Canadian Immigration Policy for the 21st Century

Canadian Immigration Policy for the 21st Century
Charles M. Beach, Alan G. Green and Jeffrey G. Reitz (eds.), 2003 (Paper ISBN: 0-88911-954-6 $34.95) (Cloth ISBN: 0-88911-952-X $70.00)

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Preface . . . ix
Charles M. Beach, Alan G. Green and Jeffrey G. Reitz

. . .


Section I: International Context and Immigration Policy Goals
Introductory Remark
Alfred MacLeod

. . .


The Global Context of Immigration
Janice Gross Stein

. . .


What is the Role of Immigration in Canada's Future?
Alan G. Green

. . .


Section II: Role of Immigration in Meeting Demographic, Occupational and Capital Market Needs
Effec of Immigration on Demographic Structure
Roderic Beaujot

. . .

Occupational Mobility of Immigrant Men: Evidence from Longitudinal Data for Australia, Canada and the United States
Marc Frenette, Vincent Hildebrand, James Ted McDonald and Christopher Worswick

. . .

Immigration and Capital Accumulation in Canada: A Long-Run Perspective
Stuart J. Wilson

. . .


Summary of Discussion

. . .


Section III: Decentralization of Immigration Policy in Canada
Location Choice of New Immigrants to Canada: The Role of Ethnic Networks
James Ted McDonald
. . . 163
The Manitoba Experience
Gerald L. Clément
. . . 197
Immigration Policy in Canada: A Quebec Perspective
Gilles Grenier
. . . 201
Samuel Laryea
. . . 209
Summary of Discussion . . . 213
Section IV: International Labour Mobility and Policy Responses
Canadian Immigration Policy in Comparative Perspective
John McHale

. . .

The Potential Impacts of Immigration on Productivity in Canada
Alice Nakamura, Masao Nakamura and W. Erwin Diewert

. . .

Summary of Discussion . . . 293
Canadian Emigration to the United States
David Card
. . . 295
Section V: Canadian Immigration Data Sources
The IMDB: A User's Overview of the Immigration Database
Michael G. Abbott

. . .

Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada
Martha Justus and Jessie-Lynn MacDonald

. . .

New Household Surveys on Immigration
Doug Norris
. . . 327
Section VI: Labour Market Immigrant Integration Issues
The Falling Earnings of New Immigrant Men in Canada's Large Cities
Bert Waslander

. . .

Effects of Business Cycles on the Labour Market Participation and Employment Rate Assimilation of Immigrants
Abdurrahman Aydemir

. . .

Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Earnings by Postsecondary Field of Study
Stephan McBride and Arthur Sweetman

. . .

Louis Grignon
. . . 463
Section VII: Social Inclusion and Immigrant Integration
Occupational Dimensions of Immigrant Credential Assessment: Trends in Professional, Managerial and Other Occupations, 1970-1996
Jeffrey G. Reitz
. . . 469
Public Attitudes Towards Immigrants and Immigration: Determinants and Policy Implications
Victoria M. Esses, Gordon Hodson and John F. Dovidio
. . . 507
Visible-Minority Neighbourhood Enclaves and Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants
Feng Hou and Garnett Picot
. . . 537
Mental Health of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Children in Canada: Results of the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth
Violet Kaspar
. . . 573
Eric Fong
. . . 603
Section VIII: Wrap-Up Panel on Broad Labour Market Issues and Future Directions for Canadian Immigration Policy
Panel Comments
Naomi Alboim
. . . 609
Panel Comments
Barry Chiswick
. . . 615
Panel Comments
Don DeVoretz
. . . 619
Panel Comments
W. Craig Riddell
. . . 621
Panel Comments
Yvan Turcotte
. . . 633
Summary of Discussion . . . 637

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Context of Immigration

This volume is based on a two-day John Deutsch Institute conference on "Canadian Immigration Policy for the 21st Century" organized by Charles Beach, Alan Green and Elizabeth Ruddick. It was held at Queen's University on October 18-19, 2002.

