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IRCC Presentation 2023

On February 22, 2023, Dr. Phil Okeke-Ihejirika presented during the Black History Month on Repositioning Canada’s Social Contract with Immigrants and Refugees to the IRCC. The discussion centered on Canada’s immigrant population, particularly Sub-Saharan African immigrants and refugees, who significantly contribute to the country’s growth. However, challenges stemming from the existing neoliberal framework were highlighted:

  1. Policy issues include a mismatch between immigrant selection criteria and available opportunities, alongside one-size-fits-all practices and culturally insensitive research agendas. Immigrants played a crucial role in the labor market, notably during the COVID-19 pandemic when job vacancies reached 80%.
  2. The Black Canadian population has doubled, particularly in Alberta due to continental African newcomers. Unfortunately, research on this group remains limited and often overlooks grassroots support networks. Access to social support is hindered by migration, anti-Black racism, and a lack of understanding of Canadian systems.
  3. Gender relations are vital, with migration often making women vulnerable to domestic violence. Migration and settlement services are fragmented, and the roles of informal community leaders are not adequately recognized.
 

To address these challenges, Dr. Okeke-Ihejirika introduced PRAN which aims to enhance research and services for Sub-Saharan African immigrants through a multidisciplinary partnership, focusing on key themes such as pre-arrival information, gender relations, parenting, youth, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, employment, and training. PRAN will encompass research, partner-driven initiatives, capacity building, and a Knowledge Hub2. .

Repositioning Canada’s Social Contract Presentation