• clientIRCC + OCAD University
  • categoryTrends Analysis and Scenario Design
  • in collaboration withMacy Siu, Kashfia Rahman, Samia Hossain, Dasami Moodley

Immigration, Refugee and Canadian Citizenship (IRCC) teamed up with OCADU in a collaborative co-design exercise to explore the futures of immigration. This exploration was contextualized in how artificial intellegence and automation might influence the future landscapes of immigration in Canada.

Trends in AI and automation: Over 25 AI and automation trends were identified, each with various levels of maturity, that might influence the future of immigration. A STEEPV framework (Social, Technology, Economy, Environment, Politics, Values) was used to organize and direct the collection of trends.


To highlight which trends and drivers might influence the future of immigration the most, we mapped all that we collected onto an uncertainty impact matrix. Trends that have a high impact on the research topic but have a high level of uncertainty were trends that were closely considered moving forward.


In analyzing the trends, two underlying themes emerged. The first revolved around how citizens engaged with each other and the government. The second revolved around how private industry influences government. These two themes would be explored further as our two critical uncertainties from which 5 scenarios would be designed from.


Each scenario was designed using factors from STEEPV framework (social, technological, environmental, economic, political and values) to dimension each future world.


To ensure design value for the IRCC, we used their 2017-18 Departmental Plan to highlight key focus areas to align our research with.

We analyzed each scenario that was created to identify underlying relationships and influences. The scenarios presented a multi-stakeholder view – immigrants outside Canada and yet to still arrive, immigrants already residing in Canada, and Canadian citizens. There were strong ties between the latter groups, but none with the firs t, which presented a potential opportunity.

Adopting a human-centered design approach, we reviewed the journeys of the main characters in each scenario. Keeping in mind the influential forces governing each stakeholder group, we identified potential pain points that each character faced as they lived and struggled in the worlds of 2057. Interpersonal relationships, technology, and access to resources were a few of the themes that seemed to be common to all characters.

In identifying their challenges as they navigated the immigration and citizenship systems of potential futures, we created a strong grounding for the formulation of strategic options. Each pain point became the impetus for constructing a new strategy. Instead of working in a vacuum, the challenges, opportunities and insights all informed how we crafted and chose each strategic option.

With 19 initial strategic options generated to address the pain points identified in our future scenarios, we were cognizant that these strategies must first be tested against the six IRCC priorities as indicated in the 2017-18 Departmental Plan.

Utilizing the 10 strategic options identified to be in alignment with current IRCC priorities, we created a strategy-scenario matrix for wind tunnelling to test those strategic options against the STEEPV conditions of our four future scenarios.

The IRCC has a strong service-based approach in place to leverage citizenship and immigration processes. Through scenarios, STEEPV analysis, and wind tunneling the foresight analysts were able to uncover particular strategic options that were both strongly aligned to the current IRCC strategic priorities and futureproof.

Taking into account the current strategic priorities of the IRCC, and future-proofing for four various scenarios the above strategies would be highest priority for the IRCC to consider.

Taking to account the trends we collected earlier in the research process, we created a list of signposts the IRCC could keep an eye on as they try to develop and design for the strategic options developed through this exercise.

  • clientIRCC + OCAD University
  • categoryTrends Analysis and Scenario Design
  • in collaboration withMacy Siu, Kashfia Rahman, Samia Hossain, Dasami Moodley