Maytree News headlines – March 30, 2011


Tapping the talent of new Canadians (Globe and Mail)
Full transcript of yesterday’s online chat, featuring Ratna, is available.

Ignatieff pledges to reverse cuts to family reunification program (Vancouver Sun)
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff reached out to Vancouver’s immigrant community Tuesday, using his first B.C. appearance in the general election campaign to pledge a reversal of Conservative cuts to the family reunification program. Ignatieff launched his party’s B.C. campaign in the key riding of Vancouver South, which Liberal Ujjal Dosanjh won by a razor-thin margin of 22 votes in the 2008 federal election.

New rules of engagement proposed for marriages involving immigrants (Canadian Press)
The Harper government has quietly proposed that people coming to Canada to join their partner must stay in the relationship for two years or more before being formally granted permanent residence.

Government signals crackdown on marriage fraud (CBC)
The department has published what’s called a “notice of intent” that it wants to strengthen the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to make it more difficult for people to use marriage as an easy way to become a citizen.

Visible minorities dominate Vancouver Kingsway (Vancouver Courier)
What’s it like: Statistics Canada reports that more than 68 per cent of residents of Vancouver Kingsway are “visible minorities” and of this group, 58 per cent are Chinese. Sixty-five per cent of the population are first generation, or mainly born outside of Canada, according to the 2006 Census. More than half of the residents of Vancouver Kingsway (54 per cent) are immigrants, most immigrating before 1991 (53 per cent). The median gross household income in the riding in 2005 was $51,600.

Africentric school proposal divides Oakwood school community at meeting (Toronto Observer)
A torrent of verbal chaos exploded in the first floor auditorium at Oakwood Collegiate Institute tonight as students, parents and alumni clashed with disagreements on a proposal to establish an Africentric Alternative School within the high school. Toronto District School Board members listened to comments that ranged from composed to volatile, and attempted to address the concerns and questions. The issue of segregation brought out serious concerns from those opposing the proposal for a black-focused program at the high school… The board said the decision will be put on hold.

Smith sparks language fray (Montreal Gazette)
Duceppe campaigned Tuesday on the positive impact of immigration. He criticized Harper for wanting to create two classes of immigrants, by making it harder for refugees to come to Canada. “We are talking about men, women, children who are fleeing persecution, war or violence,” Duceppe said. “It is often a question of life and death.” In Regina, Harper responded to Duceppe, saying most Quebecers favour the changes his government is proposing in immigration.

Profiling committee criticized (Montreal Gazette)
Montreal’s Public Security Committee is “ducking” controversial issues like racial profiling and police brutality by purposely holding public hearings in two neighbourhoods where there are few visible minorities and anglophones, charges a race-relations group.

Ignatieff calls for immigration ‘fairness commissioner’ (Globe and Mail)
He also called for a “fairness commissioner” in Ottawa who would check on the professions – doctors, engineers, and pharmacists – to make sure they are not discriminating against immigrants. “What bothers them [new Canadians] is that people are closing doors for them and making it impossible for them to succeed,” the Liberal Leader said Tuesday. “I think there is something Ottawa can do about that to just say, put the burden of proof on the professional organizations to prove that they are opening the doors to Canadians.”

New Study: Most of Canada’s Social Media is Driven by Immigrants (Care2 blog)
We all expect the social media world to be driven by teenagers and adolescents, most of whom we assume to be single urbanites, but a new study from Environics Analytics and digital strategy firm Delvina found another common trait as well – immigration. In their online study of 23,144 residents in Canada, the firms measured how frequently the participants use ten social media platforms- including Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, podcasts, Wiki, Flickr and LinkedIn- as well as their comfort level with the various platforms.

Canada deports Rwandan medical student as war criminal (National Post)
A medical student who witnessed a Tutsi massacre at hospital in Rwanda was declared a war criminal and ordered deported from Canada by a Federal Court, which upheld a ruling that the fact he didn’t flee the hospital and wasn’t slaughtered himself was proof he was a genocide supporter.

