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PARLIAMENT HILL—Some 700 people gathered on Parliament Hill on Dec. 9, the eve of Human Rights Day, to deliver 95,000 petition signatures to Prime Minister...

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Published in Politics
Tuesday, 01 December 2015 14:12

Foreign Student Enrolment in Canada Rising

by Selina Chignall in Ottawa

A Statistics Canada report shows foreign student enrolment at Canada’s universities and colleges rose 2.5 per cent in 2013-2014, with international students accounting for roughly 10 per cent of all students enrolled in post-secondary institutions. 

The bulk of foreign students are enrolled in universities and colleges in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, Statistics Canada reported. Those from Asian countries made up the bulk of foreign students, with China the top country of citizenship.

International students filling gaps 

The Dean of Business at the University of New Brunswick, Fazley Siddiq says there are many reasons why universities are looking to recruit international students.

One reason is the shortage of qualified domestic students, due to declining birth rates. He says that post-secondary institutions have enrolment targets they try to meet, and if there aren’t enough domestic students, international students help fill in those gaps.

Students from abroad also bring an additional plus to educational institutions — extra revenue.

“This is happening right across all post-secondary colleges, including community colleges,” he said. 

Students from abroad also bring an additional plus to educational institutions — extra revenue.

According to Statistics Canada, those from abroad paid an average of $20,477 in 2014 to 2015 for undergraduate — an increase of 6.8 per cent from the year before. This is three times more than what the average Canadian student paid in tuition in 2014-2015, which was $5,959.

David Robinson, the executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said most provinces have deregulated student fees for international students. Therefore, universities can charge whatever they want. “They can be quite astronomical,” he said.

Not just the universities benefitting financially 

International students bring a diversity to student bodies, but Robinson is concerned that they are mostly valued “for the money they bring onto campus.”

But Siddiq says international students are a necessity. Without them, many universities, especially in Atlantic Canada, would be in economic hardship, as they face declining government support and rising costs. “It’s much needed cash for universities.”

[M]any students abroad are willing to pay those fees because receiving a degree from a North America school is seen as prestigious.

“We are looking for our revenues from all sources, and in the declining public funding environment, you have to do your best to increase your revenue, and international students do help us do that.”

It’s not just the universities that benefit financially from international students. The Canadian Bureau for International Students’ reported that in 2014, the economic boost from international students poured $8 billion into the Canadian economy.

Despite the sky-high costs of attending post-secondary school in Canada, Robinson said many students abroad are willing to pay those fees because receiving a degree from a North America school is seen as prestigious.

Also, in many countries like China and India, there is a growing demand for these degrees, but there is not enough space in schools to meet the demand. Therefore, many students look abroad to attend school.


Re-published in partnership with iPolitics.ca.

Published in Education

by Deanna Cheng in Vancouver 

An advocate for Vancouver’s Chinatown has started a petition against rezoning a central block in the district because she says it would cost the site its heritage designation and distinct character. 

Nicole So, a graduate of the University of British Columbia (UBC), says the rezoning of the 105 Keefer site from a historic area to a development district doesn’t create space for cross-cultural, intergenerational experiences. 

The 23-year-old advocate says the revised 105 Keefer plan is what “everyone” doesn’t want.

The revised rezoning application is for a 13-storey building by the Beedie Development Group that includes 127 residential units and 25 seniors social housing units on the second floor. It also has commercial space on the ground floor. 

The petition asks for more senior housing, as well as more community and cultural spaces. So aims to have at least 1,000 signatures e-mailed to the City of Vancouver by Dec. 1. 

Most participants want a “real” community and not something created solely for the benefit of tourists and visitors.

“Chinatown already has a vision,” So explains, referring to a 2002 Chinatown revitalization report. 

The 14-page city document stated most participants want a “real” community and not something created solely for the benefit of tourists and visitors. 

“There was frequent mention of the importance of inclusiveness of Chinatown – for Chinese of various linguistic and cultural backgrounds as well as non-Chinese speakers, for young and old,” states the report. 

The report showed community members wanted a sense of festivity in Chinatown and to make it a “cool” place to visit, especially for youth. 

So mentions the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby as an ideal example of culturally sensitive space. The centre focuses on preserving and promoting Japanese Canadian culture. 

