Archive for the ‘Policy and Legislation’ Category

Discounting immigrant families: Neoliberalism & the framing of Canadian immigration policy change

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

As part of part of the SSHRC project, Immigration Trajectories of Immigrant Families, the Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement has released the paper Discounting Immigrant Families: Neoliberalism and the Framing of Canadian Immigration Policy Change.

From the abstract:

“This paper aims to develop a conceptual framework to assist in understanding how the immigrant family is impacted by recent changes to immigration policy in Canada. We contend that neoliberalism, broadly defined, is a helpful lens through which to comprehend some of the specific policies as well as discursive outcomes which have real effects on immigrant families. Based on our findings from an in-depth literature review, our goal is to identify and summarize the recent changes to the Canadian policy environment and to develop a critical conceptual framework through which to understand policy change in relation to families and immigrants”.

The too-brief discussion of the “ideal immigrant” and the “ideal immigrant family” in the paper is provocative, or at least could be. Children, as part of an immigrant family, are social policy orphans. There is little attention devoted to immigrant children, both from the academic/research community and the federal/provincial government departments responsible for citizenship and immigration. The RCIS papers lack of depth on this issue fails to answer the first research question posed in the SSHRC project, i.e., How do all members of the family facilitate or impede the integration of immigrants? The paper briefly touches on the federal policy changes to the definition of dependent children from 22 and under to 19 and under, for children arriving under the economic class and/or family sponsorship. This is an important issue to highlight. Immigrant children, from birth to age eight, are also an important group to address. A federal policy response is warranted. Children in this age group are ripe for shaping, so to speak. It is odd that given the federal governments focus on integration, they are not developing programs, supports and services that promote acculturation. And why isn’t the academic/research community delving deeper?

Toronto Star op-ed: Canada tightens rules on immigrant and refugee children

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Ashley Chapman’s op-ed in the Toronto Star, published on Sat Jul 26 2014. All rights reserved.

“While much of the country is enjoying the summer, the federal government is quietly amending its immigration and refugee protection regulations. With only $62,000 set aside for both implementation and communications, it’s clear that they’re not wanting much public attention.

“And no wonder.

“As of Aug. 1, Canada is tightening the rules on which immigrant and refugee children are eligible to come to Canada with their parents. Until that date, unmarried dependants aged 21 and under could be included in their parents’ immigration or refugee applications. Exceptions were made for full-time students over 21 who were financially dependent on their parents. Under the new regulations, the cut-off age is 18 and under, with no exceptions for students.

“According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, “The amendments to the definition of dependent child respond to government priorities of having an immigration system focused on Canada’s economic and labour force needs.” Their own regulatory impact analysis statement cites evidence that the younger a child is when they immigrate, the better their long-term labour market outcomes. On average, they claim, Canadian education yields a higher financial return than foreign education.

“The economic evidence may stand, but Canada will likely lose out on some highly qualified immigrants who are understandably unwilling to move to a new country or continent without their 19- or 20-year-old progeny. What’s more, the changes go against one of the official objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act — to reunite families.

“Still, economic migrants make the choice to come to Canada; the amendments will have a much graver impact on those with very little choice in their immigration — refugees and others in the humanitarian immigration stream. In fact, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees took notice when the changes were first previewed in the Canada Gazette last year. So did the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association, and the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.

“In total, 60 groups and individuals submitted written comments after the changes were first proposed. Most were in opposition.

“Many refugees and asylum seekers will now have to decide whether safety in Canada is worth leaving a 19-year-old son or daughter behind in a potentially life-threatening situation.

“At the Canadian Council for Refugees’ Consultation last year, refugee settlement workers explained the gendered dangers this would create in countries where women are oppressed. No longer in their parents’ household, they could be forced to marry, face destitution or worse.

“One worker recounted a situation under the previous regulations where a 22-year-old daughter was the only remaining family member left in a new country (the neighbouring country where the family fled to make their refugee claim). The family pleaded with the minister of citizenship and immigration for an exemption, to no avail.

“Ironically, it was only after the daughter attempted to commit suicide that the situation improved. As a result of her new mental health issue, she could now be considered a dependant.

