The Metropolis Project exists as both an international and a Canadian initiative. Internationally, Metropolis is a network of policy officials and researchers from more than 20 countries, as well as a number of representatives of international organizations, and in particular intergovernmental bodies and NGOs. An International Steering Committee sets the strategic directions of the international project, facilitates information exchange between members, plans annual conferences, and stimulates international research collaboration.
In Canada, the Metropolis Project consists of 5 university-based Centres of Excellence and a Secretariat based at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that manages the project on behalf of a partnership of federal departments and agencies. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and CIC jointly provide funds to support the Centres which are located at universities in Atlantic Canada (Halifax and Moncton), Québec (Montréal), Ontario (Toronto), the Prairies (Edmonton), and British Columbia (Vancouver). Each Centre has developed an extensive local network of policy-makers, researchers, NGOs and other partners, as well as significant linkages across the country and with the international components of the Metropolis Project. The Centres operate at arm's length from government and facilitate policy-relevant research on immigration and diversity. More than 700 university researchers are affiliated with the centres.
The Project Secretariat in CIC, dedicated to ensuring communication between researchers and federal government, enables the connection between research and policy that is at the heart of the Metropolis Project.
Over the past ten years the Metropolis Project has built research capacity in the areas of immigration, multiculturalism, and cultural diversity; encouraged a new generation of interested researchers to study these issues; and provided, and continues to provide, a forum for the major stakeholders in immigration and multiculturalism policy to meet and learn from one another.
Six federal policy-research priorities focus the Centres' research on areas of particular importance to federal policy-making. These areas are:
Citizenship and Social, Cultural and Civic Integration - this policy-research priority examines the social and cultural effects of immigration and diversity on Canada and determine the extent to which there are obstacles to societal well-being, to full participation of the members of these groups, and to the cohesion of Canadian society overall and in its regions;
Economic and Labour Market Integration - this policy-research priority pays special attention to the changes that a larger and more structured immigrant and minority population has made to the economy and to diversity in their destination communities;
Family, Children and Youth - this policy research priority examines the consequences of migration to Canada for families, children and youth and develops public policy to ensure their success in the future;
Housing and Neighbourhoods - this policy priority seeks to better understand the relationships between housing, neighbourhoods and immigration; urban conditions, housing and integration into Canadian society and the impact of their presence on the community life of neighbourhoods and the urban environment.
Justice, Policing, and Security - this policy-research priority offers analyses of current trends and conditions to improve security, justice and integration policy, policing policy and practice, emergency management, and crime prevention;
Welcoming Communities: The Role of Host Communities in Attracting, Integrating, and Retaining Newcomers and Minorities - this policy research priority examines what public policy instruments can enhance the capacity of Canada, its cities and its rural communities et/or those without a tradition of receiving immigration to receive and integrate immigrants, refugees, and minorities.