The lunchbox moment: Immigrant children and food

Good piece on immigrant children’s “lunchbox” moments – when peers see their food, make judgements and comments and how this shapes immigrant children’s identity. It’s US-based, but applicable in Canada too.

From the article on eater.com:

“The story of being bullied in the cafeteria for one’s lunch is so ubiquitous that it’s attained a gloss of fictionality. It’s become metonymy for the entire diaspora experience; to be a young immigrant or child of immigrants is to be bullied for your lunch, and vice versa.”

Sister2Sister Mentoring program by Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto

Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto has issued a call for immigrant women of colour to serve as mentors to work with other newcomer women against violence against women. in their Sister2Sister program.

From a recent report, NWST says “Sister2Sister is a leadership development program that is nurturing immigrant women to become advocates and peer supports in their communities for victims of gender violence and domestic abuse”.

Deadline is February 16th.

For more information, visit their site and check out their latest impact report

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Supplementary Mandate Letter

January 15, 2021

Office of the Prime Minister

Dear Mr. Mendicino:

Thank you for continuing to serve Canadians as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

Since my previous mandate letter to you, our country has been confronted by the most serious public health crisis we have ever faced. The global pandemic has had devastating impacts on lives and livelihoods and exposed fundamental gaps in our society. Challenges that existed before the pandemic remain and others have been exacerbated. In light of these realities, I am issuing this supplementary letter to outline further responsibilities and considerations that I expect you to undertake on behalf of Canadians. Nothing in this letter replaces any previous commitments or expectations. It is necessary for us to continue making progress on the commitments laid out in 2019, while ensuring our actions are centred on fighting the pandemic and building back better.

Even as we continue to distribute vaccines across Canada, bold action continues to be required to fight this pandemic, save lives, support people and businesses throughout the remainder of this crisis and build back better. We need to work together to protect and create jobs, and to rebuild our country in a way that will create long-term competitiveness through clean growth. As articulated in the Speech from the Throne 2020 and Fall Economic Statement 2020, our four main priorities for making tangible progress for Canadians continue to be: protecting public health; ensuring a strong economic recovery; promoting a cleaner environment; and standing up for fairness and equality.

Ongoing struggles around the world – and here at home – remind us of how important it is to keep working toward a brighter future. We are at a crossroads and must keep moving Canada forward to become stronger, more inclusive, and more resilient. It is part of your job to look out for Canadians, with particular attention to our most vulnerable.

We need to continue delivering on our commitments by working together in a positive, open and collaborative way with Parliamentarians, with partners and with all Canadians. Where legislation is required, I expect you to continue working with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons to make progress for Canadians within this minority Parliament.

To be ready for what lies ahead, our Government must continue to be agile and use the best available science and evidence. Canadians are counting on us to ensure that today’s policies, programs and services are calibrated and targeted to match their needs. Therefore, I expect you to uphold our ongoing commitment to delivering real results and effective government for the people we are elected to serve.

Many of our most important commitments continue to require a sustained partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments, and Indigenous partners, communities and governments. Always remember that our mandate comes from citizens who are served by all orders of government, and that it is in everyone’s interest that we work together to find common ground and make life better for Canadians. The President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is the Government-wide lead on all relations with the provinces and territories.

There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. With respect and dignity, we remain committed to moving forward along the shared path of reconciliation. You, and indeed all ministers, must continue to play a role in helping to advance self-determination, close socio-economic gaps and eliminate systemic barriers facing First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples. As Minister, I expect you to work in full partnership with Indigenous Peoples and communities to advance meaningful reconciliation.

The Government has significantly increased spending during the pandemic in order to achieve our most pressing priority: to help protect Canadians’ health and financial security. Going forward, we must preserve Canada’s fiscal advantage and continue to be guided by values of sustainability and prudence. Therefore, our actions must focus on creating new jobs and supporting the middle class to preserve the strength of our economy.

While fighting the pandemic must be our top priority, climate change still threatens our health, economy, way of life and planet. Clean growth is the best way to create good jobs and power our long-term economic recovery. I expect you and all ministers to pursue complementary partnerships and initiatives that will support our work to exceed our emissions reduction target, seize new market opportunities to create good jobs and prepare our country to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.

