Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 14, 2011

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand, we’re back! 🙂


Tax credit for employers to help hire skilled immigrants is a good idea (Maytree blog)
The tax credit is a good idea, which should be embraced by the other parties, and implemented by the next government of Ontario.

Ontario’s Fight Over “Foreign Workers” (The Agenda)
Episode airs tonight – A Liberal program that would represent less than 0.01% of the provincial budget is the biggest issue so far in the Ontario election campaign. What are the pros and cons of offering tax breaks to speed hiring of skilled immigrants?

Ontario Tories and Liberals Debate on Solutions for Low Employment Rates for Immigrants (LEAP blog)
The debate is fierce between the two parties, trying to solve the underemployed immigrant problem and win votes at the same time. But one thing the two proposals have in common is that they both recognize the need for further training for IEPs in the workplace.

The Ontario economy needs more than a stale tax credit debate (Globe and Mail)
The debate in the Ontario election around a tax credit for professionals new to Canada pits questionable and marginal Liberal policy against unbecoming and divisive Progressive Conservative politics. Its an unfortunate distraction, especially considering the bigger challenges the province faces.

Op-Ed: Ontario’s Hudak shouldn’t apologize for ‘foreign workers’ comment (Digital Journal)
This is a bad policy that divides Ontarians; not just between citizens and immigrants but between groups of immigrants depending upon how long they have been in this country. Hudak has nothing to apologize for. McGuinty should be the one apologizing; not only for coming up with this ridiculous program in the first place but for insulting the intelligence of the voters by telling them this policy is only meant to benefit immigrants who have become citizens AND who have been in Canada less than five years.

Tories drop foreign workers from ad (Toronto Star)
The Progressive Conservatives have quietly dropped the controversial line foreign workers from a new radio ad as the sensitive issue of race swirls around their attacks on the Liberals promised $10,000 job subsidy for immigrants.–tories-drop-foreign-workers-from-ad?bn=1

Tories turn down heat on immigrant tax credit language, but still fan flames (Winnipeg Free Press)
Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives persisted Monday in their attempts to fan the flames of an immigrant tax credit controversy, though somewhat turning down the heat on a minor jobs initiative that has been propelled to the fore of the election battleground.

Did Hudak fall for Grit trap? (Windsor Star)
Some believe the reverse head tax was just a ruse intended to trick the Tories into criticizing immigrants so they could be denounced by the media in immigrant-heavy cities. But it’s difficult to imagine how this offer is going to help the Liberals, even if it plays to their base. Immigration is a sore point with many voters who blame government for bringing in too many newcomers at a time of high unemployment – even immigrants themselves.

Xenophobia, Ontario (Straight Goods)
Tim Hudak of the Progressive Conservatives has (intentionally or not) tried to create a breach in Canadian national unity by using the term “foreign workers” for new immigrants. Note that this happened in the 40th year of Canada’s official multicultural policy, which was introduced by Pierre Trudeau in 1971. Since then, no other responsible leader has ever engaged in this kind of discriminatory remarks about immigrants.

Jason Kenney says Canadians must get first crack at jobs (Brooks Bulletin)
A local businessman suggested that government create a category for employers who want to hire foreign workers within the same field that will ease the long drawn out Labour Market Opinion process. Kenney said that has been done for some occupations but the government has to be careful to not give jobs to foreign workers when Canadians can do the job. To be honest with you theres a tension between the need to keep this a Canada-first program and the need to facilitate filling positions in an efficient way, said Kenney. With a tighter labour market in Alberta, Kenney said the government is aware of the situation. We cant just open up the rules willy-nilly. There has to be some reasonable rules in the program that ensures Canadians are getting the first crack at the job, he said.

NDP tasks Davies with engaging ethnic communities (Toronto Star)
The federal New Democrats are taking a page from the Conservative playbook by putting someone in charge of reaching out to ethnic communities by attending their religious and cultural events. The Star has learned that NDP MP Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) will be the orange teams counterpart to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who for years has been travelling to dinners and dances nationwide to court ethnic minorities for the Conservatives

Who Really Won the Ethnic Vote in the May Election? (Pundits’ Guide to Canadian Federal Elections)
Before too many myths become entrenched, its worth reviewing what we know about last Mays election from the various post-election surveys reported so far, and identifying some of the areas where people disagree. With another round of election post-mortems held this past Tuesday in Toronto, and another on September 22 in Ottawa, perhaps a literature review of the exit polls, post-election surveys and other associated research would not be out of place.

