Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 24, 2011


October newsletter (Citie of Migration)
In this issue:
Municipal Leadership on Immigrant Integration
Mayor Michael Bloomberg: Its the Economy, Stupid!
Fighting Fiction with Facts: the BCN Anti-Rumour Campaign
Sir Richard Leese: Listening to Local Leadership in Manchester
When a Mayor Mentors
Incubating Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Webinar Video
On the Trail of Good Ideas: Developing a Diverse Workforce in Hamburg and Hamilton
Conversations in Integration
Good Ideas in the News

Canada needs to accept fewer immigration applications: Immigration Minister (Allena Davis, Oye! Times)
According to Canadian immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the country needs to accept fewer immigration applications from people trying to make Canada their home. The minister said the Canada is up against a big backlog and even though Canada accepts 254,000 applications annually, there are still millions waiting to hear whether they will be allowed into Canada or not. Out of the 420,000 applications that are received each year only 10% are rejected by Canada. Jason Kenny also said that processing applications faster cannot fix the status of pending applications and it is not possible to accept enough people to deal with it either.

Sensible limits to Canadian generosity (Lorne Gunter, Edmonton Journal)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is trying to do two things to rationalize Canada’s immigration system: Reduce the number of elderly relatives of immigrants admitted every year and give more points to immigrants who are able to speak either English or French. Both moves hit at the biggest problem with our immigration policy: Over the past three decades, economic considerations have given way to touchy-feely ones.

The problem with grandma (National Post Opinion)
That’s exactly right: Skilled immigrants can usually pay their own way. The income they earn and the taxes they pay can also, usually, cover the services consumed by their spouses and children. But their moms and dads, grandmas and granddads tip the balance. Older family-class immigrants simply won’t contribute enough to the economy to make up for what they will consume in social services. Nor are their children – the skilled immigrants Canada wants – likely to pay enough taxes to cover the pensions and health care their elderly relatives will need. After all, they are already on the hook for their own expenses, and the resources consumed by their nuclear family.

Are parents third-class citizens in Canada? (Zool Suleman, Vancouver Observer)
If immigration minister Jason Kenneys musings are to be enshrined in policy, it seems that parents (and grandparents) who wish to immigrate to Canada will soon become a third class of immigrants. This is a debate that goes to the heart of what means to live in Canada, our immigration policy, how we amend our laws, and how we process permanent resident visas. For any other minister such a change could be political suicide but for Kenney, as the go to Minister of Curry-In-A-Hurry (he is also the Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism), this impending change will be framed by him and his ministry as a necessary policy response to growing backlogs. He is a powerful Minister in a majority government with a fractured opposition.

Immigration support by Canadians at all-time high (CBC)
Support for immigration in Canada is at an all-time high, suggests a new study that tracked attitudes about newcomers to the country over the last 40 years. The study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy found that Canadians think favourably of immigration despite recessions, terrorism and a changing political landscape over the years. The attitude is unique in western countries and stems from two strong Canadian beliefs.

Canada is open for business for everyone (Todd Babiak, Edmonton Journal)
Anyone who spends any time outside these borders understands that Canada is a weird country. It isn’t really the weather or the hockey or the public health care that makes us profoundly different from other places. This is weird: you arrive in Edmonton and jump into a taxi driven by a man who fled Somalia at war, 20 years ago, and whose daughter has just won a big scholarship to complete a bilingual law degree at McGill. These stories are everywhere, if you’re keen to hear them. It is, probably, the most moving and most authentic of our national mythologies – even if we like to resist it. “When I wrote my own story, many people said, ‘It’s so extraordinary. It’s so unusual.’ But I don’t think that’s true at all,” said former governor general and honourary Edmontonian Adrienne Clarkson.

Stories of loss and transformation (Marian Scott, The Gazette)
“The story of loss and transformation, as the subtitle reads, is true for all of them, including me, the person who’s telling the story. These are people who find themselves thrown up on the shores of Canada, not because they wanted to be there, but because chance and circumstance threw them there. It’s about what they have done with what life has given them and the cards that they have drawn. And I think that’s a very compelling story.”

