Maytree News headlines – April 11, 2011


Local Democracy Week: inaugural DiverseCity Fellows project continues to connect youth to the political process (DiverseCity blog)
Local Democracy Week (LDW) was launched in November 2009 as a project of DiverseCity Fellows. Adapted from the UK model, Torontos LDW was designed to instill in youth a better understanding of the opportunities that exist for them to participate in local decision-making. Through interactive sessions with politicians, remarks from guest speakers, and building tours, students gain insights into the democratic institutions that shape their communities.

The Diaspora Dialogues Mentorship Program: The Physics Yardstick (Open Book Toronto)
Diaspora Dialogues’ mentorship program connects emerging writers with established writers. Martin Mordecai writes about his experience a mentor and the effect his mentees had on his own writing… Diaspora Dialogues launches the sixth book in its TOK: Writing the New Toronto anthology series on April 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Vote Compass: Immigration and multiculturalism – the parties’ positions (CBC)
CBC recently released this article on 3 focusing on three issue areas:
* requiring English or French for immigration
* immigration numbers
* religious accommodation

Canada is more diverse than everexcept in the halls of power (this magazine)
Consider this: the population growth of racialized or non-white groups continues to outpace that of white Canadians. This has created a shift in the demographic balance of the Canadian mosaic, with our population on its way to becoming a minority majority. …One initiative to improve the coverage of racialized minorities is DiverseCity Voices, a new electronic database of experts who are also visible minorities. Journalists can turn to the website to find underrepresented leaders who are able to provide commentary and opinion on current affairs.

This is representative government? (Ottawa Citizen)
Visible minorities: More than five million Canadians identified themselves as a member of a visible minority in the 2006 census. In the last Parliament, however, only 21 MPs came from visible minority groups. They made up 6.8 per cent of the House of Commons.

Brampton-Springdale: Sikh sympathies turning blue (Toronto Star)
When Stephen Harper kicked off his election campaign on a Sunday morning in Brampton, with Sikhs flanking him on both sides for a national news audience, the scene seemed straight out of an old Liberal play book. Every time Harper emphasized a point, bearded, turbaned men clapped and let out a low drone in unison all orchestrated by the party that not long ago was seen as unfriendly to core Sikh Canadian issues such as immigration and religious freedom. Theres been little attention to why members of the Sikh community have begun crossing over from the Liberal camp they helped prop up for decades.–brampton-springdale-sikh-sympathies-turning-blue

This niche election promise is a very good idea (Globe and Mail)
The Conservatives proposal in their election platform for an office of religious freedom in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade is a good one both for refugees and for members of religious minorities who do not want to leave their native countries.

Tories promise to create office for religious freedom draws skepticism (Globe and Mail)
The Conservative campaign platform has injected religion into Canadian foreign policy. The Tory platform, unveiled Friday, calls for the creation of special office of Religious Freedom within the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa. The function of the new office would be to monitor religious freedom around the world, to promote religious freedom as a key objective of Canadian foreign policy.

Tories fighting for faiths (Toronto Sun)
“It’s in part inspired by the recent wave of attacks on religious minorities,” Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney said Friday. “Just a month ago, I was at the funeral of my late friend, Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs in Pakistan, who was murdered simply because he was calling for an end to blasphemy laws.” Kenney said the murder of the lone Christian in the Pakistani government confirmed Canada’s need for the new office.

Conservatives woo Toronto’s Asian vote (AFP)
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ousted Conservatives are launching a charm offensive in Canada’s biggest city, hoping to win over the Asian vote and another shot at power. “Xie xie … Xie xie,” said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in broken Mandarin, thanking Chinese-Canadians who stopped briefly to shake his hand and pledge support at a Chinese supermarket in Mississauga, a suburb of Toronto.

Video: Jason Kenney and Ukrainian Immigration to Canada (YouTube)
Preview and video of the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism visiting Ivan Franko Ukrainian Home, Mississauga, Canada, 4 April 2011. Questions are related to family reunification.

