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TORONTO-39.JPG

People congregate in Nathan Phillips Square, outside Toronto City Hall, Monday, April 22, 2024.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

TORONTO-39.JPG

People congregate in Nathan Phillips Square, outside Toronto City Hall, Monday, April 22, 2024.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The immigrant experience in Canada

People congregate in Nathan Phillips Square, outside Toronto City Hall, Monday, April 22, 2024.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

   

Nearly half of Toronto’s 2.7 million population identifies as immigrants.

As the United States doubles down on restrictive immigration policies, particularly around asylum, Canada is viewed as the friendlier neighbor where politicians describe immigrants as a possible solution to labor shortages.

But Canada now faces immigration problems too — a housing crunch and a rising cost of living. The government has made policy changes aimed at reducing the influx of temporary foreign workers and international students.

This spring, the Chicago Sun-Times traveled to Toronto to explore how the country’s approach to immigration differs from the U.S., where it is a highly debated and politicized issue.

[Read The Sun-Times’ special report — “Why we traveled to Toronto to learn about immigration?” — at suntimes.com]

🎧In this WBEZ Reset conversation, Sasha-Ann Simons talks to:

  • Elvia Malagón, who reports on social justice, immigration and income inequality for the Sun-Times and traveled to Toronto for this project, along with photographer Ashlee Rezin. Malagón shares how Canada’s approach to immigrants and migrants differs than the U.S., particularly around how it shelters asylum seekers and the role nonprofits play in that, and how skilled workers can get express access to work permits and citizenship. She also explains the particular challenges newcomers are facing in Toronto and what lessons Chicago and the U.S. might learn.

The story is part of the Democracy Solutions Project, a collaboration among WBEZ, the Chicago Sun-Times and the University of Chicago’s Center for Effective Government, with funding support from the Pulitzer Center. Our goal is to help our community of listeners and readers engage with the democratic functions in their lives and cast an informed ballot in the November 2024 election.

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