Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 27, 2011


Ethnic vote got your tongue? (Financial Post)
But the Wildrose has been making solid inroads into ethnic communities like those in this northeast corner of Calgary. Small “c” conservative parties have lately found they have much in common with the traditional values of certain immigrant groups. But on the difficult subject of freeing up Canadian expression, political organizers get the uneasy sense that minority groups still get antsy. Or, at least their community leaders do. Whether they truly speak on behalf of potential voters is another matter. Barry Cooper, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, thinks political parties nervous about defanging human rights laws underestimate the resilience and self-assuredness of the individual Canadian immigrant.

Tories woo cultural communities, but opposition parties catching on (Hill Times)
The majority governing Conservative Party’s efforts to woo cultural communities have ramped up in recent years, playing a crucial role in the party’s recent majority election victory, but their work is far from over, and the competition is catching on.

International Symposium: Portuguese-Canadian Immigrant Descendants in Canada (Portuguese American Journal)
The University of York is hosting the International Symposium on Identity, Civic Engagement, Multiculturalism and Transnationalism: Portuguese Canadian Immigrant Descendants in Canada, to be held on October 11-12, in Toronto, Ontario. Professor Fernando Nunes will be the keynote speaker for the event which will congregate 26 international scholars and researchers.

Insights from TEDxToronto (Techvibes)
We then got to hear from Brandon Hay founder of Black Daddies Club, and Rob Spence aka Eyeborg. Both delivered powerful speeches about their personal journeys in life, and how that led to their initiatives. Hay, having recently lost his father, was inspired to improve the role that fathers play within the black community.

Steward: Economic skeptics are proven right (Toronto Star)
In the summer of 2010 it became clear to me that despite all the positive prognostications about Canadas economic recovery, some people simply didnt believe it. And now they have been proven right. These people werent economists, academics, CEOs, politicians or media pundits. They were university students and skilled recent immigrants who participated in focus groups for a research project I was involved with. Almost all of them (100 in total), said they viewed the rosy forecasts as nothing more than propaganda because they werent experiencing any sort of financial recovery in their own lives and didnt expect to any time soon.–steward-economic-skeptics-are-proven-right

Court hearing could settle Nova Scotias failed immigration mentorship program (MuchMor Canada)
A court hearing in Halifax could draw the final curtain on Nova Scotias failed immigration mentorship program. The hearing will determine if about 300 immigrants who paid to take part in the program are ready to ratify a settlement that offers them compensation. In July, the provinces Office of Immigration said a tentative settlement offered each immigrant up to $75,000. A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed in December 2009 on behalf of Peter King, who moved to Halifax from the United Kingdom in April 2006 and paid more than $100,000 to participate in the program.

Revisiting 40 years of multicultural policy in Canada (
The Association for Canadian Studies and the Canadian Ethnic Studies Association will host their 2nd Joint Annual Conference in Ottawa, Ontario from Sept 30-Oct 1, 2011 on the theme of Revisiting 40 Years of Multicultural Policy in Canada.

Immigrant Businesses get a Helping Hand (Cities of Migration)
Supporting immigrant entrepreneurs has become high on city agendas around the world as studies show that immigrants start businesses at a higher rate than native-born citizens. EnterpriseHelsinki, a free business counselling service to the citys entrepreneurs, has the proof 35% of their clients are immigrants, triple the actual size of their population. Another reason to support immigrant entrepreneurs? A City of Helsinki report states these businesses have longer lifespans than those started by members of the original population.

Toronto’s lessons on immigration (CEO blog)
Canada needs to attract, develop and retain a productive workforce this means leveraging the skills, experience and potential of recent graduates and skilled immigrants to augment the talent pipeline for most companies. Having these discussions at a time when there is significant economic turmoil creates a disconnect between what is in Toronto or in fact Canadas long term economic and prosperity interest and the immediacy of employers actions of reducing the number of employees as a cost saving measure in response to the challenging business environment. The lost opportunities for recent graduates who have made an initial investment in their future through education and the underemployment of many skilled immigrants that we have attracted to our country are both a reputational and an economic risk. However, the reality is that while it is not business as usual, organizations still have hiring needs, which presents an opportunity for seeking out creative hiring solutions. As the head of an organization that has worked with employers who have faced this dilemma before, I know that access to talent through our paid internship programs for recent grad and skilled immigrants has been an effective option.