We remain committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make and consider public policies through an intersectional lens in order to address systemic inequities including: systemic racism; unconscious bias; gender-based discrimination; barriers for persons with disabilities; discrimination against LGBTQ2 communities; and inequities faced by all vulnerable populations. Whenever possible, you will work to improve the quality and availability of disaggregated data to ensure that policy decisions benefit all communities.

It is clear that this pandemic has disproportionately affected different communities throughout our country. Therefore, we must ensure our recovery includes all Canadians, with an emphasis on supporting those most affected. To this end, I expect that you will seek the advice and hear the perspectives of a diverse group of Canadians, in both official languages. Moreover, you will continue to rely on and develop meaningful relationships with civil society and stakeholders, including businesses of all sizes, organized labour, the broader public sector and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors across Canada.

Now more than ever, Canadians are relying on journalists and journalism for accurate and timely news, especially in the face of a concerning spread of misinformation. I expect you to foster a professional and respectful relationship with journalists to ensure that Canadians have the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.

Our ability to implement our Government’s priorities depends on consideration of the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Government employees perform their duties in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to maintain a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, like the role of the public servants under their direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities.

Important ministerial responsibilities have been entrusted to you, notably delivering on the Government’s commitments that were set out in your 2019 mandate letter. I expect that you will keep me updated and proactively communicate with Canadians on the progress you are making toward our priorities. Always know that you can turn to me, and the Deputy Prime Minister, at any time for support.

In addition to the priorities set out in my mandate letter to you in 2019, as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, you will implement on a priority basis the following commitments, as set out in the Speech from the Throne 2020 and building off the investments in the Fall Economic Statement 2020:

  • Continue to bring newcomers to Canada safely to drive economic growth and recovery, as recently set out in the 2021-2023 Immigration Levels Plan, including by:
    • Expanding pilot programming to welcome skilled refugees through economic immigration streams;
    • Continuing to support expedited family reunification; and
    • Continuing work on sectoral and regional pilot programs.
  • Continue to implement measures that create pathways to permanent residency for those who have provided health care in long-term care homes or medical facilities or performed other essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Continue working with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Health to protect the health and safety of Canadians through safe, responsible and compassionate management of the border with the United States and other ports of entry into Canada.
  • Continue exploring pathways to permanent residency and citizenship for temporary foreign workers.
  • Support the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion to continue to fully support and protect workers who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and secure labour to fill workforce gaps in farming and food processing.
  • Continue working with provinces and territories to support high-quality settlement services and facilitate the successful settlement and integration of new Canadians. This includes continuing to support French-language training, while respecting provincial jurisdiction and complementing existing measures, supported by the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
  • Support the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to implement recommendations and lessons learned from the report of the Special Advisor for Canada’s ongoing response to the Ukraine International Airlines tragedy, including commemorating the lives of the victims and supporting their families, pursuing truth and accountability from Iran, and preventing future disasters through the Safer Skies Initiative.

Sincerely,

Prime Minister of Canada signature

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada

~

Mentions of:

child/ren – 0

childcare/child care – 0

family – 1 (in relation to family reunification)

school/s – 0

integration – 1: “Continue working with provinces and territories to support high-quality settlement services and facilitate the successful settlement and integration of new Canadians”.

Yes, I had hoped there might be some mention – and direction – to bolster the integration of migrant children from birth to age eight specifically. And no, there was not any specific mentions or directions in the original mandate letter.

Research: Immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and later academic achievement

In the Journal of Educational Psychology, a study looked at immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and their later academic achievement.

Thriving, catching up or falling behind: Immigrant and refugee children’s kindergarten competencies and later academic achievement, by Monique Gagné, Martin Guhn, Magdalena Janus, Katholiki Georgiades, Scott D. Emerson, Constance Milbrath, Eric Duku, Carly Magee, Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl and Anne M. Gadermann.

