Policy Brief – Multiculturalism

POLS2300 Policy Brief

A policy brief is a short abbreviated document that presents findings of a specific issue to a specific audience. It is a tool that government institutions use for providing policy advice on specific issues. It is a concise document meant to help the public and government officials understand and make decisions regarding certain policies. For this assignment, you are required to write a policy brief on any issue related to one of the following: environment, elections, multiculturalism, and regional issues. Policy briefs always begin with a brief description of the issue or problem, followed by evidence, impact, obstacles and recommendations.

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Do not use first person pronouns for this assignment, this assignment should be written in an academic friendly format.

Your policy brief should contain the following subsections:

Executive Summary (one paragraph)






For more specific information on how to write a policy brief or examples of a policy brief, please consult these websites:

IRDC | CRDI – How to write a policy brief

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – Policy Briefs

Imagine when you are writing this, that you are advising an elected government official (like a cabinet minister) and that they know very little about the topic. What would they need to know?

The paper must be written on a policy issue related to the environment, elections, multiculturalism, or regional issues. Take care to ensure that your issue is related to one of these four.

A great way to write the Executive Summary is to make it a condensed version of the entire assignment. So, ensure you write an introduction that explains the policy problem, the potential approaches you’d like to bring to the cabinet minister’s attention, and the results/your policy recommendation. The easiest way to do it is to write the rest of the assignment and then go back to the executive summary at the end.

For the Introduction, please provide a brief description of the issue/ or problem. Ensure that you provide a good explanation of what the policy problem is and the significance of the issue. This is a great time to incorporate academic resources and evidence to support your claims! Please use the library search engine, as there are academic peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on every issue.

BE SURE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE JURISDICTION OF THE GOVERNMENT YOU CHOOSE TO ADVISE. So, for example, if you are imagining that you are advising a federal cabinet minister, you can’t suggest policy alternatives that are outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. Likewise for a province.

The more specific a problem you choose, the more specific you can make the policy recommendations. For example, you might want to think about the problem of ensuring Canada meets its Paris Climate Agreement targets. This is more manageable than saying the problem is “global warming”. A well researched paper will have specific answers, for example, making reference to amendments in existing legislation. Saying an issue needs “more funding” is not a specific answer.

For the “Approach” section, re-label it Approaches. Here you want to outline several options the government could pursue to address the issue.

For the Recommendations section, you then select one of the approaches, and explain why it is the best alternative – be sure to use secondary sources to ensure your decision is evidence based.


Use headers to organize your paper. This will ensure that you include all of the subsections and strengthen the organization of the paper.




Policy Issue: Multiculturalism

Policy: Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. C-27.

Objectives of the Act include

Permitting Canada to pursue maximum social, cultural, and economic benefits of immigration

Enriching and strengthening social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while also respecting character of Canada

Supporting the development of Canada’s economy, where the benefits of immigration are shared across all regions

Promoting the successful integration of residents into Canada, while also recognizing that the concept of integration involves mutual obligations for new immigrants and Canadian society

Act must be applied in a manner that

Furthers the domestic and international interests of Canada, while also promoting accountability and transparency by enhancing public awareness of immigration and refugee programs

Facilitates cooperation b/w Gov’t of Canada, provincial gov’ts, foreign states, int’l organizations and non-governmental organizations

Ensures that decisions made under the Act are consistent w/ the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In-text Citation- (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 2001).

Reference- Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, S.C. 2001, c. C-27.


Canada admits about 0.8% of their population annually (p.1)

Canada’s immigration policy initially focused on unskilled immigrants, w/ their objective being to admit farmers, farm workers, and female domestics

Would help settle the West and meet growing labour demand (p. 1-2)

Canada’s immigration policy shifted in 1962, from their policy of “preferred” and “non-preferred” source countries to basing admission on personal characteristics of individuals (p. 2)

E.g. education and skill qualifications

1967- points system adopted

An explicit scale was used based on factors like age, education, and language proficiency

Only applied to immigrants seeking admission to be part of the “economic” class, not refugees

Central aspect of the points system has remained a significant portion of Canadian immigration policy

“Selecting immigrants in the economic class w/ characteristics appropriate for the Canadian labour market” (p. 2)

The introduction of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) has helped Canada meet its new goals for the immigration system

(1) improving economic outcomes of entering immigrants

(2) better responses to short-term regional labour market shortages

(3) shifting immigration away from the three largest cities (Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver) to other regions of the country

3 basic categories of permanent residents according to IRPA (p. 3)

(1) family class- reuniting families

(2) economic class- contributing to economic development

(3) refugee class- protecting refugees

Reference- Ferrer, A. M., Riddell, W. C., & Picot, W. G. (2014). New directions in immigration policy: Canada’s evolving approach to immigration selection. Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network.

