Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Issue 18 - Evidence - February 3, 2011
OTTAWA, Thursday, February 3, 2011
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology met this day at 10:28 a.m. to continue its study on current social issues pertaining to Canada's largest cities. (topic: Social inclusion and cohesion).
Senator Art Eggleton (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Welcome to the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.
Today we continue our study on social inclusion in Canada's cities, in particular the integration of immigrants. Today, we have two panels of witnesses. The first panel is government officials and the second panel includes four representatives of community organizations.
Garnett Picot, Senior Analyst, Social Analysis Division, Statistics Canada: Honourable senators, I will provide an overview of economic integration of immigrants in Canada. Slide 2 illustrates employment and unemployment rates from 2006 to 2010 among people aged 25 to 64 years of age.
The basic story is that the employment population ratio — the percent of the population employed — for men is about the same among immigrants as it is among the Canadian-born. The same is not true for women, for whom the employment rates are quite a bit lower.
The real story in this chart is the unemployment rates. The unemployment rates are higher among immigrants no matter how long they have been in Canada, than they are among the Canadian-born. This holds true for both men and women. That is the basic story regarding employment and unemployment.
However, employed immigrants have seen their earnings fall continuously since about 1980. As a result, their low-income rates have been rising. You can see that on slide 3. At the left-hand side, the green line at the top of the chart indicates the low-income rate among recent immigrants who have been in Canada for less than five years compared to the Canadian-born. In 1980, the low-income rate was about 1.4 times that of the Canadian-born for recent immigrants.
It increased steadily to about 2.7 times that of the Canadian-born by 1995. There was some recovery in the late 1990s, which we will talk about in a few minutes, followed by deterioration by 2005. The actual low-income rate story is of declining low-income rates among the Canadian-born and rising low-income rates among immigrants.
In 1980 among the Canadian-born, the low-income rate was 17.2 per cent. By 2005, that had fallen to 13.3 per cent — an improvement among the Canadian-born but among immigrants the low-income rate rose. Among recent immigrants in Canada less than five years, the low-income rate rose from 24.6 per cent in 1980 to about 36 per cent in 2005. There has been deterioration generally speaking in economic outcomes.
Slide 4 shows what the literature has been telling us about why this deterioration took place. I will discuss four reasons for the deterioration. The first is changing source countries. Everyone knows that during the 1970s and 1980s immigration shifted away from Europe to Africa, the Caribbean and mainly Asia. Associated with this shift were issues about language and the perceived values of foreign work experience and education in these new source regions. Together it is hard to separate those effects, but together they accounted for probably one third of the drop in earnings between 1980 and 2000.
The second reason is foreign work experience. We read a great deal about this in the literature. In 1980, when an immigrant came to Canada with 10 to 15 years of work experience, he or she was paid for that work experience. Today, when an immigrant comes to Canada, the immigrant receives zero remuneration for that work experience. That has fallen dramatically and is part of the story regarding declining earnings.
Since 2000, the reasons have changed somewhat as to why we see this deterioration. The main reason since 2000 was the IT bust in the early 2000s. In the late 1990s, we had the IT boom, and Canada responded by bringing a large number of engineers and IT workers into Canada through immigration. That high level of immigration of engineers and IT workers continued into the early 2000s. Then we hit the IT bust in 2001, which lasted through to 2005. Immigrants in those occupations were hit hard during that period when their earnings fell quite significantly and that explains much of the decline.
We know that immigrants are affected disproportionately during recessions. During the recent recession, their employment rate fell, and their unemployment rate rose more than you would see among the Canadian-born. That was also true during the early 1990s recession.
Slide 5 shows that it is not all bad news. There was improvement in outcomes during some periods. During the late 1990s, earnings rose among entering immigrants, which had to do with changing educational attainment and changing class. As a result of the changes in the selection system in the early 1990s, the educational attainment of immigrants rose significantly through the 1990s. That improved their economic outcomes in the aggregate. As well, a higher percentage was coming in on the economic classes compared to the family class, which also affected outcomes positively. We saw a similar thing in 2005 and 2006 that was associated with changes in the selection rules and earnings of workers in the Federal Skilled Worker Program improved it. It is important to note that principal applicants in the skilled economic class continue to have the best economic outcomes among immigrants.
Moving to slide 6, we have been talking about the economic integration of immigrants, the deterioration by and large since the 1980s, and the economic outcomes and improvement in some periods. One could take a longer-term view of economic integration and think about the children of immigrants. In this area Canada is doing quite well.
We will look at the results for both childhood immigrants, often referred to as the 1.5 generation; these children are immigrants prior to the age of 12 years. We will look at the true second generation of Canadian-born children of immigrants. The results for both groups are very similar. The educational attainment of these children is much superior to the educational attainment of the children of Canadian-born.
Slide 6 shows the percent of 25-year olds to 34-year-olds who had a university degree in 2006. Shown on the left- hand side at the bottom under the column entitled All, 36 per cent of the children of immigrants had a university degree. The right-hand side shows that 24 per cent of the children of Canadian-born parents had a university degree. This chart also shows the tremendous variation by source region — it depends where the parents came from. If the immigrant parents were Chinese, 62 per cent of their children obtained a university degree. If the parents were from Pakistan or India, 50 per cent earned a degree. If the parents were from the Caribbean, 28 percent of their children earned a degree. Most groups still had rates above those of Canadian-born parents. The children are achieving quite high levels of educational attainment.
Slide 7 shows that as a result of this high level of educational attainment, they are doing well in the labour market. The rates of employment and unemployment among the children of immigrants are as good as or better than those of the children of Canadian-born parents. These children of immigrants are much more likely to be in professional occupations because of their high level of educational attainment, and their earnings are 6 per cent to 10 per cent higher than the earnings of the children of the Canadian-born parents.
The reason for this has to do with what happens in the less-educated families. Take two families, one Canadian-born and the other an immigrant family, where the parents have high levels of educational attainment. The kids from those families will do about the same in terms of educational outcomes. Take two such families where the parents have lower levels of educational attainment; the kids from the immigrant family will achieve much higher levels of educational attainment than the kids from the Canadian-born family. That is the real difference between the children of immigrants and the children of Canadian-born parents.
Moving to slide 8 to summarize, economic outcomes of entering immigrants has deteriorated generally since the 1980s. The reasons for this determination vary from period to period, but language issues are likely important. One study shows that the differences between immigrants and the Canadian-born in literacy in English or French accounted for about three quarters of the wage gap between immigrants and the Canadian-born. Language is very important.
We did see some improvement in the late 1990s and the mid-2000s associated with changes in the selection system and with economic recovery. If you take a longer-term perspective, Canada does very well, particularly compared to the Europeans and even compared to the Americans. The educational outcomes are high, and their labour market outcomes are very good.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That is rich information to have. We will now hear from Deborah Tunis from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Deborah Tunis, Director General, Integration, Citizenship and Immigration Canada: Mr. Chair, I am very pleased that this committee has chosen to examine immigrant integration through the lens of cities. Newcomers arrive in Canada, but most often settle in Canada's largest cities. Our efforts to settle immigrants and facilitate the ability of cities, communities, and the private sector to accommodate and include immigrants can play an important role in their successful integration.
I want to go over a brief description of the suite of programming and interventions that the Government of Canada and provinces and territories are providing to newcomers; second, a bit about how we work with provinces and territories on these issues; and third, very briefly, because Mr. Picot has given such a good overview, outcomes.
First, in terms of our programs, yesterday, with Ratna Omidvar, you started to get into the issues about the difference between settlement and integration. We see settlement as the first phase on the pathway to integration, and much of the concentration of the Government of Canada's programs is in those early years of immigrants' early establishment. Once people decide to take on Canadian citizenship, which we regard as a big landmark in that pathway to integration, we continue to track how newcomers and immigrants are doing, but most of the programming is then just whatever society is providing.
In terms of the work of settlement services, when you did your poverty study, you highlighted the role of settlement service agencies. As I look at it, it has transformed incredibly from what was kind of a small, informal, largely charitable organization based sector in the 1970s to an active, professional, strong sector in terms of the provision of settlement services today. Part of that has been the investment that the Government of Canada, provinces, and territories have been making. When you look back in the 1990s, about $25 million was being spent on settlement services. Today, we are up in the $850 million range in terms of what the Government of Canada has invested in that sector.
At the same time, there has been a wide range of interest in other players, such as municipalities. In the Canada- Ontario Immigration Agreement, we have a separate memorandum of understanding with the City of Toronto. Local immigration partnerships have been developed in Ontario to try to bring together business, community groups, municipalities and others. Certainly social service institutions, faith groups and cultural groups are all playing a big, active role.
Under the Settlement Program, we have almost 400 service provider organizations across Canada, funded through 900 contribution agreements, to deliver programming. In 2009-10, this supported about 76,000 immigrants to take language training, often language instruction for newcomers to Canada, or the Enhanced Language Training programming; 137,000 to receive information and orientation services; and 8,500 newcomers participated in the Community Connections programming.
We do offer some services overseas, such as Canadian Orientation Abroad and the Welcome to Canada initiatives. Next week I believe you will hear from my colleague about the Foreign Credentials Referral Office and some of the work they are doing overseas with the ACCC, the Association of Canadian Community Colleges.
