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Climate Migrants, and the Impact of COVID-19: An Analysis of Canadian Immigration Policy

10:00, Thursday 11 May 2023 EDT (30 minutes)

Problem Statement: Despite climate change posing an immediate threat and causing enormous concern, pandemic is not the only issue that needs to be taken seriously due to its long-term implications. Climate change is caused by humans, while viruses have their agency (Latour, 2007). However, there may still be a relationship between climatic change and the COVID-19 pandemic that is representative of the Anthropocene (Heyd, 2021). Several studies estimate that climate change might force 25 million to 1 billion people to move by 2050 (Brown, 2008). These data helped focus attention on the potential migration consequences of climate change, even if they have been called "guesswork" by experts.

Climate change reduced the habitability of the planet's sections (Bentz et al., 2010). In 2008, climate change-related disasters resulted in more than 20 million displaced people (OCHA-IDMC, 2009). Climate change is a significant concern for Canadians, which leads to climate migration within Canada. These climate migrants may be forced to evacuate during floods or wildfires or may choose to relocate away from disaster-prone areas, and they are known as "climate refugees" (Su, 2021). Wildfires ravaged Lytton, British Columbia, reminding us of the dire consequences of inaction on climate change. A move to a new location becomes more feasible as disasters become more frequent and intense. A rise in global temperatures of 2 to 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century could seriously hamper people's ability to migrate abroad. Researchers are asked to provide advice on several critical issues.

Research Aim/Objectives: Despite the escalating nature and growing global impact of COVID-19, this study suggests that climate change should be viewed with equal, if not more significant, concern. Even so, the Covid-19 epidemic and climate change show a pattern that appears to be Anthropocene-specific. Second, this study will investigate how COVID-19 affects immigrants affected by climate change. Lastly, it will discuss Canadian climate change and immigration policies during the pandemic and afterward.

Methodology: Reviewing recent literature, articles, and reports and conducting group interviews are first ways to gain insight into recent climate migrants', community, and settlement workers' perspectives to answer:

  • Are environmental variables likely to affect climate migrants' decisions to leave their home countries?
  • Which factors contribute to the importance of environmental incentives over non-environmental incentives?
  • How does the place of origin affect the demands of climate migrants and the settlement process?

Second, the research will examine how COVID-19 affected climate migration decisions and what challenges they faced after the outbreak.

Implications: This study will improve our understanding of global climate change from the perspective of immigration in Canada. Efforts should be made to combat climate change and promote green employment for immigrants. As with many advocacy groups, political parties should serve the interests of Canadians rather than corporations. Relocating to towns and cities with sustainable living options is one way to fight climate change, even though fighting climate change begins at home. People flee Canada due to natural disasters, despite academic studies not addressing the issue. 

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