Across Cultures

Why did we come to Canada?

About this theme

This theme shows people talking about their decisions to immigrate to Canada. Many state that political and economic pressures were compelling.

Filmed interview with a specialist

Two staff members at the Canadian Council for Refugees discuss issues concerning refugees to Canada.

Interview with Janet Dench and Marian Shermarke - Part 1
2007, director: Hyacinthe Combary

Excerpt (1:40)


Janet Dench is executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, an umbrella organization committed to the protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement in Canada of refugees and immigrants. She lives in Montreal.

Marian Shermarke is a clinical advisor in immigration for the Programme régional d'accueil et d'intégration des demandeurs d'asile (PRAIDA).  She taught for ten years at the McGill University School of Social Work and is currently a social intervenor with asylum seekers and refugees.  Her fields of interest include asylum, human rights, international social work and interculturalism.


Films mentioned in the interview
> The Tree That Remembers | A Scent of Mint

  Interview     Films mentioned  

You can watch the different parts of the interview.

Part 1
The various definitions and categories of refugees.


Part 2
Canada's history of refugee protection and its policies.


Part 3
The skills for survival and adjustment that most refugees demonstrate.


Part 4
The various types of trauma that refugees undergo.


Part 5
What refugees must leave behind and what they lose on leaving their country.


Part 6
How Canadians might resent and fear refugees.