“With the age of dependency being lowered by three years, it’s estimated that 7,000 young adults will lose their chance to come to Canada with their families next year. About 800 of them will be the children of refugees. This is what happens when we let economic motives determine our immigration policy.

“Of course the government also claims the regulatory changes better reflect life in Canada, where — apparently — young adult children are fully independent by age 19.

“The Canadian reality is that most high school graduates are neither ready nor willing to make it entirely apart from their parents’ financial, social and emotional support. In fact, 42 per cent of 20-somethings in Canada still live with their parents, and most have never faced war, famine or torture.

“It’s no easy feat to qualify for refugee status internationally or in Canada; those who are accepted have been through more than most can imagine. Adding a forced familial separation onto that load is not only unconscionable, it’s unthinkable.

“But the government isn’t asking us to think about it. The meagre communications budget allotted the change will not reach anyone but those who are no longer eligible to apply. The rest of us will continue with our summer holiday plans and continue to joke that our 27-year-old offspring will leave the nest — someday”.

Ashley Chapman is with Citizens for Public Justice, a member-driven, faith-based public policy organization in Ottawa.

Call for papers: Honour/shame related violence in Canada

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Amina Jamal, Mandeep Kaur Mucina and Farrah Khan are planning a symposium and edited collection of (as posted on website of the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode Hall) “critical essays on “honour” related violence. The idea for this anthology emerged initially in reaction to the murder of Aqsa Parvez and the responses of various institution and communities. As other murders of young women come to light in Canada, such as Amandeep Atwal, Jassi Sidhu, Zainab, Sahar and Geeti Shafia, we find that there are limited spaces for us to mourn and reflect on the complexities of these murders.

“Often the reactions of mainstream society and the questions posed to us are the following: is violence endemic to South Asian communities? Do some religions condone “honour “based killings? Reacting to the death and to the responses, the following questions became a central focus for our work: How can we begin discussing the complexities of violence in South Asian and other racialized communities? What are some ways to do this without reinscribing colonialist assumptions that violence lives in racialized cultures? Indeed how do we talk about violence within and with our communities outside of the parameters of dominant discourse? How do we demand accountability for gendered violence within our communities without serving the interests of institutional racism, economic exploitation, Islamophobia and hetero-national imperialism”?

Submissions are welcome from academics, community workers and activists from perspectives from sociology, critical criminology, education, gender studies, law, social work, cultural studies, communication and social psychology.

Suggested topics may include but are not limited to:

Popular media, critiques and questions
Grassroots movements to address violence
The “Honour” crimes industry
Sexual and bodily rights
Community conversations, healing, resiliency
The Construction of girlhood
Counseling frameworks and supports
Experiences in newcomer and/or racialized communities
State interventions and policies i.e. immigration
Role of institutions i.e. education and social services

The Editors are also planning to hold a symposium, inviting contributors to present their papers to “critique and share some of the work that is currently happening in the Canadian context”.

Deadline for abstracts: August 10, 2012. For more information, visit the IFLS website.

Jason Kenney’s Convoluted Contradictions

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

Among other avenues, the 1977 Citizenship Act grants the right to citizenship to persons born in Canada. But if immigration and citizenship minister Jason Kenney gets his way, that right may soon be quashed. Kenney is proposing that there be no more automatic citizenship status for babies born on Canadian soil to foreign mothers. Jason Kenney is the cabinet minister who is regularly applauded for really understanding his portfolio. A sizeable and vocal number of Canadians – and among them, many new Canadians – support the many changes he has brought forward to strengthen Canadian citizenship. He has challenged human traffickers and unscrupulous immigration consultants. He has demonstrated in these and in other actions that Canada cares about human rights. As Kenney has stated, “we must protect the values of Canadian citizenship and must take steps against those who cheapen it”.

In 2007 Kenney amended the rules to allow for immediate Canadian citizenship status for babies adopted from a foreign country by a Canadian parent. Previously, Canadians who adopted internationally had to apply for the child’s citizenship status through the lengthy and arduous permanent residence process. This change ostensibly minimized the differential status between children born in Canada and children adopted into Canada. Equality rights triumphed and the move to ensure all children of Canadians (however they were begot) had equal rights in the form of Canadian citizenship was widely celebrated. How could we argue against loving Canadian prospective parents wanting Canadian citizenship rights for “their” child? Rights to live equally and freely and under the protection of human rights.

