Breaking the Wall for Refugees

By Faruk Arslan, Ali Bahrami, Joshua Angeles, Michael Badal, Navdeep Boparai


The Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program is a program that provides funding to immigrant settlement programs such as the South Asian Women’s Centre. It is a federally funded project through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. ISAP contains direct and indirect systemic discrimination and racism that are highly critical regarding the lack of services to newcomers just because its history of racism is often ignored in Canada. There are still incompetence, bias behaviour, and abuse in the Canadian immigration and the refugee settlement services that are not based on needs, but on status. ISAP does not fund ethno specific communities because they are not mainstream agencies and serve broad wide of the population. ISAP also does not take care of undocumented workers, refugee claimants, and citizens with its limitations and leave this population to vulnerable conditions. ISAP’s regulations even contain sexism because the vast majority of the migrant or undocumented migrant workers selected are men and ISAP does not yet desire to serve them. The temporary work authorization does not allow family members or dependents to accompany the workers to Canada. Most of them have been suffering as a single bachelor society while living in troubled mental illness conditions, yet sometimes working undocumented. Therefore, it would be a vital asset for ISAP to provide additional funding to programs like the South Asian Women’s Centre in order to extend their services to all types of new comers in order to provide an efficient and effective transition program for them.

Key Words: Refugee, migrants, South Asian women, LCP,  ISAP, marginalization, discrimination,  systemic racism, diversity

The South Asian Women’s Centre is a voluntary non-profit women’s social service organization located in Toronto. Founded in 1982, and incorporated in 1985, the South Asian Women’s Centre is an organization which provides support for newcomer South Asian women who are seeking assistance. The organizations primary focus is to increase women’s awareness of themselves, and to assist them with developing to their full potential by increasing their economic, social, cultural and political standing in society. (SAWC, 2008) Through the provision of programs and services, the South Asian Women’s center strives to provide an environment where women can work together to promote their well-being. (SAWC, 2008) The program is made to “nurture the economic independence and self esteem of women while breaking the isolation and alienation of women by providing social and support activities.” (SAWC, 2008)   Promoting access to full participation in society by addressing barriers to women’s equality such as employment counseling where women can receive help in order to find suitable employment and training opportunities, the legal clinic where women can gain legal aid advice, the multicultural women’s wellness groups, the senior women’s group, youth groups, food sharing, and sewing projects. Evidently, the South Asian Women’s Centre has a history of empowering women and the larger community through information dissemination and educational activities. (SAWC, 2008)

The Center takes a holistic approach to the services they provide.  The goal is to enable and empower women in developing skills to participate more fully in Canadian Society.  The Center provides services within an anti-discriminatory, anti-oppressive framework as they are available to most types of women regardless of their age, race, and social standing.  The SAWC represents the diversity of South Asian culture and accordingly serve out unique client and member needs. They work towards the empowerment of women and the overall development of the community. (SAWC, 2008)

The Center has made some program expansion and organizational development. The SAWC staff are some of the best trained in the city, and have a unique expertise in the issues related to the South Asian women and their families.  This is the primary reason that the SAWC continues to see a number of returning clients who also refer additional clients to the center. Based on clients need, services are provided in seventeen south Asian languages including English, Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Sinhalese, and Tibetan.  In addition, there has been a substantial increase in the number of non-South Asian women and men accessing the services.  They have developed a strong partnership with organizations such as East Scarborough Storefront, West End agencies Steering Committee, Skills for Change, Scadding Court Community Center, St. Christopher House, and METRAC. These partnerships allows the SAWC to further expand and raise awareness amongst communities.  The SAWC also provides services in Malvern and Scarborough via their satellite offices at the Malvern Family resource center, and Scarborough Storefront both partner agencies.

The future of the South Asian Women’s Centre is looking bright as they believe that in the years to come the center will continue to build strongly on its foundation of community support.  They will also continue to serve South Asian women and also serve as a catalyst in creating a better community for all South Asian Women. (SAWC, 2008)  Evidently, the Centre provides a safe environment, where women have access to resources that help them make informed decisions, and take control of their lives. This centre receives funding from a settlement program administered by Citizenship Immigration Canada called the Immigration Settlement and Adaptation Program.

The Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program is a program that provides funding to immigrant settlement programs such as the South Asian Women’s Centre. It is a federally funded project through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “The objective of ISAP is to help immigrants settle and integrate into Canadian society so they may become participating members as soon as possible.” (ISAP, 2007) In Canada, many newcomers face numerous dillema’s upon their transition icluding employment, health care, and legal matters. (Das Gupta, 2009)  The course readings suggest that immigrant women who are academically skilled workers with professional experience in their country of their country of origin are “…either unemployed or pressured into non skilled jobs, which demanded the use of their hands rather than their minds.” (Mojab, 2008, p.97) Most immigrant women enter the labour force as “…the market did not value their skills as equal to or fitting what is known as the Canadian experience.” (Mojab, 2008, p.100) Evidently, there is a substantial need of assistance within the new comer communities properly shifting into desired employment. ISAP goes on to fund addition employment services to make the transition into Canada easier for new comers. In addition the health issues in Canada have proven to be problematic in regards to new comers as “…the delivery of appropriate health care which includes aspects of prevention, education and engagement of patients in the maintenance of their health and well-being involves extensive communication.” (Mojab, 2008, p.100) This means that the relationship between the health officials and the patient is very crucial in the healthcare system and is obviously obsolete. “The cultural and linguistic diversity of many modern immigration receiving countries can challenge the communication abilities and capacities of health care providers and institutions.” (Giri, 1998, p.127) In addition issues in the criminal justice system affect the newcomer population such as racial profiling, language barriers, and cultural differences in terms of adaptation. Many newcomers face problems adapting to the criminal justice system in Canada as many of them become victims of racial profiling or some newcomers who do not understand the legal services in Canada end up having unnecessary encounters with police officials due to the barrier of not being able to proper adjust and understand Canadian laws and practices. (Fances et al, 2000, p.130) These issues, along with many other explored in this report are recognized in the ISAP program as it was developed in order to assists immigrants with their settlement process. The Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program provides direct services to newcomers in Canada, these services include needs assessment, referrals to community services, information and orientation, interpretation and translation, solution focused counseling, and employment services. (ISAP, 2007)

New comers needs are assesed by settling goals and estbalishing priorities inorder to develop realistic plans in their setllement process. In addition newcomers are referred to resources in the communinty to address their immediate settlement needs. (ISAP, 2007) These services indluce housing, health care, legal services, job search, and education. The refferal services is the catergory of which SAWC falls under. The Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program often reffers immigrants to programs they fund. Information and guidance is also provided to the new comers regarding adaption skills which they need everyday as an orientaiton. (ISAP, 2007) English and French translation and interpretation services are made available to address immiediate settlement language needs. (ISAP, 2007)  ISAP also assits new comers by helping them asses their problems and sugessting possible solutions to them such as family reunification. The employment services ISAP provides is related to job search, resume writing, and program refferals. (ISAP, 2007)  Evidently the services provided by the ISAP is a program focuses on the new immigrants immdeiate settlement needs.

The people that are eligible for the ISAP program are permanent residents of Canada who hold the Permanent Resident Card, Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) only following the alapsement of the Resettlement assistance Program (RAP). (ISAP, 2007) Also any individuals who have been allowed to remain in Canada, including temporary resident permit holders, non-immigrant foreign domestic workers in Canada, such as the live-in caregiver program, other eliginle immigrants, and temporary visa holders. Canadain citizens are not eligible for the Immigrant Settlement and Adapation Program. (ISAP, 2007)

The issue being explored in this report is in relation to the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program and the need to provide additional funding to the South Asian Women’s Centre in order to extend their services to all types of claimants including newly registered citizens, registered and undocumented workers. The methods employed in order to explore this issue include identifying the agency and its limitations, exploring the problematic issues while relating it back to the themes of the course. The research has been done primarily through class lectures, SAWC presentations, course readings, and other academic sources related to the SAWC and ISAP. The information obtained will address the need for further funding by the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program to a particular referral programs; the South Asian Women’s Centre. Therefore, in this report the limitations in the services provided by the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program in relation to the South Asian Women’s Centre will be assessed as they are not based on needs, but on status.

