Workplaces are essential spaces for immigrant integration. This session examines the cultural, economic, and policy experiences among immigrants and refugees at the workplace and how they shape their adaption and integration to Canadian society. Tags: Migration / Immigration, Work And Professions
Aziz Rahman, University of Manitoba
Refugees--unlike non-refugee immigrants--are forced to flee from their homes, seek protection and navigate potential options for refugee settlement. At post-migration stage, refugee challenges continue as they seek integration in their new setting. While the successful integration of newcomers is expected by newcomers and their host nations, many host countries, governments, and citizens are concerned about how refugees fare economically. With the pre-migration experiences of forced displacement, dispossession, and violence caused by war or other protracted conflicts, government assisted refuges (GARs), as well as privately sponsored refugees (PSRs), blended visa office referred refugees (BVORs) or refugee claimants (asylum seekers) have travelled to Canada to make a new home. Economists, sociologists and the government have paid significant attention to the economic integration of immigrants, yet very few studies have focused exclusively on refugees. Existing literatures demonstrate the poorer economic outcomes of refugees in compared to immigrants and native-born in Canada. This paper examines the economic experiences of resettled refugees exclusively employing the 2016 Canadian Census dataset. The study analyzes employment income, employment status, and education-job mismatch based on a sample of GARs and PSRs within 25-64 years of core working age who have been admitted between1980 and 2016. This paper contributes to the broad Canadian immigrant and integration literature and fills the void in the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) literature on social justice and refugee integration as most studies are from sociologists and economists.
Immigrants constitute a growing proportion of the workforce in Canada, changing the workplace structure to become increasingly diverse. Workplaces are not devoid of culture, instead they represent mainstream culture as well as create their own organizational cultural practices. In this vein, it is important to explore how culture is experienced and utilized in the workplace as a means to gain access or deny entry to employment positions and fields of leadership. The current study explores the experienced Canadian culture in the workplace by interviewing and surveying workers, managers, and diversity trainers in southern Ontario. The results indicate that while the idea of diversity and multiculturalism is present among narratives of the Canadian workplace, there remains an understanding of the stereotypical Canadian worker as mono-cultural. Within the workplace, culture works as an invisible knap sack worn by individuals that influences their everyday interactions, changes, and promotions. The idea of culture does not come into their everyday for those in higher positions, who are more often than not white, Anglo-Saxon, males with Christian heritage.
The Government of Canada continues to offer safe haven to refugees and to seek immigrants to expand the economy. The government has set a goal of accepting 340,000 newcomers in 2020 (Government of Canada, 2019). Previous studies have established that newcomers (immigrants who have been in Canada less than 5 years) face difficulties in the labour market. Their employment support needs are different from both native-born Canadians and immigrants who have been established in Canada for more than 5 years. This presentation will report the results of a study that investigated services for newcomer clients at Employment Ontario sites across the province. These services are funded by the Government of Ontario to help newcomers enter the Ontario labour market. The study examined current programming practices to identify service gaps and best practices by collecting data from frontline workers through surveys, focus groups, and ethnographic research and applying a political economy analysis to the data. Policy recommendations that grew out of the study include (1) restoring effective past programming, (2) adoption of a consistent definition of the term “newcomer” across EO sites, and (3) establishing training requirements for EO site staff members to better serve newcomer clients.