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Date of Award

9-2005

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)

Department

Social Work

Supervisor

Patricia Daenzer

Language

English

Abstract

With the new Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act, 2002 Immigrant and refugee issues have been on the forefront of Canadian social policy. Refugees are amongst the most vulnerable population in the world and literature suggests that amongst the refugee population, women are disproportionately represented. Each year, Canada is home to thousands of refugees and is faced with the difficult task of re-settling refugees into a new culture, political and social system. While Canada is often celebrated for its immigration policies, there are significant shortcomings in the process of re-settling refugees. The social construction of 'refugee' and 'women of colour' create a situational space for complex and dynamic experiences that refugee women must overcome in the re-settlement process. These interlocking oppressions impact on the newcomers' sense of belonging and inclusion in their community of re-settlement. This research paper looked at the re-settlement experiences of government assisted refugees as well as asylum seekers in the first two years of re-settlement. A comprehensive literature review was conducted as well a two focus groups with refugee women, and three in-depth interviews with settlement service providers. Research showed that often, re-settlement was left to chance. Refugee women faced many barriers to accessing needed resources and therefore were often shut out from full participation in society. Many refugee women felt isolated in their communities and were marginalized because of their status as a refugee woman, impacting their re-settlement into Canadian society. There are no state protections from the factors that marginalize and shut out their participation as contributing citizens. Implications for this research showed that there needs to be additional support offered to refugee women in the re-settlement process especially those who are asylum seekers.

McMaster University Library

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