Socio-professional integration of immigrants in Montreal North

The adequate integration of young adults of immigrant origin is a problem facing Montréal-Nord. Making up a significant portion of the borough’s population, they often do not recognize themselves in the neighborhood and regularly suffer discrimination there.

On October 19, the Carrefour jeunesse-emploi (CJE) Bourassa-Sauvé hosted a consultation day where the results of research on the socio-professional integration of young immigrants aged 18 to 25 were discussed in to find ways to better respond to their needs and aspirations.

The results of the research conducted by Marie-Jeanne Blain, researcher at the Integrated University Center for Health and Social Services (CIUSSS) du Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Montreal, made it possible to target basic needs.

Respond collectively to needs

“Our multi-sectoral study was based on the needs of young immigrant adults in Montreal North, so that they find their place in the neighbourhood. There were several elements that stood out, including professional recognition, language, racism and discrimination, and specific experiences for young adults aged 18 to 25,” explains Ms. Blain.

For Richard Biroko, Executive Director of the CJE Bourassa-Sauvé, the contribution of the fifty or so organizations present at the consultation day makes it possible to break the isolation of Montreal North in terms of integrating the immigrant population. “The approach we took for the event facilitated dialogue, in addition to offering prospects for alternative solutions to issues specific to the borough. It was very rewarding,” he says.

Understanding young people

One of the strengths of the research has been to understand young people through their own experiences, particularly with regard to access to services and the difficulties of integrating into the workplace.

“There are service gaps for the young immigrant population that must be examined, in addition to employment, which is a basic need since there are many asylum seekers in Montreal North who come from arrive and who cannot work because of their immigration status », explains Mr. Biroko, describing this situation as unfair.

Ms. Blain goes further by giving a concrete example of the study. “What is the future of a 19-year-old asylum seeker who accompanies his parents and who has just finished high school? Young people like him often find themselves waiting until they are 21 to go to university or go to work in precarious jobs. This prevents them from developing properly.

Coherent solutions

The participation of young adult immigrants in decision-making bodies is one of the solutions recommended by research and strongly supported by those present, in particular Richard Biroko.

Young people must be allowed to participate in civic life and in decision-making bodies. Right now it feels like adults are speaking for them, but they are more than capable of speaking up and discussing their priorities, regardless of where they come from.

Richard Biroko, general manager of the CJE Bourassa-Sauvé

To this end, the CJE Bourassa-Sauvé has made a commitment to provide leadership in less formal meetings between community organizations in Montreal North and neighboring areas to discuss the challenges and better adapt its interventions and « better serve the young immigrant population.

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