GATES project to examine settlement barriers to caregivers
By Mila Astorga-Garcia
TORONTO–There is at present an important research survey seeking respondents in the Filipino community, particularly those who came into the country through the Live-in Caregiver Program. (Please see poster).
The survey is part of the GATES (Gabriela Transitions Experiences Survey) project, a research study looking at the settlement of former caregivers after they have completed the Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP) and received permanent residency in Canada. The aim is to examine the issues and barriers that LCP immigrants face in Canada after completing the program, specifically related to obtaining further education, finding employment, bringing over family members and settling into Canadian society. It is also interested in examining how former caregivers are using social services through various venues, such as government agencies, community centres, and churches, family and other social networks within their communities.
This study is nationwide in scope, and data is being collected in the cities that have the greatest numbers of LCP immigrants. So far, surveys and focus groups have been conducted in the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
The GATES project is a collaboration between Gabriela Ontario, Ryerson University, York University, Migrante Canada and Community Alliance for Social Justice (CASJ). Funding for this project is being provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), according to Dr. Rupa Banerjee, PhD, principal co-investigator of the GATES project, and professor of Ryerson University.
This study uses both questionnaires and focus groups to collect data. Through questionnaires, the study is able to get an overall picture of the issues facing LCP immigrants, and through the focus groups researchers are able to understand the stories and experiences in depth, Banerjee said.
The study focuses specifically on Filipina women who arrived under the LCP program, completed the requirements of the program and therefore have received permanent resident status in Canada. However, it is also interested in studying those who have gone on to become Canadian citizens.
It is interesting to note that in this university-community collaboration, the initiative came from the community. The GATES study started as a Gabriela Ontario pilot initiative focusing on the experiences of former caregivers in Toronto. The methodology employed is Participatory Action Research (PAR), since the aim of the study is not only to understand the experiences of the target group, but also empower the target group through active participation in the research process. Members of Gabriela Ontario created the questionnaire and focus group questions and helped facilitate the data collection sessions in the GTA. Subsequently, academics from Ryerson University, led by Banerjee, and York University, led by Dr. Philip Kelly, became involved in the project, as did Migrante Canada and CASJ. This broadened the scope of the study to include other cities, namely Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
The GATES study started in the fall of 2012 with data collection starting in December 2012. “At this point, we have completed all focus group interviews and are in the process of conducting additional questionnaires particularly in the GTA. We expect to finish all data collection by December 2013 and start analyzing our results in January 2014. We hope to complete the Study by July 2014,” says Banerjee.
Once data collection has been completed, target group members will be involved in analyzing results, discussing implications, and finally disseminating the work. In short, members of the target group are to be involved in every step of the study.
The results of this study will be used to raise awareness within the community, advocate for policy changes and also help service providers to tailor their services more appropriately. Once data analysis is complete, the GATES project plans to hold a number of workshops within the community to discuss the findings and also get feedback on the results. The plan to is publish findings on a website so that community members and service providers are able to access the information easily. The plan is to create some policy recommendation documents and present these at venues that would reach policy-makers.
So far, the ongoing study has been presented at the National Metropolis Conference in March 2013 in Ottawa, and at Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement in May 2013 in Toronto. There is a plan to present it as well at the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association conference this month in Alberta. All these conference presentations are aimed at informing the policy, academic, and research communities about this ongoing research initiative – its aim, process, and significance — but results will be disclosed only when the project is completed.