Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Immigrant Story: Land of Opportunity or Limit?
I'll get right to the point. We have a problem, friends. A certain problem exists in our province (and nation) that will be difficult to fix, but it affects thousands upon thousands of people each year. This sizable conundrum produces unimaginable stress for people who have worked hard to climb the education system so they would never have to be in this position. And yet here they are.
As a result of my summer job, I've witnessed firsthand the stunning trend of limits on immigrant employment. Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of people flood employment agencies everyday, across the province, desperately seeking jobs. They are doctors, lawyers, clinical researchers, physiotherapists, teachers, accountants, managers, I could go on. They've climbed the ladder of education in their home countries so they would never have to worry about paying for their mortgage, about saving tuition for their children's education. They've achieved certain careers so they would never have to live from paycheque to paycheque. They came to Canada for opportunity, for better jobs, to earn a livelihood. Yet their university degrees aren't credited when they arrive.
Instead, they are sitting in employment agencies, filling out questionnaires regarding their unemployment. I don't know if this issue breaks your heart, but it certainly breaks mine (and quite certainly touches on my own personal moral intuitions). CTV broadcasted today that people searching for doctors in neighbourhood hospitals and clinics are turned away because of the shortage of medical practitioners. Would this problem exist if the policies of foreign accreditation were better formulated?
Knowing that there is a perfectly capable doctor (with 20 years of experience and who speaks perfectly solid English) manning the escalator at Walmart actually brings tears to my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing the opportunities Canada offers. On the contrary, I'm probably as close to a nationalist as you can get. There are ample benefits to settling in this awesome country of ours. What I am bashing are the policies for foreign accreditation, particularly in light of judicial interpretations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Rights consciousness in so present in today's culture, particularly since Courts have continued to interpret the Constitution in favour of protecting certain rights. Since the 1960's, Supreme Court (both Canadian and American) jurisprudence regarding constitutional protection of rights has escalated for a number of groups and individuals.
But what about perfectly educated immigrants? Who will protect them?
"My dreams were all my own. I accounted for them to nobody; they were my refuge when annoyed - my dearest pleasure when free."
- Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley