Pathways to Prosperity 2018 National Conference – Borders, Welcoming Communities, and the Politicization of Immigration: Challenges and Opportunities Surrounding the Dynamic Movement of People

November 22-23, 2018
Hyatt Regency Hotel — Montreal

The crossing of borders and the politicization of immigration are increasingly salient issues for Canadians and internationally, yet we must not lose focus on the fact that a successful immigration program includes welcoming communities and recognition of the individual people involved in migration. This conference will address the challenges and opportunities these facets of immigration present to us today.


Thursday, November 22, 2018


7:30 AM to 8:30 AM

Breakfast and Registration
Breakfast Sponsored by: Intercultural Competency Advantage Program


8:30 AM to 9:15 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Conference Chairs: Victoria Esses and Jean McRae, Pathways to Prosperity Co-chairs
  • Vicky Boldo, Co-chair, Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy NETWORK (Video)
  • Éric Gervais, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion, Quebec (Video)


9:15 AM to 10:45 AM

Plenary: The Politicization of Immigration

Chair: Craig Mackie, Executive Director, PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada

There is no doubt that immigration has been, and continues to be, a politicized issue, promoting polarized views, influencing support for political parties and leaders, and often positioned high on the political agenda. From Brexit to recent elections in a number of locations, current debate on immigration is a hot button issue, at times provoking increased support for anti-immigration, right-wing populism. What is at the core of this political attention to immigration, and what can be done to avoid extreme anti-immigration views in Canada? In this panel the presenters will analyze the mechanisms behind the politicization of immigration and provide an overview of current immigration debate in the Canadian context, including the role of the media, perceptions of threat, and determinants of shifting public opinion.

  • The Politicization of Immigration Policy: Is Canadian Exceptionalism Waning? (Video)
    Naomi Alboim, Adjunct Professor and Chair of the Policy Forum, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University
  • The Worldwide Rise of Anti-Immigration Politics Versus the Rising Demand for Immigration (Download Presentation) (Video
    Doug Saunders, International-Affairs Columnist, The Globe and Mail
  • Understanding Quebec Immigration Politics (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Mireille Paquet, Associate Professor, Political Science, and Research Chair on the New Politics of Immigration, Concordia University
  • “Caravans”, Displacement in Central America, and the Future of the Safe Third Country Agreement: How Canada Can Cope with US Policy Change (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Craig Damian Smith, Associate Director, Global Migration Lab, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy



11:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Poster Pitches


11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Plenary: The Role of Immigration in Canada’s Labour Market

Chair: Cédric de Chardon, Director, Policy Research, Research and Evaluation, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

When we consider the future labour market of Canada, immigrants are often seen as essential for filling job vacancies, and strategies are sought for attracting, retaining, and fully utilizing the skills of immigrants. This session focuses on each of these aspects of the future labour market of Canada, with attention to the following questions: What will this labour market look like and what role is immigration likely to play? What strategies can we adopt to fully utilize the skills of immigrants and have them fill anticipated labour gaps? What role should employers play in the selection and full integration of immigrants? Are current strategies for the economic integration of immigrants enough or do we need new ways of looking at immigration to ensure that Canada and Canadians, both new Canadians and established Canadians, continue to thrive into the future?

  • Immigration in the Age of Automation (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Sunil Johal, Policy Director, The Mowat Centre, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto
  • New Conversations in New Brunswick: Engaging Employers and Communities in “Straight Talk” about Labour Shortages, Demographic Changes, and Their Community’s Future (Download Presentation)  (Video)
    Alex LeBlanc, Executive Director, New Brunswick Multicultural Council
  • Immigration for BC’s Future: A Call for Action to Strengthen Newcomer Integration (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Katie Rosenberger, Executive Director, Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies (AMSSA)


12:30 PM to 2:00 PM

Lunch Provided
Lunch Sponsored by: World Education Services

Lunchtime Presentation:

  • Update on Immigration and Ethno-cultural Content and Testing for the 2021 Census (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Jarod Dobson, Senior Analyst, Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division, Statistics Canada


2:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Click here for PowerPoint presentations from the concurrent workshops)


3:45 PM to 5:15 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Click here for PowerPoint presentations from the concurrent workshops)


