Canada is a place populated mostly of people who have been arriving from elsewhere for almost 400 years, coming for economic opportunity, to join family or as refugees. In 2015, through an unprecedented national mobilization of government, the settlement sector and Canadian citizens, the country opened its doors to accept refugees fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, resettling close to 40,000 refugees within the space of a year. How have these refugees fared in their new country and lives, and what can be learned from their experience that might benefit future refugees? These questions were addressed through a national research study conducted in 2020-21, consisting of in-depth interviews with a representative sample of 305 Syrian refugees who arrived in the 2015-16 period.
The purpose of this research is to generate new, policy-relevant insights into the lived experience of Syrian refugees who arrived in Canada in 2015-16, which can provide direct benefits in terms of guiding policy and settlement programming, building capacity for further research, and improving the public narrative around Syrian refugees in Canada. The longer term goal of the study is to contribute to more positive outcomes for Syrian refugees in terms of successful settlement and integration into Canadian society, and for other Canadians in terms of broader understanding and acceptance of this population within the country.
The study builds upon previous research (e.g., internal government research, SSHRC-funded studies), to generate a more comprehensive picture of the Syrian refugee experience in Canada through an approach that is both empirically-based (representative of the target population) and in-depth (using qualitative methods), to delve deeper into important issues that have been identified but not yet fully understood, using a research model used successfully with other populations in Canada.
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