Not interested in another ‘yuppie’ area 

Houtan Rafii, vice-president of residential development at Beedie Living (the home-building division of Beedie Development Group), said in an e-mailed statement that the company would work with the city on expanding and enhancing the nearby Memorial Plaza, a space with a monument for Chinese Canadian soldiers who represented Canada in past wars.

The statement said many Chinatown stakeholders received the amendments Beedie Living made favourably. 

“One amendment in particular that is resonating positively with people is our voluntary inclusion of 25 seniors’ homes."

“One amendment in particular that is resonating positively with people is our voluntary inclusion of 25 seniors’ homes, which will be a $7 million asset to Chinatown and represent 20 per cent of the entire building,” Rafii said. 

The City of Vancouver said in an e-mail to New Canadian Media that an increase in the building’s height from 90 feet to a maximum of 120 feet to support public benefits including heritage, cultural, affordable and social housing projects is under consideration. 

The city encourages concerned individuals to provide feedback by early January. 

Community members have repeatedly said to the media and city hall that they don’t want another Yaletown, a ‘yuppie’ section of Vancouver with dog salons and condos galore. 

A fading Chinatown

Toronto realtor Vivian Kim visited Vancouver in July for four days and wrote to someone in a Facebook group, “You must eat the garlic wings at Phnom Penh in Gastown!” 

Phnom Penh, a well-known Cambodian-Vietnamese restaurant, is actually located in Chinatown. 

“In my memory, Gastown and Chinatown all melded into the same kind of look,” recalls 33-year-old Kim during a phone interview. 

“It didn’t jump out to me as a big Chinatown,” she adds. 

“It didn’t jump out to me as a big Chinatown.”

Kim says in comparison Toronto has a handful of Chinatowns with distinct neighbourhoods. She describes the one downtown as having an abundance of Chinese signage in red and gold, outdoor food markets and local mom and pop businesses. 

Susanna Ng, co-owner of New Town Bakery & Restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown, says people often complain about Chinese businesses closing down and moving out due to changing economy and residents. 

From her perspective though, business is good. She says her clientele tends to be more Caucasians and young people. “[I] don’t see many old people now. They’re in nursing homes or passed away.” 

As Chinese business owners are getting older, they are retiring, Ng adds. “Their kids, the second generation, don’t want to take over the place. They sell it instead, so no more local businesses.” 

Ng even struggles to find replacements for her restaurant staff, having had two cooks who retired recently. “In the Chinese newspapers, every time I open [them], the ads for ‘cooks wanted’ grow bigger and bigger. This is what I have to fight with.” 

[A] new Chinatown in Vancouver is being rebuilt and young Chinese students are eager to be part of the vision.

Rebuilding Chinatown

While the past fades away, a new Chinatown in Vancouver is being rebuilt and young Chinese students are eager to be part of the vision. 

International student Jane Jing Yi Wu is studying visual arts at UBC and she is working on a blueprint for the Keefer block. 

The 22-year-old Chinese national pulls ideas from her home, the China she knows. Wu wants to incorporate space for community art, family-oriented nightlife and food markets. 

When Wu first came to Vancouver three years ago, she was neutral about Chinatown. After learning about Chinatown’s history in an Asian migration course, Wu started to care more. 

Walking through the area, she thought of how the Chinese people paid the head tax, fought for their rights and survived in a new country years ago. 

She said that even though she’s an “outsider”, she wants the city to know that she cares. 

“I’m not Canadian, but I feel it’s time for us to do something for [future Chinese migrants].”

Editor's Note: This article has been updated from the original published version which incorrectly reported Beedie Living was working with the city to expand and enhance the 105 Keefer site instead of the nearby Memorial Plaza. 

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

 

Published in Arts & Culture

by Lucia Mao in Ottawa 

'Wanna see a dead body?'' A boy asked the rest of my class at lunchtime. ''Sure,'' said some of my classmates, and he answered, ''Then follow me.''

With curiosity and a morbid excitement, in a group we Grade 4 students walked 15 minutes into the farmland before we arrived at a dry well. ''Here it is.'' The boy pointed into the well.

It was a shallow abandoned well, about one metre deep. On the bottom, among little rocks and soil blocks, lay a small body -- an infant girl half wrapped in a bloodstained, worn-out blanket.

