Re-examining the Canadian Experience and Acculturation: The Missing Context of Canada's High Skilled Immigrants


Thanks to the participants of this project, including immigration agency staff, service users, mentors, other service providers, advocates, and HR professionals.


Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)

The Research Team

Izumi Sakamoto (Lead Researcher). Matthew Chin, Dr. Jaemin Kim, Sehr Athar, Lele Truong, Jessica Blueur, Theon Harrichand.


  • The project was composed of a core research team and carried out in collaboration with immigrant serving agencies


  • To understand Canadian experience (in terms of unspoken knowledge)

Data Sources

  • Insights shared by job seeking skilled immigrants, service providers, mentors & HR professionals through
    • Interviews/consultations (20 service providers, mentors, HR professionals)
    • Focus groups (37 participants; 7 groups including 5 focus groups that met twice)
    • Art-based activities (informed by drama therapy and popular theatre)
  • Participant observations (4 separate employment oriented programs)
  • Review of grey literature

Data Analysis

  • Interpretive arts-based analysis
    • Collective and collaborative analysis involving multiple improvisational processes informed by principles of anti-oppression, popular education and participatory arts. These processes included: free-association, embodiment, mapping, and drawing, among others. These analytic techniques, which began in focus group settings, were extended by the research team in the process of gaining a deeper understanding of Canadian experience.
  • Constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2006).
    • A reciprocal relationship existed between the data collection and analysis phases of the research as multiple stages of coding, summarizing and conceptualizing informed the arts-based data collection and analysis.

Dissemination Activities


  • Sakamoto, I., Chin, M. & Young, M. (2010). 'Canadian Experience,' employment challenges, and skilled immigrants: A close look through 'tacit knowledge.' Canadian Social Work Journal, 10(1), 145-151.(Download PDF)
  • Event

    Tacit Knowledge, Immigrants, and the Issue of “Canadian Experience”: Reader's Theatre Performance

    On October 14 2011, the Canadian Experience project team, led by Professor Izumi Sakamoto, performed findings from Professor Sakamoto’s arts-informed research project titled, Re-examining the Canadian Experience and Acculturation: The Missing Context of Canada's High Skilled Immigrants. Read more


    Readers' Theatre - October 14th

    Ideas Behind the Play

    Contact information

    Izumi Sakamoto, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto