Foresight & Insight

Newcomer Journey Mapping


Durham Region

Scope of Work

  • Research
  • Literature Review
  • Workshops
  • Interviews
  • Survey
  • System Mapping
  • Report with Recommendations

In the face of an aging population, dropping birth rates across the country and labour market shortages, the Canadian federal government has prioritized a widely expanded immigration policy with an updated goal of over 1.3 million immigrants over the next three years. At the same time, international instability due to regional conflicts, persecution and climate stress is augmenting the number of migrants and refugees fleeing their homes in search of safe and secure lives. Newcomers to Canada are seeking a hospitable new start, in particular, affordable housing in communities where they can thrive. But arrival in a new country or community, and navigating the many systems is layered, detailed and sometimes overwhelming.

The Regional Municipality of Durham asked KerrSmith to undertake a detailed study of the Newcomer experience. To better understand how the system functions and where there might be opportunities to intervene to provide better outcomes for newcomers. We undertook a detailed review of intersecting influences and the power structures those imply.

This project’s objective was to understand the Durham Region’s Newcomer Housing system by identifying actors, structures and activities in the system. We mapped their interrelations and influence, including barriers to settlement and opportunities for change.

With favourable economic expansion and growing resident diversity, the Region of Durham is experiencing a rapid population increase, contributing to significant demand on a limited and increasingly expensive housing supply. This is true for a substantial proportion of newcomers and the pressure to find adequate, suitable, and affordable housing is being felt throughout the housing ecosystem.

There are public and private resources as well as not-for-profit agencies involved in these systems. We looked at how they work, how they are funded, and the paths that some typical newcomers might follow to navigate in their quest for housing. Our report provided systems maps, insights, and recommended actions.

As a result of our work strategic intervention points were determined and will serve as the initiation of a roadmap for those seeking solutions to three complex circumstances.


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