Ongoing Project:

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

Researchers: Howard Ramos1 and Nabiha Atallah2
Affiliation: Western University1 and Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS)2
Research Partner: ISANS
Keywords: immigrant services, service provider organizations (SPOs), ISANS, Covid-19, social distancing, best practices, service delivery


Objective: This study will explore services offered by ISANS before and after Covid-19 was declared to be a global pandemic, aiming to understand the challenges faced and adaptations that were implemented to meet the client needs during this time.

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.

Practical goal: To develop best practices regarding service delivery which can be extended to other organizations, and to inform future practices post-Covid-19 restrictions.

Primary audience: service providers, policy makers, and academics


This study will draw on internal documentation to examine services that ISANS provided prior to and during Covid-19, engaging the organization’s leadership to reflect on their experiences and draw out lessons from this time. Researchers will work with ISANS to document the steps taken to meet the challenges of Covid-19, including readjusting staff roles and goals, 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 build and develop the bonds of trust and support with their clients.

This study asks the following questions:

  1. What procedures and protocols were developed, and what approach was taken to adapt to the crisis?

  2. What worked well and what was challenging?

  3. What innovations took place? And what are the best practices that can be extended to other organizations and sectors and which can inform future practices post-Covid-19 restrictions?

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