This is the second conference on immigration undertaken by the John Deutsch Institute. The first, also held at Queen's, was in 1988. It was a one-day meeting which was published as a "Policy Forum" under the title The Role of Immigration in Canada's Future (October 1988).

The context and environment within which the present conference and the earlier one occurred are very different. The 1988 meeting was set at the time of a rising tide of immigration which had gotten underway in the early 1980s following a decade of low annual levels of inflow. The latter was associated with the poor state of the Canadian economy; that is, severe inflation, high unemployment and slow productivity growth, which, like most of the rest of the world, were linked to changes in energy prices in the post-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) world. By 1984, annual immigration levels for this country had declined to approximately 83,000 immigrants - the lowest levels since the early 1960s, also a period of slow growth and high unemployment. In both cases, the government adjusted the total inflow to what it perceived as the "absorptive capacity" of the economy (i.e., any higher levels might well adversely affect the employment opportunities and nominal wages of the Canadian population).

The current conference is set in a very different world. The past decade has witnessed a sharp increase in the levels of immigration. At present, the annual inflow is over 200,000 a year. In fact, between 1981 and 2001, the cumulative inflow has amounted to about 3.6 million new immigrants. At the same time, the rate of natural increase in Canada's population has fallen to historically low levels. As a result of low fertility and high gross immigration rates, immigration now accounts for 60% of total population growth. Within ten years this could rise to 100%. Immigration has become the central dynamic in both population and labour force growth in Canada.

At the same time, federal and provincial governments have been downsizing their programs (other than health), and the approach of governments has shifted away from direct support programs and towards creating incentives for individual initiative.

Between this and the last conference the government has set an explicit annual targeted inflow of 1% of the population (approximately 300,000 immigrants a year). The adoption of this fixed target policy signalled a shift towards a longer-run view of how admission numbers should be managed. At the same time the selection process has become more focused on attracting young skilled workers to this country. The impacts that these changes have had on the Canadian economy are in the early stages of investigation. Some of this new work is included in this volume.

The external environment has also changed. The post-September 11, 2001 (9/11) world is one concerned with border security and more careful monitoring of inflow of personnel. There is an ongoing shift of immigrants from traditional source countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States, and western Europe towards arrivals from Asia, Latin America, and Africa. And there is increasing international competition for skilled labour for both permanent and short-term employment.

Another major difference between this and the last conference is the way the government relates the level of inflow to short-run economic conditions in Canada. As mentioned above, it had been the practice of the government since the early years of the last century to adjust the inflow to short-run economic conditions - the famous absorptive capacity model. This approach was abandoned in the late 1980s. Since then, the government has set levels independently of short-run economic conditions, essentially ignoring the level of unemployment or the growth rate in setting total levels. This became particularly important in the early 1990s when the country faced high unemployment rates and slow growth, but continued to admit immigrants in the range of 200,000 or more a year. This has created a new set of problems of immigrant adjustment, integration, and fiscal stresses, some of which are addressed in this volume.

Despite the very different context within which these two conferences were set, the range of problems addressed are remarkably similar. The current conference, as in the first, was concerned with the aging of the population, the shortage of skilled workers and the composition of the inflow between economic immigrants and family relatives, plus the ongoing role Canada should play in relieving the plight of refugees. The new topics include questions about the annual levels of immigration; that is, is 1% of the population the optimal level of inflow? Should we be concerned whether over 80% of all arrivals head for just three cities - Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver? Should we be concerned about the declining diversity in the composition of arrivals? Finally, how has post-9/11, with all its security implications, affected who should and who should not be admitted?

Major Issues Facing Immigration Policy

Several major issues face immigration policy in Canada at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Clearly, they are informed by the environments inside and outside the country, and they are very much interrelated.