University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab: new funding, diverse students, global reach (Yonge Street Media)
“University of Toronto’s student body is really multicultural,” explains Rafal Rohozinksi, executive director of SecDev and Psiphon. “These are Iranians expatriates, who lived through the revolution. There are people from the Soviet Union. They come with languages, and skills and a range of life experiences that makes them extremely motivated to work on the kind of stuff we do.”


Jason Kenney’s troubling refugee legacy (Embassy Mag)
In the course of undertaking his ministerial responsibilities for the protection of refugees, Kenney came across a vote-harvesting scheme that actually had nothing to do with refugees or their protection. Its subject was fear.

Asylum bids to Canada plummet 30 per cent (Montreal Gazette)
The number of people arriving on Canada’s shores in search of protection has fallen to its lowest level since 2006 – a trend one expert is blaming partly on political intervention. A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report released Monday indicated that the number of applications for asylum in Canada fell 30 per cent in 2010, part of an overall decline in asylum claims in developed countries.

Making best of his chance (London Free Press)
Somewhere in a refugee camp, in some forgotten corner of the world, there are people who are very, very bright. People “whose potential will just die there” if they don’t get opportunities to study in places like Canada, says Nathaniel Kuch. Kuch is a refugee from Kenya, who is completing the first year of an undergraduate degree at the University of Western Ontario.

On the smugglers’ trail: UK man ‘Peg Leg Shankar’ wanted by Interpol (National Post)
Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for a British man accused of running the human smuggling network that sent 76 Sri Lankans to Canada aboard a cargo ship in 2009. Shanmugasundaram Kanthaskaran, 40, is wanted by Sri Lankan authorities for “people smuggling, trafficking and illegal immigration” as well as “terrorism,” according to the Interpol website. While the public Interpol notice is vague, classified details of the allegations obtained by the National Post show he is wanted in connection with the human smuggling vessel Ocean Lady.

Refugee Rights Day Events in Toronto – April 4th 2011 (Refugee Research Network)
Refugee Rights Day is celebrated each April 4th to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of the Supreme Court Singh decision in 1985. This year we also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Canadian people receiving the Nansen Refugee Award. The Nansen Refugee Award was created in 1954 and is given annually to an individual or organization in recognition of extraordinary and dedicated services to refugees and is the most prestigious honour conferred by UNHCR. In 1986, the Nansen went to the people of Canada – the only country to have received the award as a nation.


Reconceptualizing Health and Place: a Multilevel Study to Examine Neighbourhood Influences on Health in Toronto, Canada March 30th (Munk Centre)
The recognition of place as a significant factor underpinning health inequalities has led many quantitative studies to use multilevel modeling (MLM) to examine the effects of neighbourhoods, independent of individual factors, on various health outcomes. MLM is able to analyze complex social relations by looking at how groups of people are simultaneously affected by a common set of socio-spatial processes (i.e. between-group variability) and how individual social locations and circumstances come to bear on health status (i.e. within-group variability). However, critics have identified problems in explanatory models of adverse health including the persistent focus on neighbourhood deficiencies, as well as biomedical reductionist disease-specific models that delimit ‘health’ to the presence or absence of a single disease. To address these challenges, this project extends the range of neighbourhood influences beyond area deprivation through a study of cardiovascular health, and develops a study of the compound-health effects of neighbourhood factors as an alternative to the disease-specific approach. In partnership with the Neighborhood Effects on Health and Well-being” study in Toronto, Canada, led by researchers at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St.Michael’s Hospital, results is based on surveys with 3,000 residents in 100 central city census tracts.

Poverty, child care should top political agenda (Edmonton Journal)
And so, as we shake off the last vestiges of winter and head to the polls May 2, it is critical we take this opportunity to ask our political leaders where they, and their parties, stand on the key issues of child and family poverty and early childhood education and care. Their answers should be clear and unequivocal. They should include a well-thought-through policy agenda and a commitment to act. No spinning is required here and the time for vague promises and further study has long since passed.

