Evaluation of the Welcoming Communities Initiative

Welcoming Communities Initiative – Management response

Categories Key Finding Response Action Accountability Implementation Date
I. Program Relevance There is a need for programming that addresses barriers to newcomer integration, including racism and discrimination. The WCI plays a role in facilitating newcomer integration; it aims to address barriers to participation and foster more welcoming and inclusive communities. CIC agrees with this finding. WCI began as CIC’s contribution to Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism (CAPAR).Given the continuing need to foster more welcoming and inclusive communities, WCI activities will continue under the Community Connections activity stream of CIC’s modernized Settlement Program (and its corresponding Terms and Conditions). Integration Branch Ongoing
Under the Community Connections (CC) stream, WCI will continue to support locally-based approaches that support settlement and integration by addressing barriers and building welcoming and inclusive communities, as outlined in the revised PAA:
  • Working with mainstream organizations to address newcomer needs (e.g. Settlement Workers in Schools, Library Settlement Partnerships or Community Health Centres);
  • Supporting welcoming, safe and inclusive spaces where newcomers can access information, services and other public assets (e.g. Welcome Centres).
  • Enabling local stakeholders to collaboratively develop plans, strategies and tools (e.g. Local Immigration Partnerships (LIPs), Toolkit for Smaller Centres);
  • Communicating best practices and share information and expertise;
  • Connecting vulnerable groups with their Canadian-born counterparts and established support networks (e.g. mentoring, connecting parents with young children to early childhood development networks, newcomer seniors to seniors networks, entrepreneurs to business networks etc.)

In reinforcement of the above CC activities and the broader objective of fostering welcoming communities, WCI also fund projects involving outreach and awareness raising.

in conjunction with Integration Program Management Branch (IPMB) PAA to receive final approval: Q4 2010
WCI is generally aligned with the priorities and objectives of the Government of Canada, CIC and CAPAR. The initiative is uniquely positioned among anti-racism programs in its focus on newcomers. CIC agrees with this finding. Under the Community Connections stream of the modernized Settlement Program, WCI funding will continue to support the two-way street approach by both assisting newcomers in making linkages with Canadians and their local community as well as fostering welcoming and inclusive communities in support of an integrated society. This will be done through the regular Settlement Program CFP process. IPMB CFPs for 2011/12 projects: Q3-Q4 (2010/11)
Integration Branch will continue to consult and collaborate with other areas of CIC, such as IPMB and Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch (Multi) to advance common policy and operational priorities. Integration Branch in conjunction with Multi and IPMB De-brief & discussion with Multi on WCI Evaluation and MR: Q3 2010/11

Strategic Plan for settlement programming: Q3

II. Program Impact While early evidence indicates that individual WCI projects can positively impact newcomers, receiving communities and settlement organizations, the overall success of the Initiative is not yet clear.

The length of time that the WCI was in operation during the reporting period, as well as performance measurement issues, have constrained the ability of the evaluation to assess impacts at the Initiative level.

As recognized in this evaluation finding, the WCI is still a new initiative and more time is required to gather more robust data as well as establish baselines and indicators to more accurately measure the intermediate (initiative) level impacts of WCI.

In the interim, CIC views the positive outcomes at the immediate (project) level as good preliminary indicators of the initiative’s overall success.

As part of CIC’s efforts to the revise PAA and the Settlement Program’s Performance Measurement Framework (PMF), the performance indicators for the Community Connections stream of the Settlement Program level have been defined. Integration Branch CC input to PMF: completed
Moving forward, the CC indicators will be applied to measure the impact of both Settlement and WCI-funded activities. Data collected for these indicators will be used to measure the impact of all CC activities. Integration Branch Ongoing
In conjunction with the Performance Measurement Framework exercise, Integration Branch will be providing input to the Research and Evaluation Branch on proposed enhancements to the Immigration-Contribution Accountability Measurement System (iCAMS). Integration Branch Integration Branch input: Q4 2010/11
Expand capacity for data collection on CIC-funded projects, such as CC activities, to better support monitoring and performance measurement. Implementation conditional on funding. Research and Evaluation) in collaboration with IMTB) with input from Integration Branch iCAMS Implementation Date: Q2-Q4 2011/12
Also, CIC is partnering with Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS) to develop a Repository of Community-Based Projects that will collect and disseminate best practices, including those funded through WCI. Integration Branch Q4 2010/11
III. Design and Delivery Although the flexibility of the WCI design has allowed the Initiative to be responsive to the specific needs of communities, the great diversity in projects funded has led to a wide range of outcomes and indicators that cannot be easily mapped and measured to assess program performance. The WCI was initially designed to be highly flexible in order to support innovation through the development of a wide variety of projects.

CIC recognizes that it is now time to define the scope of the WCI activities to strike the best balance between flexibility and innovation and a more focused and measurable approach that advances the objectives of the Community Connections stream of the modernized Settlement Program.

Moving forward, the focus of WCI-funded activities will be framed by the Community Connections stream of the modernized Settlement Program. To ensure that investments reflect the range of the CC activities, annual priorities for funding will be articulated in the Integration Branch’s fall funding priorities for the Call for Proposals (CPF) process. Integration Branch PAA final approval: Q4 2010/11
CC priorities will be included in the proposed Strategic Plan for settlement programming, which will align with departmental priorities. (The proposed plan will be developed by the SPP Sector and tabled for approval at Executive Committee (ExCom) and will set out plans and priorities regarding settlement outcomes and associated investments.) Integration Branch October 2010
CIC will coordinate with its Regions to implement this coherent approach. IMPB with input from Integration Branch Funding Priorities for 2011/12 funding to be finalized: Q2 2010/11 (in future years priority setting will follow similar timeline)
Monitoring and performance measurement have been a persistent challenge for the WCI. WCI funding and projects are not easily distinguishable from other settlement funding and projects, and the lack of comparable outcomes across projects has made it difficult to establish standard performance indicators.

As a result, there is not sufficient data to assess and report on the overall success and achievements of the WCI.

The WCI was designed to be highly flexible in order to support innovation and the development of a wide variety of projects.

The concurrent implementation of both WCI, and the Community Connections stream of the modernized Settlement Program, has made the categorization and comparison between projects somewhat challenging.

CIC’s recent modernization of its Settlement Program requires certain updates be made to the iCAMS database to enhance coding and collection of information in support of better monitoring and performance measurement.

Despite these efforts, CIC recognizes that impacts of these activities will remain challenging to fully measure and report. This is due in part to the complex nature of the issues involved, the multiple contributing social and economic factors and the fact that major societal change can only be measured over a significant period of time.

WCI funding will support the Community Connections (CC) stream of the modernized Settlement Program. Projects funded through WCI will be reported against the key activities and indicators identified for the CC stream. Integration Branch in conjunction with IMPB Immediate
Enhancements to iCAMS will allow for improved data collection, monitoring and performance measurement of the CC stream. Research and Evaluation (iCAMS) iCAMS Implementation Date: Q3 2011/12 Q1 2012/13
In addition, new tools, such as the Newcomer Survey currently under development, will also contribute to better indicators data to assess and report on the achievements of CC stream. Integration Branch Q4 2011/12
Instructions will be provided to Regions to ensure financial coding for CC is used consistently to ensure more accurate tracking and reporting. IMPB with input from Integration Branch Q3/4 2010/11
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