Maytree News Headlines – November 25, 2010


Ratna Omidvar – What Is DiverseCity onBoard? (Maytree blog)
In this video Maytree President, Ratna Omidvar, explains the origins, goals and importance of the project.

Education Canada Theme 2010 Volume 50 Issue 5 – Focus on Marginalized Youth

Some articles of specific interest:

Including the Excluded: De-Marginalizing Immigrant/Refugee and Racialized Students (Canadian Education Association)

Composing Lives: Listening and Responding to Marginalized Youth

Indigenous Education and Epistemic Violence

Marginalized Youth and Education: Voices from Regent Park

Young People Speaking Back From the Margins

Avoiding vulnerable workers (Canadian Immigrant)
The Canadian government is reintroducing the Preventing Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act to Canada’s immigration laws. The legislative amendment will strengthen immigration officers’ authority, which aims to provide the government with a tool for situations where a work permit applicant could be at risk… Particularly focused on stopping the victimization of low-skilled workers and women, the act will give to immigration officers greater authority to deny work permits for those in this situation.

York University’s South Asia Stand Up: More than just a laughing matter (South Asian Generation Next)
Nothing is off limits at York University’s “South Asia Stand Up” show. In its third year, the comedy event organized by United South Asians at York (USAY) pushes the boundaries yet again. With new headliner Sabrina Jalees and local comedians Dave Merheje, Azfar Ali and Pio Modi, South Asia Stand Up raised eyebrows while also raising questions about race, religion and sexuality.

English: Star falls below its standard (Toronto Star)
While I don’t believe the media should shy away from examining tough issues about cultural differences in our Canadian mosaic, journalists must be aware of the inherent sensitivities and aim to avoid reporting that relies on simplistic stereotypes and broad generalizations about any race and culture. In the eyes of a many Canadians of East Asian background, the Star fell short of this standard last week in reporting on a conference for families in Toronto’s Chinese community that urged parents to let their children consider life paths other than university. The Star received many emotional emails from Chinese Canadians, most particularly upset by the fact that our Page 1 story connected the concerns raised at that conference to a controversial article titled “ ‘Too Asian’?” published in the latest Maclean’s magazine university guide.–english-star-falls-below-its-standard#article

Hudak appoints Leeds-Grenville MPP Citizenship and Immigration critic (Brocknews) (via TRIEC)
In addition to his new responsibilities, Clark will continue as the party’s Critic for Democratic Reform. “Steve understands the priorities of Ontario families and knows the potential new Canadians have to realize their dreams right here in Ontario,” noted Hudak. “I’m proud to have Steve Clark on my team putting his talents to work on behalf of new Canadians throughout Ontario.”


White South African man not a legitimate refugee, judge says (Globe and Mail)
The Federal Court has quashed an immigration tribunal decision to grant refugee status to a white South African who claimed he feared racial persecution in his homeland. Brandon Carl Huntley told the refugee protection panel that he feared he might be killed by black South Africans, and that neither the government nor the police would protect him because of his race. The tribunal found Mr. Huntley’s fears justified and gave him refugee status in August, 2009. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asked for a Federal Court review of the finding.

Tamils concerned as more refugees rejected (Toronto Sun)
A huge drop in acceptance rates for Tamil refugee claimants is being watched closely by members of Canada’s Tamil community. “It’s only one month, it’s only the month of September. It would be difficult to draw conclusions,” said Gary Anandasangaree legal counsel with the Canadian Tamil Congress. Figures released by the immigration and refugee board (IRB) show that for the month of September, the acceptance rate for Sri Lankan nationals applying for refugee status fell to 47% from 75% in August. Every other month in 2010 had acceptance rates above 80%.

Wrong to punish refugees forced to use smugglers (StarPhoenix)
People trying to escape the horrors of war, terrorism, arrest and torture, rape, beatings and other atrocities are desperate. In the absence of heroes, they will take help wherever they can get it, be it organized criminals or entrepreneurs trying to make money from others’ suffering. That people are desperate enough that they’ll pay huge sums and risk their lives to escape highlights that we must do more, not less, to protect refugees. While Canada’s Bill C-49 purports to address “people smuggling,” it’s mostly an assault on the victims of this exploitation. The troubling elements of this bill include mandatory detention for at least one year of all those who comes to Canada in an “irregular manner.”


J4MW calls for overhaul of Ontario’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (
Over a 100 migrant farm workers employed at Ghesquiere Plants Ltd. are facing imminent repatriation (deportation) after staging a wildcat strike to demanding thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. The migrant workers from Mexico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados came together across racial, linguistic and ethnic lines to organize this wild cat strike and strengthen their collective power. The workers employed by this farm described numerous rights violations and complaints about their living conditions…


Spacing Toronto Thursday Headlines
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Election After-math, City Council, Transportation, Culture and Other News.


Immigration as pathogenic: a systematic review of the health of immigrants to Canada (International Journal for Equity in Health)
This review investigates the health of immigrants to Canada by critically examining differences in health status between immigrants and the native-born population and by tracing how the health of immigrants changes after settling in the country. Fifty-one published empirical studies met the inclusion criteria for this review. The analysis focuses on four inter-related questions: (1) Which health conditions show transition effects and which do not? (2) Do health transitions vary by ethnicity / racialized identity? (3) How are health transitions influenced by socioeconomic status? and (4) How do compositional and contextual factors interact to affect the health of immigrants? Theoretical and methodological challenges facing this area of research are discussed and future directions are identified. This area of research has the potential to develop into a complex, nuanced, and useful account of the social determinants of health as experienced by different groups in different places.

