NATIONAL SOGIESC GUIDELINE PROJECT
In 2016 and 2017 CFN hosted Prairie and then National LGBTQ+ Newcomer Settlement Conferences that brought together a wide range of organizations across Canada. The conference compiled recommendations, evaluation, and feedback regarding how to best settle people with diverse sexual orientation or gender identities and expressions or sexual characteristics (SOGIESC).
This project is a follow-up to these conferences. The purpose of the project is to develop guidelines for the settlement sector working with SOGIESC newcomers. The project started in 2020 and will end in 2024.
Guidelines are a set of standards that suggest and inform professionals promising or the best known ways to offer services.
The project is oriented toward developing specific and operational sets of guidelines that organizations will eventually be able to implement regarding SOGIESC newcomers’ services. The guidelines are developed around 1) core concepts all organizations can implement, and 2) program specific concepts.
The focus will be to develop practice guidelines for: settlement interviews with SOGIESC newcomers, Rainbow RAP projects; SOGIESC support groups; and SOGIESC organizational policies. Examples include ethical principles that can be developed into organizational policies, and specific guidelines related to safety, assessment, or interview techniques.
The main goal of the project is to create operational sets of guidelines to give direction to settlement organizations providing services to SOGIESC newcomers. Although it will review and suggest policies and organizational audit criteria, the key aim is to go beyond policy development and suggest operational procedures and success criteria that settlement practitioner may follow that create safe and sensitive services for SOGIESC newcomers.
Various review teams have been assembled to suggest and review guideline sets. These include 40 people with expertise and lived experience that have created a Pacific, Prairie, and Central committees to suggest and review guidelines. A National Review Committee gives final feedback on guideline suggestions. The entire process is overseen by the National Guidelines Coordinator. Researchers and conference organizers are also involved in the project.
Partner organizations help to lead the process and to assist in the research and collection of information needed for the committees to do their work. Partners include the Ontario Council of Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants in Ontario, Rainbow Refugee in Vancouver, and the End of the Rainbow Foundation in Calgary.
Once guidelines sets become available, they will be tested in large, medium, and small organizations. Guidelines will be revised based on implementation evaluation. Accommodations will be made for sizes of organizations, plus other criteria related to transgender, linguistic, or other practical criteria.
In addition, criteria for teaching SOGIESC sensitivity training will be developed, tested, and implemented so that a train-the-trainer model can be created and disseminated.
Key to these criteria will be to ensure that all training is contextualized to SOGIESC sensitivity in a cultural and immigration context, rather than simply generic SOGIESC sensitivity training.
An important part of the review will be to have organizational representatives to come together to present broadly promising policies and ways of service provision. Conferences will occur in March, 2022 and again in 2024.
All guidelines developed will be tested and refined and will eventually be made available on-line. The project hopes to touch the lives of thousands of settlement clients by ensuring policies and the best possible practices are encouraged in a wide variety of newcomer serving organizations across Canada.
If you wish to become involved or learn more about the project, please contact Gary Wang at
*SOGIESC means sexual orientation or gender identities and expressions or sexual characteristics. We use LGBTQ+ and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity & Expression (SOGIE) interchangeably. All people have a sexual orientation and gender identity. When we use either term we include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning, and plus+ as indicating: intersex, asexual, demisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, gender neutral, gender queer, pangender, men who have sex with men (MSM), women who have sex with women (WSW), and all the other sexual diversities that we are missing.