The month of June has been designated as Senior’s Month in Canada, and to honour our older citizens two associates at York University are calling on policymakers to do more for one particular group of seniors – immigrants who arrive in the country after the age of 50.
In a recent article for the Globe and Mail, Ghazy Mujahid and Thomas Klassen argue that immigrant seniors are increasingly isolated due to their lack of language skills and employability. Mujahid is a former United Nations population policy adviser and is now an associate at York University’s Centre for Asian Research. Thomas Klassen is an associated professor at York University working in the Department of Political Science and the School of Public Policy and Administration.
The two note that nearly all of the seniors immigrating to Canada are relatives – either parents or grandparents – of skilled immigrants who were selected based on their education, experience and language skills.
Family class immigrants are not assessed in the same way and, consequently, nearly two-thirds of immigrants who are over the age of 50 when entering Canada speak neither English nor French. They are not only isolated from the majority of society, but often from their own grandchildren, who no longer speak the language of the previous generations.
Most of these immigrants are not able to obtain work in the country, and do not qualify for government assistance, so are forced to rely solely on family members to provide them with financial support. The problem is further acerbated when foreign experience and credentials are not recognized in Canada. A person over the age of 50 is likely little motivated to upgrade their training.
Mujahid and Klassen offer two main suggestions to policymakers to ease the isolation of senior immigrants and to help them integrate themselves better into Canadian society. Firstly, they propose the offering of more language courses, specifically geared to older arrivals. Secondly, they recommend easing the credential recognition process, and shortening upgrading programs so that a newcomer can expect to be working in their field within a few months, rather than a few years.
Source: Globe and Mail
According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, Alberta gained more citizens than any other province in the first quarter of 2011.
“[Immigration is] back to the level of a few years ago,” said Statscan’s Jonathan Chagnon, referencing the stagnant growth experienced by Alberta in recent years due to the economic recession. “Pretty much all provinces seem to be losing to Alberta.”
In the early to mid-2000s, Alberta was one of the top destinations for new immigrants and for other Canadians, as rapid economic growth fuelled massive labour demands. The recent influx of newcomers is one of many promising signs of recovery in the region.
“It seems there are a lot more opportunities for jobs out here than Ontario,” said Jeff Blay, a recent journalism graduate who decided with his partner to relocate to the province St. Catherine, Ontario. “Just in our [new] town, if you walk around, whether it’s gas stations, pizza places, accountant shops or hairdressers, there are help-wanted signs in almost every window.”
Saskatchewan and Alberta seem to be drawing in the most people. Saskatchewan now leads the country in terms of unemployment rate – 5 percent. Alberta also has a low unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, compared to the national average of 7.4 percent.
These healthy job figures are heavily influencing migration across the country. A recent study by the Canadian Employee Relocation Council found that workers are more willing to relocate to the Western region of the country (British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan) than anywhere else in Canada.
Many of the workers are moving to fill positions in the resource sectors, but analysts predict impending labour shortages in other industries as well such as hospitality, retail, computers and healthcare.
Source: Globe and Mail
A new study out of Montreal has found that pre-schoolers are more prone to playing with peers who share their ethnic background, but are also able to overcome their differences and learn to understand one another.
“We found Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children seemed to prefer interacting with kids of the same ethnic background,” says Concordia University researcher Nadine Girouard who co-authored the report.
Researchers examined what would happen when Asian-Canadian and French-Canadian children from 3 to 5 years of age were paired with members of the same and different race. Children were more likely to play alone when paired with a child of a different background.
Though many studies conducted since the 1940s show that children are aware of ethnic differences from a very early age, this new report is drawing attention due to its focus on the progression of relations between Asian-Canadian children and French-Canadian children as they come to know and understand one another over time.
“Children found mutually satisfactory and effective means of engaging one another,” after the Asian-Canadian children learn to more strongly express themselves and the French-Canadian children learn to listen, the report indicates.
“Each [group] was able to import the culture of the other,” says Girouard. “Children, regardless of their ethnicity, want to play together and understand each other.”
Source: National Post
A national program is hoping to instil an appreciation for “the Great Outdoors” in thousands of new arrivals to Canada.
