The year in review: Highlights from immigrantchildren.ca, 2009

January 2009

Pier 21, Canada’s Immigration Museum, received a cash infusion of $15 million from the Federal government to make the museum a national one.

The federal government budget included $50 million to support the work of the Foreign Credential program.

The federal Liberal party appointed MP for Brampton-Springdale, Ontario, Ruby Dhalla as critic for “Multiculturalism and Youth”. Maurizio Bevilacqua (MP for Vaughn, Ontario) remained critic for Citizenship and Immigration.

Safe Kids Canada launched an Ethno-Cultural Program, including multi-language injury prevention resources.

The Fraser Institute supported the federal government’s intention to reign in so-called ‘citizens of convenience’: “If you’re going to be a Canadian, you have to have some substantive ties. If you keep giving citizenship on indefinitely to your progeny and their progeny, the ties are pretty questionable.”

The Ontario Metropolis Centre/the Joint Centre of Excellence for Research in Immigration Studies (CERIS)  releases a literature review on barriers to integration and settlement for live-in caregivers.

National Post columnist George Jonas questions the Canadian “multiculturalism fallacy”, says promoting diversity (vs. tolerating it) creates “outsiders”, which is, in Jonas’ view, particularly harmful for children of immigrants: “.if unassimilated ‘diverse’ communities produce misfits, malcontents, traitors or outright terrorists, they’re more likely to produce them in the second or third generation. The jihadist is the native son rather than the immigrant father”.

February 2009

The Annual Report to Parliament on the Operation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act 2007-2008 is tabled. The report acknowledges the “important development in Government policy, when the Prime Minister decided to link Multiculturalism policy and programs with those at Citizenship and Immigration Canada”.

The Canadian Council on Refugees (CCR) releases their Annual Status Report on Refugee and Immigrant Rights in Canada, 2008.

March 2009

Dr. Susan Chuang, University of Guelph,  released a discussion paper, entitled Immigrant Serving Agencies’ Perspective on the Issues and Needs of Immigrant and Refugee Children in Canada.

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, The Honourable Jason Kenney addressed delegates at the Calgary Metropolis conference and startles delegates with what was widely perceived as the notion that prospective immigrants must have a “working knowledge of either English of French” in order to come to Canada.

TVO airs the documentary, My New Home as part of its series, Belong or Bust: Where Do I Fit In?. The series explored a variety of viewpoints on the themes of culture and identity and our place in society.

TVO and HIPPY (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters) announce a partnership in literacy programming for newcomer children.

Rudyard Griffiths (Dominion Institute and author of “Who We Are: A Citizen’s Manifesto“) champions language as the key to successful integration and suggests that “The federal government should also put special emphasis on second-language training for school-age children”.

Welcome BC held a Learning Forum and Consultation on the Settlement Needs of Immigrant/Refugee Children 0-6 years of age and Their Families.

April 2009

The Hospital for Sick Children received over 9 million in settlement funding to establish an “immigrant support network“.

mylanguage.ca continued to promote the importance of newcomer children retaining their ‘home language’ by providing resources in multiple languages on their website.

An amendment to the Citizenship Act came into force with changes on the ‘first generation limitation’ impacting children.

May 2009

The Globe and Mail and the Dominion Institute launch a Public Policy Wiki as a vehicle to bring forward to government a range of views from the general public on matters of public policy. Among the topics is a section on immigration policy.

Settlement Arts, a Toronto-based organization established to raise awareness and increase education on immigration and settlement issues presents their first exhibit on transnational families entitled ‘Waiting for My Children’.

The Children’s Aid Foundation partnered with RBC to launch a Diversity Fund to support social service agencies abilities to work with a diverse population.

The Senate releases an investigative report, Early Childhood Education and Care: Next Steps, acknowledging the importance of high quality early learning and care for newcomer families and young children.

Maclean’s magazine featured an interview with Minister Jason Kenney where he expanded on the language and integration position.

June 2009

The Edmonton Public School system plans to pilot a program to assist immigrant children with integrating into school.

Status of Women Canada funds the Canadian Council of Muslim Women to develop a program to assist the integration and inclusion of young Muslim women and girls.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) releases a study on Migrant Workers and Ghost Consultants. The paper is the result of the investigation undertaken by the Committee on the Live-in Caregiver Program, and is a follow-up to the May 2009 report, Temporary Foreign Workers and Non-status Workers*.

Minister Jason Kenney was interviewed on TVO’s The Agenda and spoke about the importance of English/French for newcomer children.

July 2009

The Maytree Foundation, during an online webinar on ‘Adjusting the Balance: Fixing Canada’s Economic Immigration Policies’ coins the phrase “family unification” v. “family reunification“.

Children, registered to attend a summer camp in Ontario, were turned away from the border due to new regulations requiring visas for Mexicans.

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship partners with Toronto-area cultural institutions, like galleries and museums, in offering new citizens – and their children – passess to local cultural attractions.

Both Ottawa and Calgary launch settlement programs directly for newcomer children.

September 2009

The Canadian Mothercraft College offers an online (or in-person) course for settlement workers who work with young immigrant children and their families, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

October 2009

The Liberal Party of Canada released their Pink Book, Volume III: An Action Plan for Canadian Women. The report does not address immigration issues, specifically the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program that brings women to Canada as nannies to provide child care for Canadian women (often leaving behind their own children in the process).

November 2009

immigrantchildren.ca celebrates its 2nd birthday.

The Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto presented a lecture on child trafficking.

Britain apologizes to its ‘home children’; Canada refuses to do the same for its ‘home children’, although declared that 2010 will be The Year of The Home Child.

Minister Jason Kenney released an updated guide to Canadian Citizenship. Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada has funded the organization CMAS (Childminding Monitoring Advisory Support) to conduct a national consultation towards the development of a new child care model for newcomer families.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser raised serious questions around Canada’s immigration policies and system.

December 2009

The ‘Burka Barbie’ is scrutinized by Barbara Kay in the National Post and Mark Steyn in Maclean’s.

The federal Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism invited comments from the public on the newly introduced changes to the live-in caregiver program.