Book Review: Coming To Canada
Title : Coming to Canada
Author: Chidi Iwuchukwu
Reviewer: Iyke Obi Durumba
Canada’s unique multicultural outlook has encouraged a great deal of migration, especially from Africa and Asia. Expectedly Nigeria contributes the highest number of African migrants to Canada.
Migration data from the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs shows there were 16,125 Nigerian-born immigrants in Canada in 2011. By the 2016 Canadian census, nearly 51,000 Canadians identified as having Nigerian origins. In 2019 alone, Canada admitted 12,595 Nigerians as permanent residents.
The book, ‘Coming to Canada’ addresses the concerns of potential migrants to Canada, discusses settling down in the new environment and integrating into the Canadian way of life.
Set in 10 chapters and several sub-chapters which illuminate each, Coming to Canada is a practical guide for new migrants arriving in Canada. It is written in simple, flowing language interspersed with commonsensical admonitions like “Three things for the newcomer to guard jealously - life, health and criminal record” and richly infused with relevant laws and references.
A good reading of the book reveals an omnipresent feature - the profusion of details. Coming to Canada is detailed. It contains even the barest information on things like how to maintain eye contact with other Canadians to build confidence. These nuggets on mannerisms are important to migrants from some African cultures where keeping eye contact with elders or superiors is considered disrespectful.
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This attention to everyday detail defines Coming to Canada. The book is suffused with useful specifics about practically every single step of the way from planning to leave your home country through the entire documentation process and settling in Canada. Indeed, as far as the particulars it provides, the book fulfills its objective of being a migrant’s guide to relocation. Using resources from about 28 sources in the reference list, the author so thoughtfully covers all possible scenarios which new migrants may face that it reads like a FAQ document. Coming to Canada anticipates these challenges, apparently from the author’s personal experience and deals with them in an exhaustive and exhortative tone.
From describing the right mindset for relocation in the first chapter, the book in the second chapter walks the new migrant through his/her first few days in Canada and what simple strategies he/she needs to survive in the new environment. Because most migrants are driven by the promise of better economic opportunities, Coming to Canada dwells heavily on the best ways to search for jobs and the proper attitude in the Canadian workplace in two chapters. The need to adjust the African culture in marital relationships and parenting is discussed in Chapters 7 and 8 with the finer points and warnings about how the African idea of family discipline is different in the West. Other chapters concern driving in Canada and the different issues in homeownership. The last chapter richly explains the Canadian political structure and advocates some involvement at community volunteer level as a means to expanding the new migrant’s network.
Indeed, the book walks the migrant through relocating and settling into a totally different culture and provides tips on how to get into the flow of Canadian life.
Coming to Canada makes valuable references to Canadian laws for issues the new migrant is likely to face on a day to day basis. Workplace safety, driving and insurance cover and even how to minimize fuel consumption are treated in fine detail. It draws on several Canadian resources to properly counsel on how migrants can sort out diverse issues from how to handle bullying to the proper use of a credit card.
The book is a cornucopia of invaluable advice on survival in Canada. However, it is a book written strictly for the migrant, not the refugee. It is a guide only for those who arrive in Canada through the many legal immigration programs offered by the Canadian government. Coming to Canada is based entirely on the migrant possessing valid travel and residence papers. The undocumented refugee would be disconnected from the benefits of this book.
This book comes highly recommended as a ‘pocket guide’ for everyone looking to legitimately relocate to Canada and to share in that country’s rich diversity, multiculturalism and vibrant economy.