First, Canada needs to review the goals and objectives of current immigration policy. As indicated, the environment of immigration to Canada has changed over the last 20 years. Large numbers of immigrants are settling predominantly in the three largest cities in Canada, with about half of the total arrivals living in and around Toronto. The speed and success of labour market integration of more recent immigrants have slipped compared to that of earlier arrival cohorts and compared to immigrants in the United States. Poverty rates among immigrant households within five years of arrival have increased dramatically since 1980 and are related to immigrant origins. Critiques of Canadian immigration policy (e.g., Daniel Stoffman's Who Gets In: What's Wrong with Canada's Immigration Program - and How to Fix It, 2002) have received high-profile coverage in the media. A lot is expected of immigration to meet several alternative goals - demographic, economic, social, humanitarian, and security. Indeed, as Alan Green's paper argues, perhaps too much is expected and immigration cannot be viewed as a silver bullet to satisfy all these objectives. It is thus worth having a public debate on the relative priorities we wish to set among these objectives of immigration policy, for these priorities will inform how we target and structure Canadian immigration policy. For example, a shift in emphasis from economic to social objectives for immigration will imply the need for closer cooperation between different levels of government with responsibility for community, education, housing, and social support systems.

Second, immigration policy has to address the issues of setting overall numerical targets and the selection criteria for admitting immigrants. One of the earliest classic studies of immigration in Canada was Mabel Timlin's book entitled Does Canada Need More People? (1951) and the debate is still ongoing on what is the appropriate total level of annual immigration and what should it depend upon. A more recent study by the Economic Council of Canada, Economic and Social Impacts of Immigration (1991), proposed a long-run target rate of 1% of population (or about 300,000 per year in current figures). How should such long-run targets be formulated and what consultation process should be involved? Also, for a given long-run target, should allowance be made for deviations from targets based on, say, short-run economic conditions and absorptive capacity - at either national or regional levels?

Immigrants arrive under different classes representing different program objectives. The three broad classes are: Family Class immigrants who enter on the basis of family relationships; Independent Class immigrants selected on the basis of a point system that reflects occupational skills, experience and likely adaptability to Canadian society; and Convention Refugee Class immigrants who are admitted on the basis of Canadian laws governing refugee admissions and likely adaptability to the Canadian environment. These are generally called family (reunification) class, economic class, and refugee class immigrants. Major concerns of immigration policy, then, are the relative numbers of immigrants to be admitted under these different classes, and the rules and procedures governing each of these admission classes. These do not exist in a vacuum, but are informed by overall goals and priorities, by actual economic success and rate of integration to Canadian society of the different immigrant groups, and by political and regional concerns. Within the point system, there has been considerable interest in the questions of appropriate selection criteria and the relative weights to attach to the specific criteria for economic immigrants such as education, age, occupational skills, knowledge of languages such as English or French, and likelihood of business success. What roles should be given to provinces in reaching such decisions? What rules and procedures should be applied to the selection of temporary immigrants, and who should have input into these decisions? Procedures should also ensure the integrity and security of Canadian borders in a post-9/11 environment. The success of the immigration program owes much to effective management, particularly of selection criteria. A number of the conference papers and discussions refer to these policy issues.

A third set of issues for immigration policy involves analyzing the adjustment process of recent immigrants to Canada and promoting the effective integration of permanent immigrants into the Canadian labour market and society. Good policy needs to be informed by up-to-date evidence and research. The period since the late 1980s has, in fact, seen a remarkable explosion and maturation of research on immigration issues in both Canada and the United States - see, for example, the major sets of studies in Smith and Edmonston (1997) and Borjas (2000) for the United States and the recent set of overviews for Canada in Canadian Issues (April 2003). The research is fostered by valuable new datasets and by the setting up of four dedicated research centres and programs focused on immigration related matters (i.e., the Metropolis project). It has also expanded to look at impacts of immigration and recent immigrant experience well beyond the labour market. Journal articles on all aspects of the immigration process, rare before 1980, are now part of the academic landscape. Many of the papers at this conference attest to this broadening range of inquiry. Such research helps to identify problems in the immigrant adjustment process, and to provide better understanding of the likely consequences of policy alternatives and of current rules and procedures.

