Four questions for … immigration policy expert Andrew Griffith

I asked Andrew Griffith:

What’s the effect of racism, discrimination, and stereotyping on newcomer children?

From what I see, and some of the points made by activists, academics and some policy initiatives, is the risk of low expectations and not necessarily pushing and encouraging children to fulfill and develop their potential. This issue has been raised in particular by members of the Black communities. It seems to be less of an issue for other communities given their high levels of post-secondary education compared to non-visible minorities. The overall risk of alienation remains but in general the Canadian school system appears to be doing a relatively good job on integration.

There’s much discussion on integration of immigrants. What kinds of services or supports do newcomer children need to successfully integrate in Canada?

For newcomer children, I think the main place integration occurs is through the public school systems. Given that family members in some communities provide childcare, there may be a need for additional ESL support in early years. For parents who opt for private faith-based schooling, there may be further integration challenges. There remain challenges in determining what is reasonable and what is not reasonable accommodation, as excessive accommodation can undermine integration efforts (e.g., sex ed debates in Ontario).

If you could influence the federal minister of citizenship, refugees, and immigration to do one thing for newcomer children, what would it be?

Talk to teachers, educators and CMEC and others to assess gaps (apart from funding!). But this issue is more appropriately dealt with at the local and provincial levels than federal.

What is one of your favourite children’s books that you would recommend for newcomer children? Why?

Too far removed from the days our kids were small and we would read to them and encourage them to read. Obviously, books that highlight a range of communities/identities should be part of the mix.

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Andrew Griffith is the former Director General – Citizenship and Multiculturalism Branch, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Andrew led policy and program development to strengthen citizenship, inclusion and participation, and intercultural understanding.

He is a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Andrew is the author of several books, including Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote, providing an integrated view of how well multiculturalism is working, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism, describing the relationship between the bureaucratic and political levels. Andrew comments on citizenship, multiculturalism and related issues, in his blog and the media.

 

 

 

 

Follow Andrew on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and learn more about his books.

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immigrantchildren.ca is asking Canadian experts and advocates in immigration, settlement, refugees, and newcomers about their views on newcomer children (birth to age eight). For more interviews, see here.

Mosaic Institute names new Executive Director

The Mosaic Institute is a ‘think and do’ tank, based in Toronto, which aims to break down racism through dialogue and action.

Today, the Mosaic Institute named its new Executive Director.  From the email blast:

“The Mosaic Institute announces the retirement of Bernie Farber. Bernie has brought his dynamism and understanding of diverse communities together to the Mosaic Institute during his tenure as Executive Director, Vahan Kololian Chair of the Board. We will miss him but understand and respect his desire to move to the next stage of his life.  We are very pleased that he has agreed to remain part of our family as a member of our Advisory Council, Kololian ncluded.

“Bernie has had a long and successful career, starting as a social worker in Ottawa, and moving into leadership roles of various human and civil rights organizations.  These roles included being CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 2005 to 2011.  Bernie then went on to the leadership of the Paloma Foundation addressing social issues of the homeless in Toronto.

“Bernie joined the Mosaic team in 2015 where he has helped guide the organization, raising its profile, and bringing his considerable expertise in helping to engage Canada’s diverse communities within the Mosaic family.

“Under his tenure Mosaic continued its seminal work on university campuses through its University of Mosaic initiatives funded by BMO as well as its award winning Next Generation High school global citizenship program funded through the RBC Foundation.

“During his two years at the helm, Bernie established the Mosaic in conversation program that brought together hundreds of individuals to discuss issues from First Nations reconciliation to the dangers of racism and xenophobia in a new world order. He helped steer Mosaic Institute signature fundraising event, its Peace Patron Dinner, one of the most highly anticipated occasions of the spring, ensuring unprecedented sold-out crowds over the last two years, while recognizing outstanding Canadians who exemplify the values of the Institute.

“As Bernie steps down, the Mosaic Institute welcomes Dr. Pamela Divinsky as its new Executive Director. Pamela and Bernie have commenced the transition process. Pamela’s official commencement date is October 1.

“Born and raised in Vancouver, Pamela has been the lead partner of The Divinsky Group which develops and implements strategies for corporations and NGOs that achieve organizational results and positive social impact. …

“Pamela has been responsible for developing initiatives that have combated child poverty, created policy change on numerous health and social issues sparking local community activism.

