Journey Maps

Immigrant & Refugee Pathways

Newcomers take many unique pathways to active citizenship in Canada. Their individual skills, knowledge, motivations, and experiences shape their civic engagement.

Here are three examples of these pathways in the Journey Maps of Farid, Mahalia, and Yasmine. These characters are fictional but their stories capture the complex challenges and opportunities newcomers face on their path to active citizenship.


Farid is a hardworking medical doctor who came as a refugee with his family from Syria. His priority is taking care of his two young daughters and so he took the first job he could find at a factory to support them. Farid does not have time to be civically engaged.


Mahalia is a young woman from the Philippines who transferred to a Canadian university midway through her undergraduate degree. Mahalia discovered her passion for politics at university, but after experiencing racism while canvassing, began to feel jaded.


Yasmine is a long-time Canadian citizen who has spent fifteen years building a strong Arab community. When she was eighteen, she came to Canada, and was guided by family and university friends to start her own non-profit to help Arab immigrants.


Ada was 30 years old when she left Uganda for her safety as LGBTQI+ woman who vocally supported her community. Despite her degree & experience in the non-profit sector, she struggled in Canada to find a job, until she landed a position as a settlement worker.

What do you think?

As you read Farid, Mahalia, and Yasmine’s journeys, we encourage you to reflect on these questions:

  • What assets did Farid, Mahalia, and Yasmine bring to Canada?
  • What opportunities and challenges do they face on their journeys?
  • If you are an immigrant or refugee, do you see your story reflected here? What is different about your experience?
  • If you work with immigrants and refugees, do these stories reflect the experiences of the people you work with? What other stories might you tell about people you work with?
  • How can organizations, communities, and governments better support immigrants and refugees in their journey to active citizenship?
  • What do you think is next for each of them?
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