian labour market. According to its program objectives, COA is primarily on providing information to help newcomers have better knowledge of Canada, be aware of the difficulties that may be faced upon arrival, raise the level of confidence of newcomers and ensure that they know where to find assistance upon arrival.Footnote 39 In contrast, CIIP is largely on labour market integration with objectives related to enabling “prospective economic immigrants to Canada … to effectively prepare to meet foreign credential requirements and achieve labour market integration”.Footnote 40 AEIP appears to fall somewhere between COA and CIIP in that its objectives support both “the settlement, adaptation and integration of newcomers into Canadian society” and “community and labour market engagement.”Footnote 41

CIC’s three pre-departure orientation initiatives are also different with respect to the types of offerings used to deliver the service. While COA offers only in-person group orientation sessions (i.e., 1-, 3- or 5-day) AEIP and CIIP both have different approaches that go beyond group orientation sessions. AEIP offers a 2-hour orientation session and participants can also take customized workshops on various topics (e.g., health care, education). AEIP also offers case management where clients can receive one-on-one counselling with a needs assessment/development of an integration plan. CIIP offers a 1-day orientation session and offers a service similar to AEIP in that clients can receive one-on-one counselling to develop a MAP. AEIP and CIIP both provide client referrals to organizations in Canada.

Finally, the initiatives differ with respect to the locations in which they operate. As of 2010-2011, IOM was delivering COA in over 40 locations and depending upon the location, offered pre-departure orientation to FSWs, FCs, PNs, refugees, and LCs. CIIP is offered to FSWs and PNs in China, India, the Philippines, and the UK. AEIP is offered to FSWs, PNs, FC, business immigrants, and LCs, in South Korea and Taiwan (Table 3-2). There is one overlap to note and that is with respect to COA and CIIP—both of which offer pre-departure orientation to FSWs and PNs in Manila.Footnote 42 Additional duplication may occur, as a review of the contribution agreement with ACCC (2010-2011 to 2012-2013) showed that it plans to expand CIIP services to Taiwan and South Korea (see Section 3.2.3. for further discussion on this).Footnote 43

Table 3-2: Locations and target groups of pre-departure orientation (as of 2010-2011)

Country Refugees FSWs PNs FC LCs
China   CIIP CIIP    
Columbia COA COA   COA  
Egypt COA        
Ethiopia COA        
Ghana COA        
India   CIIP CIIP    
Jordan COA        
Kenya COA        
Lebanon COA COA   COA  
Nepal COA        
Pakistan COA COA   COA  
Philippines   COA, CIIP COA, CIIP COA COA
Russia COA        
South Korea   AEIP AEIP AEIP  
Sri Lanka   COA   COA  
Sudan COA        
Syria COA        
Taipei   AEIP AEIP AEIP AEIP
United Kingdom   CIIP CIIP    

A review of the curricula for the three initiatives showed that each has been designed to reflect the differences in objectives and the groups that they target, as the scope and depth of information provided to participants varies greatly between them. For example, as per its objectives, COA provides information largely related to adapting to life in Canada (e.g., what to do upon arrival, how to find help). Conversely, information provided to CIIP participants is largely on the labour market, job search skills, and how to have foreign credentials recognized, with little emphasis on general adaptation and settlement in Canada. AEIP provides a wider scope of information with a balance between general settlement and labour market information—although the information received is dependent upon what workshops are taken.

It is also worth noting that even within each of the initiatives, session information has been tailored to the different target groups. For example, within COA, information is tailored for economic immigrants, urban-based refugees, camp-based refugees, and LCs. They all generally cover similar themes (e.g., overview of Canada, settlement, employment, rights and responsibilities) however; the depth of what is covered varies. The 3- and 5-day sessions provide very in-depth information on all topics and focus largely on general information for settlement. The 1-day session for economic immigrants and LCs focus less on general settlement and more on employment-related issues (e.g., job search, Canadian labour market) and other relevant topics (e.g., rights and responsibilities for LCs). Similarly, AEIP has different curricula for FSWs and LCs. For example, LCs that take AEIP receive more information on rights and responsibilities and becoming a permanent resident and do not receive as much information on Canadian culture or living in Canada as FSWs and PNs that take AEIP. CIIP’s curriculum also has distinctive information for FSWs and PNs. While similar topics are covered during the pre-departure orientation session, the curriculum for PNs is more on providing province-specific information while the curriculum for FSWs has a more national perspective.

Therefore, the evaluation found that the three initiatives are largely different in that they have different objectives, locations, offerings and curricula, with the one exception of COA and CIIP both offering pre-departure orientation to FSWs in the Philippines. In addition, while the scope of the evaluation did not include an assessment of the curriculum, the three initiatives all appear to be well designed in that the information provided to participants is in alignment with the respective initiative objectives and is tailored for the targeted immigration category.

Delivery of pre-departure orientation to refugees

Canada is one of a number of countries that provides pre-departure orientation to refugees. IOM offers services to refugees destined for the US, Australia, Norway, Finland, the UK, and France, although 93% of the migrants that received IOM services between 2001 and 2010 were destined for the US, Canada and Australia. Canada is unique in that it provides pre-departure orientation to groups other than refugees.Footnote 44

There are many similarities between Canada and the other countries that provide pre-departure orientation to refugees (see Technical appendix L for an overview of five different overseas orientation programs delivered by the IOM). Sessions typically range between 1-6 days, with most offering 3-day sessions. Similar themes are covered by the programs such as learning about daily life in the destination country as well as how to access services. A mix of facilities is also used, with some using permanent training sites, others using mobile units, and others using facilities in the camps. One interesting difference to note is that some countries provide pre-departure language training in addition to (UK) or in lieu of pre-departure orientation (Ireland). Also, Norway’s program is unique as it offers a 2-day course for youth (8-15 years old) and receiving municipalities also receive training on the cultural profiles of refugees they will be receiving (similar to the cultural profiles provided by CIC to Canadian municipalities for Karen and Bhutanese refugees).

A series of best practices for the delivery of pre-departure orientation to refugees was identified through interviews and document review (see Technical appendix M for a list of these best practices). This yielded a range of best practices, many of which COA incorporates into its design and delivery. Also, given the fact the IOM delivers pre-departure orientation on behalf of many countries, there will be similarities across the various programs. There were a few observations from interviewees with respect to differences between COA and programs in other countries. For example, some noted that Canada does not dedicate as many resources as other countries for monitoring COA (i.e., other governments are more involved in visiting/monitoring the sites regularly and are more involved in developing materials). In addition, other countries appear to provide more opportunities for trainers to visit the destination country and to share best practices with one another (e.g., Australia holds an annual conference for all trainers to share best practices together in Australia).

Despite these differences, overall, Canada provides pre-departure orientation services for refugees in a similar way to other countries and COA is in alignment with the best practices used for the delivery of pre-departure orientation to refugees.

3.2.2 Effectiveness of governance structures

Finding: Governance structures are in place to manage each of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives and interviewees reported that those structures work well. However, there is a lack of coordination within CIC with respect to the overall strategic direction and management of pre-departure orientation, including the lack of a clear strategy to identify what type of information should be provided to which immigration categories and in what locations.

Governance structures

Contribution agreements between CIC and each of the delivery agents outline delivery and reporting requirements for the pre-departure orientation initiatives. All delivery agents submit quarterly and monthly reports, detailing key activities and statistics related to participation numbers. Delivery agents have flexibility to manage and deliver the program as they see appropriate, including for the ACCC, the development of partnerships with organizations in Canada to provide pre-departure orientation as well as services and onward referrals upon arrival. The evaluation found that the delivery agents have internal governance structures in place and that mechanisms are in place for communication and coordination between delivery agents and respective CIC program representatives.

COA is delivered within the framework of IOM policies, structures, and communication mechanisms, similar to the other pre-departure orientation programs that are delivered by IOM on behalf of other countries.Footnote 45 IOM has a Global Project Manager who is responsible for overseeing COA and working with staff in Ottawa and the various sites.Footnote 46 IOM has key contacts at CIC and meets with CIC program representatives a few times a year. IOM also submits regular reports that include financial claims, statistics, and in-depth narrative reports.

The S.U.C.C.E.S.S. head office is located in Vancouver, BC and is responsible for the overall monitoring, financial management, and coordination with its overseas offices in Taiwan and South Korea responsible for the delivery of AEIP. Interviews with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. representatives indicated it works closely with CIC in the implementation of the contribution agreement and that there is good communication and coordination with CIC in that respect.

