Evaluation of the Overseas Orientation Initiatives

1. Introduction

1.1 Purpose of evaluation

As per the requirements under the Financial Administration Act, an evaluation of Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s (CIC) Canadian Orientation Abroad (COA) initiative was required in fiscal year 2011-2012. COA is one of three in-person pre-departure orientation initiatives funded by the department and CIC is in the process of establishing an overseas orientation strategy to frame immigrants’ orientation needs and its programming priorities regarding pre-departure services. Therefore, the evaluation was expanded to include all three of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives.

The data collection for the evaluation was undertaken by CIC’s Research and Evaluation Branch (R&E) between July 2011 and January 2012. This report presents the results of the evaluation and is organized into four main sections:

  • Section 1 presents the profile of the three pre-departure orientation initiatives;
  • Section 2 presents the methodology for the evaluation and discusses limitations;
  • Section 3 presents the findings, organized by evaluation theme; and
  • Section 4 presents the conclusions and recommendations.

This report includes Appendices, which are referenced throughout the report and is also accompanied by a supplemental document containing the technical appendices cited throughout this report.

1.2 Profile of CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives

Successful integration of newcomers to Canada has been one of CIC’s long-standing strategic outcomes. To achieve this strategic outcome and to assist in the settlement and long-term integration of newcomers, CIC offers a continuum of orientation and settlement services that commence prior to their arrival in Canada (e.g., pre-departure orientation sessions, web information).

The three pre-departure orientation initiatives presently funded by CIC include COA, the Active Engagement and Integration Project (AEIP), and the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP). These initiatives are delivered by three different third-party service providers. They are offered in different locations and have distinct service delivery models, ranging from general information and awareness services to an integrated support system that includes needs assessments and referrals. A brief description of the three initiatives is provided below.

1.2.1 Canadian orientation abroad

COA was first introduced in 1998 and provides pre-departure orientation to assist individuals who have been accepted for immigration to Canada in preparing for their move to Canada and to facilitate their integration into Canadian society. COA is currently delivered on behalf of CIC by the International Organization for Migration (IOM),Footnote 1 under a contribution agreement. The management of the contribution agreement is the responsibility of the Integration Program Management Branch (IPMB), Operations Sector, while program and policy support is provided by Integration and Refugees Affairs Branches, Strategic and Program Policy (SPP). The objectives of COA are to:

  • provide pre-departure orientation to Canada-bound refugees and immigrants;
  • enhance their knowledge about Canada prior to arrival;
  • determine participants’ perceptions of Canada and, as necessary, dispel rumours, misconceptions, and unrealistic expectations;
  • have participants reflect on specific issues that relate to their settlement and integration to Canada;
  • inform participants of their rights and freedoms, as well as their responsibilities and obligations as permanent residents and future citizens of Canada;
  • make participants aware of difficulties they may encounter during their first few months in Canada; and
  • help participants gain a sense of control over their new lives so that they arrive in Canada self-confident and aware of what to expect and what is expected from them.Footnote 2

COA sessions are offered to all categories of immigrants who have been selected for permanent resident status; however, priority is given to resettled refugees.Footnote 3 Over a six-year period, COA provided pre-departure orientation to over 82,000 individuals (Table 1-1), with the largest proportion of clients served being FSWs (35.8%).

Table 1-1: Number of COA participants, by immigration category (2005-2006 — 2010-2011)

Fiscal Year Refugees Federal Skilled Workers Family Class Live-in Caregivers Total
2005-2006 2,912 22.2% 6,220 47.3% 2,262 17.2% 1,722 13.0% 13,203
2006-2007 3,625 26.2% 4,651 33.6% 2,528 18.2% 3,027 21.8% 13,909
2007-2008 4,374 29.9% 4,799 32.7% 2,452 16.7% 3,004 20.4% 14,708
2008-2009 5,295 40.0% 4,600 34.7% 2,241 16.8% 1,089 8.2% 13,317
2009-2010 5,558 40.3% 5,126 37.0% 2,052 14.8% 1,062 7.6% 13,890
2010-2011 6,412 48.9% 3,954 30.1% 1,524 11.6% 1,211 9.2% 13,192
Total 28,176 34.4% 29,350 35.8% 13,059 15.9% 11,115 13.5% 82,218

Source: COA annual reports.

COA is offered in over 40 locations serviced either via fixed sites, satellite locations, or mobile missions. It is delivered as group orientation sessions that are either 1-, 3- or 5-days in length, depending upon the category of immigrants being served. Typically, refugees receive either a 3-day (urban refugees) or a 5-day session (camp-based refugees) while LCs, FSWs, FC, PNs and investors receive a 1-day orientation (see Technical appendix A for a detailed profile of COA).

