Background: Immigrant women in Canada and many other Western countries have been reported to experience disproportionately high rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, and unmet need for family planning. This indicates that their needs are not being met, with many studies calling for family planning services and information that are more accessible and better adapted to meet the needs of migrants. In Toronto (Canada), community and social service organizations have been suggested as a potential avenue to better understand and improve immigrant women’s access to family planning services and information. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the barriers and facilitators to family planning from the perspective of stakeholders that provide settlement services to immigrant communities in Toronto.
Methodology: 13 semi-structured interviews were conducted with key-stakeholders providing settlement services to newcomer communities in Toronto. The data was then transcribed and analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Results: According to stakeholders from settlement organizations, newcomer women’s access to family planning can be hindered by: sociocultural barriers (including gender roles and a lack of autonomy), stigma against sexual and reproductive health topics, language barriers and financial barriers. On the other hand, stakeholders identified the following facilitators to improve immigrant women’s access to family planning: sociocultural facilitators (including more relatable information and community advocates), normalizing family planning topics, creating safe spaces, and harnessing women’s motivation to learn for the benefit of their children.
Conclusion: Altogether the barriers and facilitators found in this study can be used to guide the development of family planning health promotion that is better suited to meet the needs of newcomers.
Keywords: family planning, immigrants, refugees, qualitative research, Canada