Toronto Metropolitan University
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"This is my life" : questions of agency and belonging among youth living with less than full status

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posted on 2021-05-22, 15:32 authored by Julie Young


This paper presents insights from six youth ages 12-18 living with less than full status (LTFS) in Toronto with their families. The various immigration statuses of the participants highlighted the multiple ways in which an individual can be living with LTFS in Canada, in the sense of experiencing limitations to both their access to services and their agency. The youth lacked a certain degree of awareness of the extent to which their uncertain status mediated their experiences, which in some cases resulted from their parents protecting them from knowledge of the family’s situation. Despite the uncertainty of their status, the youth were able to develop and sustain a network of support persons both within and outside of Canada. IN addition, their participation in the academic and social aspects of school was a significant element in their lives particularly in terms of feeling a sense of belonging. At the same time, they were aware that the uncertainty of their status limits their agency. The project raises important questions for further research regarding families’ communication strategies around immigration status and how youth understand and confront their status, as well as to what extent the education system understands the challenges faced by youth living with LTFS.





  • Master of Arts


  • Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Judith K. Bernhard