The main involvement of federal policymakers in promoting the effective integration of permanent immigrants in Canada has largely been with settlement programs. These are directed mainly at smoothing the initial settlement process, and include counselling and language instruction. The objective has been to reduce the costs of settlement and help overcome early hurdles in the settlement process, and hence foster integration into the economy and society. A number of papers at the conference addressed various aspects of the immigrant adjustment process under the general headings of labour market adjustment and social integration, but clearly the two are linked. A number of significant issues and trends regarding the successful integration of immigrants go well beyond the initial settlement process. Much attention was devoted at the conference to the declining labour market performance of immigrants; the social welfare costs of immigration; difficulties in recognition of foreign educational and professional credentials; social exclusion or discrimination against immigrants or visible minorities in various sectors such as employment, education, housing and public services; and regional impacts and inter-governmental aspects of the uneven dispersion of immigrants across the country. Probably the most important of these issues in the short to intermediate term is the declining labour market performance of immigrants. Dealing with the above sets of issues will involve federal departments well beyond Citizenship and Immigration Canada as well as joint arrangements with provincial and even municipal levels of government.

Overview of the Studies in this Volume

Session one at the conference set out the above concerns in a broader context. In "The Global Context of Immigration", for example, Janice Stein outlines three factors that are central to shaping global population movement. First, are the economic and social consequences of a widening gap in ages between developed and less-developed countries - the "demographic divide". Second, is the impact that access to the newest technology will have on the growth in income inequality both within and between countries. Finally, as the demographic divide interacts with widening income inequality, ever greater pressure will be placed on countries like Canada to take in more immigrants. How we react to these pressures either by welcoming and including these new immigrants in the wider society or by marginalizing them will say much about how this country will evolve in the decades ahead. In the same section, Alfred MacLeod stresses the importance of placing immigration in a ten-year term planning time frame. The challenges facing policymakers in setting longer run immigration policy include such areas as globalization and competitiveness, security issues in light of 9/11, diversity versus a limited number of source countries, levels, and the role of immigration in solving the aging population problem. What emerges from this longer term view of formulating immigration policy is not only the need to involve more areas of the government in the decision-making process but also a need to expand the research agenda in this important area of public policy. Finally, Alan Green in "What is the Role of Immigration in Canada's Future?" takes a sceptical view on whether immigration alone is capable of solving the aging problem, future skill shortages and regional income inequality. For example, immigration adds to the growth of the labour force and so offsets rising dependency rates, but within politically tolerable limits it cannot change the basic age structure of the population. Its role in solving skill shortages is also limited. A better solution might be to expand the domestic education levels. Finally, we have little evidence that people can be moved to regions that are at odds with their personal preferences. Immigration on its own is simply no "silver bullet" in resolving the countries diverse social and economic problems.

In section two, Roderic Beaujot tackles the question of the impact of immigration on Canadian demographics in "Effect of Immigration on Demographic Structure". This study sets out in some detail the various characteristics of past and current immigration and shows how dramatically its role has changed over the decades. For example, Beaujot shows that periods of high immigration are associated with periods of high emigration. In fact, over the long run, immigration has just offset emigration, leaving little room for net immigration to contribute to population change. Statistically, results show that the growth of the labour force did not slow until after the mid-1980s unlike total population growth that began to slow down much earlier. In addition, immigrants are more concentrated in large cities than are their native counterparts (i.e., 60% of the foreign-born live in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver compared to only 27% of the native-born population). In terms of socio-cultural composition of population resulting from immigration, Beaujot argues that "Canada is becoming a multi-ethnic society where 'pluralism' rather than 'visible' minorities is the more appropriate term".

