Making integration work: Young people with migrant parents

Young People with Migrant Parents
Making Integration Work, volume 4
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

“The OECD series Making Integration Work summarises, in a non-technical way, the main issues surrounding the integration of immigrants and their children into their host countries. Each volume presents concrete policy lessons for its theme, along with supporting examples of good practices and comparisons of the migrant integration policy frameworks in different OECD countries. This fourth volume explores the integration of young people with migrant parents, a diverse and growing cohort of youth in the OECD area.”

West Neighbourhood House (Toronto) job posting for a Team Lead, Newcomer Youth Program

West Neighbourhood House logo
The Team Leader, Newcomer Youth Program assists with the coordination, development, delivery and day to day monitoring of the activities of the Newcomer Youth Program which is designed to facilitate cross cultural sharing, skill acquisition, integration and settlement by working with both newcomer youth (aged 13-24) and a range of volunteers, in conjunction with the Co-ordinator of Immigrant and Refugee Services.

Description

West Neighbourhood House, formerly St. Christopher House, is a multi-service, neighbourhood-based agency that has served the diverse communities of downtown west Toronto since 1912.  The central purpose of West Neighbourhood House is to enable less-advantaged individuals, families and groups in the community to gain greater control over their lives and community.

The Team Leader, Newcomer Youth Program assists with the coordination, development, delivery and day to day monitoring of the activities of the Newcomer Youth Program which is designed to facilitate cross cultural sharing, skill acquisition, integration and settlement by working with both newcomer youth (aged 13-24) and a range of volunteers, in conjunction with the Co-ordinator of Immigrant and Refugee Services.

Responsibilities:

  • Work in conjunction with the Program Coordinator in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of activities and program directions that meet the needs of participants.
  • Work with the Newcomer Youth team to design and coordinate the implementation of outreach and program promotion strategies and materials targeting newcomer youth.
  • Take a lead on maintaining the Youth space, the operations and activities of the Newcomer Youth Program, including activity planning and scheduling, staff schedule coordination, resolution of day-to-day issues and problem-solving, outreach coordination, ensuring safety of youth and day-to-day administration in conjunction with the Program Coordinator (e.g. petty cash, supplies and TTC oversight).
  • Ensure client eligibility as per Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requirements. Experience in use of iCARE portal.
  • Coordinate volunteer requests and ensure effective volunteer training, support, retention, problem-solving and evaluation by working with and supporting the other Newcomer Youth Program staff. Provide direct supervision to volunteers on or off site.
  • Provide direct service and programming to diverse newcomer youth including setting up, supporting and monitoring a range of group-based educational and social recreational activity mentorships and one-to-one matches for newcomer youth (aged 13-24) in various West Neighbourhood House sites and locations in the community (e.g. workshops, outings, field trips, homework clubs, leadership activities, arts-based activities such as Silk Screening and After School programs in schools).
  • Maintain up to date knowledge of newcomer youth issues and community resources (education, housing, recreation, social assistance, employment, job search skills, healthy sexuality, child protection, drug prevention/ abuse, and other youth settlement needs) and provide information and referral services, group activities and youth leadership development as appropriate.
  • Represent the program as appropriate with parents, community groups and networks, local schools, community groups, program partnerships and forums (e.g. community networks, committees, planning sessions, event co-ordination, and consultations).
  • Collaborate with other agencies and community groups to co-ordinate services; assess needs and track issues and opportunities related to newcomer youth and settlement issues; and advocate as appropriate to promote equity for newcomer youth.
  • Maintain client records, collect data and compile various statistics and records, including IRCC required databases (iCARE). Contribute to the production of various reports, grant proposals and funding applications as required.
  • Participate as a member of the House, including in-House committees, initiatives and activities as required; developing cross-program initiatives; providing other related functions as required.

Qualifications:

  • Post-secondary education preferably in settlement related field and at least 3 years of relevant experience.
  • Knowledge of youth services for newcomers and community-based settlement work within a multi-cultural community.
  • Excellent skills in providing appropriate cross-cultural services, individualized supports, information and referral, group facilitation and activities, needs assessments and supporting one-on-one mentorships.
  • Ability to work with a diverse range of newcomer youth and support them as appropriate on issues that they may encounter such as education, housing, recreation, social assistance, employment, job search skills, healthy sexuality, drug prevention/abuse and other youth settlement needs. Proven ability to work with and support Gender appropriate youth programming on issues they may face.
  • Excellent networking and promotional skills as this position emphasizes attracting and connecting with youth of different communities through creative and innovative youth services, as well as outreach and relationship building with youth, volunteers, and partners.
  • Knowledge of and experience working within an anti-oppression framework.
  • Strong written and oral communication as well as interpersonal skills required.
  • Strong ability to work as a team member and to support day to day activities of staff, volunteers and participants while assisting the Coordinator in program development, implementation and evaluation.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills within a team-based setting.
  • Demonstrated ability to train, support and retain volunteers.
  • Administrative skills including petty cash, TTC, scheduling staff/volunteers and programs, program reporting. Experience with IRCC funding and databases are assets.
  • Ability to use database, spreadsheet and word processing software in a Windows environment.
  • Oral and written fluency in English as well as a second language relevant to the community we serve is required.
  • Ability to work a flexible schedule and evenings and weekends as needed and on ad hoc basis.

Status:  Permanent Full-time

Start Date:  Immediate

Hours:  35 per week including regular evening and weekend work

Rate:  $26.34 per hour  (full benefits package after 3 months including 4 weeks vacation, pension plan after 6 months)

Unit:  Newcomer and Family Programs

Immediate Supervisor:  Coordinator, Immigrant and Refugee Services

Closing Date:   April 6, 2021

Note:  West Neighbourhood House provides accommodation during all parts of the  hiring process, upon request, to applicants with disabilities.  Applicants should make their needs known in advance.

Please reply in writing by 5:00 p.m. on the closing date to:   

Hiring Committee

1497 Queen St. West, Unit 103

Toronto, ON

M6R 1A3

dianade@westnh.org

West Neighbourhood House is an equal opportunity employer. We thank all applicants, but only those candidates to be interviewed will be contacted.

Findings from the Longitudinal Immigration Database: Socioeconomic outcomes of immigrants admitted to Canada as children, 2018

From Statistics Canada’s The Daily, some interesting data on immigrant children. The key take-away: immigrant children are good for Canada.

Some highlights:

Immigrants who came to Canada as children are more likely to participate in post secondary education than the overall population.

Children admitted to Canada with economic immigrant families report higher post secondary education participation than Canadians overall or immigrants admitted under other categories.

At age 30, immigrants who were admitted to Canada before the age of 15 with economic immigrant families report the highest wages compared with those admitted under other categories.

Immigrant women admitted to Canada as children have higher post secondary education participation than men.

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’.

Changing the discourse around citizenship and immigration: A Comparison of the 6 Degrees dictionary and the International Organization for Migration glossary

Part I: Changing the discourse around citizenship and immigration. A Comparison of the 6 Degrees Dictionary and the International Organization for Migration Glossary

In preparation for the upcoming federal election in Canada, this summer the Canadian Council on Refugees (CCR) has issued an open letter to the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties, asking them to agree to a set of principles as they discuss and debate immigration and refugee issues and policy. Specifically, the CCR asks that people “engage in discussions about migration in ways that recognize:

  • Our shared humanity,
  • That Canada finds opportunity through diversity,
  • That refugees strengthen our communities,
  • That refugees help build our economy,
  • That Canada has legal obligations to respect and uphold the human rights of those fleeing persecution”.

In his 2017 Policy Matters article “How to debate immigration issues in Canada”, Andrew Griffith, former director general of Citizenship and Multiculturalism Canada and current prolific blogger at Multicultural Meanderings, called for “more respectful and informative debates”. He argued that “All participants need to be mindful of the impact of their arguments and words and need to formulate their arguments in a manner that fosters informed debate and contributes toward better pubic discourse and policy development”. The core principles shared by the CCR do set clear guidelines, but there must also be agreed upon definitions of the language used in these debates. Fortunately, two well known and respected organizations have recently released some definitions for consideration.

Co-founded and run by The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul, 6 Degrees is a program of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC). The ICC is the national champion for inclusion and active citizenship in Canada.  Last year, at their annual event, 6 Degrees, they released “The 6 Degrees Dictionary, A User’s Guide to Inclusion”. The 6 Degrees Dictionary focusses on inclusion and supports the notion that as a community, as a society, we all need to learn and use new agreed-upon language when we talk about citizenship and immigration.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is a leading intergovernmental agency providing  governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners with services and advice in promoting humane and orderly migration for all. In 2019, the IOM Glossary was developed “to give definitions for commonly (and on occasion not so commonly) used terms when speaking migration”. The IOM Glossary is clearly intended and written for policy makers, analysts and legislators. But both organizations want to change the discourse around migration and citizenship.

6 Degrees wants to provoke and inspire us; The IOM wants a “correct and balanced approach”. The 6 Degrees Dictionary offers us twelve terms to consider. Six of these terms are also defined in the IOM Glossary, and six are not. This paper reviews the six that are common to both.

Let’s see how their definitions are different, and ask whether the definitions are provocative and inspiring (6 Degrees) or if they help to bring harmony in the way the terminology is used and puts an end to dehumanizing terms (The IOM).

