Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Immigration and Integration in Canada in the Twenty-First Century

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Immigration and Integration in Canada in the Twenty-First Century

Article excerpt

John Biles, Meyer Burstein and James Frideres (eds), Immigration and Integration in Canada in the Twenty-first Century (Montreal & Kingston: School of Policy Studies, Queen's University/McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008), 304pp. Cased. $95. ISBN 978-1-5533-9217-0. Paper. $39.95. ISBN 978-1-5533-9216-3.

This volume is the first in a series planned by METROPOLIS, a comparative research and public policy network that focuses on the integration of immigrants in Canadian cities. The editors' central aim is 'to take stock of how Canada is doing in its goal of admitting immigrants, integrating them, and forging the connections of citizenship' (p. 5). This encompasses reviews of current research on the barriers to inclusion and attempts to identify empirical indicators of progress towards successful integration. They argue that the distinctiveness of Canadian policies stems from the growing emphasis on integration as a 'societal endeavour' or a 'two-way street', where the 'host' and immigrant populations have mutual responsibilities and interests.

In Part I, contributors explore four 'critical behavioural spheres' for understanding integration: economic, political, social and cultural. These essays provide a good introduction to key issues, although the inter-relationship between these domains is set aside, with too little discussion of competing theoretical explanations for the level and forms of inclusion identified. The chapters also examine indicators of achieved citizenship, covering existing data sets as well as areas where there are shortfalls. This is a challenging undertaking given that integration is a contested and complex concept, ranging from assimilation through to 'sustainable diversity'. The editors describe contributions to Part II as providing 'contextual information' against which to understand the research evidence. Two chapters offer instructive commentaries on integration policy in English-speaking Canada and in Quebec. They detail intergovernmental contributions and the expanding role of provincial and municipal governments, as well as the centrality of private and voluntary/non-profit organisations in delivering programmes. …

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