Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 22, 2011

Apologies for the lack of news headlines yesterday. But, we’re back with lots of news goodness for your reading pleasure! 🙂


Q&A: Are immigration services for new Canadians fair? (Globe and Mail)
With Ratna. As Globe writer Karim Bardeesy wrote this week, fairness is the new buzzword in the immigrant community, particularly in light of an election campaign promise by the Ontario Liberals to offer a tax incentive to businesses who hire new immigrants. To read Karim’s story, click here. Most can agree that language services and recognition of international credentials are essential for new immigrants. Beyond that, however, what exactly is fair? What’s a fair deal for Canadian immigrants?

On immigration, Canada could learn from world capitals (Globe and Mail)
Ratna Omidvar thinks Canadian cities could be doing more to welcome skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants. As president of Maytree, a Toronto-based foundation that seeks to reduce poverty and inequality, Ms. Omidvar knows how important these newcomers are to urban economies.

Talking Business in your Mother Tongue (Cities of Migration)
More local governments are recognizing the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs to the economic vitality of their cities. Not only are such entrepreneurs creating businesses that supply the needs of their own communities, they also provide goods and services for the mainstream. Since 2007, the city of Vienna has made moves to recognize the importance of this group by creating a stream within its business incubation agency, Mingo (which stands for move in and grow), meant to address the unique needs of immigrant entrepreneurs.

Canadas immigration minister in the hot seat (Wetaskiwin Times)
Canada’s head of immigration and employment was put in the hot seat during a recent stop. At a Sept. 14 meeting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, federal citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism minister Jason Kenny spoke about how Canada’s immigration and employment sector has adapted since the recession and plans down the road to streamline the immigration process.

Celebrate Culture Days with the Museum! (Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21)
Join us from September 23 to October 1 for a series of free cultural activities exploring themes of identity and Canadian diversity.

Event: Raising Our Voice Sep 23, 2011 (Mennonite New Life Centre)
2011 Commffest Global presents Raising our Voice, a documentary about newcomer advocacy for social change, fair employment and inclusive civic participation.

Gender Equality Benefits Boys Too (Digital Journal)
While it’s generally known that there are numerous reasons to close the inequality gap between girls and boys, perhaps one of the most important is the least obvious: because it’s good for boys and men, too. A major global report released today from Plan International, one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, highlights both the essential role and potential benefits for boys and men in creating a gender-equitable world.
Report (PDF) –

English Language Learners: Becoming Fluent in Afterschool (2011) (Afterschool Alliance)
English Language Learners (ELLs), a diverse group of individuals from across the world who are learning English for the first time, make up the fastest growing segment of the student population in United States public schools. Eighty-percent of the ELL population is Spanish-speaking, but they represent a diverse group of children with distinct needs. Most ELLs (65%) were born in the United States, but many have parents born outside of the U.S. with limited English skills.2 The large number of immigrants to the U.S. over the past decade and a half has lead to a surge in the number of ELL students in U.S. public schools with more than 1 in 10 public school students classified as an ELL in 2008.3 Between 1995 and 2005, nationwide enrollment of ELLs increased by 57 percent. This does not represent an even distribution throughout the U.S. though. Certain states experienced an especially large surge in their ELL population, and many schools are failing to adjust to the rapid population shifts and new needs of their heavily ELL student population.4 With schools lacking the funding and necessary staff to help this new crop of students, English Language Learners have lagged behind their English-speaking peers on standardized tests. These students could greatly benefit from additional time and support to learn both the English language and the academic content being taught in schools. With school days that are increasingly focused on stringent curriculums and testing, many ELL students have much to gain from the less formal enrichment available outside of the school day. Afterschool programs, with lower student-staff ratios, flexible schedules and informal environments, can better target individual needs and offer ELL students a chance to practice communicating in their new language.

Richard Wagamese wins George Ryga Award (Vancouver Sun)
Richard Wagameses One Story, One Song won the 2011 George Ryga Award, a prize given to a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness in a new book, publisher Douglas & McIntyre said in a news release. Wagamese artfully weaves sixty-some short essays into an unpretentious philosophy of life rooted in personal observations and experiences, transposing an understanding of traditional Ojibway principles (humility, trust, introspection and wisdom) into modern-day life, judge Andrew Steves of Gaspereau Press said in a news release.

