May 18, 2017


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Refugee Integration and Long-term Health Outcomes in Canada (SyRIA.lth) is a pan-Canadian longitudinal study funded by The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and housed in the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS), York University. The project is a partnership between settlement service agencies and academic research institutions in three of Canada’s largest refugee resettlement provinces: British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

We are looking at how different resettlement programs support the social integration of Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and Privately Sponsored Refugees (PSRs) and the impact of integration pathways on their long-term physical and mental health. Our goal is to improve the health and well-being of new Canadians by understanding what leads to successful integration outcomes and for whom so that we can tailor resettlement programs to best suit newcomers’ needs and circumstances.

Our research goal is to produce knowledge that will:

  • Inform promising practices for refugee resettlement and integration
  • Strengthen knowledge exchange in the settlement sector
  • Identify the impact of settlement policies on refugee health and well-being
  • Deepen our understanding of the influence of social conditions on long-term health and well-being


We see successful refugee settlement services and policies as a critical element in supporting healthy and flourishing newcomer communities Canada.


Our mission of is to produce knowledge that will:

  • Inform promising practices for refugee resettlement and integration
  • Identify key factors that influence the success of different settlement strategies
  • Deepen our understanding of how social integration influences mental and physical health.


Our Approach

Interviews will be collected once a year for four years from Syrian adults who resettled in Canada between 2015 and 2017. In year two and year four, we will also conduct focus groups to gain more insight into the nature of people’s experiences.

These interviews will follow key integration markers at the material or functional level (e.g., employment, housing and, in Year 1, social services accessed), the social level (e.g., social networks, discrimination), and the subjective or psychological level (e.g., sense of belonging, stress).

We will compare:

  • the service usage of GARs and PSRs
  • how these pathways relate to their integration pathways over the four years
  • the impact of these pathways on their physical and mental health over the four years


Why is it important?

What works for whom?

Resettled refugees coming through different settlement programs typically differ in terms of background characteristics (e.g., education), the nature of social environment they settle in to (e.g., rural versus urban), and their access to services. Little is known about how these differences interact to shape long-term integration pathways. If we knew more, we could shape resettlement programs to better fit individuals’ and families’ needs and ensure better long-term outcomes


What is the long-term impact?

Little is known about how the experiences of settlement and integration contribute to the long-term health of refugees. Previous studies show that social integration affects wellness but more needs to be known about which aspects matter, and how they affect both GARs and PSRs.



For more information, contact us.