Hospitalization rates among economic immigrants to Canada

By Edward Ng, Claudia Sanmartin and Douglas G. Manuel, Statis Canada Economic immigrants generally, and economic class principal applicants (ECPAs) specifically, tend to have better health than other immigrants, as well as the Canadian-born population. However, health outcomes vary among subcategories within this group, especially by sex. This study examines hospitalization rates among ECPAs aged 25 to 74 who arrived in Canada between 1980 and 2006 as skilled workers, business immigrants, or live-in caregivers. The analysis used two linked databases to estimate age-standardized hospitalization rates (ASHRs) overall and for leading causes by sex. ASHRs of ECPA subcategories were compared with each other and with those of the Canadian-born population. Logistic regression was used to derive odds ratios for hospitalization among ECPAs, by sex. Male and female ECPAs aged 25 to 74 had significantly lower all-cause ASHRs than did the Canadian-born population in the same age range. This pattern prevailed for each ECPA subcategory and for each disease examined. Compared with skilled workers, business immigrants had lower odds of hospitalization; live-in caregivers who arrived after 1992 had higher odds. Adjustment for education, official language proficiency, and world region reduced the strength of or eliminated these associations. Read full report...

Anti-immigrant rally set for Vancouver City Hall to be met by counter-protesters

By Simon Little, Global News | In the wake of a racist rally that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Va. the City of Vancouver is set to hold its own pair of dueling demonstrations between anti-immigrant groups and counter-protesters. A Saturday event dubbed the “WCAI Canada/CAP rally” has been posted to Facebook by right wing media group “ProperGander Promotions,” and lists speakers from several anti-immigrant groups. That prompted a counter rally, organized by an ad-hoc group calling itself Stand Up to Racism Metro Van. The Facebook post for the original rally was no longer up on Tuesday, but just 11 people had originally indicated they’d attend. By Tuesday afternoon, more than 800 said they’ll attend the counter-protest. Lisa Descary is one of the organizers with the counter-protest, who said the group came together in the wake of the horrifying images from Charlottesville. “Given what happened in the ‘states, that’s what happens when these right wing racists go unopposed,” she said. Descary said so long as groups don’t cross the line into hate speech they have the right to demonstrate, but said citizens have the right to come and tell them they’re wrong, too. “We also have the right to show up and tell them that they’re the tiny minority. I think that some people misunderstand what free speech means, and they think it means that you can say things and other people don’t have the right to oppose you.” Descary said her group is committed to peaceful protest and is taking steps to ensure the event doesn’t descend into violence. Read...

White nationalist groups on the rise in Canada, planning more rallies

By Katie Dangerfield, Global News | The aftermath of a deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., continues to be felt in the United States and here in Canada. Since the tragedy took place, events for several white nationalist rallies have popped up across the country. In Vancouver, a rally set for Saturday called the “WCAI Canada/CAP rally” was posted on Facebook by right-wing media group “ProperGander Promotions,” and lists speakers from several anti-immigrant groups. This prompted a counter rally, organized by an ad-hoc group calling itself Stand Up to Racism Metro Van. On Sept. 14, the Canadian Nationalist Party is holding an event in Toronto to “discuss the nationalist movement in Canada and the future of our country,” according to a Facebook post. The post says the rally will be held at the University of Toronto, but the campus has denied this. “There are several of these rallies planned for Toronto and one in Calgary too,” Barbara Perry, a University of Ontario Institute of Technology professor who studies hate crimes. After the white nationalists marched in Charlottesville over the weekend, Perry said it sounded like it was a call to arms. Ex-KKK leader David Duke said the rally was a “turning point” for the movement. That messaging was heard all the way in Canada. “We like to believe as Canadians this does not happen here… but the pendulum is swinging,” Michael Bach, CEO of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion said. He said since Donald Trump took the presidency in January, and even during his campaign, there has been a rise of hate crime in Canada. This...