Once people arrive in Canada, we are keen on getting them through assessments and into language training because, as Mr. Picot says, language is such a key to economic outcomes but also to making connections with their communities. All of the research that we have undertaken shows that language is the absolute key piece.
We are increasingly doing programming in the labour market access area. We offer the basic kinds of services, such as resumé writing and preparation, but there is also focus on the soft skills, such as how do you prepare for interviews and how the Canadian workplace differs from workplaces in other parts of the world.
Focussing on the two-way street of integration, we have our Community Connections stream, which has been focused traditionally on connecting newcomers with established Canadians, and the activities that have happened in communities like the local immigration partnerships are funded through that stream.
I will talk just very briefly about the federal-provincial arrangements. With the Canada-Quebec accord, the Government of Canada agreed that Quebec would have full responsibility for settlement and selection, and they also provide services to refugees. In other parts of the country, British Columbia and Manitoba, provinces are supposed to be achieving comparable outcomes to the Government of Canada's services, but they have responsibility for the design and delivery. In Alberta and Ontario, we have various forms of co-management, and we have just begun the renegotiation of the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement.
You have heard from Mr. Picot about the importance we see of the education system in terms of being a big leveller for second-generation children of immigrants. Provinces and territories make significant investments in terms of health systems, education systems, social services support, recognition of foreign credentials, legal aid and business development.
I will not talk much about outcomes because Mr. Picot has given you such a rich overview of that subject. When we look at how immigrants are doing. We see very high rates of naturalization, the highest in the world, with comparable levels of political activity and engagement to those of Canadian-born. We see high levels of community voluntary activity, a strong sense of belonging and satisfaction about life in Canada, and strong outcomes for second-generation Canadians. When you ask immigrants, having come here and had the experience, if they still would have made that decision, three quarters of them say yes.
In terms of areas of concern, this committee has already looked at some of the issues around poverty. The earnings, the employment rates, are matters of concern. We continue to think about whether there are signs of resistance to integration in parts of the country and whether there are things that interventions such as some of the youth programming could address in terms of radicalization or other cultural or social practices.
Mr. Picot talked about the recent evaluation of the Federal Skilled Worker Program, which did show that immigrants selected under that stream were doing better than others selected prior to that program. During this last year, we have completed evaluations and an audit of all aspects of the Settlement Program, language, the host program and other services.
When we look forward, clearly one of the big changes in the last few years has been trying to extend the benefits of immigration across the country. Provinces like P.E.I., as Senator Callbeck would know, that at one time did not receive many immigrants, have used their provincial nominee programs and other programs, and the benefits of immigration are being spread across the country. We still see 62 per cent of immigrants going to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, but increasingly, you are seeing the other provinces being very active in both attracting and trying to retain newcomers across the country.
We have been trying to work with our provincial partners to understand the outcomes across the country. I would be happy to answer more about that as you have questions.
The Chair: Mr. Picot, in your determinants of economic deterioration, you mentioned language, foreign work experience and some other areas as well. Anecdotally, I have heard that you would add to that the credentials, which were not mentioned. How much of a factor are credentials?
In terms of lack of work experience, we are told that in some cases people have difficulty finding a job because of cultural differences between the employer and the applicant; that a person of a similar cultural background has a better chance of getting the job; and that it can escalate to racism. You have not mentioned any of these issues. When you look more deeply at the reasons, do any of those factors arise?
The Centre for Immigration Policy Reform says that fewer than 18 per cent of permanent residents admitted to Canada are evaluated based on skills, education and the command of an official language. Given that the basic numbers indicate that about 60 per cent of immigrants are economic applicants, how do you bring that down to 18 per cent? Perhaps one explanation is that the 60 per cent includes families of the people coming to Canada.
Do you agree with that figure? What are your comments about the other determinant factors?
Mr. Picot: Yes, I agree with that figure. About 17 per cent or 18 per cent are evaluated and the others are family members. As well, other programs are included in the economic class, such as the entrepreneur and investment programs. Those numbers are correct.
If the 18 per cent of principal applicants who are evaluated under the selection system come here with high levels of educational attainment, it is likely that their family will have high levels of educational attainment as well because there is a positive correlation between educational attainments of spouses. Although the selection system applies only to the 18 per cent, it affects the characteristics of the whole 60 per cent, I would say.
The Chair: Do you have a comment on the rest of my question?
Mr. Picot: Yes, on credentialism, I was talking mainly about the research that exists to explain the decline in earnings between 1980 and 2005. Credentialism, as it turns out, does not show up as a major determinant of that decline because credentialism problems would have had to increase or become more severe over that period. There is no doubt that credentialism issues create a problem, but we have no evidence that they have increased over the period. At any time, credentialism is important but it has not come up in the research in explaining the decline.
Credentialism probably affects directly 15 per cent to 20 per cent of immigrants — those who are in a specific occupation such as medicine, accounting or engineering, perhaps. That is far from all immigrants and, therefore, is the other reason that credentialism does not come up in this research.
There is not much research in the economic community that speaks to these cultural differences. We know that there is a problem of declining economic returns to foreign experience. However, in the economics community no one has done much work on why that is so, such as the cultural differences. Therefore, it is not included in the list.
The Chair: Ms. Tunis, you talked about the Settlement Program and its importance, which, we are hearing, will face a cut back in funding. How will this impact the ability to integrate people into our communities in big cities where most of them choose to settle? Both of you talked about the importance of language. What is being done about it? You said that we want to get people into language training. Obviously, the way it was done in the past did not work because it is showing up as a rising problem. What are you doing about language? I have a question on orientation services abroad. Are people being levelled with about the possibilities of getting a job in Canada? Will they run into this lack of work experience or are they being told that with their degree, they will do wonderfully. Many who come here find that they will not do wonderfully because they cannot get the job. There is one question in three parts.
Ms. Tunis: Those are three big questions. In terms of the reductions happening to the settlement program in Ontario, the envelope is distributed across the country. When the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement was negotiated in 2005, Ontario had its highest number overall percentage of immigrants coming to Canada at 140,000. That figure has gone down by about 25 per cent to 106,000 in terms of their share as other provinces become more active in recruiting. It is not just the overall numbers but is also the share. Minister Kenney made a decision in the fall to allocate the funding across the country in a way that would balance the levels of intake across the country.
In terms of the impact in Ontario, I truly believe that a significant amount of settlement service will continue to be provided in the province. There is some realignment and some organizations will no longer be funded but new organizations will be funded that have not been funded in the past. Employees in the regional offices are confident that they can deliver the same kinds of outcomes that are needed. It is a time of change and we are trying to focus more on the outcomes of the programs. We hope that it will be successful.
Through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, there was a commitment to try to work jointly to line up provincial English as a second language and French as a second language programs with our LINC classes — Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada. A pilot project is being launched around a coordinated language assessment and referral system and we are trying to get these two systems across the country. We did a study with provinces about how many people are taking part in provincial ESL and FSL programs and how many people are taking part in classes under LINC. The number is significant at about 250,000 across the country. A great deal of work has been done. We have done an evaluation of the LINC program to identify what we can do better in the classrooms. We know that we do a good job with reading and writing skills but we need to do more with listening and speaking skills. We are testing a portfolio assessment that we borrowed in a way from Manitoba that is very task-focused. For example, it assesses going to a doctor and having a successful discussion in English or French or navigating successfully a parent-teacher interview. The program identifies specific tasks and determines whether they will meet with success through the language.
In terms of orientation abroad, there are many different influences on people, including what friends and family tell people. We have programming on our website; there is programming provided by the International Organization for Migration or other service providers; and there are immigration consultants. Certainly, we are hearing loudly and clearly from newcomers that when they come to Canada, they would like to have been told more realistically about some of the challenges surrounding credential recognition and others. The project the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, ACCC, is working on attempts to do individual needs assessments and to be straight with newcomers overseas about some of the challenges they will face.
Senator Ogilvie: Mr. Picot, on slide 6 you illustrate the percentage of 25 to 35 year olds with a degree. I assume you are referring to university degrees.
Mr. Picot: Yes.
Senator Ogilvie: Do we have statistics on those with trade certification or other kinds of certification that would qualify under a PSC rubric?
Mr. Picot: Yes.
Senator Ogilvie: Would you think that that tracks roughly the same, or is there, from your memory, a significant difference?
Mr. Picot: Going from my memory is a problem.
Senator Ogilvie: If you do not want to answer my question now, you can get back to me with an answer.
Mr. Picot: Absolutely.
Senator Ogilvie: If I understood you correctly, you said that children of parents in the three plus category had roughly the same overall result as Canadians in general, but I thought I heard you make a comment with regard to children of lower income parents from the immigrant group having a greater success rate than lower income groups from Canadian families. Did I hear that correctly?
Mr. Picot: Close, it is the kids from lower education families where the parents have lower levels of education.
Senator Ogilvie: Thank you. I did hear education, but I said income. So I heard the education part correctly.
Mr. Picot: Yes.
Senator Ogilvie: My final question is on slide 3. If I understand correctly the numbers on the left, the 2.5 would mean that the group is 2.5 times as likely to be in a low income group?