“Pamela brings a new and exciting skill set to the Mosaic Institute, noted Chair Vahan Kololian. Her years of experience in both the business and social service sector will bring an added and necessary dimension to our work. Her commitment to a progressive social value system complimented by her academic and corporate acumen is embraced by the Mosaic Institute as we move forward. We heartily welcome Pamela as our New Executive Director”.

July 1st

July 1 marks Canada Day. A good day to relaunch immigrantchildren.ca

And, in a nod to both, a book give away.

The Best of All Worlds is a children’s storybook with original stories written by seven newcomers to Canada in their home language. The languages are:

  • Arabic
  • Farsi
  • Japanese
  • Italian
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish

It is beautifully illustrated, also by newcomers to Canada.

All stories are translated into English and French. Very Canadian!

The Best of All Worlds is published by At One Press, an independent publishing house that captures the Canadian experience by delivering stories from multiple linguistic and cultural perspectives.

First three comments on this post gets a copy of the book! The catch? Translate ‘Happy Canada Day’ into one of the seven languages above.

Cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion: Opportunities regarding immigrant children and families

The Trudeau government yesterday released details on cabinet committees. Among them, one on diversity and inclusion, whose purpose is to “Consider(s) issues concerning the social fabric of Canada and the promotion of Canadian pluralism. Examines initiatives designed to strengthen the relationship with Indigenous Canadians, improve the economic performance of immigrants, and promote Canadian diversity, multiculturalism, and linguistic duality“.

Lots of opportunities here to address, support, and promote needs of immigrant and refugee children, youth, and families. In terms of improving the economic performance of immigrants, the Trudeau government is encouraged to (continue to) work with the early learning and child care community and implement a pan-Canadian child care system that is regulated, publicly-funded, high-quality, accessible and affordable, and culturally-appropriate.

Regarding linguistic duality, while immigrantchildren.ca recognizes that French and English are the two official languages of Canada, we invite the cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion to learn about the importance of supporting and promoting a child’s home language (or, L1 as it is sometimes referred to). Research demonstrates that children learning to speak a new language, who are supported and encouraged to use their home language, accomplish this task better. Communities and policies need to explore ways to help children retain their home language while they also learn the language(s) of their new home.

~

The Chair of the cabinet committee on diversity and inclusion is the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, John McCallum. The Co-Chair is Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Members of the committee include:

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs | @Carolyn_Bennett | carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Justice Minister and Attorney General | @Puglaas

Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development | Jean-Yves.Duclos@parl.gc.ca |@jyduclos

Marie Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie |  @mclaudebibeau

Maryam Monsef, Minister of Democratic Institutions | Maryam.Monsef@parl.gc.ca | @MaryamMonsef

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities | @CQualtro

Patricia Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women |

Bradish Chaggar, Minister of Small Business and Tourism | @BardishKW

All Ministers and Members of Parliament can be written, postage-free, to: The House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6.

Policy advice for the next/new #cdnimm minister

In a Q & A format, New Canadian Media have published a piece on policy advice for the next/new Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, post the Oct 19th federal election. It’s a thoughtful piece by esteemed policy wonks, Andrew Griffith, Robert Vineberg, and Richard Kurland.

I have a few additions to propose. I’ll use the questions that form the NCM piece.

1. What advice would you give an incoming minister of immigration and multiculturalism?

I’m delighted to see the premise of this question because the minister of immigration and citizenship ought to also hold the multiculturalism portfolio.

I support the expert’s advice to update the citizenship guide, Discover Canada, but I’d also propose both child (birth to age eight) and youth (eight to 18) versions. This could be a lot of fun!

2. Would you change the relative proportion of economic, family unification and humanitarian (refugee) migrants arriving in Canada every year?

I agree with Vineberg and would support an increase in family class. See the Canadian Council for Refugees item on family reunification. Policy responses related to transnational families, unaccompanied and undocumented children are also warranted.

3. What’s the ideal number of newcomers (including refugees) that Canada should take in every year (compared to the current average)?

