Design and Validation of a Survey Instrument to Assess the Attraction, Retention, and Integration of Official Language Minority Immigrants in Canada

Copies of the full report are available upon request to Research-Recherche@cic.gc.ca

Executive summary

The goal of this project was to design, implement and analyze a pilot survey of recent Official Language Minority Immigrants in Canada, with the ultimate aim of providing a valid and reliable survey instrument that can be used to enhance understanding of the settlement and integration experiences of Official Language Minority Immigrants (OLMIs) in Canada, and the factors that drive their attraction, retention, and integration. To this end, a pilot survey was designed and administered to 150 recent Official Language Minority Immigrants across the country using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI).

Official Language Minority Immigrants were identified and their contact information obtained through Landing Data provided by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. We define Official Language Minority Immigrants as immigrants in Quebec whose preferred official language is English and immigrants in the Rest of Canada whose preferred official language is French. In the current case, this was based on a combination of official language ability at landing and language chosen for the landing interview.

The survey was designed to include the following key modules, some of which are specific to Official Language Minority Immigrants and some of which apply to immigrants in general:

  • Attraction, retention, and mobility factors that may influence Official Language Minority Immigrants
  • Availability, access to, and satisfaction with French institutions, services, and activities in communities outside of Quebec, and with English institutions, services, and activities in communities in Quebec
  • Language practices and retention
  • Social and cultural integration
  • Economic integration
  • Well-being
  • Demographics

As a pilot with a small sample size, the current survey was intended to develop and test the survey instrument, rather than provide findings on Official Language Minority Immigrants. That is, the results are not for interpretation but instead are for illustrative purposes in terms of the usefulness of the survey instrument. Thus, for example, we aimed for approximately equal numbers of participants in each region of the Rest of Canada (British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario, Atlantic), though the population of OLMIs in these regions differs. We combined these regions for the Rest of Canada (ROC) without weighting in order to examine the utility of the survey instrument, rather than for the purpose of interpretation.

The pilot survey demonstrates the feasibility of the procedure utilized, and analyses of the responses indicate that the instrument was very effective in eliciting information on each of the key topics of interest. The analyses also provide information on questions and response options that require adjustment, and the type of adjustments that should be made. In order to test out as many questions as possible, the survey instrument used in the pilot was quite long, averaging just over 32 minutes to complete. The analyses indicate questions that can be combined or removed in order to reduce the length of the survey without compromising the breadth of topics addressed.

Based on these findings, we recommend that a full-scale survey be launched using a revised version of the pilot survey instrument. Such a survey will go a long way to filling major gaps in our knowledge of the settlement and integration experiences of Official Language Minority Immigrants, and contribute to the Immigration pillar of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018 (Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, 2013). This fits with the Senate Committee on Official Languages’ recommendation that a survey be conducted “on French-speaking immigrants outside Quebec and on English-speaking immigrants in Quebec so that official language minority communities can be better equipped to deal with the immigration challenges they will be facing over the coming years” (2014, p. vii). It will also provide an evidence base to support the evaluation of the Support for Official Language Minority Communities program to be conducted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada starting in the fall of 2015.

Specifically, results will provide an evidence base for:

  • Better understanding the settlement needs of Official Language Minority Immigrants
  • Providing information on what aspects of Official Language Minority Immigrant settlement need to be improved
  • Identifying gaps in services for Official Language Minority Immigrants
  • Designing new settlement resources and services for Official Language Minority Immigrants
  • Identifying potential pre- and post-arrival services and information that will improve the settlement and integration outcomes of Official Language Minority Immigrants
  • Developing effective initiatives for recruiting new Official Language Minority Immigrants and informing them of the services available to them
  • Developing strategies for contributing to the vitality of Official Language Minority Communities through immigration
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