Settling on Austerity: ISAs, Immigrant Communities and Neoliberal Restructuring
Immigrant Serving Agencies (ISAs) have long been at the centre of the settlement and integration of newcomer populations in Canada. They provide a community-based approach to settlement through nonprofit organizations rooted in the communities they serve, a workforce and volunteers drawn largely from immigrant populations, and a value system and voice reflective of the client base. This has been critical to fostering the ‘warmth of the welcome’ for newcomers that has made Canadian immigrant integration so successful in an internationally comparative context. This system however is under increasing challenge from austerity and neoliberal restructuring. The pressures include funding cutbacks, loss of ISA autonomy, and a general destabilization of nonprofit service provider organizations. This paper examines the
impact of the challenges of government austerity and neoliberal policy for the ISAs and immigrant communities, and considers the prospects for restoring the leadership role of ISAs in providing successful integration through appropriate settlement services.
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