The majority of children who migrate to Canada for adoption purposes are from China. China has one of the world’s worst records for human rights – and, specifically, child rights. Yet last week, news headlines screamed that “Chinese women are gaming the system” by having their babies in Canada; with plans to secure some possible future as sponsored family members.

In a statement to Sun News on February 22, 2012, Kenney spokesperson Candice Malcolm said “We are aware of crooked consultants who encourage pregnant women to illegally travel to Canada to give birth and gain access to Canada’s considerable benefits”. These same babies, were they born in China and relinquished for adoption to Canadians, would be warmly welcomed by the federal government and given immediate citizenship status and rights.

Kenney’s proposed changes would deny citizenship to babies born on Canadian soil but would confer automatic citizenship rights to children born on foreign soil.

Is contradiction now a Canadian value?

The Drummond Commission recommendations on immigration (and the missed opportunities to address immigrant children/families)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

There has been much examination and discussion of the recommendations of the recently released Drummond Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (struck by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan). immigrantchildren.ca notes that the Commission has lost the opportunity to highlight and promote the importance of addressing both the needs of immigrant families with young children – and the contribution that immigrant parents can make to the Ontario economy if these needs are supported.

In the introduction, “The Economic Importance of Immigration”, the Drummond report says:

“By attracting skilled workers from abroad, Ontario can better address potential labour-market shortages. Maintaining labour-force growth, aided by successful immigrants, can help sustain Ontario’s long-term economic growth”.

immigrantchildren.ca believes that immigrant parents may be able to contribute economically by participating in the labour force, but only if they are secure in their child care arrangements. Current federal initiatives for child care are almost absent. There is an opportunity for the federal government to partner with the provinces to ensure that culturally appropriate child care is made available to newcomers.

This introduction ends with the bold statement: “In short, future trends in immigration and the degree to which Ontario can successfully integrate new arrivals into the province’s labour market and social fabric will have a significant effect on Ontario’s fiscal fortunes”. The Drummond report makes a case for ensuring that social supports are in place for immigrants in order for them to contribute to the economy through labour force participation. Child care is one such social support. We wonder how it was overlooked.

In the Commission’s section on immigration, seven recommendations are made. With respect to each of the recommendations, immigrantchildren.ca has some initial thoughts. We invite more discussion, debate and comment. (Drummond report recommendations in bold, with comments in italics following).

Recommendation 10-1: Develop a position on immigration policies that is in the province’s best economic and social interests. Present this position to the federal government with the expectation that, as the largest recipient of immigrants in Canada, Ontario’s interest will be given considerable weight in federal policy development.

What is in the best interest is the development of fully funded culturally appropriate child care system that will support immigrant parents’ participation in the labour force. The federal government should, alongside, develop federal policy on child care for newcomer families that meets the needs not only of the national economy, but the social benefits of immigrant parents participation in the workforce if there is acceptable child care available, affordable and accessible to newcomers.

Recommendation 10-2: Catalyze national discussions on immigration policy as the successful integration of immigrants is critical for Canada’s and Ontario’s economic futures.

Few programs support integration better than community-based early learning and child care programs. Situated in public schools (as proposed in the full day kindergarten program of the McGuinty government), culturally appropriate child care for newcomer children – indeed, for all children – is a key catalyst to promotion of Canadian values and an optimal welcoming point for children and parents alike.

Recommendation 10-3: Advocate the federal government for a greater provincial role in immigrant selection to ensure that the level and mix of immigrants coming to Ontario is optimized to support economic prosperity and improve outcomes for immigrants. Barring success, advocate for an expanded Provincial Nominee Program.

The PNP might also explore age of the children of immigrants recruited through it. If Canada and Ontario are to thrive, the “level and mix” of immigrants must include children from birth to age eight and a PNP is well positioned to address this gap.

Recommendation 10-4: Press the federal government to be more transparent in its refugee policies and practices and to compensate Ontario for the costs of providing additional social supports to refugees and refugee claimants.