1.2.2 Active engagement and integration project

AEIP was introduced in 2008 and supports the settlement, adaptation and integration of newcomers into Canadian society. The AEIP is delivered abroad on behalf of CIC by S.U.C.C.E.S.S.Footnote 4, under a contribution agreement. The management of the contribution agreement is the responsibility of IPMB, while policy support is provided by Integration Branch, SPP.

The overall objective of AEIP is to support the settlement, adaptation and integration of newcomers into Canadian society by providing pre-departure guidance to newcomers that will facilitate their adjustment process in Canada and promote community and labour market engagement. AEIP provides pre-departure services via 2-hour group orientation sessions, topic-specific workshops, and individualized case management in Seoul, South Korea and Taipei, Taiwan. Between November 2008 and March 2011, AEIP provided services to 2,545 unique clients (Table 1-2). Eligible clients include FSWs, members of the FC, LCs, PNs, and business immigrants. Services are also provided on a request basis, depending upon the level of demand, in other regions of South Korea and Taiwan (see Technical appendix B for a profile of AEIP).

Table 1-2: Number of unique AEIP clients, by immigration category (2008-2009 — 2010-2011)

Fiscal Year Business Immigrants Federal Skilled Workers Provincial Nominees Live-in Caregivers Family Class Total
2008-2009Footnote 5 75 21.2% 197 55.4% 45 12.5% 19 5.2% 20 5.7% 355
2009-2010 160 15.3% 641 61.5% 136 13.0% 49 4.7% 57 5.5% 1,043
2010-2011 296 25.8% 584 50.9% 153 13.3% 48 4.2% 66 5.8% 1,147
Total 531 20.9% 1,422 55.9% 334 13.1% 116 4.5% 143 5.6% 2,545

Source: AEIP annual reports.

1.2.3 Canadian Immigrant Integration Program

CIIP first began as a five-year (2005-2010) pilot funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and delivered by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). The program was transferred to CIC in fiscal year 2010-2011 and a contribution agreement was signed between the department and ACCC.Footnote 6 The management of the contribution agreement is the responsibility of IPMB, Operations Sector, while overall responsibility for the program lies with the Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO), SPP.

The objective of CIIP is to enable prospective economic immigrants to Canada to effectively prepare to meet foreign credential requirements and achieve faster labour market integration. The CIIP provides free pre-departure 1-day group orientation sessions; individualized counselling services, which includes the development of a My Action Plan (MAP); and referrals to Canadian focal point partners (FPPs), which ACCC works to establish as part of its work under CIIP. Eligible clients include FSWs and PNs and their spouses and working age dependents. CIIP aims to better prepare its clients for labour market integration upon arrival, including information and support for credential assessment, settlement, skills and language upgrading, labour market information, and job search. In 2010-2011, CIIP provided services to 3,462 unique clients (Table 1-3)Footnote 7 in locations in China, India, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom (UK).Footnote 8 Services are also offered in other locations, based on demand and using alternative methods, such as on-line (see Technical appendix C for a detailed profile of CIIP).

Table 1-3: Number of unique CIIP clients, by immigration category (2010-2011)

Fiscal Year Federal Skilled Workers Provincial Nominees Total
2010-2011 3,407 98.4% 55 1.6% 3,462

Source: Program data provided by ACCC.

1.2.4 Cost for CIC’s pre-departure orientation initiatives

The total costs for the pre-departure orientation initiatives were established using information from financial tracking sheets and information provided by representatives of each of the initiatives (Table 1-4). 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. Between 2008-2009 and 2010-2011, the total cost for AEIP was $2.9 million, or an average of $900K each year. Due to the transfer of CIIP from HRSDC to CIC in 2010, expenditures were available only for fiscal year 2010-2011, which were $3.2 million.

Table 1-4: Costs for pre-departure orientation initiativesFootnote 9

  Fiscal Year Total
2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011
Canadian orientation abroadFootnote 10
Salary $105,662 $127,987 $110,384 $111,499 $455,532
O&M -- $18,611 $16,992 -- $41,003
Contribution Agreement $825,515 $1,742,389 $1,771,555 $1,732,645 $6,072,104
Total $931,177 $1,888,987 $1,898,93 $1,844,144 $6,563,240
Active engagement and integration project
Salary   $45,118 $38,161 $38,405 $121,685
O&M   -- $5,400 -- $5,400
Contribution Agreement   $749,643 $960,961 $971,341 $2,681,945
Total   $794,761 $1,004,523 $1,009,746 $2,890,230
Canadian immigration integration program
SalaryFootnote 11       $122,162 $122,162
O&M       -- --
Contribution Agreement       $3,075,294 $3,075,294
Total       $3,197,456 $3,197,456

Source: Financial information from program representatives and initiative contribution agreements.

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