Canada has a ‘benevolent neglect,’ former GG says (Vanessa Greco, CTV)
“There’s this feeling that people do want you to participate with them,” she says over the phone from her Toronto office. “We’re a consciously egalitarian society.” But despite the rosy assessment, the most recent labour force data available suggests many Canadian immigrants haven’t been able to access the same level of success as Clarkson or the people in her book. Numbers collected for Statistics Canada in 2008 and 2010 show that the employment rate for immigrants remains below that of Canadian-born citizens. The data also reveals a persistent wage gap between the two groups, with newcomers to Canada often receiving the raw end of the deal.

United Way-funded program connects immigrant seniors with fitness activities in their languages (Elaine O’connor, The Province)
Bathing suits. For some seniors, simply the idea of wearing them is a barrier to physical activity. So is finding fitness programs when you dont speak English. A United Way-funded program run by DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society with the City of Surrey is trying to change that. The South Asian Seniors Support Project was launched in 2007 to connect new immigrant seniors 55-plus with activities in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

News Release Government of Canada unveils Italian-Canadian Memorial (CIC)
On behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, Paul Calandra, Member of Parliament for Oak RidgesMarkham, today unveiled a plaque to commemorate the Second World War internment of Italian-Canadians. Through the Community Historical Recognition Program (CHRP), the Italian-Canadian Community Centre of the National Capital Region received $81,000 to design, construct and install the plaque and a time capsule in Ottawas Dante Park. The CHRP contribution is also supporting the creation of a booklet and a website about this chapter of Canadian history.

Edmonton social trends report shows neighbourhoods home to highest proportion of immigrants (Alexandra Zabjek, Edmontonjournal.Com)
The Edmonton neighbourhoods of Belle Rive, Hodgson and Jackson Heights share a defining characteristic: more than four in 10 residents were born outside Canada, making them the city neighbourhoods with the highest proportion of immigrants. That finding, based on 2006 Census data, is presented in a social trends report released this week by the Edmonton Social Planning Council. The biannual report, which breaks down social and economic trends in the city, this year includes a special section on immigrants and visible minorities. Its the first time in 20 years the research organization has presented in-depth data on these communities in its report.
Report –

Immigrant data may be last of its kind (Alexandra Zabjek, Edmonton Journal)
The Edmonton neighbourhoods of Belle River, Hodgson and Jackson Heights share a defining characteristic: more than four in 10 residents were born outside Canada, making them the city neighbourhoods with the highest proportion of immigrants. That finding, based on 2006 federal census data, is presented in a social trends report released last week by the Edmonton Social Planning Council. The biannual report, which breaks down social and economic trends in the city, this year includes a special section on immigrants and visible minorities. It’s the first time in 20 years the research organization has presented in-depth data on these communities in its report.

Visible minority no more (Arnold A. Auguste, Share)
It used to be that against the larger White Canadian population, the term “visible minority” would have a distinct connotation, commonly referring to Black people. But 40 years after Pierre Trudeau instituted multiculturalism, “visible minority” can no longer hold that specific racial meaning. The diversity that exists across Canada’s minorities can no longer be limited to one racialized group, thus rendering the term too indistinct. This is the conclusion coming out of a recent survey on multiculturalism and related issues by the Montréal based Association for Canadian Studies (ACS), culled from the responses of 2,345 Canadians.

When immigrants come to Grey-Bruce reach out and make them feel welcome (The Sun Times Editorial)
There always has been and probably always will be a downside to immigration. Each new wave of immigrants has some trouble adjusting, which is why they seek comfort in each other’s company and gather together in certain big city neighbourhoods. And they don’t always get a welcome reception from those already here. But I firmly believe the great diversity of people who have come to Canada in the last 50 years have helped make this country a much more prosperous, interesting and socio-economically dynamic place than it would have been otherwise. With few exceptions it takes several generations for immigration to have its full impact outside the big urban areas. In the past 30 years I have seen a slow, but steady increase in the number of tourists coming to this area, especially the Bruce Peninsula, who are members of so-called visible minorities. That’s often the first step people take in a getting-to-know-you process that eventually leads to full-time residency and all the socio-economic benefits that brings. Had just a small fraction of the immigrants who came to places like Toronto, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph come to Grey-Bruce and other parts of small-town rural Ontario we might not now be worrying about declining school enrolment and angsting over the loss of “community” schools in places like Chesley. But they will come. And when they do, try to reach out, get to know them, make them feel welcome, encourage them to come back, or stay.

