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.

Documentary in development: The Deportation of innocence

The Deportation of Innocence tells the story of four children and their immigrant families in the United States as they come to terms with deportation and the long lasting effects this has had on their lives and answers the question, what happens to children after their parents are deported.

The documentary includes testimonies from lawyers, social workers, academics and who have firsthand knowledge and insight into the hardship of family separation and the challenges of reunification.

The documentary is complete, but producers have turned to crowd-funding to get this documentary out.

C4P 2016 National Metropolis Conference, Toronto

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

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

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

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

North American Refugee Health conference, June, 2015, Toronto

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

“The three day event will focus on the best practices in refugee health. Lectures focus on contemporary issues in refugee health, mental health, OB/GYN, pediatrics, and primary care”.

immigrantchildren.ca is happy to see that children’s health issues is a major theme and will be following the conference twitter hashtag #NARHC2015.

Kids in Doug Saunders’ Arrival City ~ The CityBuilder 2015 BookClub

Are you participating in the online CityBuilder BookClub about Doug SaundersArrival City? Interested in migrant child and family issues? Here’s the pages where children/children’s issues are mentioned, in the First Vintage Books paperback edition, April 2012 (ISBN: 978-0-307-38856-8):

child care ~ 16, 52, 110, 227, 238, 284, 405

child labor ~ 142, 153, 154

second generation ~ 33-34, 35, 51, 55, 68-69, 82, 127, 168, 172, 173, 184, 268-69, 272, 273, 277-78, 279, 284, 285, 290-92, 293, 196-97, 301, 320

The book club starts Jan 13th. Happy reading!

 

 

C4P: Immigrant families over the life course

From the Family Science Review website, a call for papers for an upcoming special issue on immigrant families over the life course.

“Family Science Review is inviting manuscripts for a special issue on Immigrant Families over the Life Course. The goal of this issue is to examine immigrant families’ dynamics across generations and over time, in the context of global migration and transnationalism.

“For this issue, we seek research-based manuscripts that explore strengths and challenges of immigrant families as related to acculturation, family adaptation, changes in intergenerational relationships, maintenance/loss of ethnic culture and heritage language, development of ethnic identity, and other issues relevant to immigrant families. We welcome manuscripts that explore the multidimensional experience of immigration among diverse immigrant families (e.g., different countries of origin, migration experiences, socioeconomic characteristics, length of residency in the host country, resources and vulnerabilities), from the perspective of family science. Manuscripts related to the teaching of immigration and families are also welcome.

“Manuscripts should be written in APA style and exemplify the highest quality of writing. Manuscripts should be no more than 30 pages. Authors are advised to check the Family Science Review website for information on manuscripts submission. There is a $20 submission fee for each manuscript which must be received prior to entering the paper and sending it out for review.  Please check the FSR website for details”.

Guest Editors: Olena Nesteruk, Montclair State University at nesteruko@mail.montclair.edu and Beckie Adams, Ball State University at badams@bsu.edu.

Submission Deadline: February 27, 2015

Manuscripts should be written in Word and be sent electronically to nesteruko@mail.montclair.edu no later than February 27, 2015.

Webinar on mental health of immigrant & refugee children in Canada

Morton Beiser CM, MD, FRCP, Scientist, Keenan Research Centre at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital and Priya Watson, MD, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health present a webinar December 5, 2014, “I May look as if I’m feeling good, but sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not: The Mental health of immigrant and refugee kids in Canada”.

From the announcement:

“The speed with which immigrant kids as a whole learn new languages, their often spectacular school achievements and the apparent ease with which they take on the dress and behaviours of other Canadian kids can give the impression that all is well. That assumption would be a mistake. Although many immigrant kids and youth are probably integrating well, others are not. Some are experiencing difficulty in learning English and/or French, some are falling behind in school and dropping out before they should, some are experiencing problems with their families, some are having trouble deciding whether they are “ethnic”, Canadian or neither, many are facing discrimination, and some are being attracted to gang culture. Resettlement policies and programs for immigrant kids need to take into account the specific problems that these children and youth face that are above and beyond the developmental challenges common to all children. They also need to understand the resilience of immigrant youngsters and where this resilience comes from.

“Even if we had the best policies and programs in place (and we do not), some children and youth in immigrant families would develop mental health problems requiring specialized care. The fact that they are young people who have experienced major life disruptions, that they and their families may have language problems and that their cultural backgrounds likely differ from the health care professionals to whom their care is entrusted create particular issues that have to be resolved.

“In this Fireside Chat (webinar), Dr. Morton Beiser will summarize research and accumulated knowledge about the mental health of immigrant and refugee children and discuss how this information can provide a back-drop for policy and program planning. Dr. Priya Watson will discuss clinical guidelines for assessing and treating children from immigrant and refugee backgrounds”.

For more details, and information on how to register, click here.

Related Resources
Caring for Kids New to Canada
Caring for Kids New to Canada, Mental Health & Development

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

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?

Resource worth revisiting from frp.ca & news of a conference

In 2010, the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs (frp.ca) released an issue of their occasional journal, Perspectives in Family Support. The issue focused on newcomer families. It stands up today, four years later.  Included in that issue are:

frp.ca has announced its annual conference for 2015 to be held this year in Hamilton, Ontario. Review the program and register here.

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