Life beyond Refuge

A System Theory of Change for Supporting Refugee Newcomers




refugees, resettlement, theory of change, community-based evaluation, evaluation framework


Canada is internationally recognized as a leader in welcoming refugee newcomers. However, there is limited evidence about how well refugee newcomers fare after arriving in Canada, and the effectiveness of resettlement services and supports. A system theory of change was developed to guide assessments of complexity across the refugee-serving sector that seek to investigate refugees’ lived experiences and evaluate practice across multiple levels. This article describes the process of developing the system theory of change, Life Beyond Refuge, and the implications for community-level practice, public policy, and ultimately, resettlement outcomes for refugee newcomers.


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Author Biographies

Rich Janzen, Centre for Community Based Research

Rich Janzen is Executive Director at the Centre for Community Based Research, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Renison University College at the University of Waterloo. He can be reached at

Mischa Taylor, University of Alberta

Mischa Taylor is a Research Coordinator at the University of Alberta.  She can be reached at

Rebecca Gokiert, University of Alberta

Rebecca Gokiert, PhD, RPsych is a Professor in the School of Public Health and the Director of the Evaluation Capacity Network at the University of Alberta. She can be reached at


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How to Cite

Janzen, R., Taylor, M., & Gokiert, R. (2022). Life beyond Refuge: A System Theory of Change for Supporting Refugee Newcomers. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 38(2), 1–21.

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