The Wellbeing of immigrant children and parents in Canada depends much on a sense of belonging (
Economists Peter Burton and Shelley Phipps, Dalhousie University studied the life satisfaction of youth who immigrated to Canada as children and their immigrant parents. They used data on thousands of recent immigrants and Canadian-born families collected through the Canadian Community Health Survey (2002-2008). In their working paper The Well-Being of Immigrant Children and Parents in Canada, Burton and Phipps find less life satisfaction than Canadian born families with youth.
Report (PDF) –

Satisfaction gap hinders the immigrant experience (Globe and Mail)
When Canadians are asked, How satisfied are you with your life in general? more than 90 per cent respond satisfied or very satisfied. Yet one group has a significant satisfaction deficit: immigrant children, and their parents.

I don’t recognize this Canada (Ottawa Citizen)
Under Harper Conservative nuttiness, which maintains “getting tough” as sacred mantra, lists of immigrant bad guys are trotted out with great public fanfare. Meanwhile, immigration authorities show just how adept they are at getting tough – not by rejecting unskilled 17th-cousins-twice-removed of members of vote-rich ethnic communities, but by ordering the deportation of young mothers with credible scare stories. Black is white, and the result is nutty.

Sport must embrace diversity: Hockey Canada (Vancouver Sun)
The hockey world needs to work at being more inclusive to ethnic minorities if it wants to survive, Hockey Canada said Friday – a day after a spectator threw a banana peel at a black player during an NHL exhibition game in London, Ont. “We recognize there’s a changing face of the population in Canada and hockey needs to change, too,” said Glen McCurdie, vice-president of membership services for the Calgarybased organization. “We need to ensure our programs are welcoming of all Canadians. For us to continue to grow the game it’s not a step we should take but a step we have to take.”

Opinion: Diversity in NHL would help in battle against racism (Vancouver Sun)
It would be tempting, and perhaps convenient, to dismiss the incident in which an individual in London, Ont., threw a banana at black Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds during a pre-season NHL game last week. It would also be naive and false to believe this sort of thing was a one-off and wildly aberrant. Its interesting to note how the ugly incident resonated with other black athletes. Andrew Harris, a native of Winnipeg who plays tailback for the B.C. Lions, wrote this on his Twitter account in response to the Simmonds episode: This Wayne Simmonds incident reminds me of bantam hockey provincials in Portage la Prairie (Man.). Never heard more racial slurs in my life.

In NHL, subtle forms of racism linger (Globe and Mail)
If the people who expressed all that outrage in the social and mainstream media over the banana-tossing in London, Ont., really believe it was an isolated act by a lone racist moron and not indicative of a greater problem in hockey then they are greatly mistaken. Granted, unlike the ugliness of someone throwing a banana at a black player such as Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers, there is almost no direct racism in the National Hockey League these days. But racism in the NHL is far more subtle, just as it is in a wider society like Canada.

What’s The Lesson From The Wayne Simmonds Banana Peel Incident? (Huffington Post)
During an exhibition game on Thursday in London, Ontario, a fan threw a banana peel on the ice while Philadelphia Flyers’ Wayne Simmonds, who is black, was taking his turn in a shootout. Simmonds scored anyway. The NHL called it “stupid and ignorant,” and said that the incident shouldn’t represent Toronto’s fans. “I don’t know if it had anything to do with the fact I’m black,” he said. “I certainly hope not. When you’re black, you kind of expect (racist) things. You learn to deal with it.” Former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes, who is also black, had a banana tossed at him while playing in Montreal during the 2002 playoffs. What’s the takeaway from this week’s incident?

Toronto grandmother faces immigration nightmare for family (Toronto Star)
Jocelyn Miranda is faced with a difficult choice: abandon her husband or desert their grandchild. The Toronto woman was awarded custody of her 13-year-old grandson, Jon Sebastian Miranda, after the child was abandoned by her drug-addict daughter in the Philippines. However, Canadian visa officials have refused to allow him to come to Canada. In 2008, her husband, Romeo Miranda, left for Manila to look after their grandson, but he is now about to lose his own permanent resident status in Canada next month.–toronto-grandmother-faces-immigration-nightmare-for-family

Too long to wait (ChronicleHerald)
Eric Yeung of Lower Sackville has waited about three years for Canada to approve the immigration of some skilled chefs from China whom he needs for his May Garden restaurants. “This is too long for the people in China to wait and it is too long for my business to wait,” Yeung said Saturday. “We keep hearing the Nova Scotia government talking about increasing immigration, and here I have people waiting in China and jobs waiting here. We want to fix this.”

