The Conference Board of Canada: An Innovative immigration system at 150 and beyond

The Conference Board of Canada recently released a report following their Canadian Immigration Summit, 2017. Titled “An Innovative Immigration System at 150 and Beyond”, it includes a summary of the summit, key findings, and recommendations to “improve settlement, integration, and citizenship policies”.

There’s lots of good stuff here, including identifying initiatives that work, or are promising, and solid recommendations from those in the fields of immigration and settlement, integration, and immigrant employment.

The federal governments’ department of immigration, refugees, and citizenship Fraser Valentine flags three keys for successful immigration:

  1. targeted immigration to meet Canada’s goals
  2. positive integration so that immigrants are welcomed into Canadian society
  3. strong public support for the immigration system.

Ilse Treurnicht, MaRS Discovery District suggests that Canada work to strengthen ‘the immigration-innovation nexus’ by:

  • retaining more international students
  • equipping cities to receive immigrants
  • creating a “comprehensive approach for immigrants to contribute to the economy to leverage their global connections, cultural competencies, knowledge and experiences”
  • having greater alignment between immigration and innovation, technology and education systems
  • demonstrating that immigration benefits Canada economically, and that the business community must champion this, and not leave this to politicians and policy makers alone.

Yes, good stuff, but in the above examples – and others in the report – of how to support immigrant employment, there is no mention of providing child care so that newcomers can participate in training and jobs initiatives. If they have children younger than school-age, child care is an issue.

Number 2 of IRCs Fraser Valentine’s 3 keys to success is “positive integration so that immigrants are welcomed into Canadian society”.  Having a safe, high quality child care program for your children while you work, train or study is a strong welcome to newcomers. It says we care about you, we see you as a whole person, with a family and not just as a worker.

Treurnicht’s call that cities be equipped to receive immigrants should mean receiving the newcomers entire family, including its non-school-aged children.

The Conference Board of Canada says: “Canada needs to identify how to better integrate immigrants in the labour market by continuing to strengthen the linkage between the immigrant selection process and its labour market needs…” I invite them to look at Canada’s labour market needs against its resources, and how to strengthen those resources.

The Conference Board of Canada missed an opportunity to highlight the importance of child care for immigrant employment and the Canadian economy. Next year’s summit?



Sessions on immigrant/refugee children at the International Metropolis conference

This year’s theme for the International Metropolis conference is Migration and Global Justice. has reviewed the program (to date) and have found what looks to be a fascinating workshop about children’s sense of belonging and play.

From the conference website, this description of the workshop (links added):

Integration and social belonging through play

“As migration presents a long-term, multi-faceted process of finding belonging, it presents a unique opportunity to address innovative methods for supporting immigrant and refugee children as they integrate into their new communities. By creating an environment of play – focusing on recreation and arts-based methodologies – it is possible to successfully support social, emotional, linguistic, physical, and cultural integration. Settlement has traditionally focused on the immediacy of physical basic needs, with interventions that did not necessarily place enough emphasis on the emotional needs of the whole resettlement journey. Over the last 20 years, research and practice, have proven the value of not only considering, but incorporating, arts based interventions and pro-social recreational opportunities that contribute to whole family wellness and children’s wellbeing. According to the International Play Association‘s Declaration on the Importance of Play: ‘playing is vital to the understanding, development, and maintenance of valued relationships with others. Playful interactions ‘help in understanding relationships and attachment, language, roles, and social structures.’

“It is these principles that also guide the idea that children should be considered with their own agency, capable of developing social capital in their own right, not only in relation to adults: ‘ the social capital of children in often ‘invisible’. Further, it is often seen as an ‘asset’ for future benefit, not something ‘in their lives in the present’ (Colbert, 2013). A pro social, experiential, approach to programming could employ a culturally competent and trauma informed approach to learning and development that draws on the participants innate resilience in a time of significant adjustment and resettlement.

“It has been our experience that play promotes normalcy, healing, and healthy behavioral development – as well as supports the complex process on integration into a new community following a period of crisis, trauma, or forced migration. This workshop will speak to the approaches used towards establishing a range of partnerships in order to engage children and youth in the local community, culture, and language through various forms of play, while remaining sensitive to culture and background”.

Fariborz Birjandian, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)

Amanda Koyama, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS)

Shaun Jayachandran, Crossover Basketball and Scholar’s Academy
(To be confirmed).

C4P 2016 National Metropolis Conference, Toronto

A Call for proposals has been released for the 18th National Metropolis Conference, to be held in Toronto, Canada from March 3 to the 5th.

