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Reversal of fortune: A self-advocacy primer

There can be little doubt that making your voice heard takes courage, especially when adapting to life in a new land. There are ways to make your voice heard, and skills to cultivate that can aid in doing so.

A Reuters article from 2023 stated the dream of living in Canada had ended for 42,000 immigrants during the first half of 2023, as they were unable to make ends meet and chose to abandon their adopted homeland.

That figure added to the 93,818 people who departed in 2022 and the 85,927 who left in 2021. While those numbers represent a mere drop in the bucket compared to the 485,000 arrivals last year, the departures are significant enough to look a little deeper at why this phenomenon is occurring in the first place.

Among the most commonly cited reasons are the high cost of living, being unable to find work in one’s chosen field, not fitting in, an absence of support networks and the impact of any racial discrimination. While all of these are valid and unfortunate, there is also a startling number of immigrants who, for various reasons, have no idea what their rights are. While this is sad, language barriers, limitations caused by cultural roles and rank in society intersect with and only compound the issues people experience trying to make their voices heard while adjusting to the norms and values of a new country.