Report out of the meeting of the


Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth (CCICY)


November 28, 2007, Ottawa












Joan Riggs

Catalyst Research and Communications

78 Delaware Avenue

Ottawa, Ontario



Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth

November 28, 2007, Ottawa



Participants:  See Appendix A

Facilitator: Joan Riggs, Catalyst Research and Communications



A. Welcome and Opening


The two co-chairs, Barbara Burnaby and Hieu Van Ngo opened the meeting. Barbara provided an overview of the history of CCICY, acknowledging the work that has been done to date and the partners and supports the organization has received.


Barbara emphasized that the reason that CCICY was created is to address the education needs of immigrants by creating collaborative dialogue between the two levels of government who have those two responsibilities. Currently, the federal government has responsibility for immigration and the provinces have responsibility for education.


As a National Coalition, CCICY has faced many challenges including the need for funding and a structure to support the work. Each province is working on the issue in different way, utilizing different structures and CCICY has much work to support the work of the provinces while working towards a collaborative approach.



B. Presentation of the Report


Joan Riggs provided a brief overview of the key findings of the Report.  The report was used to introduce different parts of the agenda and provided a detailed summary of the work done by CCICY to date.


C. Vision


Participants were broken into four groups to develop a vision for CCICY.  The question was posed, What would Canada look like if CCICY was successful in its work?   Each group created a picture of the country if it was focused on achieving the CCICY mandate. The verbal descriptions of the visions cannot capture the beauty of the visual images that often included symbolic imagery of love, home and belonging.


Group 1: The federal and provincial governments and organizations working together to address the needs of immigrant and Canadian children


There are resources and investments in Canada in three different contexts in Canada, all of which are interconnected:


a)    in the home.

b)    In the schools

c)    In the community


These three key elements of society are interconnected to ensure employment, good housing, and a strong healthcare system that supports families to raise their children in a good way.  Children are at the centre of society and the goal is to have them become contributing members of society.


Group 2: Working together with children and youth as our focus


















The focus is on the four circles working together to ensure that children and youth can realize their potential. New programs exist in communities across Canada to support children.  There are new ways of ensuring dialogue and collaboration between the different levels of government and the community.


Group 3: Dialogue is our key tool as we work to make institutions transformative and inclusive.


Canada is a very fortunate country and continues to have many diverse people enjoying the Canadian experience.  A country that is aware of and recognizes their gifts and talents greets immigrants when they arrive.   Different institutions in the country (represented by different tents) have developed ways to make organizations transformative and inclusive.


CCICY continues to play a key role in facilitating talking, listening, advocacy, sharing to make all Canadian institutions really inclusive and transformative. 


Children experience themselves in their new country as special and wanted. Every child who is bearing emotional scars  from the immigrant or refugee journey is given the supports they need to move forward.


CCICY is working with others towards an integrated Canada where people can develop individually and develop a strong sense of their connection to their community.


Group 4: Equity representation is in every aspect of Canadian society


Every aspect of life in Canada: government, institutions, economy, the Arts, media and schools have equity representation.   Newcomers have access to the wide range of institutions.    ECE is an integrated program in society because it is a key vehicle to ensure access to society.


CCICY, in 10 years, has been so successful that the organization is helping the US or France.


Summary Vision:

 In ten years, every aspect of Canadian society will reflect the diversity of Canada.  The education system will support children and youth to be contributing members of Canadian society.


CCIYC will promote information-sharing, dialogue and collaboration amongst all stakeholders to achieve our vision.



D. Current Resources


Before the discussions of what CCIYC would identify as priorities, a review of the current resources available was reviewed.



      No independent funding

      Some foundation funding for specific meetings

      Specific program and project funding through individuals and organizations


Communication Tools:



      Network of relationships



      Literature review

      Interest groups


E. Strategic Priorities


The group had the opportunity to identify key priorities for CCICY.   A wide range of issues was identified (see Appendix B) that were then narrowed down to reflect priorities that CCICY could achieve.


Four general areas were identified for focus and a general area

a)    Networking

b)    Advocacy

c)    Communication

d)    Research

e)    Other


A. Strategic Priorities


Given the current resource base, CCICY wanted to be very focused on what was achievable at this time.   Three strategic priorities were proposed for the next year.


