International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies (WCILCOS) (5th : 2012)

Multi-stream flows reshape Chinese communities in Canada : a human capital perspective Zhang, Kenny 2012-05

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.

Item Metadata


59585-Zhang_K_WCILCOS2012.pdf [ 996.64kB ]
JSON: 59585-1.0103080.json
JSON-LD: 59585-1.0103080-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 59585-1.0103080-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 59585-1.0103080-rdf.json
Turtle: 59585-1.0103080-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 59585-1.0103080-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 59585-1.0103080-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

Multi-stream Flows Reshape Chinese Communities in Canada: A Human Capital Perspective  Kenny Zhang Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada  Presentation to The 5th WCILCOS International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies – Chinese through the Americas  May 16-19, 2012, UBC, Vancouver  Multi-stream Flows Reshape Chinese Communities in Canada: A Human Capital Perspective1  Introduction The contemporary movement of people from China to Canada has a variety of implications for transforming the Chinese communities in Canada. The importance of Chinese communities in Canada has been underestimated for a long time. Chinese immigrants, like all immigrants, have traditionally been seen as suppliers of needed manpower. Too often when people try to measure the contribution of Chinese communities to Canada, they will talk about their higher unemployment numbers, lower earnings and lower tax contributions. Grubel and Grady (2012), for example, point out that immigrants (including Chinese and all others) who arrived in Canada between 1987 and 2004 received about $6,000 more in government services per immigrant in 2005 than they paid in taxes. They conclude these immigrants impose a huge fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers of between $16 billion and $23 billion annually.2 Reitz (2011), however, describes the problem of “brain waste” of immigrants in Canada, which costs Canada at least $3 billion a year, not to mention the ruined dreams of the immigrants themselves.3 Many also talk about the concentration of Chinese communities in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, or about the perception that they may not integrate fully into Canadian society.4 In fact, the image of Chinese Canadians today is vastly different than it was in the last two centuries when Chinese immigrants were stereotyped as railway coolies, laundrymen and waiters. What the Chinese Canadian community looks like today is as diversified as Canadian society is as a whole. The current movement of people from China to Canada has also significant implications for bilateral relations between the two countries. Woo and Wang (2009) argue the flow of people between the two countries will be increasingly characterized by two-way movements and by transnational citizens with business, personal, and  1  This work was carried out with the aid of grants from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, and the Province of British Columbia, Victoria, under the auspices of the Canada-China Human Capital Dialogue. 2 Grubel and Grady, 2012. 3 Reitz, 2011. 4 Examples refer to works by Johnson, 1979; Guo and DeVoretz, 2006.  1  emotional attachments on both sides of the Pacific Ocean. They further suggest that this nexus of human capital is a unique focal point in relations between Ottawa and Beijing.5 Zhang (2011a) illustrates some of the trends that have emerged in the flow of people between the two countries and discusses its impact on bilateral relations.6 Zhang (2011b) suggests that the Chinese communities in Canada and Canadians in China can form the basis for building stronger relations between Canada and China.7 Li (2011) examines the supply of human capital from China to Canada since the 1990s and discovers that Canada saved about $2.2 billion in education-related expenses by accepting immigrations from China with university degrees between 1991 and 2000. Li further points out that the Canada’s gain in human capital from China is discounted because a university degree held by men and women born in the PRC is not regarded as highly as a degree held by other Canadians.8 China became a major source of immigrants, international students and visitors to Canada at the turn of the 21st century. The human capital exchanges through the multi-stream flows have the potential to affect Canada-China relations in ways that generally are not well understood. This paper provides an overview of the multi-stream flows of people between China and Canada and illustrates how Chinese communities in Canada have been reshaped as a result. Looking through the lens of the human capital exchange, this study will examine some of the key policy implications of this migration in the shaping of Canada-China relations this century.  Overview of Multi-stream Flows Under Canada’s current visa provisions, Chinese nationals may come to Canada either as permanent immigrants or temporary residents/visitors. Although the two groups are mutually exclusive at the time they first enter Canada, the two categories often become blurred later on, as some of the temporary entrants switch to become permanent residents.  5  Woo and Wang, 2009. Zhang, 2011a. 7 Zhang, 2011b. 8 Li, 2011. 