Stay Awake Campaign | Isolation: How to be better allies for precarious migrant youth

This content is part of our #StayAwakeCampaign.
See other contents and learn more »

Click on the images to enlarge them and access the gallery

Feelings of isolation is common amongst migrant youth during the settlement process in Canada. Oftentimes, newcomer youth go through a process of adaptation of cultural identity. Developing this “balanced” identity within multiple cultures could potentially be a source of vulnerability as newcomer youth are also dealing with migration stress, marginalization and sometimes trauma. Traffickers use this time to form a psychological bond with youth and provide a false sense of security and comfort.

It is important for service providers and community members to create a safe space of diversity and freedom of expression to reinforce a positive acculturation experience for newcomer and migrant youth.

How can service providers be better allies for newcomer and migrant youth?

  • Create programming and volunteer opportunities for non-status youth
  • Offer cash honorariums
  • Encourage youth forward towards pathways of regularization and establishment in Canada.
  • Collaborate and connect with other organization that don’t have a status requirement.
  • Raise awareness about rights
  • Promote a space of diversity, freedom of expression, inclusivity, and representation.
  • Don’t ask about immigration status, unless it is a condition of service.
  • Provide translated information about essential services (housing, physical and mental healthcare, education etc.) in other languages
  • Stay informed about options in the community, to conduct appropriate referrals when necessary.

How can community members be better allies for newcomer and migrant youth?

  • Encourage and challenge your friends to learn more about the challenges that newcomer and migrant youth face in Canada.
  • Become aware of discriminatory practices, and work towards creating a more inclusive society starting in your home.
  • If you see someone struggling to communicate in English, and you know how to speak their native tongue, do the most you can to support them.
  • Be patient and understanding when someone is trying to communicate with you.
  • Discover and learn about what your community is doing to support newcomers and see how you could support them.
  • Become aware what organizations in your community are doing to support newcomers and connect people in your circle to those resources.
  • Speak up when you see a newcomer or migrant youth being discriminated against.
  • If entrusted with the knowledge of a friend or community member’s lack of immigration status, ask them what you can do to help. Most importantly, always respect the privacy of this information.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be a victim of forced labour or sex please contact the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-900-1010.