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Integration to Canadian Society

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Integration to Canadian Society

This paper will examine the difficulties immigrants have when they arrive in Canada with respect to assimilation of language, transferability of education in finding a job in Canada and training that exists for the newly landed immigrant. We will also touch the difficulties it poses for Canadian citizens in dealing with this influx of immigrants into our urbanized centers. Anglo Canadians have quickly become a minority and continue to become a shrinking minority. Immigrants arriving to Canada in most cases believe that they have made the right choice to leave their homeland in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their children. After all Canada has a global reputation as being one of the best countries in the world for many reasons. There is free healthcare available and educational opportunities if so desired as well as many provincial social services in place to help new immigrants transition into Canadian society. Some immigrants leave there come country because of instability within their government causing national unrest and dangerous circumstances for ordinary citizens. In other cases immigration can occur simply because they are seeking a better opportunities in life.
Up until 1960’s “Canada’s immigration objective was to attract more British and American immigrants, as well as immigrants from the “preferred countries” of central and northern Europe” [4] Canada’s immigration policy after 1960 has historically been very relaxed compared to some other countries such as the United States and Europe. I view this as a double sided coin, good and bad. I am in no way opposed to human equality however I feel that our Anglo Saxon roots of what Canada has been founded on has been displaced by millions of immigrants to a degree that Canada is no longer what it was designed to be based on Anglo Saxon culture, morals, and values. The founding fathers of early Canada may have an opinion or two if they were to walk down Main Street in Toronto or Vancouver and see that the white Anglo people have become the minority. Immigration costs out country approximately 35 billion per year or 95 million dollars per day. “From 2009 to 2013, Canada gave refugee status to 122,518 people.”[10] Poll results were released on March 31, 1988, and a whopping 41% wanted it decreased while only 14% of Canadians said that they wanted our immigration numbers increased. [10] So what has happened these last 28 years? Has it gotten any easier for new immigrants?
One of the more obvious and challanging aspects being an immigrant is the language barrier that can be encountered when arriving in Canada. The author identifies that there are a number of factors affecting language acquisition. Factors such as “Some of the obvious determinants are quality of instruction, general educational level of the learner (higher is better), age (younger is better), linguistic aptitude (just as with math or music, some people have a greater natural facility with language learning than others) and mother tongue (it is easier to learn a language that is closely related to the mother tongue than one from an entirely different language family) (Derwing and Munro 2009) Another important factor is the cultural distance between English and non-English speaking communities. It is difficult for a non-English speaking immigrant to find someone in their community to practice speaking English with. Further studies have been done that reflect that immigrants still have trouble with integration in Canada because of their lack of English or French language skills.[7]
Yet another important aspect to look at is the language challenges that come into play when there is a health problem that needs to be addressed. In many cases the immigrants perspective of what comprises a health problem according to the Canadian healthcare system is something that would not warrant a trip to the doctor leading to a serious health problem down the road causing a larger strain on canada’s health care system. Another language obstacle that immigrants face is the ability to communicate effectivily as to what has happened to them on their journey leading up arriving in Canada.
“It’s useful to disaggregate and say how much of your health problem is because you’re new to the country and you don’t know how things work, or because you’re a refugee and were raped in a camp, and how much is because you just can’t communicate what your needs are?” [8]
It is common knowledge among the health care providers in the industry that the number one barrier to overcome Is that of inability to communicate what the patients needs are effectively. Author Sarah Bowan sums up this phenomenon quite effectively “There’s a saying that without language, medicine is veterinary science. It’s absolutely crucial.”[8]
Immigrants are leaving urban centers or bypassing them altogether for two reasons. The first being cost of living along with the limited number of jobs. There is a “growing effort by many mid-sized, post-industrial cities doing everything they can to open their doors, from adopting their own de facto immigration policies to, in some cases, even going abroad to recruit new residents.” The second reason is that individuals are traveling to Canada on student visas to study abroad which can lead to them staying after graduation to pursue a career in Canada. Often individuals apply for immigrant status at the same time while studying on a student visa. A trend that has been identified among these second tier cities is that foreign university enrollment is on the rise where domestic enrollment is down so there is a gap that is taking place with target enrollment numbers. Universities are doing whatever they can to attract foreign students.[5]
This is a double sided coin, on one hand it helps boost our economy by adding skilled labor however on the other hand it can result in lost jobs for domestic students looking for a work placement out of college or university. The amount of foreign students actually returning to their home country after they have been educated here in Canada are the minority. In most cases foreign students who are shortly graduating are applying for a work visa which will eventually give them the option to become permanent residents. The government has changed its policy in 2015 regarding invitations that are extended to foreign students. In the past “applicants with a positive labour market impact assessment – meaning that they would not take a job away from a Canadian – had been the primary recipients of invitations to apply for permanent residence”. Under the new policy states that “under the new program did not have that qualification, making it more likely that international students would be among those able to apply for permanent residency.” [6] This new program does not bode well for home grown Ontarion’s as there is a limited number of jobs available and if our government allows an open market to proliferate then we will be competing directly with foreign students graduating applying for the same jobs as permanent residents. If this is allowed to continue then it will dramatically contribute to the next recession we are headed for as there will simply be too much supply and not enough demand for skilled labor.
There is a recent challenge that has arisen for new and existing immigrants known as bill C-24. This has been discussed in length by the CARL members (Canadian Assosicaiton of Refugee Lawyers) who meet twice a year to discuss and disseminate information in hopes to protect the rights of people in Canada.CARL members talk about the pending Bill C-24 that was looming on the horizon in 2014 and all of the negative aspects associated with it from the Canadian refugee perspective. Many of the same points apply to Canadian immigrants or anyone that is currently a Canadian citizen that holds dual citizenships. This Bill aims to create a second class citizen in Canada by which anyone who has dual citizenship can have their right to live in Canada taken away by the government. This process involves making the application process for citizenship much more expensive and harder to get. The Bill even grants the government the power to exile or banish anyone with dual citizenships even if they were convicted by the Canadian justice system. The last government wanted to use this Bill as an anti-terrorist stop measure. [9]
Will Bill C-24 strengthen or weaken or country? In my opinion non naturalized Canadians should not automatically be granted the same rights and freedoms as us that are born to the country. Each of us has to behave by a set of rules and laws that grants us our freedoms living in Canada, this is not a right in my opinion but a privlidge. I view our citizenship as something that needs to be strengthened and the only way to do that is to differenciate it in some way to the previous status quo. In the past I believe we lost in part what it means to be Canadian, the value of what citizenship holds by granting the same rights automatically to everyone who has immigrated to Canada. In the past once permident residency was established and a period of time has passed a foreigner could go write a test and swear on a bible and become a Canadian. I believe the government is correct in developing bill C-24 and that they have the perogitive to deny any non naturalized Canadian citizenship if they do not bide by the rules of our country. “If you take the view that citizenship is a commodity, you want to make it more valuable. Then like any commodity its value increases if it’s scarce, hard to get and easy to loose.”[8]
Another aspect of immigrant integration is the lack of education recognition which can lead to further hardships when looking for a job. The amount of taxi drivers that had bachelor’s degrees were reflected in the Census as 12% of the 50,000 drivers accounting for 4515 degree holders. Among these degreed taxi drivers 33% of the 4515 drivers were Canadian trained with the majority of the remainder having completed university in either India or Pakistan. This accounts for one in three degreed taxi drivers being trained in Canada, so why exactly are they driving a taxi? In major urban centers such as Vancouver and Toronto approximately 80% of the taxi drivers are immigrants. “Outside of these 8 cities, immigrants accounted for only 17.5% of all cab drivers” Li Xu. The historical trend has been that taxi drivers born in India have donated the marked with 1 in 4 driver being Indian. In recent years Pakistani people and moved to the forefront. This trend is even more prominent with college educated immigrants and the Census data speaks for itself. An interesting fact regarding recent immigrants are that they are much more educated by comparison to naturalized Canadians. “Three times as many have undergraduate degrees, according to Statistics Canada — only 24 per cent work in their fields, less than half the rate for those native to Canada.” [10] This is a real problem for immigrants as the cost of living in these urban centers of Toronto and Vancouver have a higher cost of living than there native countries yet Canada does not recognize their foreign credentials. This leads to a host of social problems as they are dramatically restricted in what options they have for work which is to go back to school and pay tuition or look for a job in a different field. These “other” jobs are usually low paying service jobs such as taxi drivers, shop keepers, cleaners etc. “A 2008 parliamentary report revealed that 60 per cent of skilled immigrants work at a lower occupational level than they did before moving to this country” [10] This is a catch 22 as foreighn students get first shot along side Canadian graduates applying for that first job after school however if they land on Canadian soil educated from a foreighn school the provincial governemnts in most cases do not recognize this education. The immigrants are left to “upgrade” their credentials to Canadian standards and pay large sums of money to educational institutions to have the chance of working in their field. This in my opinion excluding medical professions is a cash grab by our government as they did not already charge exorborate amounts of tuition to them as a foreign student.

Bibliography 1. Debra Black (Fri Jun 27 2014 ) Immigration experts say Bill C-24 discriminatory and weakens citizenship. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2014/06/27/immigration_experts_say_bill_c24_discriminatory_and_weakens_citizenship.html

2. Angelina Chapin (12/19/2012 ) Canada Immigration: Foreign Skilled Workers Struggle To Find Jobs In Their Professions. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/12/19/canada-immigration-foreign-skilled-workers_n_2293003.html

3. SIMONA CHIOSE (Mar. 24, 2015 ) International students in limbo under immigration system changes http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/education/international-students-in-limbo-under-immigration-system-changes/article23588415/

4. Becky Cory (July 8th, 2010 ) The “White Canada” Policy Race Talk | An online exploration of racialized discourses in pop culture | © copyright 2011 Retrieved from http://www.racetalk.ca/tag/white-canada-policy/

5. Saunders, D. (26-June-2015) Why newcomers are beginning to bypass Canada’s big cities. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/why-newcomers-are-beginning-to-bypass-canadas-big-cities/article25143840/ 6. Xu, L (March 2012) Who Drives a Taxi in Canada?. Retrieved from http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/pdf/research-stats/taxi.pdf

7. Derwing, M. (31, May 2012) Language Skills and the Social Integration of Canada’s Adult Immigrants. Retrieved from http://irpp.org/wp-content/uploads/assets/research/diversity-immigration-and-integration/language-skills-and-the-social-integration-of-canadas-adult-immigrants/IRPP-Study-no31.pdf 8. LOUISA TAYLOR (02.23.2012 ) For immigrants, language barrier is a health barrier. Retrieved from http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/immigrants+language+barrier+health+barrier/6207455/story.html

9. CARL (February 26, 2014) Under New Proposed Law, Citizenship Is Harder To Get And Easier To Lose. Retrieved from http://www.carl-acaadr.ca/articles/70

10. (All Rights reserved 2010) Immigration And Refugee Conspiracy—Why? http://www.immigrationwatchcanada.org/immigration-and-refugee-conspiracy-why/…...

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