CIIP is headed by a Program Director who reports to the Vice-President of Canadian Partnerships at ACCC, which is headquartered in Ottawa. Canadian field managers and regional directors are based in the field and report to the Director. The Program Director for CIIP has weekly calls and monthly meetings with the FCRO service delivery team and submits quarterly reports to CIC on statistics, financials, budget and travel. Interviewees indicated that these weekly and monthly meetings between the delivery agent and CIC work well.

Overall coordination of pre-departure orientation

As discussed in Section 1.2, the responsibility for the three pre-departure orientation initiatives lies in different Sectors and Branches in CIC. In January 2011, operational responsibility for all Gs&Cs programming was transferred to the newly created IPMB, thus the management of the three contribution agreements for the pre-departure orientation initiatives became centralized. This allowed for harmonization of the agreements with respect to how they are administered (e.g., same agreements, standardized reporting and processing of payments). However, there is a lack of coordination between the three initiatives within CIC with respect to an overall strategy for the delivery of pre-departure orientation. A working group was put in place in 2009 to help coordinate the initiatives and support the development of an overseas strategy with representation from Integration Branch, FCRO, International Region, Refugee Affairs Branch, and Communications. However, the group does not seem active as it has not met for some time.

The lack of coordination means that there has been no harmonized approach for the management of the initiatives, including an overall strategy for where pre-departure orientation is offered. This has meant that the initiatives have expanded locations and target groups without an articulated strategy for doing so (see Section 3.2.3. for more on this). In addition, tools have been developed separately (e.g., training materials, websites, videos, brochures), meaning that materials are not necessarily delivering consistent messages across all initiatives. The evaluation also found that delivery agents have been involved in educating missions in countries where pre-departure orientation is offered about the initiatives, and discussing expansion options with missions in countries where pre-departure orientation is not offered—activities that would be more appropriately undertaken by CIC National Headquarters using a coordinated approach. This finding is consistent with the 2005 evaluation of COA, which concluded that “there is no systematic process in place whereby CIC HQ ensures that mission officials in regions where the COA is delivered are thoroughly familiar with the COA and with their responsibilities in relation to it.”Footnote 47

An additional governance issue identified by a few interviewees related to the funding model for the overseas orientation initiatives. All three initiatives are currently funded through CIC’s Innovation FundFootnote 48, with funding decisions made for each program on a yearly basis.Footnote 49 The innovation fund has decreased from $29.3M in 2010-202011 to $16M in 2011-2012. This means that there is no on-going stable funding for the initiatives and there has been funding pressures. The contribution agreements for the three initiatives also expire at different times, making it difficult to align decisions with respect to overseas orientation. A few interviewees suggested that the pre-departure orientation initiatives should be funded through a permanent funding source.

3.2.3 Appropriateness of location and target groups of pre-departure orientation

Finding: There was no clearly articulated rationale for how the locations and target groups for pre-departure orientation were selected. The fact that pre-departure orientation is being offered in some countries that do not account for a large percentage of immigrants suggests that it may not be offered in the most appropriate locations or to the right target groups.

Rationale for locations in which pre-departure orientation is offered

All of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives have evolved since their original design in terms of locations and/or target groups. COA was established in 1998 and since that time, the COA annual reports showed that the countries in which it is offered and the categories that have received pre-departure orientation, have varied. Information from an IOM representative indicated that, in the early 2000s, it was IOM that proposed expansion of sites and categories to CIC based on needs it identified. During the evaluation period the target groups have not changed and the locations in which it has been offered has remained fairly stable.

The proposal that S.U.C.C.E.S.S. submitted in response to CIC’s National Call for Proposals for Settlement Programming (2007) showed that it originally planned to provide pre-departure orientation services in China (Beijing and Shanghai) and South Korea (Seoul). These services, however, were ultimately offered in Taiwan, instead of China and interviewees suggested that it was due to the fact that ACCC was already offering services in China.

ACCC originally offered CIIP services to FSWs in China, India and the Philippines. For the 2010-2011 fiscal year the program expanded both its target group to include PNs and the location of its offerings to the UK. According to the current contribution agreement with ACCC (2010-2011 to 2012-2013),Footnote 50 expansion was planned to the United Kingdom (with satellite locations)Footnote 51 and Qatar (with satellite locations).Footnote 52 In addition, ACCC proposed the development of satellite and/or off-site locations in their existing sites in ChinaFootnote 53, India,Footnote 54 and the Philippines.Footnote 55 There was no evidence to determine the rationale for the proposed expansion of the program to the other locations.

Location and target groups of pre-departure orientation offerings

The contribution agreements outline in which countries pre-departure orientation will be offered and to which immigration categories. Using CIC landings data for a 5-year period (2006 to 2010), the evaluation examined where pre-departure orientation was offered and to whom, in relation to the source countries for immigrants. As shown in Table 3-3, during that time period, the majority of LCs originated from the Philippines (77.1%) and Taiwan (8.5%). LCs in the Philippines are served by COA, while those in Taiwan are served by AEIP. It is worth noting that the number of LCs originating from Taiwan has been decreasing since 2008 and in 2011 a higher number of LCs originated from Hong Kong (552) than Taiwan (425), although neither COA nor AEIP is offered in Hong Kong.

In that same time period, one-third of FSWs originated from India (11.5%), China (7.0%), the Philippines (5.2%), France (5.1%), and the UK (4.3%). Those originating from the first three countries and those from the UK are eligible to take CIIP, while those originating from the Philippines are also eligible to take COA. However, pre-departure orientation is offered in some countries from which only a small percentage of FSWs originate. AEIP is offered in South Korea and Taiwan, which account for 2.5% and 0.7% of FSWs, respectively. In addition, COA is offered to FSWs in Lebanon (1.5% of landings) and Sri Lanka (0.7% of landings). This is similar for PNs, where pre-departure orientation is offered in some locations where many originate, including the Philippines (24.5%), China (13.5%), India (7.6%), and South Korea (6.1%). However, PNs are eligible to take pre-departure orientation in countries that are not large source countries for Canada, including Taiwan (0.8%), Colombia (0.7%), Pakistan (0.6%), and Sri Lanka (0.2%).

With respect to FC, pre-departure orientation is not being offered in the locations where the largest percentage of individuals originate. For example, while pre-departure orientation (i.e., COA) is offered to FC in the Philippines and Pakistan, those countries accounted for only 10.8% of the FC that arrived in Canada between 2006 and 2010. Conversely, pre-departure orientation is not offered in India or China—the largest source countries for FCs (18.3% and 9.7% respectively).

Refugees, by definition, are outside the country of their former habitual residence,Footnote 56 and so a comparison between their country of last permanent residence and pre-departure orientation locations is not appropriate. Based on an analysis of COA annual reports, it would appear that pre-departure orientation is being offered where a significant number of refugees are located. For example, refugees from Iraq have been served by COA locations in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Iran and refugees from Afghanistan have been served by COA locations in Iran, Pakistan, and Russia. One earlier gap observed was in Colombia, which accounted for a large proportion of refugees in 2005, 2006, and 2007, however, COA Colombia was not established until 2008-2009.

Table 3-3: Proportion of landed immigrants, by source country (2006-2010)Footnote 57

Source Country Percent Orientation Offered
Live-in Caregivers (Top 5 source countries, 95% of landings)
Philippines 77.1 COA
Taiwan 8.5 AEIP
Saudi Arabia 5.4 --
Singapore 2.5 --
United Arab Emirates 1.8 --
Skilled WorkersFootnote 58 (Top 5 source countries, 33% of landings)
India 11.5 CIIP
China 7.0 CIIP
Philippines 5.2 CIIP, COA
France 5.1 --
United Kingdom 4.3 --
South Korea 2.5 AEIP
Lebanon 1.5 COA
Taiwan 0.7 AEIP
Sri Lanka 0.7 COA
Provincial Nominees (Top 5 source countries, 68% of landings)
Philippines 24.5 CIIP, COA
China 13.5 CIIP
Germany 8.7 --
India 7.6 CIIP
United Kingdom 7.6 --
South Korea 6.1 AEIP
Taiwan 0.8 AEIP
Colombia 0.7 COA
Pakistan 0.6 COA
Sri Lanka 0.2 COA
Family Class (Top 5 source countries, 45% of landings)
India 18.3 --
China 9.7 --
United States 6.6 --
Philippines 6.2 COA
Pakistan 4.4 COA
Sri Lanka 2.2 COA
Lebanon 1.3 COA
Republic of Korea 1.2 AEIP
Colombia 0.4 COA
Taiwan 0.2 AEIP

3.2.4 Program participation and potential barriers

Finding: While pre-departure orientation has been taken by many immigrants, the extent to which planned targets are being met vary. One of the main factors that may contribute to this variation among non-refugees is the way in which individuals are informed of the sessions, as information about pre-departure orientation is not consistently distributed. For refugees, other factors related to security and geography were cited.