This year’s theme is Getting results: Migration, opportunities and good governance. From the conference website:

The 2016 National Metropolis Conference will focus on future immigration trends and policies and the challenges and opportunities that they create for Canadian society. The conference will include four plenary panels with distinguished speakers and workshop and round table sessions on a wide variety of topics related to immigration and diversity. We anticipate several hundred participants from Canada and abroad.

You can learn more about the conference and submit your proposal online at the conference website.

North American Refugee Health conference, June, 2015, Toronto

The North American Refugee Health conference will be held in Toronto, Canada from June 4-6, 2015. From the website:

“The three day event will focus on the best practices in refugee health. Lectures focus on contemporary issues in refugee health, mental health, OB/GYN, pediatrics, and primary care”. is happy to see that children’s health issues is a major theme and will be following the conference twitter hashtag #NARHC2015.

Resource worth revisiting from & news of a conference

In 2010, the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs ( released an issue of their occasional journal, Perspectives in Family Support. The issue focused on newcomer families. It stands up today, four years later.  Included in that issue are: has announced its annual conference for 2015 to be held this year in Hamilton, Ontario. Review the program and register here.

Related link: ~ a collection of resources for immigrant families, and for those who work with them.

Metropolis 2014 sessions on immigrant children & youth

Metropolis 2014 will take place Nov 3-7 in Milan.

There are a small number of sessions that address issues of immigrant children and youth. From the program:

Moving images in social networks. Youth, active citizenship, education and intercultural dialogue

The aim of the workshop is to analyse the different uses of social networks by young people, focusing on the way they deal with the issue of cultural diversity through videos and on how education can build competences and awareness to promote active citizenship and intercultural dialogue in social networks. The keywords social networks, youth, media education and intercultural dialogue will lead the debate to understanding the condition of youth in a social scenario marked by the increase of cultural diversity. Social networks can be considered not only as an important tool empowering active citizenship of young people, but also as a field where opinions and attitudes of closure and rejection of others can become widespread.

The presenters will broaden our consideration of the role of social networks in representing diversity related to migration. They will offer some insights and examples on the double role education has to play with regard to the use of social media by young people: to develop their awareness on how social media may be used to misrepresent or act against cultural diversity; to increase their competence for promoting intercultural dialogue in the online public sphere. Young filmmakers from The Netherlands, France-Martinique and Italy will present good practices of video use in social networks. The filmmakers have taken part in YEFF, the Young European Film Forum on Cultural Diversity, promoted since 2005 by a network of 9 European countries.

Unaccompanied minors in the European Union

Among the various forms of international migration that the European Union has experienced for a long time, the arrival of children without any parents or customary guardians (“unaccompanied minors”) has emerged as a migration phenomenon of growing importance, and as a particular challenge for receiving countries. While the number of unaccompanied minors in the different Member States is unequal, practices concerning the entry, reception, accommodation, and regulation of stay of these minors vary considerably. This is despite the fact that at EU level much attention has recently been devoted to reach a common approach regarding this vulnerable group of migrants.

This workshop will investigate different migration patterns of unaccompanied minors experienced in selected EU Member States, and the different national policies and practices concerning their entry, reception and stay. Presentations from Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Ireland and Italy will be complemented by a comparative European perspective from the European Migration Network. Ultimately, the workshop aims at identifying achievements, shortcomings and possible future developments at national and EU levels.

Unaccompanied children. Challenges, policies and practices

Unaccompanied children, who find themselves without parental care, frequently lack a legal status in the country of arrival, and very often it precludes them from benefiting of the rights they are entitled to as minors. Because of the very nature and vulnerabilities of this group of migrants, and consistent with the principles enshrined in the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the assistance provided to unaccompanied migrant children should necessarily be flexible, and able to respond to specific needs of each and every concerned child. The guiding principle of all activities developed for unaccompanied children is the primary consideration of the best interest of the child, so as to identify and implement the most suitable and durable solution on an individual basis – i.e. return the country of origin, integration in the country of destination, resettlement or adoption. Drawing on experiences in different destination countries, the aim of the workshop is to explore the impact such actions have on the well-being of unaccompanied children and the implications of different policies and practices.

NB: Canadian Gardiner Barber Pauline of Dalhousie University is scheduled to participate in this workshop.