Kurland’s response “No such thing as an ideal number” is valid, but Griffith’s suggestion provides a clearer direction: “Set in place an advisory body, broadly-based, that would review the social and economic integration data, nationally and regionally, to provide recommendations to government for longer-term targets and assess whether current levels and mix are appropriate”. I would hope that such an advisory body would, beyond recommending targets and assessing mix, also examine and recommend ways to support integration for immigrant children and youth.

4. Should multiculturalism be official policy? What needs to change?

As stated, multiculturalism is official policy and entrenched in the Charter. Changes may be warranted and I would propose that early childhood educators and primary school teachers – and parents – be consulted on how the policy can support and promote not only the theory of multiculturalism, but the importance of integration for newcomer children.

5. Should provinces and municipalities have a greater role in immigration? What role should that be?

Yes! Since provinces and municipalities have responsibility for education and health, and these areas impact young children and youth directly, these levels of government must step up their involvement and work to ensure that appropriate policies and programs are in place to support and promote integration, health and well-being of immigrant children and youth.

6. What can a new government do differently to enable “foreign credential recognition”?

The new government must put in place a pan-Canadian child care program that is publicly funded, regulated, accessible, affordable, not-for-profit, and community based. As newcomer parents navigate the foreign credential process (and later, as they enter the workforce), a high-quality child care program is critical. A truly universal child care program would also be culturally relevant and take into consideration the needs of newcomer children and families.

Multicultural toys exhibit and conference, University of Greenwich

The Centre for the Study of Play and Recreation, University of Greenwich and the Pollock Toy Museum Trust will host an exhibit and conference of multicultural toys and have issued a Call for Proposals.

From the H-CHILDHOOD Listserv:

“Toys have existed throughout human history in a few basic formats, while children have always created their own playthings. For centuries, craftsmen have created objects for children, which were available for purchase in places such as India and China before they were in Europe. Yet despite contemporary political espousal of innovation and entrepreneurship, the range of toys for sale in mainstream consumer outlets rarely reflects the cultural diversity of 21C Britain.

Globalization is usually understood as the dominance of particular brands rather than as an opportunity for diversification and dissemination of local materials.

June 3-8th, Exhibition at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery, University of Greenwich

June 8th, Conference

Following the success of previous multi-disciplinary conferences, we invite papers and short contributions from anyone interested in this area, including academics, post-graduate students, professionals working with children, and representatives of the toy industry.

Possible topics include:

Types of toys: balls, dolls, wheeled objected, construction toys, ‘small-world’ toys

Natural objects as playthings and the games they inspire(d)

Children’s experiences of toys, either contemporary or retrospective

Manufacture of toys and toy industries

Toys as training: the relationship between toys and social needs.

Please send a short summary of your proposed topic (no more than 250 words) to Mary Clare Martin at playandrecreation@gre.ac.uk. First deadline: March 31st, 2nd deadline, April 15th”.

Call for papers: Multicultural education: Past, present & future

From the listserv of the National Association of Multicultural Education: Call for papers for the fifth anniversay special issue. Theme: Multicultural Education: Past, Present, and Future.

“The editors of the International Journal of Multicultural Education (IJME) want to take advantage of this special 5th anniversary issue to reflect on the state of the field: where it has been, where it is, and where it is going. To do this, we will publish manuscripts that highlight important insights about multicultural education theory, teaching and research.

“We have selected an emphasis on the demonstrated effectiveness of multicultural education because we beleive that an evidentiary focus is expected by public and professional audiences more than ever in today’s high-stakes education policy and thus needs to figure more prominently in its future, especially if multicultural education is to enhance legitimacy within and beyond the accountability discourse of present educational priorities. For this reason, we seek manuscripts that link learner outcomes to particular goals that include, but are not limited to, developing:

– socio-historical and socio-cultural knowledge in service of an affirming orientation toward diversity

– constructivist dispositions toward knowlege, teaching, and learning in recognition of the partial, value- and power-laden nature of school curriculum, instruction, and assessment and of the broader cultural pedagogy of society

– change-agent skils of voice and organization for the purpose of active democratic participation”.

For submission information, see IJME. Submission deadline is April 1, 2012.