Liberal ‘learning passport’ offers $1,000 a year in postsecondary aid (Globe and Mail)
Michael Ignatieff announced a new $1-billion education program Tuesday aimed at helping high school students, especially those from low-income families, get to college or university. The “Canadian Learning Passport” will offer $4,000 tax-free grants to every high school student who chooses to go to university, college or CEGEP, according to a news release given to reporters covering the Ignatieff campaign.

CCPA launches federal election blog (CCPA)
The CCPA has launched a federal election blog to bring you expert analysis on the issues that will—or should—define the election.


Looming shortage of ICT workers: study (Toronto Star)
In Ontario alone, about 50,000 ICT jobs will need to be filled in the next five years, said Paul Swinwood, ICTC President and CEO. Immigrants and new graduates will be able to fill 60-70 per cent of those positions, he added. There will be particular shortages of computer and information systems managers, telecommunications carriers managers, information systems analysts and consultants and broadcast technicians due to increasing need in sectors such as cloud computing and virtualization.–looming-shortage-of-ict-workers-study

Tech labour crunch looming in canada (National Post)
With demand for ICT professionals growing, annual enrollment rates for Canadian software and computer engineering programs appear to have flattened in recent years. Meanwhile, immigration of foreign workers with relevant ICT training and experience has recently been in decline. As a result, the study warns of “serious and pervasive” recruitment challenges in the coming years, with shortages being most severe for positions requiring several years of experience. “The people with five to seven years experience just don’t exist anymore because we didn’t hire them five years ago,” Mr. Swinwood said. “The jobs have changed and the people that we need for them have changed.”

Jobs and Amenities: Modeling Talent Mobility and Regional Satisfaction (Martin Prosperity Institute)
While it is generally agreed upon that talent is a key driver of economic growth, there is a fierce debate surrounding the optimal set of factors that help to attract and retain individuals with high levels of human capital (‘talent’) and mobility. One camp argues that good quality jobs must be present before talent will migrate while another camp argues that talented individuals are attracted to locations that offer a rich mix of amenities such as theatre, musical venues, restaurants, and other opportunities for recreation. In reality, however, the nature of work and what constitutes a ‘job’ is changing and preferences for work are differentiated by occupation, gender, ethnicity, life cycle, and past experience.


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Provincial Budget, Election After-math, Transit and Other News.

Centre for City Ecology
The Centre for City Ecology is a new initiative focused on the seminal ideas of Jane Jacobs, who coined the term ‘city ecology’: how the built environment, economy and ethics of a city work together. We work to connect and support city-builders and their work; identify, share and build ideas and practices; and enable initiatives to support the health and vitality of the Toronto region. CCE activities include exhibitions and public events; education and convening; and support for community planning initiatives.

No new money for cities in budget (Toronto Star)
Cities hoping for cash for new infrastructure spending came away short-handed in the provincial budget. While the Liberals are continuing transfers like the gas tax and the ongoing uploading to Queen’s Park of certain costs like welfare expenses and disability benefits, there was no new commitment on public transit dollars. That despite repeated studies that show gridlock is hurting the economy, especially in the Greater Toronto Area, where the average round-trip commute is stalled at 80 minutes a day. The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development estimates the costs of congestion to the region’s economy at $6 billion a year.–no-new-money-for-cities-in-budget

Want to Join the TCHC Board? (Torontoist)
The Toronto Community Housing Corporation, which lost its board in somewhat dramatic fashion earlier this month, is looking to fill those empty spots soon


National Conference on Human Trafficking Underway in Ottawa (CFRA)
The first national conference on human trafficking in the country is being held in Ottawa over the next couple of days as Ottawa Police ramp up training of their front line officers to learn how to deal with the problem and how to identify what human trafficking looks like in the capital.

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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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