Newcomers need to learn intricacies of Canadian life: Research

Citizenship Ceremony @ MaRS 2011
Citizenship Ceremony @ MaRS 2011 (Photo credit: mars_discovery_district)

Immigrants need help learning not just Canada's two official languages, but also the "secret rules" of Canadian life in order to fit into their new home, according to the authors of a report released Thursday.

The ability to speak and read English or French is viewed as key to the economic success of newcomers, and the federal government is implementing mandatory language testing for immigrants in their country of origin and increasing the level of proficiency required. But in their report for the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Tracey Derwing and Erin Waugh looked at the role of language and cultural practices in how immigrants develop friendships, join social organizations and build networks within the mainstream.

The study, Language Skills and the Social Integration of Canada's Adult Immigrants, reviewed the federal Language Instruction for Newcomers (LINC) program, which is available to all permanent immigration classes until they become Canadian citizens. It also reviewed existing literature, including a Citizenship and Immigration study of language proficiency levels and a longitudinal study Derwin co-authored that has followed Mandarin and Slavic-language speakers since their arrival in Canada, assessing their accents and fluency as part of overall comprehensibility.


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1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree immigrants need help in order to fit easily into the Canadian society, but what about the adverse economic conditions locally and worldwide (the world recession and the subsequent dry job market). Language is the most formidable barrier in the face of newcomers, but what about fluent, highly proficient and highly qualified jobless immigrants. In this case language becomes the least significant factor in the employability of immigrants. As a result of the bad economic situation, very few sectors are economically active such as public health, policing and private education. Even large universities have invented a new way of hiring professors, looking for less expensive measures to adopt (i.e., most openings are part-time or sessional). It’s not uncommon these days to notice that most advertised jobs are part-time, temporary, on call or on as needed basis, offering as few as 4 hours per week. Under the prevailing circumstances, not only permanent jobs are hard to come by, even volunteer opportunities become rare. On par with this problem come the very difficult to meet requirements of the jobs available in the Canadian job market. Sometimes, it looks the employer is looking for a super person who can do wonders. Due to the dearth of resources and shortage of jobs, the universities are inundated with a large volume of applications from unemployed individuals to join the graduate studies. Many of these universities had to turn down thousands of applications because of their limited resources and funding.


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