The current programs offered by the South Asian Women’s Centre include the “Settlement Program”. (Rabindranath, p.8) The purpose of this program is that it is a tool to better help immigrant women settle and adapt into “a new country and culture”. (Rabindranath, p.8) The method by which this program seeks to help settle immigrant, and refugee women into Canadian culture is to provide interpretation and translation courses, as well as individual solution focused counseling support. (Rabindranath, p.8) Moreover, it should also be noted that the settlement program also offers information and referral, crisis intervention, client support, advocacy and health education, and violence prevention programs to further help with settlement issues. (Rabindranath, p.8) According to the South Asian women’s society from the 2007-2008 year alone the South Asian Women’s Centre was able to provide this program to 13,285 individuals with 39,855 units of service to said individuals. (Rabindranath, p.8) The importance of the Settlement Program is that it provides an “outreach” to South Asian women looking for help within Canadian society. (Rabindranath, p.9) By using an outreach worker as well as events such as an open house, (Rabindranath, p.9) the SAWC is able to help get the attention of those who may require the aforementioned services.

Other programs provided by the SAWC include programs for young women (Rabindranath, p.9). The SAWC notes that women between the ages of thirteen to twenty of South Asian descent are at “high risk” when it comes to abuse and violence. (Rabindranath, p.9) To counter act this SAWC uses funding to help young women address their problems by providing a safe environment, which encourages young women to come together and speak about, and share their issues. (Rabindranath, p.9) Furthermore, the youth programs at the SAWC also encourage young women to participate in events such as the “Masala Mehndi Masti Festival”. (Rabindranath, p.9) Events (such as the one aforementioned) are often sponsored by support groups other than SAWC such as ISAP. (Rabindranath, p.9) Thus, by encouraging young women to participate in these programs, the SWAC notes that it is better able to help young women “build their own support networks, and enhance their self-confidence”. (Rabindranath, p.9)

The health and wellness program is yet another program created by the South Asian Women’s centre to provide women from a wide rage of cultures help with regard to issues related to health and wellness. (Rabindranath, p.9) By using group sessions the SAWC is able to identify issues that may plague the quality of life for South Asian women living in Toronto. (Rabindranath, p.9) It should also be noted that sessions for these group meeting are held in languages that range from Tamil, Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi. (Rabindranath, p.9)

The Sewing Project is as its name suggests a program under taken by the SAWC in order to teach the craft of sewing to interested individuals. (Rabindranath, p.10) Though this program may not seem like much on the surface, its true goal is to “serve as an economic and self-empowerment tool towards self-sufficiency”. (Rabindranath, p.10) What this means is that though this program the SAWC seeks to teach individuals a skill that can not only be convenient, but also reassuring, confidence building and money earning as well. The SAWC notes that this program has in fact been successful, because as many as “ten women have been provided the self confidence skills, and sewing training”. (Rabindranath, p.10) In addition, the SAWC notes that the aforementioned women have come together to form a collective group of their own.  (Rabindranath, p.10) This demonstration of both training and later on team building shows that programs such as the sewing project can in fact, be considered successful to their undertakers.

Finally legal education workshops are yet another program offered by the SAWC, in order to better help serve South Asian women settle into Toronto. (Rabindranath, p.10) Offered in five different languages, the SAWC has held ten workshops (preceded over by lawyers from the community) in order to better help serve South Asian women settle in to life in Toronto. (Rabindranath, p.10)

Now that we have seen the programs offered by the SAWC a method by which the underlying importance of these programs can been seen would be to compare the programs being offered by the SAWC to the need of immigrant settlers outlined in the various course readings. An example can be found in the case of refugees entering Canada seeking help. Though the terms “refugees” and “immigrant” are different, it should be noted that the SAWC renders its services to everyone and anyone who needs them, and that this organization (the SAWC) turns no one away. (Das Gupta, 2009) In Soojin Yu’s, Estelle Ouellet’s, and Angelyn Warmington’s article Refugee Integration in Canada: A Survey of Empirical Evidence and Existing Services, the plight and problem of refugees who come to Canada are both demonstrated and explained in detail. For example this article notes that refugees who come to Canada face issues such as language barriers. (Yu et al, 2007, p.24) The articles notes that the problem can be accurately described as 69 percent of government sponsored refugees, and privately sponsored refugees being unable to speak either English or French upon their arrival to Canada. (Yu et al, 2007, p.24) The article also goes on to note that this handicap can be directly related to discrimination and difficulty in finding work as well as contributing to settlement issues. (Yu et al, 2007, p.24) Furthermore, the article list metal health issues as yet another issue that may plague refugees who enter Canada. (Yu et al, 2007, p.25) In the case of mental health issues, reason for these problems among refugees have been described as steaming from issues such as torture, and trauma suffered before the move to Canada, as well as issues steaming from “difficult migration experiences”. (Yu et al, 2007, p.25) In terms of resolving the issues that face refuges that come to Canada, the Canadian government has put forward solutions that do not always solve problems. In the case of language issues, there are federal government language instruction programs in place. However, these programs are not available to refugee claimants. (Yu et al, 2007, p.24) Likewise, in the case of refugees with health issues there is an Interim Federal Health Program available. (Yu et al, 2007, p.25) However, this program does not cover any type of mental health issues that may be faced by refugees. (Yu et al, 2007, p.25) Therefore, in order to help solve their problems, refugees with no where else to turn are then forced to look locally for help and assistance with their issues (be they language or health). (Yu et al, 2007, p.25) It is for this reason that the programs offered by the SAWC are so important. Though the SAWC may be only a local organization within the city of Toronto, it is evident that this organization can easily become a hope for people other than South Asian Women, people who have little to no where else to turn for assistance. (Yu et al, 2007, p.25)

