Integration and New Immigrants
June / July 1992
by Nisha Vyas
(This article was partly adapted from “Equality Now!”
Report of the Special Committee on Visible Minorities in Canadian Society- March 1984)
Many Canadians have experienced the trauma of moving from one part of the country to another or from a rural to an urban environment. The majority of immigrants in Canada are experiencing the stress and strain , not only of moving from one country to another, but also from a rural background to an urban centre. All immigrants share common settlement experiences. Most of them face the inevitable challenges to traditional values and lifestyles. They go through the ongoing process of adaptation to their new country, and this is especially difficult for visible minorities.
Their prime concern is, at the time, to satisfy the primary needs of shelter and food. The social or secondary needs (such as self-esteem, community support, etc.) come later.
Integration means increased interaction with many other cultural groups and institutions. It means participation, without giving up much of cultural heritage as desired. Social integration demands a process of mutual adjustment and resolution of problems and issues. This can be achieved when the new immigrants to Canada are accepted and represented in the economic, political, social and cultural life of this country. Many newer immigrants want to move as quickly as possible to full integration and participation. It is in the best interest of Canadian society to fulfill those wishes. It is a waste of human resources to do otherwise; Who loses if we do not take advantage of the skills and abilities that the new immigrants have to offer?