Revisiting 40 years of multicultural policy in Canada

The Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association will host their 2nd Joint Annual Conference in Ottawa, Ontario from Sept 30-Oct 1, 2011 on the theme of Revisiting 40 Years of Multicultural Policy in Canada. Regrettably, there are few sessions related to the impact of multicultural policy on children. However, here is the preliminary program, fyi. I’ve included links to where I thought they might add value. Question to organizers: is there a hashtag for tweeps attending?

Fri Sept 30/11 9-10:30 am Concurrent sessions

Multiculturalism and the Social Network

Chair: Anne B. Denis, University of Ottawa

Tieja Thomas and Vivek Venkatesh, Concordia University, Digital media and immigration: Limits and possibilities.

Raluca Bejan, University of Toronto, A Step further: How to improve a mentoring program to fully advance the labour market inclusion of internationally trained professionals.

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, City of Toronto (retired), By any name – From respect for cultural difference to re-distribution of wealth and status.

Carl  E. James, Danielle Lafond, Selom Chapman-Nyaho, York University, Getting to “know” police: Youth’s perceptions and experiences with police through summer employment.

Governance and Multiculturalism

Chair: Jean Teillet, Teillet and Associates

Augie Fleras, University of Waterloo, Rethinking multicultural governance in Canada: Toward a multiversal multiculturalism in  a globalizing world of  transmigration & transnationalism.

Malgorzata Kierylo Malolepsza, Queen’s University, Multiculturalism and the bureaucratization of ethnic consciousness.

Sinelka Jurkova, University of Calgary, Ethnic organizations – segregating or integrating effects?

Tara Gilkinson & Geneviève Sauvé, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Recent immigrants, earlier immigrants and the Canadian-born: Personal and social trust.

Zhang Jijiao, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Canadian multiculturalism policy: Experiences and lessons, and its implications to China.

Multiculturalism on the Prairies

Chair: Lloyd Wong, University of Calgary

David McGrane, University of Saskatchewan, Multiculturalism in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: An historical perspective.

Professor Emeritus Cornelius Jaenan, University of Ottawa, Belgian immigrants in western Canada.

Henry Chow, University of Regina, Bringing the world to Saskatchewan: Effects of national feelings, citizenship, and socio-political orientation on young Canadian adults.

Multiculturalism and National Identities

Sourayan Mookerjea, University of Alberta, Multiculturalism between empires.

Hijin Park, Brock University, Conceptualizing (Im) Migrant Asian women in multicultural Canada.

Pat McLane, University of Alberta, Canadian understandings of universalism and extremism.

Ashleigh Androsoff, University of Toronto, Immigration and identity in Canada’s insipient multicultural era: the Doukhobor case.

Friday, Sept 30/11 11-12:15 am/pm Concurrent sessions

Cities, Neighbourhoods and Multiculturalism

Heath McLeod, University of Calgary, Understanding unstable housing experiences of newcomer women in Calgary and Montreal – Considerations for policy.

Marilena Liguori & Bochra Manai, Institut national de la recherche scientifique – Centre Urbanisation, Culture et Société (Montréal), Multiculturalism in the city, reflections on ethnic neighbourhoods in Montreal and Toronto.

Cultural Multiculturalism

Chair: Sidd Bannerjee, Association for Canadian Studies

Melissa Templeton, University of California, Dance, race and national identity: Multiculturalism and federal support for Les Ballets Jazz.

Robert A. Kenedy, York University, Diasporic liminality from France to Montréal: Re-negotiating Jewish identity in intercultural and multicultural contexts.

Lloyd Sciban, University of Calgary, The Status of traditional Chinese medicine in Canada.

Rebecca Margolis, University of Ottawa, Yiddish and Canadian multiculturalism: A Marriage made in heaven?

Rethinking Multiculturalism: Tensions Between Ethnicity and Immigration

Chair: Judy Young Drache

Shibao Guo, University of Calgary, Immigration, integration & multiculturalism: Exploring the role of Chinese diasporic communities in Canada.

William Shaffir & Vic Satzewich, McMaster University, The informal settlement sector: Broadening the lens to understand newcomer integration in Hamilton.

Sinela Jurkova, University of Calgary, Ethnic organizations segregating or integrating effects?

