After the Quebec report came out on reasonable accommodation last week (read full story), we asked you: "What do you think is working/not working in your community to help new Canadians?"
Some of you suggested that Canadians need to be more tolerant and patient. Others suggested there are real barriers to economic integration, including a lack of recognition of foreign credentials. Still others said new Canadians can make a difference themselves. Here is a selection of some of your best comments:
On being welcoming:
"What DOES need to happen is more services provided and people actually WELCOMED into Canada rather than looked upon with prejudice and suspicion." - Charlene Smith, Woodstock, Ont.
"I think that it would be potentially helpful to offer new Canadians the opportunity to be paired up with a similar volunteer family of at least second or third generation Canadians from a different cultural background to help them to understand and feel comfortable in their new environment.
I am sure that it would also be an enriching experience for the host family and it could lead to some lifelong friendships and mutual appreciation and respect for each other that might never happen otherwise. - B. Kelley, Brantford
"When entering a store and you see a person on crutches, you will hold the door open for them and not give it a second thought. You do this because you can see that they need a hand and you are humane. This is what our society expects of us, to assist those in need.
What is the difference between a physical disability and a communications disability? We need both of these abilities to get along every minute of every day. Why is it ok to bash someone or be intolerant because they are struggling with their English? Maybe we could hold the door open for those who have English as a second language, listen a bit closer and allow them a few more minutes to speak so that they too can get through the door." - Brad, Saskatchewan
"The big problem in small communities is the lack of services to help newcomers get orientated and integrated. ESL/FSL courses and settlement counselors are supposed to be equally accessible wherever the immigrant chooses to go, but in reality many smaller communities don't get them because the government expects community groups to bid for service funding while not providing the capacity building needed to get such groups up and running.
All levels of government recognize this issue, and the importance of diversifying immigration beyond the GTA, Montreal and Vancouver to achieve more balanced population growth, but have so far done very little about it. There is also very little follow-up to connect newcomers to those services that do exist." - Terence Johnson
On foreign credentials:
"I think the worst element for an immigrant is the confusion around acceptance of one's credentials by Immigration Canada (granting you landed-immigrant status), but then the refusal of many local, provincial, and national associations (trades and professionals) to accept these credentials... I want to see concrete leadership whereby the Canadian government will screen and give a seal of approval to the credentials (that cannot be later on questioned) and put in place
Canadian standards to expedite and ease this reform.
Right now, the remnants of the division of jurisdictions are hurting the country (and helping protectionism to continue to close doors on immigrants, allowing under-employment and under-benefits, AND resulting resistance by some immigrants to embrace the Canadian way, which they feel might have tricked them)." – Pierre
"A disservice is being done to potential immigrants by our own government when a high value is placed on having a university degree but there is failure by the same gov't to recognize that the licensing of professionals is typically handled at the provincial level. Why throw open the gates only to have a barrier put up further down the road? If companies/organizations are so desperate for certain professionals, the onus should be on these groups to recruit outside of Canada & ensure that candidates are suitable & qualified to practice in Canada before they are allowed to come over." - PL, Calgary
"Immigrants... bring your culture and freely express your beliefs. Just be aware of the existing culture that you are entering. Accept and respect Canadian culture as it is and there will be plenty of room for your ideals. Join the tossed salad bowl and forget the melting pot." – Chris
"This is Canada. Canadians live here, speak two languages, have various religions, holidays, a way of life. If immigrants want to come here they should know these things. One does not invite oneself into another's home and start to rearrange the furniture, clothing and family practices." - Peter Elwood, Ottawa
"Being a multicultural society means sharing your culture, not hoarding it, and not excluding others." - Caitlin, Winnipeg
Add your comments