A City’s good practice towards the elimination of discrimination
In 2004, the City of Calgary released a report ‘Conversations for Change: An Overview of Services for Immigrant Children and Youth’ in Calgary. The purpose of the report was to gain a deeper understanding of the services provided to immigrant children and youth, in order to improve their quality. The objectives of the research were to inventory existing services, identify gaps and capacity of available services and to assess the needs of the population concerned. The 2004 overview report follows other research projects on immigrant and immigrant youth populations that identified the needs of children and youth as being very high and not always appropriately or adequately met.
There are several reasons why the Conversations for Change project was a success and why it is a promising practice to share. First, the Overview represents a very focused attempt to assess the city’s programs and services related to immigrant children and youth. The several waves of research projects helped the City identify the main problems and enabled it to have a deep understanding of where the main problems lie. After having identified a target group, the City asked both service providers and users to contribute in order to get the most accurate picture of the situation and needs. The recommendations that followed the research are tailored to the problems highlighted and therefore can address the real necessities of all actors.
A consulting firm was retained by the City of Calgary to conduct the overview. This had to be done in collaboration with a Steering-Committee comprising funders, social service agencies, school board representatives and immigrant-serving organisations. The research project was divided into four stages. The first stage consisted in the context assessment, which included the compilation of literature on immigrant children and youth and service delivery, as well as an inventory of services. The second stage of the research took the form of primary research, on the basis of interviews and focus groups with service providers and immigrant youth, and surveys sent to service organizations. During the third stage, the data was analysed and major themes were identified. Recommendations were then drafted, comprising the rationale and suggestions for implementation, within these themes.
The City of Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta. In 2006, the City of Calgary had a population of 988,193 making it the third-largest municipality in Canada and largest in Alberta. Economic activity in Calgary is mostly centred on the petroleum industry, agriculture, and tourism.
Calgary has been a member of the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination since July 2006.