In preparation for the upcoming summer season, Parks Canada has set up programs across the country to teach immigrants the joys of camping and enjoying the Canadian wilderness.
In several parts of the country, the weather did not cooperate – even forcing cancellations in certain centres, such as in Edmonton due to heavy rainfall causing flooding in the region.
Though the weather was not ideal, many regions went ahead with the excursions, such as in New Brunswick, where newcomers braved strong winds, rain and fog in an attempt to embrace the Canadian culture.
“It was really great, because we know that when you go camping maybe you will get sunny days or maybe you will get rainy days or windy days,” said Maritimes program participant Sergio Amatller, a recent immigrant from Bolivia. “You have to learn to live with all the kinds of days that you can get.”
Many other participants echoed Amatller’s sentiments, saying they now feel ready to camp anytime, anywhere, under a variety of conditions. They learned how to keep their tents from flooding, or tips on keeping their clothes and equipment dry. Most hope to hit better weather for their next trip into the Canadian wilderness.
Source: National Post
There are approximately 1.4 million small businesses in Canada at the moment, and about half of these will need new people to run them as the baby-boomer generation retires in the coming years.
The baby-boomers currently account for approximately one-third of the country’s population and over half of the working population, according to data from Statistics Canada. As this generation now approaches retirement age, many job opportunities will be opening up for newcomers, as there are not enough Canadians to fill the gap.
This will provide a unique opportunity for skilled and educated immigrants of Indian origin, argues Suresh Madan in a recent article for The Globe and Mail. Madan is president of TiE, a non-profit organization which focuses on promotion, developing and mentoring of entrepreneurs.
“Thirty years ago when Indian immigrants came to Canada, they typically became taxi drivers,” states Madan. “Ten years ago they frequently took jobs at local factories as engineers or as site managers. Now, when Indian immigrants move to Canada, they aspire to be business owners.”
Madan says that Indian immigrants are in a particularly favourable position, as they are often highly trained, with good management and language skills and usually arrive with comparatively large financial assets. Furthermore, the recent growth and broadening of India’s economy has brought them into contact with business across the globe.
India is the source of approximately 40,000 new Canadians each year, and it is time their skills are best put to use, argues Madan. Finding a job can be extremely difficult, particularly in times of recession and encouraging more entrepreneurs is one way not only to address the impending job vacancies that will be left when the baby-boomers retire, but also to make sure that we are not wasting the valuable skills of immigrants who were selected based on their skills and experience in the first place.
Source: Globe and Mail
A new study shows that new immigrants are surprised to discover that much of the Canadian population are not fluent in both of the nation’s official languages.
The study, conducted and released this month by researchers at the University of Calgary, found that most immigrants think Canadians are bilingual due to the country’s international reputation as being both English and French.
However, in reality the policy of two official languages is mostly restricted to issues of public service, resources and governance. According to the latest available census data from 2006, less than one-fifth of Canadians are bilingual – only 17.4 percent.
“[Immigrants] don’t see bilingualism as something the federal government is supposed to do,” said author of the study Albert Galiev, adding that some of the interviewees mentioned specifically that their idea of Canadians changed drastically upon arrival when told that someone speaks only one of the official languages.
Most of the Canadians who do speak both English and French are in the Central and Eastern Regions, and New Brunswick is the only province in Canada which officially operates under bilingualism.
The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan have all recently seen a dramatic jump in the number of newcomers arriving, but have some of the lowest numbers of bilingual citizens across the country. In 2006, only 0.7 percent of the Alberta population spoke French.
Despite these numbers, immigrants are still encouraging their children to learn both of Canada’s official languages. Galiev says that the parents are aware that speaking both English and French provides the next generation with many opportunities they may otherwise not have.
Source: National Post
A new study has found that Canadian immigrants are increasingly able to retain their first language.
The study, released this month by Statistics Canada, found that in 2006, 55 percent of children born to immigrants were able to communicate with their parents in their native language. That number is a large increase over the 41 percent figure reported in 1981.
