Around half of Canada’s immigrants come from Asia. The transnational ties they maintain with their countries of origin have a range of economic implications. These include: the role of remittances in development financing and poverty alleviation; the transformation of labour markets and education/training institutions to reflect the transnational circulation of labour; the development of entrepreneurship and trading links through transnational migrant social networks; and, the creation of innovation clusters through the global circulation of talent.

The Asia-Canada Migrant Economies research programme focuses on these economic dimensions of Asia-Canada transnationalism. It seeks to define the specific and emergent forms of institutionalization that underpin Asia-Canada migrant transnationalism, and outline the necessary methodological strategies to develop a comparative, representative, and comprehensive research design to study them.

The research programme is directed by Philip F. Kelly (Geography).


ACME_1Making Ends Meet: Migrant Economic Transnationalism Between Canada and the Philippines

Philip F. Kelly (Geography) organized a workshop at York University as a part of the research programme on 15-16 October 2013.   

The workshop explored the economic dimensions of migrant transnationalism between Canada and the Philippines. Here, transnationalism is understood as the ties maintained by migrants with their places of origin – referring specifically to the connections forged by individuals, families or communities, rather than by governments or corporations.  Migrants might be permanent residents who have settled in Canada as immigrants, or they may be those who live in Canada with some form of temporary status (e.g. as students, caregivers, grandparent visa-holders, or temporary foreign workers).  The economic is taken to mean processes that affect material well-being or work, but it need not relate just to marketized or monetized transactions.

The workshop included scholars and senior graduate students from Canada, the United States and the Philippines. View the workshop programme

The workshop represented an important learning and network-forming opportunity for researchers focused on the economic development implications of Asia-Canada migrant transnationalism. Key outcomes include:

– the formation of a pan-Canadian and Asian network of scholars focused on Asia-Canada transnationalism across themes of: remittances and livelihoods; entrepreneurship and trade; innovation and talent circulation; and labour markets and education;

– inter-sectoral learning through discussions involving academics from Canada and Asia, Asian development-oriented NGOs based in India and the Philippines, and Canadian-based bilateral business councils;

– cross-national learning through the juxtaposition of country-based experiences with different forms of transnationalism and different economic outcomes relevant in each case.

The papers presented at the workshop are being considered for publication and the team is currently developing a research project to carry forward the issues discussed in the workshop.

The workshop was funded by the International Development and Research Centre, the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University and the York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR).

group photo