With these handicaps in mind we can now reflect back and see the impact that SAWC programs such as the settlement program and the Health and Wellness Program can have on the lives of refugees in Canada. (Rabindranath, p.9) It is here that we should also remember that though the SAWC may deal with South Asian immigrant women they also do not refuse service to claimants other than South Asian immigrants women as well (Das Gupta, 2009), thus we can consider the effects of these examples to be valid.

In conclusion it is easy to see that the programs offered by the South Asian Women’s Society are in fact numerous and far reaching. One of the primary reasons that it is possible to describe the effect of a local organization as far reaching is because, of the SAWC’s own noted (seemingly creed like motto) to turn no one away and provide service to all who require it (Das Gupta, 2009). Due to this motto the South Asian Women’s Centre is able to go beyond its own name and help not just immigrant women in Toronto, but also refugees and others in the community. Therefore, it would be a vital asset for ISAP to provide additional funding to programs like the South Asian Women’s Centre in order to extend their services to all types of new comers in order to provide an efficient and effective transition program for them.

Although the SAWC provides many excellent services to South Asian women who seek help, there are limitations to their services which make it difficult for the SAWC to provide them to those in need. These limitations include personal shortage, funding shortage, service restrictions for citizens, refugee claimants, healthcare eligibility and much more. These limitations are outlined by ISAP and the Canadian government for legal and structural purposes (Das Gupta, 2009). Other agencies have been constructed and setup for certain restricted groups –such as citizens– who are not supposed to continue to use the SAWC once they become citizens. Even with such restrictions the SAWC still attempts help in any way they can due to their program values.  However, by providing assistance to non-financially supported groups, monetary flexibility becomes less elastic. The SAWC still insists funding is not a major issue as they go out of their way to provide service for those in need –eligible or not (Das Gupta, 2008). Moreover, to accommodate the financial liability which the extended assistance creates, a donation program has been implemented. Nonetheless, more funding would help the SAWC immensely as they already are taking on more responsibility without any further funding provided by ISAP.

Refugee claimants are the most vulnerable of the restricted groups; as mentioned before, many communities do not have services to accommodate and assist these people as there is an extreme lack of support due to their legal status. (Das Gupta, 2009) These people tend to be isolated when they arrive to Canada due to the lack of family support, available services, and language barriers. Evidently, they naturally seek assistance and when agencies such as the SAWC assist newcomers but are not officially able to support refugee claimants there is an issue of a marginalized society.(Das Gupta, 2008). These people are often denied refugee claimant status due to a pending application, a rejected application from the past, if they came to Canada from a designated safe country, or if they are deemed inadmissible due to serious criminal activity or human rights violations. Several other possibilities do exist for the rejection of refugee claimant status, these people are thus denied stay and asylum in Canada, and are lower than refugee claimants in status. These people much like the refugee claimants are denied service while they are in Canada, like the refugee claimants. Only until these two groups (refugee claimants and “illegal aliens”) are deemed official refugees by the Canadian Federal Court in a “judicial review”, will they become eligible for the SAWC.

