Evaluation of the Welcoming Communities Initiative

2. Profile Of WCI

This section provides a profile of the WCI in terms of its history, program objectives, typology, products and activities, and budget. The data was extracted from document reviews, particularly the CAPAR and WCI RMAFs, 2006-2009 CIC annual reports to CAPAR, and evaluation surveys. CAMs and SAP were used to the extent possible, and projects receiving WCI funding, as well as their financial information, were validated by program representatives at the national and regional levels.

2.1. Evolution of the WCI

The WCI is intended to contribute to the Government of Canada’s agenda against racism while supporting CIC’s strategic interests to promote the successful integration of immigrants and maximize the economic, social and cultural benefits of immigrationFootnote 6. However, the focus of WCI has evolved over time, with greater emphasis on the expansion of existing settlement programs of Host and Settlement Workers in Schools (SWIS) in 2006/07 and greater development of anti-racism activities in 2007/08 and 2008/09. Youth has been a persistent area of focus for WCI since its inception in 2004/05 and throughout the reporting period.

Initially, the WCI was intended to focus on youth peer mentoring, outreach to employers to raise awareness about the benefits of hiring immigrants, settlement support in schools, as well as countering discrimination and bullying among youth. It involved a commitment to expand existing settlement programs of Host and SWIS, as well as an outreach strategy; however, specific project objectives and planned outcomes were not clearly developedFootnote 7. Early planning for WCI led to a number of activities being funded, beginning in 2004/05 and continuing into 2005/06. Projects in 2004/05 included the first National Host Conference, a youth Host research project, the Passages to Canada Speaker’s Bureau Program targeted at youth and employers, and the Cultivating Peace workshop series for high-school teachersFootnote 8.

In order to ensure that the further development of WCI projects was aligned with CAPAR and CIC settlement objectives, CIC developed a Results-Based Management Accountability Framework (RMAF) in 2006 which specified objectives and outcomes for the Initiative. WCI funded projects in 2006-2007 included new projects with a specifically anti-racism focus, as well as the incorporation of anti-racism elements into existing settlement programs, such as SWIS. In addition, WCI funding was allocated to support anti-racism strategies in provinces with alternative funding arrangements (British Columbia and Manitoba), and six national WCI projects were funded for the 2006/07 and 2007/08 fiscal years. Funding was also allocated to support other settlement programsFootnote 9.

In 2007/08, a number of new anti-racism projects were developed. Some of the new projects were initiated in Ontario, which had previously declined WCI funds in 2006/07 in order to establish the infrastructure to start the Initiative. Correspondingly, there was a decline in funding to other settlement programs. Substantial increases to CIC’s overall settlement funding as a result of Budgets 2005, 2006 and 2007 may have permitted a renewed focus on WCI projects, as other related programs, such as SWIS and Host, had additional settlement funds to access. New project types included cross-cultural training for police services, sports events, and diversity training for interpreters, among others. British Columbia and Manitoba also implemented changes to their provincial anti-racism strategies, consistent with the desired outcomes for the WCIFootnote 10.

As noted earlier, CIC adopted a modernized approach to its settlement services and programs in 2008, which included the WCI. The overall vision of the WCI served as a basis for the Community Connections policy and programming stream of the renewed Settlement Program, and policy and programming work in this stream continued to recognize racism and discrimination as key barriers to the settlement and integration of newcomers. In support of the renewed vision of CIC’s settlement program, the Integration Branch undertook a series of workshops in 2008 to explore the role of social engagement in settlement and integration.

WCI programming in 2008/09 continued to build on innovative projects and new directions established in 2007-2008. Many projects were funded at the regional level; the majority of these projects represented a continuation or expansion of projects from 2007-2008. In addition, eight national projects were funded – a number for the continuation and expansion of activities launched in 2006/07 and 2007/08Footnote 11.

Projects in 2008/09 were funded to provide information and tools for use in combating racism and discrimination, such as the Small Centres Toolkit project; to offer training and build awareness around the importance of addressing racism and discrimination in various spaces, such as the Integrating Anti-Racism into Settlement Work project; to encourage interaction between different community groups through special events or forums, such as the Diversity Basketball Tournament; and to engage youth in settlement issues, cross-cultural understanding, leadership training and mentoring for leadership, such as the Peace Ambassadors InitiativeFootnote 12.