Immigrants Feel Betrayed by Conservative Decision to Make Family Reunions Harder (The Tyee)
Satish Patel and his family are selling their home in Ontario and leaving everything behind to return to India. He waited five years for his parents to join him in Canada and he’s giving up. “I am the only son and I believe we have waited for much longer than normal,” said Patel, whose parents live in India. “I should have considered this before I applied for immigration. But now that’s already done and I have to see how I can move back sooner so my parents can be with me.”

South Asian seniors facing loneliness and alienation in a foreign land (Times of India)
“Why call them here if you cannot take care of them?” enquired some one over the air.”Perhaps your kids are older now and your parents have outlived their babysitting job?” Whatever the reason they are here now. Very often the whole family is overseas and no one is there to look after them in their own country . This problem, like many others facing the South Asian diaspora , won’t just disappear.We have to address it by taking the bull by the horns, raising awareness and working with social agencies to find practical and viable solutions.

‘Why don’t they come out to vote?’ (South Asian Focus)
Lee and university political science student Ryan K. Powell found many factors known to influence low voter turnout were at play. These include the riding’s high percentage of recent immigrants, who often work long hours and have little time to vote, and a relatively large number of younger, more disengaged voters. The accuracy of the voter’s list and new requirements to show identification before being allowed to vote have also been identified as impediments, he added. Voters’ proximity to polling stations, their access to public transit and how often they move also affect turnout.

Canada Votes 2011: Tories challenging Liberal stronghold (Toronto Observer)
Traditionally, the Liberals have garnered the immigrant vote because of their policies on immigration and emphasis on multiculturalism. However, the Conservatives are making a great effort to get the immigrant vote through campaign ads and policies, Cochrane said. According to Cochrane, many Scarborough residents stand to gain from increased spending on social programs, particularly childcare and healthcare funding, where the federal government plays a very important role through its spending power. All of the parties realize that immigrants will play an increasingly important role in Canada, not just in the economy and society, but in politics as well, Cochrane said

Rediscovering Chinatown (Vancouver Sun)
Instead of studying the history of Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver via lectures and textbooks, Yip is part of an effort to flesh out what is seen as a bare-bones official version… And so, the project “Chinese Canadian Stories: Uncommon histories from a Common Past” was launched. There is a website ( and researchers like Yip are collecting new material and spreading what they find.

Event – Immigrant Professionals in Ontario: Rebuilding Professional Lives as Settlement Workers (Integration-Net)
Apr 15, 2011, Toronto. This study looks at a particular group of foreign-born and -trained professionals in Ontario, namely, those who did not get to practice their respective professions after immigration but acquired a new profession in the form of settlement work. The study detects their pre-immigration education and work history, the reasons they came to Canada, the choices they made about pursuing professional practice in Canada, the efforts they put towards this goal and their eventual professional reconstitution as settlement workers.

Subject to Change (Walrus Magazine)
A wannabe Canadian explains why we ought to curb our devotion to Her Majesty.

Toronto police, social group team up for conference on South Asian family violence (Globe and Mail)
A conference addressing violence in South Asian families is to be held at Queens Park next month. The Social Services Network, a non-profit organization for South Asians in the Greater Toronto Area, has organized the forum to be held May 5. Partner abuse is a serious and globally prevalent public health issue, said SSN executive director Naila Butt on Friday. While family violence crosses all cultural boundaries, it is important that we break this cycle of violence against South Asian women in the GTA.

Preventing newcomer settlement (
President of the Alberta Federation of Labour accuses the Conservatives of preventing workers from settling in Canada. Gil McGowan said in a statement that a new rule in the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program that came into effect at the beginning of April is evidence of this.

The Ethnic Consumer Tends to Set the Trend (Wealth blog)
With the growth of ethnic communities, major companies are increasing their efforts to target these markets. Not only do ethnic markets have a large purchasing power, but their consumer purchasing habits tend to set mainstream purchasing trends.

