Working with Chinese Communities in Canada


An important component of the China Project is working with Chinese communities in Canada. Our key strategy is to empower local service organizations, and support them in developing better services for the communities. Our major activities include research and development, training, consultation, program design, and coordination.


The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work has worked with the Chinese communities in Canada through research, training, consultation, and community development. Many faculty members (e.g., Marion Bogo, Esme Fuller-Thomson, Howard Irving, Rob MacFadden, Sheila Neysmith, Izumi Sakamoto and Ka Tat Tsang) have conducted research studies involving members of the Chinese communities in the areas of health, mental health, gerontology, immigration, income protection, employment and settlement. One example is the work by Professor Sheila Neysmith and her doctoral student Sandra Tam on elder abuse. Their research study led to collaboration between Carefirst Seniors and Community Services and Professor Ka Tat Tsang to create an elder abuse helpline for Chinese seniors. Professor Tsang worked with Carefirst to develop the proposal to obtain funding, and he has trained volunteers and provided consultation to the service program.


We have provided a wide range of consultation and training services to community organizations serving Chinese Canadians. Within the multicultural context of Canada, our input often involves working with other ethno-cultural communities. A generous gift by the Buddha's Light International Association of Toronto in 2006 has enhanced our capacity to support settlement work among immigrant communities. To date, the funding has allowed us to complete a learning needs assessment among settlement workers, design and deliver a certificate program in settlement practice, and produce teaching material to support our training and consultation work in this area.


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Certificate Program in Settlement Practice (since 2009 Fall). Following a learning needs study among settlement workers in 2006, Professors Robert MacFadden and Ka Tat Tsang designed a comprehensive training program for helping professionals serving immigrants. This program is directed at front-line workers and program managers working in settlement agencies. It would be useful for those who are interested in working in a settlement organization. Module 1 is mandatory and any of the other modules, including the advanced electives, may be taken to complete the six-module requirement for the certificate. Modules may be taken independently and learners may choose not to complete a certificate. This program was developed in collaboration with the Centre for Information & Community Services (CICS). The program was made possible through the generous donation of the Buddha's Light International Association of Toronto.

About Psychotherapy - A Multilingual Resource. This website is designed to assist professionals working with immigrants and other clients who are not familiar with the idea of psychotherapy. Clients can be referred to this site. The site was developed by Professor Ka Tat Tsang in collaboration with MSW students at the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. The purpose is to describe the nature, purpose, and process of psychotherapy in simple language, and to answer some of the frequently asked questions. The site is now available in English, French, and Chinese. The plan is to add on other languages in the near future. The next two languages will be Arabic and Spanish.

SSLD broke new ground in geriatric care (2010-2011). A pilot program on managing sexuality and intimacy issues among seniors was designed and developed by Professor Ka Tat Tsang for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care in 2010. About 100 staff members with backgrounds in social work, nursing, and other healthcare disciplines went through the program. Upon successful completion of this program, Yee Hong requested Professor Tsang to provide further training in this area to a core team of staff, with the intent of preparing them to become trainers, coaches, or resource persons for their colleagues.

Citizenship Matters (2008) A collaborative community-based research with the Alternative Planning Group, which represents the African-Canadian, Chinese, Hispanic, and South Asian communities. The study reviews the income security challenges faced by seniors in these communities, and advocated for policy and legislative changes to address them. Professor Ka Tat Tsang was the Principal Investigator.

Disrespect and isolation: elder abuse in Chinese communities (Tam & Neysmith, 2006). Based on a qualitative study of home care workers, this paper aims to understand elder abuse of Chinese Canadians. The findings show disrespect is the main form of elder abuse in the Chinese community. As a culturally specific form of abuse, disrespect remains invisible under categories of elder abuse derived from a Western cultural perspective. Applying a social exclusion framework to understand the dynamic of elder abuse, we argue that as a marginalized racial minority immigrant, an elderly Chinese person's vulnerability to abuse is increased under conditions of social isolation.


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