Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 19, 2011


Help cities help immigrants (Toronto Star)
If Ottawa is serious about helping immigrants thrive it will channel more money to cities, especially for affordable housing and public transit. That would ultimately benefit not just new Canadians but also communities and the national economy. Everyone loses when immigrants fail. Municipalities serve on the front line when it comes to integrating the more than 500,000 permanent residents, temporary workers and foreign students who come to this country each year. These newcomers often rely on city hall for basics like housing, recreation, libraries, child care and public transit. But cash-strapped cities find it increasingly difficult to cope.–help-cities-help-immigrants

Vancouver’s hungry for open dialogue on media and ethncity (Tracy Bains)
Last Tuesday, the United Nations Association in Canada and Schema Magazine co-hosted Me in Media, a public town hall to explore how we can make Vancouver a more inclusive city through media.

Ontario Liberal plan to aid immigrant employment raises question of fairness (Globe and Mail)
Most politicians across party lines share the same baseline assumptions of what services are essential for new Canadians – immediate help upon arrival in the country, access to language instruction and more recognition of international credentials and experience. Beyond that, however, what exactly is fair? How much special attention should immigrant communities receive?

Courting the ethnic vote (Share)
There are an estimated 15,000 foreign-trained engineers in Ontario along with some 5,000 who have graduated from Canadian universities, so any attempt to work with the numbers in this profession with regard to generating employment deserves a look.

Crime, immigration to top agenda as Parliament returns (CTV)
As well, the Conservatives will bring in new legislation to reform and tighten up Canada’s immigration system, will finally eliminate the long-gun registry and are expected to dismantle the Canadian Wheat Board’s marketing monopoly in the West.

Tempers flare over prayer in schools (CBC)
A rally held to recognize the Toronto District School Board for allowing rights and freedoms turned into a shouting match Saturday between religious groups. About 200 people squared off outside the Toronto District School Board’s head office, concerned about Muslim prayer in the city’s public schools.

Tories warned about ‘serious’ Mexican visa issues: CP (CTV)
Senior bureaucrats warned the Harper government that imposing a new visa on Mexican travellers would overload Canada’s diplomatic capacity. The deputy ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade offered that assessment in a July 2009 briefing note to then foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon.

Culture clash – New book charges multiculturalism threatens democracy (London Free Press)
In March 2010, a rare and unusual debate took place in the Senate of the Canadian Parliament. The subject of the debate was on a motion moved by the Conservative Senator Doug Finley, the “Erosion of Freedom of Speech.” In his remarks, Finley urged his fellow Senators consider the extent to which free speech in Canada was under siege from officially appointed censors in the human rights commissions, in the media, in the universities, and those self-appointed who could mobilize a mob to shut down speech they disapproved. He reminded his peers that Canada inherited the tradition of free speech from Great Britain and France, and that it “is as Canadian as maple syrup, hockey and the northern lights.”

How the Liberals lost Toronto (Toronto Star)
The how and why of the Liberal decline are so complex and compounding that they may not easily be reversed. Just about every political development has worked against the party, from the Tory wooing of immigrants and the inner-city ascension of the left, to the fading popularity of the Green party and the redrawing of provincial ridings so they align geographically with federal ones. In the wake of that pressure, Liberal dominance has been eroding through a series of federal and provincial elections — a cautionary sign for Premier Dalton McGuinty even if the most recent polls still put the Liberals ahead in Toronto but trailing the Tories elsewhere.–losing-toronto-polling-division-analysis-reveals-how-and-where-liberal-support-is-falling

PEI rushed to approve thousands of immigrants (Globe and Mail)
The PEI government’s rush approval of nearly 2,000 immigrant investors before Ottawa shut down the island’s nomination program three years ago is at the heart of allegations that rules went out the window in the province’s scramble to secure foreign cash. New statistics obtained by The Globe and Mail from Citizenship and Immigration Canada reveal that, when the successful investors’ spouses and children are counted, the island actually approved more than 6,000 immigrants between August, 2008, and the end of February, 2009. Of those, about 1,000 are still waiting overseas to be approved by Ottawa.

Ghiz denounces allegations of P.E.I. corruption (CTV)
Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz is fending off allegations of corruption and bribery within his government with just two weeks to go before a provincial election. Several witnesses have come forward with allegations that senior immigration officials in the province accepted bribes in exchange for the province’s sponsorship of immigration bids.

Canadian Bank serves in Punjabi-Gujarati-Telugu-Hindi-Marathi-Urdu-Bengali-Tamil (
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), a leading Canadian financial institution, offers service in Punjabi, Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu and Tamil in many of its over 1,100 branches.