Citizen

The IOM Glossary doesn’t have a definition for ‘citizen’. Instead it refers readers to ‘nationality’, which is defined as “The legal bond between an individual and a State”. A short, decisive definition. The 6 Degrees Dictionary presents, as it does with all its “definitions”, a series of statements, challenging notions about the terms rather than defining them (in this way, I suggest that it is less a dictionary and more of a glossary). This approach lends itself well to being provocative and, some might say, controversial.

The 6 Degrees definition:

  1. Athens! The French Revolution!
  2. The source and guarantor of legitimacy of any nation-state, democratic or not.
  3. Under constant attack and denial by those with power, whether public or private.
  4. Not to be confused with a taxpayer.
  5. The opposite of stakeholder, a Mussolinian term which reduces an individual to membership in an interest group.
  6. Volunteerism is a manifestation of the engaged citizen, not a sector.
  7. The citizen cannot be a client of government services. The citizen owns the state.

immigrantchilren.ca finds much happiness in the fourth definition; “Not to be confused with a taxpayer”. Children, migrant or otherwise, are citizens in the country they find themselves in, regardless of their ability to pay taxes. The notion of volunteerism as a condition of, or a pre-requisite to ‘citizenship’ is a stimulating one. The 6 Degrees final definition of the citizen owning the state is an aggressive challenge to the IOM definition.

Immigrant

The IOM Glossary defines “immigrant” as “From the perspective of the country of arrival, a person who moves into a country other than that of his or her nationality or usual residence, so that the country of destination effectively becomes his or her new country of usual residence”. It’s very matter of fact. The  6 Degrees Dictionary defines “immigrant” in 6 different ways. After a short, declarative definition, The 6 Degrees Dictionary assigns attributes, effectively editorializing and being intentionally provocative and inspiring in its last five definitions:

The 6 Degrees definition:

  1. An individual who leaves one country to become the citizen of another.
  2. A noble term describing someone with the courage, decisiveness, and consciousness to wish to change their lives by changing their country.
  3. An individual whose qualities enrich their new society through public structures, culture, politics, and economics.
  4. On average, more comfortable with risk than those born in the country.
  5. Tends to be more ferociously loyal to their new country and its ideas of justice than those born there.
  6. An immigrant is to engagement what a citizen is to marriage.

Attributing immigrants as courageous, contributing and (more) loyal and (more) risk-taking in their new country is, again, deliberately provocative and challenging to the status quo view of immigrants taking from the system and wanting accommodation. Not an unpopular view, regrettably but not one the IOM takes either.

Integration

The IOM defines “integration” as “The two?way process of mutual adaptation between migrants and the societies in which they live, whereby migrants are incorporated into the social, economic, cultural and political life of the receiving community. It entails a set of joint responsibilities for migrants and communities, and incorporates other related notions such as social inclusion and social cohesion”.

The 6 Degrees definition:

  1. Probably better than assimilation, but a poor second to inclusion.
  2. Unfortunately assumed to be a benign process by which someone is incorporated into a society.
  3. A step, once understood as the only one necessary for dominant groups to deal with others.
  4. Assumes a list of adjustments that newcomers must make to become acceptable.
  5. Views societies as static and brittle that will crumble upon contact with difference.
  6. Provokes fear under the guise of stability.
  7. Discourages innate human curiosity.
  8. Denies happy human complexity.
  9. Totally wrongheaded.

Migrant

The IOM Glossary defines migrant as “An umbrella term, not defined under international law, reflecting the common lay understanding of a person who moves away from his or her place of usual residence, whether within a country or across an international border, temporarily or permanently, and for a variety of reasons’.

The IOM takes the opportunity to expand the term and includes a number of well?defined legal categories of people, such as migrant workers; persons whose particular types of movements are legally defined, such as smuggled migrants; as well as those whose status or means of movement are not specifically defined under international law, such as international students.

The 6 Degrees Dictionary begins its series of definitions pedantically with “A bird, animal or butterfly with a regular and circular pattern of movement”, then adds flourishes and texture to the next five, presumably as they relate to humans.

The 6 Degrees definition:

  1. A bird, animal or butterfly with a regular and circular pattern of movement.
  2. In practice, an underpaid industrial or agricultural worker who is expected to return to their home in the off season.
  3. In common usage, a label intended to exclude, marginalize, patronize, and dehumanize. As in, “When you’re finished picking my strawberries, go home.”
  4. A term that is never self-applied, only imposed on others.
  5. Not to be confused with expats or snowbirds.
  6. Used to justify withholding citizen rights from immigrants for one or more generations.

