Integration of Landed Refugee Claimants in Canada: Toward an Explanatory Model

Edward Opoku-Dapaah

Abstract


This paper seeks to develop a framework
for explaining the integration
process of landed refugee-claimants in
Canada. The main focus is on Third
World origin landed claimants who
arrived in Canada during the 1980s.
The central argument is that the social
and economic background of landed
refugee-claimants, together with their
past and recent experiences, tend to
result in their marginalization within
the Canadian socioeconomic context.
Past experiences of refugee claimants
include political violence, physical assault
and repression which precipitated
their departure abroad.
Experiences in Canada, such as delays
in the acquisition of legal status, restrictive
access to settlement-related
services, and racism create anxiety,
discouragement and economic dependency.
This paper contends that
such past experiences can make it difficult
for landed refugee-claimants to
participate effectively in social and
economic activities and subsequently
create barriers to integration.
In this paper integration is conceptualized
as the ability of immigrants
and refugees to settle into the existing
Canadian social mosaic, benefitting
fully from available opportunities,
without emerging as a subclass. This
definition is based on the observation
that Canada's official multicultural
policies promote the pluralistic coexistence
of diverse social groups. It is
officially assumed that relatively equal
opportunities should be available to
every Canadian, provided that the person
is equipped with the resourcefulness,
ability, and ambition to take
advantage of such opportunities (Boyd
1987).

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