Syrian Refugees’ Participation in Language Classes: Motivators and Barriers

Authors

  • Nicole Ives McGill University https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2772-1310
  • Anna Oda York University
  • Jonathan Bridekirk York University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7493-8515
  • Michaela Hynie York University https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9266-9902
  • Susan McGrath York University
  • Rana Mohammad Carizon
  • Mona Awwad OMNI Television
  • Kathy Sherrell Immigration Services Society of British Columbia
  • Mahi Khalaf Immigration Services Society of British Columbia
  • Marcela Diaz Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, Ontario

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40799

Keywords:

refugees, language, integration, Syria, resettlement, literacy

Abstract

Resettlement country language literacy facilitates integration and counteracts social and economic marginalization. Thus, access to language learning is a social justice issue. Resettled refugees in Canada are eligible for free English/French language training. Between 2015-2017, Canada resettled 47,735 Syrian refugees. We explored predictors of language class participation for Syrian refugees, examining data from 1915 adult Syrian refugees in government-funded language classes in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. Findings suggest access to language programs are shaped by provincial policies. Factors hindering participation varied by province and included gender, physical/mental health, education, English/French literacy, and employment. Practice and policy recommendations are discussed.

Author Biographies

Nicole Ives, McGill University

Nicole Ives is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, at McGill University. She can be reached nicole.ives@mcgill.ca

Anna Oda, York University

Anna Oda is the Syrian Refugee Integration and Long-Term Health Outcomes in Canada research study coordinator at the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University.  She can be reached at annaoda@yorku.ca.

Jonathan Bridekirk, York University

Jonathan Bridekirk is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at York University. He can be reached at jbride@yorku.ca.

Michaela Hynie, York University

Michaela Hynie is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University. She can be reached at mhynie@yorku.ca.

Susan McGrath, York University

Susan McGrath is a Professor Emerita at the School of Social Work at York University. She can be reached at smcgrath@yorku.ca.

Rana Mohammad, Carizon

Rana Mohammad is the Newcomer System Navigator-Carizon in Kitchener, Ontario. She can be reached at ranaamohamad@gmail.com.

Mona Awwad, OMNI Television

Mona Awwad is a News Reporter at OMNI Television.  She can be reached at mona.awwad.q@gmail.com.

Kathy Sherrell, Immigration Services Society of British Columbia

Kathy Sherrell is the Director of Settlement Services at Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. She can be reached at kathy.sherrell@issbc.org.

Mahi Khalaf, Immigration Services Society of British Columbia

Mahi Khalaf is a Program Manager at Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. She can be reached at mahi.khalaf@issbc.org.

Marcela Diaz, Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, Ontario

Marcela Diaz is a Settlement and Integration Program Manager at the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County, Ontario. She can be reached at mdiaz@themcc.com.

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Published

2022-08-23

How to Cite

Ives, N., Oda, A., Bridekirk, J., Hynie, M., McGrath, S., Mohammad, R., Awwad, M., Sherrell, K., Khalaf, M., & Diaz, M. (2022). Syrian Refugees’ Participation in Language Classes: Motivators and Barriers. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 38(2), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40799