2.2. Objectives of the WCI

Prior to beginning the evaluation study, the Logic Model for the Initiative was revised to better capture the dual nature of the WCI as both an expansion of existing settlement programming and an anti-racism strategyFootnote 13. The current Logic Model incorporates two main activity streams:

  • Anti-racism activities to support the settlement sector, receiving communities and newcomers in understanding and addressing issues of racism and discrimination; and
  • Direct service delivery to settlement clients.

For the first stream, the expected outcomes of the anti-racism activities are that the settlement sector, receiving communities and newcomers will understand issues related to racism and discrimination, and will have the tools and resources to address these issues. For the second stream, which includes the expansion of Host and school-based services as well as the development and delivery of anti-racism components in services, the expected outcomes are that school-based settlement and Host services are more available and accessible, and that clients obtain settlement services to assist them in dealing with racism and discrimination.

In the medium term, it is expected that newcomers will be able to deal with issues related to racism and discrimination, and that the settlement sector, receiving communities and newcomers will take action to reduce racism and discrimination. The long-term outcomes for the WCI are:

  • Strengthened participation of newcomers in Canadian communities; and
  • More inclusive and welcoming communities for newcomers in Canada.

2.3. WCI target population

The WCI targets a wide range of individuals, communities, and organizations; its ultimate beneficiaries include both Canadians and newcomers. WCI is a clear expression of the “two-way street” model of integration, and is perceived as a very unique program among CIC-funded initiatives due to its broad target audience.

Specifically, the WCI targets three main groups: newcomers, receiving communities, and settlement organizations. Newcomers include newcomer youth, immigrant parents/families, and any newcomers that may face issues of racism and discrimination. Receiving communities include: practitioners from community-based organizations that work with newcomer families; educators and community groups working with youth; mainstream organizations and community leaders including social services, businesses, community stakeholders, libraries/schools, religious institutions; and the Canadian public. Settlement organizations include their staff and frontline workers that work with newcomers across Canada.


The total funding allocation for CAPAR is $53.6 million over five years (2005/06 to 2009/10), and $11.3 million in ongoing funding. CIC was allocated $17.6 million for the 2005/06 to 2009/10 period, and $4.4 million in ongoing annual funding, for the WCI (see Table 2-1).

Table 2-1: CAPAR funding allocated for WCI (2005/06 to 2009/10)
  2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 (ongoing) Total for five years
Vote 1 1,050,000 800,000 950,000 950,000 1,150,000 4,900,000
Vote 5 2,050,000 2,000,000 2,550,000 2,850,000 3,250,000 12,700,000
Total 3,100,000 2,800,000 3,500,000 3,800,000 4,400,000 17,600,000

In 2004/05, there was one-year funding of $717,980 for the design and development of WCI. Funds were not received for WCI in 2005/06; however, WCI projects were funded under existing budgets in an effort to move the Initiative forward and lay the groundwork for activities in 2006/07.

CIC allocated approximately $3.05 million in 2006/07, $2.75 million in 2007/08 and $2.85 million in 2008/09 in contribution funding (Vote 5) to WCI projects over the reporting periodFootnote 14. In addition, approximately $400,000 in 2006/07, $800,000 in 2007/08 and $950,000 in 2008/09 were allocated to operational spending (Vote 1) for the management and delivery of the Initiative.

2.5. WCI typology

The WCI projects funded during the reporting period varied widely in terms of their activities, geographic scope, target groups and level of funding. Key documents and CIC administrative databases (CAMS and SAP)Footnote 15 were reviewed in order to identify and create a typology of WCI projects funded in 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 (see Appendix B: for a List of WCI Projects for the reporting period). The typology developed is aligned with activities specified for WCI under CAPAR, as well as the WCI logic model (updated for the evaluation). Based on this review, 56 projects along six different themes were identifiedFootnote 16 :

  • Delivering awareness-raising and education activities;
  • Creating opportunities for newcomers and Canadians to participate in a culturally diverse environment and learn how to integrate in communities;
  • Developing and delivering training programs on anti-racism and multiculturalism issues;
  • Developing tools and resources to increase the understanding of issues related to racism and discrimination;
  • Conducting research to support policy development related to anti-racism and to disseminate information; and
  • Expanding or enhancing settlement (Host or SWIS) or community services.

Each project was categorized according to the major theme, a key objective or focus of its activities (Table 2-2). It should be noted that a number of projects have more than one goal, target multiple groups, and produce various outputs. One such example is the “Equality Initiative” project, which included a variety of activities such as the development of partnerships, development of tools and resources, research and outreach (awareness-raising).

