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Priority Seminar:
Family, Children, and Youth

Immigrant Families:
From Negotiation to Integration:

A Policy-Research Seminar on
Immigrant and Refugee Families,
Children and Youth, and Seniors

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Call for Nominations: Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism

Do you know someone who has contributed to the promotion of multiculturalism, diversity, and the integration of cultural communities in Canada and deserves to be recognized? Nominate this person today for the Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism.

This award commemorates the achievements of the late Senator Yuzyk, who played a key role in the development and implementation of Canada’s multiculturalism policy. It honours those who have demonstrated leadership, creativity, cooperation and hard work in helping to build an integrated society for all in Canada.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, November 2010


Recent activities in the Metropolis Priority Areas

Citizenship and Social, Cultural
and Civic Integration

Priority Update


Community Context and Civic Participation in Immigrant Communities


Citizenship Abstract:

In this working paper from Metropolis BC, Douglas Baer examines how the levels of civic engagement among first-generation immigrants compare across immigrant groups. Past research has focused mostly on differences in voluntary association activity among different ethnic groups, using self-identification measures. This research looks directly at the question of first-generation immigrants to Canada, and works with a survey (GSS 2003) with a sufficiently large sample size to distinguish between major immigrant groups.
The author finds that immigrants who do not speak English or French at home are much less likely to get involved in voluntary organizations of all types. Even accounting for language use differences, levels of civic involvement are lower among immigrants from India, the Philippines, Vietnam, Poland and China/Hong Kong. Group density – the proportion of individuals in a community who are immigrants from the same country – matters in the case of immigrants from the U.K., Jamaica and China/Hong Kong. For the first two groups, immigrating into a community with a high group density leads to lower levels of civic engagement, while for Chinese immigrants, more civic engagement is expected if there is an existing Chinese community. The author claims that social integration takes different forms for different types of immigrant communities and policies devoted to the encouragement of civic participation need to take these into account.


MBC Working Paper Series 08-03

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Family, Children, Youth
Priority Update


Determinants of Mental Health for Newcomer youth: Policy and Service Implications

Y. Shakya , N. Khanlou and T. Gonsalves


Family Abstract:

Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services in Toronto, Ontario is actively involved in community based research with the goal of supporting and improving the health and well being of immigrant and refugee families and youth. This featured article, by Yogendra Shakya of Access Alliance and his University-based research collaborators Nazilla Khanlou and Tahira Gonsalvez, examines post-migration determinants of mental health and well-being for newcomer youth in Toronto from four immigrant communities – Afghan, Columbian, Sudanese, and Tamil.
Their research findings indicate that newcomer youth identified settlement related challenges (including linguistic barriers, labour market integration barriers for their parents, and challenges related to integrating into the Canadian school system) and discrimination/exclusion as strong determinants of poor mental health for newcomer youth and their families. Reported mental health conditions experienced by newcomer youth ranged from sadness and anxiety to depression and behavioural problems.
The authors argue that settlement must be considered a health issue and thus, action must be taken to proactively address youth mental health. Policy, program and service recommendations include making mental health services more accessible to youth of diverse communities, strengthening mental health promotion in immigrant communities, promoting collaboration between the settlement and health sector, and implementing newcomer youth specific community development programs.


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Justice, Policing and Security
Priority Update


Criminological Highlights


Justice Abstract:

Criminological Highlights produces summaries of key criminological research. This issue explores themes ranging from immigrant crime and racial issues to policing and imprisonment. Of particular interest for Metropolis readers is the article on immigrant youth (Article 1). This article adds further weight to the conclusion that immigrants are less likely to engage in crime than other subsets of the Canadian population.

Volume 11, Number 2 May 2010

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Welcoming Communities
Priority Update


How the Post-Migration Social Environment Affects the Mental Health of Newcomers


Welcoming Abstract:

There can be no doubt that our communities are becoming more diverse and that they are doing so at a much faster rate than they used to. With the development of globalization, members of the majority are being exposed to sensationalist media coverage of minorities well before they actually meet members of those minorities. While the resulting perceptions on the part of the majority can pave the way for cross-cultural dialogue, they can also have an insidious effect, breeding mistrust of these communities, which then have a tendency to turn inward.

Working together as a research team, Cécile Rousseau, Ghayda Hassan, Nicolas Moreau, Uzma Jamil and Myrna Lashley explored the many facets of the alarmist reporting that has flooded the world’s media and concluded that the post-migration social environment is a key contributing factor in the mental health problems of immigrants and refugees. Using Montréal as their field of exploration, they came up with the following findings. First, young people from the Philippines and English-speaking countries in the Caribbean turn to violence as a result of internalizing the feeling of being discriminated against—a feeling caused by such events as the Quebec debate on reasonable accommodation and the riots in Montréal-Nord. Second, Muslim Arabs who have turned to religion because they were victimized after the attacks of 9/11 are protecting themselves but are also making themselves vulnerable, as practising their religion collectively causes fear in the host society. Third, local news about conflicts in southern Asia has a strong impact on newcomers from Bangladesh and Pakistan: they feel that they are the targets of unfair criticism by Canadians and are therefore afraid to approach them on a day-to-day basis. In light of these findings, the authors recommend that action be taken to make Montrealers aware of the importance of deconstructing the above preconceptions by “complexifying” the communities, so that the groups involved can actually meet, discover one another and appreciate one another’s situations and values.


C. Rousseau, G. Hassan, N. Moreau, U. Jami
and M. Lesley

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Economic and Labour
Market Integration

Priority Update


Snapshots from India - a "Young" Immigrant-Sending Country


Economic Abstract:

Historically, India has been known as an important sending country of immigrants, especially in the highly-skilled category. More recently, the phenomenal growth of India’s economy – along with other factors – has resulted in more fluid, flexible forms of Indian migration and increased transnationalism. Based on informal discussions with Indian youth, this article provides a ringside view of the changing preferences of a new generation of potential immigrants.

Uttara Chauhan

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Housing and Neighbourhoods
Priority Update


Immigration Policy Shifts: From Nation Building to Temporary Migration


Housing Abstract:

National immigration policies and regulations can seem removed from the brick and mortar as well as the propinquity that neighbourhoods grow out of. The attached article reminds us that families and neighbourhoods are affected by overarching orientations of immigration policies, and the specific regulations that underpin them. The Canadian Council for Refugees argues that, for example, increased opportunities for foreign nationals to work in Canada through temporary worker and Canadian Experience Class programs belie a fostering of inequities that are harmful to individuals, families, communities and the country at large. Long family separations imposed by the Live-in Caregiver and Temporary Foreign Worker programs can leave women separated for five years or more from their children. Settlement services and legal recourse are not available to holders of temporary work permits, who face greater vulnerability to employer abuse. The Council argues for a longer view of immigration with a focus on granting permanent status to all immigrants. The Canadian Experience Class could include all workers admitted on termporary permits, as well as refugee claimants, and provide greater opportunities for ‘lowerskilled’ workers to become permanent residents. In short, nation building needs to rest on full and equal rights. The onus for policy makers is to understand how our neighbours cannot yet rely on those rights.


Canadian Council for Refugees

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The Metropolis Project hosted a Conversation on Developing a Framework for Institutional and Individual Behavioural Change: Towards a Fair and Inclusive Workplace. The meeting was held in partnership with the Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, and brought together a diverse group of experts in their field. You will find highlights of the policy relevant discussion in the attached report. READ...

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