Immigrant youth at risk: Towards an inclusive policy through multi-disciplinary practice

Immigration provides opportunities for both the host society and individual immigrants. The young generation of immigrants will contribute to overcoming the economic and social crisis of aging societies. There are chances for innovation and new openings, but there are also challenges which national policymakers should identify and take specific actions to overcome. The workshop will address the situation of young immigrants who are not in education or training or those in situations of near social exclusion. Questions of mental health, education and social inclusion will be discussed in the workshop. We welcome participants representing different fields of action to contribute to the discussion of the potential of young immigrant generation and challenges to policymaking.

Last day to register is Oct 31.

6th ‘On New Shores’ conference: Immigrant and ethnic minority families ~ Bridging across cultural boundaries

For the 6th time, the University of Guelph is hosting an ‘On New Shores’ conference (search for information about previous ONS conferences). This year’s theme is Immigrant and ethnic minority families: Bridging across cultural boundaries. The conference will be held in Toronto from October 23 – 24, 2014.

From the call for proposals:

The goal of this conference is to bring together various stakeholders (researchers, community and governmental providers) to collectively examine and discuss issues of children, youth, and families in the context of culture and immigration. Whether individuals and families are new to a country and/or belong to a visible minority group, they share many experiences and challenges.
What lessons can be shared? How can we synergize our efforts to develop more culturally sensitive and culturally appropriate research strategies or programs and services in our respective communities? Discussions of organizational stresses and the strategies used to deal with these issues will also be addressed. Researchers from various disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, social work, education) are welcomed. Community service providers and governmental agencies are encouraged to present work on research, effective programs, social issues, and challenges.
UPDATE: Proposal submission deadline is March 15, 2014. All proposals must be submitted to Dr. Susan S. Chuang by email (, and must be accompanied by a submission form.

Researching resilience, a workshop for those working with marginalized and vulnerable populations living in challenging contexts

Dr. Michael Ungar and Dr. Linda Liebenberg are offering a five day long workshop entitled ‘Researching Resilience’.  From the announcement/poster:

“the workshop will present a comprehensive review of resilience theory as well as theoretical and methodological approaches (both quantitative and qualitative) to investigate the phenomenon across cultures and contexts. The workshop is designed to equip researchers in academic, government and NGO sectors, as well as graduate students, with the skills and tools to study resilience as a process across the lifespan”.

The workshop is being held April 28 to May 2, 2014 at the Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and will be followed by two concurrent workshops on May 5th and 6th.

Using visual methods in challenging contexts with Dr. Linda Liebenber. A brief description: “Image-based elicitation methods are gaining prominence in social science research. This workshop will review the grounded theory behind elicitation methods, current approaches to using image-based elicitation, the value of these approaches in answering particular research questions, and the integration of these approaches into research designs. Participants will discuss ethical considerations of elicitation research, and the limits and cautions to consider when using these approaches. The workshop will also provide hands-on experience with the steps to organize and analyze image-based data, which include coding visual tools and developing coding categories. No prior knowledge of or experience with visual methods or grounded theory is required”.

Counselling children, youth and families with complex needs: An Ecological approach to nurturing resilience across cultures and contexts with Dr. Michael Ungar. A brief description: “When treating children, youth and families who have experienced poverty, violence, marginalization, or psychological trauma, the focus is often too narrowly placed on individual complex needs and problems. Such focus on delinquency or conflict between children and caregivers misses the broader sources of healing and resilience in people’s lives. This workshop will present a strengths-focused model of intervention that draws on the potential capacity of people’s social ecologies (e.g. friends, cousins, parents, teachers, community and cultural mentors, government service providers, NGOs, etc.) as sources of resilience in contexts of significant adversity. Participants will learn how to identify and facilitate people’s access to seven factors that enhance resilience: 1) relationships; 2) a powerful identity; 3) a sense of personal control, agency and power; 4) social justice; 5) material resources like food, clothing, and safety; 6) a sense of belonging, life purpose, and spirituality; and 7) cultural rootedness. Participants will also learn 20 skills to help the people they work with experience each of these seven factors in their lives in ways that are psychologically meaningful and contextually relevant. Finally, the workshop will discuss a five-phase model of clinical practice to make interventions effective”.

Bonus: If you register for both the 5-day workshop and a 2-day workshop, you will receive a 50% discount off your registration for the 2-day event.

Learn more about the workshops here.

See highlights from the 4th On New Shores conference: Resilience of immigrants – Coping with stress in various cultural contexts where Dr. Ungar was a keynote speaker.

Call for papers: Children and migration in Africa and the African diaspora, European Social Science History conference

From the H-Childhood Listserv:

“Call for panelists: Children and migration in African and the African diaspora at the European Social Science History conference, April 23-26, 2014.

