What problem is Gateway trying to solve?
The current system of support is complex and challenging to navigate. Only one in four newcomers to Canada access settlement support, while the rest go without the help they need for a successful transition to life in Canada.
Although many agencies offer great newcomer services, each has their own process. As a result, newcomers often have to retell their story and undergo a different assessment every time they interact with a new agency.
They will also receive multiple settlement plans and similar services that can overlap. Moreover, as newcomers are moved from one agency to the next, it is difficult or even impossible to track their progress.
How was the problem identified?
Research on the effectiveness of settlement programs has revealed disappointing findings, namely that newcomers have difficulty accessing much-needed services.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s 2017 evaluation of Canadian settlement programs reports only a fraction of newcomers are being reached. Other research confirms that in Canada, service systems are difficult to understand for newcomers and service-providers alike, leading to a lack of referrals to relevant programs. They also found the way service information is communicated to be inconsistent, confusing, and difficult to access.
The Board of Immigrant Services Calgary took the results to heart and decided something had to be done to address the issue of accessibility. The Board members envisioned a simpler, more efficient system, and the idea for Gateway emerged.
What is Gateway?
Gateway serves as a personal guide to help each newcomer through their unique journey. To begin, newcomers simply fill out one standardized needs test to find out what they want help with. They are then connected with resources that they can choose from to match their needs. Every choice is theirs to make.
Gateway also aims to include a Knowledge Hub. Here, researchers, funders, and policy advisors can access collected information on newcomers’ needs and preferences to help them make better decisions and policies.
How does Gateway work?
The premise of Gateway is to focus on the individual and their specific needs. Consistent support is key to guiding newcomers through the system to find the most relevant support from the appropriate agencies.
The Gateway ‘system’ refers to the overall approach to providing help to newcomers, including:
- Defined roles and training across partner agencies
- Rules for standardized needs assessments
- Personalized planning
- Creating referrals and follow-up
- Protecting newcomer privacy
The technical ‘backbone’ of Gateway is essentially a platform. It is not just one piece of software, but a tightly integrated combination of a secure data center, configured software ‘workflows’, reports, and forms. The Gateway ‘system’ will also include a Knowledge Hub where anonymous newcomer data can be analyzed by researchers, funders and policy advisors.
Is Gateway intended to centralize newcomer support services?
Who does Gateway serve?
Which community agencies are involved in Gateway?
The plan is to implement Gateway in phases to incorporate more community partner agencies. In Phase 1, Immigrant Services Calgary launched a pilot with a core user group (i.e. the Gateway Partner Agency Council) to demonstrate how Gateway works. Gateway is entering Phase 2 and will invite the agencies who participated in the Gateway Community Roundtable to join.
Our current list of community partnerships: Calgary Local Immigration Partnership, Centre for Newcomers, the Immigrant Education Society, Cité des Rocheuses, United Way and the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.
Other newcomer organizations who have indicated interest in Gateway: The Alberta International Medical Graduates Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary, Calgary Economic Development, Calgary Public Library, Distress Centre Calgary, Platform Calgary, Prospect, Women in Need Society, Windmill Microlending, Young Women’s Christian Association, and many other leading organizations.
Gateway is also endorsed by the Government of Alberta and the City of Calgary.
What is Immigrant Services Calgary's role in Gateway?
What data is being collected and for whom?
Newcomers’ with share their story with a trusted person from Gateway, which may include, their immigration status, first language, time in Canada, education and training, employment status, English/French fluency, family and life stage, and income supports.
Some personal specifics are expected to be shared with partner agencies but will require consent from the individual first. Service providers will refer to information to successfully support each newcomer’s journey, in accordance with the Social Determinants of Health framework.
An de-identified and anonymized data compilation will be accessible through the Knowledge Hub for researchers and policy advisors to evaluate settlement services, identify trends and gaps.