Surrey LIP News: Service Mapping Project Results
Monday, June 8, 2015

Surrey is the fastest growing city in British Columbia and one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. Geographically, it is the largest city in the province with one of the highest number of immigrant population in BC.  As a result of a continuous influx of newcomers, Surrey has become a "super-diversity" city with many residents coming from different places, practicing different faiths and speaking different languages. As Dr Sarah Spencer, Director of the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity, stated in her recent interview, a "super-diversity city"  "is a community where the old approaches to multiculturalism and its structures don’t necessarily fit anymore".

The Surrey LIP Service Mapping Project aimed to identify new approaches to settlement service delivery in Surrey, i.e. to understand a big picture of the settlement service sector in Surrey, identify service gaps and duplications, and explore potential solutions to enhance service coordination. SPARC BC was retained by the City of Surrey to lead a five-month Service Mapping project from November 2014 to March 2015 .

The project included conducting an online environmental scan, developing an inventory of services and programs, developing and conducting an online survey (completed by Social Services Senior Leaders), and mapping and analyzing settlement services against immigrant settlement patterns and main transit routes in Surrey. The online service map of 235 unique programs and services was created in collaboration with Ion Brand Design. The Final Service Mapping Project Report was released in May 2015.  The following key findings have emerged:

SERVICE INFRASTRUCTURE

  • There are at least 235 unique no-cost programs offered to Surrey’s newcomers. The existing service infrastructure presents opportunities for innovation, guided by the needs and strengths of the city’s newcomers.

ADEQUACY OF SERVICES

  • Senior service infrastructure leaders who responded to the Surrey Social Infrastructure Leaders Survey noted that 76%, or twenty-two (22) of twenty-nine (29), service types were deemed inadequate in building on the strengths and addressing the complex needs of immigrants in Surrey.
  • Many service leaders are either unaware of the adequacy of the services or unaware what is available to support the immigrant integration and settlement process.

SERVICES THAT NEED THE MOST ATTENTION

  • The top four types of services for refugees that social service leaders thought need the most attention and which received the most references by survey respondents were: mental health services; accessible programs and services (transportation, better coordination of services); employment support and training; and inclusion integration support.
  • The top four types of services for immigrants (non-refugees) that require the most attention in Surrey and which received the most references by survey respondents were: vocational training; employment readiness &  qualification evaluation; English language support; improved transit and transportation policies; and community integration services.
  • Interestingly, while for refugees, respondent opinions were divided on what the priorities are as there are multiple needs and priorities, for non-refugees, respondents unanimously agreed that employment and vocation training services are foremost important.

DUPLICATIONS

  • Most respondents were not sure whether there is any duplication of services in Surrey (58%). Close to one third felt that services are duplicated in Surrey, mainly due to “new governance of settlement agencies”, “ nature of settlement services”, “competition between organizations” and “lack of awareness by service providers about who is doing what”. Additionally, some suggested that “duplications is needed due to the sheer size” of the community.

CHALLENGES: BURNING IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

  • The most cited implementation issues are: not having enough funding to create services that meet the needs of clients; transportation challenges; and inadequate translation and interpretation support for clients.

WHY? ROOT CAUSES OF SERVICE IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

  • Funding size & restrictions
  • Program coordination, mandates are not based on best practices, and service resources
  • High percentage of high needs populations
  • Inadequate public transit

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE? WAYS TO ADDRESS SERVICE IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES

  • Survey respondents called for better coordinated priorities between service providers (shared resources, more partnerships), policy changes at the provincial and federal levels (addressing welfare rates, minimum wage, changes to employment centre approach, etc.), organizational changes, funding changes (multi-barriered population, client voices included, innovation), education and research priorities (educate decision makers).

EMERGING NEWCOMER NEEDS

  • Individual & Family Support services
  • Employment & Education services
  • Community Integration Services
  • Health & Nutrition
  • English Language Needs

CONCENTRATION OF SERVICES BY TOWN CENTRES

  • The analysis revealed that there are four areas in Surrey with high concentration of settlement services: Newton Town Centre, City Centre area, Guildford Town Centre, and Stawberry Hill area of Newton. Fleetword was identified as a community in Surrey where there is a large population of immigrants and limited immigration and settlement services.

SERVICES AND PUBLIC TRANSIT

  • An analysis of services in relationship to major transit routes revealed that all six categories of immigrant services within Surrey are available along the transit networks.

While the LIP Committee has had preliminary discussions about the research findings, implications from the findings will be further discussed with the LIP and other key stakeholders during community consultation workshops in the fall of 2015.