“Following a successful interdisciplinary workshop on children and migration in Africa, held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 2012, we invite abstracts for papers that explore this theme further. We particularly welcome papers that will expand the georgraphical scope of the panel into the African diasporas and that emphasize the experience of children themselves.

“While African children are heavily involved in migration, they remain obscure in grey and scholarly literatures dominated by the male labour migratory model. Furthermore, work on young migrants often conflates the social categories of ‘child’ and ‘youth’ and children themselves are divided into the binary states of agents or victims. Although recent scholarships on children and migration in Africa has acknowledged the importance of African children as discrete agents in migratory processes, analytical shortcomings remain.

“Papers could address, but are not limited to, the following issues:

family structures

patterns of fosterage

child circulation between Africa, Europe and the Americas

the role of education

child labour

religion and ritual

cultural exchange and conceptions of place and ‘home'”.

Interested scholars should send us an abstract in English (250 words max) and a short bio (200 words max) by April 15, 2013 to: Marie Rodet, Jack Lord, or Elodie Razy

Call for papers ~ Growing up global: Childhoods in a transnational context

Announcing a joint session of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCY) and the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) to be held at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC June 1-8, 2013.

From the call for papers:

“As people and institutions connect across the borders of nation-states, children are invariably part of the processes of transnationalism. Yet their presence has largely been ignored by much of the scholarship on transnationalism. While they may lack the abilities to fully articulate and engage with the social, political, and economic forces behind transnational movement and circulation, young people are just as affected by – and central to – these global currents. Thinking about childhood in a transnational context requires a greater awareness of how contemporary global culture is creating a unique experience of childhood itself, both of childhood, and for children themselves.

“The purpose of this panel is to put children and childhood at the center of discussions concerning transnationalism. We seek papers that investigate the ways in which ‘the child’ both impacts and is impacted by circulation across global borders. We encourage research that questions how children experience transnationality and how we understand the child and childhood in the context of nation states whose borders are not what they once were.

“Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

-researching children and childhoods in transnational contexts
-the experiences of children in the transnational context
-the relationships between global capital and the transnational child
-securitization and the transnational child
-children in transnational families
-cosmopolitanism and the transnational child
-transnational migration and the child”.

Deadline is November 1, 2012.

For more information, visit the ACCUTE C4P page.

On new shores immigrant children conference, 2012

The program for the 2012 On New Shores: Understanding Immigrant Children and Youth (ONS) conference is now available.

The theme this year is Social Support and Capital: Happiness in Immigrant Families.

The 5th ONS conference will be held October 25-26 in downtown Toronto at two venues: The Ryerson Centre for Immigration Studies (RCIS) and the Downtown Holiday Inn.

Attached is the ONS 2012 program, but here are some highlights:


Opening keynote is by Fons Van De Vijver, Tilburg University, The Netherlands, on the topic of Identity and Well-Being in Immigrants

Ethnic Identity and Acculturation of Turkish-Bulgarian Youth: Evidence from Self and Parents Reports, with R. Dimitrova, A. Chasiotis, et al., Tilburg University et al., The Netherlands

Acculturation in 3D: Psychological Assets and Liabilities of Black Jamaican Immigrants in the United States, G. Ferguson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US

Immigrant Mothers’ Interactions with their Children’s Teachers, Mehru Ali, Ryerson University

Welcoming All Voices: Building Inclusive Parent Groups in Schools, M. Abbott, London Middlesex Local Immigration Partnership


Social Support in the Lives of Russian Immigrant and Sudanese Refugee Men as Fathers in Canada, David Este, University of Calgary

Communication Brokering in Immigrant Families: Avenues for New Research, Vappu Tyyska, Ryerson University

Social Support Systems at Play for Newcomer Youth E. Ghassemi & T. Velox, Newcomer Centre of Peel

Closing keynote is by Dr. Ross Parke, Wellesley, on Future Directions


Connecting immigrant children to the outdoors, Alka Burman, Region of Peel

Resilience of Colombian immigrant youth living in Canada, M. Cabal Garces & S. Chuang, University of Guelph

Welcoming newcomer children and families: Understanding “Three Big Ideas” – settlement, culture and readiness, Judith Colbert

Depressive symptoms of Italian immigrant children and parents, R. Dimitrova, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

When support is left behind: Experiences of lone immigrants in Canada, B. Martin, Ryerson University

Chinese adoptees in Canada: The Role of policy and parents in facilitating transnationalism, M. Symington, Ryerson University

ONS 2012 Registration form.

See highlights from the 4th ONS conference: Resilience of immigrants – Coping with stress in various cultural contexts.