Winnipeg Sun: Winnipeg study aims to help child refugees integrate

Youth refugees who make it to Canada still face an uphill battle.

But a study conducted by University of Winnipeg professor Jan Stewart is aimed at helping youth refugees navigate school and transition into meaningful careers.

While Syrian refugees dominate world news at present, they aren’t the only ones. Every year almost 250,000 newcomers reach Canada — and 6,000 are refugees under the age of 18, children and teenagers who’ve experienced devastating war and upheaval.

“What we are seeing is youth who are struggling to acquire that ‘Canadian work experience’ as a result of disrupted or limited schooling, employers’ perceptions about hiring newcomers, language barriers, and poor housing,” Stewart said in a release. 

The next phase of the research will involve in-depth observations of programs that are working throughout the province. The goal is to identify “best practices” and develop teacher and student resources to support career development, allowing for a more successful integration of newcomer and refugee youth.

The study, now in its second of three years, has interviewed more than 150 new arrivals. It recently received additional financial support of $154,000 from Mitacs Canada.

The University of Winnipeg will host a national consultation with policy makers in 2017 to share a summary of the results from all sites where the study is being conducted, including Calgary, St. John’s and Charlottetown.

“Dr. Stewart’s work embodies a strong applied aspect along with a diverse and highly collaborative team,” said Jino Distasio, associate vice-president, research and innovation. “The outcome of this research will undoubtedly support on our understanding of settlement patterns while examining the resources necessary to ensure long-term success as New Canadians transition.”

Byline: Winnipeg Sun