Many South Asian women tend to turn to the SAWC as they have either been referred or have done their research to find such agency which perfectly suits their needs. However, the SAWC has been prohibited by ISAP to provide any sort of assistance to people who do not have an official refugee status, or permanent status. (Das Gupta, 2009) Nonetheless, regardless of status or lack of funding, the SAWC does not turn any individual down. Such aptitude to provide assistance is excellent and a rare commodity in this day and age. However, it does not go without penalty, by servicing non-eligible people, resources which would be used for regular operations become shortened. (Das Gupta, 2009) This creates a monetary and servicing conflict throughout the entire agency. Naturally, you might think why doesn’t SAWC just apply for more funding? Although it is not that simple, ISAP determines funding amounts based on monthly audits on the serviceable clients, refugee claimants are not the responsibility of the SAWC neither are citizens. These two groups are the biggest non-funded groups which the SAWC still services whenever they have an opportunity out of goodwill.

Immigrants, refugees and permanent status branded people are eligible for help from the SAWC for up to three years before they officially become citizens and are forced to integrate to society. Funding for these clients is halted, as they should be now comfortable enough to join society on their own (Das Gupta, 2008). This is not the case for many who become citizens after utilizing the services of the SAWC. Many return back to the SAWC because, they are still not comfortable dealing with life in Canada as an immigrant. Thus, the services of the SAWC are still required by many. This puts both a financial strain on the SAWC, and physical strain on staff of the agency that loves to help those in need. There are other services and agencies who provide community services for these women however, the trust and relationship which has been established with the SAWC is very hard to let go of. Thus no matter how many other agencies or services they try, many women/clients still come back to the SAWC simply due to the relationship and comfort level developed with the SAWC when they first came to Canada.

One other key limitation to the SAWC is assisting those with mental health issues. They work side by side with CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) to provide the best possible assistance. However, as previously mentioned it is very hard for these clients to switch agencies as they feel even more alienated and, in some cases this can even worsen the condition of a client. The most common type of mental health issues come as a direct result of depression (80% of mental health cases in the SAWC), inability resettle, and isolation. (Das Gupta, 2009) Some of these cases can also lead to suicide. SAWC does not have the funding or staff to assists clients with mental health, however, they still manage to squeeze time out of their busy schedule to assists these clients. When deemed necessary, SAWC complete an assessment on the client and an attempt to refer the client to professional’s for better assistance is made. Though mental health issues are recognized by ISAP (a key sponsor of SAWC) (Das Gupta, 2009), funding is still not provided which creates an appalling situation for SAWC since they try not to turn down any client under any circumstance, even if it means to personally help the clients outside the center.

Legal matters are another key concern and limitation for SAWC as many of their clients are relatively new to the country and are not aware of many of the laws and regulations. Some clients find themselves in legal dilemmas which need to be solved, however, without knowledge of the Canadian legal system, the English/French language, and procedures; it becomes a very frustrating ordeal to manage. These people turn to the SAWC for assistance; which intern –without funding— arrange for a lawyer to come visit the center twice a month for general assistance. (Das Gupta, 2008) A few popular cases which the volunteering SAWC lawyer assists clients at the center with include; housing, traffic tickets, and legal abusive matters.

Thus, the major limitations the SAWC is facing in regards to servicing its clients. Funding for the sake of profit is not the issue, this is not a business. Funding is relevant to provide the appropriate services, not for revenue as this is a non-profit organization. (Das Gupta, 2009) The SAWC wants recognition from its government for the hard work and extra effort that they are contributing to the community as a whole. Currently the government’s program structure seems to be causing a lot of the limitations to the SAWC in regarding to funding and limitations. Acknowledgement and flexibility on the government’s behalf would solve many of the SAWC limitations and provide better assistances to those new to one of the most diverse countries in the world.

In addition, there are crucial limitation problems existing in the Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program because it is only assisting immigrants in settling and integrating, and expects them to integrate into Canadian society three years before becoming citizens. ISAP ignores the vast majority of the newcomer population, such as refugee claimants, undocumented workers, and naturalized new citizens, that is not eligible to serve ISAP clients and is thought to be either landing the immigrant or conventional refugee status, or becoming legal temporarily workers. The ISAP serving area is also problematic, by assuming that newcomers are only in need of “reception, orientation, interpretation, counseling and help with job hunting.” (ISAP, 2008; Sekhar, 2009). Moreover, health and mental health issues have not yet been mentioned in the program, even though “80% of ISAP users are struggling with issues such as depression, resettlement, and isolation” (ISAP, 2008; Sekhar, 2009). Therefore, even though settlement workers attempt to refer (aforementioned) individuals to professionals in a timely manner without funding, they are also ineligible to prepare an assessment for services rendered (ISAP, 2008; Sekhar, 2009). The ISAP policy contains racism, sexism, discrimination, and encourages inequality that amounts to cheap labour exploitation.

