Maytree News Headlines – February 1, 2011


Video: The Microcosm of Markham – with Ratna and Neethan Shan (TVO The Agenda)
Markham, Ontario has grown from a predominantly English-speaking suburb of Toronto to a bustling, predominantly Chinese city. Examining the successes and stumbles of Markham.
(note: large file to download – will post when TVO has the video streaming online for easier viewing)

News in Review – Week ending January 28, 2011 (Maytree blog)
Themes from last week: Taking Action to Reduce Poverty & Diversity, Business and Employment.

3 Unsung Heroes (Metro Toronto)
Maytree and CivicAction are mentioned on page 25 of today’s Metro. The article lists 3 African Canadians – Helen Tewolde, Michael Went & Brandon Hay, who have been selected as DiverseCity Fellows.

NB lacks monitoring of immigrants: AG (CBC)
Auditor General Kim MacPherson is raising concerns over the program that recruits immigrants to settle in the province, saying the government is not monitoring whether people are actually staying in New Brunswick. The Provincial Nominee Program, which is operated out of the Department of Post-Secondary, Education, Training and Labour, has been running in the province since 1999 and it is credited with bringing 5,509 immigrants to Canada.

Jamaicans in Canada urged to start planning for 50th anniversary in 2012 – Government of Jamaica, Jamaica Information Service (Jamaica Information Service)
Speaking recently with Jamaicans living in Montreal, the High Commissioner urged them to put in place an organising committee to lead the planning and implementation of the activities “to mark the occasion appropriately and with dignity, showcasing some of the best of our country”.

Number of Muslims in Canada predicted to triple over next 20 years: study (National Post)
Muslim immigrants are not a homogeneous group, he added, saying that differences in national origin, colour, socio-economic status play a large part in how any immigrant will fare in Canada. In his dissertation on Muslims communities in Toronto and Canada, he said, he found a story of economic success and integration with radicalism being a very small part of the story. He noted many Canadian Muslims have found common cause with other Canadians who follow a more orthodox or traditional form of belief and worship.

Immigration and its Discontents: Voices of New Canadians (TVO The Agenda)
The Agenda’s packaging director David Erwin assembled a group of recent immigrants to discuss the experience of starting a new life in Canada. The insights are varied. Some feel the level of fluency in English required to immigrate is far short of the level required to find a job and get by. They outline the challenges, many of them unexpected, in finding a job in their field. In one case, even finding an unpaid volunteer position to gain experience proved difficult.

The Debate: When Does Canada Become “Home”? (TVO The Agenda)
Many Canadians find themselves torn between their birth country and Canada. When, if ever, do we shed our affiliation and allegiance with the homeland and become Canadian?

Diversity Week – Black Professionals: Leaving an Imprint (McGill)
As February is Black History month the SEDE office is offering a conference called “Black Histories, Black Futures” that will highlight the diversity and complex realities of Montreal’s Black communities by convening community representatives, researchers, workers, and students from across the community and university sectors to share and build knowledge.” Feb. 9, 2011 to Feb. 10, 2011

Tunisia, Canada, and some very attractive immigration loopholes (Globe and Mail)
The case of Belhassen Trabelsi, the billionaire brother-in-law of Tunisia’s disgraced ex-president, raises troubling questions not only about Canada’s refugee system, but about the screening in place for permanent residents. A bill to reform Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is already before the House, and must be amended to close these loopholes, and prevent further abuse.

Op Ed: Balancing Security With Religious Freedom: Sikh Men Denied Entry to National Assembly (CCLA)
On January 18th of this year, Quebec’s National Assembly refused entry to four Sikh men, ironically coming to appear at a conference on reasonable accommodations, when they refused to remove their Kirpans (A Kirpan is a religious object shaped as a knife). Keeping the Kirpan is to many devout Sikhs a religious obligation in the same way that wearing a yarmulke is for many Jewish people. To quote Dr. Sukhdev Kooner, president of the Sikh Cultural Society of Metropolitan Windsor, “We are supposed to wear this all the time, even when we are sleeping, taking showers, cutting the grass…” While the Supreme Court has held that the position of religious authorities on the matter is not determinative (see Amselem, infra) this example goes to show the extent to which some Sikhs might feel compelled to keep the Kirpan on their person.

Reunification among Transnational Filipino Families in Vancouver (Immigration Matters in Canadian Social Work)
Immigration of families following the Live-in Caregiver Program is a relatively recent phenomenon (since 1995) and there is very little known about family integration in Canada. Whilst government statistics indicate that the Filipino community is well integrated in the labour market, with very high rates of employment participation, this study indicates that these statistics are misleading and obscure potential problems among Filipino youth who have been separated from their mothers for many years.

Immigrant Experiences in Greater Vancouver (Immigration Matters in Canadian Social Work)
The study notes that while the focus groups have provided early insights into how immigrant families experience life in Canada, future research could examine how networks form and what other types of information, goods and services are generated and transmitted through local and transnational networks. Other areas for future exploration include the stress and isolation of immigration and the impacts on family relationships; the dilemma of children who act as ‘bridges’ to the White community; or the ways in which women’s networks are converted into information, practical support and child-minding resources. Issues of family conflict and violence also need further careful investigation. There is also the need to draw on more relevant ideas about family during research on immigrant communities, rather than assuming nuclear or extended family structures.

