Migration is as old as the beginning of the human race. Men often, in his search for food and other things vital to his survival, have moved from one place to another, settling in the most convenient spots. That is simplifying migration for you. The truth is, we are all migrants, some just earlier migrants than others (most likely, everyone’s ancestor migrated). That movement of human species from one place to another in search of better prospects or safety is what keeps redefining the world order.
Contemporary issues like conflict and wars, natural disasters, political as well as economic considerations in different parts of the globe, make migration, immigrants and refugee issues to be a constant part of life. Migration is a phenomenon to stay as long as humankind is around. The moral philosophy arising from this is that everyone should be valued and not to be treated as less than human because of the differences in how we look, in skin color, language, race or other such perceived differences.
Immigrants are a mix of both the poor and vulnerable underclass plus an appreciable percentage of an educated middle class. Irrespective of the class or social status, immigrants are valuable contributors to the society in which they find themselves and should be treated as such.
However, certain integration issues have been reported here in Canada and elsewhere, over the years which have largely been left unaddressed successfully by successive governments. Yes, there are intervention efforts here and there, yet these disparities still exist, and much work needs to be done to even those out.
There have been reported stories of litigation against organizations by minority racial groups. An instance is the lady that sued a well-known organization in Toronto and won. As the only dark-skinned girl in her department, she got side-tracked even when every other person got promoted with elevated pay, except her. This, even though she was born in Mississauga, a suburb in Toronto, speaks English fluently, and is a Catholic. She clearly had other things besides her skin tone that made her as Canadian as any other Canadian, but she had to sue to be treated equally!
A 2016 study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that despite Canada becoming more racially diverse in the last decade, Canada has made little or no progress on racial equality in the workplace.
Some of the disproportionate experiences of immigrants include income inequality, different treatment of Black children than their peers by teachers because of stereotypes attached to the skin color, negative profiling of Black people as being more prone to committing crimes than other groups. Ironically too, Black people are more at the receiving end of hate crimes than the other racial groups in Canada. The issues that are begging for attention are far more than is presented in this article.
Clearly, we need new and better policies. Government should stop paying lip service to issues affecting a progressively increasing population of Canada. At the head of this policy redirection is the need for policies related to transparent assessment and recognition of credentials. Policies should also address systemic racism at the workplace. Black and other racially discriminated groups in Canada also need to be more represented at the highest levels of decision-making and in all tiers of organizations and institutions.
However, besides the policies are the citizens. As Canadians there is much more we can do to make sure that a newcomer to the country, a person who is not white or comes from a different culture feels welcomed and accepted. All of us have a role to play and only then will Canada be truly a representative country.
This article was carefully developed from Episode 63 of The Immigrant Life Podcast.