Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 20, 2011


Local leaders tapped to drive neighbourhood change (DiverseCity)
Twenty-five GTA leaders were introduced today as part of the launch of a new training program in civic engagement. DiverseCity Building Blocks is the ninth in the collection of DiverseCity initiatives designed to accelerate prosperity in the GTA by enabling diverse leaders to assume leadership positions. “Diverse individuals with the capacity to lead are everywhere in communities all across the GTA. We believe in their ability to drive change in their neighbourhoods. By reaching them where they live we can address the barriers to leadership,” says Alejandra Bravo, who heads up the civic leadership programs for DiverseCity: The Greater Toronto Leadership Project. Building Blocks is funded in-part by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Helping Immigrant Entrepreneurs (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Marion Annau, the founder and president of Connect Legal , a charity that provides legal advice to low-resource immigrant entrepreneurs. He also spoke to Connect Legal client Sanjay Pandrala, who runs Bugman Pest Control and Landscaping.

Mapping our ethnicity Part 5: Into the future (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The Vancouver Sun’s unique ethnic mapping series has revealed a distinct trend — that Metro Vancouver’s neighbourhoods are becoming increasingly defined by ethnicity. What will the diverse face of Metro Vancouver look like in a couple of decades? If recent high-immigration settlement patterns continue, the fast-growing region of 2.2 million will further evolve into a collection of enclaves.

Fast-track sponsors willing to pay ‘medical premium’ for aging parents, immigration lawyer says (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
A Canadian immigration expert is proposing people sponsoring elderly parents and grandparents to Canada who are willing to pay a $75,000 “medical premium” have their applications fast-tracked. Richard Kurland is scheduled to speak to a Commons committee Thursday and pitch his buy-your-entry idea as a way of reducing Canada’s growing immigration backlog of parent sponsorships. Australia has a similar fast-track stream where one can pay an upfront fee to expedite a parental sponsorship. The price tag is almost $40,000, compared to a regular $3,245 fee.–fast-track-sponsors-willing-to-pay-medical-premium-for-aging-parents-immigration-lawyer-says

Multi-faith calendar from AMSSA/ANCIE (
Our friends at ANCIE/AMSSA (AMSSA Newcomer Children Information Exchange & Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC) are accepting orders for their 2012 multi-faith calendar. The calendar highlights the dates and provides descriptions of almost 400 observances and events from 14 world religions. Useful for planning purposes in early learning and child care environments and other community and social services.

Hockey welcomes new citizens (Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance)
If you watched any of the coverage of fans during the runup to the Canucks try for the Stanley Cup in the spring, you saw faces of people from all around the world. Their parents and grandparents were from Scotland and Ireland and England, and also from the Punjab and Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and the Philippines, the Caribbean and Latin America. In other words, it was the same faces you see when you walk down any street in Metro Vancouver. We’re from all over. Increasingly, we’re a mish-mash of ethnicities and cultures. It would have been easy for hockey, an institution that dates back to when Canada was still a white-dominated nation, to exclude newcomers. Fans could have turned up their noses at “outsiders.” Instead, hockey culture has largely embraced new citizens. I think this shows up one of the best aspects of Canada itself.

Could NHL franchises be at risk from soccer? (Toronto Sun)
NHL hockey teams need to keep an eye on Canada’s changing demographics, as new immigrants and an ageing population boost the popularity of games such as soccer and baseball, the Conference Board of Canada said in a report. It is the latest in a Conference Board series called Playing in the Big League, which looks at what it takes for a professional sports team to make money.

Immigration Update @ Gowlings: October 19, 2011 – Volume 6, Number 1 (Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP)
In this issue:
Update on Changes to Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program
New LMO Application Forms
Intra-company Work Permits – Recapturing Time To Extend Time Cap
Clarification of “Specialized Knowledge” Intra-company Transferee Work Permit Category
Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement
Pilot Project for Work Permits for Spouses and Children of TFWs in B.C.
Information Technology Workers Program Extended in B.C.
CIC Promotes Issuance of Longer Multiple-Entry Visas
New CIC Application Forms
Federal Skilled Worker Category Changes
Canadian Government Curtails Investor and Entrepreneur Immigrant Categories
B.C. Enhances its Provincial Nominee Program
U.S. H-1B Cap Room Still Remains
U.S. Global Entry Program Available at U.S. Pre-Clearance at Canadian Airports
Gowlings Immigration Practice Group

