At-Risk Populations of Immigrants in Canada

In Canada, there has been social and economic research on immigration policies that favour workers and their families, skilled professionals and highly educated persons. Numerous research projects have focused on employment conditions and social and economic integration, demonstrating gaps in many programs and revealing immigrants’ needs. At the same time, approximately 10% of Canada’s intake consists of refugees, arriving as government-sponsored refugees or refugee claimants. These populations often find themselves in a precarious status and live in vulnerable conditions. They arrive individually or with their families often having experienced violence, trauma, family separation and forced displacement. It would seem paramount for P2P to examine the reception of these populations in different regions of Canada, some of which lack the capacity to meet their particular needs. These refugees, who become permanent residents and Canadian citizens, face the same hurdles as other immigrants but it is also necessary to capture the specificities and characteristics that place them at a disadvantage compared with other citizens.

Moreover, immigrants – economic or refugees –are not homogenous and span multiple generations. Among them are youth and children, some who came with their parents, others who were born in Canada. These subsequent generations also deserve our attention, as shown by the experiences of other countries which demonstrate that they must be directly involved in processes of integration, recognition and participation. Otherwise, we face social challenges, both for the newcomers as well as the communities in which they live. Women and elderly people also experience differentiated integration processes and specific forms of discrimination. As a result, research must scrutinize their integration processes as well as the capacities of our communities to welcome and integrate them. Finally,  a portion of immigrants live in poverty, insecurity and social exclusion. For these individuals who may be in great distress, itinerant,  or living in precarious housing conditions, research must be undertaken to better understand their situation and the measures that need to be implemented to assist them.

Under this theme, we are proposing to articulate these questions using concepts of vulnerability, precariousness (or insecurity), and stigmatisation in order to analyse and deconstruct the concept of at-risk populations,  reflecting who holds and undergoes risk. In particular, an intersectoral analysis can be developed of the oppression and inequality experienced by these populations..

We propose two dimensions for this theme:

  • An intersectoral analysis of the experiences of stigmatized and vulnerable populations, and an analysis of the political, economic, intercultural, social and inter-generational relations that are at play
  • Resources, methods, measures, programmes, promising practices and tools for promoting social and economic change for these populations