It was 1989, in the small impoverished village in central China's Henan province where I grew up, 10 years after China introduced its one-child policy.

It was the first time I saw a dead body, and I stepped back on shaky legs. But I couldn't stop looking at the peaceful, blank expression of the infant who was left to die in the elements. She was a girl, like me.

She was a girl, like me.

The capacity for evil rattled me, and I had a strange feeling I had lucked out.

I was thankful to god, or whoever ran the massive world, that I somehow avoided being at the bottom of that well, thrown in like trash, unloved and unwanted.

Victims of cruel logic

Living in a traditional hamlet, I had heard stories of people discarding their newborn baby because it was a girl. But to see it with my own eyes brought the terror into my heart. Such acts contributed to the 62 million ''missing'' women and girls in China today, according to a recent study.

We girls all knew Chinese parents didn't desire daughters. In an economy based on agriculture, the muscle of a male child led to better profits. Men were seen as valuable, women were not. It was that simple.

Men were seen as valuable, women were not. It was that simple.

Even if parents wanted to keep their daughter, grandparents would sometimes impose their authority on a young couple and force them to get rid of her.

In recent years, the dry well horror stories seem to have faded away -- not because girls' lives in rural China were more valued, but because of advanced technologies such as ultrasound imaging and selective abortion.

The selective giving up of female infants, or the collective murder of girls, has been prominent in Asian society for centuries. But the frequency seemed to increase after the implementation of China's radical ''family-planning policy.''

The logic is not difficult to understand: If only one child is allowed to live, Chinese parents want a son.

'Too bad they are just girls'

I was born in 1978, right before the one-child policy went into force. Growing up as girls in a poor Chinese village taught my twin sister and me how random and cruel life can be.

My sweetest grandmother would tenderly look at us and say, ''They are so smart and so cute... too bad they are just girls.'' We were brought up by our grandmother on our mother's side because our father's parents refused to accept us.

Our parents didn't like us either because we made their life harder, brought them shame because we were girls, and more importantly, cost them their last chance to have a son.

My parents already had an older daughter, born before the law began. The one-child policy included a detailed stipulation that any Chinese woman who had two or more children by 1979 would be forcibly sterilized by the state.

Chinese Health Ministry data shows 222 million sterilizations have been carried out since 1971.

Therefore, shortly after our birth, our mom was dragged into a hospital by some local ''family-planning service staff'' and a doctor put an intrauterine contraceptive coil into her body. Chinese Health Ministry data shows 222 million sterilizations have been carried out since 1971.

It was a minor and easy surgery, but we don't know why our mom became so removed after the treatment. When the operation was over, our father was instructed to take his wife back home. He put her on a wooden cart and pulled it home along the dirt road.

It was a 40-minute trek, and when they arrived, my mom was completely silent and still.

Believing she was dead, my father started to cry soundlessly, mourning the loss of his wife, or I imagined, the dying out of his own Y chromosome.

We don't know how much time passed, but suddenly she sat up and walked into the house. My dad burst into tears. He was elated but it was also the moment he began to accept their fate: they would never have a son.

With one more chance to have a child, Chinese parents won't be so determined to throw away their newborn daughters.

One more chance

That sounds like a touching story, but my sister and I don't feel for it much because as our parents dwelled on their wounded hearts, they also wounded us by reminding us what disappointments we were.

Yet my sister and I still felt grateful because at least our parents didn't throw us away. Yes, we lucked out -- out of the well and out of the country.

On Oct. 29, China abolished its one-child policy.

This reform won't affect me much because I've already immigrated to Canada and expect my own child in three months. It will be a child I treasure no matter the gender.

But I believe with one more chance to have a child, Chinese parents won't be so determined to throw away their newborn daughters.

Perhaps it will help the lives of Chinese women to become less hard, so that the dreadful scene in the well will never happen again.


Lucia Mao is a travel writer and English-Chinese translator in Ottawa. She has worked on multiple projects for Lonely Planet, New York Times Chinese website and Fast Company. 

This piece was first published on The Tyee and was republished with author's permission.

Published in Commentary

Nearly 200,000 criminal complaints have been filed against one of China’s former leaders, and Canada’s former environment minister hopes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can lend...

