A video news clip of outrageous Canadian immigration bigotry.
The Canadian Government just announced that it is funding a Research Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders! The news release indicates they are looking to attract autism research talent. The release states:
“Investigators working in Canada and those willing to relocate to a Canadian research institution are eligible for the Chair... The Chair’s application form is available on [Canadian Institutes of Health Research] CIHR’s website.” Bright autism talent is being invited to Canada! That sounds great, until we learn that the immigration side of Canada’s vast bureaucracy excludes foreign researchers that happen to have a child with autism.
You heard that right.
The same week that the new autism research chair was announced by one hand of Canada’s government, the other hand invokes its policy of autism discrimination, wherein a professor of psychology is being denied Canadian citizenship because his child has a diagnosis of autism. The professor, Dr. Jeffrey Niehaus, now has no choice but to leave the University of Victoria, to return to the United States, and relocate to a university in Virginia.
The irony of trumpeting a research position in autism that cannot be filled by a parent of a child with autism is not only bizarre, but also a profound affront to the basic decency of Canadians. Clearly, people with disabilities continue to be third class citizens in a country that prides itself on fairness and kindness.
My sister is trying to get her husband to immigrate to Canada since we are Canadians. Immigration to Canada is tough. They have an Autistic son together that is 6. They were never asked about that ...yet.
The decisions of a few do not speak for all Canadians, and I hope that is remembered. I work with people with disabilities and there's a lot of passion in this field to improve quality of life and community involvement for those with developmental disabilities. This is actually the first I've heard of this, and as a Canadian myself, I am quite surprised.
Canada is doing this to ensure objectivity. It is not *bigotry* any more than prohibiting jurors who have prior information about a crime to serve on a jury is bigotry. This is a good procedure being done to prevent a conflict of interest.
About Me: Sabrina Freeman, Ph.D. (1958-) was born in Montreal, Quebec, and grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia. She graduated from Stanford University in 1995 with a Ph.D. in Sociology, specializing in small group research and the study of organizations. Upon her return to British Columbia, Freeman spent 14 years advocating for the rights of children with autism to be included in the government funded health care system for their core health need -- autism treatment.