Refugees

Canadian Council for Refugees on the discourse around immigrants and refugees in the upcoming federal election

The Canadian Council on Refugees has issued an open letter to the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties, asking them to agree to a set of principles as they discuss and debate immigration and refugee issues and policy. Here is the letter:
“We are writing because we are concerned about how refugees and migrants in Canada may be characterized during the upcoming federal election campaign.
“We welcome thoughtful discussion on complex issues related to migration, and recognize that there are many legitimate perspectives.
“We are also conscious that refugees and migrants are easily victimized in political debates. In many countries around the world, especially during election campaigns, refugees and migrants have been talked about in ways that insult their dignity and humanity, contribute to xenophobia and racism, and are frequently grounded in distortion and misinformation.
“We believe that every leader, every candidate, and every political party, has a role to play in preventing this from happening in Canada. We therefore ask you to engage in discussions about migration in ways that recognize:

  • Our shared humanity,
  • That Canada finds opportunity through diversity,
  • That refugees strengthen our communities,
  • That refugees help build our economy,
  • That Canada has legal obligations to respect and uphold the human rights of those fleeing persecution

“We believe that how we respond to refugees, and how we talk about vulnerable migrants, is an important part of our collective identity.
“We want to be a country that welcomes refugees, that respects the dignity and human rights of vulnerable migrants, and that treats them fairly.
“We know Canadians value compassion, equality and safety for all.
“In the upcoming federal election campaign, we call on you to demonstrate your leadership by respecting these principles and speaking out when they are undermined by others”.

The CCR is also asking organizations to join in signing the letter.
The federal election will be  held in October 2019. For more information about the election, including how to ensure you are on the voters lists, visit Elections Canada.

Resilience guide: Program strategies for responding to trauma in refugee children

CMAS, Care for Newcomer Children, have released a guide to support child care staff with information, resources and tools to working with refugee children who have experienced trauma.
The Resilience Guide, written by CMAS staff with advisory support from resiliency experts, shares information on:
• the impact of the refugee experience at different ages
• the developmental effects of trauma and resettlement
• key strategies to strengthen families’ capacity for resilience, and
• practical tip sheets.

Does Canada have "dreamers"? CBC Radio investigates

From the CBC website: “We’ve been hearing a lot about Dreamers in the U.S. – undocumented young people who fear they may be deported to countries they left as children. Canada has its own ‘dreamers’, but we hear far less about them”. That’s about to change with a series of radio spots from the CBC.
The first installment ‘Canadian dreamers find home at York University’ introduces us to refugee students who have been accepted into York University in a pilot project with the FJC Refugee Centre.
Also see the CBC print story for more information.
Part 2 examines the Canadian policy response to ‘dreamer’ refugees.

CMAS | Care for Newcomer Children launches a parenting webpage

CMAS | Care for Newcomer Children * is a federally funded program that provides supports, resources, and helps organizations, to provide culturally appropriate child care for newcomer families participating in the Language Instruction for Newcomers in Canada program.
They have just launched a section on Parenting in their website. The Parenting pages provide useful information and resources, including multilingual resources in:
Parenting ~ information to help newcomer families adjust to parenting in Canada, including multilingual resources covering general parenting practices
Child development ~ information, resources and ideas to encourage the cognitive, social, emotional, and language development of children
Health and safety ~ information on nutrition, immunizations, mental health, physical activity guidelines, and product recall information
School readiness ~ information on how to support a smooth transition to the school system.

*CMAS (formerly known as Childminding Advisory and Support Services) is  funded through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and was founded in 2000.  More recently, it supports and promotes the care for newcomer children model. “Childminding” is no longer used.

Yo Cuento: Latin American immigrant children tell their stories

How (well) do immigrant children adjust to new shores? Researcher Monica Valencia, Ryerson University, asked a group of children to answer the question through drawings.
She found that there were 4 themes in the children’s drawings:

  1. Sadness (leaving behind family, friends, neighbourhood)
  2. Anxiety (unfamiliar, sometimes hostile environment)
  3. Frustration (so much new to learn! Language, customs)
  4. Gratitude for friendship (peer support critical to happy integration).

Read more about this research in a 2014 article written by The Toronto Star’s immigration reporter, Nicholas Keung,

See more immigration related stories by Keung here.

Comic books for children to learn about refugees

Comics for Youth Refugees Incorporated Collective (CYRIC), believes that children can learn from, and refugee children can benefit from a comic book that tells common Syrian folk tales. The comic is called Haawiyat and is written band illustrated by y  a number of international folks. (English version here).
Recently CYRIC gave away copies in  Gaziantep, Turkey and are seeking crowdfunding to produce a second, and bigger, edition. crowdfunding platform Razoo
Source: @TeamRefugees & @robsalk