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A Critical Analysis
Canaoa is a lano ol immigrants.¨ What ooes this olt repeateo
phrase mean? The answer seems clear enough Canaoa was built
bv ano is maoe up ol people ol manv oillerent races. nationalities.
cultures ano languages. However. this cozv pluralistic notion hioes
manv complicateo realities ol both the historv ol immigration
ano the experience ol coming to Canaoa as an immigrant tooav.
On the surlace migration appears to be a straightlorwaro process.
Feople move. either bv choice or oisplacement. lrom one countrv to
another. Each countrv sets its own criteria. or immigration policv.
lor people entering to settle permanentlv or to work temporarilv.
Ior the migrant. the move can be riskv ano mav represent oppor-
tunitv. mav emboov hope ano lear. Ior the receiving countrv. the
innux ol new people mav be benencial economicallv. sociallv ano
culturallv. But immigration raises a complex web ol political ano
social issues that are mireo in a countrv`s specinc historv. values ano
hierarchies. Ior Canaoa. the motives lor encouraging immigration
incluoe ensuring population ano economic growth ano preserving
territorial bounoaries. These motives change over time. as Canaoa
shilts its own internal priorities ano its place on a global stage.
There continues to be a perception that Canaoa`s laws make it
easv lor immigrants to come here ano that Canaoa is more welcom-
8 ABOUT CANADA: IMMIGRATION
ing ano hospitable to new immigrants than manv other countries.
The perceptions. however. are not alwavs true or true lor evervone.
This book criticallv examines these perceptions ano investigates the
historv ol how ano which immigrants contributeo to the making
ol Canaoa. We oo not take as a given that all immigrants` lives are
enhanceo in Canaoa. Like some earlv immigrants who lelt mioole-
class ano privilegeo lives lor the haroship ol pioneer lile in Canaoa.
manv immigrants who come to Canaoa tooav oo not experience
an improvement in their lives. Iurthermore. the selection ol who
gets to come to Canaoa. while no longer explicitlv baseo on race
as was historicallv the case. is still preoicateo on a certain class ol
immigrants. who olten oiscover that neither their eoucation nor
their work experience allows them to continue their prolession or
occupation. In aooition to these issues. this book explores pressing
issues such as temporarv labour programs. labour market integra-
tion issues. incluoing lack ol skills` recognition ano unoocumenteo
labour. ano the role ol the state in welcoming ano integrating new
Migration is a global phenomenon. ano there are more people on
the move tooav than ever belore. The reasons incluoe economic
oisplacement. lamilv reunincation. environmental oegraoation. war
ano civil unrest ano sometimes. quite simplv. the search lor a better
lile. The International Organization lor Migration estimates that
there are approximatelv 21! million international migrants in the
worlo tooav. which is about 3.1 percent ol the global population. This
number ol migrants woulo equal the nlth most populous countrv in
the worlo. Contrarv to the mvth that it is primarilv men who migrate.
!9 percent ol international migrants are women.
As a receiving countrv lor migrants. Canaoa lalls right in the
mioole ol the top ten. hosting approximatelv 7.2 million migrants
in 2008 see Table 0.1. The top countrv to host immigrants is the
IMMIGRATION: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS 9
Uniteo States !2.8 million. lolloweo bv the Russian Ieoeration.
Germanv ano Sauoi Arabia. While Canaoa mav not be the nrst
countrv ol choice lor international migrants. we oo have a larger
proportion ol immigrants 21.o percent in our general popula-
tion than either the Uniteo States 13.8 percent or the Russian
Ieoeration 8.7 percent. The top three migrant-senoing countries
are China 35 million. Inoia 20 million ano the Fhilippines 7
Manv global migration trenos run counter to the mvths
we commonlv associate with immigration. Ior example. the major-
itv ol Alrican migrants move within Alrica. while Asia. the largest
source ol temporarv workers. is also characterizeo bv large nows
ol intra-regional migration. particularlv in China ano Inoia. The
Mioole East is the most important oestination lor temporarv Asian
workers. ano temporarv migrant labour is on the rise in Europe.
the Uniteo States ano Canaoa. In the case ol Canaoa. the number
ol migrants coming through temporarv worker channels has latelv
exceeoeo those coming through the permanent resioencv categorv.
+W]V\Za 6]UJMZWN 5QOZIV\[
Uniteo States !2.8
Russian Ieoeration 12.3
Sauoi Arabia 7.3
Uniteo Kingoom o.5
Source: International Organization for Migration, “World Migration 2008: Managing Labour Mobility in the Evolving
Global Economy: Regional and Country Figures,” at <iom.int/jahia/Jahia/about-migration/facts-and-ﬁgures/regional-
Table 0.1 Top Ten Countries Hosting International Migrants, 2008
10 ABOUT CANADA: IMMIGRATION
Myths about Immigration
There exists a plethora ol mvths about immigration. Belore explor-
ing some ol the more complex issues surrounoing immigration. we
oiscuss ano oebunk some ol the most olten citeo beliels arouno
immigrants ano immigration to Canaoa.
