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SOAN 2290 (9)
Chapter 9

Chapter 9 : Fleras Summary

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University of Guelph
Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2290
Cecil Foster

Chapter 9: Fleras Chapter 9: Immigrants and Immigration: Getting In, Settling Down, Fitting In, and Moving Up Key Terms: Asylum Seeker: A person who flees one country and seeks refuge and protection in another country by claiming refugee status. Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: When it came into effect in 1985, the Charter constitutionally entrenched the right of individuals to be free of state discrimination on irrelevant grounds. The concept of collective rights is also endorsed as a reasonable limitation on individual rights if demonstrably justified in a free and democratic way. Convention Refugees: Refugees who are selected and sponsored for entry into Canada because they fulfill the UN criteria for refugee status. Immigrant: Persons born overseas but voluntarily residing in a new country, with a right to permanent residency on the grounds of labour market contribution or family reunification. In Canada, temporary residents such as foreign students or persons on seasonal work visas are not included as immigrants, while refugees are seen as a special category of immigrants (fleeing because of persecution fears). With the exception of Aboriginal peoples, all Canadians are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Immigration Act (1978): Although superseded by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act of 2002, this Act continues to provide the ideological underpinnings of Canada’s immigration policies, programs, and practices. The focus is on finding a working balance between humanitarian and pragmatic concerns while protecting Canada’s national interests and international commitments. Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB): An agency of 180 political appointees who sit in singer person tribunals to determine whether an asylum seeker qualities for entry into Canada as a legitimate refugee. Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (2002): This Act replaced the 1978 Immigration Act. Emphasis is increasingly aimed at addressing Canada’s security concerns without sacrificing conventional humanitarian commitments and a commitment to Canada- building through immigrant driven economic growth. Immigration Society: A society that takes a principled and proactive approach to immigration and immigrants. Policies and programs exist to regulate the entry of immigrants programs are in place to assist in the integration and settlement of immigrants, immigrants are entitled to all rights and privileges, and immigration is viewed as an asset or resource for society-building. Refugee Claimants: Unlike convention refugees who are privately or government sponsored, these asylum seekers arrive unannounced and invoke their right to claim refugee status, also called “in-Canada refugees” or “inland protected persons”. Refugees: Defined by the United Nations as a person who flees his or her country because of a well grounded fear of persecution based on race, national origins, religious background, or other factors largely beyond a person’s control. The grounds for admittance have expanded in recent years; for example, Canada now extends the concept of refugee status to include gender-based persecution. Chapter Highlights: • Canada is sociologically regarded as an immigration society. That is, it has an immigration program in place, sees immigrants as a national asset, confers rights, and encourages settlement and citizenship. • Canada routinely ranks first among countries with the highest rate of immigration on a per capita basis, with the results that the foreign born account for nearly 20 percent of the population. • Immigration currently averages about 250, 000 people per year, with the majority arriving from Asia, Africa, and South and Central America. Most immigrants prefer Ontario and British Columbia, while Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver are all major immigrant targets. • In the past, immigration practices were highly racist in terms of who got in. At present, Canada’s immigration policy can be described as relatively colour-blind, with a focus on sustaining economic growth. • Immigrants can enter on three grounds: family-reunification class, economic class (which includes business class and is based on a point system), and refugee class. • Canadians continue to debate immigration issues such as how many, from where, what kind and what for. • Canadians appear divided in their relation to immigration, with some seeing it as a problem, others see it as a solution, and still others as both a problem and a solution depending on the context, consequences, and criteria. • Immigrants to Canada come with benefits and costs. Benefits are numerous but differently impact different sectors of society and the economy. The costs are no less real for some Canadians. • Immigrant needs and aspirations have been misportrayed. Most want to put down roots in their adopted country, contribute to it’s growth, receive benefits that all Canadians are entitled to, and get he best for their children without losing their distinctiveness. • Canada’s tract record in immigration settlement is slipping: immigrants may arrive better educated and in better health, but they are achieving less success and because of government cutbacks in settlement programs and difficulties gaining recognition for expertise, credentials, and education levels. • Refugees continue to be seen as a problem, especially those who are unsponsored. Canada may have a relatively high rate of acceptance of refugee claimants, but most agree that the refugee determination system is overworked and under resourced. Additional Notes: • Canada may be the only country in the world where mass immigration constitutes an article of faith, is a policy of norm, and is integral to its national identity. • Because Canada does not share a boarder with a refugee-producing country, there is no reason why large numbers should show up in Canada. • Canada is not alone in confronting this challenge, comparable fears and concerns prevail throughout the Western world: too many refugees, too few resources, too slow a system, too inefficient a process, and too few deported. • Canada for the most part has embraced immigration with the kind of civility and open-mindedness that is becoming a national trademark. • Canada remains sharply conflicted over the pros and cons of immigration. On the dark side of things, some complain that there are too many of the “wrong kind” of people and not enough of the “right kind”. The immigration program is criticised as unfair and inefficient and in need of a major overhaul. • As proof that the system is “broken”, or perhaps just groaning under the weight of its own success, is that the backlog of applicants for entry to Canada now stands at just under one million people, so it may take up to 6 years to get an applicant into the pipeline. (In comparison to the 6 months wait time for an applicant to Australia.) • Immigration may be inseparable from the quality of like in Canada, after all, Canada’s standard of living will depend on immigration to offset the diminishing returns of an aging population and a declining birth rate. • Canada embraces a diverse tapestry of immigrants and refugees from different parts of the world. • According to 2006 Census date, approximately 6.2 million immigrants (foreign born) live in Canada, drawn from more than 200 countries or origin. The foreign born now account for 19.8 percent of the total Canadian population. • Canada has a population of about 31.2 million and had an annual intake of around 250,000 immigrants between 2001-2006, during which the population of Canada grew by 1.6 million. • Recent immigrants from Asia and the Middle East comprise the largest portion of new comers to Canada. European immigrants comprise the second largest group of recent new comers at 16.1 percent, followed by south and central America, Africa, the Caribbean and so on... • Nearly 70% of all recent immigrants live in the “MTV” cities of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. 16.6 percent of newcomers live in smaller Census metropolitan areas like the Waterloo Region of Calgary. • Most Immigrants reported positive impressions of their more to Canada. Asked why they came to Canada, the largest number of responses cited their children’s futures, reuniting with family and close friends, and the quality of life. • The twenty first century may well become defined by the movement of peoples from one country to another, from one continent to another. With up to 200 million people on the move outside of their homeland. • Immigration has played a pivotal role in Canada’s national development and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. • Some parts of the economy (ex. Real estate or immigration lawyers)really benefit from immigration. • Immigrants create more jobs than they take. They realign the demographics by offsetting the effects of an aging population and declining birth rate. And they pay more in taxes than they accept in social services. • The “problems” that immigrants are thought to bring to Canada are a stinking point for many, These include allegations that immigrants are using their ties abroad to establish illegal international distribution systems for contraband drugs, loan sharking, extortion rackets, prostitution and smuggli
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