Chair, Graduate Studies and Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics

2006 – PhD, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
1999 – MA, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
1998 – BA Hons., Department of Anthropology, McGill University

SMD 017

Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 1046

Work E-mail:

Luisa Veronis


Luisa Veronis is a social geographer concerned with questions of social and spatial inequality, the experiences of marginalized groups, and social justice in the city. Her research and teaching interests address issues of globalization, transnationalism, citizenship, and governance. More specifically, her work on the social and political participation of Latin American immigrants in Toronto untangles the complex linkages between immigrant struggles for citizenship in Canada and the formation of transnational communities and identities (Journal of International Migration and Integration, 2010). Among other things, Luisa has examined the innovative strategies that migrant groups initiate to lay claims to equal rights in and through urban space such as public parades (Environment and Planning A, 2006) and the building of ethnic places (Social and Cultural Geography, 2007). She is also interested in the role of the nonprofit sector in assisting immigrants in the settlement process. Her research seeks to unravel the implications of state restructuring and policies such as downloading and cutbacks in social services for immigrants’ participation in Canadian society (Environment and Planning D, 2009). More recently, Luisa has been involved in a range of collaborative and interdisciplinary projects examining the experiences of minority groups in the transborder city of Ottawa-Gatineau, the influences of environmental conditions on international migration to Canada, and the production and consumption of multicultural media.

Current Research Projects

The contradictory geographies of newcomer volunteering in Canada (2015-2016)
The growing trend of migrants undertaking volunteer and other forms of unpaid work raises questions about integration, participation and engagement in Canadian society. It is the complex and contradictory nature of volunteering as a process that is simultaneously positive (integration, inclusion, civic engagement) and negative (exploitation, cost, time, unequal power) that makes migrant volunteering such a significant issue, both theoretically and in terms of policy and practice. This project aims to critically improve understanding of the role of volunteering as a mechanism for newcomer integration, participation and civic engagement by examining (1) newcomers’ agency in these processes – their motivation, innovation, and expectations of volunteering – and (2) the role of migrant status, class, gender, ethnicity, race, and language skills in shaping newcomer practices, experiences and outcomes of volunteering. The study will be conducted in Ottawa-Gatineau with funding from Pathways to Prosperity (P2P), the Centre for Research and Education on Women and Work (CREWW, Carleton University) and the University of Ottawa.

Spaces of encounter: French-speaking immigrants and refugees’ experiences of social and cultural integration in Francophone minority communities (2015-2016)
Luisa works on a collaborative project with Suzanne Huot (Western U) and Phyllis Dalley (uOttawa) with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Pathways to Prosperity (P2P) examining the daily experiences of French-speaking migrants within the community spaces of two distinct Francophone minority communities in Ontario – Ottawa and London. The three main objectives are to critically examine: (1) French-speaking migrants’ access to and use of these spaces for their social and cultural integration and engagement in Francophone minority communities; (2) their experiences of inclusion and participation within these spaces by taking into account the intersecting markers of language, race and ethnicity, gender and migrant status; and (3) how French-speaking migrants’ everyday experiences vary based on the unique socio-historic and geographic context of Francophone minority communities.

Environmental influences and international migration to Canada (2011-2015)
Luisa is a co-investigator on a team-based SSHRC-funded project with Robert McLeman and Nadia Abu-Zahra examining the role of environmental factors in influencing migration to Canada and how environmental stresses experienced overseas may affect the settlement and incorporation prospects of migrants arriving in Canada. Drawing upon a range of emerging scholarly research in the fields of migration, human geography and human dimensions of global change, the project engages migrant communities, settlement support workers and legal experts in Ottawa-Gatineau and Toronto. The multi-disciplinary research team and its community partners will gather empirical evidence on how migrants from different places of origin have experienced environmental events or conditions that shaped their decisions to migrate to Canada, and how these environmental factors compare and interact with other economic, political and social forces that affect migration decisions. Environmental stresses experienced prior to migrating to Canada may have particular implications for a migrant family’s settlement prospects and needs, which the project seeks to identify.

Ottawa Multicultural Media Initiative (OMMI) (2011-2015)
Luisa is a co-investigator on a collaborative and interdisciplinary SSHRC-funded project in partnership with the City of Ottawa to study Ottawa’s growing and diversifying multicultural digital and print media and the resultant opportunities and challenges for newcomer wellbeing, inclusion, and integration. The focus is on four communities: Chinese, Latin American, Somali, and South Asian immigrants.