New arrivals bring big benefit to Canada: Better shopping (CTV)
An interesting new paper by David Jacks (Simon Fraser University) and Bo Chen (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics) finds that the welfare gained from the increased variety of goods in Canada as the result of freer trade is large (28 per cent between 1988 and 2007) and that about 25 per cent of that gain comes from a surprising source — increased immigration. Immigrants to Canada bring with them a superior knowledge of, and preference for, consumer goods available in their home countries. Thus, while the immigrant population creates a demand for a greater variety of goods, they also bring a familiarity of foreign market conditions and regulatory environments — reducing the cost of importing and increasing the supply of goods arriving from a variety of world regions.

Canadian Banks at the Forefront of Ethnic Marketing (Wealth blog)
Research data from Manifold Data Mining Inc. explains why TD and other banks are migrating towards ethnic marketing strategies. Its research indicates that “ethnic marketing can be effective in the Canadian multicultural environment” due to the following reasons:
* The ethnic market is profitable;
* Ethnic markets tend to have high purchasing power;
* Ethnic markets are big markets;
* Ethnic market is a concentrated market;
* Ethnic market is a growing market.

Michael Bach talks about the Business Case for LGBT Inclusion (YouTube)
Michael Bach, National Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for KPMG – and one of Canada’s leading thought leaders for diversity and inclusion, speaking at the HSBC Diversity and Inclusiveness Champions Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada (November 2010).

No newcomer jobs? (Canadian Immigrant)
New Canadians still face many hiring barriers, but its time that employers start to recognize the business case for diversity.

The opportunity of immigration (Canadian Immigrant)
But it will take multiple approaches to make the immigrant journey in this country a success. The challenge for us all now is to make it personal internalize a commitment to immigrant success and ensure a mindset where newcomers are embraced as full-fledged participants in Canadian society. Fully integrating immigrants into the Canadian economic and social fabric is not just a business opportunity; its a personal responsibility we must all share.

More support key to solving ethnic gang problem (Vancouver Sun)
That said, the children of recent immigrants face unique pressures on top of dealing with those faced by children whose families have been here longer. So it’s important to consider the factors that might contribute to their entering gang life. Fortunately, Hieu Van Ngo did just that for his doctoral thesis at the University of Calgary. Ngo interviewed 30 gang members from immigrant families and he concluded that many had experienced an “unravelling” of their ethnic identities.

Related Research: UNRAVELLING IDENTITIES AND BELONGING: Criminal Gang Involvement of Youth from Immigrant Families – PDF
Crime and Crime Prevention in a Multicultural Society – PDF

The changing face of Peterborough (Kawartha Media Group)
In the final piece of our three-part series examining the demographic shift in this region, looks at the vital role immigration will play in the coming decades across our region.–the-changing-face-of-peterborough

Harper Legislation Takes Aim at “Ethnic” Spousal Permanent Residence Requirements (Pacific Free Press)
If passed, this proposal will place women in particular at an increased risk for spousal and partner abuse. This proposal is being billed as a measure to prevent marriages of convenience. This term is problematic as it applies almost explicitly only to marriages entered into by immigrants and intensifies anti-migrant profiling and the suspicion that immigrant marriages where one spouse is sponsored may inherently not be genuine.

Coop Culture (Safe Harbour – Respect for All: Pass It On)
Mandate: Using an online space and mixed-media storytelling, our mandate is to encourage ongoing and honest discussions with all ethno-cultural groups to foster an inclusive and just future for everyone within Vancouver and Canadian society.

Interview with Minister Hoskins (
“It is extremely important for me to interact and to reach out to stakeholders of this ministry with so many diverse groups, which are the groups representing newcomers, service agencies and not-for-profit communities,” says the minister.

A shattered dream (Canadian Immigrant)
Canada remains depressing for new immigrants especially for the educated. Until recognition is given to them by creating ample opportunities for jobs it would remain so a shattered dream, a broken glass. I would like to long for Canada to be a fulfilling dream for me as well as the many others who like me.

