Improving Social Determinants of Health and Policy Capacity on the Issues Facing Foreign Skilled Immigrants’ Integration into the Credentialized Canadian Workforce System
By Juliet Obianuju Bushi
Canada’s population is at an all-time high, thanks to its rich and ever growing immigrant population. In 2009, Canada welcomed 252,179 new immigrants (principal applicants and dependents), an increase of two per cent compared to 2008, (Government of Saskatchewan, 2009). The largest group, equivalent to 153,498, or 61 per cent of total immigrants, arrived under the federal Economic class. Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia continue to be the top destination provinces for immigrants; however, since 2005 there has been a gradual decline in the flow of immigrants to Ontario while the Prairie Provinces have seen steady increases (Government of Saskatchewan, 2009). Some regions that have not been traditionally popular destinations for immigrants, such as the Atlantic Provinces and Saskatchewan, have experienced rapid growth in the number of immigrants. The largest increases since 2007 have occurred in Prince Edward Island (74 per cent), Saskatchewan (96 percent) and Yukon (110 per cent) (Government of Saskatchewan, 2009). Canada’s immigrant populations play a crucial role in Canada’s socio-economic growth therefore, in order to maintain this trend, Canada needs to develop sustainable and efficient immigration policies and better transition programs for skilled immigrants.
The purpose of this proposal is to examine Canada’s immigration policies and transition programs to help improve the social-determinants of health and well-being of immigrants by carefully examining the root causes and systemic barriers such as, racism, change of environment, ineffective transition services, lack of Canadian experience, diverse cultural background, language, lack of awareness, and social constructivism which leads to poor social-determinants of health that hinder the integration of immigrants into Canada’s labour force.
Obianuju Juliet Bushi is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. She is also a Sessional Lecturer at First Nations University of Canada. Juliet is interested in immigrant and skilled workers in Canada, social determinants of health and skilled workers transitioning into the Canadian workforce and in decolonizing nursing curriculum. She is a lover of soccer and storytelling.