Mr. Picot: Correct.
Senator Ogilvie: If there were a family of seven, are only the employed members counted, or is it the average of the family unit?
Mr. Picot: Everyone in the family is counted.
Senator Ogilvie: If there is a one wage earner, the net income would be divided by seven?
Mr. Picot: It is family income, not a single wage earner. The total family income is used, and the data are adjusted for family size.
Senator Ogilvie: The other part of that question is the big jump between 1990 and 1995. Does this relate in any way to sources of immigrants, that is, countries of origin?
Mr. Picot: No, senator, not much during that period. Most of the effective changing source regions were really in the 1970s and 1980s. Source regions did not change much after that time.
Senator Ogilvie: Were there other factors?
Mr. Picot: A lot of that was the recession of the early 1990s and the fact that immigrants were harder hit by that recession.
Senator Martin: Ms. Tunis, what do you think of a pilot project run by a Vancouver-based organization called SUCCESS. They launched it in Taipei and Seoul, and it is called Active Engagement and Integrated Project, and it is to look at successful would-be immigrants to Canada. In Seoul, for instance, they have a group that undergoes orientation and training, with language and culture and number of different topics there are specific workshops. The group of them graduate, so to speak, so that when they go to Canada, they have a sense of connectedness and form a mini community. It sounds very successful. From what I have heard, it answers Senator Eggleton's question about immigrants being more prepared than if they come to a country without any preparation. It is a pilot project. Are you aware of it, and are there plans to continue these types of projects?
Ms. Tunis: SUCCESS and their active engagement, AEIP, operate on the notion of trying to connect newcomers or overseas prospective arrivals with a community here in Canada. Their work has shown great promise. We funded SUCCESS for the last three years and have just committed to funding for 2011-12, so we can evaluate that model versus what we have doing with the IOM in other countries such as the Philippines and other places and what the ACCC has been doing. The preliminary things I have been seeing are very promising in terms of that strong connection that they seem to be able to make by getting the settlement service providers in Canada connected and understanding the needs of newcomers before they arrive. We think it is a great project.
Senator Martin: They are creating a bridge to communities in Canada. We are aware of it, and I think that will be very effective.
Another pilot project is a type of entrepreneurial mentorship program, where investor immigrants coming to Canada are paired with a willing businessperson or a business in Canada, for either a year or whatever time period. In that period, they work alongside an experienced businessperson to understand the differences in business in Canada versus where they have come from. That kind of pairing can be successful. Have you seen those programs across Canada? I know SUCCESS has done it, but I have heard about these other programs.
Ms. Tunis: I have not heard about that particular project. It sounds like some of the projects that Ratna Omidvar and Elizabeth McIsaac do with organizations trying to focus on what they can do with immigrants. I have not heard the specific focus on investors. I know that Ratna Omidvar is meeting with our deputy to talk about mentorship programs that Maytree wants to propose. I would be happy to follow up with you on that.
Senator Martin: It is true that in the first five years, many business people give up and go back to their countries, because it is very difficult for them here in Canada. With resistance to integration, there is also resistance to inclusion, so if you look at both ends, it is about educating all of us that it is a partnership and will benefit both.
Senator Seidman: I am still absorbed, Mr. Picot, in your wonderful statistics. I am trying to understand the rising low-income rates among immigrants. I can see a pretty stable trend over a very long period of time among the different periods of time since immigration and remaining in our country. I am trying to understand that, especially the fact that the most recent immigrants who arrive here in the zero-to-five-year period have an ever-increasing level of relatively low income. Is there some way for me to understand this? I am not getting it.
Mr. Picot: If you could look at page 10, the explanation is on this supplementary slide. This looks at earnings rather than low-income rates. Most of low income is determined by the earnings in the family, whether they are in low income or not. Let us take the orange line at the top. These are immigrants who entered during the late 1970s. You can see that when they enter, they earn about 90 per cent of the Canadian-born. The longer they stay in Canada, the better they do. Their earnings actually rise quite significantly through time, and that causes their low-income rates to fall. That is why you see the big difference between the low-income rates among immigrants who have been here from zero to five years. It will always be higher, and it always was, than the immigrant who has been here 15 or 20 years. Their labour market outcomes improve over time as you can see from this chart.
Senator Seidman: Ms. Tunis, you said that you are working with provincial and territorial partners. I assume that also includes municipalities because we know that immigration is multilevel. Would you tell us a little bit about those challenges?
Ms. Tunis: Is your question about how we achieve consensus at the federal-provincial table or about how we work with municipalities?
Senator Seidman: Please give us an overview of how you work with them and the challenges.
Ms. Tunis: The focus of our work with federal-provincial partners is about how we can determine the differences our programs are making. We determine the indicators that we all agree on that we want to see during the settlement phase and during the integration phase and how to measure that.
Canada has welcomed immigrants for hundreds of years. It is part of our fabric. We have adopted the two-way street, and other countries look up to our integration and settlement programs. However, we have not always been as effective as we could be about truly measuring the outcomes. What difference does it make for someone to participate in a language class or be part of a mentorship program? The focus of our work is to decide on the indicators and outcomes. We went to deputy ministers at a federal-provincial territorial table in December 2010 and reached agreement on funding for a survey across the country to gain a sense of how we will measure our success.
Regarding municipalities, I have been invited to meetings of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. We have made more progress in Ontario through the local immigration partnerships and through the memorandum of understanding with the City of Toronto on having a seat at the table and committees that bring together federal, provincial and municipal decision makers. In Quebec, the "Table de concertation" brings together local communities to develop plans. The system in Quebec is a bit different and is focused on language training and other things.
Senator Callbeck: Mr. Picot, on page 4, you illustrate the determinants of economic deterioration. You said that in the 1980s when immigrants came to Canada, they were paid for their experience, which no longer happens. In response to a question, you said that factor has not been studied much. Do you have thoughts on why that is the case?
Mr. Picot: They are only thoughts because I have not seen any studies. I never went beyond observing this as a fact. It might have something to do with the differences in technologies used in some occupations in China or in India as compared to Canada, although that is changing with the global growth in that sector. Beyond that thought, I am not sure, to be honest. We do not know much about this. I do not have much other speculation.
Senator Callbeck: Did that happen gradually?
Mr. Picot: Yes, it happened over 20 years and mainly among the non-traditional source regions, which are becoming the traditional source regions. This did not happen among immigrants from Europe. We see it among immigrants from China, India and other large countries in Asia.
Senator Callbeck: The fourth point is about immigrants being disproportionately affected during economic downturns. Does that apply to all immigrants? Will immigrants who have been here for 20 years be as affected as newer immigrants to Canada?
Mr. Picot: It will not affect them as much. As with most outcomes, they improve as the immigrant is in Canada for a longer time. The people who feel the affect of this more are recent immigrants during the recession. I am trying to think of the numbers but off-hand I cannot recall. I do not believe that we see that among immigrants who have been in Canada more than 20 years. My recollection is that the economic outcomes for immigrants who have been in Canada more than 20 years look like those for Canadian-born in terms of economic outcomes.
Senator Callbeck: Ms. Tunis, you talked about how the federal government funding has been increased. You said that there are 400 organizations. How is the funding determined? Does it go to the provinces that then determine the service provider organizations or does the federal government deal directly with those organizations?
Ms. Tunis: In Quebec, B.C. and Manitoba, the money is transferred to the provinces and they do calls for proposals to determine how the money will be allocated.
In the other provinces and territories, regional offices work with the provinces to identify priorities. They do calls for proposals, and CIC manages the contribution agreements with the service providers. For example, CIC funds the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada. Other service providers in P.E.I. receive funding as well.
Senator Cordy: We are in the early stages of our study so this information is very helpful.
We talked about integration and inclusion, or exclusion as the case may be. Ms. Tunis, I was surprised that you said immigrants have comparable levels of political activity. We heard yesterday from Ms. Ratna Omidvar, who appeared before the committee, that immigrants are often excluded from decision-making positions. I use the term "political activity" not in a partisan way but in terms of community board representation and other kinds of political activities. She said that they are working hard on that because boards are still not representative of the communities in which people live and to which immigrants are moving — mainly Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal as well as smaller cities like Halifax. How do you determine the comparable levels of political activity levels for immigrants? I found your comment quite surprising.
Ms. Tunis: I referred to voting rates, which are comparable. In terms of representation in the House of Commons or the Senate, or at local levels, many studies show that there is not the same level of representation as the percentage within the population.
Ms. Omidvar's work with ALLIES, Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies, to secure representation on boards is terrific work. The more inclusive and probably more accurate definition of "political" that you are using is much broader than the more limited meaning I was talking about.
Senator Cordy: Yours is simply about voting.
Ms. Tunis: Yes and that is the area where it reaches comparable levels.
Senator Meredith: Mr. Picot, with respect to the 24 per cent of Canadian-born as shown on slide 6, why is that percentage so low? Is it due to lack of post-secondary education due to cost? Why is that percentage lower than that of the Caribbean or the Philippines?
Mr. Picot: I would not characterize it as low. We send quite a high percentage of our children on to universities compared to many other countries.
