Current Projects

Closing the Integration Gap: Assessing Impacts of Social Networks & Integration of Government Assisted Refugee Newcomers
About the project
Led by Prof. Craig Damian Smith, this project brings together Political Science, Economics, and Migration Studies with civil society to examine pressing scholarly, policy, and social questions around refugee integration.
Refugee integration and long-term health outcomes in Canada
About the project
Led by Prof. Michaela Hynie, this research will compare how government-assisted refugee (GAR) and private-sponsored refugee (PAR) resettlement programs support long-term social integration pathways for refugees and the impact of these pathways on physical and mental health. Research will take place over a five-year period.Resettled refugees have poorer health than host populations, and studies show that social integration affects wellness; however, there is a lack of research examining how the experiences of settlement and integration contribute to the long-term health of refugees.“Canada’s private sponsorship program for resettled refugees is unique in the world, and is of considerable interest to other countries, but its effectiveness relative to government sponsorship is largely unknown,” said Hynie. “This grant is an important opportunity for us to understand how, and under what conditions, the different resettlement programs in Canada support the long-term health and well-being of resettled refugees in Canada, and to gain a deeper understanding of the social determinants of refugee health.”
Probing Private Refugee Resettlement in Canada
About the project
Led by Prof. Jennifer Hyndman, the overall aim of the project is to produce and share new knowledge about private refugee sponsorship in Canada. Since March 2016, and at the September 2016 UN Summit in New York City on refugees and migrants, the federal government has committed to ‘exporting’ its expertise about Canada’s unique private resettlement program for refugees. At present, however, very little is known about what characteristics of place and people are correlated with and sustain ongoing sponsorship by private citizens, whether in cities and more rural areas. This project will fill a gap in the scholarly literature, but will also have several applications in policy and practice. In 2016, Canada is expected to resettle 44,800 refugees (Casasola, 2016), more than ever before in a single year; almost half of these will be privately-sponsored in whole or part.
Advancing social inclusion in Canada’s diverse communities: Neighbourhood, regional, and national comparisons
About the project
Led by Prof. Luann Good Gingrich, this is a four-year study that aims to measure social exclusion – in particular its intersecting, multidimensional, and relational dynamics – with the imperative to devise a meaningful and practical conception of social inclusion for policy formulation and service delivery. In close consultation with collaborators from three community partners (City of Toronto, Social Planning Toronto, and Caledon Institute), the PI and the two academic co-applicants are using secondary quantitative analysis of complex, large-scale datasets, informed by qualitative exploration, to achieve the following specific objectives: to measure the economic, spatial, and socio-political forms of social exclusion; to analyze how these forms of exclusion interact and reinforce one another; to examine social dynamics defined by race/ethnicity, immigrant status, age, gender, and sexuality, with regional comparisons; to detect mitigating factors and strategies; and to translate findings to facilitate targeted social policies and improved ground-level practice.
Subalterity, public education, and welfare cities: Comparing the experience of displaced migrants in three cities
About the project
Led by Prof. Ranu Basu, this internationally-based, five-year research project examines a striking triangular link between Toronto, Canada and two cities in the global South (Kolkata, India and Havana, Cuba) to produce a timely new analysis of the interrelationship between the quality of state-based education, the subalterity of displaced migrants, and implications which these issues have for the urban public realm. State funded public education, long valued as a critical tool for reducing inequality, promoting economic mobility and advocating for social justice, can have an ongoing transformative effect on the evolution of the public realm. The ideologies, policies and practices of state-funded education distinctly shape various aspects of social justice, including the way urban spaces are produced and contested by those most vulnerable.Adopting a human rights approach, especially for subaltern communities with unique needs and vulnerabilities, has never been more critical in an era of continued neoliberal restructuring which is simultaneously characterized by global unrest, conflict, violence and increased mobility. This project is of particular relevance in reassessing Canada’s role in the global debates on public education as a transformative practice for social mobility and peace building.


