You are now in the main content area

John Carlaw

Senior Research Associate
EducationPhD, York University
Areas of ExpertiseCanadian politics; citizenship, immigration and refugee policy; international relations; multiculturalism; neoconservatism; political economy

John Carlaw’s research examines continuity and change in the politics of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism.  He seeks to identify and comparatively analyze the evolving and competing political-economic projects and narratives that play an important part in framing and shaping Canada’s (im)migration present and future.

Amongst John’s current projects are CONTESTATIONS of Migration and Belonging in Canada amidst COVID-19 (see our narratives and politics of migration research theme), and a book manuscript entitled Neoconservative Multiculturalism: The Conservative Party of Canada and the Politics of Citizenship, Migration and Multiculturalism in Settler Colonial Canada

He is the lead investigator on a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2023-2025) funded project entitled “Contemporary Paradoxes and Struggles of Migration and Belonging in Canada” and a Member of the Citizenship and Participation Research Theme of the Migrant Integration in the Mid-21st Century: Bridging Divides research program.

From 2015 to 2019, John served as Project Lead of York University's Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, a refugee sponsorship and education initiative at York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.  There he worked in close collaboration with our university’s Lifeline Syria Challenge and civil society actors to organize events, solidarity initiatives, workshops and conferences with youth and NGO collaborators, including Amnesty International Canada, the FCJ Refugee Centre, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and Toronto Refugee Rights Month Planning Committee.

John turned to migration and refugee studies after several years of studying, working and engaging in solidarity and education efforts in the areas of democracy, human rights and political economy in Latin America, including working with the Canadian Association of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS) and Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean, York University. He is affiliated with York’s Centre for Refugee Studies, Global Labour Research Centre, and Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies.

He has taught in the Social Science and Glendon College Political Science Departments at York University, as well as the Department of Politics at Trent University. John organized and leads CERC’s mentorship program for our stipend students and has delivered guest lectures in the Policy Studies PhD program.

Recent Publications

(2024).  Time running out for more inclusive policies? ‘Pathways’ Debates and Demands for Access to Permanent Immigration Status in Canada.” (external link)  European University Institute Migration Policy Centre Blog.

(2023). Yasmeen Abu-Laban, Ethel Tungohan, and Christina Gabriel, Containing diversity: Canada and the politics of immigration in the 21st Century (external link) , Journal of Austrailian, Canadian and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies, 3, 161-163.

(2023). Declining naturalizations signal larger problems in Canada's citizenship and immigration system (external link) The Conversation.

With Winter, E. (2022). Conservatism and the Re-Communitarianization of Citizenship in Canada (external link) Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 1-21.

(2022). Blunt talk or faux outrage? The politics of expanding migrant worker programs under Canada’s former Conservative government (2006–2015). (external link)  Studies in Political Economy, 102(3), 331-353.

(2021).  (PDF file) Multiculturalism and its Adjectives: Situating Neoconservative Multiculturalism (external link, opens in new window)  (pp. 34-41) and  (PDF file) Le multiculturalisme et ses adjectifs : Situer le multiculturalisme néoconservateur  (external link) (pp. 42-46), contribution to special issue of Canadian Diversity/Diversité Canadienne on the theme of Multiculturalism @50: Promoting Inclusion and Eliminating Racism, Vol 18, No. 1. December.

(2021).  (PDF file) Unity in Diversity? Neoconservative Multiculturalism and the Conservative Party of Canada.

(2020). Throne speech offers little systemic change for migrant workers, refugees (external link) The Conversation. 

(2018). Authoritarian Populism and Canada’s Conservative Decade (2006–2015) in Citizenship and Immigration: The Politics and Practices of Kenneyism and Neo-Conservative Multiculturalism (external link) Journal of Canadian Studies  51:3 782–816. 

Book Review

(2023). Containing Diversity: Canada and the Politics of Immigration in the 21st Century (external link) Journal of Austrailian, Canadian and Aotearoa New Zealand Studies, 3, 161-163.


2024. March 28. “Three Arts researchers receive SSHRC funding for projects in psychology, economics, and migration.” Toronto Metropolitan University Faculty of Arts.

2024. January 4. “Is the ‘Canadian Dream’ dead? (external link) ,” CBC Radio Vancouver Early Edition.

2023. May 2. Minu Mathew, “Triple-glass effect and language barriers erode Canadian charm, say experts (external link) ,” New Canadian Media

2022. January 17. Taylor Lambert, "This is Kenneyism (external link) ," The Tyee.

Refugee Advocacy and Sponsorship

(2015-2019). York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative (Website). (external link) 

 (PDF file) 2019 (July). York University Syria Response and Refugee Initiative Final Report. (external link) 

2018 (June 6). Youth Action Gathering of the Canadian Council for Refugees Network (Mentor to local youth hosting the event). (external link) 

 (PDF file) 2017. Next Steps and Reflections from Refugee Sponsors and Resettlement Professionals. (external link) 

2017 (January 28). From Adversity to Action: A Day of Civic Engagement & Leadership Training for Newcomer Youth (Mentor to local youth organizing event). (external link)