6  2  1. Immigrants Since 2002, Canada’s immigration program has been based on regulations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). The IRPA defines three basic categories of permanent residents: reuniting families, contributing to economic development and protecting refugees.9 Each of the categories corresponds to major program objectives. In the first decade of the 21st century, Canada welcomed nearly 2.5 million immigrants from around the world. During this period China was the leading source country, with 337,317 immigrants or 14 percent of the total, followed by India with11 percent and the Philippines with 8 percent.10 Historically, Chinese immigration to Canada dates to 1788 when the first Chinese settled in Canada. 11 But their number declined precipitously under the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, also known as the Chinese Exclusion Act, which prohibited Chinese citizens from immigrating to Canada. In this way, the Chinese were the only ethnic group discriminated against in Canadian history. It was not until 1947 that Canada repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act. And it took another twenty years after that — with the adoption of a points system — that the Chinese were admitted under the same criteria used to accept international applicants from all nations.12 It was not until the 1980s, however, that the number of Chinese immigrants to Canada started to grow significantly. Since 1989, the number of new immigrants each year from the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) has nearly tripled, growing from less than 10,000 a year to a peak of over 40,000 in 2005. That pace slowed to 30,000 a year from 2006-2011, but overall, the PRC has been the top source country of immigrants to Canada between 1998 and 2009 and is currently the third-largest source country of immigrants to Canada overall (see Figure 1).13  9  CIC, 2011. CIC, 2011. 11 CBC News Online, June 10, 2004. 12 UBC Library, Online; Lee, 1984; CCNC Toronto, Online; Li, 1998; 2005. 13 CIC, various years. 10  3  Figure 1:  Source: CIC, 2010.  2. International Students The number of Chinese students coming to Canada has grown significantly from just a few hundred a year in the mid-1990s to close to 10,000 a year in the early 2000s. By December 2010, 56,906 Chinese students were studying in Canada, up from just a couple of thousand in the mid-1990s.14 Today Chinese students make up 19 percent of Canada’s annual intake of international students, up from 10 percent in 2000, making China the largest source of international students in Canada. Currently nearly one in four foreign students in Canada is from China. Figure 2:  14  Figure 3:  CIC, 2011.  4  3. Foreign Workers Canada established the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program in January 1973, which was initially targeted at specific groups such as academics, business executives and engineers — in other words, people with highly specialized skills that were not available in Canada.15 Historically, Canada has brought in temporary foreign workers from countries ranging from the United States and the Philippines to France, Australia and the United Kingdom. China has not been on the list of major source countries for a long time but their numbers have been rising steadily over the last decade, doubling from 1,166 to 2,393. This trend was driven not only by the needs of Canada’s labour market, but also due to the growing number of Chinese investments in Canada and an emerging group of Chinese expats who work for Chinese multinational corporations.16 The exact number of Chinese expatriates in Canada remains unknown, but the total stock of temporary workers from the PRC dramatically increased from 1,338 to 12,063 over the same decade, putting China in eighth place today. Temporary workers from China represent nearly four percent of the total number of foreign workers in Canada. Figure 4: Figure 5:  4. Tourists Trips to Canada from the PRC grew at an average rate of 12.2 percent year-overyear between 2000 and 2011, rising from a total of 78,000 to 248,000. (The exception was in 2003, when the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS  15  Nakache and Kinoshita, 2010. In addition to the TFW program, there are other provisions including multilateral arrangement such as GATS and NAFTA, which allow foreign workers to enter Canada on a temporary basis. 16 The Economist, 2010.  5  curtailed much international travel.) The Chinese tourism market holds tremendous growth potential for Canada’s economy under the Approved Destination Status (ADS). 17 Canada is now welcoming group tours from China along with business and individual travelers. In the first 12 months after China implemented ADS for Canada, or from June 2010 to May 2011, tourist arrivals from China increased by 25.8 percent on a year-overyear basis. Arrivals from China over the first 11 months of 2011 were 50 percent higher than the same pre-ADS period in 2009. China is currently the fourth biggest contributor of tourists in Canada, up from sixth place in 2010. 18 Figure 6:  17  The ADS scheme is a bilateral tourism arrangement that facilitates travel by Chinese tour groups to other countries. The ADS was granted to Canada in June 2010 and the first flights from China to Canada started arriving in August 2010. To date, China has granted 135 countries and regions ADS. 18 CTC, 2012.  