Cultural Skills training aims to provide organizations or individuals with the tools they need to address various problems relating to the management of intercultural relations, such as incomprehension, exclusion, devaluation, inequality, etc. The training is adapted to each specific situation so that the cultural relations management solutions will be both practical and effective. The process is designed to promote lasting changes in the relationships between service providers and recipients, employers and employees, and host communities and new Canadians.
The project was initially inspired by the realization that Ontario’s francophone community is undergoing a demographic transformation which is making it more and more pluralist and diverse. This transformation has an impact on host communities, which may perceive multiculturalism and immigration as a threat and lack familiarity with certain francophone cultures (especially those from sub-Saharan Africa). The mission of La Passerelle-I.D.É. is to build bridges between new and old francophone communities. It was with this in mind that it developed the innovative concept of Cultural Skills training.
Immigration is a process that can be highly stressful, so it is necessary to provide support tailored to immigrants’ needs. Successful integration into a new country requires understanding the social and cultural values of one’s new home. The acquisition of cultural skills leads to a better understanding of oneself and others, greater self-confidence and more active participation within society.
If we do not provide new arrivals with the support and tools they need to understand Canadian values, they will never be able to become fully fledged Canadian citizens. In September 2006, based on the challenges faced by our immigrant clients and the expertise we have built up over many years in the areas of inclusion and diversity, La Passerelle-I.D.É. proposed the Cultural Skills training initiative as part of the strategic plan to foster immigration to francophone minority communities. Two months later, Citizenship and Immigration Canada granted the funds required to implement the project.
Making a Difference:
Overall, the training has made it possible to achieve systemic changes and given individuals and organizations a greater understanding and tolerance of others. The program has facilitated understanding of the new Franco-Ontarian community and promoted the value of diversity, leading to constructive two-way dialogue with no loss of cultural identity on either side. For individuals, the Cultural Skills initiative has enabled successful integration leading to full civic participation and a better understanding of Canadian values and intercultural communication.
The main difficulty that had to be overcome was the question of effectively presenting the culture of new immigrants, given that they come from many different backgrounds.
Vision for the Future:
Since 2014, we have adapted our program to the field of health care and offered a number of “Cultural Skills: For Better Health in French” training courses at various health care establishments, both francophone and anglophone. The need for this training will continue to grow in other sectors. We also hope that the initiative will be recognized as a best practice at the national level.
The program helps to ensure intercultural togetherness and social harmony. Since its creation in 2006, the francophone community’s makeup has become even more diverse, making it larger, stronger and more inclusive.
La Passerelle-I.D.É. is a leader in the field of developing human capital and entrepreneurship among francophones belonging to visible minorities in Canada and abroad. We create and implement innovative, effective solutions that enable francophone immigrants to reach their full potential and enhance their contributions to the economy and society. We work to completely integrate francophones from all backgrounds by reducing cultural gaps, building bridges and creating social and economic opportunities in Ontario, in Canada and internationally.