Professional Immigrant Networks in Waterloo – Environmental Scan – PDF (WRIEN)
WRIEN has undertaken a scan of professional immigrant networks (PINS) in the Waterloo Region. The PINS project will increase the capacity of immigrant networks so their skilled iimmigrant members can find meaningful work. ALLIES is supporting this innovative program.

Young professionals will look for opportunities abroad Azores (Portugues American Journal)
Young professionals will leave the Azores in the near future to seek job opportunities abroad in richer European countries or will rediscover the Americas, warned the Luso-Canadian immigration expert José Carlos Teixeira, at the 16th International Metropolis Conference underway in Ponta Delgada, September 12-16.

When do immigrants become citizens? (Surrey Now)
Just when do new immigrants stop referring to themselves as immigrants and instead become Canadian? This became a topic of discussion with a South Asian female of working age with children who still addressed herself and family as immigrants. If your grandparents settled in Canada and had children in Canada and now have grandchildren born in Canada, why do you still consider yourself an immigrant? You are a Canadian!

Let them in (National Post)
Granted, not every Afghan who did business with Canadian troops should be able to apply for the program – day labourers who worked for the military briefly do not warrant special treatment, simply an honest wage. But rejecting the applications of those who gave dangerous, honourable service to Canada yet ran afoul of an arbitrary requirement is wrong. A more appropriate requirement would simply have been confirmation by military authorities with knowledge of the individual’s service that the applicant had indeed worked closely with Canadians in a vital role, and an endorsement of their request to relocate to Canada.

Let Afghan interpreters come to Canada (Toronto Star)
They risked their safety, and in some cases their lives, to help Canadians. But for many thats not enough to allow them to become Canadian. Take the case of Muhibollah Karegar, who worked side by side with Canadian soldiers in operation Medusa, a battle for control of the Panjwaii district in Afghanistan. He began to receive violent threats from the Taliban and moved his family to Pakistan for safety.–let-afghan-interpreters-come-to-canada

Canada rejects majority of Afghan interpreters’ refugee claims (CBC)
Two of every three Afghans who sought refuge in Canada after risking their lives working for the military in Kandahar have been turned away, including some who worked alongside Canadian soldiers during the bloodiest days of battle. The special-measures program was announced with much fanfare by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in the fall of 2009 and brought Canada in line with other NATO countries which had already launched similar initiatives. It ends Monday.

Spotted: Canada rejects Afghan interpreters’ refugee claims (CBC)
A story suggesting that two of every three Afghans who sought refuge in Canada after risking their lives working for the military in Kandahar have been turned away prompted a swift response from members the CBC News community.

Canadians Don’t Think Muslims Can Integrate: Poll (The Mark)
While these results are from an online survey, the results are kind of, well, disheartening, with 56 per cent of respondents thinking there’s no hope that Muslim culture will ever be integrated into the West. Thirty-three per cent thought that it would, while another 52 per cent of respondents were against extra profiling of Muslims (the current level of profiling ought to be enough, we suppose?). Also, some 65 per cent said we faced as much of a terror risk today as we did 10 years ago, and a full 70 per cent thought the Afghan War did nothing to curb the terror threat.

Poll on attitudes to Muslim world reveals ‘normal’ tension (Times & Transcript)
How ‘bad’ is this? The news story’s only quoted source sees it as a negative, something that endangers Canada’s much hyped ‘multiculturalism.’ There is no doubt that Muslim Canadians have been, and will continue to be, regarded unfairly with suspicion by many Canadians (the Khadr family is not typical) who fail to understand or see the complexities and subtleties of the situation. That’s normal; a lot of people like their world to be black and white simple and will always force whatever facts or perceived facts exist into their simple mold. And it isn’t always just the predictable small minority of bigots that exist everywhere. It’s normal. History is full of examples, particularly when cultures butt up against one another for the first time. The first Irish immigrants to Canada didn’t have it easy. Nor the Chinese and Japanese. Anti-Semitism still exists in Canada, but it’s nothing on the scale nor as ‘accepted’ as it once was. Now it’s the turn of Muslims. Time will, however, provide a better, more balanced perspective.