Friday, Sept 30/11 1:45-3 pm Concurrent sessions

Slavic Marxists in Canada in the Twentieth Century

Chair: Christopher Adam, Carleton University

Mark Stolarik, University of Ottawa, Slovak Marxists in North America: Their hopes and disappointments.

Petryk Polec, University of Ottawa, The rise of Polish leftist culture in Canada.

Myron Momryk, Library and Archives Canada (retired), The Association of United Ukrainian Canadians and the ‘politics’ of multiculturalism.

Cultural Multiculturalism and Post-secondary Education

Janki Shankar and Eugene Ip, Norquest College, University of Calgary, Academic aspirations: Challenges and barriers of ethnic minority immigrant and indigenous students in a post-secondary education setting.

Dan Cui & Jennifer Kelly, University of Alberta, Too Asian? Media and multiculturalism from the Chinese Canadian youth perspective.

Multiculturalism Turns Forty: Reflections on the Impact of Multiculturalism

Chair: Susan Brigham, Mount St-Vincent University

Tamara Seiler, University of Calgary, Multiculturalism and the changing national imaginary: The Case of Canadian literature in English.

James Frideres, University of Calgary, Diasporas in society: Implications for Canada.

Lloyd Wong, University of Calgary, Anti-Multiculturalism and the implications for ethnic identity.

Madeline A. Kalbach, University of Calgary, The Impact of Canada’s multiculturalism policy and research data.

Research on Racialization and Racism at Canadian Universities: Preliminary Findings

Chair: Kamal Dib, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Carl James, York University, Strategies of engagement:  Racialized faculty members Negotiation of the university.

Frances Henry and Carol Tator, York UniversityMarginalization, exclusion and omission:  The Experiences of racialized  faculty.

Ena Dua, University of Calgary, Measuring equity: The Politics of data collection.

Friday, Sept 30/11 3:30-5 pm Concurrent sessions

Multiculturalism and Ethnic Media

Chair: Sidd Bannerjee, Association for Canadian Studies

Augie Fleras, University of Waterloo, Ethnic media and multiculturalism in Canada: Partnership or opposition?

April Lindgren, Ryerson University, News that’s not fit to print? Portrayals of other ethnic and racialized groups in the Greater Toronto Area’s ethnocultural newspaper.

Multiculturalism and Education

Johanne J. Jean-Pierre, McMaster University and Fernando Nunes, Mount Saint Vincent University, Multiculturalism policy turns 40: Reflections on its impact on education.

Sarah Smith, Université de Montréal, The Multicultural textbook and the coloniality of difference.

Thomas Ricentro, University of Calgary, Multiculturalism and the monoglot ideology: Incommensurate worlds?

Unpacking Multiculturalism in the Classroom

Ratna Ghosh, Mariusz Galczynski, and Vilelmini Tsagkaraki, McGill University, Unpacking multiculturalism in the classroom.

Religion and Multiculturalism in Canada: 40 Years Later

Chair: Kamal Dib, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Paul Bramadat, University of Victoria, Back to the future: Canadian approaches to recent and anticipated controversies involving religion.

Lori Beaman, University of Ottawa, Beyond accommodation: Multiculturalism and deep equality.

Benjamin Berger, Osgoode HallYork University, Trying religion: Multiculturalism, religion and law in Canada.

Solange Lefebvre, Université de Montréal, After Bouchard-Taylor: Religion and interculturalism in Quebec.

David Seljak, University of Waterloo, Christianity, citizenship and multiculturalism norms in a post-secular society.

Taking the Nation to Task: Reflecting on the Cultural Dimensions of Multiculturalism

Carrianne Leung, Ontario College of Art and Design, The Passage of fortune: Writing heritage, history and race in the nation.

Lynn Caldwell, University of Saskatchewan, Static possibility: Race, nostalgia, and Saskatchewan as a national space.

Sam Tecle, York University, I’m not Black, I’m Eritrean: Being Eritrean/learning Blackness.

Meaghan Frauts, Queen’s University, Canada’s racialized spaces: The Politics of race and temporality of space during National Aboriginal Day.

