Immigrant Women’s Health & Wellness Project

Project Term 2011-2013
Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Project Objective

Even though the number of immigrants to Canada continues to rise and there is some evidence to suggest that participation in community sport and physical activity can ease adjustment in a new country, there is little or no information sharing about promising inclusion practices for multicultural populations across different levels of government in Canada (Donnelly & Nakamura, 2006). To begin to fill this void, the purpose of this research is to conduct an in-depth case study of North Vancouver’s Newcomer Project that received an Award of Excellence from the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association in 2010.

The goal of the research project is to learn how immigrant women living in North Vancouver think about and participate (or not) in physical activity programs offered by community centres. We also want to learn about physical activity in the participant’s home country and how it is the same or different in Canada. In addition, recent immigrant women, North Vancouver Recreation Commission (NVRC) staff and volunteers, and community partners will be involved in assessing NVRC’s Health and Wellness Project for Newcomers.


The case study will involve a feminist participatory action research approach (Frisby et al., 2007). Following consultation with study participants, the multiple data collection strategies may include: an analysis of current inclusion policies, practices, and participation rates; interviews and other data collections strategies with women from each immigrant group in the language of their choice; interviews with local government and community partner staff; and workshops (possibly accompanied by a Photovoice exhibit) to promote mutual learning, action, and to confirm the findings.

Project Collaborations

North Vancouver Recreation Commission and partners involved in the Newcomer Project.

Team Members

Wendy Frisby (UBC), Xin Huang (UBC), Pamela Ponic (BCCEWH), Lucie Thibault (Brock U.), Cathy Mills (UBC graduate student), Shawn Forde (UBC graduate student), Donna Lee (UBC graduate student).


Similar to previous research, we expect the benefits of studying local exemplary initiatives will be to clarify what works from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders, to generate new innovative ideas to build on initial efforts, to leverage support in other governments and partners for these kinds of initiatives, and to promote mutual learning through enhanced inter-cultural communication and understanding.

See Action Research & Knowledge Translation.


Media Release

For more information contact

Wendy Frisby
Project Leader