From Leitkultur to Multiculturalism: What Canada and Germany Can Learn from Each Other About Immigration, Integration, and Inclusion

Published: Winter 2022    |    By: Sen. Ratna Omidvar   |   Volume 70, No. 1


As two countries that have developed relatively open processes for immigration and displayed a willingness to welcome refugees, Canada and Germany have a lot in common. Senator Omidvar calls on the two countries to share best practices on private refugee sponsorship, international credential recognition, integration of immigrant children in school, and the promotion of the trades among refugee youth. Senator Omidvar also explores the concept of a Leitkultur (guiding culture) in Germany, as well as how Canada is struggling to reconcile its multicultural image with its racist past. As the world continues to navigate the pandemic and its impacts on migration, Senator Omidvar emphasizes the need to keep an open flow of information, exchanges, research, ideas, and policy proposals between Canada and Germany.

About the Author

The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, C.M., O. Ont is an internationally recognized voice on migration, diversity, and inclusion. In 2016, she was appointed to the Senate of Canada as an independent senator for Ontario. As a member of the Independent Senators Group she holds a leadership position as Liaison. She is also the Vice-President of the Canada-Germany Interparliamentary Group. Senator Omidvar is a Member of the Order of Canada, an Appointee of the Order of Ontario, and a recipient of the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in recognition of her contribution to the advancement of German-Canadian relations.