6  Table 1: The flow of people from China to Canada at the turn of the 21st century 2000  2001  2002  2003  2004  2005  2006  2007  2008  2009  2010  36,750  40,365  33,304  36,251  36,429  42,292  33,078  27,013  29,337  29,051  30,197  16.2  16.1  14.5  16.4  15.5  16.1  13.1  11.4  11.9  11.5  10.8  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  3  6,687  11,446  11,811  10,140  7,458  7,432  8,988  10,037  13,685  16,401  17,934  9.7  14.2  15.4  14.6  11.3  11.0  12.5  13.6  17.2  19.3  18.7  Rank  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  2  1  1  Stock  11,055  20,372  29,744  36,544  39,215  39,502  39,775  41,044  42,124  49,907  56,906  9.7  14.9  19.8  22.9  23.8  23.7  23.4  23.4  23.7  25.5  26.1  3  2  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1,166  1,193  1,314  1,128  1,289  1,406  1,698  2,657  2,321  2,271  2,393  Immigrants Arrival Share (%) Rank International Students Annual Entry Share (%)  Share (%) Rank Foreign Workers Annual Entry Share (%)  1  1  1.2  1.1  1.2  1.2  1.2  1.6  1.2  1.3  1.3  Rank  12  13  12  13  14  15  14  12  15  15  14  Stock  1,338  1,574  1,801  1,927  2,393  3,048  4,182  6,618  8,518  10,629  12,063  Share (%)  1.5  1.6  1.8  1.8  1.9  2.2  2.6  3.3  3.4  3.8  4.3  Rank  14  12  11  11  11  11  11  11  9  8  8  Visit (1,000)  74  82  95  77  95  113  139  151  159  160  193  Share of top 15 origins (%)  0.4  0.4  0.5  0.5  0.5  0.6  0.8  0.9  1  1.1  1.3  Rank  14  14  13  12  12  10  9  9  9  8  7  Tourists  Source: CIC, Facts and Figures 2008; 2010. Statistics Canada, Travelers to Canada by country of origin, top 15 countries of origin (2000-2010). Statistics Canada, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics.  7  5. Transition from Temporary to Permanent Residents Canada’s immigration system is shifting towards encouraging immigration by young, bilingual, highly skilled immigrants that can help the country replace its aging labour force. In order to attract migrants with the right skills, Canada is opening its doors to more and more temporary workers. The federal government has granted exclusive eligibility to 29 different occupations under the federal skilled worker program and devolved responsibility for immigrant selection to the provinces.19 In 1998, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was introduced to give provinces a mechanism with which to respond to economic development needs at the local level. PNP has grown a great deal since then, and in 2010 represented 20 percent of the total economic class of immigrants, up from 0.8 percent in 2001.20 In September 2008, Canada introduced a new Canadian Experience Class (CEC),21 which aims to make Canada more competitive in attracting and retaining individuals with the skills the country needs. A total of 6,462 immigrants were selected under the CEC designation during the first two years of the program, making up 1.9 percent of all economic related immigration during the same period. These programs have paved the way for some immigrants initially classified as temporary to shift their status to permanent residents.22 From 2001 to 2010, Canada welcomed over 768,000 international students from around the world, of whom over 114,000 were from China (see Table 2). During the same period, more than 83,000 international students made the transition to permanent resident status and 14,000 Chinese students became permanent residents of Canada. The probability of making the leap to permanent resident during that time period was 11 percent for all international student groups and 12 percent for those from the PRC. The majority of 70 percent Chinese students succeeded to permanent residents were gone through the economic classes, including the skilled workers program (41 percent). Chinese students made up 58% of all CEC participants during the first two years of the program. Similarly, the probability of Chinese temporary workers making the transition to permanent residents is also high. Of the 1.4 million foreign workers entering Canada between 2001 and 2010, 17,000 were from China. During the same period, of the 19  Reitz, 2011; Challinor, 2011. Challinor, 2011. 21 The Canadian Experience Class is a new category of immigration for temporary foreign worker and foreign student graduates with professional, managerial and skilled work experience in Canada. Unlike other programs, the Canadian Experience Class allows an applicant’s experience in Canada to be considered a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada. (CIC, 2008) 22 For more details about these programs, please refer to CIC, 2010; CIC, 2011b. 20  8  186,000 foreign workers who became permanent residents in Canada, more than 13,000 were from China. Indeed, nearly 79 percent of the temporary workers from China were granted permanent residency during that period, compared with just 13 percent for workers of other nationalities. And 90 percent of the Chinese workers who were admitted as permanent residents were gone through the economic classes, dominantly by the skilled workers program (36 percent). Finally, Chinese workers made up one-third of all the immigrants who entered Canada under the CEC program. Table 2: Transition from Temporary to Permanent Resident Status (2001-2010 Aggregated) Entry as Temporary Foreign Workers  Entry as Foreign Students From China  From all Sources  Share of Chinese  From China  From all Sources  Share of Chinese  114,275  768,218  15  17,480  1,425,330  1  14,240  83,674  17  13,845  186,635  7  12%  11%  79%  13%  9,985  63,327  16  12,310  138,811  9  5,770  29,989  19  4,980  47,257  11  Provincial/Territorial Nominees (PA)  185  745  25  2,940  23,566  12  Canadian Experience Class (PA)**  110  191  58  1,435  3,774  38  3,875  32,315  12  2,885  64,214  4  3,665  17,298  21  1,470  46,186  3  605  3,049  20  55  1,638  3  Total Entries as Temporary Residents Total Transitions to Permanent Residents Probability of Transition Immigration Category Economic Immigrants Skilled Workers (PA)  Other Economic Immigrants* Family Class Refugees and Others  Notes: PA - Principal applicants. Due to privacy considerations, the figures in this table have been subjected to random rounding. As a result of random rounding, data may not add up to the totals indicated. * Includes spouses and dependants. ** Aggregate data from 2009 and 2010. Source: CIC, RDM, Facts and Figures 2010. Data request tracking number: RE-12.0382.  