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  • Saskia Scarce

Why we Chose to Immigrate

Although Canada is founded on the displacement and genocide of Indigenous people, its idealistic qualities are what continue to attract thousands of people to immigrate here. Canada’s, high-quality education system, universal Healthcare, multiculturalism, and high quality of life are just a few of the reasons that families, including mine, choose to immigrate.

Originally founded in 1967, the notable publicly funded Universal Healthcare system, also known as Medicare, ensures that anyone residing in Canada, regardless of income, has access to medically necessary hospital and physician services without paying out of pocket. This is applicable as long as the individual is registered under the national health insurance program. Prescription drugs, eye exams, dentists, psychologists, cosmetic surgery and medical tests required for immigration are not covered under Medicare but could be covered by health insurance provided by employers or purchased independently. Access to mostly free healthcare makes Canada very appealing as unlike its southern neighbour, price is not a concern when receiving medical attention.

The main deciding factor in my family’s decision to immigrate was Canada’s world-renowned education system. Public schools in Canada have a standardized curriculum that is to be upheld for all students without consideration of their grades. This contrasts Guyana’s education system, where someone’s highschool placement is dependent on a standardized test. Good marks ensure placement at better schools. Each school has a range of marks: students with the higher marks go to the best schools based on the cut off range, while the students with lower marks would be assigned to lower-rated schools. Canada’s public school system provides equitable learning without bias by placing students at schools based on their postal code, causing the standard of education to remain consistent. As well, Canadian post-secondary education is among the best in the world. According to the Times Higher Education World University Ratings, in 2018, 5 Canadian schools were a part of the top 100 best schools in the world. Sadly, the education of people that immigrate to Canada later on in life is often not recognized by employers. My parents wanted to give me more opportunities by giving me access to the education system at an earlier age, thus leading us to immigrate when I was quite young.

One of the most attractive aspects of Canada is its approach to multiculturalism. People from various backgrounds live in harmony while maintaining their heritage and religious practices. The ability to maintain the cultural aspects of your home country while living in Canada offers a significant incentive to immigrate. There are different festivals and celebrations enjoyed by everyone, regardless of race or nationality, that preserve vast cultural diversity. Toronto is the hub of these cultural celebrations, including Taste of Danforth, Toronto Caribbean Carnival, South Asian Festival, TD Salsa, and Oktoberfest. Being able to have a piece of your home away from home is another appealing attribute of Canada.

The quality of life in Canada is another feature that entices people to immigrate. Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of the press and other media communication, and freedom of belief are rights that some people do not have access to outside of Canada, but that is guaranteed by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is why Canada is seen as a country of refuge. In 2016, 58 912 refugees became permanent residents of Canada. Also contributing to the quality of life in Canada is the government’s attempts at providing supplementary income, freshwater resources and affordable cost of living in comparison, and access to green space. These are things that most Canadians, including myself, have enjoyed, yet are denied to the indigenous community. In particular, many Indigenous communities don’t have access to basic necessities like clean water. So remember, in spite of Canada’s amazing qualities, there is room for growth that will benefit current and future residents.

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