Statement on publication of the most wanted list (Canadian Centre for International Justice)
In July 2011, the Canadian government published a list of 30 individuals described as suspected war criminals, asking the public for help in tracking them down so that they can be deported. The government is of course responsible for enforcing the laws and must constantly seek the most effective and fair ways to do so. The most-wanted list is a novel approach. While it appears to have some early success, we believe that it also has a number of serious disadvantages that Canadians will want to consider carefully. Underlying the lists are many complex and challenging issues that cannot necessarily be addressed by simple solutions.

Immoral option alienates all (Canberra Times)
According to news reports, at the Commonwealth summit in Perth next month, Canadian PM Stephen Harper will lobby for a boycott of the 2013 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka because of its human rights record. This from a country that towards the end of June single-handedly blocked asbestos from being added to the hazardous-chemicals list of the UN’s Rotterdam Convention. The next opportunity to outlaw the international trade in asbestos will come after two years. Not that Canada doesn’t believe in the science: asbestos cannot legally be sold domestically because of tough health regulations. But Canada will happily mine, ship and make money from asbestos at the cost of large numbers of third-world lives. Might the CHOGM move have less to do with human rights sensitivity than with withdrawing political cash from the ethnic vote-bank ATM in Toronto?

The Coalition for Cultural Diversity launches associate membership campaign (Coalition for Cultural Diversity)
The Coalition for Cultural Diversity is launching its first ever Canada-wide associate membership campaign, aimed at institutions and individuals, to broaden its support and help maintain its financial health. The launch of the campaign will take place in Toronto in the presence of Canadas Chief Negotiator for the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Steve Verheul, legal counsel in communications law at McCarthy Tetrault Peter Grant, the co-chair of the Coalition for Cultural Diversity, Catherine Mitchell, and some forty leaders from the cultural community.

He translated for our troops. Now he fears for his life (National Post)
On Sept. 15, 2009, Jason Kenney, Citizenship and Immigration Minister, announced the Afghan Special Immigration Measures program. Under the program, Afghans who worked alongside the Canadian mission, put their lives at risk and had become targets of the insurgents because of it, could be fast-tracked for permanent residency status in Canada. The government of Canada is introducing these measures because it is the right thing to do for those who have put their lives and sometimes the lives of their families at risk for Canada, for Canadians and, indeed, for their fellow Afghans, Mr. Kenney said at the time. In Ottawas partisan environment the initiative was a move all sides could support. It was, as Mr. Kenney said, the right thing to do. On Sept. 12, the program ended. Two thirds of the applicants who have applied to come to Canada, including Asad Karzai (no relation to president Hamid Karzai), have been rejected.

Migrant Rights Tested by Most-Wanted List (InterPress Service)
Ottawa’s clampdown on some of the country’s worst criminal offenders by creating a public most-wanted list netted its most recent arrest only days ago, but the system has triggered a debate over the publishing of fugitives’ names and the ethics and feasibility of changing Canadian immigration policy.

Immigration program shakes P.E.I. campaign (Chronicle Herald)
Accusations of dirty politics and bribery surrounding a failed Prince Edward Island immigration program shook the provinces election campaign but some say it wont change their votes on Oct. 3. P.E.I. voters interviewed before the only televised leaders debate of the campaign say they are more preoccupied with bread-and-butter issues, such as jobs, help for the provinces fishermen or the cleanup of Charlottetowns harbour.

Leading diversity in-house (Canadian Lawyer Magazine)
Through their role as a client, there is no doubt that many in-house legal departments have the power to push for greater diversity within the profession. But for many corporate counsel, the key to developing the most effective inclusiveness strategy is to join up with colleagues in a collective effort to evoke change through the entire pipeline.