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Published in China

by Marco Campana in Toronto

When it comes to technology use, immigrants to Canada are well ahead of settlement agencies. It’s a reality the sector needs to face. Organizations can and need to incorporate technology more effectively to serve their clients.

In 2007, Statistics Canada reported that 78 per cent of immigrants who arrived in Canada during the last 10 years used the Internet - a higher percentage than the 75 per cent of people born in Canada who used it.

Yahoo! Canada confirms that trend in its 2014 Digital Acculturation study, which found that, “When it comes to media preferences, new Canadians are digital first, with a particular focus on mobile devices.”

They’re mobile, actively using niche social networks, apps and services that are not necessarily mainstream in Canada.

New Canadians are actively using niche social networks, apps and services that are not necessarily mainstream in Canada. They’re coming from countries where Internet growth is explosive, faster, cheaper and where online learning is becoming popular.

Settlement agencies need to explore technology use in source countries like China, India and the Phillipines, to understand the technology profile of newcomers to Canada. In many cases, agencies can start with their own staff members – certainly, they should be asking their clients.

Opportunity for settlement agencies, ethnic media

With the pre-eminence of social media, word of mouth information about immigration and settlement is increasingly shared online. Tens of thousands of newcomers share information and orientation on social networking sites like:

These websites are in English, but there are many more in other languages.

We already know that a relatively small percentage of newcomers access mainstream in-person government and community services. Online social networking sites mean they’re potentially bypassing these services even more.

If newcomers continue to bypass settlement agencies, how informed will they be when it comes to their settlement needs?

If newcomers continue to bypass settlement agencies, how informed will they be when it comes to their settlement needs? How effective are newcomer networks and word of mouth? The results are mixed.

In 2010, the Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative found that “immigrants who found their current job through personal initiative, family or friends, and Canada employment centres had the lowest average hourly wages.”

This is not to say that the newcomer networks are not without value or importance. Far from it.

But, it makes me wonder how we can better ensure newcomers’ digital literacy results in better access to settlement information and resources.

There is a role here for settlement agencies. There is also a role for ethnic media. Research has shown that ethnic media can do a much better job informing and orienting newcomers to life in Canada.

Private immigrant-serving businesses and organizations are also looking at how to best use technology and social media to provide services.

In a recent article, Vancouver-based Will Tao wrote about his impressions of how technology is impacting services provided by Canadian immigration lawyers. He notes a few specific trends that should be examined:

  1. Increased use of technology to gather information from potential clients in advance of serving them
  2. Increased use of technology and applications to manage communication
  3. Increased use of technology as a means of establishing communication with, and serving, clients in other cities/countries around the world (i.e. pre-arrival services) 

Use of technology

While online service is still in its infancy in the settlement sector, there are great examples of innovative agencies offering online and hybrid services across the country.

Organizations like Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, COSTI Immigrant Services, Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, CultureLink, South Okanagan Immigrant and Community Services, Canadian Immigrant Integration Program, North York Community House and Catholic Crosscultural Services have been offering online services and courses in recent years with much success.

We’re certainly not effectively mining and sharing their learning and knowledge across the sector.

In fact, CultureLink recently completed its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for newcomers: Create an Expert LinkedIn Profile for Job Search. The pilot course had 2,000 participants.

Last week, ISANS launched its Settlement Online Pre-Arrival service. It’s an important step forward in providing settlement resources online, before newcomers arrive.

The more I speak to individual settlement workers, the more pockets of service innovation I find.

They’re using this tech to serve their clients. They want to do more. However, we’re not harnessing their knowledge and experience to create better organizational systems, or to create policies to drive innovation around the possibilities technology offers as a means of providing service.

We’re certainly not effectively mining and sharing their learning and knowledge across the sector.

As we imagine the settlement agency of the future, we first need to better understand the digital and settlement literacy of immigrants to Canada. It’s time to start asking them how they’re using technology, how they want to interact with us, and where technology fits into this.

For immigrant-serving agencies, the future is right in front of them. The answers lie with their clients.


Marco Campana does freelance communications work with organizations that serve immigrants, refugees and promote diversity. He provides social media support, writing, editing and internal website consultation and strategy. In particular, he helps settlement agencies harness and implement social media and technology in their community service work.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Commentary

NEW DELHI: India will become the second biggest Internet user country in the world by the end of 2015.

The number of internet users in India is expected to reach 402 million

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Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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