New Home and Foreign Land: Post-Secondary Students’ Interactions with and Perceptions of Immigrants and Refugees in a Canadian Prairie Province

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Henry CHOW, University of Regina, Canada
Xiashengyou WANG, University of Regina, Canada
Canada has a long tradition of welcoming newcomers from around the world. According to Statistics Canada (2013), the National Household Survey reveals that Canada was home to about 6,775,800 foreign-born individuals in 2011, representing 20.6% of the total population. The Canadian Government has recently established 300,000 as a new baseline for the annual admission of permanent residents, with the majority of those allowed into the country to be selected as economic immigrants. Canada’s immigration and refugee resettlement programs, similar to its multicultural approach to inclusion, are designed to bring benefits to Canadian society as well as an offer of a better life to newcomers. Doubtlessly, the country's immigrant population, the ethnic backgrounds of its people, its visible minority population, and its linguistic and religious diversity show that Canada is truly an ethnocultural mosaic.

In Saskatchewan, the unprecedented influx of immigrants and refugees to the province over the past decade is a direct result of the provincial nominee and refugee resettlement programs. The large number of new arrivals of diverse cultural, linguistic, ethnic or religious backgrounds poses a variety of challenges to the province. Drawing on (1) the integrated threat theory (Stephan & Stephan, 2000) which brings together a variety of theoretical perspectives that have been employed to understand the role of threats (i.e., realistic threats, symbolic threats, threats stemming from intergroup anxiety, and threats arising from negative stereotypes) in causing intergroup attitudes and (2) the self-categorization theory (Turner et al., 1987) which posits that the social categorization of people into out-groups and an in-group stimulates a motivation to perceive or achieve a sense of positive group distinctiveness, this paper explores the interactions with and perceptions of immigrants and refugees in a sample of post-secondary students in Saskatchewan (Chow, 2018; Chow & Wang, forthcoming).