Reconstituting the Family: Negotiating Immigration and Settlement (Immigration Matters in Canadian Social Work)
How do immigrant families experience immigration and settlement? What kinds of new relationships, identities and strategies are produced through immigration? Academic research tends to see the immigrant family as either a fixed unit that reflects both the home culture and the new culture, or as being transnational and flexible in adapting to many different contexts and challenges.


Internal federal study questions millions spent jailing refugees and immigrants (Globe and Mail)
A new federal study questions the millions of dollars spent locking up many immigrants and refugee claimants, prompting the government to eye fresh options. The Canada Border Services Agency put more than $45-million toward detaining people in 2008-09 – or over $3,000 per case, the internal evaluation report says. As a result, the government has agreed to study lower-cost alternatives, including a Toronto bail program that’s much less expensive and could be expanded across the country.

The Nansen Refugee Award – Call for Nominations (Settlement AtWork)
Do you know of anybody who has gone beyond the call of duty and shown outstanding dedication and service to the refugee cause? Help identify inspiring and committed individuals who deserve public recognition for their dedication to refugees.

New Issue of Refugee Survey Quarterly (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
A new issue of Refugee Survey Quarterly (RSQ) (vol. 29, no. 4, 2011) is now available. The focus is on terrorism and refugee protection. Contents include:
* Terrorism, Torture, and Refugee Protection in the United States [abstract]
* Anti-Terrorism Measures and Refugee Law Challenges in Canada [abstract]
* The European Convention on Human Rights, Counter-Terrorism, and Refugee Protection [abstract]
* Refugee Protection, Counter-Terrorism, and Exclusion in the European Union [abstract]
* Counter-Terrorism Measures and Refugee Protection in North Africa [abstract]
* Complicity and Culpability and the Exclusion of Terrorists From Convention Refugee Status Post-9/11 [abstract]


The Strange Persistence of Inequality (The Mark News)
This is the month for taking stock of the year that passed and imagining what the year before us may hold. For me, two broad and contradictory trends have emerged that just might shape politics and policy in 2011: the extraordinary resilience of neoliberal ideology and the reemergence of inequality as a defining public issue.

The Right to Health Care (London InterCommunity Health Centre)
It is a common misconception that everyone is entitled to free health care in Canada. Landed immigrants face a three month wait prior to eligiblity for OHIP. If you leave Canada for more than 212 days of the last 365 days, you face a three month wait before you can access health care coverage through OHIP. British Columbia and Ontario are the only two provinces with this requirement.

A call to action on collaboration to tackle heart disease, strokes (Vancouver Sun)
Our research has also identified that the increasing diversity of our population presents a particular challenge. New immigrants are particularly vulnerable to heart disease and stroke, most likely due to the initial stress and financial challenges of moving to a new country. This results in new Canadians putting health and healthy behaviours on the back burner. Even when they need health advice, navigating a new health system can be a daunting task. At the same time many health messages do not resonate with these groups due to cultural and language differences. Since immigration is important to Canada’s economy, we need to ensure that new Canadians have the opportunity to realize the benefits of continued health in their new home.

Director stands behind low-income school initiative (St. Catharines Standard)
While critics of the newly approved DSBN Academy see stigmatization and segregation of students, proponents say it’s all about opportunity and hope. Last week, Daniel Peat, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation District 22 Niagara, withdrew his group’s backing of the regional school for students from low-income families. But on Monday, District School Board of Niagara education director Warren Hoshizaki reaffirmed his support for the plan.


Local employers grapple with global economy (Vancouver Sun)
McMillan-Rambharat’s hiring experience — and the subtle forms of discrimination she encountered — is not unique, according to the researchers behind a new employment project launched this past week by the Surrey-based immigrant services organization, DIVERSEcity Community Resources. Indeed, as B.C. looks to attract more and more skilled immigrants within its borders in order to address a looming labour shortage, many employers agree they are ill-prepared to tap into the new talent pool.

New push for a memorial to Italian workers killed on the job in Ontario (Daily Commercial News)
Ontario’s construction industry is being asked to remember its fallen Italian immigrant workers over the last 60 years and make a memorial to them a reality. “When my generation of immigrants will no longer be around, their ultimate sacrifice will be completely forgotten,” said Marino Toppan. “New generations of Italian-Canadians and other citizens will never know or will soon forget the enormous sacrifice made by hard working immigrants.”

The Janitor and the CEO (
Enter the entrepreneurial spirit, creating a business from past experience or maybe it’s the urge to fulfil a need or even finding a business that fits both need and opportunity is the appropriate thinking process.

National Capital Region’s Top Employers (Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2011)
Now entering its seventh year, the National Capital Region’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes the Ottawa-area employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

Alberta’s Top Employers (Canada’s Top 100 Employers 2011)
Now entering its seventh year, Alberta’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes the Alberta employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.


Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Transit, Living City Report Card, Roads, Culture & Recreation, Snowmageddon 2K11, Police & Crime, GTA Politics and Other News.

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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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