There are a number of reasons for the difference. Educational attainment of the immigrant parent is higher than the educational attainment of the Canadian-born parent. Immigrants have higher levels of educational attainment than Canadians as a whole, and we know that if the parent has a university degree, the likelihood of the child going on to university is much higher than if the parent does not. Educational attainment of the immigrant parents is one of the big reasons.
Location is another reason, believe it or not. People who live in large cities are more likely to get higher levels of education. Immigrants tend to be concentrated in the three largest cities, so that also drives up the educational attainment.
There are then the differences among source region groups. We have no measure of this, but it is pretty clear that some immigrant groups value education more than others, such as the Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis, and that is clearly reflected in these rates. Those are the big differences.
Even after you account for all those differences — educational attainment, location and ethnic group — there remains an unexplained gap between the educational attainment of the children of Canadian-born parents and the educational attainment of the children of immigrants.
Senator Meredith: Ms. Tunis, I am aware that CIC has built some super welcome centres. We are talking about the allocation of resources. I know about Mississauga. We heard yesterday about where immigrants are moving to in the 905 region; Richmond Hill, Newmarket and Markham.
How is the allocation of resources to these 400 service providers determined? My background is with grassroots. Are we ensuring that the immigrants are being serviced rather than spending the money on all the bureaucracy that goes with organizations? How is it determined? How are the results tracked to ensure that the services are being provided?
Ms. Tunis: With the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, Ontario received an increase from about $100 million to over $400 million this past year. Next year it will be $346 million, which is still a tripling of the investment.
Much innovation occurred during that time. It is good to bring service providers together in one location, such as at the Vaughan welcome centre, so that newcomers can have language training, labour market programs and Community Connections.
Part of the reason for some organizations continuing to be funded and others not is to try to ensure that we are getting the desired outcomes for immigrants. We are trying to be clear about what outcomes we want to see, and those are newcomers having language skills, labour market skills, connections to the community, and getting what they need in terms of information and awareness.
We have had in place for some years a data collection system called iCAMS, Audit of Immigrant-Contribution Accountability Measurement System. That system tracks participants and is trying to track some of the outcomes. There was a call for proposals last June. Over 700 organizations submitted bids valuing over $700 million, so choices had to be made. They were reviewed in terms of track record with the department as well as in terms of what outcomes they are achieving and how efficiently and effectively, and what results they are committing to in terms of demonstrating that.
Senator Meredith: Immigrant youth were not included in terms of just these welcome centres, and I finding it shocking that they did not plan for immigrant youth. That is just for information purposes.
Senator Dyck: Thank you for your presentation. I love numbers. I was looking at them and wondering about the intersection between race and gender.
You have a category of Canadian-born. I consider myself Canadian-born, but I am of mixed race. My father immigrated to Canada.
Mr. Picot: "Canadian-born" is exactly what it says; anyone who is born in Canada, independent of his or her background.
Senator Dyck: I was intrigued by your data on how immigrants are disproportionately affected when there is an economic downturn such as there was in the 1990s. Thank you for that data. I am going to mention that at a talk I am giving next week. Now I have firm evidence.
Can you segregate out of that Canadian-born visible minorities?
Mr. Picot: Yes, we can.
Senator Dyck: Is that data available?
Mr. Picot: We can make it available. I do not have the results off the top of my head.
Senator Dyck: Can you dissect out the difference between men and women within that category on the chart?
Mr. Picot: Yes.
Senator Dyck: It is my feeling, from my experience and from what I have heard has been experienced, that it is a double whammy for women and visible minorities, or immigrants who are visibly or even auditorily different.
Mr. Picot: It depends on the recession. In fact, many economists are referring to the most recent recession as a men's recession because the industries that were hit hardest were those that tend to employ men. If you look at how immigrants are doing compared to the Canadian-born, you see a dramatic difference among the men but not much among the women. In the most recent recession, women, immigrant or Canadian-born, were not as hard hit. It depends on the characteristics of the recession.
Senator Dyck: On page 2 you indicate the Canadian-born unemployment rates between men and women. I am surprised that the unemployment rate for women is lower.
Mr. Picot: Yes. There is the same explanation for that. This covers the period 2006 to 2010 and includes the recession. Men were really hit in this recent recession and that drove up their unemployment rate relative to women.
Senator Dyck: On page 4 you talk about how immigration has moved away from Europe and now more people are coming from Asia, the Caribbean and so on. Is part of the reason we do not value the foreign work experience is simply because we do not have enough people in high enough positions who understand the educational systems, the culture or the work that goes on in Asia and the Caribbean? Is it a matter of systemic racism or systemic barriers?
Mr. Picot: I have never seen a study that looked at that specifically. It is difficult for employers, or even universities, to evaluate some of the universities, for instance, because they are not aware of them. That is possible. I, at least, know almost nothing about that.
Senator Dyck: Are there any programs that send Canadian administrators or decision makers to other countries to give them training on what the educational institutions are like in other countries? I know that they try to do that at some universities. They will send people to a university in China to get a better understanding of what is happening there so that we can evaluate the credentials in academics so that we can rate them in a more equitable manner.
Mr. Picot: I have heard many proposals to do exactly that. I have not actually seen any such programs, but that does not mean they do not exist. It is not my field.
Ms. Tunis: CIC does not do that. However, I was at a Conference Board of Canada event last week, at the Leaders' Roundtable on Immigration, and heard that Anne Golden had taken a group of business leaders to India to look at comparable business practices in other parts of the world. I know the chamber of commerce and the Conference Board of Canada are trying to do some joint work around comparable work experience.
Senator Demers: This is more an observation, and certainly, I do not have Senator Meredith's background. Two of our best friends, of my wife and I, are immigrants, and two of their kids are going to university. They have done very well for themselves.
When someone leaves a country, it is to have a better life. People take their families to a new country filled with hope of a better future for their children. There are many people here, as Senator Martin indicated, who go back home.
In Quebec, we have a lot of immigrants, unfortunately, of very violent crimes and all that, they come here, we open the door and, after that, for some, it is like, "Take care of yourself, have a good time." They just cannot do it on their own. I see 40 per cent in Toronto, 20 per cent in Vancouver, 10 per cent in the Province of Quebec. They seem to integrate very well in our province, even though it is basically French.
We have many people who do not get the opportunity except if they are white collars. The white collars seem to do well. Those people have hope, and they come here to realize that we are not there for them. I am talking about these people, who are wonderful human beings, and came here with nothing and built everything they have. The big picture is there, but around it is not very pretty. Does it make sense? Maybe you will not say it.
Ms. Tunis: One of our concerns is that it appears economic outcomes in Quebec are lower than in other parts of the country. That may be related to things around their economy and industry. Certainly the Government of Quebec, when I look at their programs, has great programs. They have great language training, great Community Connections, all of those kinds of things. We need to understand what is not working. The province is very involved in selection, they try to pick the crème de la crème, and they pick first dibs on the refugees, first dibs on selection. There is still work to be done. Hopefully your committee's report will help clarify some things.
Senator Nancy Ruth: Ms. Tunis, I come from Toronto, and there have been many comments about the cuts. I was pleased to hear there was only a 25 per cent cut in Ontario and the numbers are larger than the press would lead us to believe.
There is some concern in Toronto that these are race or gender specific cuts. In your response to Senator Meredith, you did not use the phrase "economies of scale," but you talked about joint language labs and so on that made me believe the South Asian Women's Centre was cut because it was too small to go on. Many such centres have been chopped out of existence. Did single groups experience the heaviest cuts?
If this is about economies of scale, women often need to learn by themselves with pedagogy that is particularly geared to women learners, and most curricula are not. What is the federal government doing to compensate, if they are wiping out women's centres?
Ms. Tunis: I will try to address your question in three parts. There was certainly no desire to target ethno specific organizations, and the instructions we got from our minister's office was not to do that when officials looked at them.
I realize I am in the presence of the former mayor of Toronto. That city has been such a hub for immigrants for so many years, and so there are so many service providers. When we look at the patterns of where immigrants are moving to, they are moving out to parts outside of the downtown core. As a result, we wanted the funding to follow the immigrants, because parts of downtown Toronto are gentrified and they cannot afford to live there. They are living in other parts of town, so we wanted to do some rebalancing.
I got a call from Member of Parliament Gerard Kennedy specifically about the South Asian Women's Centre. I will not get into funding decisions about specific organizations, and in my job in Ottawa, I do not get into that level of detail anyway.
Certainly one of the big improvements during the last five years in Ontario has been language instruction for seniors, special programs for women and providing child minding for the LINC classes. We expanded that to all of our settlement programs, because child minding was identified as such a barrier to women's participation.
We have not done as much on youth, as Senator Meredith has pointed out, as we should have done during that period of time, but there have been many innovations in Ontario to provide women's courses and seniors' courses as well.
Senator Braley: We had a lot of immigrants in our tool and die shops and what have you in Hamilton, and they did a great job. In the last 20 years, however, they have been bringing relatives or friends who are not as well educated, but to help improve the family life. Is that taken into your numbers as being separated out in presenting the numbers with regard to your educational status and earnings status?
There is a big gap in the $15 to $20 per hour and the toolmaker's $22 to $32 an hour. Those immigrants who were here 30 years ago have been bringing in friends and relatives who are not well educated. The original immigrants were skilled, and they are bringing in their friends to offer them a better way of life.