Program participation and targets

From 2005-2006 to 2010-2011, over 87,000 participants received pre-departure orientation training through one of the three initiatives. As part of performance monitoring, and as outlined in the contribution agreements, each initiative establishes participation targets. Table 3-4 shows that, over the period under review, the degree to which these targets have been achieved has varied. COA was close to meeting or exceeded their targets in all years of the evaluation, with the exception of 2009-10, when 67.6% of the target was achieved. AEIP has not met targets in most years of operation, with the exception of the targets for the workshops—although the percentage of the targets met has generally increased over the three-year period. CIIP exceeded its targets the first year of operation. The evaluation examined the factors that may affect participation, including the effectiveness of promotional materials and barriers to participating in pre-departure orientation sessions.

Table 3-4: Percentage of participation targets met, by initiative and year

Orientation Initiative Fiscal Year
2005-2006 2006-2007 2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Canadian orientation abroad
Refugees   65.8 94.4 92.1 85.2 63.2 91.6
Non-refugees   118.2 94.4 107.3 89.0 71.0 89.9
Total   100.4 94.4 102.2 87.4 67.6 90.7
Active engagement and integration project
South Korea 2-hour group session       22.1 41.9 73.1
Workshops       79.0 146.6 146.1
Case management       23.1 77.5 75.3
Taiwan 2-hour group session       14.5 34.5 88.8
Workshops       41.9 120.0 123.8
Case management       61.0 82.0 98.7
Canadian immigrant integration program
Philippines             346.6
India             256.9
China             306.8
Total             314.7

Source: Initiative contribution agreements and Annual Reports.

Promotion of pre-departure orientation initiatives

Information from interviews and document review showed that delivery agents rely largely on CIC missions to inform potential participants about pre-departure orientation. The three delivery agents also have information on their websites. S.U.C.C.E.S.S. is the only delivery agent that undertakes its own promotional activities using a wide variety of mechanisms.Footnote 59 The way in which refugees are invited to participate in COA is different from non-refugees (see Technical appendix A).

The evaluation found that the way in which non-refugees are informed of pre-departure orientation varies by mission and initiative. With respect to COA, brochures, which are developed by IOM, are provided to potential participants at the time of their visa issuance. Those in the Philippines also receive the brochure at the time medical exams are conducted. AEIP is similar to this, as brochures and a cover letter, both developed by S.U.C.C.E.S.S., are provided to potential participants, although when this information is provided varies. Applicants processed in Hong Kong receive the information at the time of medical, while those processed in Seoul receive the information with their visa notification. Information from missions showed that information about CIIP is provided to participants at the time of their medical exam, although this varies by mission. For example, in Manila, a letter and brochure are provided at the time of the medical exam. In Hong Kong, a letter and brochure are e-mailed to potential participants (in Taiwan) when medical instructions are issued and hard copies of those materials are also provided at the time of visa issuance. Note that the letter issued from Hong Kong is from the FCRO, while the letter issued in Manila is from the mission. In addition to these inconsistencies, as noted in Section 3.2.2, delivery agents have spent time educating the staff in CIC missions about pre-departure orientation, particularly when new staff arrive.

These issues are likely related to the fact that there has been no coordinated operational guidance from NHQ on this. No information or direction on pre-departure orientation was found in CIC’s Operational Manuals or in any Operational Bulletins. While the 2011 Heads of Mission Manual provides a short description of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives, it does not provide operational guidance on the process for providing information to potential participants.Footnote 60 This issue is part of the larger governance issue identified above, related to the lack of overall coordination within CIC for pre-departure orientation.

Level of awareness of pre-departure orientation

The way in which promotion is currently being done may be affecting the level of awareness of pre-departure orientation. A total of 2,360 FSWs responded to the survey that was administered for the evaluation and 48.0% of those (1,133) had taken pre-departure orientation (COA, AEIP, or CIIP). Of the 1,127 respondents that did not take pre-departure orientation, 60.1% (735) were not aware that they could have taken it. The level of awareness among those that were not aware of pre-departure orientation varied by country of origin and as shown in Figure 3-1, a higher proportion of those originating from Taiwan (84.8%), South Korea (80.4%), and China (73.0%) were not aware that they could have taken orientation than those originating from Colombia (43.5%), Pakistan (28.6%), and the Philippines (19.1%).

Figure 3-1: Level of FSW survey respondent awareness of pre-departure orientation, by country

Figure 3-1: Level of FSW survey respondent awareness of pre-departure orientation, by country

Looking at the methods by which people found out about pre-departure orientation, FSW survey respondents that took COA and CIIP most often found out about pre-departure orientation from a brochure or letter from the mission (72.6% and 70.3%, respectively). Conversely, those that took AEIP most often found out about pre-departure orientation from an immigration consultant (44.9%), not via a brochure or letter from the mission (19.1%)—suggesting that information about pre-departure orientation is not being effectively provided newcomers originating from Taiwan or South Korea. There was no evidence to identify other reasons why awareness of pre-departure orientation was so low in certain countries.

Other potential barriers for non-refugees

While a few delivery agents and service-provider organizations (7 of 35) mentioned lack of awareness among participants as a reason why individuals may not participate in sessions, other potential barriers were identified. Many (26) also identified the distance to the training location as a potential barrier and some suggested (12) cost as an issue. This is consistent with information from the FSW survey. While most FSWs who attended pre-departure orientation did not identify any significant barriers that made it difficult for them to attend, a minority identified cost (16.8% of participants), location (16.6%) and timing issues, including time of day (13.9%) and/or day of week (13.6%), as potential barriers. FSW survey respondents that were aware of pre-departure orientation but did not attend also cited location (34.1%) and timing issues (27.2%) as the main reasons they did not attend.

Similar issues were found among the LCs who participated in the focus groups. While participants seemed to identify it more as a minor inconvenience than a significant problem, some said that the time and money spent getting to the session in Manila (some had to stay in Manila overnight) would have been better spent preparing for trip to Canada and/or saving for the trip. LCs who had received pre-departure orientation in Taiwan also had some difficulties with respect to timing, although in this instance it was related to the fact that they are often unable to take time off work or may have only one or two days off per month. As a result of this barrier, AEIP in Taipei has not been able to provide in-person orientation to many LCs and has used alternative methods (e.g., telephone) to reach them.

Barriers to refugee participation

To understand the barriers faced in the delivery of pre-departure orientation sessions to refugees, a review of the COA Annual Report for 2009-2010 was undertaken. This year was chosen given that only 63.2% of the targeted number of refugee participants was reached. This review revealed that security issues were the main concern:

  • three groups of refugees from one location departed for Canada without COA sessions as they were imprisoned and had to leave directly from the prison to the airport;
  • the issuance of visas in one country was done individually rather than in blocks, which made it difficult to assemble sufficient numbers of refugees within a given timeframe to hold a session;
  • a political crisis in one country resulted in the cessation of all COA training in the last four months of the fiscal year; and
  • security threats, strikes, suicide attacks and other political disturbances made it difficult to arrange sessions in a number of individual locations within one country.

Therefore a number of factors related to methods of promotion, timing and location of the sessions, and security issues may influence the extent to which individuals are aware of and/or participate in pre-departure orientation.

3.3 Program performance

3.3.1 Satisfaction with, timing of, and usefulness of pre-departure orientation information

Finding: Overall, participants to pre-departure orientation were satisfied with the sessions, although not all of the enhanced services (e.g., referrals, workshops) offered by AEIP and CIIP were useful to all participants. Orientation information is provided to participants in a timely fashion and those who took it found it useful to prepare for the trip to Canada.

Satisfaction and usefulness of offerings

Information from the FSW survey showed that participation in AEIP and CIIP offerings varied and participation in AEIP offerings, in particular, was lower (Table 3-5). For example, only 51.2% of AEIP participants said that they participated in the 2-hour group session and only 31.4% said that they received a referral to a settlement organization. Less that half of CIIP participants said that they received a referral to a settlement organization or an educational institution (49.0% and 32.0%, respectively).

Table 3-5: Percentage of FSW survey respondents that participated in initiative offerings

Offering AEIP (n= 86) CIIP (n=584)
Group orientation session 44 51.2% 420 71.9%
Workshops 57 66.3%    
One-on-one interview 53 61.6% 444 76.0%
Referral to settlement organization 27 31.4% 286 49.0%
Referral to educational institution     187 32.0%

Source: FSW Survey.

