平和
和平
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MIGRATION

ASIA
26 March 2014
Canada Flag #2

Welcome to Canada!

Canada extends a very warm welcome to its immigrants, as evidenced in the "Welcome to Canada" booklet published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. An increasing number of immigrants are Asian.

Canada extends a very warm welcome to its immigrants as evidenced in the "Welcome to Canada: What you should know" booklet, published by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Many of these immigrants are Asian, with Asian Canadians now representing some 11% of the Canadian population. In 2010, the three top sources of Canadian immigrants were the Philippines, China and India, with these countries accounting for fully one-third of Canadian immigration that year, far outpacing the next most important source countries, the UK and the US.

The "Welcome to Canada" booklet provides a host of very useful information on important things to do before and after you arrive in Canada, a brief overview of Canada, sources of information, your rights and freedoms in Canada, Canadian law and justice, important documents, improving your English and/or French, employment and income, education, housing, health care, money and finances, transportation, communications and media, community connections and becoming a Canadian citizen.

The friendly and welcoming tone of the booklet is very clear in its advice to buy a winter coat, boots, gloves and hat to keep warm in the cold and snow during your first Canadian winter.

The Canadian legal system, we are reminded, respects individual rights while at the same time maintaining a safe and peaceful society which works in an orderly manner. This balanced society is of course very appealing to Canada's newcomers, many of whom come from unstable and unsafe countries which don't respect human rights.

Multiculturalism is one of the great strengths of Canada. We are thus told that Canada has a long tradition of accommodating linguistic, cultural and religious differences that dates back centuries and remains strong. The policy of multiculturalism encourages Canadians to maintain those family and cultural traditions which are consistent with Canadian values such as human dignity and equality before the law.

In this spirit, we are told of the case of a Sikh Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, Baltej Singh Dhillon, who fought successfully for the right to wear his turban while on duty.

But we are also told that multiculturalism and diversity has its limits. Canada's openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices like spousal abuse, honor killings, female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence. Family violence and child abuse and neglect get particular attention. Those guilty of these crimes are severely punished under Canada's criminal laws.

Some politically correct Canadians took objection to the explicit mentioning of these points in the booklet. For example, in The Globe and Mail newspaper of April 10, Lysiane Gagnon takes objection to the use of the word "barbaric" because she believes that such emotional and heavily judgemental terms have no place in an official document. To her, the word "barbaric" looks like a pique of juvenile anger in a text otherwise written, as it should be, in a neutral tone. Others argue that explicitly mentioning these issues would offend some cultural groups.

But these observers miss an important point. This information, and the harsh terminology, could be very useful in encouraging and empowering the all too many female and child victims to stand up for their human rights in their new country. In too many cultures (especially non-Western), the home is considered a totally private domain which can mean that human rights abuses against women and children are never sanctioned.

Also, you cannot come to Canada with more than one spouse, even if you were married to more than one in the past. Another limit to multiculturalism!

Another warning is that getting a job that matches your qualifications and interests is one of the biggest challenges of settling in Canada. A particular challenge of many Asian and other non-Western migrants is developing the necessary "soft skills", which are at heart of cultural differences and can be just as important as technical skills in the Canadian job market. These include communication skills, local language skills, presentation skills, small talk, leadership and initiative, conflict and initiative, conflict resolution and negotiation, accepting constructive criticism, flexibility and business etiquette.

Private migrant support organizations, as well as the government, also play an important role in facilitating integration, especially for refugees. For example, in 2011 refugees from Iraq created a new church organization for Chaldean Christians who had fled extremist violence and persecution in Iraq and Iran. There are also a few migrant support organizations which help North Korean refugees.

Are there any success secrets for Canada's immigrants?

Yes!! Thanks to Nick Noorami, a marketing professional from India, who came to Canada in 1998. Based on the challenges he confronted, he wrote a book, published a magazine and developed a popular seminar series offering newcomers tips for success in Canada.

Here are his "Seven Success Secrets for Canadian Immigrants": learn the language, stay positive, embrace Canada, have a Plan B, look beyond the borders of your own community, take risks, and finally volunteerism, mentoring and networking.

It certainly is good advice. It's a great pity that so many other countries are not as welcoming to all their immigrants.

Welcome to Canada!

Author

John West
Executive Director
Asian Century Institute
www.asiancenturyinstitute.com
Tags: asia, migration, Canada, Welcome to Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada

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