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The Impacts of COVID-19 on Newcomer Serving SPOs in Canada

Researchers: Howard Ramos1, 2, Summer Fox2, and Nabiha Atallah3
Affiliation: Western University1, Dalhousie University2, Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) 3
Keywords: immigrant services, service provider organizations (SPOs), non-governmental organization (NGOs), Nova Scotia, COVID-19, best practices, service delivery
Jump to: Methodology, Findings, Recommendations, Publications & Reports


Overview: This study explored the services offered by ISANS before and after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. The study charted the challenges ISANS faced moving to online service delivery and the adaptions they implemented to meet client needs during this time.

Objective: To develop best practices regarding service delivery which can be extended to other organizations and inform future practices during emergency situations.

Research Justification: Service Provider Organizations (SPOs) had to rapidly adopt innovative solutions that allowed for social distancing and online delivery to respond to clients’ needs during COVID-19. The challenges organizations faced and the solutions they adopted offer a rich knowledge base to inform best practices for future policy and programming.


Executive Summary

People-Focused Culture Infographic

Lessons Learned Infographic

Varied Experiences Infographic

ISANS Stages of Operation Infographic

Embrace New Technology Infographic

Evaluation Process Infographic

Challenges and Responses Infographic

Communication Infographic

Support for the Health Systems Infographic


The research team drew on ISANS internal documentation to examine the services that the organization provided prior to and during COVID-19. Researchers worked with ISANS to document the steps the organization took to meet the challenges of COVID-19, including readjusting staff roles, dealing with issues of morale, mental health concerns, and the unusual demands of working from home in isolation, as well as continuing to deliver their services at a distance and develop the bonds of trust and support with their clients. ISANS leadership were interviewed to reflect on their experiences and to draw out lessons learned from this time.



Lessons Learned:


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