Immigrants asked about experiences with discrimination

As the number of local newcomers increases, Lambton County is striving to become a more inclusive and welcoming community.

The Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership (SL-LIP) is working with Western University to gather information from those who have experienced discrimination.

SL-LIP program coordinator Stephanie Ferrera said those interested will be asked to participate in a 90-minute virtual interview.

She said it was part of a province-wide initiative.

“I don’t think it’s more important than it was years ago, I just think people are willing to talk about it more,” Ferreira said. “They were willing to share their experiences. We had members of the community who came forward and wanted to share how they were dealing with the challenges they were facing. We had a number of programs in place to address racism and discrimination. So, I think we’re now more open to having conversations .”

Participation is entirely voluntary and information provided will be kept confidential, Ferreira said.

“Those who participate, they can be invited or volunteer, whereas last time it was more of a random selection,” she said. “We offer a gift card to participating Tim Hortons or Walmarts. The interview itself takes an hour to an hour and a half, so it’s a pretty big commitment.”

Immigration on the ground is changing, Ferreira said, but it’s always been a revolving door.

“A few years ago, when we were doing the Syrian resettlement program, we’ve had a lot of families from Ukraine recently. Overall, the biggest influx of immigrants we’ve seen is international students coming to study at Lambton College.”

A short pre-screening questionnaire can be found here:

Those who have questions about the study, or would like to discuss the purpose of the study further, can contact lead researcher Victoria Esses at [email protected]

Meanwhile, a total of 363 people completed a similar survey in March 2021.

About 66 percent of respondents experienced some form of discrimination in the past three years, an average of 4.4 times.

Inappropriate jokes were the most common form of discrimination (54%), followed by derogatory language (46%) and name-calling (32%). Discrimination is most likely to occur in schools, shops or social settings.

The survey found that most victims responded using “passive coping skills” and accepted their experiences as what they were.

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