Excerpts from the Abstract and the Impact Statement:

Abstract

“Immigrant and refugee children and adolescents form a growing socially, culturally, and economically diverse group with the potential for wide-ranging adaptation outcomes. The goal of the study was to examine whether developmental competencies (social-emotional and academic) and sociodemographic disparities (e.g., SES and migration class) identified in kindergarten forecast the academic achievement trajectories of first- and second-generation immigrant and refugee children, from childhood to adolescence. The study used a retrospective, longitudinal, population-based design by making use of linked, individual-level administrative data from four sources… to identify a study cohort of immigrant and refugee children in British Columbia, Canada …. We utilized an analytical approach (group-based trajectory modeling) that allowed us to capture heterogeneity in the Grade 4 to Grade 10 academic (literacy and numeracy) trajectories.

“The resulting literacy and numeracy achievement trajectories were wide-ranging–some children thriving, some catching up, and some falling behind over time. Children’s developmental competencies assessed in kindergarten (literacy, numeracy, and social-emotional) were found to predict later trajectory group membership in significant and, at times, interacting ways. Trajectory group membership also differed by migration class (refugee/immigrant), generation status, socioeconomic status, English language learner status, and sex. The findings highlight the need for early, targeted school and community interventions that will help set all immigrant and refugee children onto long-term paths of positive adaptation.”

Impact Statement

“This study tracked the academic achievement of 9,216 immigrant and refugee children in British Columbia, Canada from childhood to adolescence (Grade 4 to Grade 10) and found groups that thrived over time, that were catching up, and that were falling behind. Children’s likelihood of following each of these paths depended upon their academic and social-emotional competencies in kindergarten as well as a number of other sociodemographic factors (e.g., socioeconomic status). The findings highlight the need for early, targeted school and community interventions that will help set all immigrant and refugee children onto long-term paths of positive adaptation.”

New research: Transition to adulthood of refugee and immigrant children in Canada

In the special issue of Applied Psycholinguistics, 41(S6), The Language, Literacy and Social Integration of Refugee Children and Youth, a research report entitled Transition to adulthood of refugee and immigrant children in Canada by Yoko Yoshida (Dalhousie University) and Jonathan Amoyaw (Dalhousie University).

Abstract | Résumé

“The majority of refugees are children and youth and their integration and life-course transitions are a research priority. This paper examines the timing of refugee children and youths’ entrance into the labour market and family formation (marriage/common law union and parenthood). It does so by examining how admission category, knowledge of a host country’s official languages, and age at arrival shape their transition to adulthood. Using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Immigration Database and Heckman selection estimation, the paper finds minimal variation in refugee children and youths’ entry into the labour market compared to children of other immigrant streams. It also finds that refugee children and youth start forming families at a younger age than children of economic class immigrants, but at an older age than family class children. The analysis also shows limited effects of knowledge of official language prior to arrival while age at arrival has a robust impact on their adulthood transitions. These findings shed light on the unique patterns of life-course transition among refugee children and youth and contribute to a better conceptualization of their experiences relative to children and youth of other immigrants.”

This resource is available via paid subscription, but the freely available abstract includes an extensive bibliography worth reviewing.

The Canadian Longitudinal Immigration Database, used in the research, can be found here.

C4P: Podcasts featuring CYRRC content

January 13 Update: The deadline for applications has been extended to January 22.

The Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition (CYRRC) is a nationwide alliance of academics, community partners and government agencies working to promote the successful integration of refugee children, youth and their families.

The CYRRC has issued a Call for Proposals for individuals and groups to produce a series of podcasts using the CYRRCs research. and with the help of the CYRRC.

Please see below for more information.

Together Project announces new ‘Welcome Groups for Refugee Claimants’ pilot program

From their website: ‘Together Project is pleased to announce our new Welcome Groups for Refugee Claimants one-year pilot program, with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

“We are currently seeking groups of five or more volunteers in the Greater Toronto Area to be matched with a refugee claimant youth (ages 18-25), single parent household, or large family for six months of social support.

“To foster social connections, Together Project works with refugee claimants to establish newcomer-defined priorities for the match that will help create a common purpose and shared goals as an underpinning for social connection.

‘The success of the match will be measured based on a newcomer-defined perception of an increase in social connection and a decrease in social isolation. Volunteers receive training and support. Please refer to our volunteer training manual and refugee claimant resource listing here. To register a Welcome Group, click here. Please email hello@togetherproject.ca to learn more’.