By Joshua Brown, Staff Contributor
Atlantic Canada has more recent immigrants leaving than any other of region of Canada. Academics in the Dalhousie department of sociology and anthropology are trying to figure out why.
Dr. Howard Ramos of the department of sociology and social anthropology at Dalhousie says greater access to regional data is needed to answer those types of questions.
“Atlantic Canada has begun to respond to a lot of immigrant settlement issues,” says Ramos. “But without Atlantic Canada regional data … we have no way of knowing if their efforts are actually paying off.”
With about 24 per cent of landed immigrants eventually leaving the region, Atlantic Canada is the only region other than Saskatchewan with more than five per cent of its landed immigrants leaving, says Ramos.
Ramos presented some of his most recent work with colleague Dr. Yoko Yoshida on the topic at a seminar on campus last week. He was quick to point out their research is not complete.
“(This is) a working paper. It’s not a paper that is closed to further discussion. The answers that we offer are really tentative,” says Ramos. “(More regional data) will allow us to make stronger statements.”
Ramos spoke to a packed seminar room at Dalhousie of mainly policy professionals and academics.
He describes economics, demographics and health amongst other factors affecting why immigrants leave Atlantic Canada.
He says when you look at people who move and people who stay, you find a big difference between incomes.
“As one would expect, the stayers earn more money,” says Ramos. “By looking at average income … what you find is that there is a $10,000 difference between stayers and movers.”
Income is just one of the aspects considered by Ramos and Yoshida affecting why landed immigrants in Atlantic Canada leave.
The federal government is also thinking about immigrants. On Nov. 12 the government released an updated guide for people considering Canadian citizenship.
The new 62-page guide is the first update to the government guidelines for citizenship since the Liberal government published one in 1997, Canwest News Service reported.
Ramos emphasizes the importance of designing a government policy that facilitates immigration processes and makes it more comfortable for families.
“Immigrants are constantly entering into the job market,” says Ramos.
They can help solve problems such as declining fertility, aging populations and economic stagnation, he says.