Ontario Cross-Cultural Music Society and BMO Present 15th Anniversary Gala Concert-“Our Home, Our Song” (Marketwire)
To celebrate 15 years of promoting multiculturalism and harmony through music, the Ontario Cross-Cultural Music Society (OCMS), together with BMO Bank of Montreal, is presenting an evening of spectacular music entitled BMO “Our Home, Our Song.” The gala concert will take place on Saturday, November 5 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. BMO “Our Home, Our Song” reflects the sentiments of immigrants and newcomers who remain close to their heritage while pursuing new lives in Canada. The concert includes a repertoire of traditional Chinese folk songs, enabling the audience to make a close connection between their birthplace and their new home, Canada.

Interracial relationships: The mid-week round-up (The Ethnic Aisle)
You guys, it’s only Wednesday and we’ve already got amazing articles that look at interracial and intercultural dating. This is stuff you should read.

Immigrants to be “human books” for public library members (CanadianImmigrant)
The Toronto Public Library members will have a chance to read “human books” during an event at the library’s Thorncliffe branch in East York on Oct. 22.The event by Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, the Library Settlement Partnership and the Toronto Public Library is scheduled to take place 12-4 p.m.

Human books share immigrant experience (Erin Hatfield, Inside Toronto)
An eclectic and inspiring range of life experience will be brought to life at a ‘human’ library in Parkdale this weekend. The Parkdale Newcomer Human Library event at the Parkdale Branch of the Toronto Public Library is geared toward immigration and has a theme of “coming to Canada”.–human-books-share-immigrant-experience

Immigrants’ language gains tied to better health (CBC)
Immigrants to Canada who continued to struggle to speak English or French after four years tended to report poorer health, but gaining language proficiency seemed to help, a new report suggests. Statistics Canada released its report on official language proficiency and self-reported health among immigrants on Wednesday. The report was based on a survey of about 21,000 immigrants who settled in the country in 2000 and 2001 who were tracked until 48 months after arrival.
Report: Official language proficiency and self-reported health among immigrants to Canada

Harper Government Presents Cultural Access Pass (Marketwire)
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, on behalf of the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced Parks Canada’s participation in the Cultural Access Pass program for new Canadian citizens in partnership with the Institute for Canadian Citizenship and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Swedes take page from Vancouver classrooms (Andrew Fleming, Vancouver Courier)
When a delegation of 29 Swedish educators and politicians arrived in Vancouver last week, they didn’t expect to be met at the airport by Pippi Longstocking. The group from Gothenburg, the country’s second-largest city, is in town to learn how the Vancouver School Board has helped new immigrants to Canada achieve a high standard of academic success. The decision to have them met by a world-famous, fictional character from a Swedish children’s book wasn’t made simply to make them feel more at home.


Gay couple to remain in Montreal (Montreal Gazette)
A gay Mexican couple who say their lives would be at risk if they return home won’t be leaving Montreal on Thursday after all. David Perez and his partner, Pablo Gonzalez, were scheduled to return to Mexico on Thursday after their application for refugee status was turned down in June 2010.

Deportation date set for Burnaby family (Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now)
Immigration officials have set a deportation date for a local Roma family from the Czech Republic, despite their pleas to stay in Canada to avoid persecution in their home country. Jan Pohlodko and his wife Eva Tulejova have three children and have been in Canada since June 2, 2009. They’ve been ordered to leave the country by Nov. 30. They applied for refugee status, citing persecution in the Czech Republic and pointed to cases of racist skinheads attacks on Roma as reason to let the family stay. Their application was denied on Dec. 21, 2010.

Promoting Refugee Protection (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
This blog post on IntLawGrrls provides one example of how UNHCR uses its “soft law power” to promote refugee protection. The focus is on the state pledging process that will take place during the Ministerial-level meeting scheduled for early December.


Regina Food Bank CEO wants next government to commit to real change (Patrick Book, NewsTalk650)
An advocate for the poor says issues like poverty and food security are being ignored in this election campaign. Wayne Hellquist, CEO of the Regina and District Food Bank, said those living below the poverty line are being ignored in all the talk of affordability and prosperity.

