by Gregory Johannson, Marco Campana & ZS Worotynec
1. IMMIGRATION POLICY
2011 was a year for changes and consultations leading to changes in Canadian immigration policy, from temporary foreign workers, to family reunification, to refugee processing and more. A series of changes with potentially long-term impacts on Canada’s immigration policy and regulations occurred in 2011. There have been consultations, the results of which we may see over the next few years. One thing appears certain, the shift from an immigration policy focused on family reunification and concerns to one focused on economic and security considerations continues.
2. SECURITY FOCUS
A global trend has been a shifting focus to security concerns, which carries implications for immigrants and asylum-seekers. The Obama/Harper announcement on the Security and Economic Action Plan, and other political events in the year past raise concerns on how this trend will pan out domestically.
3. IMMIGRATION CONSULTANTS
In June, the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) was designated by the federal government to act as the regulatory body for immigration consultants and immigration lawyers. The ICCRC replaced the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC). Citizenship continued to be a hot topic, with the revocation of citizenship from almost 5,000 individuals at the end of 2011, due to widespread immigration consultant fraud, according to the federal government.
4. BILL C-4 and HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Bill C-4 seeks to impede human smuggling in Canada. It proposes mandatory imprisonment of asylum-seekers illegally entering Canada, among other provisions. Critics contend it entails harsh treatment of asylum-seekers and that it is inconsistent with Canadian constitutional law and international legal obligations.
5. REFUGEE DETERMINATION SYSTEM
Three issues gained salience in the Canadian refugee determination system in 2011: Patronage-based hiring processes for the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), divergences among Federal Court Judges in acceptance rates of appeal cases from the IRB, and the failure to implement the Refugee Appeal Division.
6. INCLUSION and WELCOMING of ETHNIC COMMUNITIES
It’s been a year of much media and community discussion about the role and value of immigrants, racialized communities (v. the more contentious term “visible minorities”) in Canadian society. Are we achieving true integration/inclusion, or is the commitment to diversity merely political lip service?
7. ECONOMIC INTEGRATION for SKILLED IMMIGRANTS
Economic and labour market integration of skilled newcomers has been an ongoing issue for Canada and, in general, for all receiving countries. Ontario has formally been looking at this issue since 1989 when the provincial government released what is a seminal report on the topic. Many of the issues outlined in this report are still issues we’re talking about and dealing with – credential recognition, licensing, among others.
8. SETTLEMENT SECTOR/CUTS to SETTLEMENT SERVICES
2011 saw funding increases for settlement programs from CIC in every province & territory except Ontario. What is the long-term impact on newcomer settlement and they cities where they settle?
9. IMMIGRATION and SETTLEMENT RESEARCH
Research on, about, for and with immigrants is critical to Canada. Good research helps shape proactive and positive policies on settlement, funding, and on bigger questions about integrating and becoming Canadian.
10. 40th ANNIVERSARY of “OFFICIAL MULTICULTURALISM” POLICY
2011 marked 40 years of official policy of multiculturalism (within a bilingual framework) in Canada. A result of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, established by the Pearson government in 1963, the B & B Commission, as it came to be known, was tasked with engaging Canadians in a national discussion on the relations between the two so-called founding cultures; The French and the English. Pushback from the ethnic communities, especially in the West, who felt they weren’t recognized in the policy, lead to “official multiculturalism within a bilingual framework”.
Check out the full article here: http://immigrantchildren.ca/2012/01/11/2011-the-year-in-canadian-immigration-by-marco-campana-gregory-johannson-zs-worotynec/
Also check out immigrantchildren.ca – a site for collaboration and connection on issues related to newcomer children and their families and sixtyseven.ca - a site that examines Canadian immigration from its history, current issues and the future.