Participants to pre-departure orientation had a high level of satisfaction with respect to the pre-departure orientation sessions. During the site visits, participants in the follow-up sessions from each of the overseas orientation initiatives were satisfied with the learning environment, delivery method and focus of the information they received. LCs that participated in focus groups also indicated that they were very satisfied with the COA and AEIP orientation sessions, although those who took AEIP said that the two-hour session was too short.

Similarly, results from CIIP feedback surveys showed that participants had a strong level of agreement that CIIP services were useful, including the various offerings.Footnote 61 While the FSW survey also showed that CIIP and AEIP participants found the various offerings helpful, there was some variation in responses (Table 3-6).Footnote 62 For example, for AEIP the group orientation and workshops were rated less useful than the one-on-one interview and the referral to settlement organizations and overall, the proportion that found orientation offerings ‘very helpful’ seemed low. The results for CIIP are also noteworthy, as a large proportion of respondents found the offering ‘somewhat’ or ‘not at all’ helpful. In addition, while approximately 40% of FSW survey respondents that took CIIP said found the various offerings ‘very helpful’ more than 10% of FSW survey respondents that took CIIP did not find the one-on-one interview or the referrals to settlement and educational institutions helpful—components which are a key part of ACCC’s approach regarding successful integration of newcomers into the labour market.

Table 3-6: FSW survey respondents opinions on the helpfulness of the various pre-departure orientation offerings

Offering AEIP (n=89) CIIP (n=599)
  Very helpful Somewhat helpful Not at all helpful   Very helpful Somewhat helpful Not at all helpful
Group orientation session 42 16.7% 73.8% 9.5% 410 39.5% 54.9% 5.6%
Workshops 56 19.6% 73.2% 7.1%        
One-on-one interview 49 36.7% 57.1% 6.1% 432 39.4% 49.1% 11.6%
Referral to settlement organization 25 36.0% 60.0% 4.0% 277 40.4% 48.7% 10.8%
Referral to educational institution         181 35.9% 50.3% 13.8%

Source: FSW Survey.

Given the participation rates of FSW survey respondents in the various offerings and the opinions on the usefulness of the pre-departure orientation offerings, it is possible that some components of pre-departure orientation may not be as useful to participants as others. The separate evaluations of AEIP and CIIP had findings that support this. For example, only half (49%) of the respondents to the survey for the CIIP evaluation said that they used their MAPFootnote 63 and 29 of the 63 respondents to the survey conducted for the AEIP evaluation did not contact the organizations to which they were referred after arrival in Canada.Footnote 64 Given that individuals may take one or a combination of these offerings, it was not possible to use the FSW survey data to examine outcomes by type of offering. Therefore no further conclusions could be drawn in this respect.

Timing between orientation and departure

Interviewees suggested that the amount of time between taking orientation and departing for Canada can vary widely from the day before departure all the way up to over a year before departure. The evaluation found that orientation is generally being offered to participants between one and five months before departure. There was little variation between groups or orientation initiatives, with COA survey respondents taking orientation, on average seven weeks before departing for Canada.Footnote 65 The majority of FSW survey respondents (51.1%) took orientation between two to five months prior their departure and almost one-third (33.1%) took the orientation one month before departure. Participants in the follow-up sessions during the site visits also indicated that they were departing for Canada in anywhere between 2 to 6 months.

Overall, 69.1% of FSW survey participants agreed that they had enough time before departure (Table 3-7). However, looking more closely at the results, AEIP participants said more often than COA or CIIP participants that they did not have enough time between departure and orientation; with more than half (57.1%) saying they did not have enough time.

Table 3-7: Percentage of FSW survey respondents that agreed / disagreed they had enough time between orientation and departure for Canada

Response Orientation initiative (%) Total (%)
(n=1,068)
AEIP (n=84) CIIP (n=549) COA (n=435)
I did not have enough time 57.1 29.7 27.4 30.9
I had enough time 42.9 70.3 72.6 69.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: FSW Survey.

In looking at the results by length of time respondents had between orientation and departure, 60.9% of the respondents that took the orientation between 1 and 4 weeks prior to departure and 75.0% that took it between 2 and 5 months before departure said they had enough time. About half of the people that took orientation within one week prior to departure (50.7%) said they did not have enough time. Therefore, it appears that having more time is better and having only one week is not ideal. This is consistent with information from interviewees, who said that taking orientation anywhere between 1 and 6 months before departure is appropriate.

Preparation for travelling to Canada

Information from the evaluation showed that the receipt of pre-departure orientation helped participants prepare for the trip to Canada. LCs that participated in the focus groups indicated that COA and AEIP were very helpful in preparing for the trip to Canada by providing information on what documents to bring with them, what to pack, and the luggage restrictions. While LCs are also required to take Pre-departure and Orientation Information Seminars (PDOS)Footnote 66 before departing the Philippines, focus group participants said that it does not provide Canada-specific information and therefore, COA are AEIP are more useful.

Similarly, most COA survey respondents said that pre-departure orientation was ‘very much’ helpful in preparing for the flight (83.0%), bringing the right documents (92.0%), and packing the right things (80.1%).Footnote 67 These results were consistent between the different immigration categories (Table 3-8).Footnote 68 A large majority of FSW survey respondents that took pre-departure orientation also agreed or strongly agreed (93.4%) that pre-departure orientation helped them to prepare for the trip to Canada (e.g., right documents, clothes). Those that took CIIP less often agreed that pre-departure orientation helped them prepare for the trip to Canada, although a large majority still agreed that it was helpful.Footnote 69 It is worth noting that this slight difference is likely related either to the fact that CIIP’s focus is not on providing information on the trip to Canada or that participants do not need this type of information and therefore do not find it useful.

Table 3-8: Percentage of COA survey respondents that said pre-departure orientation “very much” helped prepare for the trip to Canada

Question Immigration category (%)
Refugee Federal Skilled Worker Family Class Live-in Caregiver Overall
Prepare for the airplane flight(s) 90.2 72.3 87.3 88.9 83.2
Bring the right documents with you 88.1 90.0 97.3 93.0 92.2
Pack the right things to bring with you 81.1 72.6 86.4 90.3 80.4

Source: COA Survey. Note that ‘n’ varies with each figure.

FSW survey respondents that took pre-departure orientation were asked to indicate whether they made any changes following their participation in pre-departure orientation (e.g., destination city, time of departure, type of job that they were going to look for). Almost three-quarters of respondents (75.1%) indicated that they made changes with respect to at least one thing (of the seven presented).Footnote 70 As shown in Figure 3-2, survey respondents made changes mostly with respect to decisions regarding what to bring with them to Canada (44.5%), saving more money before departure (41.5%), getting more training (37.9%), and changing the type of job that they were going to search for (27.1%). There were no statistically significant differences in responses between the three orientation initiatives, with one exception. CIIP participants tended to change what they were going to bring to Canada less often than COA and AEIP participants (38.6% of CIIP participants said they changed what to bring versus 51.3% of AEIP and 50.9% of COA participants). Again, this result is not surprising given that this is not CIIP’s main focus.

In summary, the evaluation found that pre-departure orientation was useful to participants even before departing for Canada as it helped them to prepare for the trip and gave them information that allowed them to make decisions about coming to Canada. Given that orientation participants were satisfied with the information provided regarding the trip to Canada and the fact that FSW and COA survey respondents or LCs did not give any strong indication that more information was needed in this regard, the current nature and depth of information provided to participants on how to prepare to come to Canada appears to be sufficient.

Figure 3-2: Percentage of FSW survey respondents that made changes before departure

Figure 3-2: Percentage of FSW survey respondents that made changes before departure

3.3.2 Impact of pre-departure orientation on newcomer knowledge of life in Canada

Finding: In-person pre-departure orientation helped newcomers prepare for life in Canada and ensured that they knew what to do upon arrival, including accessing settlement services. There was some slight variation between orientation programs; however, this was likely due to the fact that not all place the same emphasis on settlement-related information. Few challenges were identified in this respect, although some pre-departure orientation participants indicated that more information would have been helpful.

Knowledge of life in Canada and what to do upon arrival

The evaluation found evidence that pre-departure orientation helped individuals gain knowledge about life in Canada and provided information that helped them know what to do upon arrival. Orientation participants spoken to during the site visits unanimously agreed that pre-departure orientation assisted them in knowing what they need to do to settle in Canada. Similarly, LCs that participated in the focus groups said that their knowledge of Canada increased because of taking pre-departure orientation and that they felt well-prepared to come to Canada. More specifically, LCs said that pre-departure orientation provided useful information on a range of topics including Canadian culture, weather, housing, rights as a live-in caregiver, budgeting, and work benefits. During the focus groups, it was observed that those that took COA may have been slightly better prepared than those that took AEIP as the information that COA participants received seemed more detailed and covered a broader range of topics. This is not surprising given COA provides a 1-day session and AEIP provides a 2-hour session and LCs do not take any workshops. Those that did not take any pre-departure orientation certainly had less information about life in Canada and reported feeling not very well prepared.

