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“I’m curious about how we’re going to manage this because

we’re an open-market economy and people hire whomever they like to hire [subject to anti-discrimination legislation],” he says. “I do think we should do something about it, but I don’t think we are ever going to solve these problems. I think they are inherent in immigration — that’s part of what it means to be an immigration society.” It is sometimes called “the taxi driver syndrome,” where

highly qualified immigrants end up driving cabs to make ends meet because their experience and credentials are not recog- nized by employers here. Michael Chan, Ontario’s minister of citizenship, immigration

and international trade, concurs that there is no magic formula for seamless integration that will allow all immigrants to imme- diately make full use of their education and job experience from their homeland. “I don’t care how smart a person is or how experienced a

person is, a newcomer coming into a new environment will always be presented with challenges,” he says. “In order to inte- grate into the society, it takes a bit of time. That is the reality.” Still, as an immigrant himself — Chan came to Canada from

Hong Kong at the age of 18 in 1969 — he knows firsthand about those challenges and wants to do as much as he can to help new immigrants succeed. “In Ontario, we try our very best to integrate them,” he says. “But I think we can do better.” Streamlining the immigration process and bringing in more people to work in industries facing labour shortages are on his

200 Reasons

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agenda. And he strongly believes in attracting more post-sec- ondary students from outside of Canada and encouraging them to stay here aſter they graduate. Other measures proposed by immigration advocates include

having various governments spend more on language training, making professional certification processes less onerous, reducing Canadian experience requirements for some jobs and supporting NGOs that help immigrants find work that makes use of their skills. Meanwhile, back in Halifax, Norman Nahas has been doing his best to aid the cause. His study has helped convince the federal immigration min-

ister to nearly double the cap on immigrants to Nova Scotia to 1,350. In conjunction with the provincial immigration minister and the premier’s Immigration Advisory Council, his efforts have also helped to change the rules so that foreign students can stay if they land a job offer within one year of graduation. He also works with the Halifax Partnership’s Connector Program, which pairs new grads with mentors to help them find jobs that will allow them to stay in the province. “We have funded 10 people from the Lebanese community

to go through this process and we have had some success,” Nahas says. “We want people to stay and work here and pay taxes and to contribute, not just to come to Nova Scotia to smell the flowers when they retire.”

SUSAN SMITH is a Toronto-based freelance writer

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