Toughen literacy standards to boost immigrant success

By Asian Pacific Post | Strong literacy skills improve new immigrants’ employability and earnings capacity. But immigrant literacy skills in Canada lag non-immigrants despite the large proportion of immigrants with university degrees, according the 2012 OECD Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). My latest research for the C.D. Howe Institute — The Power of Words: Improving Immigrants’ Literacy Skills — argues for policies to enhance immigrants’ literacy skills through improvements in Canada’s immigration selection and settlement policies. The literacy skills gap between immigrants and non-immigrants is evident across all levels of education, including university-educated immigrants. It underscores why some immigrants struggle to successfully transfer their skills upon arrival. Among immigrants, however, those who obtained their highest educational attainment in Canada perform better than others perhaps due to having a better knowledge of language and receiving a high-quality education. My study shows that, indeed, language is a major factor in the skill gaps between immigrants and non-immigrants. Better language abilities in English or French result in higher literacy outcomes among immigrants, allowing them to do better in the labour market. Australia has a comparable immigration system, but its immigrants outperform Canadian immigrants in literacy scores. Why? Australia’s changes to language testing for prospective immigrants in 1999 is a major cause of improvements in the average performance of immigrants, particularly those with a mother tongue other than English. Although Canada announced similar policy reforms to its immigration system around 2010, its approach is more lenient than Australia’s. Canada assigns two-thirds of total possible language points to applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSW) who meet the minimum English...

B.C. college faculty feel pressure to ‘pass’ foreign students

By Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun | Veteran college English instructors are routinely receiving passionate, imploring pleas for passing grades from the international students who increasingly fill their classes. The foreign students’ emotion-filled emails and in-office appeals, often issued in jumbled English, invariably aim to cajole faculty at Langara College and other institutions into giving them a break, so they will be able to move on from their mandatory courses in English literature. The foreign students often maintain their entire future depends on passing the English course. Langara College has experienced a five-fold rise in foreign students since 2014, but two English literature and composition instructors say the college’s over-reliance on international fees is not working for many high-stressed foreign students, their anxious offshore parents or for shortchanged domestic students. Langara College English instructors Peter Babiak and Anne Moriarty are among a small number of Canadian higher education officials who are ending their silence to raise concerns about the expanding business of international education, which now brings 130,000 foreign students to B.C., mostly Metro Vancouver. “I do feel sorry for the (international) students, of course, but that’s not really the point. When I assign grades, presumably I need to be objective and not let emotions get in the way,” says Babiak, who has been teaching at Langara since 2002. Like many faculty at universities and colleges, Babiak and Moriarty feel pressure to wave through the full-fee-paying foreign students, especially in mandatory first-year English literature courses, even if they lack fluency in English. “There is a booming industry dedicated to helping students jump through English-language hoops, which teachers like me everywhere...

Statscan revises census data to show decline in English speakers in Quebec

By Jordan Press, Globe and Mail | Quebec’s anglophone population is declining, rather than booming, Statistics Canada said Thursday as the agency officially corrected a census finding that stoked political fires in Quebec’s emotionally charged language debate. The change is the result of a computer error that recorded some 55,000 people in last year’s census as English speakers, when they really had French as their mother tongue. Correcting the mistake cut the increase in the anglophone population in half and pushed the francophone population up by more than 145,000 between 2011 and 2016. Statistics Canada officials suggested the revisions did little to change the overall narrative captured in the census that showed an increase in the number of French speakers in the country, largely driven by Quebec. The country’s revised bilingualism rate dropped to 17.9 per cent from 18 per cent, but remains at an all-time high. The census data originally indicated roughly one-half of the 57,325 increase in Quebec’s anglophones over five years came from outside of the Montreal, a finding that puzzled experts, given trend lines and other information like school enrolment figures that pointed in the opposition direction. What officials found was that a mistake in the online prompts for 61,000 respondents who did a follow-up step when they failed to complete the questionnaire and then had their answered flipped. A panel of outside experts reviewed the corrections before Statistics Canada released the figures almost a week after publicly reporting the mistake. About 40 per cent of the wrongly classified responses were in Montreal. Jean-Pierre Corbeil, who heads up the census language division at Statistics Canada,...