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Toronto's lesson on immigration

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Toronto's lesson on immigration
    Posted: Sep/22/2011 at 11:11pm
Toronto’s lessons on immigration
By Julia Deans and John Tory

Extensive cross-sector collaboration is only one of the things that set Toronto ahead of other city regions when it comes to immigration.

The number and diversity of the immigrants who settle here is also a differentiator. Over 40 per cent of Canada’s new permanent residents — about 120,000 people each year — come to Ontario. Almost 80 per cent of them choose the Toronto region, where close to half of the population is foreign born. Other cities like Miami may have high numbers of foreign-born residents, but theirs are drawn primarily from one or two sources, whereas Toronto’s come from the world over.

Also unusual is how successfully we have absorbed immigrants into our workplaces and communities. We’re not perfect, but Environics studies show that most Canadians think that diversity is one of our defining characteristics and that immigrants help the economy grow. Most of us reject the idea that immigrants take jobs away from other Canadians and terms like “third generation migrant,” heard in parts of Western Europe, are not part of our lingo.

It’s no wonder then that a 2010 Gallup poll reported that Canada was second only to the United States as the country that most people would like to relocate to permanently if they could, with Canada holding more appeal for slightly older and more educated adults. Both countries attract potential migrants for various reasons — personal, political or economic — but the common draw is opportunity.

The international experts reminded us not to become complacent about our sizable advantage when it comes to attracting and keeping newcomers.

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