ISAP’s eligibility criteria clearly mention that ISAP’s funded agencies should serve only limited newcomers (ISAP, 2008). According to many surveys, 35 % of Toronto’s new population is non-white, an “outsider” yet refugee claimants and undocumented workers are the most vulnerable of the population among newcomers. Many ethnic communities don’t have services for the refugee community, or undocumented or legal migrant workers. Refuge claimants and undocumented workers, also categorized as Live in Caregivers, have been isolated for many years and are unable to connect to society because, of the lack of community help, family support, and issues pertaining to the language barrier. Before the legal policy had changed, the 1985 Charters of Refuge Convention had declared the welcome of any others, but after the 11th of September, the Refugee Claimants weren’t covered in law. Every newcomer had once come as refugees to Canada in different periods of time, but once they begin to establish, the real-born Canadians shut their doors in their faces with their backs turned (Das Gupta, 2009). Family reunification is the key to successful integration and “has become a pillar of Canada’s immigration program” (Telegdi, 2008-p94). Parents and extended family members are very important and provide financial help to struggling relatives. Many immigrants, refugees, and migrant workers bring their elderly relatives with the visitor visa who became undocumented workers or refugee claimants needing to take care of their children. Many elderly newcomers do not have the official status to get services from ISAP, especially women who need more ESL classes, with having limited job opportunities available. Many immigrants and refugees have been struggling for a long period of time to pass the language barrier; employers make up excuses such as the Canadian work experience and the occasional problem of another’s accent even after becoming a Canadian citizen. They struggle much whether being migrant workers or citizens, and most of them being women (Mojab, 2008). Employers simply reject newcomers without even reviewing their resumes. Newcomers have therefore ended up working for temporary job agencies that provide labour jobs, though these jobs were thought to give the Canadian experience by the newcomers while they do not (Mojab, 2008). Most employers assume that newcomers do not have the Canadian experience, meaning that they aren’t qualified enough. But of course they can not have the experience unless they are hired in a real and skilled job.

Immigrants and newly naturalized citizens past education and experiences are disregarded for in Canada. Systemic discrimination still exists, which then places barriers for controlling all immigrations and segregations by the government. Immigrants are forced to live in certain social locations, and “the space- ghetto is socially constructed” (Das Gupta, 2008). Credentials are not always the issue; the lack of the language barrier can be huge, and many other barriers such as age, race, colour, and gender exist. Even if immigrants have an English education and are fluent in English, often the language barrier is used as an excuse. The gender issue is especially important, with most of the sponsored population being women who are unfairly threatened. “Women in colour have the toughest time finding work” (Taylor, 2008) whether they’re citizens or migrant workers. A woman is not seen as a breadwinner according to many immigrants’ family cultures. “The lack of Canadian experience is a technical problem; it has, at the same time, racial, ethnic, and class dimension” (Mojab, 2008). “They say that accent is a problem but in reality that is discrimination” (Das Gupta, 2009). Many employers have blamed the immigrants’ languages, accents, or the Canadian experience as lame excuses rather than saying just the word of discrimination. ISAP’s limitations refuse to serve new citizens but their struggle never ends shortly just in three years.