Nouveau arrivants et intérgration scolaire en milieu linguistic et culturel minoritaire au Manitoba

Nathalie Piquemal, University of Manitoba

Boniface Bahi, Faculté Saint Jean – University of Alberta

Mahsa Bakshaei, Université de Montréal, La politique canadienne de multiculturalisme assure-t-elle l’égalité de chance de la réussite scolaire des élèves immigrants au secondaire québécois ? Le cas des élèves sud-asiatiques au secteur français.

Sat Oct 1/11 9-10:30 am Concurrent sessions

Black Canada and Multiculturalism: After Colonialty

Rinaldo Walcott, OISE – University of Toronto

Andrea Fatona, Ontario College of Art and Design

Katherine McKittrick, Queen’s University

Mark Campbell, University of Guelph

The Evolving Practice of Multiculturalism: from Food and Drink to Social Transformation

Chair: Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, Former Corporate Diversity Manager, City of Toronto (retired)

Herman Ellis Jr, Program Director, Scadding Court Community Centre

Antoni Shelton, Co-ordinator of Operations, Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario

Linda Koehler-Moore, Supervisor, Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation

André Goh, Manager, Diversity Management Unit, Toronto Police

Nadira Pattison, Manager, Arts Services, Toronto Culture

Immigrant Social and Political Participation

Chair: Phil Ryan, Carleton University

Philippe Couton, University of Ottawa, The Immigrant third sector: Recent evidence.

Marie-Michele Sauvageau, University of Ottawa, Immigrant political activism in Quebec.

Halyna Mokrushyna, University of Ottawa, Social and political engagement in the Ukrainian diaspora.

Mixed Race and Identity

Chair: Minelle Mahtani, University of Toronto

Danielle Lafond, York University

Leanne Taylor, Brock University

Karina Vernon, University of Toronto

Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia

Sat Oct 1 11-12:15 am/pm Concurrent sessions

Multiculturalism and Suspect Minorities: Possibilities of Conflicting Identities

Chair: Lori Wilkinson, University of Manitoba

Kalyani Thurairajah, McGill University, Tamils in Canada and Sri Lanka: Competing identities and loyalties in the shadow of terrorism.

Morton Weinfeld, McGill University, Competing identities and loyalties among Canadian and British Jews.

Interculturalism

Chair: Susan Brigham, Mount St-Vincent University

Celine Cooper, OISE – University of Toronto, The Rise of interculturalism in Quebec: How can the emergent approach to language, identity, ethno-cultural diversity and social integration in Quebec help us reflect upon multiculturalism and forms of nationalism(s) in Canada?

Darryl Lerroux, Saint Mary’s University, considering Quebec’s interculturalism as a response to multiculturalism.

Author Meets Critics: Us, Them and Others: Pluralism and National Identity in Diverse Societies

Chair: Minelle Mahtani, University of Toronto

Elke Winter, University of Ottawa

Catherine Frost, McMaster University

Harold Ramos, Dalhousie University

Leslie Seidle, Institute for Research on Public Policy

Youth, Generational Issues and Multiculturalism

Chair: Kamal Dib, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Emanuel de Silva, University of Toronto, Making and Masking Difference: Multiculturalism and sociolinguistic tensions in Toronto’s Portuguese-Canadian market.

Yunliang Meng, York University, A Spatial and temporal analysis of  youth’s socioeconomic outcomes in ethnic enclaves in Toronto.

Fernando Mata, Canadian Heritage, Prevalence and generational persistence of lone parent status among ethnic groups in Canada: A Look at census data.

Sat Oct 1/11 1:45-3:30 pm Concurrent sessions

Multiculturalism, Human Rights and Canadian Identity

Multiculturalism has been a cornerstone of Canadian society for 40 years. It is premised on the concept that all citizens are equal, and they can maintain their identities, take pride in their ancestry and do so without undercutting their sense of belonging to Canada.  Public opinion surveys generally reveal that Canadians are supportive of the principle of multiculturalism.  However the nature and depth of this support is often the object of debate. Also there is often some uncertainty around how the theory of multiculturalism is applied when it comes to issues of human rights and discrimination.

This panel discusses the impact of multiculturalism on human rights from the perspectives of four institutional champions of Canadian human rights. More specifically, the panel will  address: the relationship between multiculturalism and human rights; the difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism; how to accommodate multiculturalism within a framework of common values.

