I am in a position where, in terms of specific policy advice, I feel that I haven't really done policy evaluation, but I can give you some ideas of what's been discussed by immigrants themselves within different contexts in the literature and research.
A lot of times with immigrant women what we see is that they have skills. They come to Canada with education and skills, but they aren't able to access the same kinds of services that others access due to their status often as family members, dependants. Some of what immigrant women have talked about in terms of accessing these services is quite different from what immigrant men would say.
One example is that they feel they don't have access to services at the times when they would most likely be able to go to take courses, for example. Some women would prefer programs that are available on the weekends. Some women have suggested that they'd prefer language training within schools their children go to, during school hours, so they don't have to worry about child care issues. Transportation comes up relatively frequently, both in terms of accessibility and affordability, to get to these programs.
In that context with immigrant women, a lot of times their situations are very different in terms of accessing these programs. Part of the issue overall is there is such heterogeneity within our immigrant population that there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed for different groups. Of course, it's hard to have an umbrella program that helps everyone in the same way, but I think greater flexibility of programs in terms of accessibility and programs offered might be helpful.
With respect to language programs in particular, a lot of times there is discussion about more specific programs, maybe directed at learning technical languages for specific occupations or even softer skills, in terms of communicating with team members if they're working in groups and that sort of thing. There are a lot of different dynamics as well that immigrants are interested in learning, particularly with respect to language, and also in terms of just going to an interview, how that interaction happens, and what they need to communicate to the employer.