Construction d'une mémoire française à Ottawa: savoir communautaire et réseaux sociaux(2011-2015)

Luisa is a collaborator on a SSHRC-funded collaborative and interdisciplinary project which brings together fifteen experts on the francophonie at the University of Ottawa. The aim is to increase understanding of Ottawa as the capital of francophone life in Canada, its population, its institutions, its achievements and its ambitions. The project involves a wide range of partners (from the community, media, academia) whose combined expertise will help to highlight the process of memory construction in a minority context.

The everyday border: the social experience of place in Ottawa-Gatineau (2007-2011)

Luisa has been a co-investigator on a SSHRC-funded and team-based, collaborative research project examining the everyday experiences, practices, and meanings associated with the interprovincial border in Ottawa-Gatineau. The project seeks to shed light on the intrinsically ambiguous and contradictory effects of the border in the region known as the National Capital. Based on the premise that the border modulates the spatial practices of individuals and groups who live in the region, and who have appropriated the border both symbolically and materially, the project aims to reconstruct their everyday experiences of places and spaces that the border separates and brings together. The study examines the practices and representations associated with the border, the unique cultures it helps to create, the collective identities that emanate from its existence, as well as the political actions that fuel it. Inspired by the most recent work on the concept of the border, the study focuses on the following three dimensions: the border as a barrier, an interface, and a territory. Specifically, the study examines the experiences and practices of minority populations, who tend to be more vulnerable and prone to putting in place certain strategies for benefiting from the opportunity structure offered by the border. The targeted groups include official language minorities, populations of newcomers, gays and lesbians, single mothers, and street-involved youth.

Recent Publications


Gilbert, A., Veronis, L., Brosseau, M. and Ray, B. 2014. La frontière au quotidien : expériences des minorités à Ottawa-Gatineau. Ottawa: The University of Ottawa Press.

Chapters in books

Mezdour, A., Veronis, L. and McLeman, R. 2015. Environmental influences on Haitian migration to Canada, and connections to social inequality: evidence from Ottawa-Gatineau and Montreal. In R. McLeman, J. Schade and T. Faist. (eds.) Environmental migration and social inequality. Dordrecht: Springer. Part II: 103-115 

Veronis, L. and Ray, B. 2013. Parcours de vie et mobilité : stratégies spatiales parmi des familles immigrantes dans la région transfrontalière de Gatineau-Ottawa. In Gaudet, S, Burlone, N., Lévesque, M. (eds.) Repenser les familles et ses transitions. Repenser les politiques publiques. Québec : Les Presses de l’Université Laval. Pp. 119-147.

Veronis, L. and Smith, H.A. 2011. Latin American Immigrants in the Nations and Cities of the US and Canada: Parallel and Diverging Geographies. In Carlos J. Teixeira, Wei Li, and Audrey Kobayashi (eds.) Immigrant Geographies of North American Cities. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press. Pp. 256-287.

Veronis, L. 2006. Citizenship and immigrant participation in neoliberal Toronto: reflections on Latin Americans’ experiences. In J. Ginieniewicz and D. Schugurensky (Eds.) Ruptures, continuities and re-learning: the political participation of Latin Americans in Canada. The Transformative Learning Center, OISE/UT, Toronto. Pp. 72-84.

Articles in Refereed Journals

Barwin, L., Shawande, M., Crighton, E. and Veronis, L. 2015. Methods-in-place: “art voice” as a locally and culturally relevant method to study traditional medicine programs in Manitoulin Island, Ontario. The International Journal of Qualitative Methods. DOI:10.1177/1609406915611527

Veronis, L., and R. Ahmed. 2015. The Role of Multicultural Media in Connecting Local Municipal Governments with Ethnocultural Communities: The Case of Ottawa. Global Media Journal – Canadian Edition. 8(2): 73-95

Veronis, L. 2015. Immigrants’ Narratives of Inclusion and Belonging in the Transborder City of Ottawa-Gatineau, Canada’s National Capital Region. Canadian Ethnic Studies. 47(2): 45-65.

Veronis, L. and McLeman R. 2014. Research brief: Environmental influences on African migration to Canada: Focus group findings from Ottawa-Gatineau. Population and Environment DOI 10.1007/s11111-014-0214-3.

Obokata, R., Veronis, L., and McLeman, R. 2014. Empirical Research on International Environmental Migration: A Systematic Review. Population and Environment 36(1): 111-135. DOI 10.1007/s11111-014-0210-7.