Many FSW survey respondents also agreed or strongly agreed that pre-departure orientation helped them know what they needed to do to settle in Canada (79.9%), helped them meet initial settlement needsFootnote 71 (81.5%), and helped them understand rights, freedoms, and responsibilities (89%). There were no statistically significant differences in responses between the three orientation initiatives, with one exception. CIIP participants tended to agree less often than AEIP participants that orientation was helpful for meeting initial settlement needs (78.0% of CIIP participants agreed it was helpful versus 90.4% of AEIP participants).Footnote 72 Again, this is not surprising given that CIIP does not focus on providing settlement information.

Information from the COA survey further supported these results, as respondents were positive with respect to the usefulness of pre-departure orientation, indicating that it was ‘very much’ helpful for a range of elements related to life in Canada. As shown in Figure 3-3, respondents found pre-departure orientation most helpful for knowing what to do upon arrival (76.9%), knowing about rights and responsibilities (74.7%), preparing for Canadian weather (73.7%), learning about Canadian multiculturalism (73.2%), and learning about laws related to family violence (72.1%). Participants found pre-departure orientation less helpful to understand housing (56.8%), the school system (55.5%), making a budget (52.6%), public transportation (50.2%), and banking (47.5%).

Figure 3-3: Percentage of COA survey respondents that agreed pre-departure orientation was “very much” helpful

Figure 3-3: Percentage of COA survey respondents that agreed pre-departure orientation was “very much” helpful

While there was very little variation in the responses for refugees, family class and LCs, the level of agreement from FSWs on the majority elements was consistently lower (Table 3-9). Only 39.0% of FSWs felt that pre-departure orientation was ‘very much’ helpful to make a budget, versus 52.6% overall and only 39.0% of FSWs felt that pre-departure orientation was ‘very much’ helpful for understanding the banking system versus 47.6% overall. While the evaluation did not identify any clear reason for these differences, the fact that FCs and FSWs received the same pre-departure orientation, yet have different views on usefulness of the information provided suggest that different immigration categories have different information needs. Thus, COA may not be sufficiently meeting the information needs of FSWs or may be focussing on issues that are of lesser importance to them. In addition, it is possible that FSWs might already be informed about these topics.

Table 3-9: Percentage of COA survey respondent that agreed pre-departure orientation was “very much” helpful, by immigration category

Rated element Immigration category (%)
Refugee Federal Skilled WorkerFootnote 73 Family Class Immigrant Live-in Caregiver Overall
Know what to do upon arrival 77.3 76.6 72.8 87.3 76.9
The rights and responsibilities 76.8 69.9 77.9 78.9 74.7
Prepare for weather 79.8 63.8 76.2 84.7 73.7
Canadian multiculturalism 77.3 71.7 70.2 73.6 73.2
Laws about family violence 83.7 58.0 76.8 78.6 72.1
The health care system 82.5 57.1 71.6 73.6 69.7
Get emergency help (police) 85.4 52.0 65.7 80.0 68.0
Adjust to Canadian culture 68.3 60.1 67.2 79.2 66.0
Housing 71.6 44.9 59.9 48.6 56.8
The school system 63.4 46.6 60.0 55.4 55.5
Make a budget 65.9 39.0 50.0 69.6 52.6
Use public transportation 66.8 35.1 46.9 67.1 50.5
The banking systems 66.4 33.0 47.6 45.7 47.6

Source: COA Survey. Note that ‘n’ varies with each figure.

The FSW survey findings with respect to preparation for life in Canada are consistent with findings from the CIIP and AEIP evaluations. The CIIP evaluation showed that about three-quarters of clients surveyed (73%) indicated that the information they received in the CIIP sessions helped them settle in Canada.Footnote 74 The AEIP evaluation reported that survey respondents were very positive regarding the fact that the AEIP program helped prepare them to adapt and integrate into Canadian society.Footnote 75 In addition, it concluded that information received during pre-departure orientation was helpful for settlement, although less helpful for information related to the labour market, employment, and business and credential recognition.Footnote 76

Knowledge and use of settlement services

Information from the FSW survey showed that those that took some form of pre-departure orientation tended to access settlement services more than those that did not. Twenty-five percent of those that did not take pre-departure orientation did not access any services after arrival in Canada, versus 15.7% of AEIP, 19.9% of CIIP, and 17.8% of COA participants. FSW survey respondents received different services depending on the pre-departure orientation they took and there were some differences between orientation initiatives (Figure 3-4):

  • 50.8% received job search services: COA (63.1%), AEIP (37.1%), CIIP (62.1%), no orientation (41.8%).Footnote 77
  • 46.1% used settlement/ orientation services: COA (55.1%), AEIP (61.8%), CIIP (54.1%), no orientation (46.1%).Footnote 78
  • 35.5% received language training: COA (29.2%), AEIP (56.2%), CIIP (25.7%), no orientation (41.0%).Footnote 79

Orientation participants most likely used services more than those that did not because of the fact that pre-departure orientation made participants aware of these services. FSW survey respondents that took pre-departure orientation agreed or strongly agreed that it was helpful to know how to contact settlement organizations (86.9%) and for where to find settlement assistance (80.8%). AEIP participants were more in agreement that they knew where to find settlement assistance (86.4%) than those that took COA (76.1%) or CIIP (83.5%).Footnote 80 Those that responded to the COA survey also said that pre-departure orientation ‘very much’ helped them find information about settlement services (61.2%).

There was an indication that LCs may not be receiving sufficient information about settlement services. During the focus groups, LCs said that they did not feel that they had sufficient information with respect to the settlement services available in their area and had only known about the one in their region through word of mouth. In fact, for some LCs, participation in the focus group was the first time they learned about the local settlement organization. While IOM provides COA participants with a document containing a list of websites where information related to settlement can be found, some LCs did not recall receiving this list. In addition, an examination of the document found it to be extremely long and many of the links were for provincial-level sites. LCs suggested that more regionally-tailored information be provided to ensure that they are aware of local services, as opportunities for meeting with other members of their community was viewed as extremely important.

Figure 3-4: Percentage of FSW survey respondents that accessed settlement services

Figure 3-4: Percentage of FSW survey respondents that accessed settlement services
Gaps in information and challenges related to initial settlement

The evaluation found that pre-departure orientation provided participants with useful information on a range of issues related to life in Canada. As shown in figure 3-5, FSW survey respondents reported a fairly low level of difficulty meeting initial settlement needs and finding help on settlement, with AEIP participants reporting a slightly higher level of difficultly with meeting initial settlement needs (34.6% reported no difficulty) than COA participants (57.1% reported no difficulty).

Despite the low level of difficulty on initial settlement, information from the evaluation showed that pre-departure orientation participants desired additional settlement-related information. LCs that participated in the focus groups reported that their greatest challenges related to settlement were:

  • not always feeling comfortable in speaking with employers about issues (e.g., being asked to work more hours than in contract or to do work other than child care);
  • cultural differences (e.g., food, child discipline);
  • finding information on settlement services;
  • finding a family doctor/ seeing a doctor; and
  • not knowing how to get a SIN card.

Figure 3-5: FSW survey respondents level of difficulty with initial settlement

Figure 3-5: FSW survey respondents level of difficulty with initial settlement

While pre-departure orientation cannot address all of these challenges, it was suggested that additional/better information could be provided to LCs on some of the aforementioned topics. This is consistent with the information from the COA survey. As shown in Table 3-10, LCs wanted more information on rights and responsibilities (77.8%), health care (70.8%), and social services (70.8%).Footnote 81 LCs that participated in the focus groups also suggested that a ‘checklist of things you have to do upon arrival’ would be helpful to receive during pre-departure orientation. Other COA survey respondents had similar opinions, noting that they would have liked additional information on social services (53.5%), health care (51.7%), education (49.5%), and settlement and immigration services in Canada (48.6%). Overall, refugees were least likely of all other COA survey respondents to want additional information, which is likely related to the fact that more time is spent on these topics in the 3- and 5-day sessions (versus the 1-day offered to the other immigration categories).

