FCRO marks first year in operation

When immigrants use their skills and credentials in the Canadian labour force, we all benefit. Because when newcomers succeed, we all succeed.

Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

The Foreign Credentials Referral Office (FCRO) has now been operating for one year. Federal government news releases herald its success but there is no mention of children/families and how they have benefited (or not) from this program. See the FCRO 2007-2008 progress report.

Multi-lingual resource sheets on abuse in pregnancy

The Perinatal Partnership Program of Eastern and Southeastern Ontario (with funding from the Ontario government and support from the Best Start Resource Centre) have released a series of information sheets for women on abuse in pregnancy. Sheets have been translated and culturally adapted and are available in: Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Cree – N Dialect, English, French, Punjabi, Severn Ojibwe, Somali, and Spanish.

Canadian immigration policy conference

The Fraser Institute is holding a conference on Canadian immigration policy June 4-5 in Montreal, QC. Subtitled “Reassessing the economic, demographic and social impact on Canada”, the conference rationale includes the following:

“In recent decades there have been serious shortcoming in the design of immigration programs as well as the need for major review of the assumptions on which current policies are based. These include:… The low average incomes of the recent immigrants combined with the universality of access to social benefits have resulted in a significant fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers especially because of the large number of immigrants who have entered Canada under the family reunification and refugee programs, and thus did not have to meet the standards required of independent (i.e. skilled immigrants)”.

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will host a keynote and evening reception. Also in the program, sessions on: The current state of Canadian immigration policy; Labour market productivity implications of immigration; Immigration and an aging population; Integration of immigrants-issues of national identity, multiculturalism and security; The challenges of reforming immigration policy (with Sir Andrew Green of Migration Watch UK).

A luncheon address includes the official opposition critic for immigration, Catherine Morisette, Action Démocratique du Québec and second opposition critic for immigration, Martin Lemay, Parti Québécois.

No specific sessions devoted to immigrant children or families.

Call for proposals: Expanding literacy studies (US conference)

An international, interdisciplinary graduate student conference on literacy studies will be held at Ohio State University April 3-5/09. Proposals will begin being reviewed as of September 1/08 and will be accepted until October 15/08.

From the conference website: The theme Expanding Literacy Studies “draws from the larger conversation on literacy and literacy studies, the many myths of literacy and the growing number of new and emergent literacies”.

9 other US universities are involved. Let’s get some Canadian scholars in immigrant children studies participating and ensure L1 issues and solutions are part of this conference.

In Memoriam: Zelma Henderson, Brown v. Board of Education

Zelma Henderson, last surviving plaintiff of the historic Brown v. Board of Education case, died last week in Kansas. While Brown v. Board of Education was not a challenge to the right to education for immigrant or refugee children, it remains a pivotal event in the rights of minority children to education in the US and elsewhere.  There are many news reports: search on “zelma henderson brown v. board of education” in google, for example. Also, visit the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic website.

The New Canadian Child & Youth Study

The latest issue of the Metropolis Bulletin, The Bridge, re-releases an article on the New Canadian Child and Youth Study. The article was originally published in 2005.

The New Canadian Children and Youth Study (NCCYS) is a longitudinal study of 4,000 immigrant and refugee children living in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. The objectives of the study are to:

Compare the physical health, mental health and functioning of immigrant and refugee children with the majority culture children participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth (NLSCY)

Identify and describe psychosocial developmental issues common to all children as well as those specific to immigrant and refugee populations

Investigate the effects of immigration vs. refugee status on children’s health and well-being

Compare mental health risk factors for immigrant and refugee children with NLSCY children

Investigate the effects of visible minority status on immigrant and refugee children’s integration, development and mental health

Investigate, cross-sectionally and over time, the effects of the like-ethnic community, and of the receiving society on children’s integration and mental health

Describe the evolution of personal identity (including ethnic community and peer effects)

Examine intrafamilial risk and protective factors for children’s well-being

Examine regional effects on resettlement and adaptation.

Researchers in the NCCYS are:

Morton Beiser, University of Toronto and CERIS, The Ontario Metropolis Centre

Linda Ogilvie, University of Alberta

Joanna Anneke, Hospital for Sick Children and CERIS Director

Robert Armstrong, Child and Family Research Institute

Jacqueline Oxman-Martinez, Centre for Applied Family Studies.

Canadian Public Health Association conference: Sessions on immigrant children and families

The Canadian Public Health Association is holding its annual conference this year in Halifax, Nova Scotia from June 1-4. Sessions on or related to immigrant children and families include:

Immigrant and Migrant Health – I

Development of a framework to examine the determinants of health among Canadian immigrants, with Marie DesMeules

Studying intra-metropolitan health disparities in Canada: how and why globalization matters, with Ted Schrecker

Migration, Health and equity issues for Canada in the context of global migration, with Janet Hatcher Roberts

Using administrative data to analyze the health experience of African Nova Scotians, with Mikiko Terashima

Focus on Children’s Health

Children immigrants’ risk of physical inactivity according to family origin and length of residency, with Mathieu Bélanger

Immigrant and Migrant Health – II

Meanings of health, illness and help-seeking strategies among punjabi-speaking immigrants, with Beatrice McDonough

Migration and perinatal health surveillance: An international DELPHI survey, with Anita Gagnon

Migration to industrialized countries and perinatal health: A systematic review, with Anita Gagnon

Childbearing migrant women and equal access to research participation, with Amy Low

For more information, see the PDF program.

2nd language learning

The last of the Minerva Lecture Series, sponsored by the Canadian Council on Learning, was delivered to a New Brunswick audience last week by Dr. Esther Geva, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and language and literacy researcher. Second language learning is a current topic in NB. The Telegraph Journal:

“According to recent census figures, New Brunswick is currently attracting relatively few immigrants, making retention a key issue with the impending boom. Encouragement to stay can come from the grass roots, by providing adequate education opportunities for immigrant children whose first language is not English, allowing them to succeed on their own here”.

Geva emphasized an important aspect of second language learning: “Learning to read in multiple languages does not hinder achievement, but rather enhances one’s ability to learn”.

For more on the importance of language and literacy for immigrant children, see mylanguage.ca.

Our schools, our communities: Equity, inclusion and social justice

The next Ontario Inclusion Learning Network (OILN) Learning Exchange Series will be on the topic of Our Schools, Our Communities: A Vital Conversation on Equity, Inclusion, Social Justice and the Possibilities for Change. Panelists:

Carolyn Acker, Pathways to Education

Michelle Cho, Urban Alliance for Race Relations

Lloyd McKell, Toronto District School Board

This free event will be held Friday, June 6, 9am-12:30pm at the Harbourfront Community Centre. RSVP by May 30. For more information, contact Jadie McDonnell at 416-408-4841 ext 3.

CCICY monthly newsletter seeks ‘soap-box’ submissions

The Canadian Coalition for Immigrant Children and Youth (CCICY) puts out a monthly newsletter. The newsletter now has a regular ‘soap-box’ feature. Members of the CCICY are invited to submit opinion pieces on topics related to immigrant children and youth. Submissions should be 300 words or less and may address policy, legislation, programming, services, issues and trends or local or regional news.

Submission may be edited for length and content and are subject to approval of the newsletter editor and Co-Chair of the CCICY. Deadlines are the first Friday of every month. Contact the newsletter editor for more information at: ccicybulletin@gmail.com.