Canada’s immigration policy overview

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The integration of immigrants and their children in any new country depends on different factors such as language, guidance, and support from parents and the society. The integration may also depend on their socio-economic status, intelligence, verbal and cognitive skills, self-confidence, quality of schooling, interaction with teachers and with peers (Samuel, & Verma, 1992). Notably, immigrants and their families come to a new country with a risk of maladjustment due to the stress of migration and acculturation.  In Canada, the integration of immigrants is based on the assimilation of the immigrants by giving them an opportunity to join the society and participate issues of the country just like the native-born Canadians. Integration of immigrants into the country can be measured by civic and social participation as well as the sense of belonging in the country.

Canada is considered the highest in the assimilation of immigrants compared to any other country in Europe and the United States (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Canada has the highest rates in naturalization. Canada focuses on immigrant assimilation through behavioral and objective indicators. The factor on national integration or immigrant assimilation is commonly used in getting immigrants in the country (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Integration in Canada means adapting to the Canadian identity rather than stick to one’s ancestral identity. Therefore, upon integration, the immigrants participate in more Canadian institutions than just one ethnic-specific institution. The immigrants also have the opportunity to learn the Canadian culture, official language and form inter-ethnic friendships and mixed marriages instead of just being a person of one ethnic culture (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Other scholars define the integration method in Canada as a two-way process that helps the immigrants interact and participate in all institutional levels in the Canadian Society while at the same time helping they retain their ancestral and ethnic identity (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Therefore, the integration process in Canada is a way of receiving visitors and accepting them into their society. The Canadian form in integration can thus be described as one of consistency, conformity, and acquiescence. Notably, most immigrant women are less likely to be integrated than men are, while most native-born Canadian men are less integrated than women (Wong & Tézli, 2013).

Canada has a long history of measuring economic integration with variables such as employment, income, and occupation as the leading indicators. These indicators are often used when the income of the immigrants almost equals that of the natives in Canada (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Other variables use includes the inter-ethnic and the racial marriages as well as friendship ties. These variables are used to measure the level of trust, satisfaction, and sense of belonging of the Canadian identity, citizenship, volunteering and the federal voting (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Radical right in Canada comprises of demand-centered explanations, which focus on the changing preferences, attitudes and beliefs, and the supply-side, which focuses on the political structures and the party organizations factors (Rydgren, 2007).

Immigration integration involves, social and civic participation, belonging to Canada, political participation and experience of discrimination (Wong & Tézli, 2013). The social and civic involvement in the Canadian Society includes the frequent involvement in the society such as in volunteering. The social and civic participation is often measured by the membership of charity and non-profit organizations. According to a 200 survey by the National Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating and the 2003 General Social Survey, only 30 percent of immigrants volunteered in the charity and non-profit organizations, which is 5 percent less compared to the native-born Canadian participation (Wong & Tézli, 2013). However, in the recent years, the participation levels of the immigrants have risen. On the other hand, political participation, which includes, membership of political parties and politically inclined groups, is huge among the immigrants. Voting participation among the immigrants is analyzed through the federal, provincial and municipal elections.

Notably, there are structural barriers that affect the inequality and ethno-cultural community participation. The sense of belonging to Canada is examined through the recognition, accommodation of diversity among the immigrants and native-born Canadians (Wong & Tézli, 2013). The sense of belonging is measured by one’s sense of trust and comfort in the country. The variables used in measuring the sense of belonging in Canada include sense and trust of people in the neighborhood, colleagues at work and schoolmates as well as the feeling of belonging the municipality, province and the country as a whole (Wong & Tézli, 2013). The sense of belonging also focuses on the comfort of ethnicity based on race, skin color, language, religion, and accent.

However, racism does not lack in the country. Most research focuses on racism and racial profiling in Canada. The research of racism considers the immigrants that have experienced discrimination or who have been treated unfairly (Wong & Tézli, 2013). The discrimination test considers the discrimination due to skin color, race, ethnicity, culture language, religion or accent. The frequency of discrimination is also considered among the immigrants over the past five years since their arrival. The place of discrimination also matters, which may be in a workplace, business, police, courts, and neighborhood or any public institutions (Wong & Tézli, 2013). Many children may experience discrimination based on their ability to speak either English or French. Many immigrant children come to the country with less language speaking skills in both English and French (Samuel, & Verma, 1992). Therefore, they need language training, which can be a point of discrimination for them.

In conclusion, Canada is considered the highest in the assimilation of immigrants compared to any other country in Europe and the United States. Canada has the highest rates in naturalization. Canada focuses on immigrant assimilation through behavioral and objective indicators. Integration in Canada is often done to welcome the immigrants to the country and assimilate them into participating in the nation’s affairs. Integration involves making the immigrants feel the sense of belonging prompting them to participate in the political, social and economic activities in the country.  Notably, most immigrant women are less likely to be integrated than men are, while most native-born Canadian men are less integrated than women are. Most immigrants also participate less in the non-profit and charity organizations than the native-born Canadians do. Race and gender matters in the integration process. Most immigrants are more integrated than the Canadian-born natives are. Racism may be a hindrance to the integration process for the immigrants.

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  1. Rydgren, J. (2007). The sociology of the radical right. Annu. Rev. Sociol., 33, 241-262.
  2. Samuel, T. J., & Verma, R. B. (1992). Immigrant children in Canada: A demographic analysis. Canadian Ethnic Studies= Etudes Ethniques au Canada, 24(3), 51.
  3. Wong, L. L., & Tézli, A. (2013). Measuring social, cultural, and civic integration in Canada: the creation of an index and some applications. Canadian Ethnic Studies, 45(3), 9-37.
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