Mr. Picot: Those people are in the numbers. The numbers we are talking about, when talking about the rising educational attainment of immigrants, we are talking about all immigrants, whether they came in under the family class.
Senator Braley: The number does not matter.
Mr. Picot: They are in there.
Senator Braley: The Asian people that we hire today, most of them have been sent here to university, and we hire them from the university and they apply to live here permanently. They are from a much higher level of education.
Mr. Picot: Yes.
Senator Braley: They skew the numbers, and you have to really understand what the numbers mean.
Mr. Picot: We have not looked directly at vocational trades, tool and die, for instance. Someone else asked that question earlier, and we will have a look at that when we go back. The shift in educational attainment has been toward university graduates.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We ran a little bit over time, but your contribution to this process has been a very valuable. Thank you, Mr. Picot and Ms. Tunis.
Colleagues, we will bring on the second panel of witnesses. Our first witness is Ben Henderson, who is Chair of the Standing Committee on Social Economic Development of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Mr. Henderson is a city councillor from Edmonton. Next, we have Robert Vineberg, Senior Fellow of the Canada West Foundation, which is a leading source of strategic insight, conducting and communicating non-partisan economic and public policy research of importance to the four Western provinces and to all Canadians. Then we have Martin Collacott, from the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform. That organization was founded recently, in 2009. It grew out of discussions among a group of concerned individuals from across the country on the need for major changes to immigration policy and the creation of a national organization to advocate for reform. Next, we have David Harris, who is a lawyer and Director of INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc. He is the former chief of strategic planning of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS.
Ben Henderson, Chair, Standing Committee on Social Economic Development, Federation of Canadian Municipalities: Thank you for having me here today. I am an Edmonton city councillor, but I am here today as the Chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Committee on Social Economic Development. For those of you who are not familiar with FCM, we represent almost 2,000 municipalities across Canada, with over 90 per cent of this country's population.
FCM is here to talk about municipal government's research and findings about social issues pertaining to Canada's cities and communities with a focus on immigrant integration.
I would like first to commend this committee for the work it has done in analyzing the issue of poverty and housing overall, and for recognizing that newcomers to Canada are overrepresented in our poverty cycles. Getting immigration policy right has never been more crucial to the success of Canada, Canadians and the communities in which we live. With an aging population growing faster than any other age cohort, and stagnant birth rates, 100 per cent of our new labour growth will come from new immigrants starting this year, 2011.
The federal government has rightly emphasized attracting and retaining immigrants to ensure a strong economic and cultural future for Canada. Still, we are before you today to discuss the reality that new immigrants continue to face significant barriers to success and are falling behind their non-immigrant counterparts.
FCM's research of communities across the country shows that, unlike the previous generation of immigrants, newcomers are not catching up to their Canadian-born counterparts within the first 10 years of arrival. Newcomers are earning less and taking longer to find affordable housing and jobs that match their skills and education levels.
In terms of households with incomes below the low-income cut-off, established by Statistics Canada, recent immigrant households with low incomes accounted for 43 per cent of all recent immigrant households in 2006, nearly three times the proportion in non-immigrant households.
What is becoming evident is that a much broader range of services, beyond the traditional language and employment services, are needed to ensure the long term, successful settlement and integration. Great numbers of new immigrants access municipal services like housing, recreation, library services, child care and public transit. These services play a significant role in their settlement process.
In a world where talented workers are highly mobile, communities must also ensure a high quality of life and a welcoming environment. Surveys of newcomers consistently show that proximity to family and friends, the chance to own a home and establishing communities are top priorities, placing municipally based services at the forefront of immigrants' needs. Further, when immigrants do not succeed, local services like shelters and food banks figure prominently in meeting the needs of newcomers. The Toronto Board of Trade estimates that it costs Canada $2.25 billion in lost economic activity when we fail to better integrate immigrants into the economy.
Municipalities that provide much of the front-line services new Canadians need to be successful have been left out of the immigration policy development, program design and budget allocations. The majority of municipalities are neither mandated nor funded to provide immigrant support services, and lack the resources and fiscal tools they need to meet these new responsibilities that are so critical to their economic success.
As a step toward greater success for new immigrants, municipalities are calling for improved collaboration among all three orders of government when it comes to developing immigrant settlement strategy. They are calling for alignment with federal housing and transit initiatives with federal immigration policy to ensure better outcomes for communities and newcomers and avoiding a return to the 1990s when federal and provincial governments balanced their books by downloading responsibilities and cost onto the property-tax payers.
As our economic, social and cultural future depends on attracting and retaining immigrants, we need to engage the cities and towns they are coming to. Without a decent place to live, access to child care, an affordable and reliable way to get to and from work, and communities that embrace what they have to offer, newcomers will continue to fall behind and Canada will not meet its economic and social objectives. Thank you.
Robert Vineberg, Senior Fellow, Canada West Foundation: Mr. Chair and honourable senators, thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before you this morning and to speak a little bit about the background to the extent of federal provincial cooperation in the area of immigration.
Even though my presentation was in English, I would be happy to answer your questions in the official language of your choice.
A century ago, Canadians were obsessed by whether the `strange' immigrants from Russia, Galacia and Ukraine would ever integrate successfully. Canadians were then, and are now, in a hurry to see immigrants become "Canadian." However, then, as today, integration was a long process, often taking generations. We, as the host population, need to appreciate that fact.
A second issue, that seems new but is not, is provincial involvement in immigration. Section 95 of the Constitution provides for concurrent jurisdiction in immigration. How has this constitutional right been exercised in recent years?
In the 1960s Quebec assumed the lead in seeking a provincial role. The Quiet Revolution had led to openness to immigration, and Quebec pushed the federal government to select more francophone immigrants, but without success. The federal bureaucracy at the time was not able to react to that request.
In 1965 Quebec created its own immigration service to promote francophone immigration. This resulted in the first modern federal-provincial immigration agreement in 1971, and it allowed Quebec to place officers abroad to counsel immigrants destined to Quebec. In 1975, this was amended, and immigrants destined to Quebec were required to receive counselling from a Quebec immigration officer.
Meanwhile, the federal government published its Green Paper in 1974, and it stated:
. . . there is no constitutional bar to more active and widened collaboration between the central government and the provinces, the purpose being to make immigration policy more sensitive to the provinces' and territories' requirements.
When the new Immigration Act of 1976 came into force two years later, it required consultation with the provinces on levels and settlement and it provided legislative authority for federal-provincial agreements.
The federal government moved quickly to conclude a new agreement with Quebec and first agreements with Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. The only one with real substance was that of Quebec, and from 1978 Quebec's approval was required for the landing of an independent immigrant, essentially making it a Quebec decision.
The provisions in that agreement were to be included in both the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords. When these failed, the government reached a new Canada-Quebec accord in 1991, the one currently in force, and it confirmed Quebec's control over selection of independent immigrants and transferred settlement programs and federal funding to Quebec with quite generous financial arrangements.
Quebec's success in this respect opened the door to requests from other provinces. In particular, the Prairie provinces, led by Manitoba, were concerned also that federal selection was not directing a fair share of immigration to the West.
CIC did not want to have 10 Canada-Quebec type agreements but needed to be seen to be responsive, and accordingly the Provincial Nominee Program was developed. Originally this was to be a pilot with 1,000 per year national maximum, and it would allow provinces to select some immigrants on the basis of regional, as opposed to national, labour market needs.
It was the impetus for a new round of federal-provincial agreements, and the first of these was signed with Manitoba in October 1996. It provided for future annexes for provincial nominees, and also for settlement. Over the next few years agreements were negotiated for provincial nominees with all provincial and territorial jurisdictions except Nunavut.
At the same time, CIC proposed settlement realignment. This was driven by program review in the mid-1990s, and CIC decided that settlement could equally well be delivered by the provinces; $62 million was added to the budget as an incentive, but only Manitoba and B.C. were interested. They entered into agreements and started delivering settlement programs in 1999.
While Quebec's settlement funding continues to rise according to the formula in their agreement, in every other province it was frozen at mid-1990s levels. By 2003-04, Ontario led the charge and included settlement in their multi- billion-dollar fiscal imbalance argument.
In 2005, when the first ever bilateral immigration agreement with Ontario was signed, it provided for an increase of almost $1 billion in settlement funding over five years. This made Ontario happy, but not the other provinces. Alberta and British Columbia sought the same deal, with B.C. Minister Oppal, and then Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs of Alberta, Ed Stelmach, being very vociferous. Over the next three years, the settlement budget was increased for other provinces as well, to create a situation of rough parity.
Currently, there are three different funding models. Quebec funding is in the form of a grant and on an ongoing basis. It started at $75 million in 1991 and has risen to $258 million. This does not reflect the increase in immigration, which is much lower. It is a formula based on the increase of GDP nationally.
Funding to Ontario has been separate under Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement, COIA, from 2006 through to this fiscal year, and increased annually. In all other provinces, funding is subject to a Settlement Allocation Model, based on a three-year rolling average of immigrants received and adjusted for the number of refugees.