Multiculturalism

The IOM defines “multiculturalism” as “A model of integration policies that welcomes the preservation, expression and sometimes even the celebration of cultural diversity. This approach encourages migrants to become full members of society while retaining their cultural identities. It combines the recognition of varied backgrounds, traditions and ways of seeing the world with certain universalist values, such as the rule of law or gender equality, that override cultural differences and guarantee the same rights for all. The integration relationship is then best captured in the image of a mosaic enabling minority ethnic groupings to live side by side with the majority constituency”.

The 6 Degrees definition:

  1. An Indigenous concept that balances difference with belonging.
  2. A policy devised to explain how people from culturally distinct and diverse backgrounds can live together.
  3. A Canadian invention supporting – in theory at least – notions of equal rights, recognition, and opportunity for all regardless of their roots.
  4. An example of how confused and blissfully optimistic policymaking can become a strength.
  5. Misunderstood, to put it politely, by Europeans and Americans. And some Canadians.
  6. On paper, the opposite of interculturalism. In practice, identical.
  7. An important step on the road to pluralism and inclusion.
  8. A rare unapologetic Canadian mic drop.

Refugee

The IOM uses the 1951 Convention definition of refugee: “A person who, owing to a well founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it”.

The 6 Degrees definition:

  1. Someone who flees their home to save their life.
  2. Not simply persecuted by others, as the legal definitions insist.
  3. Victim of everything from war and prejudice to drought and economic collapse.
  4. As in, a victim of calamity, human or nature made. It could be you.
  5. Or an identified enemy of the state, for example, someone who speaks up. It could be you.
  6. In both cases, an attempt by those with power to dehumanize those without. It could be you.
  7. Requires courage.
  8. More popular than asylum seekers. Refugees may appeal to everyone’s fear of suffering, but an asylum seeker is a refugee looking for a place to live next door to you.
  9. One who escapes despair, walks across the Sahara, is abused, raped, beaten, used as slave labour, and finally risks their life on a boat only to be categorized by Europeans as economic migrants. A form of persecution.
  10. You don’t want to be one.

Discussion

The 6 Degrees Dictionary calls itself a user’s “guide to inclusion”.  Kudos to them to want to ‘provoke and inspire”. Some of the definitions are stimulating, confrontational and a little cheeky. The IOM Glossary takes a more conventional approach. Both documents are useful, and both are considered “living documents”, offering opportunity to add and edit. I hope we can revisit and reopen the Six Degrees Dictionary at this week’s upcoming Six Degrees event. What do you think of the definitions?

 

Part II: Reviewing the discourse around citizenship and immigration in each of the 2019 federal party platforms.

~ coming soon ~

Refugee Journeys: Identity, Intersectionality, and Integration, a board game

An analysis of Refugee Journeys: Identity, Intersectionality, and Integration (Lam, 2017), a board game for Canadians interested in learning about the experience of newcomers to this country.

What is, and how does this board game work?

“It started with a home printer and an old copy of Snakes-and-Ladders. Experiences of integration gleaned from research, from conversations with newcomers, and from media were collected and turned into ‘Experience Cards’ including:

  • difficulties with language learning
  • celebrating a child’s first friend
  • needing transportation in a rural area
  • trying to find food from home.

“A refugee student drew artwork for the gameboard, and a game designer, Rob Gosselin of Birdlight Games, gave professional insights to transform it into a product that could be ordered online.

“The end result is a game that is complex and engaging. It puts players into the shoes of a newcomer, moving forward or backward along the pathway of integration. Every player’s path is unique. Players receive an identity card detailing background and other aspects of identity. The journey of integration will be different depending on the cards drawn”.

If you’ve played this board game, immigrantchildren.ca would be interested to hear about your experience.

 

Singing and belonging: Researching newcomer children’s integration through choir participation

The Children’s Studies program at York University and the immigrant and settlement agency,  CultureLink are seeking an Arabic speaking postdoctoral research fellow for a three-year research project that will examine “the wellbeing and integrative impacts of children’s participation in choirs for newcomers to Canada”.
 Interested? Have a look: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 

Want more information? Contact Dr. Andrea Emberly aemberly@yorku.ca

Related upcoming event: This Thursday, January 25th, Culture Link is holding an open house to introduce its Children and Youth Centre in Toronto. See you there?

Migration Matters

Migration Matters is a European non-profit with a mission  to “empower the public to have more nuanced and evidence-based conversations about migration”. Migration Matters “produces bite-sized video courses that complicate commonly held preconceptions with original ideas, research, and solutions-oriented perspectives from leading thinkers in the field: researchers, practitioners, as well as migrants and refugees themselves”.

immigrantchildren.ca is pleased to promote its work and encourages you to take their course “Rethinking Us and Them: Integration and Diversity in Europe“. The course examines Germany and Canada and their efforts in integrating migrants. The course is a series of accessible and informative videos that challenges misconceptions and invites viewers to rethink us and them. Good stuff!