In "Occupational Mobility of Immigrant Men: Evidence from Longitudinal Data for Australia, Canada and the United States", Marc Frenette, Vincent Hildebrand, James McDonald and Chris Worswick analyze the occupational outcomes for three immigrant-receiving countries during the 1980s and 1990s. One of the goals of the paper is to examine whether the immigrants to these market-oriented economies faced similar adjustment experiences. Their cross-section results show that, with some exceptions, the occupational distributions for native- and foreign-born workers are generally similar. Differences that existed in the early years of settlement tended to disappear over time. The authors also use a first-order Markov transition model to examine the probability of workers moving between occupations over time for Australia and the United States. In general, the results suggest that, for recent immigrant arrivals, the probability of occupational switching was greater than it was for comparable native American workers and this difference decreased with years since migration. In the Australian case, the transition probabilities were about the same for native- and foreign-born workers right from the start.

In "Immigration and Capital Accumulation in Canada: A Long-Run Perspective", Stuart Wilson examines the effect of changing immigration on the rate of investment in Canada over the twentieth century. The author finds that a positive relationship exists between immigration and per capita fixed investment in the early years of that century. However, this relationship is reversed during the last third of the century. He ascribes this reversal to a relative decline in the human capital level of recent immigrants. The decline in human capital content then lowers the productivity of labour and so slows the growth in per capita investment. He supports this result through the application of time series analysis. This research confirms other work showing that it takes a much longer period of time for newly arrived immigrants to converge on the incomes of similarly positioned domestic workers than it did for earlier immigrant arrivals. The author contends that this decline in the productivity of recent immigrants may be due to a switch in immigration policy from an economic focus to one concerned more with humanitarian factors (i.e., family reunion, refugee movements, etc.). His solution to this problem is to invest more resources in the education and training of recent immigrants.

In the last few years provincial governments, following the earlier lead of Quebec, have become much more active in the formulation of immigration policy and its effect on their particular region. Section three reviews some of these experiences. For example, Gerald Clément sets out the initiatives that Manitoba has undertaken to attract immigrants to this province during the last few years. Gilles Grenier describes the unique features of immigration to Quebec. In particular, he points out the value of protecting linguistic duality. The evidence he provides suggests that the percentage of the immigrant population who speak French at home has increased over time. In terms of the influence of language and culture on migration decisions, the paper by James McDonald, "Location Choice of New Immigrants to Canada: The Role of Ethnic Networks", finds that these factors exert a powerful influence on the initial location of new immigrants. Ethnic networks provide a powerful incentive to new immigrants on where they might first locate. Information supplied by these prior migrants is invaluable as the more recent arrivals put down roots in their new home. These findings raise interesting questions about how successful the proposed government program to spread immigrants more evenly across regions will work.

Section four examined international labour mobility and policy responses. The first paper by John McHale considers "Canadian Immigration Policy in Comparative Perspective". He begins with an analytical assessment of a skill-focused immigration policy within a model of immigration surplus. He examines the concept of skill shortage and argues against using occupational shortages as a basis for a permanent immigration policy. He develops a framework for considering a skill-based optimal immigration policy, and evaluates recent immigration policy reforms both in Canada and elsewhere in terms of the design principles emerging from his model and finds that Canada's recently reformed system compares quite well. However, he notes that Canada's temporary immigration policy is rather cumbersome and would benefit from learning what other countries are doing in attracting skilled temporary workers. Looking at recent estimates of the number of Canadian-born workers in the United States, he finds a marked increase in the "brain drain" to the United States in contrast to the findings of a number of other studies.

Alice and Masao Nakamura and Erwin Diewert examine how overall labour productivity in the economy is affected by immigrants arriving with different skill levels and different market treatment of these skill levels in "The Potential Impacts of Immigration on Productivity in Canada". This is motivated by concerns about immigrants from origins other than the United States and United Kingdom experiencing lower average earnings than native-born workers in Canada. The authors develop an index number framework for considering how different sorts of immigrant inflows could be expected to affect traditional and new concepts of productivity growth.

