Exploring Early Cultural and Economic Adaptation Process of the Newcomers in Michener Park, Edmonton, Alberta
During the summer of 2013, our ESPC Social Justice Intern HM Ashraf Ali conducted a qualitative research project on social, economic and cultural barriers that are preventing newcomers in our city from realizing their full potential and living an enjoyable life in Canada. In this report, Mr. Ali discusses the findings of his research project, providing readers with detailed information about the challenges that these individuals face after arriving in Canada.
Abstract: Using ethnographic data, this study reports on the early sociocultural and economic experiences of the Bangladesh immigrant and non-immigrant families living in the Michener Park area in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Research findings show that newcomers experienced a wide range of social and economic constraints during their initial stage of sociocultural and economic adaptation to life in Edmonton. Lack of English language proficiency, Canadian job experience, or lack of Canadian education and training facilities, and nature of residency status in Canada led these newcomers to experience economic hardship in the earliest months of their new life in Canada. The aim of this research, therefore, was to examine: (a) why do these people come to Canada and what social and economic experiences have they had while living in Edmonton? (b) What barriers do they encounter that prevent them from obtaining their preferred job, how does this affect their household income and how do they manage to survive? This paper summarizes the responses of the newcomers who agreed to participate in this research project. The paper concludes with policy recommendations made by participants that could help newcomers overcome existing job barriers for the immigrant and non-immigrant families living in Edmonton.