Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Integration Branch, held a series of workshops across Canada between March and June 2008 to investigate the role of social engagement in integrating newcomers into Canada. Several objectives were outlined for this initiative, including the desire to clarify and articulate foundational principles to guide policy and programming, to identify models of intervention and to strengthen collaboration among key partners.
Workshops were held in Calgary, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver and participants included government policy people, academics and researchers, immigrant-serving organizations. Workshops were organized in themes of key concepts, collaboration and measurement.
CIC has released a report summarizing the discussions. Social Engagement and Integration: Learning from Others to Inform Approaches to Integration is a 26 page paper, offering a summary of each of the six workshops.
Interesting to us is the absence of discussion on immigrant/refugee children and families in these discussions. “Children” never appear in the document; “Family/families” appear four times, never as a main subject or area of discussion.
The glaring omission of children and families in a purported attempt to develop strong collaborations to support social engagement, social cohesion and integration, is unfortunate. CCICY supporters in these six cities may consider using the reports summaries as a launch for federal election candidates.