Integration is generally used to describe the desired outcome of immigrant settlement; in Canada, policy has adopted multiple notions of mutual accommodation, where it is the responsibility of both immigrants and members of society to take proper steps to achieve integration (p. 4)

Indicators of integration according to the CIC

Feelings of belonging to the local or national community and pride in Canada

Absence of discomfort due to ethnicity, culture, or race

Absence of hate crimes and discrimination

Participation in associations, networks, the education system, politics, and civic activities (p. 4)

When it comes to policy making, policymakers must be aware of the tensions existing b/w promoting multiculturalism and mutual accommodation as well as “evaluating immigrants’ success using measures of integration on the other” (p. 5)

Welcoming Communities Initiative- community-university research alliance among local practitioners and all ON universities

Produces research on welcoming communities- “location[s] that have the capacity to meet the needs and promote inclusion of newcomers, and the machinery in place to produce and support these capacities” (p. 5)

Promotion of welcoming communities has gained increasing support not only among national immigration dialogue but among local dialogue as well

“Notion of welcoming communities encourages a focus on the practical and tangible implications of changing demographics, though it does not escape the tensions and normative dialogues associated w/ integration” (p. 5)

Today, Canada’s immigration policy views immigrants mainly as a source of labour or investment capital (p. 6)

Two major policy directions

(1) immigration regionalization policies- entail responding to the mismatch b/w location of labour and location of workers essentially by providing them w/ incentives to settle outside of the big three cities; also transfer control over immigrant selection and settlement to local authorities

(2) immigration programs becoming “markesed”- increasingly selected based on their economic potential; less consideration for humanitarian and family factors (p. 6)

2008- Amendments made to IRPA to allow for the fast-tracking of applicants w/ particular skills in order to increase labour market responsiveness (p. 7)

Challenges that have arisen in local communities include a lack of affordable and appropriate housing, a poor supply of suitable employment for dependants and career advancement, a lack of cultural amenities, and local community tolerance (p. 40)

Employment is the most important factor in immigrant retention in regional communities

According to WCI, immigrants need to be provided w/ the option to do work that is fulfilling and challenging, and keeping w/ their past experience and training

For those coming as family-class immigrants, it is particularly difficult to find employment, especially if their language skills are minimal as well (p. 47)

Cultural and religious amenities are also integral to immigrant retention, which are not readily available in small Canadian communities

Lack of cultural infrastructure can drive families away (p. 49)

“[Lack of] access to religion, food, and people w/ whom to form relationships create a strong draw away from the small community to urban centres where these amenities and resources are much more widely available” (p. 50)

Response- many smaller communities double places of worship as cultural community centres

E.g. Deep River- the Muslim community came together to form a non-profit organization in order to acquire a permanent centre; bought an old church and established an Islamic Centre that now serves about 15 families in the area, many of whom are immigrants

Not only do these community organizations facilitate a cultural community’s own functions, but they also provide opportunities for building relationships w/ the wider community

E.g. Deep River- Boy Scout club visiting the mosque for a tour and brief introduction to Islam

Local community members have taken the lead in providing access to social, cultural, and religious opportunities to immigrants

Important to have a “critical mass” of members of a particular group to facilitate this provision (p. 51)

Though diversity is increasing in public institutions and the social fabric of small communities is changing due to immigration, racism and discrimination are still apparent not only in urban areas, but rural communities as well

Can be present in direct comments or actions from other community members, disadvantages in the workplace, or lack of minorities in municipal leadership (p. 53)

Because Canadians generally tend to be polite, discriminatory sentiments are expressed in more underlying rhetoric

4 major reasons for unwelcoming feelings toward immigrants

(1) feeling that new Canadians are taking local jobs from long-term residents

(2) perception that immigrants do not benefit the local economy

(3) may feel negatively toward immigrants when they feel that immigrants are not integrating

(4) some long-term residents feel that their children’s education is being compromised by the increased attention on ESL students (p. 53-54)

Reference- Wiginton, L. (2014). Canada’s decentralised immigration policy through a local lens: how small communities are attracting and welcoming immigrants. Rural Development Institute.


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