Re-Shaping Chinese Communities Accelerated globalization and international migration have reshaped diaspora communities in many host countries. In Canada, the multi-stream flows from China are re-shaping the diversity of Chinese communities in the same way as it does for the entire Canadian society.  9  1. Diversified Chinese Communities The Canadian Census (2006) reported that over 1.3 million people in Canada claim their ethnic origin as Chinese.23 This makes the Chinese community the eighth-largest ethnic group in Canada and the largest of Asian origin. However, the Chinese community in Canada has changed, is changing, and will continue to change in many ways that will ultimately have an impact on Canada-China relations. There is no longer a homogenous Chinese community in Canada. Differences in demographic background, human capital endowment, and migration experience have all contributed to the diversity of Canada’s Chinese communities. People of Chinese ethnic origin are not necessarily newcomers to Canada. Some of them were born in Canada and their families may have lived in Canada for more than two generations. And within the Chinese community, Canada-born Chinese (CBC) has become a significant group. The 2006 Canadian Census reported that 27.4 percent of respondents who claimed they were ethnic Chinese were born in Canada. It also found that 14.3 percent were second generation and 2.3 percent were third generation or more, even if the majority, or 83.4 percent, were first-generation Canadians.24 In addition, 77 percent of the Chinese population holds Canadian citizenship only. Five percent possess both Canadian and at least one other citizenship, and another 18 percent had not yet become Canadian citizens. Ethnic Chinese groups also may have achieved different levels of fluency in Canada’s two official languages. The census found that nearly 86 percent had some knowledge of English, French or both. Only 14 percent claimed they had no knowledge of English or French. Nearly one in five ethnic Chinese reported English or French as their mother tongue. Seventy-nine percent indicated neither English nor French was their mother tongue. One third reported they spoke English or French most often at home, with about 60 percent saying they spoke other languages most often at home. The number of respondents with a Chinese language as their mother tongue grew from less than 100,000 in 1971 to nearly 900,000 in 2001 and over one million in 2006. However, the respondents who reported a Chinese language as their mother tongue may actually speak different dialects. In the 2006 census, Chinese languages were 23  Statistics Canada, 2006 Census data products. Ethnic origin refers to the ethnic or cultural origin of a respondent's ancestors, as defined by the 2006 census. The 2006 census also reported 17,705 Taiwanese and 4,275 Tibetans. The 2011 census results related to this breakdown were not available at the time this paper was prepared. 24 Ibid. First generation refers to persons born outside of Canada. Second generation refers to persons born inside Canada with at least one parent born outside of Canada. Third generation refers to persons born inside Canada with both parents born inside Canada.  10  broken down into seven major languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Taiwanese, Chaochow (Teochow), Fukien and Shanghainese, as well as a residual category (Chinese languages not otherwise specified). Chinese immigrants may also be admitted to Canada under three streams: an economic one, based on human capital facts; a kinship one, the “family reunification” program; and a humanitarian one, the refugee acceptance program. Currently, 73 percent of immigrants to Canada from the PRC are admitted as economic immigrants, including skilled workers, professionals, investors and entrepreneurs. Nearly one in five immigrants from China is gaining entry as a relative of family members who already live in Canada. By contrast, only a small margin is being admitted to Canada on humanitarian grounds. Less than 30 years ago, immigrants from the PRC were mainly relatives of people who had already emigrated to Canada, or over 90 percent of the total (see Figure 3). Recently, a growing number of international students and temporary workers from China to Canada have added to the diversity of local Chinese communities. Figure 7:  Sources: Wang and Lo, 2005; CIC, Facts and Figures, 2001; 2002; 2010. * Includes all residual categories.  Chinese immigrants to Canada come from various source countries or regions. According to the 2006 census, nearly half of the Chinese immigrants arrived in Canada from the PRC (49 percent), and 23 percent come from Hong Kong. Others came from the Caribbean and Bermuda, the Philippines, India and other Asian countries. Ethnic 11  Chinese are most visible in the provinces of British Columbia (10 percent), Ontario (5 percent) and Alberta (4 percent). In other parts of Canada, the odds of seeing a Chinese person are close to or less than one in a hundred. Chinese are concentrated in major cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and more recently, Calgary. To sum up, the image of Chinese Canadians today is vastly different than it was in the last two centuries when Chinese immigrants were stereotyped as railway coolies, laundrymen and waiters. Hollywood exaggerated the stereotype with movies about opium dens, celestials in pig-tails with knives hidden up their silk sleeves, slant-eyed beauties with bound feet and ancient love potions. 25 What the Chinese Canadian community looks like today is as diversified as Canadian society is as a whole.  