CAI co-hosts community Q&A with Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
On Nov. 23, CAI and the Arab Women Success group co-hosted a community Q&A on child poverty in Ontario with Ontario's Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, The Hon. Michael Coteau. The Toronto District School Board released a report in 2012 showing very high levels of poverty among Grade 6 students from Middle Eastern countries. This alarming figure has put child poverty on CAI’s radar screen and we will pursue further research into these numbers and disseminate the information to all concerned.
Key points that emerged from the dialogue:
- Data collected by the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration indicate that the lowest performing students, in specific areas in Ontario, are of Middle Eastern origin
- While there are a number of programs, funds and services for community groups to take advantage of, not enough people know about them
- The social and financial strains faced by foreign-trained professionals to find work due to lack of "Canadian experience," of certifications & work experience not being recognized, and/or high costs to get recognized, have a profound impact on these individuals and their families
Minister Coteau confirmed that this community session is only the beginning of many conversations and collaborations to come. He expressed the importance of organizations like CAI getting involved and said more think tanks are needed amongst communities to start making use of available data.