In our discussions and recommendations for ‘culturally appropriate child care’, it must be noted that refugee children have significantly different needs than children of immigrants who choose to emigrate. Services and supports for refugee children and youth must be developed with these specific needs in mind.

Recommendation 10-6: Streamline and integrate provincially delivered integration and settlement services for recent immigrants with Employment Ontario.

Within the discussion for recommendations 5 & 6 is found the statement “Two of the key drivers of labour-market success for immigrants are a working knowledge of one of Canada’s official languages and educational credentials that are accepted by regulatory bodies and potential employers”. While immigrantchildren.ca would agree that language and credentials are key, the Drummond report misses the mark by neglecting to consider the importance of child care for any working parent.

Recommendation 10-7: Advocate for devolving federal immigrant settlement and training programs to the province…

Again, we would argue that any settlement funding agreement with the federal government should include start-up and ongoing funds for child care.

~

The Commission cites a number of studies in its report including one by Mr Drummond himself that clearly articulates and recognizes the value of high quality child care. See D. Drummond, and F, Fong, “The Changing Canadian Workplace”, TD Economics, TD Bank Financial Group, 2010.

“…the higher incidence of part-time employment is caused, in part, by the cultural notion that women remain the primary caretaker of a family. As such, full-time employment is most likely not an option for many women as this would imply foregoing time to tend to household responsibilities. This also speaks to the poor state of childcare options available to many Canadians. Among comparative advanced nations in the OECD, Canada spends the smallest share of its GDP on early childhood education and care (ECEC) for those aged 0-6. At just 0.25% of GDP, this is extremely distant from the 1.5%-2% range spent by the Scandinavian countries. And since ECEC spending falls under provincial jurisdiction, the 0.25% figure is an aver- age across the provinces and is likely skewed by the heavy subsidization in Quebec where, for example, the $7 per day childcare provides for many lower income parents. Hence, regardless of the fact that Canada has one of the highest female participation rates in the world, participation in childcare services for children under the age of 3 is only in the middle of the pack among the OECD”.

Another report cited by the Commission is Fernando Mata, “The Non-Accreditation of Immigrant Professionals in Canada: Societal Dimensions of the Problem”, Department of Canadian Heritage, 1999:

“A recent example is a survey of the accreditation problems faced by immigrant women in the nursing, teaching and social work professions in partnership with the National Organization of Immigrant and Visible Minority Women in Canada (NOIVMWC). The report coming out from the survey revealed that immigrant women with professional degrees, in addition to the common problems faced by male counterparts, were more negatively affected by “lack of services and resources in the areas of childcare and language training”.

The Commission rightfully relied on a careful examination of the literature in addition to its consultations. The literature findings, including Mr. Drummond’s own work, clearly sees the value of a system of high quality early learning and child care as an employment support and a support to integration of newcomers, but it failed to include child care as a recommendation to the people of Ontario. As such, it has failed immigrant families.

Revisiting 40 years of multicultural policy in Canada

Monday, September 26th, 2011

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

Good child care is a barrier identified in Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) report

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has released a report today on the barriers to immigrant integration. A brief quote from the report/website:

“Municipalities are the front-line, first-responders for many immigrants´ needs, yet we collect just eight cents of every tax-dollar paid in Canada and have been given no formal role in developing federal immigration policies and programs,” said FCM vice-president Claude Dauphin. “The federal government must recognize municipalities as key partners in immigrant settlement and work with us to tailor solutions to local needs.”

“FCM called on the federal government to protect long-term investments in communities, including more than $500 million in annual housing investments scheduled to expire during the next decade; protect and build on recent investments in Canada’s infrastructure and public transit; work with municipalities, provinces and territories to design longer-term settlement programs that respond better to changing local needs; and collect data on immigrants´ needs and report back to Canadians on the results”.

Among the main findings of the FCM report is the need to provide more and better ESL clasess for parents, alongside afffordable, accessible child care.

Read the full report here.

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

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

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.

Muslim prayer in the Toronto District School Board

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

There is discussion in the media today about the complaint brought forward by the group Canadian Hindu Advocacy about the Toronto District School Board‘s religious accommodation policy – and practice in one its schools. See, for example, Kelly McParland’s piece in today’s National Post.

Thought I’d quickly share resources that may be useful in understanding this issue:

The Ontario Ministry of Education Policy/Program Memorandum 119 which provides “direction to school boards on the review, development, implementation, and monitoring of equity and inclusive education policies to support student achievement. Our schools need to help students develop into highly skilled, knowledgeable, and caring citizens who can contribute to both a strong economy and a cohesive society”.

Here’s what the PPM says about religious accommodation:

School board policies on religious accommodation must be in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code and the requirements stated in Policy/Program Memoranda No. 108, “Opening or Closing Exercises in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools”, and  No. 112, “Education About Religion in the Public Elementary and Secondary Schools”. As part of their new or revised equity and inclusive education policy and implementation plan, boards will include a religious accommodation guideline in keeping with the Ontario Human Rights Code, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of creed (includes religion) and imposes a duty to accommodate. Accordingly, boards are expected to take appropriate steps to provide religious accommodation for students and staff.

The EDU states that school boards have 4 years to develop and implement policies.

The Toronto District School Board‘s policy, Guidelines and Procedures for the Accommodation of Religious Requirements, Practices and Observances “Explains in detail the religious accommodations that are necessary in schools in the Toronto District School Board. Many religions’ prayer, diet, attire, and holiday laws and observances are explained in order for schools to make appropriate accommodations for students”.

Also see : The Ontario Human Rights Code.

Canadian Council for Refugees spring consultation

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

The Canadian Council for Refugees spring consultation will be held from May 26-28, 2011 in Hamilton, Ontario.

2011 marks the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention. The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is the internationally recognized legal document that defines who a refugee is, what their rights are and the legal obligations of states parties to the Convention.

This consultation includes (so far) at least two sessions directly related to children/youth/family issues, including:

The impact of lost or mistaken identity documents for youth

Lost identity documents (ID) or misinformation can have serious impacts on the lives of refugee and immigrant youth in Canada. This workshop will look at the problems associated with trying to replace lost or mistaken identity documents for newcomer youth, and some possible solutions and actions.

Convention compliance for refugee children

The purpose of this workshop will be to explore the extent of Canada’s compliance with the Refugee Convention in the  areas of refoulement, detention and family reunification. Participants will review CCR activities relative to each area and brainstorm about potential activities the CCR could undertake to promote greater compliance.

For more information, visit the Canadian Council for Refugees website.

Conference call: Migration and the global city, Toronto

Monday, May 10th, 2010

It looks like Ryerson University is working to launch a research institute devoted to immigration and settlement issues. Good luck to them. As part of this initiative, they are calling for proposals for a conference entitled “Migration and the Global City”. The conference, a launch to the proposed research centre, tentatively called the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement (RISS), will be held on the Ryerson campus from October 29-31, 2010.

A call for papers has been released here. Of particular interest to immigrantchildren.ca, conference themes include; Children and Youth; Citizenship, Migration and Identity; Precarious and Temporary Status; and Settlement Services.

The conference will feature a range of activities, including day-trips to local immigrant/settlement locations, a film-documentary screening and art-show, and a possible “CIHR-funded pre-conference on immigrant and refugee children and youth” (Source: Ryerson website). Ryerson – do let us know at immigrantchildren.ca how we can support this important inclusion!

Deadline for abstract submission is June 15, 2010.

Call for proposals: “Ethnicity, governance and social justice: Linking Canada to the world”

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

The Association for Canadian Studies (ACS) and the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association (CESA) announces a call for papers for their joint annual conference to be held Nov 5-6, 2010  in Toronto (Airport Holiday Inn). The theme of the 2010 conference is “Ethnicity, Governance and Social Justice: Linking Canada to the World”.

From the call: “Conference organizers welcome proposals for papers, sessions, panels, roundtables, and poster presentations that address the topics of ethnicity, immigration, diversity, and multiculturalism in Canada, particularly in relation to social justice and governance. Organizers invite submissions from a variety of perspectives, academic disciplines, and areas of study, including the humanities and the social sciences”.

Selected papers from the 2010 conference will be published in a special issue of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal.

Abstracts should be 250 words or less. Deadline for submissions is Sept 15, 2010. For more information, contact James Ondrick, ACS at: james.ondrick@acs-aec.ca and visit both the ACS and CESA websites.