ISAP does not cover undocumented workers, even though 35% of laborers are undocumented workers in construction and agricultural industries. Canada does have third world country citizens who are subsidizing the country’s economy with working lower wages in jobs. Their lives are vulnerable because if they are sick or have their work permits expired, they can be easily deported. There is an argument on employment situations and bargaining rights because “Canadian citizen employers have common structural conditions that promote systemic exploitation and racialization comes into play” (K. Stasiulis; B. Bakan, 2005). The Canadian system including ISAP is not equally treating domestic workers and favors the gate keeping structure. Since the human trafficking problem has been raised when some temporary worker agencies have been tried to exploit more of these vulnerable despaired people in need for a decent job, it uses the oppression of inequality, discrimination, and sexism within the Canadian policies. Migrant workers are spending almost 25% of their earnings to employment insurances, pension plans, and taxes which never are brought back to them. Furthermore, many undocumented workers can not meet requirements to apply for the immigrant status to become eligible for ISAP. There are two-hundred-thousand undocumented workers in Canada (Das Gupta, 2009). Most domestic worker women do not break the silence of what they have been through in order to bring their family to Canada. Even though many women have been sexually assaulted by employers who do domestic work in Canada, they “already had children whom they were supporting” and sent money or barrels of food to feed them (Jakubowski, 2002-p 62). They could apply to the landed immigrant status with conditions such as the ability to manage finances, pass medical and security exams, as well as support their families. For example, a living arrangement requirement allows cutting off for accommodation costs from some earnings, and forces Live in Caregivers to live in bad conditions to do extra work such as to “not only look after children but as well as polishing shoes and looking after animals” (Das Gupta, 2009). In addition, domestic workers can not be unionized and go to advocacy to seek their rights, such as strikes, etc.  When they finish their jobs they can be deported; for example, ten-thousand workers were unfortunately deported in 2004. They have no access to social services and no political rights to vote in elections; basically, they don’t have any rights at all (Das Gupta, 2009). The importance of status is evident to ISAP, but the numerous limitations of status evidently suggest further funding to referral programs such as the SAWC.

Moreover, there are eligible criteria to receive funding through contribution agreements for the purpose of delivering ISAP; the recipient must be a business, a non-profit corporation, a non-governmental organization, a community group, an educational institution (including school boards, districts and divisions), an individual, a provincial/territorial government, or a municipal government.  Mainstream agencies get a lot, while multi communities earn far less from ISAP. This funding is more likely segregated and is limited in access. Mainstream agencies are swiftly then taking over all. Ethno communities are also very discouraging. Mainstream is a stately funded, large established agency and institution. Some discrepancies also happen, for instance, settlement service workers may give services to refugee claimants without getting funded. Provincial funding is serving refugee claimants, but according to ISAP, the federal level is not supported. What the ration of this kind of decision is unknown. ISAP is much larger than provincial funding. Ethno communities and mainstream agencies are making partnership problematic, including education institutions. For example, only mainstream agencies have gotten ISAP funds and are working on multicultural communities in Alberta. SAWC is a small grass-root organization, so it is not a mainstream. Many agencies are moving towards the mainstream agency type and establish hierarchy in these bureaucratic based programs.

Funds are limited; sometimes providing funding means that the agencies receiving become part of the government (Das Gupta, 2009). ISAP applicants also must qualify under the “Pre-Qualification Process” prior to their funding being approved by the Federal Department. Many agencies have the option to cancel multi-year funding agreements where there is evidence of failure to meet objectives, targets, and/or non-compliance agreed upon terms and conditions. Therefore, if the SAWC does receive additional funding, the program does have the option to cancel it if failure occurs. (ISAP, 2008).

In conclusion, ISAP contains direct and indirect systemic discrimination and racism that are highly critical regarding the lack of services to newcomers just because “its history of racism is often ignored” in Canada (McLaren, 2004). There are still incompetence, bias behaviour, and abuse in the Canadian immigration and the refugee settlement services that are not based on needs, but on status. Canadians should remember that “they themselves or their ancestors came to Canada as refugees” (Dench, 2006-p 12). Refugee Claimants are then excluded from many federal funded integration services, despite being “eligible only to some services in certain provinces, for example, Ontario’s Newcomer Settlement Program” (Yu, 2007).  Even some citizens could not access and obtain ISAP services because “Canadian born children whose refuge claimants and undocumented workers parents have uncertain status” (Bernhard, 2007). ISAP does not fund ethno specific communities because they are not mainstream agencies and serve broad wide of the population. ISAP also does not take care of undocumented workers, refugee claimants, and citizens with its limitations and leave this population to vulnerable conditions. ISAP’s regulations even contain sexism because the vast majority of the migrant or undocumented migrant workers selected are men and ISAP does not yet desire to serve them. The temporary work authorization does not allow family members or dependents to accompany the workers to Canada. Most of them have been suffering as a single bachelor society while living in troubled conditions, yet sometimes working undocumented (Das Gupta, 2009). Some Mexican workers have been coming to Canada through ten seasons, although never hope to settle down permanently. Sometimes international students become undocumented but ISAP does not provide them services. Undocumented people can not access the shelters nor subsidize access housing, are ineligible to welfare, and do not have child tax benefits and OHIP. Even if one person is undocumented, all family members are no longer eligible as well because government institutes are then sharing information (Das Gupta, 2009). After the Bill of 130 passed recently, the temporarily workers have working conditions and employee agencies have regulated, but there are still the unfair placement fees as bogus offers for Live in Caregivers accepting new protected regulations that may only stop the use of this poor practice that forced work illegally or under minimum wage. After paying up to ten-thousand placement fees, or abusing with financial charges, most of them suffer in debt, bankruptcy, or end up in suicidal condition and even are mentally sick, but ISAP funding doesn’t offer mental health services to funded agencies.  Fairly large organizations become defunded, with their funding pulled out for several reasons such as financial reporting, some of which are political such as the Arab federation fund cut off. One person must look after the money and documents because it all is fairly complicated. Organizations grow much more then and work in hierarchy settings. There are also competitions between different groups to get ISAP. A lot of funders, such as ISAP, look at an agency hierarchy set up and legal liability. This is ironic because grass root agencies can not stay tiny, also while working hard with many limitations. ISAP should accept that “no one is illegal”. Regardless of the status, ISAP should provide additional funding in order to cover refugee claimants, undocumented workers and citizens, providing opportunities to agencies such as the SAWC, and serving the broader population more flexible in order to serve better and have real funding for those services (Das Gupta, 2009)