6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Evening Cocktail Reception and Poster Session (Click here for poster presentations)



Friday, November 23, 2018

7:30 AM to 8:30 AM

Breakfast Sponsored by: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the 2019 International Metropolis Conference


8:30 AM to 9:30 AM

Special Keynote Speaker: Sharon Bala, Author of The Boat People (Video)

Arrivals: In August 1986 a group of asylum seekers were found floating in life boats, adrift off the coast of Newfoundland. Two decades later, 492 refugees arrived in a cargo ship that docked in British Columbia. Despite having fled the same civil war in Sri Lanka, the two groups were met with very different receptions. Comparing Canada’s reactions to these maritime arrivals, and weaving in her own family’s story, author Sharon Bala will explore the twin roles of timing and luck in our capricious refugee system and the two faces of nationalism.


9:30 AM to 10:30 AM

Plenary: Strategizing around Refugee Claimants – What Do We Know and What Can We Do?

Chair: Stacey Wilson-Forsberg, Associate Professor, Human Rights and Human Diversity, Wilfrid Laurier University

In the last year, the discussion of increasing numbers of refugee claimants in Canada has been quite prominent, hitting the headlines of most major news outlets on a relatively regular basis. Yet the information we have been receiving from various sources tends to be a mix of real information and rhetoric designed to promote negative
attitudes toward these claimants. In this session, we will focus on sources and means for disseminating accurate information regarding refugee claimants to Canada, including past and expected future numbers of arrivals, our obligations to these individuals, and the process involved in handling their claims. We will also focus on strategies that may be utilized to humanely accommodate potentially larger numbers of arriving refugee claimants in the coming years.

  • Managing Modern Migration: Canadian Challenges and Opportunities (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Cinthya Rebaza, Acting Director of Operations, East Zone, Domestic Network, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; and André Baril, Senior Director, Refugee Affairs, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • A Refugee Advocate’s Quest for “Fast, Fair, and Final” (Video)
    Mitchell Goldberg, Goldberg Berger, Refugee and Immigration Law Practice
  • Welcoming Asylum-Seekers in Quebec: Accomplishments and Challenges for Settlement Organizations  (Video)
    Stephan Reichhold, Director General, Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes (TCRI)


11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

Concurrent Workshops  (Click here for PowerPoint presentations from the concurrent workshops)


1:45 PM to 3:15 PM

Concurrent Workshops (Click here for PowerPoint presentations from the concurrent workshops)


3:30 PM to 4:45 PM

 Plenary: Settlement Challenges in Traditional and Non-Traditional Receiving Communities

Chair: Lynn Weaver, Executive Director, Cowichan Intercultural Society

With new immigration flows and increasing numbers of immigrants to Canada come new settlement challenges. These challenges may be experienced differently in smaller and larger communities, and in those communities that are new destinations for immigrants as well as those that are well-experienced in this regard. This session will highlight some of these modern economic, social, and civic-cultural settlement challenges, including those experienced in both traditional and non-traditional receiving communities. These communities have oftentimes developed innovative strategies for overcoming settlement barriers, and these strategies will also be discussed. Overall, a central focus will be on identifying the main settlement challenges for immigrants in Canada today and innovative strategies for addressing these challenges.

  • Strategies for Developing and Sustaining Welcoming Communities (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Tim Foran, Senior Director, Horizontal Policy and Programs, Settlement and Integration Policy (SIP), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
  • Raising the Profile of Francophone Minority Communities to Support the Integration of French-speaking Immigrants and Refugees (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Suzanne Huot, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of British Columbia
  • Dynamic Turmoil in a Traditional Settlement Community (Download Presentation) (Video)  
    Mario Calla, Executive Director, COSTI
  • The Stakes are High: Immigration and the Future Economic Vibrancy of Medium Sized Urban Centres —Immigration Greater Moncton (Download Presentation) (Video)
    Angelique Reddy-Kalala, Immigration Strategy Officer, City of Moncton


4:45 PM to 5:00 PM

Summing Up and Closing Remarks

Conference Chairs: Jean McRae and Victoria Esses, Pathways to Prosperity Co-chairs