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Building an Inclusive Society: Post-Secondary Youth Perspectives on Immigration, Multiculturalism and Racism in Newfoundland and Labrador

Lead Researcher and Department
James Baker, PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, and Research Coordinator, Association for New Canadians

Collaborators and Students
Dr. Amanda Bittner, Department of Political Science, Memorial University

Funding Resources
The Applied Research Fund 2012–2013 – The Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development

Summary
This project seeks to understand youth attitudes towards immigration, multiculturalism and politics and their observations of racism among university students within the province. By analyzing the views of post-secondary students in Newfoundland and Labrador, the research seeks to gain a better understanding of how and why attitudes are formed in order to test existing theories established by scholars. By capturing and understanding the attitudes of students in Newfoundland and Labrador, this research not only adds to a growing body of literature, but complements existing community efforts to enhance the integration of newcomers. As such, the report is a step towards ensuring that newcomers not only integrate into Newfoundland and Labrador society, but feel welcomed while doing so.

Given the homogenous nature of the province, it was conceivable to expect less promising results. However, it is apparent that the majority of students in the province have very positive attitudes regarding newcomers and hold generally positive attitudes towards immigration, and multiculturalism. The majority of respondents appear to be welcoming to immigrants and to a population strategy which includes immigration, multiculturalism, and diversity. The report also presented the authors with a number of perplexing questions. For example, why are more post-secondary students reporting having witnessed/experienced racist comments or behaviours? The questions stemming from this project could be answered with the aid of future research.

Overall the results of the report indicate a rather advantageous situation to work with in Newfoundland and Labrador. The attitudes of post-secondary students in the province illustrate a solid base for service providers to work from in terms of creating a more welcoming province in which newcomers can successfully integrate. The majority of students in the report already exhibit an understanding of, and sensitivity towards, issues faced by newcomers. They also illustrate an appreciation of the diversity presented by newcomers and understand that they can contribute to society. The students in this report represent the voice and conscience of the future Newfoundland and Labrador. Based on the results, the future of the province, including its responsibility to welcome and integrate newcomers, appears to be in good hands.

Dates
2012 - 2013

Keywords
Immigration, Racism, Youth, Multiculturalism, Post-Secondary Students

Locations
Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
St. John's
Corner Brook
Avalon Peninsula
Corner Brook - Rocky Harbour
Zone 19 - Northeast Avalon
Zone 8 - Humber

Industry Sectors
Universities (Educational services)
Research and development in the social sciences and humanities (Professional, scientific and technical services — Scientific research and development services)

Thematic Categories
Immigration
Immigrants
Refugees
Racism
Postsecondary (Education)
Youth

Departments
Sociology, Faculty of Arts (STJ)
Political Science, Faculty of Arts (STJ)