Two-tier taxi system creates second-class drivers, lawyer says (Toronto Star)
Final arguments were made Wednesday at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in the case of a Toronto taxi driver who alleges the citys two-tier taxi licensing system discriminates against non-white drivers. Asafo Addai argues that visible minorities disproportionately hold the more restrictive Ambassador licences, while standard licences which can be leased, sold and operated around the clock by shift drivers are mainly owned by whites.

Cookbook celebrates Canadas ethnic diversity (Hamilton Spectator)
Canadas rich ethnic diversity also focuses on foods from many countries and a newly published cookbook celebrates this treasured mosaic.–cookbook-celebrates-canada-s-ethnic-diversity

Doctor shortage among key issues at debate (Standard Freeholder)
Three local provincial election candidates agreed that Canada continues to need immigrants to prosper. But they outlined differences in front of about 25 new Canadians and landed immigrants Wednesday on the best ways to integrate them successfully into society.

Hudak should apologize (Ottawa Citizen)
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s description of new immigrants in Ontario as “foreign workers” is sadly misplaced. It defies the true reality of Canada – the land of immigrants. Hudak conveniently forgets that his forefathers were also immigrants and not foreign workers when they came to Canada. New immigrants are prospective Canadian citizens, and to address them as foreign workers is an insult to the intelligence of these people.

Immigrant or refugee, everybody deserves a second chance (Times & Transcript)
Whether by good luck or good management, I think it’s certainly good timing for Moncton City Hall to establish an immigration director’s office as part of the municipal government in the same week that we’re having a mock ‘refugee camp’ set up for all Monctonians to see. I sometimes use this space to promote my own political passions and I suppose it might be obvious, possibly painfully, to regular readers that immigration is one of them. But I always approach what I feel is the single most pressing issue of our times, for both our city and our province, almost entirely as a business case. Though it still somehow escapes what I hope by now is a shrinking percentage of New Brunswickers, immigrants don’t arrive on our shores to steal our jobs away but for the most part to create new ones.

Diversity now a key tool in the fight for the creative class (CTV)
With advertisements depicting same-sex couples, TD Canada Trust is getting peoples attention. And if reaching out to diverse customers is a potential tool in a corporations quest for a better bottom line, so too can it help cities drive their economies forward. Increasingly, demographic diversity ethnic, gender, sexual, religious and so on is proving crucial to the success of local economies. In other words, its no longer enough for cities to subscribe to the if you build it, they will come theory to attract top talent. Rather, they need to roll out the welcome mat to one and all.

New citizens are true north, strong and free (Wetaskiwin Times)
While many of us take our Canadian citizenship for granted, there are those who have chosen Canada as their new home, looking for job opportunities, higher education, a brighter future and in some cases, freedom. Thirty-nine of those individuals proudly took their oath as new Canadians during a citizenship ceremony Sept. 15 at the Reynolds-Alberta Museum.

Listening. Learning, Sharing the learning will make Canadian journey beautiful Karim Sunderji, President of Ismaili Muslim Council of Ontario (South Asian Generation Next)
In Ontario, the population of the Ismaili Muslim community is about 50,000 people, of which almost 80% are the residents of the Greater Toronto Area. There are numerous Jamatkhanas (places of community gathering, prayer and contemplation) in the GTA, with four of these Jamatkhanas located in Don Valley East and West. As a community, Ismailis are employed in all sectors of economy. An estimated 20 per cent of them are entrepreneurs and many are in positions of leadership in academia, industry and government. Construction of an Ismaili Centre and Aga Khan Museum in North York speaks volumes of the commitment of this community to Canada and its belief in multiculturalism , and the future of pluralism in Canada.

U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney touts Canadian immigration policy (Yahoo News)
Speaking at a town hall meeting in Miami Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney praised Canada’s immigration laws saying the U.S. should study this country’s policies. Romney outlined a point system that could be used for immigrants to obtain citizenship earning points for graduating high school, speaking English, or having family in the United States. “I understand that Canada and Australia have policies that work pretty well,” he said without specifically endorsing the policy.

Have anglos become too visible, too audible? (Montreal Gazette)
Thats an issue that will be discussed over the next few days at State of the Arts, a conference organized by ELAN, Quebecs English-Language Arts Network. More than 100 participants are expected to attend the events some closed to the public, some open at a variety of Montreal venues. One of the highlights: An open panel discussion called Invisible or Too Visible?, to be held Saturday afternoon in the atrium of the Conseil des arts de Montréal on Sherbrooke St. E. At the event, journalists (including The Gazettes Brendan Kelly) and festival organizers will discuss whether the growing presence of English-language artists in Quebec is a good or bad thing.

