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Immigrants and the Creative Economy

Front line staff in Toronto Employment and Social Services have encountered many immigrant clients who were artists or who worked in cultural industries in their home countries, but who have been unable to make the necessary connections to work in their preferred fields in Toronto.  In discussing this issue with others, it has come to light that:

*      The former Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration[1] has worked jointly with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Ismaili Council for Ontario to explore more effective support for immigrant artists. They held consultation sessions with stakeholders which revealed a lack of awareness about current services amongst immigrants, front line employment and settlement agencies and lack of defined pathways for immigrants seeking to work in the creative sector.
*       Toronto Economic Development and Culture is interested in the topic from the perspective of better showcasing and developing multi-cultural artistic expression and leveraging these assets to build economic opportunities for the immigrants involved as well as the broader community.
*       The Toronto Arts Council is interested in better understanding the breadth and depth of the immigrant artistic community and how it can build stronger linkages with it to help it flourish and better contribute to Toronto's cultural milieu.

The Intergovernmental Committee for Economic and Labour Force Development (ICE Committee) would like to support a project that identifies current services which can assist immigrant interested in employment in the creative economy in making the necessary connections to work in their preferred fields in Toronto.

The purpose of this project is to identify the supporting employment infrastructure for immigrants in the creative economy in Toronto. The creative economy comprises cultural industries (video production, music
recording and publishing, commercial theatre, interactive digital media, magazine publishing, book publishing) and core arts and cultural workers (actors, writers and authors, visual artists, performing artists, cultural
institutions) and design professionals. The project will identify and analyse entry points to employment and employment supports for this population to advise all levels of government as well as service provider

Scope of Work
The researcher will:

1.      Compile an annotated index of employment and training services including detail about the support available, target audience, eligibility, target clients, how to access, and other useful information. This could be made available to agencies, front line staff and published on websites.
2.      Identify current services which can assist immigrant creative sector workers to work in their preferred fields in Canada.  It is expected that the analysis will include:

a.      Overview analysis of the employment and training service landscape for this population
b.      Identification of service sequencing or the pathways followed by immigrants employed in their desired field.
c.      Identification of service and information gaps to provide a foundation for potential future research, consultation and policy changes and program development.
d.      Provide a bibliography of sources and research studies already completed on these topics that were identified through the research process.

3.      Conduct and document interviews and/or focus groups with key informants, such as employees and clients of Toronto Employment and Social Services, employees and clients of organizations that provide services to immigrant creative sector workers, and employed immigrant artists to inform analysis and comments on the topics listed above.

The researcher will be responsible for the following deliverables:

*        Interim written research report summarizing findings to date and presented to the ICE Committee by January 9, 2019.
*        Completion of (1) Annotated index of services and (2) final written research report incorporating feedback from the ICE Committee and presented to the ICE Committee by March 13, 2019. It is expected that the final written research report will be of sufficient quality (form and content) for publication on the ICE website and wide distribution through our network;
*        Participation in a report launch event beyond the completion of the report.

The maximum budget for this contract research project is $10,000 inclusive of HST (if applicable).

The anticipated project timeline start date is October 2, 2018, with an interim report due January 9, 2019 and a final report due March 13, 2019. The successful applicant(s) should be available for the launch of the report and any associated events beyond completion of the report.

Application Process

To apply, email a two- to three-page submission to with the subject line "ICE Contract - Immigrants and the Creative Economy".

Your submission should:

*       Outline how you propose to carry out the work related to this project.
*       Demonstrate the requisite experience and capacity to carry out the project in the allotted timeframe, including your ability to do the required research.
*       In addition to the two- to three-page submission, include a short resume or CV.

Application deadline:                    5:00 p.m. September 7, 2018

We will accept joint applications from groups of individuals or organizations.  We encourage applications from current graduate students and graduates with relevant degrees.  Credentials and professional experience
earned either in Canada or internationally will be recognized.

Selection schedule (subject to change):

*   All applicants will be notified of receipt of their submission when received.
*   Applications selected for an interview will be contacted by September 17
*   Interviews will take place the week of September 24
*   The project contract will be awarded by October 1
*   The project start date is October 2

About the ICE Committee
The ICE Committee was established in 1997 by officials in the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of Toronto. The purpose of the committee is to coordinate the economic and labour force development activities of the three governments (and the various departments and ministries within each government) in Toronto. The ultimate goal of the ICE Committee is to achieve the effective delivery of economic and labour force development programs in Toronto. ICE has played a key role in bringing together critical players to share information on their respective programs and projects. For more information about ICE, please visit 

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