The Impact of Together Project Welcome Groups on GAR Social Capital examines the eectiveness of Together Project’s “Welcome Group Program” model on building refugee social capital. Survey design was informed by the open-source survey from the Toronto Social Capital Study (2018), which draws upon the 2013 General Social Survey conducted by Statistics Canada to measure the social capital of Toronto citizens.
The Toronto Social Capital Study laid out several indices for measuring the dimensions of social capital that are relevant to this study; namely, “social trust,” “social networks,” and “neighbourhood support.” Within these primary dimensions of social capital, there are also sub-dimensions such as “group trust” or “bridging capital” that are explored in this report.
Our study replicated the Toronto Social Capital Study with Government-Assisted Refugees (GAR) participants from Together Project’s Welcome Group Program. Changes in GARs’ self-perception of access to social capital over time were measured using baseline and exit surveys. Focus groups with GARs and team leads were also used to gain a deeper understanding of the processes underlying these changes.
The study makes an important contribution to research focused on the integration and resettlement of refugees in Canada, in terms of:
1) investigating the impact of the Welcome Group model on the social capital of refugee newcomers during COVID-19;
2) contributing to best practices for other jurisdictions who are struggling to find the financial means to support refugees in large cities across Canada;
3) providing similar sectors with an empirical basis for reviewing and building policies, initiatives, and investments around social capital that support and strengthen the newcomer community’s resettlement experience;
4) identifying new areas of opportunity for addressing challenges and supporting positive change;
5) raising awareness of the importance and benefits of social trust, social networks, and neighbourhood support, so that these are given a greater priority in policy development; and
6) establishing a benchmark against which progress in the delivery of the Welcome Group program can be measured over time.
Shireen Salti, Principal Researcher
Read the full report here.