20th National Metropolis Conference

Immigration Futures: Marking 20 Years of the National Metropolis Conference

March 22th - 24th 2018

Westin Calgary

Full program

thursday march 22, 2018 

plenary session 1 

canada-europe collaboration on migration research: Perspectives and OPPORTUNITIES

The European Union recently announced an ambitious plan for international research collaboration on migration issues, with some E200m to be allocated over the coming three years on topics ranging from the international protection of refugees to the integration of migrant children.  This represents an exciting opportunity to expand knowledge and to build on existing international partnerships within and beyond Europe – including with Canada. 

 This session, co-hosted by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the European Comission, will review some of the lessons from existing research collaborations between Canadian and European experts.  It will also outline the details of the new European Union workplan, and the opportunities and mechanisms available to support Canadian engagement with European partners.

  • Yuri Borgmann-Prebil, Policy Officer, Citizenship and Inequalities European Commission, Migration-related research under Horizon 2020 
  • Brent Herbert-Copley, Executive Vice-President, SSHRC, Mechanisms to support Canadian engagement 
  • Michael Ungar, Dalhousie University and Lori Wilkinson, University of Manitoba, Lessons learned and opportunities for Canada-Europe collaboration
  • Craig Smith, Deputy Director, The Global Migration Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Discussant: Umit Kiziltan, Director General of Research & Evaluation, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

plenary session 2 

migration policy in canada, usa and mexico: rethinking the boundaries

Migration has profoundly marked the economic and social condition of North Americans and will inevitably continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Geographic boundaries have shaped critical aspects in the relationship between the United States, Mexico and Canada with regard to population composition, labour and security issues. Increases in the flow of migrants have required occasional adjustments to the rules governing the movement of people and goods between the United States, Mexico and Canada. The three countries respective experience with migration has given rise to varying impacts on domestic politics. Evolving policies and politics shaped the conversation around migration between the three countries. The plenary speakers will offer their insights into how migration affects the current state of relations between the three countries and suggest measures that may strengthen cross nation dialogue.


  • Paul Mackinnon, Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic and Program Policy, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (invited)
  • Michael Dougherty, Assistant Secretary for Border, Immigration and Trade, US Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C. 
  • Dr. Andrew Selee , President, Migration Policy Institute
  • Dr. Claudia Masferrer, Assistant Professor, Centro de Estudios Demográficos, Urbanos y Ambientales, El Colegio de México, Mexico City / Adjunct professor, Department of Sociology, McGill University

Chair: Adam Hunter, U.S. Chair, Metropolis North America and Migration Policy and Strategy Consultant, Washington, D.C. 

friday march 23, 2018

plenary session 3

Immigration and Integration in Alberta: The Role of the Province and Cities

Immigration, settlement and integration in Canada is shared jurisdiction between the Federal Government and the provinces. The provinces have sole jurisdiction over economic and social affairs that are critical to newcomer settlement and integration.
City governments have increasingly emerged as key actors in service delivery and policy deliberation. On the ground, several community organizations play a vital role in extending direct services to newcomers.

Successful management of the migration process requires effective collaboration across government and strong partnerships with employers, service providers and others. What is the current state of cross-sectoral cooperation in Alberta in response to immigration, settlement and integration? What models for governance are best suited to address both the challenges and opportunities arising from immigration?

This Plenary will invite representatives from the Alberta Government, selected cities and the community sector to describe their respective roles when it comes to immigration, settlement and integration and, if needed, recommend changes



  • Representative from the Government of Alberta
  • Naheed Nenshi, Mayor, of Calgary, Alberta 
  • Barry Morishita, Mayor of Brooks, Alberta 
  • Fariborz Birjandian, CEO, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society

Chair: Karen Young, President and CEO, United Way of Calgary and Area

saturday march 24, 2018 

plenary session 4

Immigration Futures: Canada 2041

As a result of an aging population and low fertility rates Canada faces significant demographic and economic challenges. At present, immigration is the sole source of the country’s population growth. In November 2017 the Government of Canada announced that owing to the growing need for skilled labor, the annual immigrant intake would increase from 300 000 to 340,000 by 2020 a plan will bring the country’s yearly immigration level to just under 1% of the population. Some industry analysts would like to see considerably higher immigration levels. Others counter that Canada lacks the resources to settle and integrate more newcomers and that more cooperation and support is needed from all levels of government before any further hike. Plenary speakers will share their views on whether Canada should further increase immigration and, if so, what resources will be needed to achieve positive economic and social outcomes.


  • Ruben Nelson, Futurist, Executive Director, Foresight Canada, Lac Des Arcs, Alberta
  • Martha Hall Findlay, President and CEO, Canada West Foundation
  • Irvin Studin, Founder, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of Global Brief magazine/ President of the Institute for 21st Century Questions
  • The Hon. Senator Yuen Pau Woo, The Senate of Canada

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