Some expect Canadian immigration policy to offset the effects of a "brain drain" - the emigration of highly-skilled Canadians to other countries - but specific patterns of emigration have been difficult to pinpoint. David Card looks at "Canadian Emigration to the United States" by examining Canadian-born workers living in the United States from the US censuses over the period 1980 to 2000. Canadians living in the US have long been better educated than those remaining back in Canada. However, this pattern of selective emigration may have intensified in recent years due to two major factors: "the decline in Canadian average incomes relative to those in the United States, reflected in the fall of the Canadian dollar; and the sharp rise in relative wages of highly educated young workers in the United States".

Session five of the conference looked at Canadian data sources available for immigration research in Canada. Michael Abbott, in "The IMDB: A User's Overview of the Immigration Database", provides summary information on Statistics Canada's and Citizenship and Immigration Canada's longitudinal administrative database on landed immigrants in Canada going back to 1980. He discusses the main strengths and limitations of the IMDB from the perspective of an empirical researcher on immigration issues. The IMDB is uniquely suitable for empirically evaluating the effects of various worker and landing characteristics on immigrants' post-landing outcomes. Martha Justus and Jessie-Lynn MacDonald talk about the new "Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada" (LSIC) currently being set up by Statistics Canada. Its objective is to examine how new immigrants adjust to life in Canada over time and what factors help or hinder the integration process. Here, in contrast to the IMDB, workers' human capital characteristics can change over time. The first wave of interviews occurred April 2001 to March 2002 and focused on immigrants who came to Canada between October 2000 and September 2001. Douglas Norris of Statistics Canada provides information on "New Household Surveys on Immigration" available to researchers in Canada. The 2001 census, though not a new survey, does contain several relevant innovations for immigration researchers. It will allow one to distinguish between permanent and non-permanent residents and to identify second-generation Canadians and what has been happening to them. He also discusses three new or recent household surveys that provide useful information on immigrants in Canada. The Ethnic Diversity Survey looks at ethnic origin and ancestry. The Canadian Community Health Survey focuses on health indicators and health-related trends. Both surveys contain large samples of immigrants. Finally, the ongoing Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) provides longitudinal information over a six-year panel on details of labour, employment, and income for both immigrant and non-immigrant households.

Session six of the conference looked at the changing immigrant experience in the labour market and labour market integration issues. Bert Waslander examines "The Falling Earnings of New Immigrant Men in Canada's Large Cities". Focusing on the eight largest metropolitan areas in Canada between 1980 and 1995, he finds that part of the earnings decline is due to changes in unemployment and an increased sensitivity of earnings to the unemployment rate, to the returns to educational attainment and foreign work experience of new immigrants being low and indeed declining, and to the changing origin mix of new immigrants over that period.

Abdurrahman Aydemir looks at the "Effects of Business Cycles on the Labour Market Participation and Employment Rate Assimilation of Immigrants". His study identifies the separate effects of macroeconomic conditions at the time of entry into the Canadian labour market and at the time of the survey on labour market outcomes of immigrants, while also allowing for cohort effects using annual SCF cross-sections over the period 1979 to 1997. He finds that estimated cohort effects and labour market assimilation profiles are sensitive to the inclusion of controls for macroeconomic conditions, and "the deterioration in assimilation of recent immigrants is partly due to the adverse economic conditions they face when they enter the labour market and in subsequent years".

Finally, Stephan McBride and Arthur Sweetman look at "Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Earnings by Postsecondary Field of Study". Using the 20% file from Canadian censuses for 1986-96, the authors explore differences in earnings by 50 fields of study. They find large differences in the distribution of workers across fields of study between immigrants and non-immigrants. In general, the differences between high- and low-earning fields are not as large for immigrants as for Canadian-born workers. But field of study differences do not explain much of the earnings differences observed between immigrant and native-born workers in Canada.

Section seven on social inclusion examined social processes of inclusion and exclusion affecting the integration of immigrants and racial minorities. In recent decades, immigration has dramatically increased racial diversity of the Canadian population. Although there is evidence that many Canadians welcome racial diversity, there also is evidence that new immigrants and racial minorities experience significant disadvantages including racial barriers to economic mobility and social inclusion. The four papers in this section reflect some of the most important themes of social science research on this subject in Canada.

