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Plenary Sessions

Policy Addresses and Plenary Sessions

Policy Address

Research Priorities of Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Date:
Friday March 24th, 2006
Time: 8:40 - 9:00 am
Location: Salon ABC

Speakers:

  • Ravi Pendakur (Presentation)
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
  • Erin Mills (Presentation)
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Plenary Session

Canada as a Competitor in the Global Market for Immigrants
Date:
Friday March 24th, 2006
Time: 9:00- 10:30 am
Location: Salon ABC

This session discussed recent policy developments in Canada, the United States, Australia, and China that make these countries more or less attractive as ‘destinations’ for skilled migrants.  For instance, Australia has implemented “pre-qualifications” in its points selection system that require applicants to pass a proficiency examination in English, have their qualifications assessed before they will be considered in the points assessment system, and be within a specified age range. The United States is arguably Canada’s major competition for highly skilled workers today. But China represents perhaps a serious emerging competitor, having succeeded in drawing a large number of its diaspora to return, including second-generation immigrants in Canada, and beginning to recruit worldwide for talent.  The session considered how these and other competitive forces affect Canada’s ability to attract immigrants, especially those with high skill levels.

Speakers:

  • Don DeVoretz (Chair)
    Simon Fraser University
  • David Ley
    University of British Columbia
  • Sue Richardson (Presentation)
    Flinders University
  • Bernard Wong
    San Francisco State University
  • David Zweig (Presentation)
    Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Plenary Session

Integration in a Racism-Free Workplace
Date: Friday March 24th, 2006
Time: 11:00am - 12:30pm
Location: Salon ABC 

Equality in employment and protection against racism are supported by a number of legislative instruments, including the Employment Equity Act and the Canadian Human Rights Act. Nonetheless, visible minorities continue to face discrimination and barriers to employment and career advancement.  A recent Statistics Canada survey has found that one in five members of visible minorities have “sometimes or often experienced discrimination or unfair treatment” because of their ethnicity, culture, race, skin colour, language, accent or religion, and more than half said they had experienced such treatment at work or when applying for a job.  Racism and the under-utilization of skills carries not only an individual cost, but a significant economic cost; as the visible minority population grows and our workforce ages, the consequences are likely to become even more pressing.  The session considered the following questions: How widespread is racism in the workplace?  What is the associated economic cost?  What measures have been taken by employers to create racism-free workplaces?  What role can labour unions play?  And are the current legal framework and policies and practices adequate?

Speakers:

  • Audrey Kobayashi (Chair)
    Queens University
  • Karl Flecker
    Canadian Labour Congress
  • Ajit Mehat (Presentation)
    Human Resources and Social Development Canada
  • Jeffrey Reitz
    Professor, University of Toronto

Policy Address
The Canadian Diaspora in Asia: An Emerging Policy Issue
Date: Saturday March 25th, 2006
Time: 8:40 - 9:00 am
Location: Salon ABC

Speaker:

  • Yuen Pau Woo
    Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Plenary Session

The Changing Dynamics of Asylum and Refugee Settlement in Canada
Date:
Saturday March 25th, 2006
Time: 9:00 - 10:30 am
Location: Salon ABC

The search for asylum continues to be one of the most prevalent forms of human migration.  The UNHCR reported in early 2005 that it is monitoring the situation of some 19 million “persons of concern”, meaning that they either fit the standard definition of a Convention Refugee or are in similar circumstances.  Yet the number of asylum claims has fallen in nearly all industrialized countries in the last few years, including in Canada.   In part, this reduction in official claims is related to the securitization of borders and an implicit identification of refugees as potential threats.  At the same time, we know relatively little about the social integration of refugees in Canada, especially compared with the vast body of literature on other types of immigrants.  This session explored the asylum process, and the outcomes associated with refugee settlement in Canada.

Speakers:

  • Daniel Jean (Chair)
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Catherine Dauvergne (Presentation)
    University of British Columbia
  • Janet Dench
    Canadian Council for Refugees
  • Chris Friesen
    Immigrant Services Society of Canada
  • Susan McGrath (Presentation)
    York University

Policy Address

Priorities and Perspectives of Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Date: Sunday March 26th, 2006
Time: 8:40 - 9:00 am
Location: Salon ABC

Speaker:

  • The Honourable Monte Solberg
    Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Plenary Session

Governance Approaches to Immigration and Integration
Date: Sunday March 26th, 2006
Time: 9:00 - 10:30 am
Location: Salon ABC

With Canada’s economic and social prosperity increasingly linked to the attraction and retention of immigrants, governments that frame immigration policies are looking to find more effective and meaningful strategies for cooperation. This includes cooperation between the various levels of government (federal, provincial, and municipal), as well as initiatives taken by employers, professional associations and institutes of higher learning. What are the opportunities for further engagement and partnerships, across ministries, between different levels of government, and between government and non-government stakeholders?  This session explored some of the ways in which the three levels of government, employers, and the education sector can co-operate in this aspect of nation-building.

Speakers:

  • Janice Charette (Chair)
    Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Maryse Alcindor (Presentation)
    Quebec Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities
  • Tom Jensen
    British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General
  • Sam Sullivan
    Mayor of Vancouver
  • Elizabeth Mills
    Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (TBC)

Policy Address

Priorities and Perspectives of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women Canada
Date: Sunday March 26th, 2006
Time: 1:30 - 1:50 pm
Location: Salon ABC

Speaker:

  • Jim Abbott
    Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Plenary Session

Citizenship and Social Inclusion
Date:
Sunday March 26th, 2006
Time: 1:50 - 3:00 pm
Location: Salon ABC

Recent events in Europe have highlighted the potential for serious social problems arising from the social exclusion of minority groups. In recent examples such as the riots in the suburbs of France and the London bombings, many of those involved in the violence were citizens and, although the children of immigrants, were born in of the countries in which they lived. In itself, formal citizenship has limited utility for achieving social harmony. The question arises of how to achieve an inclusive and active citizenship that provides incentives for all societal members to contribute towards the well-being of their city or country and that prevents the destructive actions that now galvanize our attention.

Speakers:

  • Diane Fulford (Chair)
    Canadian Heritage
  • Pieter Bevelander (Presentation)
    Malmö University
  • Irene Bloemraad (Presentation)
    University of California (Berkeley)
  • Annick Germain
    Université de Montréal
  • Hervé Vieillard-Baron
    Université Paris-VIII

Closing Remarks

Date: Sunday March 26th, 2006
Time: 3:00 pm
Location: Salon ABC

Speaker:

  • The Honourable Colin Hansen
    Minister of Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Initiative and the Olympics