The New Local Governance of Immigration in Canada: Local Immigration Partnerships and their role in Immigrant Settlement and Integration in Small- and Medium-sized Ontarian Cities
Local Immigration Partnership , Immigration , Canada , Governance
This research undertakes a policy analysis of the Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) program. Initiated in Ontario in 2008, this national policy takes a local approach to the settlement and integration of immigrants. An objective of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, the LIP is a community-built, multi-stakeholder strategy to attract and retain greater numbers of immigrants in small- to medium-sized municipal and regional areas in Ontario, and across Canada. The program serves to understand immigrant needs in these communities and to coordinate settlement service supports. Drawing on governmentality literatures, I seek to understand the process of policy localization as well as how this process and the enactment of policy in and through the local sphere governs immigrant settlement and integration. Between 2013 and 2015, I undertook a strategic analysis of existing federal-level immigration policies, federal-provincial agreements, provincial strategies, and LIP documents, and conducted semi-structured interviews with key informants such as government officials, political leaders, LIP coordinators and council members, and community stakeholders in Guelph-Wellington, Kingston, and Peterborough. Findings indicate a neoliberal reorganization of immigration management to control immigration, economic markets, and the outcomes of immigrants. Responsibility for aspects of settlement and integration are increasingly decentralized, but without an equal transfer of authority, leaving actors in the LIP organizations limited in their ability to make decisions and advocate for change. Federal funding and established measurements for project outcomes add layers of uncertainly for program success and sustainability. This research contributes to governmentality literatures as well as policy debates by offering new links between immigration policy and practice under advanced liberalism in Canada.