To increase reliability and validity, multiple reviewers verified the key objectives and activities of the projects to produce the thematic typology. In addition, program representatives verified the projects identified in this review to ensure that they had received WCI funding, to determine whether or not they were an expansion of Host or school-based settlement (SWIS) services, and to confirm the years of implementation and funding amounts.

Table 2-2: Typology of the WCI Projects, 2006/07-2008/09
WCI Project Theme National Regional Number of Projects Estimated Total Funding
Awareness Raising and Education 1 11 12 $1.16M
Newcomer Participation and Integration 2 9 11 $.96M
Anti-Racism and Diversity Training 1 7 8 $0.69M
Development of Tools and Resources 3 4 7 $0.71M
Research and Policy Development 2 4 6 $0.67M
Community / Settlement Services Expansion / Enhancement 1 11 12 $1.53M
Total 10 46 56  

Based on the review, the total number of projects funded by the WCI increased over the reporting period. Seventeen projects were identified for 2006/07, 29 projects were identified for 2007/08, and 41 projects were identified for 2008/09. A number of the projects funded over the reporting period were multi-year projects, and thus some of the projects from year to year are an expansion of existing projects while others are new. Seventeen new projects were identified in 2007/08, and 22 new projects were identified in 2008/09.

There were four WCI projects that focused on school-based settlement services (SWIS). Three of these projects were funded for multiple years. There were six Host projects funded by WCI. Two of these projects were also funded for multiple years.

Geographical scope

Of the 56 projects identified in the review, 46 were funded at the regional level, and 10 were funded at the national level. Fifteen projects were funded in the Prairies; 18 in Atlantic; and 13 in Ontario.

Target groups

Efforts were made to determine the target audience for each of the WCI projects identified in the typology. The analysis determined that many projects had multiple targets falling within the three main groups, newcomers, receiving communities, and settlement organizations. Specifically, 39 of the 56 projects targeted receiving communities, 30 projects targeted newcomers to Canada and 14 targeted the settlement sector. Note: these numbers are not mutually exclusive; many projects had multiple targets.

As youth were a particular focus for CAPAR, WCI projects were examined to determine whether youth were targeted within any of the project activities. According to the analysis, 21 of the 56 projects targeted newcomer and/or Canadian youth.

WCI funding

Funding amounts for each WCI project were also examined in the analysis. As noted earlier, WCI funding could not always be isolated from the broader envelope of settlement fundingFootnote 17. As a result, for some projects, the funding amount identified overvalues the WCI contribution. Thus, the WCI funding allocated to each project is best understood as an estimate. In order to increase the reliability of the financial information, outliers were removed from the analysisFootnote 18.

WCI projects varied considerably in funding amount during the reporting period. In 2006/07, WCI project funding received ranged between $3,045 and $72,480. In 2007/08, it ranged between $11,600 and $216,509. In 2008/09, it ranged between $1,016 and $292,779. The average funding received by WCI projects increased over the reporting period. See Figure 2-1.

Figure 2-1: Average WCI funding per project by year

Figure 2-1: Average WCI funding per project by year

There was also variability in WCI funding amount by project theme (Figure 2-2). Of note, the largest amount of funding was allocated to projects that focused their activities on community/settlement services expansion or enhancement ($1.53M), followed by awareness-raising and education ($1.16M) and newcomer participation and integration ($.96M).

Figure 2-2: Total WCI funding by project theme (2006/07 to 2008/09)

Figure 2-2: Total WCI funding by project theme (2006/07 to 2008/09)

In 2006-07, approximately $1.79 million in contribution funding was allocated to support anti-racism strategies in provinces with alternative funding arrangements (i.e. Manitoba and BC). However, the amount of funding allocated to these provinces decreased substantially in subsequent years to $537,623 in 2007/08 and $634,125 in 2008/09. Figure 2-3 presents the WCI project funding by year with and without the funding allocated to BC and Manitoba. The increase in WCI funding administered by CIC and corresponding decrease in WCI funding administered by BC and Manitoba is illustrated by the decreasing gap in the total funding amounts with and without the BC and Manitoba allocations over the reporting period (see Figure 2-3).

Figure 2-3: Comparison of WCI funding (in millions $) with and without BC and MB

Figure 2-3: Comparison of WCI funding (in millions $) with and without BC and MB
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