Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Smoke and Mirrors: How an Allegedly Inclusionary Strategy Perpetuates an Exclusionary Discourse

Academic journal article Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal

Smoke and Mirrors: How an Allegedly Inclusionary Strategy Perpetuates an Exclusionary Discourse

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to critically explore the meaning making theoretical perspectives underlying the creation and development of a public mentoring program, allegedly designed as an inclusionary strategy for facilitating newcomers' labour market integration. Building upon findings outlined in the program's latest Evaluation Report (Bejan 2011) and drawing upon participant-observation as an inductive field-based research strategy, this paper questions the uncontested legitimization of the cited program as a positive inclusionary strategy and claims it perpetuates the very same discriminatory practices and systemic barriers that impede immigrants' ability to fully participate within the Canadian labour market. It further argues that, despite its affirmed inclusionary objective, the program's formation is rooted in theoretical perspectives that justify exclusion, reproducing and maintaining, by extension, an exclusionary status quo. As a result, it rejects the application of social capital and social inclusion/exclusion theories, those hypothetically deemed to be guiding the program's development, and those traditionally used as explanatory for newcomers' inability to successfully participate within the labour market. It then proposes a structural perspective as a theoretical base to direct the program's future design. Its conclusion emerged from the author's interpretative framework, that only a structural approach will draw attention to the power imbalances and discrepancies between Canadian-born individuals and newcomers, as they relate to the issues of labour market participation and subsequent economic gains.

Resume

L'objectif de cet article est d'analyser sous un angle critique la signification des perspectives theoriques sous-jacentes a la creation et au developpement d'un programme de mentorat public cense viser une strategie inclusive qui faciliterait l'integration des nouveaux arrivants dans le marche du travail. A partir des conclusions exposees dans le dernier Rapport D'Evaluation (Bejan 2011) de ce programme, et selon une methode de recherche inductive qui s'appuie sur les observations de participants, nous questionnons ici sa legitimation incontestee comme strategie inclusive et positive, et nous affirmons qu'elle perpetue des pratiques discriminatoires et des obstacles systemiques qui limitent la capacite des immigrants a prendre pleinement part au marche du travail canadien. Nous soutenons en outre que, malgre les objectifs inclusifs vises, l'elaboration de ce programme prend ses racines dans des perspectives theoriques qui justifient la pratique de l'ostracisme, ce qui a pour effet de reproduire et de soutenir un statu quo exclusif. Par consequent, nous rejetons dans cet article l'application des theories d'un capital social et de l'inclusion / exclusion sociale, aussi bien celles considerees comme propres a guider le developpement de ce programme, que celles traditionnellement utilisees pour expliquer l'incapacite des nouveaux arrivants a trouver leur place dans le monde professionnel. Ensuite, nous proposons une perspective structurelle comme base theorique pour diriger les futurs developpements du programme en question. En conclusion, ce qui ressort du cadre interpretatif de l'auteur, c'est que seule une approche structurelle attirera l'attention sur les desequilibres de pouvoir et les ecarts entre les personnes nees au Canada et les nouveaux venus, en ce qui a trait a la question de l'acces a l'emploi et des gains economiques.

INTRODUCTION

This paper aims to critically examine the meaning making theoretical perspectives underlying the creation and development of a public mentoring program for immigrants, the Profession to Profession (PTP): Mentoring Immigrants program. The PTP program was created and developed several years ago by Toronto's municipal level of the government, in partnership with an influential community organization, openly committed to advancing the access to employment of newly arrived immigrants within the Toronto Region. …

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