Table 3-10: Percentage of COA survey respondents that wanted more information

Rated element Immigration category (%)
Refugee Skilled Worker Family Class Live-in Caregiver Overall
Percent that wanted more information 80.1 94.1 91.4 94.4 89.0
Social services 44.6 53.7 59.1 70.8 53.5
Health care 48.0 45.0 60.1 70.8 51.7
Education 51.3 44.0 52.5 58.3 49.5
Settlement / immigrant services 46.1 46.3 51.5 59.7 48.6
Rights and responsibilities 49.4 33.9 55.6 77.8 47.6
Climate 35.4 26.7 47.5 65.3 37.6

Source: COA Survey. Note that ‘n’ varies with each figure.

3.3.3 Accuracy of information and impact on expectations

Finding: Participants to pre-departure orientation received accurate information, which helped to manage newcomer expectations, although not entirely.

Accuracy of information received

There was a high level of agreement from participants to pre-departure orientation regarding the accuracy of the information provided. Overall, 72.4% of COA survey respondents said that it ‘yes, definitely’ provided accurate information on where to find help in Canada. LCs (84.7%) had a significantly higher approval rate than refugees (68.6%), FSWs (70.0%), and FC (76.1%). These results were similar to the FSW survey, as 73.3% of FSWs that took pre-departure orientation strongly agreed or agreed that the information obtained was accurate (Figure 3-6). The differences between participants in the various orientation initiatives were not big enough to state that the one initiative provided more accurate information than another. Although participants from the Philippines more often felt that the information was accurate (78.5%), while those from Colombia less often felt that the information was accurate (64.8%).

Figure 3-6: FSW survey respondents agreement that pre-departure orientation information was accurate

Figure 3-6: FSW survey respondents agreement that pre-departure orientation information was accurate

The positive opinions with respect to the accuracy of information are consistent with the CIIP evaluation which showed that the majority of CIIP clients surveyed (89%) reported that the information they received from CIIP was accurate or mostly accurate compared with the reality of life in Canada.Footnote 82 The AEIP evaluation also concluded that participants of interviews and focus groups felt the information they received was accurate.Footnote 83

It is worth noting the level of disagreement with the accuracy of information, as per the FSW survey, seemed a little high among all three orientation initiatives (26.7% overall disagreement). For all initiatives, one-quarter or more of respondents disagreed that the information they received was accurate. These results may be related to gaps in pre-departure orientation information and/or the fact that FSW survey respondents received information from a number of other sources (e.g., CIC website, friends and family, immigration consultant) and it is unknown whether all information received via these sources is accurate.

Impact on expectations

One of the objectives of offering pre-departure orientation is to help manage the expectations of newcomers with respect to life in Canada. Information from a number of lines of evidence showed that taking pre-departure orientation helped manage the expectation of participants. LCs who participated in the focus groups agreed that it helped to set expectations (e.g., salary and cost of living) about coming to Canada and minimized surprises. Although there were a few things that some LCs were not prepared for, such as the expectation that they work more hours than had been established in their contract and how difficult it was to find a family doctor.

The FSW and COA surveys also asked respondents about expectations. About three-quarters (75.8%) of COA survey respondents felt that the information given at the session was ‘yes, definitely’ accurate about what to expect in Canada.Footnote 84 FSWs (68.7%) were less in agreement than refugees (78.3%), FCs (81.6%) and LCs (81.9%) that orientation helped with expectations.Footnote 85 These results were similar to the FSW survey, as 74.9% of respondents that took pre-departure orientation agreed or strongly agreed that it helped them to have realistic expectations about Canada. While these results were consistent across the three programs,Footnote 86 with no differences to note, participants from China and Colombia were in stronger agreement (90.7% and 80.6%, respectively) than those from India and the Philippines (75.3% and 71.8%, respectively) regarding expectations.

The information gathered from the evaluation regarding expectations is consistent with the CIIP evaluation, which concluded that clients had more realistic expectations about life in Canada and the challenges they might have to face in finding suitable employment.Footnote 87

Again, it is worth noting that the level of disagreement that pre-departure orientation helped set realistic expectations, as per the FSW survey, seemed a little high. As shown in Figure 3-7, one-quarter of respondents (25.1%) disagreed with this. These results may be related to the fact that because FSW survey respondents received information from a number of other sources, some of which may not be accurate, it is likely not possible to fully manage newcomer expectations— regardless of the information provided during pre-departure orientation.

Figure 3-7: FSW survey respondents agreement that pre-departure orientation helped them have realistic expectations

Figure 3-7: FSW survey respondents agreement that pre-departure orientation helped them have realistic expectations

3.3.4 Usefulness of pre-departure orientation on preparation for employment

Finding: CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives helped newcomers prepare for employment in Canada to varying degrees based on which orientation they took. The biggest challenges and gaps for orientation participants were employment-related.

Employment preparation

The evaluation examined the extent to which CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives contributed to newcomers’ preparation for employment in Canada. It is important to reiterate that the three initiatives do not have the same objectives with respect to preparation for employment (i.e., COA is more on settlement, AEIP focussed on both settlement and employment preparation, and CIIP is largely on employment preparation and labour market integration). Therefore, the following results should be viewed with consideration of those differences.

The main method of assessing this evaluation question was through the FSW survey, which asked respondents to rate their level of agreement on six statements on whether pre-departure orientation helped them prepare for employment in Canada. The positive responses (agree or strongly agree) to the six statements were summarized to develop a scale for ‘overall helpfulness.’ This scale showed that 59.3% percent of survey respondents agreed that pre-departure orientation helped them to prepare for employment in Canada, although there was some variation. AEIP participants were least in agreement that it was helpful in this respect (48.5%), while those that took CIIP were most in agreement that it was (63.1%) helpful. COA participants found pre-departure orientation less helpful for employment preparation (56.2%) than CIIP participants, but more helpful than AEIP participants. There was some slight variation in these results by country of pre-departure orientation; with one noteworthy difference—COA participants in the Philippines (60.1%) found pre-departure orientation more helpful than COA participants in Colombia (44.0%).

In examining the responses to each of the six elements individually, in all cases, CIIP participants rated them more useful than other pre-departure orientation participants. As shown in figure 3-8, for three of the six elements (credential recognition, how to get a job, workplace culture and norms), COA participants were more positive than AEIP participants. For the remaining elements (job opportunities, upgrading skills, getting a job that matches skills or experience), there were no differences between COA and AEIP participants. The CIIP evaluation also concluded that pre-departure orientation helped participants find out more about labour market trends, gain understanding about how to conduct a job search, and learn about the steps needed to find employment.Footnote 88

Figure 3-8: FSW survey respondents opinions on usefulness of pre-departure orientation for preparation for employment

Figure 3-8: FSW survey respondents opinions on usefulness of pre-departure orientation for preparation for employment

The FSW survey also showed that 61.4% of respondents that took pre-departure orientation agreed or strongly agreed that it helped them feel well-prepared to look for a job, although again, there were differences between orientation offerings. CIIP participants were more likely to feel prepared (68.1%) and AEIP participants felt the least prepared (32.9%)—COA participants were in between (57.8%). Again, there are some differences to note with respect to country of last permanent residence. For example, CIIP participants from India were more in agreement that orientation helped them to feel well-prepared (71.9%) than those from China (43.3%). COA participants from the Philippines were more in agreement (69.9%) on this issue than those from Colombia (21.4%).

While COA does not focus primarily on preparation for employment, the COA survey posed questions on the usefulness of pre-departure orientation to assist with employment-related items. About half of survey respondents said that it was ‘very much’ helpful to look for work (48.1%) and to know how to get skills/training accepted in Canada (44.9%). FSWs were less positive than other immigrants, with just over one-third saying that pre-departure orientation was ‘very much’ helpful to look for work (39.1%) and to know how to have skills/training accepted in Canada (37.0%).

Therefore, pre-departure orientation helped participants prepare for employment in Canada to various degrees depending on which one they took. CIIP helped its participants more so than others, although this is not surprising given that CIIP’s objectives and curriculum place much more emphasis on labour market preparation than the others. COA participants appear to have found pre-departure orientation more useful than AEIP participants for labour market preparation. This may be related to the fact that AEIP’s session is only 2-hours (versus a 1-day COA session) and additional information received by AEIP participants is dependent on the workshops in which they participate—many of which focus on topics related to initial settlement (e.g., housing, health care, moving and packing).

