Child migrants in the global city: Ryerson's immigration conference, Oct 29-31st

Ryerson’s upcoming conference – and launch pad for the Ryerson Institute on Immigration and Settlement, RIIS, has released the program for its inaugural conference: Migration and the Global City. is very pleased to see so many sessions devoted to immigrant child, youth and family issues. Excerpts below from the program:

Oct 29th, 5-7pm Poster Sessions ~ The Settlement Of refugee youth: A Literature review, Charity Davy, University of Western Ontario

Refugee youths are often perceived as unwell because of the trauma experienced in their home country yet many refugee youths successfully transition to their host country with astounding resilience, motivation and hope. This study aims to explore the knowledge base of the pre-arrival, arrival, and resettlement phases of youth refugees to gain an understanding of successful settlement processes.

Oct 30th, Morning sessions ~ Experiences of Asylum seekers in Montreal: Need for childcare services, Gillian Morantz

In-depth interviews about post-migratory experiences were conducted with 33 dyads of parent and child asylum seekers attending a pediatric hospital in Montreal. Their narratives reveal that the lack of access to affordable childcare services profoundly impacts on their ability to integrate into their host society. This lacuna in services, particularly in the case of single mothers, affects their employability, language acquisition and reconstruction of social networks. Although 7$ a day childcare services are available throughout Quebec, asylum seekers do not qualify for this program. A comparison of childcare policies and services for asylum seekers is made with other regions of Canada and other western countries, and policy implications are discussed.

Schools and borders: Frameworks for access to schooling for precarious status students, Francisco Villegas, OISE/UT

Although the Ontario Education Act ensures the ability of students with precarious immigration status to attend Ontario schools, many still find themselves excluded on the basis of their immigration status. School districts, including those in Toronto have largely ignored this policy and have effectively taken on the role of immigration enforcement  by asking for students’ immigration documentation prior to enrolling them. While there has been a long-standing movement attempting to ensure access to schooling for precarious status students, such students have been conceptualized under different frameworks of access, membership and citizenship. The purpose of this paper is to examine the ways in which discourses affect the ability of precarious status students to receive schooling, as well as the material consequences of immigration precarity on affected individuals.

Oct 30th ~ Asylum denied: Exploring the reasons why some refugee children are deported, Jacqueline Lapeyre-MacNeil, Ryerson University

This project will explore the factors that come into play in the assessment of a refugee claim put forth by unaccompanied children when arriving in Canada, and will focus particularly on children who are denied asylum. Designed as an exploratory research, the study will look into the procedure in place to screen those applications, in an attempt to determine the key criteria used to assess who stays and who gets deported.  Because little research has been done to date on this particular aspect of the process, the potential benefits of this project will be to identify the gaps in the existing protocol, especially in terms of addressing the best interests of the child, as determined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Access to services for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Canada, Chloe Dumouchel-Fournier, Ryerson University

Through semi-structures interviews with service providers in these two provinces, this research analyzes the service delivery to unaccompanied minors in Quebec and Ontario. In addition to being major receivers of asylum seekers, these two provinces were chosen in part because the implementation of the 1991 Canada-Quebec Accord led to major differences in service delivery to unaccompanied minors between Ontario and Quebec.

Separated children: Their status, experiences and unique needs in the Canadian context, Alaina Johnston, Ryerson University

This research focuses on children who arrived in Canada as separated children and who were placed in the care and custody of the Children’s Aid Society of Peel, the child welfare organization west of Toronto which includes Pearson International Airport.

Things Ontario could learn from other jurisdictions in assisting separated children, Francis Hare, Ryerson University

Previous research on services for separated children/unaccompanied minors in the care of the Ontario child welfare system highlighted areas in which the experience of other jurisdictions could offer guidance to Ontario on how to improve the services it offers.  Youth without status who wish to continue into post-secondary education pay “international student” fees, substantially higher than those paid by Canadian citizens or residents. In the US, “The DREAM Act” may provide a way to address this issue. Ontario staff often find themselves in need of training on issues related to immigration status issues for youth in care. SARIMM in Quebec regularly conducted such training sessions for others. Non-status youth in Ontario need social support as well as legal representation, another service found in Quebec. Finally, ideas for assisting Ontario youth make the transition to citizenship may be found in US legislation called the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status.