Prevailing inter-group attitudes are a critical aspect of race relations. Although there is positive evidence of general support for multiculturalism, and for the fairly expansionist immigration policies of recent years, minority opposition to immigration is still substantial, however, and reflects a degree of discomfort towards immigrants that could be quite significant. The psychological basis of attitudes towards immigrants and racial minorities is explored from both theoretical and policy perspectives in the paper by Esses, Hodson and Dovidio on "Public Attitudes Towards Immigrants and Immigration: Determinants and Policy Implications". The analysis focuses on beliefs about immigrants, such as whether immigrants compete with Canadians for jobs, whether they threaten "Canadian culture", and so on. Individual beliefs on these matters are linked to attitudes towards immigrants and immigration generally. Esses et al. show that both beliefs and attitudes towards immigration can be resistant to change because they are linked to basic personality characteristics. For persons with these characteristics, negative beliefs about immigrants are resistant to change simply by presenting information that challenges those beliefs.

The relation between attitudes and behaviour is variable, of course, and it is important to examine the status of immigrants and race relations in various institutional contexts. Within labour markets, the transferability of immigrant skills and their recognition by Canadian employers is critical. This is the primary basis for the emphasis in Canadian immigration policy on the selection of highly-skilled immigrants. In recent years, the under-representation of immigrants in emerging occupations of the "knowledge economy" has become a critical issue. Reitz explores these processes on an occupation-specific basis in "Occupational Dimensions of Immigrant Credential Assessment: Trends in Professional, Managerial and Other Occupations, 1970-1996". His findings confirm that university qualifications are significantly discounted in competition for the best-paid professional jobs. However, he also finds that the extent of discounting varies among occupations. Skill discounting is greater in managerial occupations than in professional occupations, and it is still greater outside knowledge occupations altogether. It appears that institutional procedures to evaluate education-based job qualifications are actually more rigorous in professionalized occupations, and that immigrants face their most significant challenges of inclusion in less professionalized sectors of the workforce where in fact educational levels have been rising most rapidly. This suggests that, while programs to address skill recognition must include the licensed professions, to be successful the programs must extend well beyond the professional domain.

In the broader community of any multicultural society, a key question is the social impact of ethnic community differentiation. If immigrant groups create communities that provide a degree of separation from the "mainstream" society, does this in any way hamper their successful integration within that society? The paper by Hou and Picot on "Visible-Minority Neighbourhood Enclaves and Labour Market Outcomes of Immigrants" takes a broad approach and examines how residence in a racial minority "enclave" within one of Canada's immigrant-intensive cities affects occupational success. They find that in most cases the relationship is small or statistically insignificant. But they also find certain instances, particularly within the black community, where negative effects of minority context do appear to be consequential for group members. This analysis points towards the need for new policy approaches to community relations in a multiracial society.

From the standpoint of the long-term integration of immigrant minorities, the situation of the second generation has particular importance. Kaspar in "Mental Health of Immigrant and Non-Immigrant Children in Canada: Results of the National Longitudinal Study of Children and Youth" examines the experiences of immigrant children using the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth. The positive health status of immigrants and their children - the well-known "healthy immigrant" effect - is usually attributed to selection processes, including self-selection. However, Kaspar shows that the advantage of immigrant children may partly be the transitional nature of their circumstances. When parents become established and have secure employment, the advantage is reduced or even disappears. These findings potentially are of considerable significance in attempts to gauge the impact of growing immigrant poverty on the children of immigrants in the future.