A question of loyalty (Kevin Libin, National Post)
If western, democratic countries such as Canada intend to stay the way they are, Ms. Hirsi Ali says, they must be less generous when it comes to indulging their multicultural guilt. It is misplaced anyway: Canadians and Americans may owe something to aboriginals, or to the African Americans descended from slaves, but we owe, she says, no special privilege to Pakistani or Algerian immigrants that should tempt us to indulge any potentially illiberal cultural demands. Her own decision to emigrate to Holland was not to cash in on colonial guilt, but to seek the privileges of Dutch citizenship. Reportedly pregnant (her husband is British historian Niall Ferguson), she says she will raise her children to be faithful to the United States above all.

Fraud Wife Leads Distraught Indo-Canadian Groom To Commit Suicide! (The Link)
There is much outrage when a woman is killed in the Indo-Canadian community with the usual suspect shouting loud about inequality and womens rights but hardly a whisper when a man dies as a direct result of family problems. This is exactly what happened to Gurdip Singh Saroya, whos new wife Harmanjit Kaur Dhami arrived on Oct. 12 but wouldnt let him touch her. She immediately wanted to move to Toronto, by herself. Unable to take this emotional fraud Gurdip Saroya jumped off the Pattullo Bridge on Monday morning, just five days after his wifes arrival, and killed himself.

Strict language rules for immigrants proposed (Thandi Fletcher, Postmedia News)
The Harper government wants to force immigrants to prove their proficiency in English or French before being able to write an exam and be considered for Canadian citizenship. Currently, immigrants ages 18 to 54 must only prove their language proficiency by taking a multiple-choice written test on citizenship questions, which federal officials believe “does not adequately assess [for the] listening and speaking skills” needed for effective integration into Canadian society.

Tougher language rules questioned (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
There was a time when being a good citizen meant you worked hard to put bread on the table, took care of your kids and put them through school. Now the federal government wants to make it tougher to become a citizen if English or French isn’t your mother tongue. Ottawa is proposing that applicants provide evidence of language ability with their citizenship application. Proof that they’ve passed a test showing they’re functioning at a Canadian Language Benchmark Level 4 would be necessary before they can apply for citizenship.

Meet Martin Singh, the next NDP leader? (Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC News)
He was born Martin Hill, raised in a Protestant family and later converted to the Sikh faith. His religion is a significant part of his personal background, but Singh says his focus for his campaign is his business background, and thats why the first set of policy proposals hes made are related to doing business in Canada.

Ready for School Connects helps new parents and children (Leslie Ferenc, Toronto Star)
School is well underway and students back to their routines of reading, writing and arithmetic. For some families, learning started well before summer vacation was over and the doors to academia opened across the city. For Farida Farida and sons Suhail and Sawhil Moeen, classes began in the summer as part of Ready for School Connects. The two-week program for newcomer families helped Farida and her children prepare for the transition to school and offered insight into the Canadian education system very different from that in her native Afghanistan.–ready-for-school-connects-helps-new-parents-and-children

Afro-Caribbean community celebrates their youth (Danielle Wong, Hamilton Spectator)
One conducted research to create a biodegradable plastic. Another helped construct a foundation for a house in the Dominican Republic. And one of them completed 2,000 hours of volunteer hours in high school. The 13 youth who were awarded scholarships by the African Caribbean Cultural Potpourri Inc. Saturday night came with a range of interests.–afro-caribbean-community-celebrates-their-youth

Islamic lender?s troubles put homeowners in limbo (Colin Freeze And And Tavia Grant, Globe And Mail)
Dozens of Muslim homeowners are complaining that they have been left in limbo by a disintegrating sharia-compliant mortgage arrangement, putting a focus on the emergence of parallel banking systems in Canada. Some Muslims believe that sharia, or Islamic law, bans interest-bearing bank arrangements because they are considered akin to usury, and a small industry of middlemen has sprouted up to address those concerns.


Refugee Forum on October 25 to analyze impact of new Balanced Refugee Reform Act (FCJ)
On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, immigration and refugee experts, lawyers, community advocates and social agency leaders will provide an in-depth discussion of the upcoming changes to the Canadian refugee law, to be enacted in June 2012 through Bill C-11, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The Refugee Forum, held at Toronto Harbour Light Ministries, 160 Jarvis St. (at Queen St.) and co-hosted by the FCJ Refugee Centre and The Salvation Army Immigrant and Refugee Services, will address the significant current changes in the Law that affect uprooted people in Canada. Conference organizers aim to create awareness of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and to exchange ideas about how the reform will change the refugee process. Speakers and panellists will also highlight the expected social outcomes of the legislative changes, including the impact on community agencies, legal clinics and public institutions that work with refugees.