Last December, CIC announced settlement funding for the coming fiscal year, and with the end of the five-year funding commitment to Ontario, as Deborah Tunis mentioned earlier, the funding formula now includes all provinces and territories except Quebec. This resulted in Ontario funding declining by $44 million in 2011-12. On the other hand, on the Prairies, where immigration in the last decade has increased from about 19,000 to 47,000, the increase is $12 million.
Mr. Chair, you had asked about the cut in overall funding, and I am speculating, but I believe that that was due to the strategic review, which CIC was subject to in 2010. Most departments have had to come up with roughly 5 per cent of their overall budget. I think that is what happened to the $50 million.
In terms of differing settlement arrangements, Canada has now four models, and my description is little different from that of Ms. Tunis. There has been devolution to the provinces of Quebec, Manitoba and B.C. There is co- management in Alberta, what I have called in-depth formal consultation in Ontario and sole federal delivery in all the other provinces and territories.
In summary, the federal government has adopted regionalization and devolution in two important areas of immigration: selection and settlement. This allows provinces to tailor programs to be more suited to their own needs. There is now much more flexibility, but on the other hand less uniformity.
The history of federal-provincial-territorial relations in immigration has been one of ebb and flow ever since Confederation. However, the provinces and territories are fully engaged and are recognized as a permanent part of the immigration system in Canada. Such a regime of consultation and cooperation is by no means easy to manage, but it is far better for immigrants and better for Canada as well.
In the future, the challenge will be to retain this flexibility while still maintaining program integrity.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Now we have Martin Collacott, who is from the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, but I did not mention he is also a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.
Martin Collacott, Spokesperson, Centre for Immigration Policy Reform: Honourable senators, I was asked to comment on the integration of immigrants, particularly social integration. I will raise some problems, or potential problems, because we have heard, I think, on the positive side and where things can be improved and so on, but I think you want to hear all aspects of the issues.
I might mention that, like most Canadians, I think that Canadian society has been made a much more interesting place than when I was a youngster because of the diversity brought by new immigrants. I would add that my own family reflects this diversity. My parents were immigrants from the United Kingdom, but my wife is from Asia: Her father is from China and her mother is from Vietnam. We are pleased that our children can speak Vietnamese. Diversity has been good up to a point, but we have to look at how far we can go in this. I will mention, in my career I worked for the Ontario government in the Ministry of Education for several years as citizenship adviser, working with programs for immigrants.
I think we must take a close look at what some of the problems may be. I do not think we want to have here what happened in Europe where, for many years, they thought things were going well, but now they find there are some major problems.
Let us look at some of the specific aspects that could be problematic. Just a few decades ago, cities like Vancouver and Toronto were mostly White. I guess the term now is non-visible minority. I will use "White" for short.
The Statistics Canada projections published last year show that Toronto, which now has about 42 per cent visible minorities, by 2030 will have 62 per cent visible minorities and Vancouver will have 59 per cent. These are very dramatic changes and the question is how smoothly they can take place. If you had a city in China or India whose population was 99 per cent Chinese or Indian and a few decades later those respective cities were 60 per cent non- Chinese or non-Indian, with people of different backgrounds, I believe you would have some strong reaction. How far can we go on this?
At one point in my career I worked for CIDA for five years in the northern part Borneo. However, in the southern part, called Kalimantan, the Indonesia government decided to move many people from more heavily populated areas there. They looked the same as the natives, they all spoke Indonesian, they were all from the same country, but at some point the locals felt overwhelmed and they rose up and beheaded 400 of the newcomers. I do not think that will happen here, but when you have a change that is too rapid and too dramatic, you have to monitor it more carefully.
I raised this subject in a paper published by the Fraser Institute in 2002. The Vancouver Sun, in its report on the paper, used the headline that Vancouver could see race riots. I did not say that in my paper, nor did the article itself. I simply quoted from some parliamentary papers and Foreign Affairs papers, but this is an issue we should monitor more closely.
Garnett Picot, who spoke to you earlier this morning, did not mention all of his work. He has done a tremendous amount of great work. He mentioned the dramatic increase in visible minority communities in our larger cities. They went from six in 1981 to 254 in 2001.
I think there is no question that a newcomer from a very different culture and language group will be more comfortable living among people who speak the same language, but this does slow down integration. A study released last year by Zheng Wu, a University of Victoria sociology professor, found that in a neighbourhood, the higher the concentration of people of their own ethnic group, the more slowly adult immigrants feel they belong to Canada. Other factors that slow the integration of immigrants are the availability of satellite TV, cheap long-distance phone calls, the Internet and ease of travel back to their homeland, which we did not have to deal with 100 years ago.
This has implications in a number of ways. Robert Putnam, an American academic, released a report in 2007 and wrote:
In ethnically diverse neighbourhoods, residents of all races tended to hunker down. Trust . . . is lower, altruism and community cooperation more rare, friends fewer.
His conclusion was that immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. Putnam is a diversity advocate. When he did his research, he was not happy with what came out of it. He tried for several years to find reasons why it was not correct, but he could not do so. He had to go with his conclusions.
There are some positive signs. There is quite a high rate of intermarriage among people of different religious and ethnic backgrounds. In Vancouver, for instance, it is up to 7 per cent of all marriages and in the 20- to 29-year-old range it is 12.9 per cent. However, when you look closely, this is uneven because some groups mix and intermarry much more than others. I do not have time to go into the details, but I can give them to you if you are interested.
There are national security aspects to this large-scale immigration, and I think Mr. Harris may be talking about that. There could also be foreign policy implications. I will mention one particular community, not because it is the only one of interest but because it is the one that is growing most quickly. You may have seen an article in Tuesday's National Post stating that by 2030 Canada's Muslim population will triple and they will go from being less than 100,000 in 1981 to being 2.7 million and 6.6 per cent of the population by 2030.
I say "Muslim community" because there is not really just one. Canada has one of the most diverse Muslim communities among many different countries, which is a plus in terms of integration. We are also better off than the situation in Europe because many of our Muslims came as independent immigrants and are well qualified and much better placed to integrate into Canadian society than many of those in Europe.
A survey conducted in 2007 showed that 80 per cent of Canadian Muslims are broadly happy with their lives in Canada and only 17 per cent think Canadians were hostile towards their religion. There are also significant differences. There was a huge difference in their attitude toward Canadian values on the role and the status of women in Canada. Only 12 per cent supported what are called the Toronto 18, the group of terrorists who planned to behead the Prime Minister and blow up the Parliament buildings. That is only about 100,000 people, but their rapid growth could change our foreign policy. In 1981 they were one third the size of the Jewish community and by 2030 they will be six and half times the size of the Jewish community. We may have to start to shift our foreign policy on the Middle East. That is a bit down the line, but it is a consideration we have to think about.
I would like to raise one other thing. There is the issue that while we have these problems of integration, we must accept them because we need immigrants economically or demographically, that the population is getting older and we need more workers to pay taxes to fund social programs. I believe all of these assumptions are highly questionable. Some of the experts — I am sure we will get different views around the table — say we do need large numbers of immigrants anyway. The data I have studied say we do not need large levels of immigration, we do not benefit from a larger population and in fact it is costing us a great deal of money because of the poverty levels. There is a question of the success of the children of immigrants and we could discuss that at some length.
This is the question: Should we not be looking more closely at whether we really do benefit economically or demographically from high immigration levels? I have concluded that we do not. I do not have any particular vested interest but some of the people involved do have vested interest in high immigration levels for one reason or another. I think you have to look at the potential social integration problems in the context of do we really need so many people and do we need to bring in some that are rather problematic.
This is what I would like to leave you with. These questions do have to be considered. We have among the highest per capita immigration levels in the world. We are causing very dramatic changes in the larger cities that could lead to serious problems, and I think we should be looking at that earlier rather than later.
David Harris, Director, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc.: Honourable senators, a decade or so ago I testified before a United States congressional subcommittee that Canada was a land of 29 million; today, that number has rocketed to almost 34 million. Canada's immigration intake is the biggest per capita in the world, at about a quarter million per annum. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney boasted that we welcomed 519,000 newcomers altogether in a single, recent year.
One cannot discuss immigrant integration in the national security and public safety context without appreciating the sheer magnitude of Canada's immigration, refugee and related intakes. Such numbers may not be an issue on planets rejoicing in peace and prosperity, but here on Earth, in Canada, things are different. Mass immigration of Canada's kind has potential adverse consequences for security and stability.
Population movements are relevant to many Canadian security challenges. CSIS Director Richard Fadden signalled concerns about China's political influence operations — operations that can involve expatriates and others, and go directly to the sovereignty and independence of this nation.
Regarding terrorism, Ontario's Court of Appeals recently reflected with foreboding on the broadening vistas of violence in an age of mega-terror. We face an existential threat, warned the judge. Indeed, Iran, with its nuclear weapons' development and thousands volunteering for suicide missions, has an aggressive presence in this very city, variously relying on and victimizing its expatriates.
Let me focus on one of the leading threats: Islamic terrorism, and its handmaiden, Islamism — that is, radical Islam. This particularly instructive issue involves direct risks of violence, but also an ideology that even in a nominally non- violent form presents a challenge to social cohesion and constitutional rights.