Political parties come up short on racial equality (Toronto Star)
Ontario voters looking for a political party committed to racial equality will be disappointed, according to an election primer prepared by an anti-poverty advocacy group. In a report card being released Wednesday, the Colour of Poverty, a coalition of 25 community groups, rated all three major parties campaign platforms on issues most affecting minority communities. While the Conservatives are given a D, the Liberals got a C+ and New Democrats ended up with a C.–political-parties-come-up-short-on-racial-equality

Racialized Communities (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the Racial Justice Report Card for Ontario, with Avvy Go, she is Clinic Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. The report is being released by Colour of Poverty, Colour of Change, a community based network.

Just a Click Away Conference Report Now Available (Just a Click Away)
The Just a Click Away Conference in February 2011 featured over 50 speakers and panelists discussing effective practices in using technology to provide public legal education and information, including reaching newcomer communities.

Multiculturalism Turns 40: Reflections on the Canadian Policy (Association for Canadian Studies)
The Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association invite proposals for our joint conference ?Multiculturalism Turns 40: Reflections on the Canadian Policy? to be held September 30 to October 1 2011, at the Ottawa Marriot Hotel, 100 Kent Street. This conference also marks the 21st conference of the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association and the second in a series of three conferences jointly organized with the Association for Canadian Studies. The Conference will offer a unique opportunity to exchange views and ideas in the Nation?s Capital on the occasion of this important anniversary.

Suburbs vs. Downtown: The Immigrants Speak (The Ethnic Aisle)
Some thoughts on the GTAs Great Divide from people who werent born here.

Cap immigrant numbers, group says (Toronto Sun)
Canada should cap the number of newcomers to this country. The call comes from the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, a non-governmental organization. “Since immigration was raised to levels of a quarter of a million and more in the late 1980s, there has been a continued deterioration in the performance of new immigrants in the Canadian labour market which, given the recent recession and current sluggish state of the economy, is likely to worsen,” said Patrick Grady, CIPR Board member. “With immigrants paying fewer taxes, other taxpayers must pay for the social benefits they receive. “These costs now amount to between $16 and $23 billion annually.” The group also wants a shift in focus from humanitarian and family class immigrants to economic immigrants with road-ready work skills.

Ex-P.E.I. gov’t worker files complaint over leaked emails (CTV)
A woman who alleged bribery in an immigration program has filed a complaint with Prince Edward Island’s privacy commissioner after the governing Liberals released emails she sent to a cabinet minister. Svetlana Tenetko, who worked for the province’s failed immigration nominee program, said she would have thought that two emails she sent to Innovation Minister Allan Campbell would have remained confidential. Instead, they were included in a Liberal news release sent to the media last week after she alleged that senior P.E.I. immigration officials were bribed in order to fast-track applications under the nominee program.

Toronto Family Walks to Ottawa to Help Somalia (Digital Journal)
To symbolize the hardships experienced by Somali families who trek hundreds of miles each day to far away refugee camps, an entire young Somali-Canadian family is walking from Toronto to Ottawa in support of their famine-ravaged homeland.

Canada asks public to help combat citizenship fraud (The Telegraph)
The Canadian government’s efforts to stop citizenship fraud have been stepped up with the introduction of a controversial new ‘tip line’.

Trudeaus ‘cultural mosaic’ a failed social experiment (Vancouver Sun)
If multiculturalism is being re-examined in Canada today, its due in no small part to its supposed beneficiaries, immigrants. They have as many reservations about Canadas official policy as the host population, and are less reluctant to express them. Ive been fuming about multiculturalism for decades, but fuming about things too soon is like trying to pluck unripe fruit.

Multiculturalism alive and kicking (BC Local News)
Some words are so boring that they lull you to sleep. Multiculturalism is one. It sounds like a long yawn. Political voices Germanys Angela Merkel; Britains David Cameron; Angelo Persichilli, Prime Minister Stephen Harpers director of communications chant in chorus that multiculturalism has failed. Is that sleep-making talk as empty as it seems? Could there be a reasonable message hidden in it? What is multiculturalism? How has it failed? Culture in its widest sense means a way of life, language, food, family structure, government, economy, law, education, religions and political expression.

Immigration delays painful for Richmond Hill family (CBC)
Members of a Richmond Hill family have spent a decade trying to bring their mother to Canada, but have been thwarted by bureaucratic delays, an unexpected tragedy and an immigration system that treats parents differently than children or spouses. Hamid Anwari, 22, said he is frustrated after multiple attempts to sponsor his 59-year-old mother Sherbano Habibullah, who is living in Pakistan.