Toews is right (Winipeg Free Press)
Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says that Canada’s newly minted most-wanted lists are here to stay because they work. There are two such lists that his department has recently instituted. One is the names of alleged war criminals living in Canada who are implicated in crimes committed abroad. The second is of immigrants to Canada who have been convicted of crimes and are subject to deportation but have evaded arrest.

ANCIE Sept bulletin on international students (
The September 2011 bulletin is on international students; students who are in Canada on a visa or as a refugee claimant. The bulletin examines why international students come to Canada, shares perspectives from business and teachers, and provides information on how to support international students as they navigate their way through the BC school system. (Information is relevant and applicable across jurisdictions).

Tech sector calls for ‘startup visa’ program (Vancouver Sun)
Tweaking Canada’s immigration laws would boost the nation’s chances of becoming a global hub for hightech business, according to some expert observers. Many nations around the world are jumping forward to compete for talented entrepreneurs in the knowledge-based sector – such as those with software engineering skills – but so far, Canada is standing on the sidelines. A British Columbia-based advocacy group, which has backing from some prominent Vancouver tech investors, is urging the government to make it easier for immigrants with science and technology skills to move here and create new businesses.


Canada finally fixes broken refugee system (Filipino Post)
Canada has introduced a new bill to throw out bogus refugee claims. It’s a sensible step in the right direction to fix a national mess that has seen the deserving being denied and several sensation headlines of crooks finding a safe refuge in Canada. The numbers will tell you why we need this new law.

Stop C-4: CCLA Launches New Advocacy Campaign (CCLA)
To coincide with the opening of Parliament, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has launched a photo-advocacy campaign to help spread the word and attempt to stop Bill C-4. Bill C-4 would amend Canada’s immigration and refugee law. The government is trying to pass this bill into law, which could lead to gross civil liberties and human rights violations against people coming to this country.

North Korean refugees on the rise in Canada (Toronto Sun)
About 175 North Korean defectors have fled the Communist regime of leader Kim Jong-il and are helped by aid groups to travel to Canada to file refugee claims, immigration statistics show. But Canadian security officials suspect some of the newcomers are spies sent by Pyongyang to keep an eye on immigrant communities and steal technological secrets since they are “well-educated, well-groomed and speak fluent English.”

Video: Canada and Afghan refugee claims (CBC Power and Politics)
Conservative MP Chris Alexander, NDP MP Jack Harris and Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux discuss Canada’s low acceptance of refugee claims made by Afghan interpreters who served alongside Canadian Forces.

ENT books: Marking World Refugee Day (Sudbury Star)
This week, the Greater Sudbury Public Library is partnering with Citizenship and Immigration Canada in support of World Refugee Day. The main branch on Mackenzie Street is hosting a travelling exhibit until Sept. 23. The exhibit is visiting communities across Canada to promote awareness around World Refugee Day.


Canada’s Income Gap Rising Faster Than Many Of Its Peers, Including U.S.: Study (Huffington Post)
A new study says Canada is rapidly catching up to the United States as a country divided between haves and have-nots. The Conference Board says income inequality has been rising more in Canada than in the United States since the mid-1990s, and faster than in many peer countries.

Polarized economy, polarized politics (Toronto Star)
The Canadian middle-class dream is disappearing. There is more income inequality than ever before, and fewer people find themselves with the trappings traditionally associated with middle-class life — security in retirement, a little bit of savings to help your kids through school, the ability to splurge on a vacation from time to time.–polarized-economy-polarized-politics

Goar: Our self-image needs a reality check (Toronto Star)
We’re closing the gap — and it’s nothing to be proud of. For generations, we have taken comfort in the belief that we live in a more equitable country than the United States. Globally, Canada might be in the middle of the pack, but compared to our American neighbours, we are a compassionate people. Our rich-poor divide might be widening, but it is modest relative to theirs. A new report from the Conference Board of Canada shatters that myth. Since the mid-1990s, income inequality has been rising faster in Canada than the U.S. They’re still in top spot, but we’re catching up. Our Gini index, which measures income equality, rose by 9 per cent over the last decade. Theirs increased by 4.7 per cent.–goar-our-self-image-needs-a-reality-check

Seniors’ poverty to increase without CPP (Hamilton Spectator)
The good news: is poverty rates among Hamilton seniors have dropped steadily since the 1970s. The bad news: the rate has been stagnant for 10 years, and is expected to increase. A report released Friday by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton shows the poverty rate for seniors in the city dropped from 40 per cent in 1976 to 17 per cent today. The report, A Profile of Vulnerable Seniors, attributes the drop to the introduction of Old Age Security (OAS), Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) for seniors in the 1960s, better company pensions in the past, and more women in the workforce now who have greater access to CPP.–seniors-poverty-to-increase-without-cpp

After She Leaves – online training for those supporting survivors of woman abuse (CLEONet)
Do you work with survivors of woman abuse who are dealing with family law issues? Do you want to learn more about the family court process, how to present evidence of abuse effectively and how to support women moving through family court? Get training on these issues and more through “After She Leaves”, a new online course for those who support woman abuse survivors and their children involved in family court cases.


