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Participatory inclusion in the refugee resettlement process McMichael, William Andrew

Abstract

This study explores the disconnection that exists between refugee policy developers and those whom they intend to benefit by bringing the voices of refugees and their supporters into community discussions on policies and practices that directly affect the refugee resettlement experience. The purpose of their involvement was to help ensure that resettlement activities were relevant to their needs. In an effort to make the findings as generalizable as possible, the researcher applied techniques of Participatory Action Research (Carr & Kemmis, 1986) within a Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) methodological framework. Community consultations involving a total of 86 refugees, refugee claimants and their supporters in three cities were conducted during the period that Canada was responding to post-9/11 concerns for national security with its first implementation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Findings from those consultations were triangulated with data from interviews with 29 service providers, government officials and individual refugees, as well as documentary evidence from scholarly research, government publications and mass media sources. Implications for further policy development were then developed from that process. Findings from the research suggest that the potential for unexpected policy outcomes can be reduced if culturally sensitive community consultations, in the preferred language of the community, are incorporated in policy development and implementation processes. These findings can contribute to building local community capacities to increase the effectiveness of resettlement activities and improving their sustainability by inviting those who have the most to benefit take ownership of them.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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