Research Papers | Literature Reviews

Cambodian Resettlement in Canada

A literature review by Jaime Lenet

This review of literature seeks to provide an overview of research that proves an exception to the rule, in its focus on the distinctiveness and defining characteristics of the Cambodians who were among the thousands of resettled Indochinese. Having identified a small number of resources that provide insight into the Cambodian experience, this paper will demonstrate what quickly becomes evident when reviewing literature on this topic, namely that Cambodian refugees in Canada are a unique community with specific experiences and challenges that distinguish them from other nationalities resettled in the Indochinese refugee flow. To present this case, this paper will demonstrate how literature has contributed to understanding the distinctiveness of Cambodians at a few different levels.

Laotian Resettlement and Integration in Canada:

By Lisa McLean and Stephanie Stobbe

The mass resettlement of Southeast Asian (Indochinese) refugees remains a historic humanitarian achievement by Canada. Between 1979-1980, Canada resettled 60,000 refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia through government and private sponsorships. Research has focused very little on the experiences of refugees from Laos who fled as a result of the Vietnam War and the Lao Secret War. This paper examines the reasons for their flight from Laos, their experiences in Thai refugee camps, and their initial settlement in Canada.

Before the Sun Comes Up: The Making of Canadian Refugee Policy amidst the Refugee Crisis in Southeast Asia, 1975-1980

By Clare Glassco

In 1975, the fall of the governments of South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos led to the largest scale refugee crisis the world had seen since World War Two. Canada’s response involved the resettlement of over 70,000 refugees displaced from the region, the majority of whom were selected for resettlement between 1979-1980. Putting these numbers into the context of Canada’s approach to refugee policy from the end of WWII to the immigration Act of 1976, this paper explores Canada’s response to the Southeast Asian refugee crisis within the context of its emerging refugee policy. Focusing on the many individual actors who made this unprecedented resettlement project a reality, it also highlights the role of both private and public actors in the making of public policy.

The Evolution of Canadian Settlement Programming from the Mass Resettlement of Indochinese Refugees to Present

By Lisa McLean and Stephanie Stobbe

The 1976 Immigration Act was the first act to establish the fundamental objectives of Canadian immigration policy, define refugees as a distinct class of immigrants, and require the government to meet its obligations to refugees under international conventions and agreements. In 1979, the Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCCC), an Anabaptist non-profit organization, signed the first umbrella agreement with the federal government to provide private sponsorship of refugees that led to the development of Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program.

Background paper on the archival media research: Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail(1975-1985)

By Filipe Duarte

This background paper offers a detailed overview of the archival media research conducted on the historical records (microfilms and online databases) of two Canadian newspapers – the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail, between May 1, 1975, and December 31, 1985. The archival media research reviewed between 20,000 and 25,000 results, on both newspapers, over a five-month period (February-June 2019). Research was undertaken by searching selected keywords identified in the book Running on Empty: Canada and the Indochinese Refugees, 1975-1980, written by Michael J. Molloy and Peter Duschinsky.


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