Unaccompanied minors in Canada: How social and legal services affect their lives in Ontario
Sultana, Ishrat Zakia
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This qualitative research examines how service provisions affect lives of unaccompanied minors in Canada. In this study I utilized a semi-structured individual interview method. Among thirteen participants in my study, five came to Canada as unaccompanied minors and eight are professionals involved with service providing organizations in the Niagara region. The unaccompanied children that I interviewed had mixed experiences. Social and legal supports were made available to some of them while one was deported. This paper employs Bhabha’s postcolonial perspective and Foucault’s governmentality to illustrate unaccompanied minors’ post-arrival situation in Canada. This paper also attempts to look at children’s rights from Hanson and Nieuwenhuys’s (2013) perspective of living rights, social justice and translations. This paper explores how the change in recent immigration law affects the lives of unaccompanied minors. Findings of this study suggest that it is important to have a consensus on the definition of an unaccompanied minor; improved data collection and record-keeping on the number of unaccompanied minors; and, having a government-approved follow up mechanism. The study recommends policy makers, service providers and scholars pay increased attention to the experiences of unaccompanied minors to ensure that adequate social and legal services are offered to an unaccompanied minor in Canada.