Critics are expressing concern over public consultations being held by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration to gauge Canadians’ attitudes toward policy.
The concern centers over the emphasis being placed upon economic streams of migration, at the expense, some argue, of refugees and family class immigrants.
The consultations, which are being held all summer long, center on a questionnaire posted on CIC’s website, which is currently available for members of the public to complete in order for the government to measure Canadians’ views on immigration. However, immigrant advocates such as Debbie Douglas and Avvy Yao-Yao Go, argue that the questions on the survey as well as the backgrounder information provided at the site both exhibit a clear bias on the part of the government.
For example, one point in the literature equates successful integration of immigrants with economic success – a clear bias against those who did not come to Canada (nor were selected based upon their ability) to work. It also frames refugees and sponsored relatives as being more likely to rely upon government support.
Douglas and Go assert that although economic-class immigrants are important to Canada’s continued economic growth, other classes of migration can be just as fruitful in helping to build Canada in other important ways. In particular, the government’s framing of economic issues and immigrants as being more important influences how Canadians perceive newcomer’s who may not be “pulling their economic weight.”
Furthermore, Canada’s international reputation as a welcoming place for people fleeing persecution hangs in the balance. It is important to consider the importance that most Canadians have traditionally placed on humanitarian concerns. Additionally, reuniting separated families strengthens Canada’s position in attracting skilled workers in the competitive global marketplace.
Advocates argue that it is time for the government to shift its own attitude and realize that we can not only rely upon employers to choose and integrate newcomers successfully. It is the responsibility of all parties involved – government included – to ensure that immigrants feel welcome and successful in their new home.
Source: Toronto Star