Politicians shouldn’t forget about aboriginals (Gauntlet)
Statistics Canada projects that by 2031, almost half of Canadians over the age of 15 will be foreign-born or have at least one foreign-born parent and the number of visible minorities will double. In recent years, political parties have taken to targeting this growing population with platforms geared toward their interests. During a debate with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff berated Harper for referring to immigrants as “these people” when in reality “they are Canadians.” Ignatieff went on to say how foreign-born Canadians deserve to be treated with the same rights and respect as those born in Canada. What excludes our indigenous population from having the same attention that the government is giving to the ethnic vote?

Rae bristles at personal attacks against Ignatieff’s wife (Globe and Mail)
Its getting nasty out there and Bob Rae doesnt like it. The Toronto Centre Liberal MP and foreign-affairs critic condemned an attack on Zsuszanna Zsohars citizenship Thursday, calling it deeply offensive. Ms. Zsohar is the Hungarian-born wife of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff; she is a landed immigrant and has applied for Canadian citizenship. Since she has not received it, she will not be able to vote for her husband in the May 2 election.


An incredible journey (Toronto Sun)
Once in awhile, you hear a success story so incredible, so inspiring, you can’t let yourself believe it’s true. You poke around, and it checks out. Then you want to tell everyone you know. This is one of those. It’s a story about seven desperate men who emerged dirty, tired and overjoyed from a steel shipping container pulled off a cargo ship at the Halifax harbour, carrying little more than determination and dreams for a better life here.

A persuasive argument on refugees (Winnipeg Free Press)
They are displaced persons or asylum seekers, hoping for refuge in foreign lands, and today they pose a particularly vexing problem because public sentiment sees a potential terrorist in every refugee. Toronto journalist Andy Lamey has produced a persuasive argument for changes to refugee systems around the world.

Toronto family spared deportation (Toronto Sun)
The familys deportation was halted by the Federal Court of Canada. The appellants provided compelling evidence which was not contradicted, Judge David Near said in a decision. The refusal to grant a stay would do irreparable harm to the boys. Roy Kellogg, an immigration consultant, said the family will now undergo a humanitarian and compassionate review to stay in Canada.

Resident permit regulations would likely keep out convicted felon (Montreal Gazette)
Bertrand Cantat may have slipped past immigration officials last November, as just another Frenchman come to visit his North American cousins. But the former rocker, convicted of beating his girlfriend to death in 2003, would not likely go unnoticed again, even if he was still invited to perform here. Canada has strict prohibitions against people with criminal records entering the country – they are just not always enforced to the same extent.

Sun Sea crewman accused of human smuggling released pending deportation ruling (Winnipeg Free Press)
A man who admits he was a crew member aboard the MV Sun Sea as it carried hundreds of Tamil refugee claimants to Canada was ordered released from custody Friday while he waits to learn whether he’ll be ordered deported. The migrant, whose identity is banned from publication, told the Immigration and Refugee Board a day earlier that he worked on the ship because he couldn’t afford the US$35,000 fee for passage, though he insisted his role was limited.

Event: Sexual Minority Refugees in Canada (Refugee Research Network)
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer refugees have attracted significant attention in recent years. To explore the challenges and opportunities for sexual minority refugees in Canada, the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Working Group of the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto, along with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, are holding a panel on April 19th.

Human smuggling top platform for Tories (
Conservatives plan to crackdown on human smuggling, but platform angers some immigrants.

Immigrants Strengthens the Local Economy (Smart City blog)
There is a common myth that immigrants take jobs from locals. The reality is very different and its time to dispel that myth. The more than 200 small and medium-sized businesses established in Halifax by immigrants demonstrate that immigrant entrepreneurs actually create jobs for themselves and locals. They make an enormous contribution to our economy and community every day and there are many stories that demonstrate this success.