  1. Establish a network hub that shares information

a.    Share successful practices.

b.    Develop a resource list (programs and resources)

c.     Identify research and consultation priorities

d.    Highlight research that uses childrens and youth voices.

e.    Track and highlight key research in the area.

f.      Continue the newsletter


2. Develop specific advocacy positions and lobby on:

      ESL and ELD funding

       Transition programs prior to school to prepare children for school entry. 


3. Develop the language and key communication messages to articulate CCICY issues.





B. Other Strategic Issues


Other issues considered important but not chosen as strategic priorities for CCICY were approached in other ways.


Strategic Issue (not chosen as a CCICY priority)

How it will be addressed

1.    Pre-migration training recognition of Canadas values vis- a-vis violence, women, children and human rights


Raise this issue with other organizations that are working on this issue.

2.    Longitudinal study It will include the Canadian context; 1st and 2nd generation participants; survey factors and tracking trends


A national study is already underway. CCICY will track the report and put on the website the results and reports.

3.    Include children and youth voices in the methodology and design of research.


Promote that in any of the work that CCICY is involved in.

4.             4. Conference The goals of the conference  wouldinclude:

a.    Share best practices

b.    Create a national strategy dialogue


Participants will include ESL teachers, settlement workers, government stakeholders, academics and non-immigrant services


At this time, this is not a viable strategy to undertake.

5.             5. Strategize and advocate on how to change immigration bureaucracy,


Pass idea forward to the Canadian Council for Refugees

7.             6. Establish surveys/questions for   newcomers who have gone though programs in order to identify successes and areas to improve.







F. Structural Options


Four structural options were proposed in the Report for the consideration of CCICY. While a final decision was not made, the group did indicate a preference to further explore two of the options (Option 1 and 2 below).   In both cases, it would require CCICY to initially be sponsored by an established organization. 


A Partnership Protocol working group was established to initiate discussions.




1.  CCICY would be sponsored by an established organization (suggested organizations would be CISSA or CCR)  Over the long term,  CCICY would grow to become a formal coalition of individuals and organizations. 


2. CCICY would be sponsored by an established organization (suggested organizations are University of British Columbia or University of Guelph.)


3. A membership based organization with representation seats on the Board 


4. CCICY would be sponsored by an established organization with the long term goal of being a membership based organization 



G. Communication messages


The participants were asked to brainstorm in small groups some key messages that CCICY could communicate.


      The Coalition cares about children and youth. It seeks to assist children with regard to education, socio-cultural and psychological aspects. We look at well-being from a wholistic view.


      An advocate for immigrant children and youth. We are concerned with the wellbeing of immigrant children and youth. We promote jurisdictional coordination to address the unique needs of immigrant children and youth in all aspects of their lives.


      Why CCICY exists:

      To eliminate barriers and impediments to their full inclusion

      Build wholistic development of the immigrant child

      To improve immigrant childrens opportunities and their families to grow as independent self-sufficient persons

      Provide arena and space for networking and partnerships

      Support and allow families to regain their lives and values

      To provide information and links to those existing resources working with immigrant youth and to provide support in terms of proposal writing.

      To advocate on behalf of immigrant children and youth for the provision of services

      To make resources accessible to parents

      To create a forum/partnerships with families and communities


      What does CCICY do?

      To provide support and advocacy for immigrant children and youth for their integration and well being

      To work towards policy change

      To share best practices amongst various institutions that serve children and youth to ensure equity and positive outcomes

      To collaborate with other community agencies and organizations,

      How to prepare for citizenship/sense of belonging

      Inter-generational dialogue



H. Next Steps


Working groups were identified to follow-up on the actions out of the meeting.


Messages                                                                Coordination

Peter                                                                          Barbara

Tony Lovnik                                                               Jacqui Strachan

Sylvia Bereskin                                                        Ives Clarke


Partnership Protocol                                             Early Childhood Blog

Hieu                                                                           Roma Chumak-Horbatsch



Newsletter                                                               Advocacy

Sonia                                                                         Jennifer

Bre England                                                             Wali Farrah

                                                                                    Maryse Bermingham


I. Close of the Day


The final thoughts in the closing round was that there is a need for a strong national voice and the group would like to see CCICY grow.  It is important to keep the focus that every child is sacred.




