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It’s Not Easy To Get ‘Kyeyo’ In Canada

By Vision Reporter

Added 28th April 2004 03:00 AM

THERE is a good chance that you or someone you know is thinking about migrating to another part of the world. If your chosen destination is Canada, there are some details you need to consider.

THERE is a good chance that you or someone you know is thinking about migrating to another part of the world. If your chosen destination is Canada, there are some details you need to consider.

Letter From Toronto – By Opiyo Oloya

THERE is a good chance that you or someone you know is thinking about migrating to another part of the world. If your chosen destination is Canada, there are some details you need to consider.

The good news is that Canada continues to rely on immigration to soar up its falling birth rates. In 2000, the country registered 327,882 babies, almost 10,000 fewer than in the previous year, which were 337,249. In the same year, 218,062 Canadians died from various causes including cancer and heart diseases.

More telling is the population breakdown by age. On July 1, 2002, there were 3,989,196 people at retirement age 65 or older while a whopping 7,679,839 were between the ages of 45 to 64.

When you do the Math, you realize that within 13 years, as many as 40% of Canadians will be retired. In fact, according to the 2001 census, Canada’s entire net labour growth will come from immigration by 2011.

Most important, Canadian retirees will continue to require services as they live longer into their 70s, 80s and 90s. The point is that there will come a time when a smaller active population will work to support a huge retired population, straining the resources of the country and causing all sorts of problems with productivity.

To continue its economic progress, Canada like many industralised nations such as United States, EU states, Japan, Australia will rely on immigrants not only to do their so-called dirty jobs, but also to run industries, bureaucracy and teach children. In that sense, Canada relies on an annual immigration of close to 250,000.

The bad news is that the projected economic catastrophe associated with falling birth rate has not translated itself into a deluge of opportunities for skilled and well-educated immigrants. Many immigrants who come to Canada full of hope are often reduced to doing menial jobs.

A Globe and Mail article titled “We are capable People” published on October 25, 2003, estimated that as many as 4,000 foreign-trained doctors are under-employed or unemployed in Ontario alone. This is puzzling at a time when Ontario is facing acute shortage of doctors in many smaller communities. Like many skilled immigrants in other fields, these physicians were making a living as pizza delivery and driving taxis.

Meanwhile, the Universite de Montreal released a study in January 2001, Ils Sont Maintenant d’Ici, that found that about 60 percent of Quebec immigrants arrive with a university education.

Yet, the study found that after 15 weeks in Quebec, 32 percent of the immigrants ended up in factory jobs and 17 percent went into retail sales.

Even after spending a decade in Quebec, a majority of immigrants remained employed in low-skill sectors — 26 percent were still employed in factories and 16 percent in retail.

Many immigrants cite the so-called lack of “Canadian experience” as the reason they are rejected at job interviews. For many the phrase has become a racist code word for “we do not want you in Canada.”

On a recent CBC interview, an immigrant told the story of being asked by a potential employer
to provide a resume in order to be considered for a dishwashing job.

He stuck up his two hands and said, “These are my resumes — they are what I need to wash dishes, not a piece of paper”.

The frustration is so high that many highly qualified workers often return to their country of origin because the Canadian dream has soured.

Yet, Canadian officials are beginning to recognise the need for speedy integration of foreign skilled workers into the workforce.

There are numerous initiatives that are funneling money toward providing support for the unemployed foreign-trained professionals in their field of qualifications.

These may be just the break immigrants need in order to get ahead in Canada.

oloyao@ycdsb.edu.on.ca

It’s Not Easy To Get ‘Kyeyo’ In Canada

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