AG workers nix request for Muslim prayer room (Toronto Sun)
A bid to convert a sick room into a Muslim pray area at a downtown office of the provinces top lawmakers has been nixed by some senior Ontario government officials. A proposal by a Muslim employee to turn the room used by Ministry of Attorney General employees on the 12th floor of 655 Bay St. as an Islamic prayer room was rejected earlier this year, according to concerned workers who feared dismissal if their identities were revealed. The bid was turned down last June at an employee engagement meeting attended by about seven staffers, including department heads, union officials and other workers, staffers said.

CBSA Investigation Leads to Fraud Charges Against an Immigration Consultant (Marketwire)
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) filed 149 charges against Yafim Goikhberg, under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Criminal Code. He appeared in court today at the Palais de Justice in Montreal. Mr. Goikhberg is accused of having induced, aided or abetted people to misrepresent themselves and of using forged documents in order to obtain refugee status or a temporary resident permit. He is also accused of acting as an immigration representative in return for fees without authorization, and communicating false or misleading information to encourage immigration to Canada.

Somali Canadians near end of Toronto-to-Ottawa trek (CBC)
An eight-day trek from Toronto was a gruelling task for some young Somali-Canadians heading into Ottawa on Monday, but they said it didn’t compare to the hardships endured in their homeland. “It’s walking in solidarity, even though as painful as it is, we can never feel the way they feel,” said Shadya Yasin, 27, who organized the 400-kilometre walk to raise awareness of the crisis in East Africa.

Young Canadian-Somalis drawn to activism (Globe and Mail)
Walk for Somalia is one of several youth-driven groups that has formed in Toronto in response to the drought, violence and famine ravaging the African country. Long-time community leaders say theyre seeing an unprecedented level of engagement among young Canadian-Somalis, a spirit they hope will eventually be channelled into challenges facing other Somali youth in Toronto. In a sense, the crisis in the Horn of Africa has precipitated their coming of age. Many young Canadian-Somalis are recent graduates of college or university. Theyve grown up in Canada; their parents sought refuge in the early 1990s, when the current civil war broke out in Somalia. Year by year, theyve watched from afar their old country disintegrate into one of the most violent and impoverished places on Earth. Now, galvanized by stark images and news stories of starving mothers, fathers and children, young Canadian-Somalis want to make a difference.

Creating Welcoming and Inclusive University Communities (King’s University College)
Claude Olivier, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, was recently published in Canadian Diversity’s Winter 2011 edition. In the article “Creating Welcoming and Inclusive University Communities”, Olivier partners with William Dunn (University of Alberta) to explore the actions and practices that institutions and individuals must take to create a truly welcoming community.
Report (PDF) –

Access to Justice, Breakdance, Copyright, and Why You Should Read This Blog (Blogging for Equality)
You should read this blog. For those of you interested in feminist/equality issues, or in hearing womens perspectives on a broad range of issues, its obvious why: you will read reflections from a large number of smart, thoughtful scholars discussing a vast array of important topics. For those of you who dont consider these to be specific personal (or professional) interests: learning about issues and perspectives other than those to which you naturally gravitate carries a significant risk of exposing you to problems you werent aware of or angles you hadnt explored. Thats a pretty exciting possibility.

We need more women leaders, but quotas not solution (Financial Post)
It seems as though every time I open a newspaper lately there is another article on gender quotas: proposed parliamentary quotas in the EU, gender quotas for seats at the World Economic Forum and quotas for female board appointments in Norway. The list of countries with new legislation mandating a certain percentage of female seats on corporate boards is growing. In the past eight years, Norway, France, Spain, Iceland, Malaysia, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands all have passed such laws. But are the quotas working? And is legislating women’s participation a good thing?

They teach nothing less than how to live in Canada (National Post)
Six months ago, a friend invited Regine Ganancial, a caregiver from the Philippines, to learn English. Ganancial had been in Vancouver for only half a year and wanted to understand the lay of the land, but like many newcomers she was stifled by a language barrier. She accompanied her friend to a small ESL class as part of the Domestic Workers Literacy Program offered by Frontier College. The 30-year-old has been attending the free classes every Sunday since. Not only is the program teaching Ganancial English, shes learning the customs, too. They teach us how to live in Canada, said Ganancial. My English is coming a long way the class upgrades my knowledge for job applications, interviewing, and [provides] a model to work with other people.