Sexism, racism and HIV (Xtra!)
No doubt sex offenders like Manay, Spencer and Aziga are the type of people t Tim Hudak who is now running for Ontario Premier would be sure to warn you about if they happened to move into your neighborhood. I beg to differ. What has been imported from Africa to Canada is not AIDS, but a particularly virulent form of sexism. But its important to stress that the best way to deal with sexism is not by putting African men in jail for spreading HIV. Instead, we need to teach African Canadians and all immigrants that our culture is not a sexist one, and that it empowers women to speak for themselves, and if need be, confront men. That would save many more lives than laws imprisoning so-called AIDS terrorists.

Candidates agree more help need for new Canadians in Ottawa South (Ottawa Citizen)
Immigrants need more help finding work and establishing themselves in Canada, the candidates in Ottawa South agree, though they differ on whether new arrivals should get a direct push or be brought along with everyone else in a more competitive economy.


Opposition attempts to block anti-human smuggling bill (The B.C. Catholic)
Opposition parties have tried to block the latest version of Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys anti-human smuggling bill that had drawn criticism last November from Canadas Catholic bishops. The first item debated Sept. 19, as Members of Parliament returned to the House of Commons after a summer break, Bill C-4 faced an amendment from Quebec Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia to decline to give second reading to the bill because it fails to achieve its stated principle of cracking down on human smugglers and instead targets legitimate refugees.

Moroccan stowaway to make refugee claim (CBC)
Mallette said the man could be returned to his home country or allowed to stay in Canada temporarily as a visitor. Julie Chamagne, the exective director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic, said she met with the man and believes he has a strong refugee case.

Catholic trivia test for refugee deemed unfair (CBC)
A federal court has overturned a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board because it was based on testing a claimants religious faith through the use of trivia questions. Chinese refugee claimant Mao Qin Wang, who came toToronto in 2008, said he fled to Canada for fear of religious persecution.


The ABCs of RESPs: reader questions answered (Globe and Mail)
To help us navigate the RESP maze, Investor Clinic invited May Wong, executive director of the Toronto-based Omega Foundation, to answer your questions. Ms. Wong leads Smartsaver, a non-profit project that shows families how to start an RESP, obtain government grants and make the most of the many options available.

Food bank use drops, but still higher than before recession (Globe and Mail)
The Daily Bread report also found that job losses and an inability to find work are driving more people with higher education to the food banks, with the percentage of food bank users with a university or postgraduate degree rising to 28 per cent in 2011 from 21 per cent in 2006. Of those, 63 per cent were newcomers to Canada. Its not easy keeping a job as a newcomer, even if qualified, said Ratna Omidvar, president of the diversity advocacy group Maytree. If you are the last hire, then you are the first to get fired. Many of these parents are working multiple jobs to make ends meet, and sometimes money runs out and you are forced to look at alternatives.

Why even conservatives are worried about rising inequality (Behind the Numbers)
Work hard and youll get ahead. Thats been the mantra of folks who prefer their governments small and their success big. But as two recent Conference Board of Canada reports show, that mantra is being cast into doubt. According to the voice of Canadas business establishment: High inequality can diminish economic growth if it means that the country is not fully using the skills and capabilities of all its citizens or if it undermines social cohesion, leading to increased social tensions. High inequality [also] raises a moral question about fairness and social justice.

Gap between rich and poor on the rise in Canada says study (Brock Press)
The US is known for having a large gap between their rich and poor, however Canada’s income inequality has been increasing at a faster rate than that of its neighbour to the south, says a new study published by the Conference Board of Canada. Income inequality is a measure of the difference between how much of the country’s wealth is in the hands of the richest versus the poorest. Canada is considered of “medium” inequality, similar and yet less than that of Japan, the UK and the US.

Food challenge should offer insights into poverty (Guelph Mercury)
On Monday, the task force and the Guelph Food Bank briefed and sent forth a crew of not-needy citizens with rations for three days and told them to live on them for five. There is some room for supplementing the grocery allotment. Items from the home gardens of the participants can be added in, as well as a set and small number of pre-existing foodstuffs from their pantries. The trial though is expected to prove a bit of a test for these subjects, and a learning experience, too. Its a window into the lot and life of local residents who rely on the food bank and other respite food providers to get by. Its part of an Ontario-wide initiative called the Do the Math Challenge. Its trying to help show people what current social assistance and disability rates leave in household budgets for food. It is part of the Put Food in the BudgetCampaign lead by the Social Planning Network of Ontario.–food-challenge-should-offer-insights-into-poverty

Advocates struggle to grab attention of public and politicians (Toronto Star)
A vast array of advocacy groups representing causes such as the disabled, child care, poverty and the mentally ill have been staging news conferences, all-candidates meetings and public forums and releasing polls and report cards in an attempt to elbow their way onto the public agenda and influence the parties tightly scripted campaigns. But none of the advocates are having much success, notes York University political science professor Robert MacDermid.

