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Glossary

Acculturation

The process whereby the culture, values and patterns of the majority are adopted by a person or an ethnic, social, religious, language or national group. This process can sometimes also involve absorbing aspects of minority cultures into the majority culture’s pattern.

Asian

The definition of “Asian” is very inclusive and broad. It applies to people who come from or whose ancestors come from the Pan Asian countries. This includes East Asian countries such as China, Japan, Taiwan, and North and South Korea. South Asia includes countries such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and others. The Central Asian countries include Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and others. Southeast Asia includes the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, as well as other countries.

Assimilation

The full adoption by an individual or group of the culture, values and patterns of a different social, religious, linguistic or national group, resulting in the elimination of attitudinal and behavioral affiliations from the original cultural group. Can be voluntary or forced.

Business Immigrants

Immigrants in the Entrepreneur, Investor, or Self-employed Class

Cantonese

Cantonese is classified as both a dialect of Chinese and as a language in its own right. Cantonese is spoken predominantly in south east China, and related regions such as Hong Kong and Macau. Major population bases for Cantonese include Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. In Canada, the majority of Cantonese speakers immigrated from Hong Kong and live primarily in Vancouver and Toronto.

Convention Refugees

A person who meets the refugee definition in the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. This definition is used in Canadian law and is widely accepted internationally. To meet the definition, a person must be outside their country of origin and have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. That is, a refugee is forced to flee from persecution, whereas immigrants choose to move and settle in another country.

Cultural Group

Members of a group having the same beliefs, behavioral norms, values, language, ways of thinking about and viewing the world.

Culture

The mix of ideas, beliefs, values, behavioral norms, knowledge and traditions of a group of individuals who share a historical, geographic, religious, racial, linguistic, ethnic or social context, and who transmit, reinforce and modify those ideas and beliefs, passing them on from one generation to another. A culture is the total of everything an individual learns by being immersed in a particular context. It results in a set of expectations for appropriate behaviour in seemingly similar contexts.

Discrimination

Discrimination is an action or a decision that results in the unfair or negative treatment of person or group because of their race, age, religion, sex, etc. It means harassing someone or putting that person at a disadvantage because of who he or she is. Some types of discrimination are illegal under federal and provincial human rights laws.

Diversity

A term used to encompass all the various differences among people including race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, socio-economic status, etc. and commonly used in the United States and increasingly in Canada to describe workplace programs aimed at reducing discrimination promoting equality of opportunity and outcome for all groups. Concern has been expressed by anti-racism and race relations practitioners that diversity programs may water down efforts to combat racism in all its forms.

Economic Immigrants
Immigrants in the Assisted Relatives, Other Independents, Entrepreneur, Self-employed, or Investor Class.

Entrepreneur Class
Includes those persons (and dependents) who intend to establish or purchase a substantial interest in a business in Canada creating or maintaining employment for more than one Canadian citizen.

Ethnic Group

Refers to a group of people having a common heritage or ancestry, or a shared historical past, often with identifiable physical, cultural, linguistic and/or religious characteristics.

Ethnicity

The multiplicity of beliefs, behaviors and traditions held in common by a group of people bound by particular linguistic, historical, geographical, religious and/or racial homogeneity. Ethnic diversity is the variation of such groups and the presence of a number of ethnic groups within one society or nation. The word “ethnic” is often used to denote non-dominant or less powerful cultural identities in Canada.

Family Class
Includes spouses, fiancés, dependent children, and parents or grandparents sponsored by a Canadian citizen.

First Nations

One of the three distinct cultural groups of Aboriginal Peoples. There are 633 First Nations Bands, representing 52 nations or cultural groups, and more than 50 languages. Most individuals prefer to be referred to by their specific nation e.g. Cree, Dene, Black Foot, etc. (AFN).

Immigrant

One who moves from his/her native country to another with the intention of settling for the purpose of forging a better life or for better opportunities. This may be for a variety of personal, political, religious, social or economic reasons. The word is sometimes used incorrectly to refer, implicitly or explicitly, to people of colour or with non-dominant ethnicities.

Independent Classes
Include those classes of immigrant who do not require sponsorship in Canada.

Integration

A dynamic, two-way process in which newcomers and the receiving society work together to build secure, vibrant and cohesive communities. Integration is the third step in the settlement process, after Settlement and Adaptation. People who are integrated often still retain their cultural identity, unlike those who are assimilated. 

Investor Class
Includes those persons (and dependents) with a proven track record and substantial net worth who are willing to make a large investment for at least three years in specified activities that will contribute to the creation or continuation of employment opportunities in Canada.

Landed Immigrant
Immigrants who are granted permanent resident status in Canada, and who have actually entered Canada.

Minority Group

Refers to a group of people within a society that is either small in numbers or that has little or no access to social, economic, political or religious power. In Canada, refers to the diverse ethno-racial identities that are not of the dominant white group. In some areas, they are not always in the minority numerically, such as Markham, Ontario, or Richmond, BC. The term “visible minority” is commonly used in multicultural marketing practices and by Statistics Canada.

Newcomer: An immigrant or refugee in the initial years after arrival. Often used in multicultural marketing to describe those who are still in the discovery and settlement phase.

Native

People born in the place to which reference is being made. This term is somewhat ambiguous because of claims by many people of immigrant ancestry who have been born in North America to be “native” Canadians or Americans. The capitalization of the word is usually what distinguishes its application to Aboriginal peoples from the more general usage.

Other Independents
Includes those persons selected on the basis of the “point system”, which measures the potential for successful establishment in Canada.

Pacific Rim

generally used to describe the countries which boarder the Pacific Ocean and the island countries situated in it. In the post—World War II era, the Pacific Rim has become an increasingly important and interconnected economic region. The economic growth of the west coast of the United States has coincided with Japan’s emergence as an economic superpower and with the rise of highly developed industrial economies in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea. Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong are all world financial centers.

Punjab

Punjab (Punjabi: ਪੰਜਾਬ) is a state in northwest India. The Indian state borders the Pakistani province of Punjab to the west, Jammu and Kashmir to the north, Himachal Pradesh to the northeast, Haryana to the south and southeast, Chandigarh to the southeast and Rajasthan to the southwest.

Retired Class
For immigration purposes a retiree is an independent immigrant (i.e. without sponsorship) 55 year or older with sufficient funds to maintain an adequate life style without government aid while living in Canada. This class has been eliminated in August 1991. Current landings in this class were immigrants who started the application process prior to the removal of this class.

Self Employed Class
Includes those persons (and dependents) who intend to establish a business in Canada that will employ him/herself, and will make a significant contribution to the economy.

Visible Minority

Term used in Canada’s Employment Equity Act to describe non-dominant groups who are not White. Although it is a legal term widely used in human rights legislation and various policies, currently the terms racialized minority or people of colour are preferred by people labelled by others to be “visible minorities”