Can you get behind an Act to eliminate poverty in Canada? (Anglican Journal)
I came to Ottawa to both say that and to call for more action in Parliament, and to be part of that action as an MP. Up to now the response of the Canadian government has pretty much been an ad hoc, uncoordinated patchwork of initiatives that—as we all know—hasn’t come close to making a dent in reducing poverty in Canada, much less in eliminating it. That’s why so many organizations, churches and individual Canadians have demanded that the Government of Canada create a national strategy to eliminate poverty. It’s why I introduced Private Member’s Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty in Canada, which would require the Canadian government to develop and implement such a national strategy. This legislation would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to ensure that “social condition” does not deprive anyone of equal opportunity to live a full and productive life in our country.

Campaign 2000 and Partners Released 2010 Report Cards on Child/Family Poverty (Campaign 2000)
Reduced Poverty = Better Health for All looks at the nation’s most recent child and family poverty rate compared to 21 years ago, when Parliament unanimously resolved to end child poverty by 2000, and finds that 610,000 children (2008 LICO after-tax) and their families lived in poverty even before the recession hit. The child poverty rate of 9.1 per cent is slightly less than when it was 11.9 per cent in 1989. Lessons from past recessions tell us that poverty will rise before the recovery is complete. The report card’s key findings show Canada has a long way to go to prevent and reduce poverty… Provincial Report Cards on Child and Family Poverty were also released today in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan (links to each in the article).

Child poverty up in Ontario (
After three years of decline, child poverty in Ontario is on the rise, says a national advocacy group in its annual report being released at Queen’s Park Wednesday. The provincial child poverty rate jumped to 15.2 per cent in 2008, up from 14.1 per cent a year earlier, according to the latest available data from Statistics Canada. It means 412,000 children and youth under age 18, or one in six, were living in poverty, says the report by Ontario Campaign 2000, the provincial arm of a national coalition of about 120 groups dedicated to ending child and family poverty in Canada.–child-poverty-up-in-ontario

Food banks have very little to do with poverty (Troy Media Corporation)
If poverty is not getting worse, why are more people using food banks? The answer probably lies in the way food banks operate their service. In simplest terms, the food banks give away free groceries. For this reason alone it would be understandable that they would become attractive to more and more people. This is a key difference between food banks and, for example, thrift shops, where modest prices act as a self-screening tool and reduce waste. Food banks also do not directly assess users for need. They rely instead on external agencies to determine need and make referrals for food hampers. These referral agencies may not have the capacity to screen accurately for need, and have little incentive to say no to anyone.

Putting a face on poverty (Globe and Mail)
Ms. Johnson appeared at a press conference in Vancouver, Wednesday, along with Reyna Izaguirre, another single mother living in poverty, to help give a human face to the 2010 report card on child and family poverty in Canada. The report, with a focus on the provincial situation, was released by First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. Relying on 2008 Statistics Canada data, the most recently available, it shows one in ten children nationally live in poverty; in B.C. it is one in seven. The rates are the lowest in a decade, but a spike is expected when the 2009 data is released next spring because of the economic crisis that began in the fall of 2008.

Number of seniors living in poverty soars nearly 25% (Globe and Mail)
The number of seniors living in poverty spiked at the beginning of the financial meltdown, reversing a decades-long trend and threatening one of Canada’s most important social policy successes. The number of seniors living below the low-income cutoff, Statistics Canada’s basic measure of poverty, jumped nearly 25 per cent between 2007 and 2008, to 250,000 from 204,000, according to figures released on Wednesday by Campaign 2000. It’s the largest increase among any group, and as the first cohort of baby boomers turns 65 next year, could place increased pressure on families supporting elderly parents.

Fight Against Poverty Not Working (
Almost one-third of all low income children live in working poor families. “We see daily the challenges of parents struggling to make ends meet when the only work they can find are temp or contract jobs with low wages, no benefits, and no security. This is a real problem for immigrants and racialized workers in particular. We call on the provincial government to expand our labour laws to protect workers in these precarious jobs. We need a Good Jobs Strategy that leads to more full time, permanent jobs with decent pay and benefits,” said Deena Ladd, Coordinator of the Workers Action Centre.

Full coverage of poverty issues and reports in Canada –

Province won’t fund Toronto’s bed-bug battle plan (
The provincial government says it will not fund the bed-bug battle plan coming out of the City of Toronto. The city was looking to the province for money to hire more staff to help battle bed bugs.

National housing plan legislation passes another vote in Commons: One step closer to passage (Wellesley Institute)
Bill C-304, proposed by MP Libby Davies, would require the federal government to consult widely with provinces, territories, municipalities, Aboriginal people, community groups and private sector interests and report back to the Commons with a comprehensive national affordable housing plan that meets Canada’s international housing rights obligations.


Ezra Levant ordered to pay $25,000 for libel (
A judge has ordered controversial blogger Ezra Levant to pay $25,000 to Giacomo Vigna for libel, citing his “reckless indifference” to the truth while writing blog posts about the Canadian Human Rights Commission lawyer.

Is the Internet our new Parliament Buildings? (Al Etmanski)
Four part series (3 posted so far) exploring how the internet is changing our behaviour and what the implications are for democratic decision making. Today I will outline my premise – the promise of the internet. My next two posts will introduce you to two of the new ‘clerks of the internet’, Alexandra Samuels and David Eaves. A subsequent post will examine what Canadian philosopher George Grant described as the ‘despotism of technology’.

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Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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