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WES Weekly Roundup February 21, 2024

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World Education Services (WES) is a non-profit social enterprise dedicated to helping international students, immigrants, and refugees achieve their educational and career goals in the United States and Canada. The weekly roundup includes research, stories, and events of interest to the Canadian immigration and settlement community. This content has been created by WES and is reproduced here with their permission, in partnership.

New immigration funding planned to aid growing tourism and hospitality industry in Alberta (CTV News)

The government of Alberta is announcing new reforms to the province's tourism and hospitality strategy to bolster the sector. Among the proposed changes is the launch of a dedicated immigration talent stream to help address labour gaps and chronic shortages. For many provinces, hospitality and tourism remain the sectors hardest impacted by the pandemic and continue to face complications in attracting and retaining the needed workforce to maintain and expand the industry. Restaurants in Alberta, for example, face the highest level of job vacancy rates in any sector at nine percent, roughly double that of the province's average of nine percent. The immigration stream will sit in the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program, to obtain immigrant workers and entrepreneurs within the hospitality sector. Set to launch March 1, the new stream will allow applicants with a valid full-time/non-seasonal job offer from an approved employer within the sector to be eligible. Individuals interested in applying for the stream must have already been working for a tourism and hospitality business for at least six months. By 2035, the province hopes to double the visitor economy spending towards advancing economic development and health long-term.

Provincial variation in the retention rates of immigrants, 2022 (Stats Canada)

The 2022 Longitudinal Immigration Database (IMDB) report provides a detailed examination of the retention rates of immigrants across Canadian provinces and territories, highlighting critical insights into their settlement patterns over one- and five-years post-admission. It reveals significant geographical variations in retention rates, with the Prairie provinces and territories experiencing declines over five years, whereas the Atlantic provinces show increases. Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta boast the highest five-year retention rates among the 2016 admission cohort, indicating a strong propensity for immigrants to remain in these provinces. Quebec's five-year retention rate also stands out as comparatively high. The analysis demonstrates that family-sponsored immigrants and refugees have the highest five-year retention rates, suggesting strong ties and support networks contribute to their decision to stay. Economic immigrants, especially those admitted through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) and skilled workers, exhibit a decline in five-year retention rates, indicating retention challenges for these groups over the medium term. Short-term retention rates, analyzed one year after admission, indicate relative stability in the Prairie provinces and notable improvements in the Atlantic provinces, especially following the introduction of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP). This, now permanent, program has significantly enhanced the one-year retention rates of skilled immigrants in the Atlantic region, emphasizing the effectiveness of targeted regional immigration initiatives. The report articulates the nuanced dynamics of immigrant retention across Canada, emphasizing the importance of geographical, category-specific, and temporal factors. Ultimately, regional policies and programs are critical for improving retention rates, especially for skilled immigrants in the Atlantic provinces, and are model initiatives with the potential to be scaled throughout Canada.

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Addressing anti-Black racism is key to improving well-being of Black Canadians (The Conversation)

Addressing anti-Black racism is crucial for improving the well-being of many Black Canadians, including newcomers and immigrants, and advancing equitable outcomes across the country. Anti-Black racism is a well-documented social determinant that affects both health and socio-economic outcomes for Black populations in Canada. This systemic issue extends through various structures, including healthcare, justice, child welfare, and education, where Black Canadians, encompassing both long-standing residents and recent immigrants, continue to confront discriminatory treatment and disproportionate effects. Historical exclusions in healthcare, for instance, are echoed today through a lack of culturally competent service provision, affecting not only those born in Canada but also Black immigrants who navigate these systems. Within the youth justice and welfare systems, the implications of systemic racial biases are evident through the overrepresentation of Black youth, highlighting the need for interventions that consider the unique vulnerabilities of Black children, including those from immigrant families. Educational disparities and economic challenges, such as wage stagnation and employment barriers, underscore the economic effects of racism on Black Canadians broadly, including the immigrant segment, which may face compounded difficulties due to their status. Other challenges, like mental health struggles, xenophobia, and discrimination towards the LGBTQIA+ community, may adversely impact individuals within the Canadian Black diaspora, including immigrants, signaling further opportunities for growth through comprehensive approaches. These actions include empowering Black communities and advocacy efforts, reforming policies to include anti-racism strategies, and ensuring accountability and transparency through race-based data collection and analysis. Such efforts should be cognizant of the diverse experiences of Black Canadians, recognizing the additional layers of complexity faced by newcomers and immigrants as part of the broader strategy to combat anti-Black racism.

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