The rate of language retention was higher for some nationalities than others. Chinese, Punjabi, and Persian speakers were more likely to retain the language than Italian or Dutch-speaking immigrants.
As one large factor for the overall increase, the report points to strong reunification policies that were implemented by Canadian governments since the early 1980s. Many family members were able to immigrate to Canada through the sponsorship stream, and thus were able to speak their mother-tongue with relatives upon their arrival.
For second and third-generation immigrants, the issue of marriage becomes an important factor in determining whether the native languages are retained. Children who are born to mixed-language couples are less likely to learn either of the parents’ original languages.
“It is the ‘marriage market,’ more than any other factor, that determines how intergenerational language transmission changes over time,” said the report, noting that language retention rates drop from 40 to 10 percent from second to third-generation immigrants, respectively.
Source: Toronto Star
The latest figures from Statistics Canada show that over 20,000 new jobs were created last month.
The reported figure of 22,300 new jobs surpassed economist predictions, as did the slight decrease in the national unemployment rate from 7.6 to 7.4 percent. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Quebec led the growth, with most new positions opening up in the retail and trade sectors, as well as the culture and recreation sectors.
However, the growth was not experienced in all Canadian provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador experience a decline in employment prospects.
Experts are predicting slowdowns in economic growth over the second quarter of 2011, so news of the report is providing optimism.
One BMO economist called the figures “solid result given the confluence of negative factors like a weak U.S. jobs report, poor weather across much of the country and a big drop in prior-month auto production resulting from supply-chain issues.”
Experts were predicting smaller numbers in light of the massive growth reported in April of 2011, wherein 58,000 new jobs were created across the country.
Source: Financial Post
Experts and analysts in several fields are coming forward with some harsh criticism for the recent Fraser Institute report on the cost of immigration to Canada.
The report, which was released publicly last month, used census data to estimate the overall cost of immigration to Canadian taxpayers for a year. The authors estimated that each immigrant costs Canada approximately $6000 and that in total, the cost is somewhere between $16 and $23 billion each year.
The analysis was based on the average income of immigrants compared to their Canadian counterparts. The Fraser Institute analysed the amount of income taxes each group pays on a yearly basis and compared their relative costs to the country’s social programs.
However, critics say that these analytic tactics painted an incomplete and misleading portrait. In an article for The Province, think-tank analyst Robert Vineberg argues that the critical flaw in the Fraser Report methodology was not taking into account as a separate category immigrants who have been in Canada for several years.
Vineberg, a senior fellow at Canada West Foundation, postulates that the supposed cost of immigration would be much lower if the study takes into account immigrants who have been in the country for at least 15 years, who on average earn more than their Canadian-born counterparts and, therefore, pay higher income taxes.
Vineberg goes onto argue that the Fraser Institute should have looked at more factors than simply the amount of income tax that a person pays when weighing their “contribution” to Canadian society. For example, immigrant entrepreneurs often employ other Canadians or if hired by a Canadian employer, they contribute skills which make the employer more profitable, and therefore able to employ more Canadians.
Vineberg does acknowledge that the Fraser Institute’s intent to spark debate on the benefits of certain kinds of immigration to Canada is worthwhile, but says that the data upon which they are trying to base that debate is fundamentally flawed and incomplete.
Source: The Province
Now that the elections are over and the Conservatives have retained their power in parliament, they are moving ahead with plans to change Canada’s human smuggling laws.
The new legislation was first introduced by the Conservative administration last fall, under Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The proposals were made in response to the controversy over the August 2010 arrival of a ship in Victoria, British Columbia. The large vessel was carrying nearly 500 illegal migrants from Sir Lanka.
The new laws include harsher punishments for anyone caught smuggling people into Canada, including very large fines and, in some cases, prison terms.
“We committed in our platform to bring forward a bill to crack down on human smuggling,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney this month. “We know those operations are still going on in East Asia. So this legislation will come forward fairly early to try to deter them.”
The new legislation was stalled by the elections earlier this year once the Conservative government collapsed. Now that the Conservatives hold a majority of the seats in parliament, they will no longer require the backing of another party when they wish to introduce new legislation such as in this case.
Source: Edmonton Journal