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Key informant perspectives on the government of Canada’s modernized approach to immigrant settlement

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funds community-based organizations to provide services such as official language training, job placement, and community engagement in a decentralized model of immigrant service provision. This approach to settlement services has been simultaneously praised as a model of best practice and criticized for inefficiency. Partly in response to criticism, in 2008 IRCC implemented the Modernized Approach to Settlement Services, a management strategy that maintains the department’s decentralized approach to funding settlement service provision but introduces several important changes. First, the Modernized Approach consolidates settlement services into a single Settlement Program to streamline the application process. Second, the Modernized Approach focuses on project outcomes rather than just measuring inputs and outputs. And third, the Modernized Approach creates avenues for grass-roots organizations to have a voice in the governance of the Settlement Program. While a few studies have discussed the Modernized Approach to Settlement Services as a promising way forward, this is the first article to examine its impact empirically. Using key informant perspectives as a guide, this article provides an overview of the areas and extent to which it has created improvements over IRCC’s previous approach to settlement services, and it identifies areas for potential improvements.