Proving The Fraser Institute Right By Getting It Wrong. (Canadian Immigration Reform Blog)
A study conducted by two economists for Metropolis British Columbia (who?) was released in response to the Fraser Institute’s own study which concluded that “in the fiscal year 2005/06 the immigrants on average received an excess of $6,051 in benefits over taxes paid” leading to a the fiscal burden in that year estimated to be between $23.6 billion and $16.3 billion. The Metropolis study seems to agree with that conclusion to a degree but it argues that the costs are not great enough to be of a concern. How does it do that? It picks an earlier date to work with and that’s where it goes astray. The Fraser study picks 1987 as the date from which to make it’s analysis. The Metropolis study goes back to 1970. Now, it’s important to understand the relevance of a base year.

Laundress cleaned us out, Filipinos say (Toronto Star)
Gloria Delos Santos will dry clean your dress shirt for $1.99. She promises next day service. She also claims that for $5,000 she can get an immigration visa to bring your relative to Canada in as little as three months. The shirt will be delivered on time. Your relatives, not so much. If ever. A Star investigation shows Santos is running a visa business from her Glorys Dry Cleaning store in a Scarborough strip mall at Ellesmere and Midland Aves.


A human is a human (The Bulletin)
The Friends of Burma teamed up with the Creston Refugee Committee to bring the Abo-Nofal family to Creston. Harris was hoping to sponsor a different family, but because it will take at least a year for that application to go through, she decided to take in Tareq, Eman, Bilal, Dana and Ziad. Harris became a Sponsorship Agreement Holder – which means she is responsible for the family’s care and financial needs for a year. The family are landed immigrants, and will now have to work towards paying off travel loans provided by the government to get them to Canada. They will also work towards becoming Canadian citizens. Tareq and Eman are taking ESL classes, and the three children are already enrolled in school and loving it. Barbara Ryeburn, a member of Friends of Burma, hosted the Abo-Nofal family at her Cranbrook home on Sept. 23. She expressed her relief at the arrival of the family, and spoke about the Canadian government’s decision to limit sponsorships.

Paola Ortiz deportation: A Canadian disgrace (Media Co-op)
Since last week, Paolas case has gathered widespread support, particularly across Quebec, where she had been granted residency. More than 25 groups answered a call from immigrant rights group Solidarity Across Borders (SAB), and joined forces in calling on federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Public Security Minister Vic Toews to intervene to stop the deportation of the Montreal mom. The Fédération des femmes du Québec (FFQ) issued a statement pointing out that it was totally delusional to think Paola would be protected by the Mexican police authorities once she is returned to Mexico. The deportation was also denounced publicly by Québec Solidaire and by a near-unanimous vote by the Parti Québecois (the official opposition party in the Quebec parliament), with the péquiste spokesperson on immigration opposing the deportation as inhumane. The immigration critic also denounced the ruling Quebec Liberals silence on the issue and urged the provincial government to intervene energetically on the issue.

U.S. fingerprint database used to identify suspected Tamil rebels (National Post)
The United States has told Canadian authorities that two migrants who arrived off the B.C. coast in 2009 aboard a smuggling ship are suspected Tamil rebels, according to a senior American counter-terrorism official. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the suspected rebels during fingerprint checks of 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who sailed to Canada from Southeast Asia two years ago aboard the cargo ship Ocean Lady.

Global Voices: Dadaab refugees dreams lead her to Canada (Toronto Star)
Some might assume that poverty, confinement and food handouts make it easy to lapse into self-pity or complacency. Instead, refugees fight against all odds to sustain themselves and to help each other. Mosques collect donations for new arrivals; families already settled take in those who are too weak to set up shelters. The fledgling city has a quasi-functional economy, with kiosks hawking cell phone minutes and soft drinks, and even The Refugee, a newspaper. If Fatumo, born into civil war and raised a stateless refugee, can still devote her life to helping others, surely Canadians can follow her example and give generously to East Africa. If Fatumo could hold onto her dream for years, arrive at school and still make plans to return where need is greatest surely Canadians can support the dreams of those in need.–global-voices-dadaab-refugee-s-dreams-lead-her-to-canada