Past Projects

Borderless Higher Education for Refugees
About BHER
The Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) Project aimed to make educational programs available where refugees need them. In the Global South there are currently some 15.2 million people caught in refugee situations, often for ten years or more as an outcome of war, human rights violations, and/or persecution in their home countries. Attending university or accessing other tertiary degree programs has been almost impossible. CRS faculty Wenona Giles and Don Dippo led this project.

 Refugee Research Network
About the RRN
The Refugee Research Network (RRN)was created to mobilize and sustain a Canadian and international network of researchers and research centres committed to the study of refugee and forced migration issues and to engaging policy makers and practitioners in finding solutions to the plight of refugees and displaced persons. This initiative built on previous efforts towards establishing a global network of researchers in the field of refugee and forced migration studies funded by the Canadian SSHRC Knowledge Cluster program. Prof. Susan McGrath C.M. led this project.

Final Project Report

Building Bridges across Social and Computational Sciences: Using Big Data to Inform Humanitarian Policy and Interventions
About the project
This two-year research project brings together a unique interdisciplinary network of leading social and computer scientists from three universities (York, Wilfrid Laurier and Georgetown) working with humanitarian experts (including UNHCR Canada and CARE Canada) to improve humanitarian
responses to displaced people. Using ‘big data’ about Iraq drawn from Georgetown’s vast, unstructured archive of over 700 million extended open-source media articles (EOS) supplemented with other data sources including qualitative interview data of humanitarian workers, our main objective is to refine our computer analytic tools and theories of migration to identify early indicators of forced displacement. Being able to anticipate who is being displaced and to where will assist humanitarian actors in planning for and responding to their needs. Ideally, the displacement can be prevented; however, an early warning can possibly provide safe corridors for escape and facilitate the effective and efficient pre-positioning of shelter and basic supplies to improve the conditions of those fleeing. Prof. Susan McGrath C.M. is the lead on this project.

Synthesizing indigenous and international social work theory and practice in Rwanda
About the project
International social work education has become a priority among Canadian schools of social work and one of the strategies to achieve this goal is the development of joint research ventures. This research partnership was a joint venture among three Canadian Universities and the National University Rwanda that will promote professional social work education and practice in Rwanda and inform global social work practices, knowledge and curricula. The expected outcomes included the generation of new social work knowledge that incorporates indigenous knowledge and methods with international social work theory and practice; the building and strengthening of partnerships between and among Canadian and Rwandan institutions, practitioners and researchers; the local support of social work practice and education; and, finally, the improvement of the well-being of the people of Rwanda. This project contributed to an emerging body of knowledge in Canadian concerning social work engagement in a globalized world. As such, it helped to inform current issues and debates pertaining to the indigenization of social work knowledge which has direct implications for developing post-colonial social work practice with Aboriginal peoples in Canada and the social inclusion of immigrants and refugees in our context as well as applications of best practice as part of international partnerships. Prof. Susan McGrath C.M. was the lead on this project.

Indo-chinese Refugee Movement
About ICRM
The Centre for Refugee Studies and the Canadian Immigration Historical Society are working together on a multi-pronged project that will review the historic significance and contemporary relevance of the 1975-80 resettlement of Indochinese refugees though the Private Sponsorship Program. This initiative was led by Prof. James C. Simeon.

 Critical Issues in International Refugee Law
The Critical Issues in International Refugee Law Research Workshop was part of the “Refugee Law” Research Clusters of the Refugee Research Network (RRN), led by Prof. James C. Simeon.  It brought together distinguished Superior and High court judges, legal scholars, leading academics as well as senior governmental and international organizations officials, specifically from the UNHCR, but also other UN agencies, and other interested parties, to consider a limited number of critical issues in international refugee law.

Online Research and Teaching Tools
About ORTT
The Online Research and Teaching Tools website provides the public at large with easy and ready access with the information, methods and techniques required in order to excel in both their research and teaching in the interdisciplinary field of refugee and forced migration studies.

 Synthesizing Local & International Social Work Practice in Rwanda
This research project, led by Prof. Susan McGrath C.M. built on an established partnership of Rwandan and Canadian Schools of Social Work that share a commitment to social justice and university/community collaborations.