2. Human Capital Exchange By 2010, the number of permanent and temporary international migrants worldwide reached an estimated 215 million. Of those, a significant number were highly skilled people including university students, nurses, IT specialists, researchers, executives, managers, and intra-company transferees. In OECD countries alone, there are more than 20 million highly skilled immigrants in 2010.26 Nowadays, the highly skilled are more likely than the less skilled to move across national borders. Docquier and Rapoport (2005) have estimated that the worldwide average emigration rates amounted to 1.1 percent for the low skilled, 1.8 percent for the medium skilled and 5.4 percent for the high skilled workers in 2000. Between 1990 and 2000 they estimated that the worldwide average rate of emigration of skilled and medium-skilled workers had risen by 0.4 percentage points, against decrease of 0.1 percentage points for low-skilled workers.27 Today, the flow of people between China and Canada has become varied and complex, reflecting the changing economic and social circumstances of the two economies, the evolving relationship between Beijing and Ottawa, and priorities in immigration and visa policies in each country. China’s development strategy is undergoing major changes, shifting from low-end manufacturing towards greater investment in education, science and technology, and research and development. In line with the Chinese government’s objective to transform its economic growth model, the National Medium- and Long-term Talent Development Plan was developed to create a  25  Lee, 1984:178. The World Bank, 2010; Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, 2005; University of Sussex, 2007. 27 Docquier and Marfouk, 2005. 26  12  highly skilled national workforce by 2020. Programs such as the Thousand Talents Program, will help China become one of the magnets attracting international talent including Canadians. Canada is changing too. The Canadian economy and its international competitiveness increasingly rely on the country’s capacity for innovation. The Canadian population is aging and immigration is increasingly becoming a major source of labour in the workforce growth. Shifts in Canada’s immigration policy have been made to attract top talent from around the world, allowing foreigners to study, visit, work and immigrate to Canada. In the contexts of human flows between China and Canada, Li’s (2011) finding that Canada saved about $2.2 billion in education-related expenses by accepting immigrations from China with university degrees between 1991 and 2000, is a classic example of the kinds of human capital links that exist between countries sending and accepting immigrants. Nevertheless, the multi-stream flows have painted more complicated pictures of human capital linkages between the two countries. China constitutes an important source of international brain flow to meet Canada’s human resource needs. Between 2001 and 2010, China supplied a total of 5,470 PhDs, 34,760 people with Masters degrees and nearly 100,000 university graduates to Canada.28 Chinese immigrants have dominated the increase of foreign-born PhDs in Canada, outnumbering the U.S. and U.K., the two dominant sources prior to 1981. The U.S. share went from a high of 24% during the 1971-1980 period to a low of 6% over the 19912000 period, while China’s share went up from a low of 2% to a high of 25%.29 In the past decade, China supplied nearly 70,000 professionals from all occupations; 25,000 managers including 2,400 senior ones; and 14,000 skilled workers and technicians.30 Diversified Chinese communities play a crucial role in the accumulation of human capital for Canada and will continue to do so for many future generations. This is particularly true in terms of teachers at Canadian schools and universities. On the one hand, staff of Chinese origin represented the largest minority group, 28.2 percent of all minority faculty or 4.2 percent of the total Canadian university staff as of 2006.31 And as of September 2010, of the 1,845 Canada Research Chair positions, nearly 100 or 5 percent identified as Chinese, including those from the PRC, HKSAR and Taiwan.32 On the other hand, children from Chinese families have the highest university completion rate (62 percent) among 25-to-34-year-olds in 2006, compared to 24 percent of children  28  CIC, 2011. Gluszynski and Peters, 2005. 30 CIC, 2011. 31 CAUT, 2011. 32 Zha, 2012 29  13  of Canadian born families.33 Like other Canadians, Chinese children typically select four areas as their major fields of study in post-secondary education: business, management and public administration; architecture, engineering and related technologies; health, parks, recreation and fitness; social and behavioral sciences, and law.34 The various skills that Chinese immigrants, students and temporary workers contribute to Canadian economy are well documented. For example, the 2006 census reported that Chinese are more likely to work in occupations related to applied sciences and business, such as natural and applied sciences and related occupations; processing, manufacturing and utilities; business, finance and administrative occupations and sales and service. Perhaps not surprisingly, Chinese are more visible than average Canadians in accommodation and food services (restaurant jobs); professional, scientific and technical services (accountants and lawyers); finance and insurance (bank jobs); manufacturing (general labour) and wholesale trade (import and export). However, Chinese are less likely than average Canadians to work in construction, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; health care, social assistance, and public administration. Similarly, it is often reported in the Chinese media that Chinese immigrant communities have experienced significate upward skill mobility from traditional Three Knives (A kitchen knife, Tailor scissors, Shaving knife) to the more