The Tajribati Canada Project: Early Integration Trajectories of Syrian Refugees in Canada

Researchers: Thomas Soehl1, Dietlind Stolle1, Enrico del Castello2, Lorna Jantzen2, Chantal Goyette2, Claudia Diehl3, Howard Ramos4, Ian Van Haren1, Domenique Sherab1, Nour Daoud1
Affiliation: McGill University1, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC)2, Universität Konstanz3, Western University4
Research Partner: IRCC
Keywords: refugees, Syrian, privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), government assisted refugees (GARs), blended visa office-referred (BVOR) program, integration, resettlement, settlement support, families, family dynamics, social networks, longitudinal survey, COVID-19
Jump to: Methodology, Findings, Website


Overview: This study is based on a survey of Syrian newcomers to Canada who arrived through Canada’s Syrian refugee resettlement initiative. It examines the integration outcomes of Syrian refugees, including the obstacles they face and resources they mobilize. 

Objective: to explore the experiences of Syrian newcomers in Canada through often-unexplored measures such as migration history, cross border relations, family dynamics, aspirations, and social connections alongside traditional measures of language proficiency, religion and culture, employment and political affiliation. The study also examines the role that social networks, family dynamics, and private sponsorships play in integration outcomes.

Research Justification: As Canada continues to welcome refugees, it is important to have an understanding of the early integration outcomes of refugee populations, including challenges and supports. This study will help us better understand the experiences of the Syrian population currently in Canada and contribute to broader research on the adaptation of newcomers to life in a new country.


This study conducted a large-scale survey of Syrian newcomers to Canada who arrived through Canada’s Syrian refugee resettlement initiative. The research team collected approximately 2000 responses from the adult survey. In addition, 200 responses were collected from young adults who arrived as dependent children; 160 responses were collected from volunteers who assisted with the integration of refugee newcomers. All respondents arrived in Canada after the commitment in 2015 to resettle over 25,000 refugees. Two-thirds of the respondents came as privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), one quarter as government assisted refugees (GARs), and just under ten percent in the blended visa program (BVOR). Men are somewhat overrepresented in the sample, making up about 60 percent of the respondents, with women making up just under 40 percent. Respondents were between the ages of 20 and 63, with the average  being 37 years old. 

The survey contained a broad set of questions that included experiences in Syria, the country of initial refuge, and since arrival in Canada. It also included several questions to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the lives of Syrians in Canada. All participants were given the option to complete the survey in Arabic, English, or French. Surveys could be completed over the telephone or online.

A second round of data collection, which will provide an update on how Syrian newcomers have adapted to post-pandemic life in Canada and provide insights on longer-term integration outcomes, will be undertaken in the next year.

The survey was developed in collaboration with a team of academics who are surveying Syrian newcomers in Germany. This will enable comparison of newcomer populations between Canada and Germany and provide a deeper understanding of factors which inhibit or contribute to integration


Citizenship and Settling

Social Connections

Economic Outcomes


The Tajribati website was created to share findings from this project. This site is updated regularly as new information emerges.

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