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More participants needed for discrimination research project

The intake for a local discrimination research project has been slow over the past few months and is in need of more participants in order for the analysis to be deemed successful.

The Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership (SL-LIP) launched the project in November 2022, in collaboration with Western University and other LIPs in southwestern Ontario.

SL-LIP Project Coordinator Stephanie Ferrera said so far they have eight participants and they need 30 to finalize the research.

However, it appears other LIPs are having trouble with participation as well.

"In the five other accompanying communities that are running the same research, we have the second highest number of interviewees next to London at 25," Ferrera said.

As part of the project, immigrants and racialized people who experienced discrimination in the last three years are asked to participate in a voluntary virtual 90-minute interview.

After consulting with participating organizations, Ferrera said some challenges were identified, which included time, awareness, and risks associated with telling their story.

Unlike a similar project SL-LIP held in previous years, this research is more qualitative and hones in on personal experiences with discrimination rather than collecting statistical data.

"We recognize that there is a risk of reinjury so that can be really hard to sit and talk to a total stranger about," she said. "So we're looking for people who are willing to tell their story in order for them to be instrumental in change in the community. That's why we're doing all of this."

Ferrera said information gathered will be used to form a community strategy, which would include points of communication, supports in social services, and mental health.

The project was expected to end by the end of January but Ferrera said it may extend into the summer months if needed.

"They've [LIPs] all agreed that there's no rush. We can take our time on it because the information that we need is just too important and we want to give people a chance to respond."

Ferrera said information shared as part of the research process will remain "highly confidential."

A pre-screening questionnaire for the discrimination interview can be found on Western University's website. The project is offered in seven languages other than English, including French, Spanish, Ukrainian, Mandarin, Khmer, Arabic, and Russian.

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