Canadian Social Research Newsletter September 25, 2011 (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Accountability begins at home, Mr. Harper (Ottawa Citizen) – September 23
2. Ontario minimum wage update – September 23
3. SPENT (online “game”) : Could YOU make it through the month on $1,000? (MarketWatch – Wall Street Journal) – September 23
4. 2011 Profile of Hunger in the Greater Toronto Area (Daily Bread Food Bank – Toronto) – September 2011
5. 2012 Federal Budget Submission: We need action on poverty (Canada Without Poverty) – September 22
6. Income Support for Persons With Disabilities [in Ontario, B.C and
Alberta] (University of Calgary) – September 2011
7. Why even conservatives are worried about rising inequality (By Armine Yalnizyan in Progressive Economics Forum) – September 21
8. Whats Wrong With Harpers Omnibus Crime Bill (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – September 20
9. The Ontario NDP Platform : Six Concerns (Nick Falvo in Progressive Economics Forum) – September 20
10. Taxing the rich may be fair, but it wont fill the coffers (By Stephen Gordon in the Globe and Mail, September 19) + Rebuttal by Andrew Jackson in Progressive Economics Forum – September 22
11. Ontario Vote Compass (CBC News) – September 19
12. Schedule of upcoming provincial government elections in Canada
13. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics
14. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Special Bulletin for September 24, 2011 (Health Nexus)
The purpose of this weeks bulletin is to provide an overview of some of the issues of the 2011 provincial election that are relevant to preconception, prenatal, and child health. Based on a preliminary scan, we provide links to organizations that provide election information, strategies for bringing attention to important issues, and tools for advocating and engaging political candidates. We also include recent news articles about relevant issues and links to each of the major political parties. We invite you to actively discuss and exchange other relevant information about the 2011 election such as work your organization is doing or other links of interest.

Social Planning Torontos Ontario Election 2011 Information Site (Social Planning Toronto)
This website provides access to a range of information on important issues in the Ontario Provincial Election. Social Planning Toronto has prepared these factsheets with the following goals:
To provide basic background information on the issue
To identify questions that voters might want to pose to their local candidates
To provide links to organizations and more detailed information on the issue.

This youth groundswell has taken us off life-support. (Opening the Window)
Years ago I sat at the back of a room full of agency, government and advocacy reps at a conference on youth engagement. One speaker after another wrung their hands at the challenges of finding young volunteers. Finally, one young man took the microphone. He said, Youth need money. Pay the youth, and sat down. Good point! a point that Tom Clement, Executive Director of the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto has known for years. Tom was one of the first people to realize it was not enough to invest in buildings, staffing and governance systems. To secure the future of the co-op housing sector, we needed to invest in diversity, and invest in youth.

The Inequality Trap: A Meaner Canada (Centre for Global Challenges)
The Conference Board of Canada is the latest to sound the alarm. Inequality in Canada is growing at a rate even faster than in the U.S. The wealthy are capturing an ever-increasing share of our economic growth. We see inequality growing. We see and feel its consequences. We know that inequality, if allowed to just keep growing, gradually erodes trust, divides us, dampens aspirations. Yet we seem unable to reverse course. And the longer we wait the further we fall into the inequality trap.

Canada: Income distribution inequality increasing rapidly (All Voices)
A Conference Board report notes that Canada is rapidly catching up to the United States as a country divided between “haves” and “have-nots,” Since the mid nineties Canada’s “income gap” has been widening more than in the United States. It’s also now growing faster than in many other countries with similar economies.

Amela Karabegovic and Charles Lammam: The myth of income inequality in Canada (National Post)
The gap is growing! The gap is growing! The rich are getting richer. And the poor, well, they just remain poor. At least thats what one would gather from the hysteria reported in the media on the latest Conference Board of Canada report on income inequality, including a column in last Wednesdays National Post (A problem for everyone, Armine Yalnizyan, Sept. 13). With headlines screaming Canada becoming a nation of haves and have-nots and the Canadian dream is out of reach for an increasing number, its plain to see why young Canadians might be filled with angst at the prospect of not being able to shape their economic future. Nothing, however, is further from the truth. Despite the old cliché about the rich and poor, the Canadian dream of climbing the income ladder is not a fantasy.

