Canada offers unique training in managing migration

posted on September 28, 2014

By Nicholas Keung, the Star | Link to Article

As the world competes for talent, Canada has launched a “first of its kind” training program to help decision makers manage migration.

By Nicholas Keung, the Star | Link to Article

As the world competes for talent, Canada has launched a “first of its kind” training program to help decision makers manage migration.

Unlike other academic programs in immigration studies, Metropolis Professional Development training, through its international faculties, is intended to avoid academic discussion and instead focus on finding the systems that get the best results through monitoring and evaluation tools.

“Many new countries are getting into the immigration game and don’t know what to do,” said Howard Duncan, executive head of Metropolis, an international network of immigration policy-makers and researchers based at Ottawa’s Carleton University.

“Migration is no longer a one-way permanent flow from Italy to Canada or Germany to the United States. With the shift in global economic strength, the old immigrant source countries have now become destinations of returned migration. Some are struggling in managing (re)integration.”

The not-for-profit program aims to give policy-makers, international migration organizations, community groups and private sectors that deal with immigrants a broader understanding of the global phenomenon and guides in problem solving — like an MBA in immigration.

“The global competition for talents and migrants is heating up. There is a huge demand and need for this kind of training,” noted Duncan.

The November program in Toronto, offering an expert panel from Canada, Australia, Korea, the United Kingdom, the Philippines, Mexico, the Netherlands and Austria, is now open for registration.

The initiative was developed with a $400,000 contribution from Ottawa. Officials hope the $4,500 tuition set for the next cohort can make the certification program self-sustaining.

Joanna Kubica, who enrolled in a pilot version of the program this summer, said the intense one-week curriculum was an eye-opener for policy-makers involved in servicing newcomer population.

“Immigration policy changes affect immigration patterns, which affect everyday services we provide for newcomers,” said the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board’s student settlement support officer.

The growing number of students arriving with parents with temporary status, she said, has changed the dynamic of the school community because these children are more transient and present more challenges in their integration.

“Some of these kids have travelled all over the world and have not established a permanent address. We take it for granted that they are welcomed with open arms, but it takes a lot of hard work,” said Kubica.

“Some of the training sessions were very interesting. Australia is dealing with similar challenges. By sharing our experiences, it helps us search for the best way to look after our students.”

After the workshop hosted by a Filipino presenter at the conference, Sunder Singh of Toronto’s Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women said she and her staff organized a guided tour of Little Manila at Bathurst St. and Wilson Ave. to learn more about the growing Filipino Canadian community.

“It gave us a clear understanding of where the community’s coming from and allowed us to speak with the people about what’s happening. It helps us apply what we learned into practice,” said Singh, the centre’s executive director.

“The training gave us the opportunity to network. I met with some former immigration and Statistics Canada officials. We learned about how the data entry has changed to help us better understand our immigrants and do a better job as a service provider.”

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