Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 26, 2011


Cities of Migration: a good idea that is travelling! (Maytree blog)
We’re presenting ten immigrant integration success stories from ten great cities: five are winners of the E Pluribus Unum Award winners in the United States, and five more are outstanding international practices from Toronto, London, Barcelona, Kerpen, and Auckland. Each of these innovative practices has developed winning strategies and practical solutions to the challenges facing our immigrant-receiving cities. All of them are ready to be adapted and transferred to new cities and new audiences. They’re ready to travel.

Good Ideas from Successful Cities (Cities of Migration)
Successful cities are led by innovative, forward-looking local governments that work to serve the best interests of the public, including new immigrants. Local governments have significant capacity to use the authority and instruments of public office to integrate migrants and provide equal opportunities for all residents. These cities view inclusion and the diversity of the city as core values and assets in an increasingly competitive global economy. In 2011 and 2012, we put a ‘municipal’ lens on immigrant integration practices. You will discover good ideas, innovative strategies and successful models of integration practice from local government and municipal institutions, programs and agencies around the world.

Event Nov 8: Post-Election Update – Diversity in Politics: Where Do We Stand? (DiverseCityToronto)
With the three recent elections – provincial, federal and municipal – still fresh in our minds, let’s step back and take this opportunity to look at diversity in elected office.
To what extent do those who ran for office – and those who were elected – reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of the Toronto region?
Have parties run diverse candidates in winnable ridings?
What more can be done to change the face of political leadership in the country’s most diverse city region?

Editorial: Citizens want to learn (Winnipeg Free Press)
Do immigrants need the ability to speak, read and write English or French in order to be good Canadian citizens? The Council of Women of Winnipeg says they do not. “I just can’t connect language ability with being necessarily a good citizen,” a spokeswoman for the group said recently after criticizing a federal initiative that is seeking proposals on how to measure the language proficiency of those applying for citizenship. In fact, since citizenship is defined as the act of engagement in a democratic society, literacy is a vital component of becoming a Canadian and succeeding in a new land.

Philanthropy now part of Diwali festivities in Canada (Anita Elash, Globe and Mail)
The Oct. 14 event was one of two Diwali hospital charity fundraisers this year in the Toronto area, where about 40 per cent of Canada’s South Asians live. Together they raised $1.8-million for the Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga and the University Health Network in Toronto – a significant amount of money by any measure, and a sign, Ms. Kataria said, that Canada’s South Asian community is prospering and adapting its traditions to what many South Asians see as Canadian cultural norms.

Increasing immigrant parents understanding of their children’s experiences (immigrantchildren)
In their article “Vietnamese American immigrant parents: A Pilot parenting intervention”, authors Y. Joel Wong, et al. use the fish bowl facilitation approach to increase parental awareness of the immigrant child’s experiences, including how they see their relationships with their parents.

An Open Letter to Margaret Wente (Feminist Geography Collective, The Mark)
If you take us up on this, you will learn that geography is not just about rocks and trees and National Geographic. In our classes, we talk about the rights and responsibilities of immigrants to Canada, the cyclist-driving divide, and the ways that Canada’s three largest cities are bifurcated by income and race, among other things. And ultimately, that’s what Rethinking The Great White North aims to do. The authors believe that understanding life in Canada today, and making decisions about its future, demands a clear understanding of the past. Nature has a history and it is of pressing concern when, for example, indigenous landscapes are viewed as “pristine” wilderness. The “Great White North” – as a metaphor, myth, economic frontier, and comedy – has long endured in collective imagination. The book aims to challenge and rethink its place in Canadian self-understanding. Surely that’s important for all Canadians?

Toronto City Council votes to ban use of shark fin (Patrick White, Globe and Mail)
Canada’s biggest market for shark fin is closed for business. Toronto City Council voted on Tuesday to ban the traditional Chinese delicacy in a move that garnered nearly unanimous support on council despite Mayor Rob Ford’s misgivings and fractured opinions within the city’s Chinese community.

Save the date: The University of Guelph’s immigrant children conference (immigrantchildren)
Dr. Susan Chuang will once again host an On New Shores immigrant children conference from the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph in 2012. The dates are October 25-26. The theme is happiness.

Walkom: Searching for scapegoats in hard times (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
So who will Canada’s scapegoats be this time? Foreigners and immigrants are often convenient targets. Ontarians saw some of this in the recent election campaign when Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak attacked his Liberal opponents for favouring what he called “foreign workers.” Conventional wisdom holds that Hudak’s outburst helped to lose him the election. Perhaps. But it’s worth noting that, in spite of Hudak’s calculated xenophobia, the Tories almost matched the victorious Liberals in popular vote. Nationally, the Stephen Harper Conservatives have been more adroit, channelling nativist resentment against what they call bogus refugees while welcoming those temporary foreign workers whom Canadian businesses want to hire.