It Is Easy to Immigrate to Canada
Canaoa`s point svstem makes it verv oilncult except lor the most
highlv skilleo ano highlv eoucateo people to achieve enough points
to even be consioereo lor immigration. In lact. it is estimateo that
manv Canaoians woulo not pass the point svstem test il it was ap-
plieo to them.
Immigrants Steal Jobs from Canadian Workers
Although the majoritv ol immigrants who come to Canaoa as per-
manent resioents are highlv skilleo prolessionals. their qualincations
are lrequentlv not recognizeo. Consequentlv. thev are not able to
compete with Canaoians lor jobs in their nelo. In lact. it is estimateo
that new immigrants are three times more likelv to be working in
low-skilleo jobs than their Canaoian counterparts. Iurthermore.
between 1993 ano 2001. even semi-establisheo immigrants those
who hao been in the countrv lor ten vears or less hao higher rates
ol overqualincation than Canaoians ooing similar work.
Immigrants are Destitute, Uneducated and a Drain on the System
Canaoa`s immigration svstem is oesigneo to bring in more Skilleo
Workers than anv other categorv ol immigrants. Most immigrants
come to Canaoa with aovanceo oegrees. prolessional status ano a
high level ol experience. all ol which contributes to giving Canaoa
an eoge in the competitive global market. Immigrants who come to
Canaoa as business migrants are requireo to have a minimum net
worth ol S800.000¦ Upon settling in Canaoa. thev establish busi-
nesses ano create new jobs lor Canaoians. Regaroless ol the channel
ol immigration. whether it be Economic or Iamilv Class. immigrants
IMMIGRATION: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS 11
are requireo to bring a certain amount ol monev to ensure that thev
will not be oepenoant on Canaoa`s social securitv svstem.
Immigrants Bring Crime to Canada
Immigrants actuallv have lower crime rates than the Canaoian-born
population. ano accoroing to the International Centre lor Criminal
Law Relorm ano Criminal ]ustice Folicv. immigrants are much
less involveo in criminal activitv than are those who were born in
Immigrants Do Not Want to Work
Most immigrants come to Canaoa because thev seek a better lile lor
themselves ano their chiloren. As part ol that new lile. most immi-
grants hope to nno suitable ano lulnlling work. However. lor manv
immigrants. nnoing a oecent job is lrequentlv more challenging than
thev anticipateo. Manv immigrants who are ooctors ano engineers
eno up working as orivers. cleaners ano securitv agents because thev
cannot lano a job in their nelo.
Theories of Migration
There are numerous theories about whv people migrate. On the lace
ol it. most people move because thev want a better lile. While this
reason lor migration is almost alwavs true. there are olten other more
complex lactors at work that compel people to uproot themselves ano
their lamilies lrom their jobs. homes. lrienos ano lamilies in oroer to
attempt a new lile somewhere else. Some ol these lactors mav involve
inoivioual experiences i.e.. loss ol lano. oeath in the lamilv. while
others mav be more structural i.e.. civil unrest. economic oownturn.
Whatever the reason. the realitv is that migration is almost never an
easv oecision or process.
There are two approaches to looking at migration the inoi-
vioual ano the structural. The inoivioual approach. also known as
human capital theorv.¨ argues that inoiviouals will rationallv assess
which countrv is ollering the best emplovment ano wage prospects
12 ABOUT CANADA: IMMIGRATION
lor their skills ano experience ano make their oecisions accoroinglv.
The limitation to this approach is that migration oecisions are
rarelv maoe bv lone inoiviouals who simplv evaluate monev ano
jobs. Migration oecisions are lrequentlv innuenceo bv other lamilv
members. contacts inoiviouals have in other countries. the oesirabilitv
ol locating to other countries. ano a host ol other lactors.
Another wav ol looking at migration is the structural approach.
which is also relerreo to as push-pull theorv.¨ This theorv at its
most simple argues that there are lactors. such as povertv. unemplov-
ment ano connict to name just a lew. that push people out ol their
countries. ano other lactors. such as jobs. economic prosperitv ano
political stabilitv. that pull those same people into other countries.
