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Open Access Migrant integration services and coping with the digital divide: challenges and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY-NC licence.

In this research note, I reflect on the impacts of the shift to online service delivery for voluntary and community organisations. In particular, I report on initial findings from research being undertaken on migrant integration organisations in Quebec (Canada) and Scotland (UK). The research shows four key emerging themes: the complexities of the digital divide (including skills and access to information and communication technology, and the issue of the number of devices in a household to support multiple users); trust, communication and access to online services; the breaching of the public/private divide as practitioners provide digital services from their home; and the benefits and opportunities for digital service delivery. The research note concludes by reflecting on the long-term implications for voluntary and community sector services as they adapt to and recover from the pandemic and engage in long-term planning.

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Keywords: digital divide; migrant integration; online service delivery

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Concordia University, Canada

Publication date: March 2021

This article was made available online on January 19, 2021 as a Fast Track article with title: "Migrant integration services and coping with the digital divide: challenges and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic".

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  • Voluntary Sector Review publishes high-quality, peer-reviewed, accessible papers on third sector research, policy and practice. It is an invaluable cutting-edge resource for all those researching or working in the fast-growing voluntary, community and wider third sectors.

    The journal covers the full range of issues relevant to voluntary sector studies, including: definitional and theoretical debates; management and organisational development; financial and human resources; philanthropy; volunteering and employment; regulation and charity law; service delivery; civic engagement; industry and sub-sector dimensions; relations with other sectors; social enterprise; evaluation and impact. Voluntary Sector Review covers voluntary sector studies from a variety of disciplines, including sociology, social policy, politics, psychology, economics, business studies, social anthropology, philosophy and ethics. The journal includes work from the UK and Europe, and beyond, where cross-national comparisons are illuminating. With dedicated expert policy and practice sections, Voluntary Sector Review also provides an essential forum for the exchange of ideas and new thinking.

    Rigorous and stimulating, Voluntary Sector Review is an indispensable tool for everyone who values empirically-grounded, theoretically-informed and policy-relevant reviews of the future direction of the voluntary sector.

    The journal is published in association with the Voluntary Sector Studies Network (VSSN) and a print copy of the journal is a membership benefit.

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