Oct 31st ~ The Settlement of young children: The future of the global city, Judith Colbert, Consultant

The distinctive settlement needs of young newcomer children have not been fully recognized, although cross-cultural psychologists tell us that acculturation begins in infancy (and before), and data, such as EDI scores, indicate that many kindergarten children who are second language learners are disadvantaged. The benefits of quality child care and early intervention have been well-researched, but much remains to be learned about their potential as vehicles for settlement support. Progress is slow in part because programs continue to focus on Western ideas of development and childrearing and strive to meet culturally inappropriate indicators of quality. Initiatives that lead to positive futures for both young newcomers and the global city are good public policy. More work by governments, academics and community-based organizations is needed to identify settlement issues and optimum practices, develop and implement new programs, and ensure that current programs address the settlement needs of young children more effectively.

Geography and mental health: Why region of resettlement affects the mental health risk of immigrant children in Canada, Morton Beiser, Ryerson University

Data from the New Canadian Children and Youth Study (NCCYS) show that immigrant children living in Toronto and Montreal have higher levels of emotional problems than their counterparts living in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.  This presentation demonstrates that cross-country differences in both immigrant personal attributes (language proficiency) and the welcome accorded immigrant families help explain differential mental health risk.

Parents’ educational expectations and child outcomes of Hong Kong Chinese, Mainland Chinese and Filipino children in Canada, Patrizia Albanese, Ryerson University

Using New Canadian Children and Youth Survey (NCCYS) data we compare the school performance of Hong Kong (HK) Chinese children, children from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Filipino children. We look at the relationship between parental human capital and children’s school performance. We … focus on whether high parental expectations and immigrant children’s ‘superior academic performance’ at school results in immigrant children “adapting well.” This paper will use NCCYS data to assess the mental health impact of parental educational expectations on immigrant boys and girls.

Ethnic identity and discrimination among children, Jane Friesen, Simon Fraser University

We engaged almost 400 Canadian children aged five through eight years in a series of activities that draw from both social psychology and experimental economics, and are designed to reveal patterns of ethnic stereotyping, self-identification and discrimination with respect to three ethnically phenotypic categories (white, East Asian, and South Asian).  We find that children from the dominant white group have the most favorable evaluations of and identify most strongly with the white ethnic category.  Minority East Asian children tend to associate themselves with the dominant white category as well as with East Asians. These social identities are reflected in children’s altruistic behaviour – white children show clear pro-white bias, but East Asian children do not discriminate.

Attributed causality among child abuse victims in the Tamil and Punjabi communities, Vappu Tyyskä, Ryerson University

The results presented in this paper come from a larger study of family violence in the Punjabi and Tamil communities in Toronto, conducted in 2007-2008, based on interviews with adults who were subjected to abuse as children.The participants were asked about their experiences of family violence; patterns of abuse before and after immigration; and about their attribution of the causes of abuse. The results will be outlined, with a focus on attributed causality by the victims, and with attention to gender.

Honour killings and intergenerational relations in South Asian families, Muzzammil Beelut, Ryerson University

Since 2002 there have been 13 reported honour killings in Canada. This presentation seeks to understand reasons behind honour killings.  Since an honour killing is an extreme form of violence, this presentation examines the roots of intergenerational conflict in South Asian families with the hope of ceasing the problem from the start. Also, a media analysis is conducted of the Toronto Star and the National Post to determine how the media dealt with killing of Aqsa Parvez, a 16-year-old Pakistani woman who was killed by her father in 2007. Finally, policy recommendations are offered as to how honour killings can be prevented from happening in Canada.
To review the complete program, visit the RISS website.