Problems that immigrants face in Canada

As of late there has been much deliberation upon the successful integration of immigrants into the mainstream of Canadian society with the focus being on why immigrants are not doing better in matters of assimilation. This line of questioning is often broken into social and economic factors primarily but one certainly could question the entire experience as a whole for the immigrant. As social planners often due, supposition is often centered around the actual immigrant themselves and their actions or reactions upon arrival in Canada. While this is certainly a necessary method of scrutiny for the compilation of empirical data and the requisite flow of policy from such, after speaking with several recent and not so recent immigrants I am wondering if it is factors that are not innate in our society that affect the origin of the problems but in some instances may be intrinsic to the original notion of emigration.

It is no secret that one of the eminent reasons for most immigrants is the have a better life both economically and from a social perspective. These people are originating from a homeland where economic opportunities are scant and cannot provide for the basic needs let alone such luxuries as educational opportunities, medical coverage or such things as leisure travel. They look to better the lives of themselves, their families and children by moving to Canada as it is as a recent immigrant told me “the land of dreams”1. After having been in Canada for a year and holding down two low skilled jobs after completion of a teaching degree in her homeland I asked her about her opinion on this so called land of dreams and she ruminates that while she is glad to be in Canada and feels more opportunity here she feels she was overly massaged by the messages delivered to her prior to her decision to emigrate to Canada. These messages come from myriad context, some being controllable such as those propagations from her own Government of the Government of Canada and some from Canadian media and entertainment, others with no discernable origin.

Another immigrant I spoke with told me that the Government in her own homeland perpetuates the quasi myth that:

“as long as you are in Canada you will have lots of money and be happy. It was telling you to move to Canada in order that you could send money back home.”2

While this immigrant does have reasonable success it is her desire to sell her house and return with her daughters to Poland. In her mind she would not have nearly as much material goods or economic opportunities in Poland but she says:

“I would be happier. Here all you do is work and work to buy more and more things but there is not the quality of life.”

In short much of this propaganda cannot be controlled but I question as to whether the many people coming here are being conditioned for a life that may not be exactly what they thought they were getting into. Could this be responsible for some if not a lot of the so called problems that immigrants face in Canada? Perhaps we should be better certain that immigrants are better prepared for the reality of their first winter!

  1. Russel Cabasag, recent immigrant, Luzon Region, Philippines
  2. Luba Ziekiewicz, immigrant, Poland

Andrew McLennan
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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