Appendix A


Contact List





Anton (Tony) Lovnik


Haleh Zamanpour

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)

Ives Clarke

S.A.F.E. Solutions

Diana Turner

Manitoba Government Education, Citizenship and Youth

Roma Chumak-Horbatsch

Ryerson University

Jacqui Strachan

People for Education

Dr. Sylvia Bereskin

Ontario Government Ministry of Education

Bre England

Catholic Immigration Centre- Reception House

Maria Callahan

Coalition on Richer Diversity

Jerry Wu

Vancouver School Board

Sherman Chan

Multilingual Orientation Service Association for Immigrant Communities (MOSAIC)

Maryse Bermingham

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)

Marie-Therese Libot

Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization (OCISO)

Beshir Nakishbandi

Wali Farah

June Gurvan

Every Child is Sacred

Orawan Charnsoontorn

Hieu Van Ngo

Coalition for Equal Access to Education

Martha Trahey

Eastern School District of Newfoundland and Labrador

LloydeHa Quaicoe

Sharing Our Cultures

Daniela Mantilla

Peter Dorfman

Jose Rivera

Cord/Rlac- St. Johns Newfoundland

John Duff

Carolyn Cheshire

Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration

Barbara Burnaby

Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth







Appendix B


Issued identified that CCICY could work on as part of the priority setting process



A. Networking


1)    Share successful practices 


2)    Outreach


3)    Conference


4)    Membership

      Establish criteria for membership

      Create sub-networks with specific interest and focus (research, policy)

      Analyze our membership and figure out where else we might appropriately be soliciting support


B. Advocacy


      Locate real movers and shakers that really model policy

      Lobbying politicians MPs/MPPs. How? Have a specific committee

      ESL funding lobby provincial departments of education or federal government departments for transitional programs prior to school entry (welcome centre, assessment, transportation)

      Include the community affected so they can learn/become part of the grassroots advocacy for the children of their communities

      What body of the collective provinces other than the Council of Ministers of Education can we get to promote cross-provincial solidarity and group action?

      Conduct institutional analysis of how Canadian institutions (federal/provincial departments, school boards etc.. ) have responded to immigrant children and youths needs

      Consult with stakeholders to create a national strategy for immigrant children and youth

      Develop and present specific policy papers and recommendations to national, provincial and local institutions

      Use media to make needs/services fir ICY a priority/hot issue

      Lobby for funding for social support e.g. youth groups, welcome centres

      Lobby for national assessment tool and centres

      Strategize on how to change an immigration bureaucracy culture that endures through many changes at the political level


C. Communication


      Developing the language (also means to listen) to articulate CCICY issues

      Recruiting media outlets that are friendly and support CCICY issues

      Communicate with/through the immigrant population. They can convene house party communications


      Creating forms for dialogue

      Surveying/interviewing former students/newcomers is crucial (also research and translation)

      Have immigrants talk with all levels down up

      Take advantage pf media friends we already have (i.e. Atkinson Foundation)

      Enlist the power of fusion music and diverse cultural expression

      Get into youth media

      Who to communicate with? THE WORLD


D. Research


Encourage quantity and direction of research

      Encourage more institutional analysis research. 

      Influence research funding bodies (i.e. SHRRC) to allocate funds for ICY research.

      Coordinate a national research agenda focusing on ICY


Research on process /programs for anti-hate education

      Explore and develop programs/modules/processes to address issues of hate across immigrant groups.

      Support sociological/historical research on how diversity-affirming/tolerant societies become polarized and vice versa


Develop curriculum for teacher education school practice informed by research

      Influence teacher education programs directly with research findings

       Use research to inform development of curriculum resources (across subjects and disciplines)


Collect voices oral histories

      Involve childrens voices in studies

      Collect oral histories: honouring personal stories; understanding personal challenges


Longitudinal research

      Longitudinal research: tracking trends, Canadian context, 1.5  and 2nd generation; success factors


E. Other issues that CCICY could work on:


There were a number of other issues identified that were important to the group.  The issue of pre-immigration training was of particular priority.


      Better pre-immigration training re: recognition of Canadas values vis--vis: violence, women, children, human rights

      Recognize refugees come from traumatic situations and need psychological first aid (from adaptation to healing)

      Seek funding to support CCICY priorities

      Preparing for school entry

      Promote CCICY in a concerted way

      Building/strengthening CCICY infrastructure

      Have a clear organizational plan