In recent years, tens of thousands came to Canada from Muslim-majority lands. At a time when radical Islam is a threat and nine of 10 Canadian Muslims are foreign-born, one must ask about the attitudes newcomers bring from source countries. This, especially when Mr. bin Laden has targeted our country.
In former days of lower numbers, a newcomer's radical tendencies might more readily have been overwhelmed by Canada's ambient liberal-pluralist atmosphere. Today, however, the huge intake means a growing number of ethnic concentrations or enclaves, from six in 1981 to 254 in 2002, according to a Canadian government study. This hints at increasing separation of communities, some of it self-imposed, and the undermining of integrationist hopes, notably including hopes of integration of Charter values.
Recent Pew Global attitudes surveys looked at Muslim attitudes in several Muslim-majority countries. One can hardly deduce from attitudes in a given country, the attitudes of émigrés from that country. Some may leave homelands precisely because they depart from homeland attitudes — may, indeed, be bona fide refugees. Think of Christians, Jews and moderate Muslims who for years have been persecuted under the Islamist apartheid systems prevalent in a number of Muslim lands. Nevertheless, poll results suggest security challenges for Canada, present and developing.
As hundreds fly from Egypt's upheaval to Canada, consider that 59 per cent of Muslim Egyptians prefer Islamists, radical Muslims, in charge, versus 27 per cent wanting modernizers. Eighty-four per cent favour death for converts from Islam, a fact that has been noted by some fearful Coptic Christians in Canada. Eighty-two per cent want death for adultery. Seventy-seven per cent want whipping and amputations for thieves. One in five Egyptian Muslims sympathizes with our al Qaeda enemy. Roughly 20,000 permanent residents came from Egypt in the past 10 years.
In Jordan, Pakistan and Nigeria, those favouring death for conversion amount to 86 per cent, 76 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively. Thirty-four per cent of Jordanian and almost one-half of Nigeria's Muslims favour al Qaeda. As for the West's Iran-created Hezbollah enemy, 54 per cent of Jordanian Muslims favour it, like 92 per cent of Lebanon's Shia Muslims and 40 per cent of Indonesian Muslims. Only about a one-third of Pakistan's Muslims view unfavourably the Islamic terror organization that flailed Mumbai in 2008.
Does extremism travel well? A 2007 Environics poll says 12 per cent of Canadian Muslims could justify a Toronto 18 type plot calling for mass-casualty attacks in Canada, including invading these parliamentary precincts and beheading the Prime Minister. That means that between 49,000 and 119,000 Canadians could justify making war on fellow Canadians today. Perhaps such attitudes are reflected in the increasing number of terrorism cases.
Meanwhile, troubling interests are indoctrinating our Muslim youth. The Muslim Association of Canada, MAC, a major group, boldly declares on its website its allegiance to the tradition of Hassan al Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood — the organization causing dread in Egypt and beyond.
This is problematic. The Muslim Brotherhood's motto is: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." The captured 1991 Muslim Brotherhood strategic plan for Canada and the U.S. declares that:
The process of settlement — essentially colonization — is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process,' with all the word means. The Ikhwan — the Muslim Brotherhood — must understand that their work in America is kind of a grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house. . .
Among other organizations, there is also the disturbing Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR-CAN, the Canadian chapter of a Saudi-funded U.S. unindicted co-conspirator organization. CAIR-CAN is known for its divisive, poorly documented insistence that Muslims are subject to broad-ranging persecution in Canada. Under its first chair, Dr. Sheema Khan, CAIR-CAN joined its U.S. mother organization in unsuccessful "libel-lawfare" court assaults on commentators and constitutional free expression, in an effort to silence questions about CAIR and CAIR-CAN, their origins and agenda. This record, incidentally, has not stopped the RCMP's Community Outreach Program, and a handful of other government entities, from stumbling into dealings with CAIR-CAN, much to the periodic embarrassment of officials.
Reacting to news that Canadian Muslim numbers, currently 940,000, will triple by 2030, a prominent liberal Muslim warned this week that:
. . . what is different from other immigrant groups is there is a subgroup among Muslims, I call Islamists, who come here with the intention of destroying the social fabric of the country. . . . That is very unusual for an immigrant group and will be more of a problem in the future.
Meanwhile, a few months ago, the moderate Muslim Canadian Congress raised other issues of internal security. It declared itself "troubled by the fact that Islamists had managed to penetrate the highest levels of the Ottawa bureaucracy and the political apparatus of all political parties".
Such arresting assertions must be tested and evaluated for accuracy. In the meantime, the combination of religious violence, sharia values, demographic shifts and associated considerations means that it is high time that Canadians asked direct questions about the managing of related policy, and the risks of failed integration.
The Chair: Thank you to all of you for your submissions. Obviously they are quite varied.
Mr. Henderson, in terms of the collaboration issue that you raise here, and it is a long-time issue for the FCM, are there models of how this works well? Is it an uneven situation in terms of consultations involving the municipal level of government?
Mr. Henderson: The one model that seems to be working well and is a good step in the right direction and certainly can be looked at elsewhere is the Canada-Ontario-Toronto agreement. The reality is there are a many things municipalities are already doing because there are priorities for the communities that I think are a major part of integrating people quickly and effectively into our municipalities so they can become productive as quickly as possible. That is what the municipalities want, that is what the provinces want and is what the federal government wants. Just being able to work together to make sure we are using all of those things effectively and being able to collaborate on what those are about is really critical and that is the one model out there that is proving effective.
The Chair: Mr. Collacott, you said you were not impressed with the advocates that need to have immigration to keep our economy moving forward. A number of organizations have said that — business organizations — and the Board of Trade in Toronto. However, there is a fair bit of study that indicates we have a demographic challenge of an aging population and a shrinking workforce. What you seem to be talking about here is slowing up the immigration and, if you are doing that, how will you meet the needs of the workforce?
Mr. Collacott: There is no question that there is a demographic challenge. We know the number of people over 65 years of age as a proportion of the population will almost double in the next 30 years. That has to be dealt with somehow.
The fact is though that there are a lot of excellent analyses, one of the best by the C.D. Howe Institute, that show immigration simply is not a practical way of dealing with it. The C.D. Howe Institute said if you want to keep the proportions the same between people under 65 years and over 65 years, you have to get your population up to 164.5 million by the year 2050, which is in 39 years, and you must bring in 7 million immigrants a year. The reason for that is that immigration has almost no impact on the proportion of older and younger people. Immigrants get older just like Canadians and within a generation they have smaller families.
Yes, there is the problem of funding the larger percentage of older people; but, no, immigration does not provide any kind of practical solution. However, 90 per cent of Canadians believe that we need immigrants because the population is getting older and we need the workers. It is simply not true and it has been documented over and over again that it is not true.
On the Centre of Immigration Policy Reform website, you can click on the C.D. Howe report. It provides some excellent analysis, but I also deal with the same issues in my 2002 paper.
You look a little skeptical, Mr. Chair. Most Canadians believe this firmly and it is absolutely untrue, so I have to be blunt. That is not a justification for immigration.
The Chair: Mr. Harris, are you suggesting that we not allow Muslims into the country because they might be one of these percentages?
Mr. Harris: We have to bring our numbers into line with public safety is what is comes to, and that implies the capacity of the government and security services effectively and meaningfully to screen all people coming in from all parts of the world.
Part of the difficulty is that when one is talking about 519,000 newcomers, it is neither practically nor convincingly the case that one can meaningfully screen these numbers. We deceive ourselves in proceeding otherwise.
It does not augur well that two of the immense, enormous concentrations of individuals may include some individuals who share self-isolating preferences that go completely against the basic values, including the Charter values of this country. It does not augur well in the somewhat dangerous world in which we finding ourselves living today.
The Chair: I point out that in the case of the Toronto 18 and in a number of other countries, that many of the terrorists are domestic folks, people born in the country or raised in the country since childhood. What are you suggesting?
Mr. Harris: That is precisely correct. When you look at those situations, including the Toronto 18, you find there is a symbiotic relationship between some of those who are homegrown and those who are foreign-born or have come from abroad.
This is complicated immensely by the fact that we are finding a great deal of money pouring into various Islamist facilities in Canada from Gulf and other radical jurisdictions. I salute the work of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a brave group of people who have consistently and constantly, often in the face of considerable opposition from Islamist interests stated this case and what I am pointing out here today.
Senator Meredith: Mr. Harris, you have painted a dismal picture of the Muslim community in that it seems you are classifying almost all Muslims immigrants as problematic.
When you look at some of the reports in the last few months with respect to terrorism, and the fact that a lot of the attacks were not even done by Muslims, but there were other groups that were reported to be Muslims and these reports were in the media, it is troubling.
My background is dealing with and working with the faith community. There are many moderate faith leaders; there are those who love this country and have embraced this country and have made great contributions to this country. I am a little taken aback by your report. This type of hype that puts Canada on edge takes me aback.
Are you suggesting that we start screening just Muslims to ensure that they are not a security risk? Are you suggesting that we are not doing that?
Mr. Harris: First, I believe that I repeatedly in the course of my statement referred to "moderate Muslims," among whom I count a considerable number of my associates and sources. These people are the heroes of this country and have stood up against a number of threats, which are deepening and broadening even as we speak. I want to make that clear. My statement is available to the committee. It has been submitted and it is beyond any kind of doubt as to the gist of what I am saying in that regard.
