Chapter 6: Canada’s multiculturalism and domestic migration
The 2011 World Migration Report, Communicating Effectively about Migration (IOM 2011), emphasizes the importance of public opinion regarding international migration, for the purpose of public policy design. Indeed, knowledge about public opinion regarding migrants is important for purposes of both responding to and accommodating these attitudes, and for better informing and correcting public views where there are misperceptions, especially negative views of migrants. The authors of the report note that: ‘One of the biggest challenges in this regard is what and how governments communicate about migrants and migration policy to the wider public’ (IOM 2011, p. 30). With increasing cultural diversity in most developed countries, policy articulation and communication is a critically important part of ensuring positive outcomes associated with the increase in international migration both for host countries and for migrants. Canada has had an explicit multiculturalism policy for more than 40 years, a policy that is enshrined in the Constitution and has become part of the national identity (Soroka and Roberton 2010). This policy supports the maintenance of cultural identities, languages and traditions of international migrants, as opposed to assimilation. The national government has clearly declared and communicated its policy of multiculturalism in a consistent and sustained way, providing a positive and supportive representation of international migrants and their role in Canadian society.
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