Employment-related challenges

When looking at the challenges faced by FSWs, respondents to the survey reported a high level of difficulty with all employment-related elements, suggesting that regardless of taking pre-departure orientation, newcomers face challenges related to employment. FSW survey respondents were asked to rate five different elements with respect to their difficulty during the first three months after arrival.Footnote 89 Respondents reported high levels of difficulty (66.2%),Footnote 90 with AEIP participants having significantly more difficulty (77.5%), than CIIP (61.3%) and COA (66.5%) participants and those that did not take pre-departure orientation (67.8%). As shown in Figure 3-9, respondents had most difficulties with getting a job that matched their skills (69.4%), looking for a job (49.4%), getting credentials and qualifications recognized (36.0%), and getting any job (34.4%). AEIP participants had more difficulties with these elements than CIIP and COA participants and those that did not take pre-departure orientation. This is also reflected in the results by country of last permanent residence, as participants from South Korea tended to report a higher level of difficulty than participants from other countries (participants from China tended to have the least level of difficulty).

Figure 3-9: FSW survey respondents level of difficulty with employment-related elements

Figure 3-9: FSW survey respondents level of difficulty with employment-related elements

Given these results, it is not surprising that FSW survey respondents identified employment-related information as the biggest gap with respect to pre-departure orientation. Overall, 40.3%Footnote 91 of respondents indicated that more information would have been helpful and of all of the suggestions received, 30% were related to jobs/employment (e.g., how to get skills recognized, how to search for a job, the job market). These results were similar to the COA survey, where a large majority of respondents (89.0%) indicated that they wanted more information and 64.7% of those respondents wanted more information on jobs in Canada. The open-ended question in the COA survey that asked for suggestions for improvement corroborated the fact that more information on employment / jobs is desired.

Many interviewees (15 of 26) also cited finding employment as the biggest difficulty for newcomers and while they generally did not have many comments related to gaps in information, AEIP and CIIP stakeholders suggested there is a need to provide additional labour market information (e.g., licensing). COA stakeholders also noted a need for additional information related to job search and foreign credential recognition, as well as the need for language instruction.

3.3.5 Efficiency of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives

Given the differences between the three pre-departure orientation initiatives and the fact that different years of financial data were available, it was not possible to compare the three initiatives and draw conclusions regarding their efficiency in relation to each other. However, the efficiency of each of the initiatives individually was examined with respect to program costs, distribution of those costs, meeting of targets, cost per participant, and reach.

Canadian orientation abroad

Finding: The cost per participant for COA has been fairly stable and is in line with what was expected given that COA met its participation targets in most years. The overall cost for COA and its cost per participant are influenced by a number of factors including the fact that it serves a large number of immigrants and is delivered within the existing IOM structure, thus taking advantage of facilities and trainers that are used for purposes other than just COA. In addition, for its cost, COA has provided pre-departure orientation to about 20% of FSWs, PNs, LCs, and FC and anywhere between 31-56% of refugees in the locations in which it is offered.

Four years of financial data were available for analysis for COA (2007-2008 — 2010-2011). Total expenditures for COA included the contribution agreement with the IOM as well the cost to CIC to manage the initiative. Between 2007-2008 and 2010-2011, the total cost for COA was $6.6 million, with an average of $1.6 million in each of those years (Table 3-11).Footnote 92 The largest proportion of funding in all years was for the contribution agreement (92.5% of total funding), with only 7.4% of the expenditures for CIC initiative delivery. The CIC costs for operations and maintenance (O&M) include the cost of a monitoring visit and the development and implementation of the COA survey.

Table 3-11: COA expenditures (2007-2008 — 2010-2011)

Expense item Fiscal year 4-year
total
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Salary $105,662 $127,987 $110,385 $111,499 $455,533 6.9%
O&M $- $18,611 $16,992 $- $41,003 0.5%
Contribution agreement $825,515 $1,742,389 $1,771,555 $1,732,645 $6,072,104 92.5%
Total $931,177 $1,888,987 $1,898,932 $1,844,144 $6,563,240 100.0%

Source: Financial data provided by COA program representatives and CIC financial tracking sheets.

In examining the costs for the contribution agreement only, salaries and benefits accounted for just over half (50.8%) of the expenditures over the same four-year period, with rent/overhead and travel accounting for an additional 34.1% (Figure 3-10). The remaining expenses were for supplies, capital equipment, translation and copying, and childminding and hospitality. The proportion of funds expended on these items remained fairly stable in each of the four years.

Figure 3-10: Distribution of expenditures for COA (2007-2008 — 2010-2011)

Figure 3-10: Distribution of expenditures for COA (2007-2008 — 2010-2011)

The efficiency of COA was examined by calculating the cost per output using the number of participants and the total dollar value of the contribution agreement. The cost for COA and the number of participants trained each year was fairly consistent between 2008-2009 and 2010-2011 and therefore, the cost per participant in those years was also very stable, with an average of $131 per year (Table 3-12). The cost per participant was lower in 2007-2008 (56%), due to lower expenditures that year, but a similar number of participants.Footnote 93 The costs for COA are influenced by a number of factors. It is important to reiterate that it has been in operation since 1998 and delivers a relatively homogenous service to clients in a group setting. In addition, COA typically makes use of on-call trainers as well as the pre-existing IOM infrastructure (e.g., facilities, administration, and human resources) in more than 40 locations, the costs of which are shared across the several countries for which the IOM provides overseas orientation. All of these factors likely result in a lower cost per participant than otherwise would be without this infrastructure. In addition, because COA largely met its participation targets in those years, the cost per participant is in-line with what was expected. The one exception was in 2009-2010 where 67.6% of the target was met—the cost per participant would have been lower had the target been met.

Table 3-12: Cost per participant for COA (2007-2008 — 2010-2011)

Expense item Fiscal year
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Contribution agreement $825,515 $1,742,389 $1,771,555 $1,732,645
Number of participants 14,629 13,225 13,798 13,101
Cost per participant $56 $132 $128 $132

Source: CIC financial tracking sheets and COA annual reports.

The evaluation also examined the proportion of eligible clients that were reached by COA (i.e., the total number of clients served as a proportion of all eligible clients) with the resources that were invested to deliver pre-departure orientation. Of course, it is not reasonable or feasible to serve 100% of eligible clients and consequently CIC and delivery agents outline targets in the contribution agreements.Footnote 94 To complete the analysis, the number of FSWs, PNs, FC, and LCs that took COA between April 2005 and March 2011 (81,700) was compared to the number of those immigrants that arrived in Canada between April 2005 and May 2011 (about 245,000Footnote 95), from countries where orientation is offered.Footnote 96 The analysis showed that COA reached about 21.5% of eligible FSWs/PNs, 27.1% of eligible FC, and 17.4% of eligible LCs, although it differs by country as well as by client group (Table 3-13). There were some notable differences in the reach to FSWs/PNs across countries with a higher proportion of those coming from Iran having received training than from other countries. Similarly, more members of FC took COA in Iran, the Philippines and Lebanon than in Colombia or Pakistan.

Table 3-13: Approximate percentage of landed immigrants that took COA (April 2005 — May 2011)

Country of last permanent residence Immigration category (%)
FSWs/PNs FC LC
ColombiaFootnote 97 18.0 10.5  
Iran 42.6 43.7  
Lebanon 17.3 21.3  
Pakistan 14.9 9.6  
Philippines 19.0 37.4 17.4
Sri LankaFootnote 98 11.6 1.9  
Total percentage of immigrants reached (approximate) 21.5 27.1 17.4

Source: CIC landings data and COA annual reports.

Due to the difficulties in establishing the location of refugees prior to departure for Canada, a similar analysis could not be conducted for that category.Footnote 99 However, using COA annual reports and CIC landings data (2005-2010), it was possible to estimate that for the top 15 refugee source countries, anywhere between 31% and 56% of the refugee population received COA training.

Active engagement and integration project

Finding: The cost per participant for AEIP is higher than what was expected given that AEIP did not meet its participation targets for many of its offerings, with the exception of the workshops. The overall cost for AEIP and its cost per participant are influenced by a number of factors, including the fact that it has served a fairly small number of participants and has offices in two overseas locations, staffed with full-time trainers entirely dedicated to AEIP. In addition, for its cost, AEIP has provided pre-departure orientation to about 11% of the FSWs, PNs, LCs, FC, and business immigrants in the locations in which it is offered.

Three years of financial data were available for analysis for AEIP (2008-2009-2010-2011). Total expenditures for AEIP included the contribution agreement with S.U.C.C.E.S.S. as well as the cost to CIC manage the initiative. Between 2008-2009 and 2010-2011, the total cost for AEIP was $2.8 million, for an average of $934,000 in each of those years (Table 3-14).Footnote 100 The largest proportion of funding in all years was for the contribution agreement (95.5% of total funding), with only 4.5% of the expenditures for CIC initiative delivery.