Goar:Economic and political illiteracy (Toronto Star)
Canada has embarked on a multi-million-dollar financial literacy program to help consumers understand the language of bankers and money managers, live within their means and save for their retirement. It was instigated by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who commissioned a Task Force on Financial Literacy and persuaded his provincial counterparts to implement his recommendations. This fall, school boards rolled out courses on money management for students as young as 8. That is not what Canada really needs, says the Colour of Poverty Network, a coalition of racialized groups (its term) representing Torontonians marginalized by both their socio-economic status and their skin colour. It wants an economic literacy campaign to help people make informed choices, look beyond simplistic slogans and talk civilly about taxes and spending cuts, income polarization and the role of government.

Whites no healthier than Blacks in Canada: study (Reuters)
Canada, on the other hand, had only a brief encounter with slavery and many African Canadians are recent immigrants. “We know that recent immigrants tend to be healthier than the native populations in a country,” LaVeist said. While he called the findings surprising, noting that they contradict earlier data from Canada, he also cautioned that they have significant limitations. The Canadian health survey, for instance, included only 729 blacks, compared with more than 280,000 whites. That makes the comparisons between the two groups much less trustworthy. LaVeist and a colleague found that nine percent of blacks born in Canada had high blood pressure, while 21 percent of their white compatriots did. Two percent of African Canadians had diabetes, compared to six percent of whites.

Interactive Welfare Incomes Map (National Council of Welfare)
The 2010 Welfare Incomes data are now available. Have a look at the updated Interactive Welfare Incomes map.

Why poverty isnt on the agenda (Hamilton Spectator)
More than 1.7 million Ontarians live below the poverty line; 89,000 of them live in Hamilton. But that population hasnt been getting the attention of the three major party leaders leading up to next weeks provincial election.–why-poverty-isn-t-on-the-agenda

Press Release- Political Parties Called to Act on Poverty: Political Commitments Grid Released (25 in 5)
Ontarios political parties offer limited solutions to child and family poverty that should be of priority this election, a new report from Ontario Campaign 2000 has found. he Political Commitment Grid released today by Ontario Campaign 2000 evaluates each of Ontarios four major political parties plans on poverty reduction and eradication. Most party platforms mention poverty reduction strategies, but some parties still fail to make extensive commitments on critical issues that affect people living on low income and in poverty.


Foreign workers seeking improvements (Chatham Daily News)
Regina, who paid thousands of dollars to come to Canada from the Philippines to work at a low-skilled, warehouse job, likely won’t be working here much longer. The woman, who didn’t want to use her real name, said her employer in Essex County doesn’t want to renew her work permit, because the agent who organizes bringing workers from her country has accused her of trying to organize a union. She is one of several foreign and migrant farm workers who visited Chatham and Dresden Sunday during the second leg of the 2011 Pilgrimage to Freedom Caravan, organized by Justicia/Justice for Migrant Workers. The pilgrimage is retracing parts of the Underground Railroad route to pay homage to the sacrifices former slaves made to find freedom.

Manitoba Liberals promise to make immigration easier for skilled workers (Winnipeg Free Press)
Manitoba Liberals are promising to make it easier for immigrants to come to the province. Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard says he would loosen the requirement for applicants under the Provincial Nominee Program to prove that they have at least $10,000 in assets. Gerrard says he would allow Manitobans whose relatives are applying to come to Manitoba to deposit monies in trust with the provincial government.

International talent fills gaps (Calgary Herald)
These engineers are skilled, experienced, and in demand, and they are travelling thousands of miles to build a career in Canada. Alberta has never really been able to meet the demand for engineers within the province. About 40 per cent of the applicants for engineering licenses through Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta are from outside of the country, says APEGGA chief operating officer Len Shrimpton. Shrimpton says a great number of foreign-trained engineers are coming from China, India, Pakistan, Romania and the U.S.


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

Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Hall, Budget Cutbacks, Housing & Development and Other News.

A tough analytical look at international city rankings (Belonging Community)
Well, big deal, the Montreal Gazette sneered in Montreal and its place in the world, its editorial response to a recent international survey on urban quality-of-life. Montreal was behind Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. As a native Montrealer, I have to concur with the Gazettes summary: rankings tend to favour an ideal, cleanly scrubbed and tidily tended city which is essentially a suburb. The editorial consoled readers, throwing in that New York City came 56th on the list. So how accurate is the measuring stick for the wide range of surveys which rank cities?