We face a serious threat. We will have to look at people from the perspective of radicalism, that is, those individuals as newcomers who may bring with them values that are specifically hostile to the Canadian Charter and, indeed, to their fellow future citizens. This is an important situation.
You will forgive my bridling at the suggestion of hype. We have avoided almost heroically, for many years the harsh realities that we now face. These realities endanger, first and foremost, moderate Muslims.
Let me give you an example from within days, not weeks or months. Mr. Tarek Fatah, a distinguished Muslim writer, founder of a Muslim rights organization in this country, was prevented on police advice this past Friday from engaging in a debate with an imam at the NAMF mosque in Scarborough, Ontario, because the police could not guarantee his safety. There were a number of associated reasons I would be happy to go into as to why this was conceived to be the case.
We found, although this may or may not be directly relevant, that a few weeks ago Library and Archives Canada in effect banned the film Iranium based on representations from that esteemed democracy Iran, and possible fellow travellers within this city of that country.
A Canadian Muslim has just gone abroad and has been prevented from speaking at the University of Birmingham in England because the police could not guarantee her safety. This is going on and I might suggest that it is largely unknown to even our legislators and political leaders.
It is extremely valuable that you have highlighted these crucial issues, including the tremendous efforts being made by bona fide moderates. In some ways it is a regrettable term to have to use, to talk in terms of moderates versus others, but there are many individuals and groups who masquerade, who are sometimes described as "faux moderates," and who even find their way in front of various parliamentary committees in that guise. That is the extent of my response.
Senator Meredith: You talked, and the chair has already raised this with you, about the levels of immigration. We know that immigrants — I came to this country over 35 years ago — make great contributions to this country. We know that culturally and economically when immigrants come here — whether they be from Sri Lanka, India or elsewhere — there is a sense of let us give back, let us contribute. Within the GTA, an individual from Sri Lanka who has been here for 20 years is now feeding the poor. He has put his two daughters through university and has contributed well to the Canadian society.
On your position of let us curtail or let us look at the numbers that are coming in, we see a decline in the demographics and the age of Canadians in terms of population growth in some of our cities. I understand the security aspect. I understand we need to screen individuals who come to this country to ensure they will be contributors. However, I believe we need to put the mechanisms in place to ensure the immigrants who come here receive the necessary tools to succeed; thus the allocation of resources and our welcoming centres to get them up and running. I think they are great contributors to this country.
On your point of saying we should govern, what is the basis of that in terms of the numbers we need to have in this country to allow our economies to grow and so forth?
Mr. Collacott: The research shows that we do need some immigrants, but we need to do a better job of getting Canadians into the workforce and providing training.
I will quote from Alan G. Green, an emeritus professor of economics at Queen's University. Professor Green pointed out that we ". . . have the educational facilities to meet our domestic needs for skilled workers in all but extreme circumstances." He goes on to note that in bringing in workers from abroad, we "substitute for the education of domestic workers."
I do not think we have looked carefully enough at whether we are doing enough for Canadians, and by "Canadians," I include people already here from other countries. I think we want to make our immigrants as successful as possible. Garnett Picot told us, pretty dramatically, that many newcomers are not successful. Some of their children are doing better and I would like to make comments on that interesting area but I do not have time.
The fact is that recent immigrants are not doing as well as earlier immigrants. There are estimated to be quite large costs for Canadians, which I can go into probably another day — tens of billions a year.
What is critical is that we should be using more Canadians. When you bring in large numbers of workers from abroad, you discourage Canadians from getting into the job market. We have to strike a better balance between how many immigrants we need and how well we are drawing into the workforce people who are already here — Canadians and permanent residents who have already arrived.
Rather than bringing in massive additional numbers, we have to do a better job of making sure the people here are successful economically and in integrating. The current numbers do not augur well.
Senator Dyck: Thank you for your presentations. You have covered many important and sensitive topics.
My first question has to do with the need for immigration in terms of the labour market. Mr. Henderson, you said that 100 per cent of our new labour growth will come from new immigrants. Mr. Collacott argues that we do not need to bring in immigrants.
My question is, with respect to the Prairies, and Saskatchewan in particular, which is where I am from. With Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined, we have one-third of the entire Canadian Aboriginal population, and in each of those provinces, Aboriginals make up about 15 per cent of the population.
In terms of filling labour shortages, do you think we need to focus on that population?
Mr. Henderson: I would say absolutely. I do not want to speak on behalf of the city of Edmonton because I know you have one of our people working on diversity inclusion coming to speak to you next week. They are also working on precisely that question. We do not differentiate in the city of Edmonton.
What I would say from the city's perspective is we are keenly aware that any growth and economic growth in our city must be from finding new sources of labour. Again, I will use my own city as an example: Part of the pressure is coming from the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, which recognizes the labour force shortages will be a big problem for growth. I know the same is true in Saskatchewan. You have had substantial growth in the last while and we know three years ago we got in a real bind, and I do not think that kind of situation will go away.
We need to absolutely develop and better use the people we have. We need to better integrate everyone who is underutilized. We are going to be short of skilled people, and if we want growth in any of these areas, it will have to be fuelled from immigration. That is what the numbers are telling us.
Mr. Vineberg: I want to comment on the economic impact of the levels of immigration and also the security issues that Mr. Harris raised.
On immigration levels, probably the best study of the economic impact was a 1991 Economic Council of Canada study entitled, New Faces in the Crowd: Economic and Social Impacts of Immigration. It agreed that immigration did not have a huge impact in increasing per capita GDP; it was very marginal. However, you should consider two other things. While Canada is a country with one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world, why should bringing in immigrants increase the overall GDP? What larger numbers of immigrants do is basically amortize the cost of the infrastructure of this vast country. We do not build new airports for immigrants coming into the country; we do not increase the size of the Department of National Defence for the number of new immigrants coming into this country. However, as the immigrants establish themselves and start paying taxes, the overall cost of government in Canada, per capita, should go down. There should be a financial advantage to all Canadians having more people funding the governmental activities in the country.
In terms of the potential security risk posed by Islamists, I think the committee may want to speak to Mr. Fadden or other people in CSIS in terms of the security screening process for people from the Middle East.
During the Cold War when we had no ability to effectively screen people from behind the Iron Curtain, very few immigrants were admitted to Canada because they could not get a security clearance. If we are having trouble screening people from certain countries in the Middle East because of Islamic fundamentalism, perhaps we need to look at certain specific restrictions based on individuals and the inability to assess them properly rather than any blanket refusal to bring in certain groups, which would amount to discrimination and would be contrary to the Charter.
Mr. Collacott: As Mr. Henderson pointed out, 100 per cent of our increase in workforce will come from immigration; that is true. We are now somewhere between 70 per cent and 100 per cent. The fact is that a country's prosperity does not depend on a constantly growing workforce; it depends on good economic policies and high levels of productivity. It is quite correct, 100 per cent will be from immigration but the fact is that will not increase our well- being.
Productivity is an interesting question because one of the reasons for Canada's lag in productivity is that we have substituted labour for capital investments that will increase productivity. I am glad that Mr. Vineberg mentioned the Economic Council of Canada report. The report is 20 years old but it was spot on concerning almost all the issues.
On the question of infrastructure, actually, we did need immigrants to justify our infrastructure when we built the national railways and we needed more people to use them. The railways were first among promoting high immigration.
New infrastructure, particularly around major cities is extremely costly. In fact it is more costly than beneficial in many respects, so infrastructure creation is interesting, yes, we need more because of immigrants but no, it is costing us, it is not saving us.
The Chair: Let me point out that the purpose of our study is social inclusion. We are not strictly dealing with the question of immigration, but how people integrate into our society and how we can improve upon the cohesion and the inclusion in our society of people coming to this country.
Senator Callbeck: Mr. Henderson, you talked about municipalities being left out of immigration policy development and program design. In answer to a question from the chair, you said that you felt Ontario had a good model. Can you tell us about that model?
Mr. Henderson: My understanding of that model, and I apologize if I do not have all the details, and I believe it is specific to a memorandum of understanding between Toronto, the Ontario government and the Government of Canada. The MOU is to get together and have a look at provision of services around integration to ensure that services are being used effectively, that they fit together, that all the bases are being covered.
Clearly, Toronto has been in a situation for many years where it has been dealing with these questions. The major advantage is it allowed all the orders of government to sit down and look at what they were doing and actually make sure that this was being put forward and delivered in a way that made sense, was effective, and actually dealt with many of the questions that have arisen.
It is an interesting model that could be used but I would also stress that every municipality has different concerns. Part of this is about working with municipalities to ensure we can deal with the specific, on-the-ground work being done, and ensuring that all the players, which includes the province and the federal government as a primary player, can look at what is being done to meet what is a collective goal for all of us.
Senator Callbeck: How long has that agreement been in effect?
Mr. Henderson: I think it is pretty recent; five years.
The Chair: Thank you very much. Senator Martin's question has been answered. You have given us a lot of useful information. We will carry on next week on our study on social inclusion.
(The committee adjourned.)