Support the diaspora trying to make a difference: Somali Canadian leader (Globe and Mail)
Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress, talked to The Globe and Mail about the underlying causes of Somalias famine and the politics in the Horn of Africa.

The rise and fall of the hyphenated Canadian (National Post)
If multiculturalism is being re-examined in Canada today, it’s due in no small part to its supposed beneficiaries, immigrants. They have as many reservations about Canada’s official policy as the host population, and are less reluctant to express them. I’ve been fuming about multiculturalism for decades – but fuming about things too soon is like trying to pluck unripe fruit.

Minister touched by plight of women who got pregnant hoping to stay in Canada (
Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk has stepped up his push to get permanent status for temporary foreign workers in Alberta after hearing of recent cases of abuse of some Filipina women. These women were told they could gain permanent status if they had babies here a false statement and a handful were impregnated, Lukaszuk said.

Simmi Dixit talks about empowering minorities through Me in Media (Vancouver Observer)
On Tuesday, September 13, a free public dialogue on how to challenge stereotypes and create a more inclusive city through media takes place at the Vancouver Public Library. To learn more, I interviewed Simmi Dixit, the National Coordinator of Multimedia & Multiculturalism (M&M) at the United Nations Association in Canada (UNA-Canada)

Live-blog from event –

Canada as an Immigrant Nation: Implications for Educators Excerpts from an interview with John Ralston Saul (Canadian Education Association)
So fear is becoming the dominant atmosphere, particularly in the Western Civilization, and we have a limited period of time to act with enormous self-confidence as Canadians to say, Actually, we dont agree. Actually, were not doing it your way. Actually, on purpose were doing it a different way, and its our way, and it works. Were not saying you have to do what were doing. Were not saying that were smarter than you. But we are saying, Listen, we know how to do this, weve been at this for 400 years, weve been getting better and better at it. Even when we dont have sufficient programming and government support, its still a very interesting, unusual, and particular thing were doing. If we start slipping on that in our schools let alone elsewhere then well be in big trouble.

Bridging language and distance for greater access to justice (CLEONet)
Connecting Communities, a three-year pilot project funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO), is addressing some of these barriers through innovative training projects. These projects strengthen connections between legal and community organizations and build the capacity of front-line workers to provide legal information and effective referrals to people who do not speak English or French, or who live in rural or remote communities.

Op-ed: Let’s Renew Our Commitment to Civil Liberties (CCLA)
We knew, from contemporary history, that the absence of such legal protections resulted in societies where exceptional measures became the norm. Such societies could devolve into accepting presumptions of guilt, secret trials, secret evidence, extrajudicial execution, arbitrary detention, torture, even ethnic cleansing and massacres. To prevent such devolution, Canadians knew that any incursion into civil liberties must be legally and demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society; unjustifiable incursions must be remedied. We upheld the absolute nature of the prohibitions against torture and arbitrary detention, even in times of national security emergency. Domestically and internationally, Canadians took the position that vigilant adherence to universal human rights guaranteed by law was the best protection against an erosion of civil liberties that could unrecognizably alter democratic states. Can we make the same claim today? Our national security actions since 9/11 require our attention.

Immigrant Earnings Differences Across Admission Categories and Landing Cohorts in Canada – PDF (Canadian Labour Market and Skills Researcher Network)
The studys first major finding is that skill-assessed economic immigrants had consistently and substantially the highest annual earnings levels among the four admission categories for both male and female immigrants in all three landing cohorts. Family class immigrants or refugees generally had the lowest earnings levels. An important related finding is that refugees exhibited substantially the highest earnings growth rates for both male and female immigrants in all three landing cohorts, while independent economic or family class immigrants generally had the lowest earnings growth rates over their first post-landing decade in Canada. The studys second major finding is that economic recessions appear to have had clearly discernible negative effects on immigrants earnings levels and growth rates; moreover, these adverse effects were much more pronounced for male immigrants than for female immigrants.

Multicultural Initiatives Fund – Project Funding (Sask Culture)
The Multicultural Initiatives Fund (MIF) supports specifically multicultural, First Nations and Métis initiatives and activities in the areas of cultural identity, intercultural understanding and issues related to social justice and harmony. This program can support new and ongoing programs and activities.

