Will Amos: round table on immigration
Immigrants needed in rural areas
Residents of the federal riding of Pontiac vigourously debated local immigration in relation to labour shortages at a round table called by Liberal MP William Amos, January 23, at D’Arcy McGee High School in Aylmer.
The MP was accompanied by Maude Marquis-Bissonnette (Gatineau city councillor) and Roxana Merello (manager of the Service Intégration Travail Outaouais (SITO)), with Peggy Civil, moderator.
The MP noted that immigration is now an essential part of the overall picture of Canada’s population. According to the 2016 census, Statistics Canada reports 9.8% of the Outaouais’ population is of new-immigrant origin. 12.5% of Gatineau’s residents are new immigrants. Mainly located in the cities, 13.7% of today’s Quebecers come from elsewhere.
“In the years coming, our immigration policy will bring the most ambitious levels of immigration ever seen in Canada,” said Mr Amos. By 2018, he said, Canada had welcomed 310,000 immigrants. Depending on this fall’s election, a Liberal government hopes to integrate 330,000 immigrants in 2019. Studies show immigrants bring investment to regions and help build markets.
Ms Marquis-Bissonnette added that Gatineau’s Plateau neighbourhood has a diversified pool of residents with “25% of the population not born in Canada”. This district also houses a strong First Nations’ population, mostly students and federal employees. The Councillor is completing her PhD in public policy at Carleton University on the role of cities in immigration.
SITO has been in existence for 20 years and assists immigrants integrate into the labour market. The organization encourages regionalization of newcomers since labour shortages are most acute outside urban areas.
The round table focussed on labour market integration for newcomers, but all immigration issues were on the table as participants were encouraged to ask questions and speak their minds. The MP provided an overview of the current situation and a forecast for the coming years. Acts of racism and xenophobia, now declining, were addressed by the participants. Immigrant hiring quotas were discussed by municipal managers. The inclusion of visible minority children in schools and the importance of the churches in immigrants’ adaptation were two other issues discussed. (Transl: FR)