Scarborough TDSB trustees take a stand on education (Toronto Observer)
Education was the topic at an evening forum organized by local school boards on Monday, Sept 19. The following day, the Ontario Public School Boards Association (OPSBA) announced Tuesday, Sept. 20 to be Education Day. In preparation for the provincial election on Oct. 6, trustees of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) will host open forums at their local schools from 7 to 9 p.m. to encourage voters to take part in the election as candidates take a stand on the importance of public education.

Actions speak louder than words (Vancouver Sun)
Compassion is a word that the BANANA crowd (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) has claimed a monopoly on… By this definition, are the actions of BANANA folks really compassionate? I think not. Do you think they have a compassionate bone in their body when they say no to creating jobs for new immigrants who desperately want to work so they can put food on the table and have a roof over their heads? When they say no to hiring extra teachers for special-needs kids? When they say no to building more long-term care beds for low-income seniors? When they say no to better housing for aboriginal people living in substandard homes?


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Waterfront Development, Budget Cutbacks, Urban Design and Other News.

Thursday’s Headines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Waterfront Development, City Hall, Transit & TTC and Other News.

City hands out 10 Urban Design Awards (Yonge Street Media)
Thirteen awards of excellence and 10 honourable mentions were given out in 10 categories, including Private Buildings in Context, Public Buildings in Context and Large Places or Neighbourhood Designs, the last of which was won by Waterfront’s Sugar Beach, Torontos version of the internationally popular urban beach.

A tale of Ontario cities (Hamilton Spectator)
Theres no shortage of sound bites from the provincial campaign trail revealing what the three major party leaders will do for average, taxpaying families in Ontario. Uncovering what each party will do for average cities is much more difficult, but no less important to the average taxpaying families of Ontario.–a-tale-of-ontario-cities

City of Toronto and neighbourhood association honour Jane Jacobs (City of Toronto)
Today, Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20 Trinity Spadina), Jim Jacobs – son of Jane Jacobs, and Wellington Place Neighbourhood Association representatives Ken Greenberg, Eti Greenberg and Scott James honoured the late Jane Jacobs by unveiling a pair of chairs in Ward 20’s Victoria Memorial Square. The square is a hidden gem that is both a community park and a national historic site.


CSL Awards Call for Submissions! (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
The Foundation is now accepting submissions for the newly launched Community Service-Learning (CSL) Awards competition. CSL is a model of experiential learning that combines classroom learning with volunteer work designed to achieve community goals and to instill in students a sense of civic engagement. Between 2004 and 2012, the Foundation will have granted $9.4 million to support the introduction and growth of community service-learning programs through its CSL initiative.

Charities and compliance agreements: know what youre signing! (First Reference Talks)
Charities know theyve got strict rules to follow, and they know there are stiff penalties for non-compliance. They should also know that the Charities Directorate and the Canada Revenue Agency will work with organizations to help them maintain their charitable status, if necessary through a compliance agreement which both the CRA and the charity accept. Such an agreement identifies the problems, the steps the charity will take to bring itself into compliance, and the potential consequences to the charity of not abiding by the agreement. However, the CRA may see a compliance agreement as a last chance, and penalties for non-compliance can be severe.

Ex-chief statistician picks apart cancellation of long census (Toronto Star)
The federal government cancelled the long-form census with little heed to the consequences of its decision, according to a new first-hand account of the drama that unfolded a year ago. An essay by former chief statistician Munir Sheikh says the census decision has shaken Statistics Canadas neutrality and independence, and put at risk the governments own work in many areas.–ex-chief-statistician-picks-apart-cancellation-of-long-census?bn=1#.TnjpIzeblik.twitter


Workers in erotic businesses need police checks, doctors notes, councillors say (Vancouver Sun)
While this field is already underground, Quinn hopes the revised bylaw will help bring it out into the open so officials can ensure workers are treated properly. Edmonton does not want to be known as a city that facilitates human exploitation and trafficking. We want to be known as the city that ends it.

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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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