Chair: Ayman Al-Yassini, Canadian Race Relations Foundation

Gaetan Cousineau, Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse, Québec

Judge David M. Arnot, Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

Barbara Hall, Ontario Human Rights Commission

Maxwell Yalden, former diplomat and senior public servant, and author

Challenges of Multicultural Discourse

Chair: Kamal Dib, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Elke Winter, & Marie-Michele Sauvageau, University of Ottawa, How to recast national identity and on whose terms? Media representation of the new Canadian citizenship guide.

Chedly Belkhodja, Université de Moncton, La critique du multiculturalism ou Québec: les nouveau intellectuels de droite.

Karen Bird, McMaster University, WTF is the ethnic vote? Critical reflections on multiculturalism and electoral politics in Canada.

Dominique Riviere, OISE – University of Toronto, Scratching our “Great National Itch”:  narratives of multiculturalism in 12st-century Canada.

Multiculturalism and Immigrant Integration: The Experience of Smaller Cities and Rural Areas

Chair: Howard Ramos, Dalhouise University

Lori Wilkinson, University of Manitoba, An Examination of identity and experiences of discrimination among newcomer youth living in mid-sized Canadian cities.

Evangelia Tastsoglou and Sandy Petrinioti, Saint Mary’s University, Does ‘place’ matter? multiculturalism and the forging of identities by Lebanese youth in Halifax.

Madine VanderPlaat, Saint Mary’s University, The Role of family in the decision to migrate and settle.

Multiculturalism and Mental Health

Chair: Nehal El-Hadi, University of Toronto

Avril Aves, Multicultural Outreach, KW Counselling Services, Kitchener, Ontario, Multiculturalism and Mental Health: An Outreach strategy for counselling agencies.

Professor Emeritus John Berry, Queen’s University, Intercultural relations in plural societies: Research derived from multicultural policy.

Examining Multiculturalism, Ethnic Identity and Intercultural Communication Competence Through the Social Construction of Food

Jaya Peruvemba, University of Ottawa, Examining multiculturalism, ethnic identity and intercultural communication competence through the social construction of food

Sat Oct 1/11 3:30-5 pm Concurrent sessions

Multiculturalism and immigrant Integration: The Experience of Smaller Cities and Rural Areas II

Chair: Evangelia Tastsoglou, Saint Mary’s University

Laura Lee Howard, University of Prince Edward Island, Reaching out and welcoming in: Increasing newcomer parental engagement in the Garden of the Gulf (PEI).

Yoko Yoshida and Howard Ramos, Dalhousie University, Who are rural immigrants?

Ather Akbari, Saint Mary’s University, Economic integration of immigrants in small urban centres: Some evidence from Atlantic Canada.

Susan Brigham, Mount St Vincent University, Talking back to Canada’s multicultural policy: Internationally educated teachers’ negotiation of space, place, identity and belonging in Maritime Canada.

Ethnic Communities and the Creation of Canada’s Multicultural Policy

Ethnic communities were instrumental in creating Canada’s Multiculturalism Policy. Their contribution in the development of the policy is not well known or documented. Representatives of ethnocultural organizations appeared before the Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism pointing out that many Canadians who helped build the country were of non-French and non-English origin: hence, the implementation of “A Policy of Multiculturalism within a Bilingual Framework.” The panel will provide an opportunity for members of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council and representatives of community organizations to reflect on the development of the policy over the past 40 years, reflecting how it has shaped the role of ethnic organizations, been an instrument for social cohesion, and has facilitated nation building while strengthening Canadian identity.

Chair: Anna Chiappa, Canadian Ethnocultural Council

Can Le, Vietnamese Federation of Canada

Gita Nurlaila, Indonesian Canadian Congress

Diane Dragasevich, Serbian National Shield Society of Canada

C. Lloyd Stanford, Le Groupe Stanford Inc.

Author Meets Critics: Creative Subversions: Whiteness, Indigeneity, and the National Imaginary

Chair: Minelle Mahtani, University of Toronto

Margot Francis, Brock University

Renisa Mawani, University of British Columbia

Rinaldo Walcott, University of Toronto

Jeff Thomas, Independent Photographer and Curator

Developing and Measuring Effectiveness of Cultural Intelligence and Diversity in the Canadian Forces: Challenges and Considerations

