Current Projects

Accessing Mental Health Services for Newcomers Environmental Scan

AAISA has partnered with MMK research and consulting to conduct an environmental scan of mental health resources, programs, and services accessible to newcomers in Alberta.

This study aims to benefit immigrants and refugees by improving access to quality services, as well as better inform service mapping for service providers, policy makers and other organizations involved in the settlement and integration of newcomers to Canada.

This environmental scan will be done using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. For a full project backgrounder, click here.

Contact Research and Policy Officer Salimah Kassamali if you would like to participate, or if you would like more information.

Occupational Safety and Work Conditions for Immigrant Workers

Researchers from the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta have partnered with AAISA to conduct a study on occupational safety and work conditions for immigrant workers. The project will examine occupational safety, prevention, and post-injury workplace integration issues from the perspective of recent immigrant employees in Alberta, service providers, and employers.

Participants should be:

  • 18 years of age and older
  • A recent immigrant employee (less than 10 years in Canada) OR a Canadian-born employee
  • Working in an environment that is not safe for your health OR have sustained a work-related injury or illness

For participation, please contact:
Dr. Janki Shankar (Principal Investigator): or 780-862-8658
Conita Ip: or 403-971-7321
Vibha Kaushik: or 587-350-4152

Participants will be provided with a $50 honorarium upon successful participation.

Alberta Syrian Refugee Resettlement Experience Study

AAISA undertakes new study on the unique needs, barriers, and experiences of Syrian refugees

With funding from IRCC, this project will be carried out in consultation with HABITUS Consulting Collective, and Dr. Julie Drolet, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary.

The study will focus on the resettlement experiences of Syrian refugees arriving in Alberta during 2015 and 2016, with particular attention to the types of programs and services that are most needed in Alberta to support labour market integration, language training, and social connections.

The research questions this study seeks to answer, includes:

  1. What are the main factors that influence a positive resettlement experience for Syrian refugees in Alberta?
  2. What are the settlement challenges that Syrian refugees face in Alberta?
  3. What are the social, economic, and language needs of Syrian refugees in Alberta?
  4. What types of programs and services are most needed in Alberta in order to support their language needs, labour market and social integration?

AAISA will be using a mixed methods approach, with particular emphasis on qualitative lived experience as it can serve to inform a client-centered approach to settlement and integration support for refugees.

In December 2016, AAISA conducted several community forums in Calgary and Edmonton to facilitate in-person interviews with refugees.

Syrian refugees over the age of 18 who resettled in Alberta in 2015 and 2016, are welcome to participate in this study. This includes GARs, PSRs and BVOR sponsored refugees.

Study findings will be available in Spring 2017.

Advocacy and Outreach: Anti-Racism and Anti-Islamophobia in Alberta’s Settlement Sector

AAISA is currently coordinating a project funded by the Human Rights Education and Multiculturalism Fund (HREMF) to equip professionals and community members working with refugees with the tools, resources and skills to become advocates of anti-racism and anti-Islamophobia.

Through interviews, focus groups and an environmental scan, both our Research & Policy and Professional Development teams gathered resources, tools and information to address race-related barriers. To house these resources and create a platform to share best practices, AAISA developed an online Learning Community. AAISA also delivered training on human rights, multiculturalism and anti-racism, in-person and through the Learning Community. To find out more about the rationale, methodology, results and future of the project, read the Project Brief.

In November 2016, AAISA help a one-day collaborative learning opportunity for anti-racism and anti-Islamophobia advocates in Calgary. The face-to-face workshop provided an opportunity to further categorize and discuss current organizational programming, services, resources, and best practices. The outcomes of the workshop informed the development of a Practice Guide, available here.

AAISA staff will be presenting this project at an upcoming roundtable at the 19th National Metropolis Conference in Montreal on Mar. 16, 2017. Follow #19Metropolis for conference updates!

Past Projects

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program Environmental Scan

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) has been criticized for creating a vulnerable environment for Temporary Foreign Workers, in addition to its limited capacity to process applications in a timely manner.

With funding from Pathways to Prosperity, AAISA undertook an environmental scan to examine the impact of federal policy changes on the AINP and the flow of nominees into the Alberta labour market, in addition to recommendations to address the key challenges identified.

AAISA staff presented this project at the Pathways to Prosperity 2016 National Conference in Ottawa Dec. 1-2, 2016. The full report can be found here.

Provincial Needs Assessment: Improving Refugee Resettlement in Alberta

In October 2016, AAISA officially launched the publication of a new research report regarding the capacity of Alberta’s immigration sector to meet the current and future needs of refugees.

Following one of the largest resettlements of refugees in Canadian history, the report’s findings are timely. The study cataloged more than 1,400 programs and services in both urban and rural municipalities that serve the basic needs of refugees, such as language and employment. AAISA also engaged members, partners and community organizations to participate in the needs assessment through online surveys and focus groups.

The final report found that the existing capacity of the province’s immigration sector is strong. It also reveals how immigrant-serving agencies can improve the refugee resettlement experience in Alberta.

We hope our findings will serve as a valuable resource for key stakeholders, to guide decision-making, improve service planning, and to support the design of a comprehensive refugee resettlement roadmap for the province.

The full report can be found here.

Economic Well-Being: Indicators of Success for Newcomers to Alberta

AAISA identified a need for evidence to build a strong case for the impact of employment programming can make in the lives of immigrants and refugees. One objective of this project was to identify strategies for province-wide implementation of outcomes measurement and promising practices.

The study furthered the learnings derived from another AAISA project: Labour Market Integration Project: Improving Collaboration in Calgary for Better Employment Outcomes for Immigrants.

The full report can be found here.