Barwin, L., Shawande, M., Crighton, E. and Veronis, L. 2013. Teachings around self-care and medicine gathering in Manitoulin Island, Ontario: Re-building capacity begins with youth. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health 11 (3), pp. 323-344.

Veronis, L. 2013. The border and immigrants in Ottawa-Gatineau: governance practices and the (re)production of a dual Canadian citizenship. Journal of Borderlands Studies Vol. 28 (2): 257-271.

Gilbert, A. and Veronis, L. 2013. Habiter Gatineau depuis la marge minoritaire : frontière et citoyenneté. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies Vol. 12 (2), pp 576-602.

Veronis, L. 2013. The role of nonprofit sector networks as mechanisms for immigrant political participation. Studies in Social Justice Vol. 7 (1), pp. 27-46. 

Mezdour, A. and Veronis, L. 2012. Est-ce que l’environnement a une influence sur la migration internationale au Canada? Note de recherche sur le cas de la diaspora haïtienne à Ottawa-Gatineau. Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies/ Revue canadienne des études latino-américaines et caraïbes 37 (74), pp. 207-217.

Veronis, L. 2010. Immigrant participation in the transnational era: Latin Americans’ experiences with collective organizing in Toronto. Journal of International Migration and Integration 11 (2), pp. 173-192.

Trudeau, D. and Veronis, L. 2009. Enacting state restructuring: NGOs as ‘translation mechanisms’. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27 (6), pp. 1117-1134.

Veronis, L. 2007. Strategic Spatial Essentialism: Latin Americans’ real and imagined geographies of belonging in Toronto. Social and Cultural Geography 8 (3), pp. 455-473.

Veronis, L. 2006. The Canadian Hispanic Day Parade, or how Latin American immigrants practice (sub)urban citizenship in Toronto. Environment and Planning A 38(9), pp. 1653-1671.

Book Reviews

Veronis, L. 2003. Halli, Shiva S. and Leo Driedger. Eds. 1999. Immigrant Canada. Demographic, Economic, and Social Challenges. In Urban Geography, Vol. 24 (4). Bellwether Publishing, Ltd.

Professional Reports

Nakache, D., Pellerin, H., & Veronis, L. 2015. Migrants' myths and imaginaries: Understanding their role in migration movements and policies. Ottawa: University of Ottawa. 28 pages.

Ahmed, R., Veronis, L., Feng, J., Jaya, P. S., & Charmarkeh, H. 2014. OMMI 2012 Survey: Demographic Profiles of Ottawa’s Four Participating Ethno-Cultural Communities. Ottawa Multicultural Media Initiative, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada. 57 pages.

Gilbert, A. and Veronis, L. 2010. The best of both worlds: the geographic experience of francophone immigrants from Central Africa in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region. In Current Research Compendium on Francophone Immigration in Canada, research capsule #9, pages 35-37. Heritage Canada-Metropolis.

Veronis, L. and McAloney, B. 2010. Latin American Migration and the Border: A Preliminary Report. Department of Geography, University of Ottawa.

Veronis, L., Gilbert, A. and McAloney, B. 2010. Portuguese Migrants and the Border: A Preliminary Report. Department of Geography, University of Ottawa.

Ray, B., Veronis, L. and Feng, J. 2010. Chinese Immigrants and the Border: A Preliminary Report. Department of Geography, University of Ottawa. 

Veronis, L. 2006. Rethinking Transnationalism: Latin Americans’ experiences of migration and participation in Toronto. Working Paper Number 51, Center of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS) Working Paper Series, Toronto.

Other contributions

Veronis, L. 2014. Somali Refugees Show How Conflict, Gender, Environmental Scarcity Become Entwined. Blog post for the New Security Beat (19 August).

Veronis, L. 2014. Immigration and Seniors in Ottawa: Needs, Services, Issues. Blog post for the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership/Partenariat Local Pour l’Immigration d’Ottawa (OLIP/PLIO) (23 July).

Veronis, L. 2006. How and why ‘transnationalism’ matters. Hispanic Development Council Annual Newsletter.  Document produced by the Hispanic Development Council, Toronto (June).


Courses taught (2015-2016)

GEG 3305 Geographies of Globalization
GEG 4311 Political Geography
GEG 5105 Selected topics in Human Geography: Geographies of diversity, inclusion, belonging

Fields of Interest

  • Transnationalism, (im)migration and citizenship
  • Minority identities and communities, belonging and inclusion
  • Volunteering, the nonprofit sector, governance
  • Environment and international migration
  • Multicultural media
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