Unlike UK, Australia & Canada promote Englishand multiculturalism too (MIPEX)
The UK falls significantly behind both Australia and Canada on family reunion, education, and teaching English. In the future, the UKs highly demanding and poorly supported requirements may instead make English into an obstacle for integration. The UK could learn from traditional immigration countries like Australia and Canada where support for learning English helps make integration a reality.

Lack of affordable housing and efficient transit barriers to success of immigrants and the economy (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)
The lack of affordable housing and access to efficient public transit and community services are significant barriers to the success of new immigrants and the Canadian economy, says the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in a report on Canada´s immigration system.


Glorious and Free – Making Canada a model nation for the treatment of refugees (The Walrus)
Canada’s Record, however, is far from spotless: we engage in our own form of interdiction, albeit one conducted at foreign airports rather than on the high seas, by trying to prevent the departure of anyone on their way here to seek asylum. But a close inspection of Canadas asylum policies reveals intimations of a better alternative.

Update on the Refugee Forum on October 25 (FCJ)
As you know the changes to the refugee system will come into effect on June 29, 2012, and more changes will be announced in the next few days. Due this situation we made some changes to the programme. Take a look at the updated agenda for the Refugee Forum on October 25th. Please be aware that the topics and speakers are subject to change.

Peruvian denied refugee status for war crimes (Toronto Sun)
A former Peruvian military interpreter who witnessed terror suspects being dipped upside down head first in water before having their ears sliced off had his refugee claim tossed out due crimes against humanity. The mans identity has not been released by an Immigration and Refugee Board because he was claiming refugee status and can be killed if he returned home.

Canada Set to Deport Mexican Mom and Her Canadian Kids (Pacific Free Press)
Solidarity Across Borders denounces the imminent decision by the Canadian authorities to procede with the deportation of Paola Ortiz and her two Canadian children of two and four years old. Paola Ortiz arrived in Montreal five years ago after fleeing a situation of sexual and conjugal violence in Mexico, her country or origin. There she was a victim of violent physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by her then-husband, a federal police officer. She has been diagnosed by various specialists with post-traumatic stress and depression. Mrs. Ortiz’s children also have health challenges. Her daughter of four years suffers from significant hearing problems, while her son of two years has recently been diagnosed with autism. Both children are receiving treatment and support from various specialists.


Useless User Fees Punish the Poor (The Mark)
Here it comes again an idea that surfaces regularly in Canadian health-care debates and seems to hold sway with those who advocate common-sense principles: user fees. Some people think that charging patients when they use the health system would help control health-care costs and ensure that people are getting the care they need and are not overusing the system. Others believe that user fees would bring in much-needed revenue. Unfortunately, the evidence doesnt support these aspirations. Research to date suggests two good reasons patient-financed health care doesnt make sense.

Dealing With Food Insecurity in Canada (The Mark)
On the domestic front, Canadians recognize that many people remain food insecure at home, too. Food insecurity means that people are worried about not having enough food, that they reduce the quality of their food because they cannot afford more expensive items, or that they often cut back on the amount they eat as a trade-off for meeting other basic needs.

Mind the income inequality gap, says study (CTV)
The old adage that the “rich get richer” seems to ring true in Canada, according to a new study that found the income gap in this country is growing faster than it is in the United States. The study, conducted by the Conference Board of Canada, indicates that the differences between how much the richest and poorest make in this country has become especially significant since the 1990s.

Calling a new generation of co-op pioneers (Opening the Window)
Co-ops are not alone in the challenges they face. All affordable housing social and private suffers from aging buildings and chronic under-investment. All social housing will lose its subsidy safety net as mortgages are paid off. But co-ops are particularly vulnerable. And the tricky thing is, these vulnerabilities are intertwined with co-op housings greatest strengths: resident control, small tight-knit communities and a deep sense of history.


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

Shining the spotlight on people who shape worlds cities (Globe and Mail)
Urbanized, a documentary about the design and development of modern cities, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, its stars the skylines of various international metropolises, including this one. Toronto, with all its talk of municipal cost cutting and Ferris wheels, is an unlikely place for cities to be having a cultural moment. But next week, after three packed showings of Urbanized, The Atlantic magazine will launch a new website,, a hub for all things urban, centred on the work of Toronto-based thinker Richard Florida.


Anti-human trafficking rally planned (
Most young girls dont realize they are being sexually trafficked until its too late, said Michelle Smith, Womens Support Network of York Region executive director. 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.–anti-human-trafficking-rally-planned

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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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