Chair: Karen Davis, National Defence Canada

Jack Jedwab, Association for Canadian Studies

Daniel Lagacé-Roy, Royal Military College

John Berry, Queen’s University

Lloyd Wong, University of Calgary

The current state of multiculturalism in Canada and research themes on Canadian multiculturalism 2008-2010

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) commissioned Professor Will Kymlicka (Queen’s University) to synthesize the results from six regional reports and write an overview of the current state of multiculturalism and research themes on Canadian multiculturalism that would form the focus for the Multiculturalism and Human Rights Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Each regional report identified up to eight themes: a total of 48 proposed themes. Kymlicka synthesized ten research themes on Canadian multiculturalism:

1. Adapting Multiculturalism to Religious Diversity
2. Racism and Discrimination
3. Labour Market Integration
4. Immigration Beyond the Metropolis
5. Implications of Security Issues for Multiculturalism
6. The Future of Multiculturalism
7. Relating Multiculturalism to Aboriginal Peoples
8. Vulnerable Groups: Women and Youth/Second Generation
9. Patterns of Ethnic Community Formation
10. Multicultural Readiness in Service Delivery

Our interest at immigrantchildren.ca is, of course, children and families, and we are delighted to see children and families referenced in the report, including:

“The children of immigrants have better educational outcomes in Canada than in any other Western democracy. Indeed, uniquely among Western countries, second-generation immigrants in Canada actually outperform children of non-immigrant parents (OECD 2006). Moreover, this is not solely due to the higher socio-economic background of immigrants in Canada. On the contrary, immigrant children from lower socio-economic backgrounds also do better in Canada than in other countries….

“At the institutional level, we also have new evidence of the role that multiculturalism plays in creating more inclusive and equitable public institutions. For example, the massive OECD study that established Canada’s comparative advantage in educating immigrant students emphasized that a crucial factor in this success was the presence of specific policies to address issues of cultural and linguistic diversity in the school population – policies that, in the Canadian context, have emerged under the rubric of multiculturalism (OECD 2006). These diversity policies help to explain why the children of immigrants do better in Canada, even when one takes into account the skills, education and income of their parents….

“Some commentators have pointed to the persistence of illiberal practices among some immigrant and minority groups as evidence that they are failing to integrate into Canada’s liberal-democratic norms. This issue emerged, for example, in discussions of Aqsa Parvez’s case – the December 2007 “honour killing” of a Muslim girl by her father for not wearing the hijab. But here again, we need to get beyond isolated cases to look at the general trends. Cases of honour killings, coerced marriages or female genital mutilation can be found in every Western democracy, whether or not it has multiculturalism policies. There is no evidence that this problem is worse in multiculturalist countries (i.e., countries that do have formal multiculturalism policies and laws in place) like Canada than in non-multiculturalist countries like France or Germany….

“In any event, the occurrence of such cases should not be taken as evidence of any general trend toward the rejection of liberal-democratic values. On the contrary, a recent study shows that immigrants in Canada, regardless of their religious affiliation, converge toward the Canadian norm on what the authors call “Charter values,” including the rights of gays and women (Soroka, Johnston and Banting 2007). Indeed, as I noted earlier, what immigrants are most proud of in Canada is its democratic norms (Adams 2007). There is simply no evidence that immigrants and their children in Canada are not internalizing liberal-democratic values. The question of how best to prevent and prosecute such crimes is a very important one, but we will go badly off course if we misinterpret these individual acts as evidence of a general failure of political integration among entire ethnic groups….

“Vulnerable groups: Women and youth/second generation. As I noted earlier, several of the regional reports suggested replacing the broad research theme of “social inclusion” with more focused themes that examine specific patterns of exclusion. Two groups in particular were seen as vulnerable to exclusion – women and youth/second generation – and several reports recommended devoting research themes to them.

“Here again, a number of more specific research questions were raised. In relation to youth and the second generation, these included research on (a) whether the declining economic attainment of newer immigrants is being passed down to their children (i.e.,whether the second generation is exhibiting declines in education, employment and income); (b) whether the risks of social exclusion are leading to lower feelings of belonging and identification with Canada; and (c) whether more specific programs are needed to help youth at risk”.

The full report is here.