Works Cited:

Bernhard, Judith K. 2007. “Living with precarious legal status in Canada: Implication for the Well-Being of Children and Families” from Refugee: Canada Periodical on Refugees, Vol.24, No.2, York University, pp 101.

Das Gupta, Tania. 2009. Class Lecture, February 10, 2009. York University.

Das Gupta, Tania. 2008. Class Lecture, October 7, 2008. York University.

Das Gupta, Tania. 2009. Class Lecture, March 24, 2009. York University.

Das Gupta, Tania. 2009. Class Lecture, March 31, 2009. York University.

Das Gupta, Tania. 2009. Class Lecture, April 28, 2009. York University.

Das Gupta, Tania. 2009. Class Lecture, May 5, 2009. York University.

Dench, Janet. 2006. “Ending the Nightmare: Speeding Up Refugee Family Reunification” from Canadian Issues/Themes Canadiens, Association for Canadian Studies, Spring 2006, York University, pp.95

“Eligibility for Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP).” Association for Newcomers to Canada. 2008. 12 May 2009 <>.

“Immigrant Settlement and Adaptation Program (ISAP).” Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. 19 June 2007. 12 May 2009 <>.

ISAP. 2008. CIC CFP: ISAP, JSW and Host in Cornwall.. Eligibility to be funded for the Delivery of ISAP, JSW and Host. 27 July 2008.

Jakubowski, Lisa Marie. 2002. Immigration and the Legalization of Racism, Amending the Canadian Immigration Act: The Live-in caregiver Program, Halifax: Fernwood Publishing. pp 62.

Mojab, Shahrzad. 2008 . “ De-skilling Immigrant Women”  Canadian Women Studies Journal. Volume 19, Number 3, Inanna Publication and Education Inc, York University Bookstore Publication, pp 125.

McLaren, Kristin. 2004. We had no desire to be set apart: Forced Segregation of Black Students in Canada West Public School and Myths of British Egalitarianism. Social History 37,73 (2004),  The History of Immigration and Racism in Canada, pp 78.

K. Stasiulis, Daiva; B. Bakan, Abigail. 2005. “Marginalized and Dissident Non-Citizens: Foreign Domestic Workers. Negotiating Citizenship: Migrant Workers in Canada and the Global System. University of Toronto Press 2005, The History of Immigration and Racism in Canada, pp 265.

Sekhar, Kripa. 2009. SAWC Executive Director lecture notes, York University. March 31, 2009.

Taylor, Lesley Clarula. 2008. “Czechs warned Over Refugees” Toronto Star, July 19, 2008. Degrees don’t ensure jobs for female immigrants. York University Publication, pp 103.

Telegdi P.C., Andrew. 2008. Family Reunification: The key to successful integration.  Canadian Issues/ Themes Canadien, Association for Canadian Studies, Spring 2006, York University, pp 95.

Yu, et all, Soojin. 2007. “Refugee integration in Canada: A Survey of Empirical Evidence and Existing Services” from Refugee: Canada’s Periodical on Refugees, Vol 24, No.2, York University, Fall 2007, pp 23.