Finally, section eight was a wrap-up panel discussion on the major immigration issues and concerns of several leading commentators. Naomi Alboim begins by noting that much of the conference has focused on skilled workers, but we also need to consider what kind of institutional change on the part of employers, educational institutions, professional regulatory bodies, and government policies and regulations may be required to make better use of the arriving immigrants' human capital. She also discussed the growing attention to the regionalization of immigration in Canada and the distinct role of cities in this process. Cities want a say in terms of immigration policy formation because of how the three largest cities in the country are impacted by the large ongoing inflows of immigrants, and they want compensation for the initial costs and support they are called upon to bear on behalf of the new arrivals. She feels that the immigration decision process should be a bottoms-up process where cities should be leading the initiative to attract and retain immigrants. This will require institutional change at the local level in promoting their communities abroad and advertising their sectoral and occupational needs, and in developing local bridging/settlement programs to help the new arrivals to re-enter the occupations for which these immigrants have been trained.

Barry Chiswick raises the question of analyzing what is the optimal size of population or rate of change of population growth, and why do these matter? A relevant factor here is the need to rethink dependency ratios with people living healthy active lives well beyond age 65. He also draws attention to the growing phenomenon of footloose people and an international labour market for high-skilled workers. The result is wages for high-skilled workers will become more equalized, contributing to growing earnings inequality within many countries. Canada will need to examine policies to retain such labour and prevent it from becoming a way station for skilled workers on their way to the United States. He also notes that the attraction of low-skilled foreign workers into selected occupations, for example, in home health care and agriculture, likely contributes to keeping down already relatively low wages in these jobs for low-skilled domestic workers.

Donald DeVoretz also draws attention to the growing role of nonpermanent immigrants and the role that Canada plays in attracting skilled immigrants who, after a period of adjustment in Canada, then move on to the United States as their ultimate destination. He expresses concern about how Canadian immigration policies and practices will be affected by post-9/11 events in the US and growing pressures to harmonize immigration policies at the Canada-US border in order to protect trading markets. Yvan Turcotte raises the question of whether foreign credentials are undervalued in the Canadian market because they are often viewed as of lower quality; if so, then one might consider adding quality of education to the point system selection grid. He also wondered whether more weight in this grid should be given to demographic criteria not only for the principal applicant, but also for the spouse and presence and age of children. He remarks that maintaining an open immigration policy needs a social consciousness in support of it, and this would benefit from a more open and frequent consultative process regarding the role of immigration in Canada generally.

Craig Riddell reiterates Alan Green's concern that Canadian society seems to be expecting too much of immigration as meeting a broad set of economic objectives; if anything, it seems to be more of a component of social rather than economic policy. He argues for improved data to better inform research and policy in the area. He raises the important analytical and policy question of what is the appropriate counterfactual against which to compare the relative labour market outcomes of immigrants - the native-born population as a whole or the subgroup of recent labour market entrants among the native-born? In his own research, he finds that, despite the views of many others, immigrant credentials do appear to be valued in the Canadian labour market and that there is little evidence of a decreased valuation of immigrant credentials since 1980. Direct measures of literacy skills on the earnings of immigrants and native-born also appear to have similar effects. He concludes that the sources of the lower return to the measured human capital of immigrants are more complex than the simple lower-quality-of-foreign-education stories would imply.


Beach, C.M. and A.G. Green, eds. (1988), Policy Forum on the Role of Immigration in Canada's Future (Kingston: John Deutsch Institute, Queen's University).

Borjas, G.J. (2000), Issues in the Economics of Immigration (Chicago: University of Chicago Press).

Canadian Issues / Thèmes Canadiens (2003), Special dedicated issue on "Immigration: Opportunities and Challenges" (April edition).

Economic Council of Canada (1991), Economic and Social Impacts of Immigration (Ottawa: Supply and Services Canada).

Smith, J.P. and B. Edmonston, eds. (1997), The New Dimensions: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration (Washington, DC: National Academy Press).

Stoffman, D. (2002), Who Gets In: What's Wrong with Canada's Immigration Program - and How to Fix It (Toronto: Macfarlane, Walter and Ross).

Timlin, M.F. (1951), Does Canada Need More People? (Toronto: Oxford University Press).

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