New report highlights harsh impacts of DNA tests (CCR)
The Canadian Council for Refugees today released a report, DNA tests: a barrier to speedy family reunification. A request for DNA testing is a significant barrier faced by some people applying to reunite with their families in Canada this happens when a Canadian official does not believe that the family relationship has been adequately proven.

Community comes together to sponsor family of Syrian refugees (Tamara Cunningham, The Daily News)
Valerie Smith is amazed and touched by the outpouring of support given to refugees of a Syrian border camp. Smith joined the Nanaimo Refugee Sponsorship Group six months ago to raise the money needed to host a young refugee family in Nanaimo. The family was desperately seeking asylum from the Syrian desert. “They were stateless and living in tents without much food,” Smith said. “We had to raise $26,000 to sponsor them in Nanaimo and give them a different future, but the whole thing was very overwhelming.” The group was stunned at the support that streamed in as people learned of their cause.

Refugee family to arrive on Halloween (Jennifer Faerber,
A Palestinian family of five have been granted refugee status in Canada and they’re being placed in the Comox Valley. Ali and Laila Abo-Nofal fled Iraq when their lives were threatened and family members were killed. They and their children, six year old Reem, 10 year old Mariam and 16 year old Rana have been living in a United Nations refugee camp for the past four years. “They’ve been sitting in a tent up in the north-east corner of Syria, but now Syria’s undergoing some political turmoil of it’s own so the camp is probably going to be closed,” says Dave Talbot from the Comox Valley Refugee Support Committee.

Is Canadas refugee policy lagging? (Semra Eylul Sevi, The Varsity)
Panelists and guests gathered at the Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility on Thursday night to discuss and debate Canadas refugee policy. Co-sponsored by the R.F. Harney Program in Ethnic, Immigration and Pluralism Studies and the Munk School of Global Affairs, the well-attended event was headlined by panelists Jeff Crisp, Head of Policy Development and Evaluation Service of the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), Zachary Lomo, former director of Ugandas Refugee Law Project, and Audrey Macklin, a U of T law professor.


Tax-free savings accounts give wealthy access to poverty benefit: study (Dean Beeby, The Canadian Press)
The official report from chief actuary Jean-Claude Menard, tabled in the summer when Parliament was not sitting, calculates that excluding TFSA money from the means-test for that benefit will cost the federal government an extra $4.2 billion annually by 2050. That’s because as more Canadians see significant growth of wealth inside tax-sheltered TFSAs, they will nevertheless be eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement, or GIS. And rising payouts of the low-income supplement will increase even further if the Tory government eventually raises the annual savings limit to $10,000, as promised in the May 2 election campaign.

Urban Natives plagued by poverty (Ryan Lux, Timmins Daily Press)
Ontario’s welfare system alienates and degrades Aboriginals and is failing at lifting vulnerable communities out of poverty, Aboriginal representatives from across the province heard in Timmins Saturday. Frances Lankin, commissioner for the review of social assistance in Ontario, was the keynote speaker at the Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres (OFIFC) annual general meeting in Timmins Saturday. The meeting drew representatives from Native friendship centres from across the province.


Employment Forums Go Face-To-Face (Cities of Migration)
Many immigrants who come to Canada want to work for municipalities because government jobs are held in high regard in their countries of origin, says Cheryl Goldsmith, Human Resources Advisor at the City of Calgary. The challenge is to ensure those who are enthusiastically applying to work at the City are a good match for the jobs, she says. To that end, Goldsmith and her colleagues partnered with the Immigrant Sector Council of Calgary to establish the Immigrant Employment Partnership Project. The projects mandate is to promote employment for newcomers and other immigrant stakeholders in Calgary, and to educate these groups about the careers available with The City of Calgary, says Goldsmith.

Labrador employers recruiting immigrants (CBC)
Immigrants are filling low paying jobs in Happy Valley-Goose Bay where employers can’t find local residents to hire. More than 40 Filipinos have moved to central Labrador in the last two years to work at corner stores, fast food restaurants and coffee shops. “It is a huge adjustment of course. First is the weather, and the location I’m getting used to it anyway, I’m liking it here,” said Erma Montemayor, a Filipino who moved to Happy Valley-Goose Bay more than a year ago.