modern professions of (lawyers, engineers, doctors, accountants, senior technicians and university professors).35 There are many other contributions that Chinese communities make, however, that are less well-known. Despite financial funds that business immigrants contribute upon admission to Canada,36 their entrepreneurship and international business skills are less appreciated. From 2001 to 2010, over 52,000 business immigrants arrived from China to Canada but it has been difficult for many of them to figure out how to connect with local business partners, vice versa. The business benefits of diaspora networks have been observed by many.37 The transnational networks can have the same effects for the host societies. As an essay in The Economist (2010) pointed out, in the case of the U.S., immigration provides legions of unofficial ambassadors, deal-brokers, recruiters and boosters. Immigrants not only bring the best ideas from around the world to North American shores; but they are also  33  Garnett and Hou, 2011. Statistics Canada, 2006 Census. 35 “三把刀”(菜刀、剪刀、剃刀)变为“六个师”(律师、工程师、医师、会计师、高级技师和 大学教师). Xinhua News, 2007;, 2012. 36 About 120,000 business immigrants landed in Greater Vancouver from 1980- 2001. These immigrants brought to Vancouver total funds of $35-40 billion (Ley, 2011). th 37 The Economist, Nov 19 2011. 34  14  a conduit for spreading American ideas and ideals in their homelands, thus increasing the “soft power” of their adoptive country.38 The same holds true for Canada. Transnational links also take place in knowledge sharing and innovation. As The Economist also pointed out that in Silicon Valley, more than half of all Chinese and Indian scientists and engineers reported having shared information about technology and business opportunities with people in their native countries. At the same time, as people in emerging markets continue to innovate, North America will find it ever more useful to have so many citizens who can tap into the latest information from cities like Mumbai and Shanghai.39 In Lin, Guan and Nicholson’s study (2008), the authors identify specific roles of internationally educated Chinese transnational entrepreneurs in linking Canada and China in innovation activities. Their study finds that the innovation links established and maintained by Chinese transnational entrepreneurs who concurrently engage in business in Canada and China, but keep Canada as home base.40 Furthermore, the local knowledge immigrants have of their home countries reduces the cost of doing business for the U.S. and Canadian firms.41  Conclusion: Changing Games in the 21st Century The turn of the 21st century witnessed an increasing flow of people moving from China to Canada. Greater freedom of movement in and out of China and the growing affluence of Chinese citizens is rapidly changing the pattern of people flows and broadening them to include tourists, students and professional workers. These game-changing dynamics have transformed the Chinese communities in Canada and broadened public policy implications. What the Chinese Canadian community looks like today is as diversified as Canadian society is as a whole Despite its visibility and diversity, the majority of Canadians of Chinese origin feel a strong sense of belonging to Canada. In 2002, 76 percent of those who reported Chinese origins said they had a strong sense of belonging to Canada. At the same time, 58 percent said they had a strong sense of belonging to their ethnic or cultural group. Canadians of Chinese origin also actively participate in Canadian society. For example, 64 percent of those who were eligible to vote reported doing so in the 2000 federal election, while 60 percent said they voted in the last provincial election. In addition,  38  nd  The Economist, Apr 22 2010. nd Ibid, Apr 22 2010. 40 Lin, Guan, and Nicholson, 2008. nd 41 Ibid, Apr 22 2010. 39  15  about 35 percent reported that they had participated in an organization such as a sports team or community association.42 Major-General Victor G. Odlum (1880-1971), who during his career served as Canada’s ambassador to China, once called for the day when Chinese Canadians would “not be distinguished from other Canadians.” That wish remains as relevant today as it was during Odlum’s lifetime.43 While the scale of the people flow is growing, the real focal point is the exchange of human capital. It is likely to continue to be a central part of policy discussion in the future. One layer of the policy issue is obviously related to visa and immigration programs. However the exchange of human capital between the two countries requires more policy thinking than that. Canada needs a smarter, more proactive and collaborative approach in addressing this exchange of human capital in the 21st century. A smarter policy will ensure that Canada brings in international talent of all kinds for the benefit of all Canadians.44 A more proactive approach would help Canada be prepared for broader human capital issues. For instance, when Canada welcomes newcomers, it should also embrace its own diaspora, especially when they return.45 There is a need for a welcome package designed for returning Canadians, including things such as re-settlement services and international credential recognition.46 The most challenging area perhaps is collaborating with Chinese counterparts. There is notable friction in a wide range of issues related to human capital exchange between the two countries. Canada recognizes dual citizenship, but China doesn’t, which has already caused tensions in the implementation of the Consular Agreement.47 There is a tax treaty between Ottawa and Beijing for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.48 However, bilateral agreements on social security (especial the employment insurance and pension arrangements)49 and health care have not yet been achieved, both of which are critical. In China, the internationalization of skills and experiences is highly valued, while  42  Lindsay, 2001. Lee, 1984:169. 