Table 3-14: AEIP expenditures (2008-2009 — 2010-2011)

Expense item Fiscal year 3-year
total
2008-2009Footnote 101 2008-2009 2009-2010
Salary $45,118 $38,162 $38,405 $121,685 4.3%
O&M -- $5,400 -- $5,400 0.2%
Contribution agreement $49,643 $960,961 $971,341 $2,681,945 95.5%
Total $794,761 $1,004,523 $1,009,746 $2,809,030 100.0%

Source: Financial data provided by AEIP program representatives and CIC financial tracking sheets.

In examining the costs for the contribution agreement only, salaries and benefits accounted for almost two-thirds (62.7%) of expenditures over the same three-year period, with rent/overhead and communications and marketing accounting for an additional 23.5% (Figure 3-11). These costs are higher than those of COA given the fact that S.U.C.C.E.S.S. has two overseas offices, and full-time staff that are solely for the delivery of AEIP, the costs of which are not shared among other countries and/or organizations. In addition, it is worth noting that S.U.C.C.E.S.S. actively promotes AEIP and thus a proportion of funds were spent on that activity—an activity that the two other delivery agents do not undertake. The remaining AEIP expenses were for travel, supplies, capital equipment, and other (e.g., professional development). The proportion of funds expended on these items remained fairly stable in each of the three years.

Figure 3-11: Distribution of expenditures for AEIP (2008-2009 — 2010-2011)

Figure 3-11: Distribution of expenditures for AEIP (2008-2009 — 2010-2011)

In examining the efficiency of AEIP, the cost per output was calculated using the number of ‘unique’ clients for each session and the total dollar value of the contribution agreement.Footnote 102 The average cost per client over a three-year period was $1,293, ranging from a low of $847 to a high of $2,112. As shown in Table 3-15, the cost per AEIP participant decreased from the first year of initiative to the third. This is likely due to the fact that 2008-2009 was a start-up year and the first clients were served in November of that year. The second and third year of operation represent a more ‘typical’ year of operation. The cost per participant for AEIP is higher than COA, which is not surprising given the differences in objectives, offerings, and delivery infrastructure. AEIP has a variety of offerings (i.e., 2-hour orientation session, various topic-specific workshops, 1-on-1 counselling, and referrals), compared to COA’s 1- 3-, or 5-day session and it also serves fewer clients. In addition, as mentioned above, AEIP is delivered out of two overseas offices that were established specifically for that purpose (i.e., AEIP provides services only to clients coming to Canada) and has full-time staff dedicated to AEIP. Finally, as discussed in Section 3.2.4., AEIP largely did not meet its participation targets, resulting in a higher cost per participant than expected.

Table 3-15: Cost per participant for AEIP (2008-2009 — 2010-2011)

Expense item Fiscal year
2008-2009 2009-2010 20010-2011
Contribution agreement $749,643 $960,961 $971,341
Number of participants 355 1,043 1,147
Cost per participant $2,112 $921 $847

Source: CIC financial tracking sheets and AEIP annual reports.

In terms of the reach of AEIP, from November 2008 to March 2011, 2,545 unique clients were served, which represents approximately 10.7% of the entire eligible population, with some variation depending on the immigration category (Table 3-16).Footnote 103 A higher proportion of FSWs participated in pre-departure orientation than any other category, with approximately 5% of all FC and LCs taking orientation. In terms of country differences, while both AEIP offices serve the same proportion of business immigrants coming to Canada, the Taiwan office served a greater proportion of FSWs and FC, while Seoul served a greater proportion of PNs.

Table 3-16: Approximate percentage of landed immigrants that took AEIP (November 2008 — March 2011)

Country of last permanent residence Immigration category (%)
Business FSWs PNs FC LCs
South Korea 10.7 15.2 7.6 2.9  
Taiwan 10.7 20.0 1.6 8.1 4.9
Total percentage of immigrants reached (approximate) 10.7 16.5 7.0 4.6 4.9

Source: CIC landings data and AEIP Annual Reports.

Canadian Immigrant Integration Program

Finding: The cost per participant for CIIP was lower than expected given that it exceeded its participation targets, although for its cost, it provided pre-departure orientation about 8% of FSWs in the locations where it is offered. The overall cost for CIIP and its cost per participant are influenced by a number of factors, including its network of focal point partners and the fact that it has offices in four overseas locations, staffed with full-time trainers entirely dedicated to CIIP.

Only one year of financial data was available for analysis for CIIP (2010-2011). Total expenditures for that fiscal year, including the contribution agreement with ACCC, as well as the cost to CIC to manage the initiative were $3.5 million, (Table 3-17).Footnote 104 CIIP also conducts activities related to the development of FPPs as well as other in-Canada activities (e.g., partnership building, work with provinces, curriculum improvements) and in this context, ACCC had a separate three-year contribution agreement (2009-2010-2011-2012) with CIC for the Sustainable Partnerships for Overseas Services Project (SPOS).Footnote 105 For the purposes of this analysis, because the activities under the SPOS project support CIIP, the SPOS project expenditures for 2010-2011 were added to the total CIIP expenditures. The largest proportion of funding was for the contribution agreements (96.5% of total funding), with only 3.5% of the expenditures for CIC initiative delivery.

Table 3-17: CIIP expenditures (including SPOS project) (2010-2011)

Expense item Total %

Salary

$122,162 3.5
O&M -- 0.0
Contribution agreement (CIIP) $3,075,294 96.5
Contribution agreement (SPOS project) $304,177
Total $3,501,633 100.0

Source: Financial data provided by CIIP program representatives and CIC financial tracking sheets.

In examining the costs for the contribution agreement only, salaries and benefits accounted for one-third (33.8%) of expenditures, with rent/overhead, and capital equipment and transfer costs accounting for just over 40.6% of expenditures (Figure 3-12). The higher rent/overhead costs for CIIP, compared to the two other pre-departure orientation initiatives, is related to the fact that ACCC has four overseas offices with full-time staff that are solely for the delivery of CIIP, the costs of which are not shared among other countries and/or organizations. One key difference between CIIP and the other two pre-departure orientation programs worth noting is that CIIP expended 9.0% of its budget on partnership development—an activity COA or AEIP does not undertake. The remaining expenses were for travel, curriculum development, and training and professional development. CIIP also incurred transfer costs in that fiscal year (i.e., to transfer the program from HRSDC to CIC).

Figure 3-12: Distribution of expenditures for CIIP (including SPOS project) (2010-2011)

Figure 3-12: Distribution of expenditures for CIIP (including SPOS project) (2010-2011)

In examining the efficiency of CIIP, the cost per output was calculated using the number of ‘unique’ clients for each session and the total dollar value of the contribution agreement.Footnote 106 As shown in Table 3-18, the cost per CIIP client in 2010-11 was $2,155. This cost is reflective of the fact that 2010-2011 was a transition year for CIIP as it moved from HRSDC to CIC in that year and did not start serving clients until October. In addition, the UK office was not opened until January 2011. It is too early to determine whether this cost will decrease in future years, although forecasts for initiative expenditures and participant numbers suggest that the cost per participant will decrease in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.Footnote 107 The cost per participant for CIIP is higher than COA, which is not surprising given the differences between the two. CIIP is different from COA in that it has a variety of offerings (i.e., group orientation session, 1-on-1 counselling, and referrals), serves fewer clients, and as mentioned above, delivers pre-departure orientation out of four overseas offices that were established specifically for that purpose (i.e., CIIP provides services only to clients coming to Canada). CIIP also has very different objectives and includes a large component related to the in-Canada activities (e.g., development of FPPs to which client referrals are made, working with provinces, curriculum improvements).

Table 3-18: Cost per participant for CIIP (2010-2011)

  CostFootnote 108
Contribution expenses $3,379,471
Number of participants 1,568
Cost per participant $2,155

Source: Financial tracking sheets and CIIP annual reports.

As discussed in Section 3.2.4., CIIP exceeded its participation targets by over 300%, meaning that the cost per participant was lower than expected. However, it is worth noting that had CIIP met targets as planned, the cost per participant would have been three times higher.

In terms of the reach of CIIP, from January 2007 to December 2011, 9,429 unique clients were served, which represents approximately 7.9% of the entire eligible population, with some variation by country (Table 3-19).Footnote 109 A much higher proportion of FSWs participated in pre-departure orientation in the Philippines (16.6%) than in China (5.8%) or India (5.2%).Footnote 110

Table 3-19: Approximate percentage of landed immigrants (FSWs) that took CIIP (January 2007-December 2011)

Country of last permanent residence Percent
China 5.8
India 5.2
Philippines 16.6
Total percentage of immigrants reached (approximate) 7.9

Source: CIC landings data and CIIP Annual Reports.

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