Exploring the wellbeing of migrants in third places: An empirical study of smaller Canadian cities
The authors discuss the concept of “third places”, which are inclusive, everyday shared spaces (outside the home and workplace) that enrich the social life of a community. They are crucial for the success of immigrants, refugees and temporary foreign workers. Canada is aiming to attract more migrants to smaller cities that are trying to boost their immigration levels to stimulate population and economic growth. However, much of the academic and policy discussions have been focused on providing settlement services (such as employment, housing and language training) rather than on how place-based factors contribute to migrant well-being.
This study focuses on how migrants use, adapt and recreate third places in smaller Canadian cities. The authors investigate how access to ethnic amenities, social services and nature positively affects well-being. The report emphasizes the need for municipalities to recognize and enhance existing third places, improve transit and public services, and support immigrant businesses and cultural events. The report also highlights challenges that negatively affect migrant well-being, such as limited public transport and cultural facilities. The research also underscores the need to address racism and discrimination in public spaces. This would help more migrants feel a sense of belonging and safety in their new homes.
Given that Canada continues to encourage newcomers to find work in smaller cities, this study encourages further research on migrant settlement experiences in these spaces. Based on an intersectional perspective, the authors also suggest that improvements in community spaces can benefit both migrants and local populations, fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion.