Language programs across Saskatchewan are expanding to meet increased demand after recent influxes of immigrants to the region.
Programs such as the language centre at the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) are expanding their services to accommodate high numbers of newcomers to the quickly growing region. This particular centre will serve not only to aid newcomers in language learning, but also as a testing centre, as English proficiency exams grow increasingly important in the immigration process.
Over the past several years, the Saskatchewan economy has been propelling growth in the region, attracting record numbers of newcomers. Since 2007, the Western prairie province has welcomed nearly 50,000 newcomers. Experts predict continued growth in the coming years, with a projected 60,000 increase in the workforce by 2020.
“In order to achieve these goals it’s going to mean attracting and retaining new immigrants to Saskatchewan, and that means as a province we need to help and provide opportunities to everyone that’s coming here,” said Advanced Education deputy minister Louise Greenberg. “We’ve endeavoured to create programming that helps the newcomers socially and economically integrate into our fabric of Saskatchewan.”
In order to help with this integration process, the language centre at SIAST will undergo $100,000 in renovations. The new services are aimed at keeping newcomers in the province, so that they do not need to travel or relocate to find the help they need.
Source: Regina Leader-Post
A recent study by Garnett Picot and Feng Hou of Statistics Canada reveals that young Canadians, with immigrant backgrounds, are twice as likely to attend university in comparison to students who have both parents born in Canada.
The study revealed that 50 percent of students who immigrated to Canada went to university, as against 31 percent of students who had one parent who is an immigrant, and 25 percent of students who had both parents born in Canada.
According to government policy, public officials need to implement affirmative action programs for visible minorities, immigrants and students who study English as a second language. Ironically, these students fare much better than those with Canadian parents do.
Conventionally, officials have felt that students in North America who study English as a second language face a natural disadvantage as opposed to American children. However, the Picot and Hou Study refutes this theory. They declare that the barrier of language only makes an appearance on standardised literacy tests for students at the age of 15 years. Once these students reach Grade 12, a vast majority of them overcome this challenge – especially Chinese students and Asian females.
Picot and Hou feel that several reasons contribute to the success of students with immigrant backgrounds. Firstly, they feel that Canadian schools do not stream their students into vocational programs in their early teens. This practice gives ESL students in Canada sufficient time to master a new language before they apply for universities.
Secondly, Canadian immigration policies benefit skilled and wealthy immigrants. Consequently, Asian immigrants are more affluent and well educated than even third generation Canadians are.
Lastly, Asian immigrant parents put in additional efforts to ensure that their children succeed in Canadian universities. This gives these students a significant advantage as opposed to students having both parents born in Canada.
Oxford economist Paul Collier believes that high-immigrant Western countries have never addressed the issue of the under-achieving domestically born students. They have neither developed universal programs nor affirmative-action plans. Consequently, the situation remains at an impasse.
Source: The Vancouver Sun
A new report suggests that Canadian businesses can and should do more to integrate new immigrants if they wish to remain competitive in today’s global marketplace.
The report, compiled and released by workers at the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre, points out that despite its growing population diversity, Canada still remains heavily dependent on just a few trading partners – particularly, the United States and Europe.
The authors of the report argue that Canada is missing a huge opportunity to build and strengthen economic ties with emerging markets in countries like China, India and Brazil. Furthermore, the conception of immigration is changing, as more and more people are becoming citizens of the world – travelling and maintaining ties with several countries at once.
With its looming labour shortages and an increasingly competitive market for talent, Canada must become more aggressive in not only attracting skilled workers, but also in providing the necessary tools for adaptation and success once the immigrant has arrived.
Integrating newcomers economically benefits employers, which, in turn, benefits all of Canada. Workers with cultural and social ties to their native countries (diaspora networks) – like those from India, which has one of the fastest growing populations in the world – provide an invaluable tool to tap into emerging markets.
The report argues for increased efforts on the part of Canadian businesses to work with professional immigrant networks and immigrant resource groups, for instance. The authors also advocate for increased efforts from the government on several fronts. Student and business visas, for instance, take much too long to process in today’s instant economy. New arrivals need more freedom to travel, which often is limited by permanent residency landing requirements. There needs to be more awareness regarding the unrealistic expectation of Canadian experience.
If Canada is able to recognize the value of tapping into and prioritizing immigrant diaspora networks of culture and communication, then and only then will it be able to maximize its economic potential in today’s, and tomorrow’s, global market.
Source: Toronto Star