Social Work Migration Project

The Research Project

The research project A Qualitative Investigation of the Professional Adaptation Processes of Internationally Educated Social Workers in Canada came about to better understand the experience of migrant social workers in Canada, with particular interest in their professional adaptation. To achieve this, over the past four years we have met with 66 social workers from 21 different countries who practice in Calgary, Montréal or Halifax.

Countries of Origin

We aimed to respond to the following questions:

  • What impact does experience and education in social work from the country of origin have on the practitioners’ perspective and experience once they arrive in Canada?
  • What is the nature of professional adaptation of social workers in a new job, in a new country?
    • Adaptation of work
    • Change in perceptions of roles and tasks
    • Evolution of professional identity as a social worker
    • Interactions in the contexts of work with the client, work with colleagues & institutions

What are the challenges and benefits for the clientele, employers and policymakers with respect to the integration of migrant social workers?

At the end of the project, two knowledge exchange forum were held in Montreal and Halifax in order to present the data collected and to collect further data about the research. To learn more about the research project, consult the various presentations that have been made at these events.


KEF Introduction from Kate Em



This research was financed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council under the “Standard Research Grant” (2011-2012 grant number 410-2011-0743) and under assistance from Insight Grants (2015-2015 grant number 425-2012-0391).