Banker links diversity to profits (John Greenwood, Postmedia News; Financial Post)
The first thing to understand about diversity in the workplace is that it comes down to profits, according to Bill Downe, chief executive of Bank of Montreal. Simply put, companies where women are well represented in senior management and on the board of directors are more successful. “Whether it’s causal or it happens to parallel other practices, there is a correlation between well-run companies and having three or more women on the board,” Downe said in an interview. Given that women have been entering the workforce in ever greater numbers for more than 40 years, you would think that corporate Canada would have recognized this.

Quotas would get more women into the board room (Leah Eichler, Globe and Mail)
There is a way to ensure that more women secure senior roles on corporate boards, but you wont like it. Im talking about quotas. Dropping the Q-word sends many professionals, men and women alike, back to their corner offices in a huff. Like a bad-tasting medicine, however, the threat of treatment may instigate radical change.

Thompson: Immigration rules changing for caregivers (Toronto Star)
In March, the government announced that as of April 1, 2011 and onward, most temporary foreign workers allowed to enter Canada to work will be subject to a cumulative time limit of four years of temporary work. That means that after four years of temporary work, they will have to leave Canada unless they are well into the process of obtaining some kind of permanent status. The rule change was not retroactive, but applied only to new temporary foreign workers who entered Canada after April 1.–thompson-immigration-rules-changing-for-caregivers


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

Nenshi-mania going strong (Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald; Postmedia News)
Run the names of urban visionary Jane Jacobs and Calgary’s mayor into Google, and marvel at all the articles and web pages that show up, Walter Hossli told a cross-Canada gathering of non-profit leaders earlier this month. Then try that with other big-city mayors. Canadians should vote for civic leaders based on such web-searches, the Calgary povertyfighter said as he introduced Nenshi to the stage for a keynote address.

A tale of two mayors, one year in (David Rider, Toronto Star)
In interviews on downtown Stephen Ave., Calgarians describe Nenshi as a sort of chinook wind blowing away the old cowtown reputation and presenting a more apt face, of youthful hope and creativity. He really created a wave of voters that are really believing in something different for Alberta, said Juan Perez. Were no longer a redneck town. Nenshis act hasnt grown tired, concurs Duane Bratt, policy studies chair at Calgarys Mount Royal University where Nenshi used to teach business.

Transit Citys not dead yet: David Miller (Elizabeth Church, Globe and Mail)
In a widely quoted radio interview in September, Mr. Miller said his plan for light-rail lines on Sheppard and Finch could be turned back on like a switch since all the preliminary work was complete. While viewed by many as a real long shot, such statements and the results of the provincial election have fuelled hopes for a rebirth of Transit City. A new online petition is circulating, asking for the transit issue to be put before city council.


The divided way (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
But behind the confetti and applause, tensions have been building for several years between United Way Ottawa and many of the agencies it has traditionally funded. Last June that discontent bubbled over at a testy and confrontational United Way annual general meeting. In September, scant weeks before the crucial annual workplace campaign began, one of the unhappy agencies, the Ottawa Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OCAPDD), publicly declared it would no longer raise money for the United Way. Earlier this month, with the campaign under way, the agencies critical of the United Way launched a website introducing a formal coalition called Ottawa Community Action. The site lists the coalition’s complaints about the United Way and, most provocatively, urges donors to bypass the United Way and give directly to the charity of their choice.


Benjamin Perrin: Make human traffickers names public (End Modern-Day Slavery)
A British Columbia law professor called Friday for law enforcement officials to begin publicly naming people convicted of crimes such as human trafficking and sexual exploitation. There are 74 human traffickers currently before the courts in Canada, Benjamin Perrin of the University of British Columbia told close to 1,000 attendees at a conference at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Most other convicted criminals are named and shamed, from arsonists to relatively petty criminals, he noted.

LEAF Manitoba pulls curtain back on human trafficking in Canada (End Modern-Day Slavery)
Organizers of a fundraising breakfast this week are hoping to pull the curtain back on Canadas role in human trafficking. It exists right here in Manitoba, said Betty Hopkins, chairwoman of LEAF Manitoba (Womens Legal Education and Action Fund). Its a serious problem but its hidden from many people and many people choose to keep it hidden. Human trafficking is the exploitation of people both sexually and for their labour, and is often referred to as modern-day slavery.

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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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