Canada’s cities must have the tools to thrive (Montreal Gazette)
Cities still carry a lot of the load for immigration, the environment, affordable housing, public health, emergency preparedness and public security, but they have never been given either the funding or the taxation power to carry out those responsibilities optimally. Big cities are the country’s future. The extent to which Canada has become urbanized in recent years is remarkable. Between 1971 and 2001, the percentage of the population living in rural areas and small towns fell by a fifth, down to 20.3 per cent. By 2020, that percentage is expected to drop to an astonishingly small 10 per cent. Government planning and spending, and even political representation, have not kept pace with this change. Canadian municipalities receive less than 12 per cent of all provincial and federal government revenues, the Conference Board of Canada pointed out in a 2007 report. Yet these municipalities are home to 80 per cent of Canadians and they generate 51 per cent of both employment and gross domestic product.


Design for democracy: a call for submissions from Dave Meslin (Samara Canada)
“Apathy, as we think we know it, doesnt actually exist, Meslin said. Rather, he suggests that while people do care about the issues and decisions shaping society, “we live in a world that actively discourages engagement by constantly putting obstacles and barriers in our way. He uses a City of Toronto public consultation notice as an example of the way local government excludes citizens from decision-making processes, and offers up his suggestion for a new and improved version of the document. Meslin now invites you to become part of the process by submitting your ideas for a public notice redesign.

Public Interest Articling Fellowship Program (CLEONet)
The Law Foundation of Ontario invites applications from potential host organizations for its Public Interest Articling Fellowship Program for the 2013-14 articling period. The Public Interest Articling Fellowship was conceived to meet both a significant need for legal assistance within the public interest community and to allow law students to gain valuable experience in public interest law. Ontario-based not-for-profit organizations and registered charities that have an Articling Principal on site, but lack the financial capacity to host an articling student, are eligible to apply.

Time for a Made in Ontario Working Income Tax Benefit (Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity)
Ontario has not yet accepted the federal governments invitation to align the new WITB supplement more closely with its own programs, like Quebec, British Columbia, and Nunavut have done. The current WITB benefit combines with Ontario welfare to maximize total benefits at approximately 14 hours a week of minimum wage work for single earners and 20 hours for single parents. In effect, this means that the WITB provides the highest incentive for low- participation part-time work and inhibits the effort required to achieve full-time hours (a). Worse, the WITB benefits then phase out as earners take on more hours, disappearing before recipients have earned enough to get off welfare. Instead, for the WITB to meet its stated objectives, we propose its maximum benefits should be shifted to support full-time work, topping out at 32 hours for both groups.

What gives with charity crackdown? (Toronto Sun)
Its not very charitable, you might say. Not at all. The way in which the federal government deals with charities, that is. And if you believe in the work that charities do or if you even cling to the notion that freedom of speech should be applicable to non-governmental organizations, too then you should be concerned about what is quietly going on behind bureaucratic curtains up in Ottawa these days. Federal bean-counters define a charity as a corporation or a trust that carries on, what else, charitable purposes meaning, an enterprise set up for the benefit of the public, or a sufficient segment of the public.


Walk held to raise awareness of human trafficking (Edmonton Sun)
Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings for the purposes of reproductive slavery, forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Participants carried signs reading End the misery and Humans are not for sale as they walked five kilometers along one of two routes in Edmonton. They raised funds through pledges for organizations both local and abroad, with 60% of funds raised going to anti-human trafficking initiatives in Canada.

Freedom Relay fights sex trafficking (
To raise awareness and funding to help better educate girls and women on this real and local threat, the support network is hosting the York Region leg of Freedom Relay Canada, Saturday morning. Freedom Relay Canada is an anti-human trafficking rally that each week travels across the country. This weekend, supporters will walk north up Yonge Street, from Weldrick Road to Bernard Avenue in Richmond Hill.–freedom-relay-fights-sex-trafficking

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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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RT @MrsMcDowall: RT @BeGoodToronto: Exciting last min addition to the speaker panel for #BeGoodToronto @SlutWalkTO - welcome to the #BeG...