Poverty rising in Peel (
In Peel Region, about 167,000 people, 15 per cent of the population, live below the poverty line. Whats disturbing is, the trend is increasing, not decreasing, said Adaoma Paterson, a specialist with Peel Regions Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee. While governments have their role to play in poverty reduction, Paterson believes residents must become aware of the problem.–poverty-rising-in-peel

Event: Inner City Health Strategy Policy Summit: Poverty, Racism and the Impact on Health (OHPE)
Apr 14, 2011. Organized by the Inner City Health Strategy Working Group Partners: Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre, City of Hamilton, Access and Equity Office, Community MicroSkills Development Centre, Community Development and Integration Director, Mt. Sinai Hospital, TAIBU Community Health Centre, The Black Health Alliance

A Hat Trick for the Canadian Caregivers Coalition (Al Etmanski)
Congratulations to the Canadian Caregivers Coalition. Caregiver promises are in the Conservative, Liberal and NDP party platforms. This is an intent few groups aspire to. And a feat few accomplish. The platforms are of course different but the dialogue has gained momentum, the debate has begun and delivery is on the horizon. Four million family caregivers are responsible for 80 per-cent of Canadas homecare services, providing over $9 billion in unpaid care each year.

Raising the minimum wage to reduce poverty (
Ken Battle of the Caledon Institute has written a very useful report: Restoring Minimum Wages in Canada. It contains a wealth of data on minimum wage trends by province since 1965 and their changing relationship to average wages and to the low income line. Battle shows that, in almost all provinces and territories, with the notable exception of B.C., minimum wages rose from the early years of the past decade, restoring a lot of lost ground. He suggests that further progress will require general agreement on a minimum wage standard (e.g. 50% of average earnings), and indexing of minimum wages (to prices or to average wages) once they reach that level.

Tackling inequity through a photovoice project on the social determinants of health (Wellesley Institute)
St. James Town is the most densely populated vertical immigrant-receiving urban neighbourhood in Canada. The Photovoice project engaged and empowered immigrant residents of St. James Town to influence public policy and secure improved local services for promoting health and well-being. Twenty-seven residents used photography and storytelling to record neighbourhood characteristics and their implications on residents health and well-being. Eight participants presented recommendations actionable at neighbourhood level to the councillor and worked with the city to carry out the recommendations made that were recognized as important for neighbourhood residents health and well-being. The results indicate Photovoice can be used to generate dialogue on community concerns and priorities and promote community action


Help wanted! (Canadian Immigrant)
Hiring temporary foreign workers has crossed her mind, but the thought of looking into the process overwhelms her. It seems to have a lot of government red tape. Weve all got so much on our plates right now, were all maxed out. Adding to that is the fact that hiring temporary foreign workers is inherently a short-term solution for a problem that has far-reaching effects. Even if the construction boom tapers off after 2010, the baby boomers will still be in retiring, and Canadians still wont be making more babies, so it seems inevitable that the issue of worker shortages will keep arising. A C. D. Howe Institute report says the ratio of residents aged 65 and over to those of traditional working age (1864) will rise from 20 per cent in 2006 to 46 per cent in 2050. One of the Conservative governments first steps in dealing with this issue is on the temporary worker front; it launched new temporary foreign worker units in Calgary and Vancouver, September 1.

Sign Post to Replace Resumés for IEPs in the Finance Industry (LEAP’s blog)
The Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) and Ryerson Universitys Chang School has developed a solution to the foreign resumé dilemma. Sign Post, an online talent management tool, was launched on April 4th 2011 and has changed the way employers are connected with job seekers forever.

Edmonton 2011 RISE Employer Awards seeking nominations (Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers)
As workforce needs expand and the labour pool fluctuates, many businesses have taken on a more global
approach to their hiring practices. This award will recognize an employer who has developed a process to
measure the impact of employing immigrant newcomers and that clearly demonstrates a return on investment for
incorporating diversity practices.

April 2011 (Diversity in the workplace!)
This Issue
Canada’s Best Diversity Employers 2011
Understand the Importance of Diversity
FYI Talent Oyster
ETC global news briefs
MVP diversity champions
AHA! an inspired idea!
Ask a Consultant
Top 10 Ways to Motivate Women in your Workforce


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Council, Streets, Architecture & Development, Nature, History and Other News.

Square to be named after city builder Pecaut (CBC)
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is asking council to rename a city square in honour of the late David Pecaut, a renowned civic booster and a co-founder of the Luminato arts festival. Ford made the announcement Friday morning at Metro Square, located between Metro Hall and Roy Thomson Hall just south of King Street West.

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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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