2011 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival (Channel APA)
The 2011 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival commemorates its 15th anniversary with a series of new initiatives to recognize the organization’s 15-year history, including free screenings, larger venues to accommodate growing audiences, a multi-venue media art installation, special guest filmmakers from across Asia and the world, and a major expansion into Richmond Hill. From November 8-13 (Toronto) and November 18-19 (Richmond Hill), the festival will present more than 55 films and videos from over 12 countries, including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, the United States and Canada.

Filmmaker Nettie Wild takes on Vancouver’s immigrant experience through online storytelling (Tracy Bains, Vancouver Observer)
Inside Stories is a new, interactive multi-platform website that profiles members of South Hill Vancouver’s local neighbourhood, helping strangers connect. A two-part series explores how artists like Nettie Wild and community organizers can collaborate to trigger social change.

Lu Lam Emerging Voice 2008 (Diaspora Dialogues)
Lu Lam’s poetry has emerged in Ricepaper Magazine; TOK: Writing the New City, Book 4; and video poem, Unkept, created in collaboration with the NFB. Born and raised by the Salish Sea, Lam now lives in Toronto.


Bill C4 – Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act (Michelle Millard, Refugee Research Network)
On October 20, 2011, Audrey Macklin (Faculty of Law, University of Toronto) participated in a panel with Jeff Crisp (UNHCR) and Zachary Lomo on Canadian Refugee Policy in Global Context. This panel situated current Canadian refugee policy in comparative and global contexts, and stimulated plenty of discussion and debate. The impetus was recent legislation changing the refugee determination process, and forthcoming legislation that will authorize the government to designate certain groups of asylum seekers.

Aaron C. Smith Jr. Memorial Fund (CBC)
A concert will be held on October 29th to benefit the Aaron C. Smith Jr Memorial Trust Fund. Aaron C. Smith Jr. came to Canada from a refugee camp in Ghana and sadly passed away after a drowning accident last year. The funds will benefit Aaron’s brothers, niece and nephew as well as other refugee children. Listen to Don’s conversation with Aaron’s mother, Dianna Cooper.

Seminar 11/16 “Refugee Youth’s Post-Migration Experiences: Implications for Mental Health and Wellbeing” (CERIS/CRS)
Moderator(s): Susan McGrath, Ph.D., University of Toronto, Director of CRS-Centre for Refugee Studies / James C. Simeon, Ph.D., York University, School of Public Policy and Administration, Atkinson
Panelist: Sepali Guruge, School of Nursing, Ryerson University; Arzo Akbari, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Service

Refugee Forum to analyze impact of new Balanced Refugee Reform Act: Expert panellists to discuss critical changes to Canadian refugee law in 2012 (Canada Newswire)
In addition, to mark the 20th anniversary of the FCJ Refugee Centre the Refugee Forum will recognize Judy Broadbent of the Maytree Foundation, a person dedicated to the journey of uprooted people for decades. Judy’s passion for the wellbeing of young people finds expression at the foundation through the Maytree Scholarship Program, providing scholarship opportunities to refugee students. Unlike other, more traditional scholarships the support of the Maytree program goes beyond financial resources. Judy has built a program that provides a community of support, recognizing the emotional and social needs of students who are often alone in Canada. To date 160 students have benefited from the Maytree Scholarship program.


TED Global: Richard Wilkinson explains how inequality harms society (video) (Kathryn Busby, The Equality Trust)
Earlier this year Richard Wilkinson appeared in Edinburgh for TED Global 2011. In this fifteen minute video, you can watch Richard explain the damaging effects of an excessive gap between rich and poor.

Index finds inequalities in Canadians’ quality of life (CTV)
A generation of solid economic growth has meant little in the everyday lives of most Canadians, according to a new index of wellbeing. The finding is a yellow light for decision-makers that social unrest is just around the corner unless deep changes are made, warns Roy Romanow, the advisory board chairman of the University of Waterloo group that created the index. The index suggests the middle class, in particular, is eroding.

Hennessy’s Index: A number is never just a number (Trish Hennessy, CCPA)
Hennessy’s Index is a monthly listing of numbers, written by the CCPA’s Trish Hennessy, about Canada and its place in the world. Scroll down for a PDF version. For other months, visit:

Hiring Bias in Canada a Barrier to Success in the Workforce for Canadians with Disabilities (Marketwire)
The level of unemployment among Canadians with disabilities is highly disproportionate to that of the general population and to a large degree attributable to a hiring bias that can and should be eliminated from Canadian corporations, according to BMO Financial Group. The comments come during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). The NDEAM initiative was introduced last year in Canada with the goal of increasing employers’ understanding of the positive outcomes of hiring people with disabilities.


