The Ontario Metropolis Centre receives renewed funding for immigration research

The Ontario Metropolis Centre (CERIS), one of five national research centres that studies the effects of immigration and settlement upon urban centres through the national Metropolis Project for research on migration, diversity and immigrant integration, has been awarded $1.5 million in funding over five years from the federal government.

CERIS, part of the national Metropolis Project, is a collaborative research partnership between Toronto-area universities (York University, Ryerson University and University of Toronto), and community partners. Its researchers examine immigration and settlement issues in Canadian society. CERIS partners include departments within all three levels of government, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, the Community Social Planning Council of Toronto, and the United Way of Greater Toronto.  

Diane Finley, federal minister of citizenship & immigration, and Chad Gaffield, president of the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), announced a total of $7.5 million over five years for the Metropolis Project research centres.

“The successful integration of immigrants is crucial to Canada’s social and economic well-being,” said Finley. “We have much to gain from exploring the effects of migration on the strength of our economy, the security of our nation, and the relationships between different cultures living side by side within our borders.”

The funding includes $3.1 million from SSHRC and $4.4 million from a consortium of federal departments and agencies led by Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC).

One of the world’s largest networks of policy-makers and scholars, Metropolis has propelled Canadian researchers to the forefront of worldwide immigration and settlement research. Established in 1995, it provides a national and international forum for policy-related research on the effects of immigration and settlement on urban centres through its base of innovative partnerships among researchers, policy-makers and practitioners. It has also trained a new generation of researchers now employed within Canadian universities and the public service and non-governmental sectors. 

“The Metropolis Project is addressing urgent societal issues as we attempt to build a more inclusive society and to understand the connections between immigration and globalization. Metropolis also provides invaluable training for students who assist in this research, thus building future capacity,” said Gaffield. “This effort clearly shows the benefits of investing in knowledge and talent, as set out in the Government of Canada’s new Science and Technology Strategy.”

At CERIS, the new funding will support faculty and graduate research proposals across six domains:

  • Citizenship and social, cultural and civic integration 
  • Economic and labour market integration
  • Family, children and youth
  • Health and well-being
  • Justice, policing and security
  • Welcoming communities: building capacity in regions, cities and neighbourhoods

“Research has confirmed some of the challenges facing business-class immigrants in Canada,” says Professor Valerie Preston, CERIS director from York University. “Entrepreneurial knowledge, for example, is not 100 per cent portable. Researchers have demonstrated that individuals who successfully build a business in one place may experience unanticipated difficulties when starting over in a new country. Adapting to new consumer markets, cultural assumptions and forms of regulation is more complex than was initially believed.”

“Renewed funding will enable CERIS to further expand and promote a highly productive network of academic and community researchers, graduate student trainees, policy makers, practitioners and funders engaged with migration, diversity and civic participation in the Greater Toronto area and the Province of Ontario,” said Professor John Shields, CERIS director from Ryerson University.

The centre will facilitate, support and undertake interdisciplinary policy- and practice-relevant research at the local, provincial, national and international levels as part of the Metropolis network. “Initiating additional knowledge exchange and transfer activities across all stakeholders will be a key focus for the centre, allowing us to further optimize the uptake of research findings for knowledge mobilization among policy-makers and practitioners,” said Professor Anneke Rummens, CERIS director from the University of Toronto. 

Other CERIS research, for example, on housing and labour markets, has brought growing attention to the difficulties faced by newcomers to Canada in finding affordable, adequate housing and in finding meaningful employment in Canada that recognizes their skills and educational qualifications attained abroad.  

“It’s encouraging that we continue to support scholarship on immigration and settlement in Ontario,” says Debbie Douglas, executive director of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. 

For more information, visit the CERIS Web site.