Toward building a model for the multiculturalization of the Canadian social services

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Candia, Rosa
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The issue of service accessibility and culturally appropriate services to immigrants is of increasing concern to the social service professionals, policy makers, as well as to the immigrant community. There is growing concern that language and cultural barriers prevent immigrants from receiving equal and quality services, and that mainstream agencies are not equipped to respond to the multicultural reality of our new population. This study examines the current status of social service provision to immigrants and refugees in three Canadian provinces, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In the attempt to begin building a model for the multiculturalization of the Canadian social services, the study explores the barriers, challenges and service models to develop accessible and culturally appropriate service to immigrants. This is a qualitative study which identifies the following salient themes describing immigrant service providers' experience and opinions about services to immigrants: l) institutional change issues 2) settlement services, everything for everybody 3) increasing access to mainstream services, a process of change 4) services issues and testing new service approaches 5) the complexity of ethno-cultural community life 6)immigrant service deliverer's reflections. The study's central conclusion is the need for institutional change in the current organization of the social service system. The Manitoba example of the bridging service model for the "multiculturalization" of mainstream services provided the context for exploring these changes.