ERIEC – Speed Career Networking with Alberta Engineers (ALLIES)
Amidst the talk and media coverage regarding a possible recession, Alberta employers continue to prepare for increased demands to hire qualified and skilled workers. This can only be good for Edmonton’s foreign-trained professionals. This was evident during ERIEC’s recent Speed Career Networking event that focused on the engineering sector. Speed Career Networking is a catalyst to connect employers (mentors) with global talent (mentees) who are ready to work.

Calgary Helping Immigrant Job-Seekers (Muchmor Canada)
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 project’s 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 Goldsmit

Seminar 11/25 “The Immigrant Working Poor: Transitions from Housing Insecurity” (CERIS)
Panelist: Joe Springer, Professor, School of Urban Planning, Ryerson University
Moderator: Lu Wang, Ryerson University

Improving access to small business enterprise centres (Sarah Wayland, WISE5)
These are promising initiatives and are to be applauded. However, these programs are not as accessible as they could be, and this likely impacts immigrants even more than Canadian-born business owners.

Edmonton drywall company fined $36,000 for illegal workers (Ryan Cormier, Edmontonjournal.Com)
An Edmonton drywall company was fined $36,000 in a provincial courtroom Monday for using illegal foreign workers in 2008. Barry Stewart Campbell appeared in court on behalf of his company, Empire Drywall, to plead guilty to charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Stewart admitted that he put four Mexican men to work at the company before they were officially legal to work in Canada. During an interview, Stewart told investigators that he “gambled he wouldn’t be sitting here,” when he allowed the men to work before their paperwork was processed, according to an agreed statement of facts.

Centre is critical to city (J.M. Crocker, The New Westminster Record)
What happened to the support for the Centre of Integration for African Immigrants? This location on Carnarvon Street for the Centre was officially opened by Paul Mulangu, executive director, in 2008 in response to a much needed support of approximately 1,000 African-Canadian immigrants and refugees in the area. Paul founded this program in 2001 in response to his own experience when he arrived here in 1996 from a Zambian refugee camp.


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

International experts will address Toronto’s transportation challenges on Nov. 9 panel (Edward Keenan, Yonge Street Media)
Whether it’s fights over bike lanes, road tolls, transit plans or the so-called “war on the car,” the topic of transportation is never far from the forefront of Toronto’s civic debate. Understandably so, considering that Toronto suffers the longest commute times in North America. “Whether it’s business leaders or poverty activists, commuters or seniors, everyone in the GTA wants better transportation options,” stated Julia Deans, CEO of the non-profit agency CivicAction, in a recent release. “It’s time we find a way to agree on how we can all help to make this desire a reality.


Non-profits tap wellspring of fresh thinking (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
Omidvar never seemed to run out of relevant topics or willing speakers. They ranged from Nick Saul, executive director of The Stop community food centre, to Rick Powers, a professor at the Rotman School of Management. The list included lawyers, lobbyists, food bank executives, non-profit pioneers, veterans who had reinvented old organizations, publicists, consultants, civic officials and journalists (I had the privilege of speaking at one session). The book is a compilation of the ideas collected over the past eight years. Some chapters are thought-provoking, some strictly utilitarian. Some are based on personal experience, others reflect the academic and professional training of the contributor. All are written in everyday language. Maytree insisted on that.–non-profits-tap-wellspring-of-fresh-thinking

As Canada Searches for its Open Government Partnership Commitments: A Proposal (David Eaves)
Just before its launch in New York on September 20th, the Canadian Government agreed to be a signatory of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). Composed of over 40 countries the OGP signatories are required to create a list of commitments they promise to implement. Because Canada signed on just before the deadline it has not – to date – submitted its commitments. As a result, there is a fantastic window for the government to do something interesting with this opportunity. So what should we do? Here are the top 5 suggestions I propose for Canada’s OGP Commitments:

Insights from the Slow Money National Gathering – Part 2 (Adam Spence,
Sharing insights from the recent Slow Money gathering in San Francisco, Adam Spence highlighted three key takeaways in Part 1 of this post. In particular, he noted the multitude of local impact investment opportunities in Ontario, and wrote about innovative impact investment models being used in the sector. In this post, he writes about getting foundations involved, and the growth of a ‘Slow Money’ coalition.


An app to fight crimes (Paromita Pain, The Hindu)
Your phone tracks your appointments, email and even your mood. That is the usual stuff. Now, make your phone a crime-fighter too, installing the International Justice Mission’s free iPhone and smartphone application to fight human trafficking. Created with leading application development firm Brushfire Mobile, IJM Mobile is available on all smart phones and is optimised for iPhone, Android and Windows phones. This application works in 13 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

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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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