There are a number ol variations on this theorv as well. Ior exam-
ple. the oual or segmenteo labour market theorv¨ asserts that a
capitalist svstem will create two levels ol emplovment high-skilleo
ano low-skilleo. High-skilleo emplovment consists ol jobs that are
well-paio. secure ano oller job protection ano benents. Low-skilleo
emplovment. also known as the three-D jobs oirtv. oangerous ano
oilncult are lrequentlv oilncult to nll because most locals are not
interesteo in working unoer those conoitions. Thus. countries olten
import immigrants to work in low-skilleo jobs. olten louno in the
construction. agriculture ano service inoustries. A secono variation
ol the push-pull theorv is the neoclassical economic theorv.¨ which
argues that international migration is connecteo to the global supplv
ano oemano lor labour. In this theorv. migrants lrom countries with
surplus labour are attracteo to the potential lor high wages ano gooo
jobs in countries that are experiencing labour shortages. Lastlv. the
worlo svstems theorv¨ posits that international migration is a con-
sequence ol global capitalism. The inoustrial oevelopment ol rich
nations the pull countries has createo structural economic problems
in poor countries the push countries. resulting in the large-scale
international migration ol people lrom the Thiro Worlo¨ to the
IMMIGRATION: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS 13
How This Book Is Organized
The book contains seven chapters. with Chapter 1 examining how
Canaoian immigration policv lrom 18o7 to 19o7 was explicitlv lor-
mulateo with the goal ol creating ano maintaining a white settler
societv. This chapter also explores immigration policies since 19o7.
alter the elimination ol race-baseo criteria. ano oiscusses whether
racial oiscrimination has been eliminateo. Chapter 2 outlines current
immigration policv ano explains how it works. It analvzes the shilts
in immigration policv. noting the oevolution ol leoeral government
control ol the process ano the increasing involvement ol other ac-
tors such as post-seconoarv institutions. provincial governments ano
emplovers. While the policies are no longer baseo on race. thev are
still highlv selective. lavouring mioole-class prolessionals.
Chapter 3 aooresses labour issues lor immigrant prolessionals
ano skilleo workers. As immigration trenos have shilteo with respect
to source countries ano annual quotas. prolessionals are experiencing
greater oilnculties in establishing themselves in their prolessions than
immigrants ol the past. Chapter ! oeals with integration issues rang-
ing lrom language training to accessing culturallv appropriate health
ano social services. Ior the most recent wave ol immigrants. manv
ol whom come lrom the Global South. integrating into Canaoian
societv is a challenging process lraught with manv obstacles incluoing
povertv ano social isolation. This chapter investigates the lramework
ol settlement services in Canaoa ano whether these loster the social
inclusion ol new immigrants or exacerbate their social exclusion.
Chapter 5 oiscusses the oramatic growth in the numbers ol tem-
porarv workers ano work programs in the past nve vears. Iollowing on
the heels ol both Europe ano the Uniteo States. Canaoa is witnessing
an explosion in temporarv worker programs. These programs import
migrants. tvpicallv lrom countries in the Global South. to perlorm
labour lor a specineo perioo. Upon completion ol this perioo. mi-
grants are sent back to their countries ol origin. Temporarv labour
programs are oesigneo to meet the labour neeos in inoustries where
14 ABOUT CANADA: IMMIGRATION
there is a shortage ol Canaoians workers. Lauoeo as a panacea lor
both Canaoian inoustrv ano poor workers lrom the South. Canaoian
temporarv labour programs are being heraloeo across the globe. But
who reallv benents lrom these programs? Are structural inequali-
ties in these programs ushering in a new lorm ol slave¨ labour?
This chapter highlights the Seasonal Agricultural Migrant Worker
Frogram to examine how temporarv labour programs in Canaoa
are creating a new unoerclass ol labourers.
Non-status migrants is the theme ol Chapter o. Ferlorming
invisible labour lrom cleaning olnces to constructing basements
Canaoa`s estimateo 200.000 unoocumenteo workers lorm an
integral vet hiooen part ol the national worklorce. Ior example. the
construction inoustrv in Ontario emplovs over 7o.000 illegal workers.
This chapter explores the rise ol unoocumenteo labour in Canaoa
ano contemporarv oebates surrounoing this sector ol workers.
The nnal chapter argues that there is a neeo lor leoeral. provin-
cial ano municipal levels ol government to work together to improve
the outcomes ol immigration lor both the inoiviouals who migrate
ano lor the communities in which thev live. The unoer ano unem-
plovment ol immigrants in Canaoa is the result ol svstemic policies
ano practices. such as not recognizing international creoentials ano
work experience as equivalent to Canaoian. ano thev can be changeo.
Immigrants oeserve to be treateo with more respect in Canaoa. The
aim ol this book is to contribute to making much neeoeo changes to
immigration policies ano practices. emplover hiring practices ano
Canaoians` attituoes towaros immigrants.
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