44 Papademetriou, 2003; Kuptsch and Pang, 2006. 45 Zhang, 2006; 2007. 46 There was a ‘Brain Gain’ pilot project launched in Ontario in Jan 2011. It is a joint effort by the federal and provincial governments to reverse the brain drain. It is aimed at making it easier for Canadians abroad to bring their skills home and contribute to the Canada of tomorrow (CIC, 2011c). 47 DFAIT, 2007. 48 Department of Finance Canada, Online. 49 Canada has signed social security agreement with 54 countries, but China is not included. Service Canada, Online. 43  16  Canadian employers only look at Canadian credentials and experience. As a result, it is no wonder that there are many agreements or MOUs in science and education collaboration at various levels and fields, while Canada has only one MRA with China for accountants and one with HKSAR for engineers.50 Of all the reasons for Canada to have a robust and forward-looking China policy, people-to-people linkages is arguably the most fundamental. Seen in this light, the nexus of Canada-China human capital is a unique focal point for developing relations between Ottawa and Beijing. While other countries are lining up to sign trade and investment deals with China, Canada can go a step further and investigate the possibility of an agreement on human capital. Such an agreement could encompass issues such as citizenship, visas, education and training, professional accreditation, social security, healthcare, taxation and even extradition. Given the large number of Canadians and Chinese with deep connections across the Pacific, it is a certainty that these bilateral issues will become bigger policy challenges for Beijing and Ottawa in the years ahead. There is an opportunity now to address these issues in a comprehensive way and to turn potential problems into a competitive advantage.  50  CIC, 2012.  17  Reference Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUC), 2011, Almanac of Post Secondary Education 20112012, Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), 2012, Tourism Fact Sheet: CHINA, Vancouver. CBC News. June 10, 2004, “Indepth: China - Chinese Immigration,” (Accessed July 27, 2009). Challinor, A.E 2011, “Canada's Immigration Policy: a Focus on Human Capital,” Country Profiles, Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute, September 2011, China Scholarship Council (CSC), News, Sept. 06, 2011, (Accessed April 18, 2012). China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security, August 15, 2004, “China’s Permanent Resident Administrative Methods” (外国人在中国永久居留审批管理办法), (accessed on July 15, 2009). Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNC Toronto), Online, Chinese Canadian Historical Photo Exhibit,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). CIC, 2008, “Canadian Experience Class now open for business,” News Release, September 5, Ottawa,, (Accessed September. 23, 2009). CIC, 2009, New Citizenship Rules,, (Accessed August 4, 2009) CIC, 2010, Evaluation of the International Student Program, Ottawa CIC, 2011a, Digital Library Facts and Figures 2010: Immigration Overview–Permanent and Temporary Residents, DVD Rom, Ottawa CIC, 2011b, Evaluation of the Provincial Nominee Program, Ottawa CIC, 2012, Strengthening Canada’s Economy: Government of Canada Progress Report 2011 on Foreign Credential Recognition, Ottawa Department of Finance Canada, Online, Canada-China Income Tax Agreement, (Accessed April 18, 2012) Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), 2007, “Statement by Minister MacKay on Huseyincan Celil,” News Releases No. 59 (April 19, 2007). (Accessed April 18, 2012) DeVoretz, D., 2009, “Canada's Secret Province: 2.8 Million Canadians Abroad,” Project Research Paper, Vancouver: Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). Docquier, F. and Marfouk, A., 2005, “International Migration by Educational Attainment (1990-2000) – Release 1.1.,” (Accessed April 18, 2012). Garnett P., and Hou F. 2011, “Preparing for Success in Canada and the United States: The Determinants of Educational Attainment among the Children of Immigrants,” Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, Statistics Canada, Ottawa. Gluszynski, T. and Peters, V. (2005). Survey of Earned Doctorates: A Profile of Doctoral Degree Recipients. Culture, Tourism and the Centre for Education Statistics Research Papers. Statistics Canada,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). Grubel, H., and Grady, P., 2012, “Fiscal Transfers to Immigrants in Canada: Responding to Critics and a Revised Estimate Studies,” in Immigration & Refugee Policy, Vancouver: Fraser Institute,  18 Guo, Shibao, and Don J. DeVoretz. “The Changing Face of Chinese Immigrants in Canada.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 7, No. 3 (June 2006). Heard, Andrew. “Canadian Elections 2008.” (Accessed July 27, 2009)., 2012, Institute of International Education, 2011, Atlas of Student Mobility, 2011,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). Johnson, G. E. 1979, “Chinese Family and Community in Canada: Tradition and Change.” In Two Nations, Many Cultures: Ethnic Groups in Canada, edited by Jean Leonard Elliott. Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice Hall. Kuptsch, C and Pang, E.F., 2006, Competing for Global Talent, Geneva: International Labour Office, Singapore: Singapore Management University. Lee, Wai-man. Portraits of a Challenge: An Illustrated History of the Chinese Canadians. Toronto: The Council of Chinese Canadians in Ontario, 1984. Ley, D., 2011, “Millionaire Migrants: Lessons for Immigration Policy Today,” Presentation at 2011 Metropolis Conference, Vancouver. nd Li, Peter S. 1998, Chinese in Canada, 2 ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press. Li, Peter S. 2005, “The Rise and Fall of Chinese Immigration to Canada: Newcomers from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and Mainland China, 1980-2000.” International Migration 43, No. 3 (August 2005): 9-32. Li, Peter S. 2011, “Immigrants from China to Canada: Issues of Supply and Demand in Human Capital,” in Potter, P. and Adams, T., (editors), Issues in Canada-China Relations, Toronto: Canadian International Council. Lin, Xiaohua, J. Guan, and M. J. Nicholson 2008, “Transnational Entrepreneurs as Agents of International Innovation Linkages.” Research Report (December 2008), Vancouver: Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, (Accessed July 27, 2009). Lindsay, Colin. “The Chinese Community in Canada.” Statistics Canada – Catalogue No. 89-621-XIE. 2001. (Accessed July 27, 2009). Migration Policy Institute, 2008, “Top 10 Migration Issues of 2008 Issue #6 — Return Migration: Changing Directions?” Feature Story, Washington DC, December 2008,, (Accessed July 27, 2009). Nakache, Delphine and Paula J. Kinoshita, 2010, “The Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Do Short-Term Economic Needs Prevail over Human Rights Concerns?” IRPP Study, No. 5, May 2010, (Accessed April 18, 2012) Papademetriou, Demetrios G. 2003, “Innovation in the Selection of Highly Skilled Immigrants,” Policy Brief 15, Washington DC: Migration Policy Institute, Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (2005), “Trends in Total Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision,” New York, Reitz, Jeffrey G. 2011, "Taxi Driver Syndrome: Behind-the-scenes immigration changes are creating new problems on top of old ones." Literary Review of Canada, March 2011, Service Canada, Online, Status of Canada's Social Security Agreements,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). Statistics Canada, 2006 Census data products,, (Accessed July 27, 2009). th The Economist, 2010, “A tale of two expats,” Dec 29 2010,, (Accessed April 18, 2012).  19  nd  The Economist, 2010, “The hub nation,” Apr 22 2010,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). th The Economist, 2011, “The magic of diasporas,” Nov 19 2011,, (Accessed April 18, 2012). The Globe and Mail, Mar. 31, 2009, “Chinese-Canadian diaspora fostering bond,” by Jessie Leeder,, (Accessed July 27, 2009). The Globe and Mail, Oct. 3rd, 2009, “PEI's big immigration boom,” by Erin Anderssen,, (Accessed October 3, 2009). The New York Times, August 11, 2009, “American Graduates Finding Jobs in China,” by Hannah Seligson,, (Accessed August 31, 2009). The World Bank (2010), “Bilateral Estimates of Migrant Stocks in 2010,”; UBC Library, The Chinese Experience in British Columbia: 1850-1950, (Online),, (Accessed April 18, 2012). University of Sussex (2007), U.K., Global Migrant Origin Database, Dataset 4, updated March 2007, Vancouver Sun, August 31, 2009, “Fresh crop of B.C. jobseekers see Asia as their best employment opportunity,” by Joanne Lee-Young, opportunity/1945671/story.html, (Accessed August 31, 2009). Vancouver Sun, July 7, 2009, “Asians to fill talent gap, boost innovation,” by Eveline Danubrata,, (Accessed July 27, 2009). Wang, Huiyao, 2012 (forthcoming), “China’s Competition for Global Talents: Strategy, Policy and Recommendations,” Research Report, Vancouver: Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Wang, S. and L. Lo, 2005. “Chinese Immigrants in Canada: Their Changing Composition and Economic Performance,” International Migration, 43 (3): 35-71. Woo, Y. P. and H., Wang, (2009), “The fortune in our future,” the Globe and Mail, on June 23, 2009,, (accessed on April 3, 2012). Xinhua News, 2007, 从“三把刀”变为“六个师” 澳华人主流意识增强; Zha, Q. 2012, “What factors influencing the direction of global brain circulation: the case of Chinese holders of Canada Research Chair,” Workshop Presentation, Vancouver: Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, April 16, 2012. Zhang, K. 2011a, “Flows of People and The Canada-China Relationship,” in Potter, P. and Adams, T., (editors), Issues in Canada-China Relations, Toronto: Canadian International Council. Zhang, K. 2011b, “Chinese in Canada and Canadians in China: The Human Platform for Relationships between China and Canada,” in Cao, H., and Poy, V., (editors), The China Challenge: Sinost Canadian Relations in the 21 Century, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.  20  About the Author Kenny Zhang is a Senior Research Analyst at the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Mr. Zhang joined the Foundation in January 2003 and specializes in China and immigration topics. His main research interests include Canada-China trade and investment relations, the economics of immigration with a focus on Canadians abroad. Mr. Zhang received his BA and MA degrees in economics from Fudan University, China and the Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands, respectively. Prior to joining the Foundation, he worked as associate research professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and senior researcher at the Centre of Excellence on Immigration Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Mr. Zhang is on the Board of Directors of the Metropolis British Columbia, and the Board of Directors of Canada China Business Council (BC Chapter). He has been a member of the Vancouver Mayor’s Task Force on Immigration since 2005. He is also member on the Joint Federal Provincial Immigration Advisory Council and Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia. Mr. Zhang can be contacted by email:  21  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items