CANADA CALLING – Mechanics and auto technicians wanted (Jamaica Gleaner)
MOVE OVER cane cutters. A group of skilled Jamaican workers have caught the eyes of Canadian employers. They are heavy-duty mechanics and auto-service technicians. “We have started to explore the possibility of sending people into this area,” said Pearnel Charles, minister of labour and security. And, according to him, the government’s thrust is to seek non-traditional avenues where local talent can be utilised abroad. “We are are looking in other areas of employment, rather than staying in the agricultural field,” he continued. Other auto-related labour opportunities in ‘the Land of the Maple Leaf’ includes heavy-equipment operators and welders.

Ottawa to streamline foreign worker plan (Calgary Herald)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney promised Friday to improve a program that allows companies to bring in foreign workers, amid labour shortages in some Alberta industries. Kenney, speaking at a Calgary Chamber of Commerce lunch, vowed to meet with leaders next month across several sectors to address their challenges in hiring using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, following more general meetings about immigration held in Alberta through the summer that made it evident the program is a priority for businesses. “It’s our intention to hammer out a process that is more efficient, that eliminates unnecessary and redundant bureaucracy, or red tape, so that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program works, on time, for the Alberta economy,” Kenney said.

Consultation sessions on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program announced for October (CIC)
Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley will co-host this consultation. Invited participants will include employers from the oil and gas, construction, agriculture and hospitality sectors, as well as labour representatives. “We are currently working on a number of initiatives that, when implemented, should help make the Temporary Foreign Worker Program more responsive to labour market needs,” said Minister Finley. “I look forward to considering ideas coming out of the consultations to ensure that the program continues to support economic growth, while at the same time protecting employment opportunities for Canadians.”


Monday’s Headines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Hall, Budget Cutbacks, Election News, Transit & TTC and Other News.

Losing the power to choose (Opening Windows)
I sometimes meet people who have given up on government. If government is not up to the job, they say, we’ll simply do the work ourselves. I’m happy to wave the flag for the voluntary sector. After all, I’m part of it. But we are not a substitute for a city’s own research and policy capacity. We can bring new ideas into the mix. But we can’t sift through competing visions to set city policy. We can’t instruct staff to act. And we can’t co-ordinate services. That is the work of government. And that is my call to City Council. Take up your rightful role. Don’t limit your power to make choices about housing in Toronto. Reject the City Manager’s recommendations.

What Would Jane Do? (Torontoist)
On the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities, four former Toronto mayors gather to discuss her work.

City officially opens Warden Hilltop Community Centre (City of Toronto)
“In this growing neighbourhood, the new Warden Hilltop Community Centre will enhance the social and physical development of our children, youth, adults and seniors,” said Councillor Berardinetti. “Once involved with community centre activities, residents are much more inclined to stay involved with their community – to contribute, to volunteer and to have a positive impact on their neighbourhood.” The innovative “green” design for the centre results in lower operating costs and a reduced environmental footprint. The facility uses geothermal heating, a high-efficiency irrigation system and movement sensors and timers that control the lighting.


Hard to put numbers on human trafficking in Canada, Calgary GlobalFest panel agrees (Calgary Herald)
“Sophisticated and savvy” criminals are using the lure of jobs in Alberta to entrap foreign workers in human trafficking schemes. While there are currently three charges of human trafficking in Alberta related to labour, Staff Sgt. Jim Gamlin with the RCMP said the size of the problem is difficult to pinpoint. “We are still trying to get a grasp about what the problem is and it’s very difficult because it is so unbelievably clandestine so it’s difficult to say definitively this is the extent of the problem,” said Gamlin, who handles immigration and passport issues for the police force in the Prairie provinces and northern territories.

Marching against human trafficking (Londoner)
“It’s something that’s been on my mind for the last two and a half years,” Burditt says. “It was a gradual process. I was reading some info in a magazine about the human trafficking problem and like most people I thought it was something that happened in the Far East — Thailand and Cambodia.” He was shocked to discover that human trafficking tales place right here in Canada and the U.S. as well, with many individuals forced into sex work. “I did a lot more research on the Internet and started going to info seminars and that was when I noticed the lack of involvement by men,” Burditt says.

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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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