Author argues wealth gap too big (Lisa Goudy, Leader-Post)
As the Occupy protests take place across Canada and North America, journalist and author Linda McQuaig is making a timely visit to Saskatchewan to discuss her latest book. While there were still 20 tents set up on the City Square plaza in Victoria Park on Wednesday afternoon for the Occupy Regina movement, McQuaig spoke in the city about her latest book, The Trouble with Billionaires: Why too much money at the top is bad for everyone. The book was written by McQuaig and Neil Brooks, a tax professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto.

OUR OPINION: Report card is only a start (
The analysis looks at education levels, birth rates and other factors that are symptoms of people living without enough — whether it’s schooling, food or other resources to lead healthy and productive lives to full potential. The researchers who put it together have done a good job at identifying benchmarks they can measure year to year to see how we’re doing. Now that it’s down on paper, it’s time to do something to improve those “marks.”–our-opinion-report-card-is-only-a-start


Edmonton is Canada’s best city for entrepreneurs, study says (Knowlton Thomas, Techvibes)
Edmonton may be cold but its entrepreneurial spirit burns hot. According to a report titled Communities in Bloom, which is an annual ranking of Canadian city entrepreneurism compiled by the Financial Post and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the capital of Alberta is top-notch among the country’s large cities.

Video: Skilled immigrant integration and organizational change (Welcoming Communities)
Zabeen Hirji, Chief HR Officer, RBC on “What has RBC learned as an organization about integrating skilled immigrants?”


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Occupy Toronto, City Hall, Transit & Traffic and Other News.

Toronto Project aims to reanimate the city’s history (Dereck Flack, blogTO)
A new website launched by former Toronto mayor David Crombie, journalist David Macfarlane, and documentary producer Douglas Macfarlane hopes to foster renewed passion for the city’s history. Called an “inter-active, online museum, the site will offer a platform for Toronto communities to tell their stories and feature digital exhibits that present the city’s past in a manner that’s meant to be both informative and entertaining.

Toronto ombudsman blasts city for handling of insurance complaints (Patrick White, Globe and Mail)
For at least five years, the city has adopted “an attitude of denial” toward insurance claims and systematically misled people with insurance complaints against it, according to the city ombudsman. Fiona Crean’s office looked at more than 12,000 claims worth more than $2,000,000 spanning five years and found that 93 per cent of claims against the city were denied outright.

Civic leaders put transportation solutions in motion (Tess Kalinowski, Toronto Star)
You could pave a highway with the studies that all paint the same picture of doom on Toronto roads and transit: Torontonians’ 80-minute average commute is among the worst in North America; the city is losing $6 billion annually to road congestion. Toronto is stuck behind the wheel when it comes to tackling its traffic and transit woes, says Eric Miller, director of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre. He is one of a group of civic leaders and activists who will announce Thursday that they’ve organized a two-day forum designed to get the wheels turning on solutions to traffic and transit.–civic-leaders-put-transportation-solutions-in-motion


Canada’s CSI helps solve funding issues (Tim Kiladze, Globe and Mail)
The distinct line between small businesses and non-profits has started to blur. Historically, the two had very different missions: make money or give back. But entrepreneurs today are starting out with a greater sense of social awareness, and savvy non-profits are learning the importance of managing two bottom lines – one that measures their social utility, and another that keeps their finances in check.

Making ‘Open Government’ About Actual Government (Mark Weisblott, MetViews)
We all recognize that the stubbornness of management who came of age in the old ways eventually crippled elements of the media, entertainment and retail industries. Why would we expect any less from the system that is accountable to all citizens, taxpayers and voters go down the same road? Open Government initiatives can’t afford to fall short, by nature — after all, they are supposed to be an extension of the efforts by elected leaders. Still, a lower level of technical sophistication was entrenched well before the process started. And if a generational dissonance is going to remain for a while yet, the likes of Clement can’t expect the innovative thinkers to hang around the civil service, waiting for a cluetrain that shows no sign of showing up.

Social Finance Round Up: New Reports, Competitions, and Funding in Impact Investing (Nabeel Ahmed, produces a weekly round up featuring social finance related news, insights, job openings, and events. We source the content for these round ups from Twitter, an RSS reader, and directly from our community of social finance practitioners. Below is our round up for the week of October 17, 2011.

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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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