Sponsored Content: Canada’s unique approach to immigration and multiculturalism sets the country on a good path, Daniel Hiebert says

March 24, 2015

By Sharon Lindores, Vancouver Sun |

At a time when many countries around the world are cutting back on immigration and rethinking multiculturalism, Canada continues to embrace the policies that have made the nation what it is today.

Daniel Hiebert, a UBC geography professor and an expert on immigration and multiculturalism who is speaking at the 17th National Metropolis conference taking place in Vancouver March 26-28, lauds Canada’s approach.

About 250,000 immigrants a year make Canada their home and enrich the multicultural milieu of the society, he said in a recent interview.
“We are a country that seems to be continuing to have a robust amount of immigration,” Hiebert said. “Most countries that are immigration countries had a pause in their thinking since the 2008 downturn in the economy.”

He cites the United Kingdom as one example. Canada has maintained the target it’s had since around the mid-1980s, although the approach has been recalibrated to ensure immigration has a positive impact on the economy.

One of the ways Canada has done this is through the express entry system, which was introduced at the beginning of the year to fast-track permanent residency for skilled immigrants.

“It fundamentally enables the private sector to have a voice in terms of priority selection,” Hiebert said, adding it will be a few years before the program’s success can be measured.

Multiculturalism has also waned in many countries such as the Netherlands, Germany and France, he said, adding Canada is an exception.
“Canada has continued with its vision of multiculturalism and that reflects the fact that it’s embedded in the Canadian psyche. We think of it as our brand.
“In Canada, we think people’s distinctiveness can be maintained,” he said. “Many European countries feel they went too far in cultural openness, and they want more uniformity of values.”

Hiebert, who has been involved in a number of governmental advisory committees, thinks Canada was smart to carry on this route of maintaining immigration and multiculturalism. The country has a lot of cultural and economic advantages thanks to these policies, he said.

For one thing, the country needs to keep growing its population. At the height of the baby boom, the average Canadian woman had four children, by the late 1970s that number had fallen by half, Hiebert said. That’s why the government increased immigration targets in the 1980s from about 100,000 a year to 250,000.

The average Canadian woman today has 1.6 children, Hiebert said, adding that’s not enough – women on a average must have at least two children in order to reproduce society.

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