Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 28, 2011


Maytree Newsletter – October 2011 (Maytree)
In this issue:
• Five Good Ideas: Keep Them Handy, in Your Top Right Drawer
• Is Voter Equality a Canadian Value? Finding the Right Balance
• New Report on Diversity in Elected Office
• It Takes a City to Settle a Newcomer
• FCJ Refugee Centre Recognizes Judy Broadbent for Her Dedication to the Wellbeing of Refugees
• Local Leaders Tapped to Drive Neighbourhood Change
• Sheerin A. Sheikh: a Unique Story, Yes, but an Increasingly Common Story to Us
• Connecting SMEs with the Skilled Immigrant Workforce. It’s just Good Business!
• If You’re Serious about System Reform, Peter Block Has a Recipe for You
• Sometimes Governments Do the Right Thing
• News You Can Use

From Public Space To Common Ground (Cities of Migration)
Small wonder then that the city of Madrid, looking to promote integration and ease the social changes being brought about by increased immigration, decided to do so by paying attention to its public spaces. In the past 10 years, the immigrant population in Madrid has grown tenfold. Today, more than 17% of the citizens are foreign born, coming from 183 different countries. In 2009, Madrid’s city council initiated a public space revitalization program, geared specifically to immigrant integration. Born of the Hispanic culture’s tradition of socializing in the city’s streets and open spaces, and increasing use of these spaces by immigrants, the program aims to foster positive interactions between old and new Madrid residents of all cultures, and to develop a shared culture around the use of public spaces in the city.

Cut immigration applications to fix backlog, Kenney says (Laura Payton, CBC News)
Canada needs to accept fewer applications from people wanting to live here, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says, and he’s eyeing the family class for cuts. Canada is facing too big a backlog and, despite accepting 254,000 applications every year, there are one million people who are waiting to hear whether they can move to Canada, the citizenship and immigration minister said Thursday. Canada gets about 420,000 applications every year and refuses about 10 per cent of those.

Up against a cultural barrier (Jennifer Saltman, The Province)
Many seniors are separated from services by problems such as language or an ethnic bias in service delivery. Grewal, who was a member of the Premier’s Council on Aging and Seniors’ Issues in 2005-06, said facilities need to start thinking outside the box when it comes to providing care for seniors of diverse ethnicities. “The system, they are not prepared to look at it,” the 79-year-old says. “None of these things, if you do them right, have to cost a lot of money. It’s a question of flexibility.”

Essay: Cultural diversity in caregiving for older adults (Neena L. Chappell, Special To The Province)
Despite what we hear about baby boomers being self-centred, selfish and very individualist, in Canada, as in the West generally, we care for our older parents when their health fails. Indeed, the baby boomers are the caregivers to today’s older adult generation. How can this be? Surely other cultures such as China, where they are taught filial piety (care from adult children to their aging parents), must be better — and different.

Immigrants can’t expect to bring parents to Canada (Lorne Gunter, Calgary Herald)
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.

Elderly immigrants contribute (Edmonton Journal)
I can also most ably show Gunter countless elderly immigrants who come to this country with wealth and pensions. They have bought homes – from moderate to very high-end properties, paying property taxes in amounts surpassing what many working Canadians pay into tax revenues. Many of these seniors financially assist their adult children who are upstart immigrants to buy their first cars and homes. I know immigrant seniors who help grandchildren to be able to afford a university education. What Gunter contends is, because some people work and pay tax, they are deserving beneficiaries of social services. Wonderful neo-liberal material. However, it should be fair to ask then how much social services these “elderly relatives” exemplified above deserve? I need to wonder how much tax Gunter pays and in his view, social services he should and – using his definitive grammatical mood – will deserve?

YQQ gets Safe Harbour Champion Award (Comox Valley Echo)
The Comox Valley Airport has been named the 2011 B.C. Safe Harbour Champion for leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion. The distinction was bestowed just months after YQQ signed up for the program, which is supported by the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of B.C., making YQQ the first airport in Canada to become an accredited Safe Harbour facility.

Organizer notes galvanizing power of public art (Cheryl Rossi, Vancouver Courier)
South Hill has used public art to connect its diverse population in the Sunset community where, according to the 2006 Census, 26.1 per cent spoke Punjabi as their first language, 24.9 per cent spoke English and 21.3 per cent spoke Chinese, with smatterings of Tagalog and Vietnamese. Community organizer Susan Faehndrich-Findlay has seen, first with community-based and now with grander public art projects, how creative collaboration weaves connections. “[Public] art gets people talking,” she says. “Whether they like it or not, at least they’re going to interact with each other, and that builds social capital if people start talking to their neighbours in the street.”

Ottawa’s citizenship court: Behind the scenes, a battle for hearts and minds proceeds (Jim Creskey, Embassy)
New Canadians who show up to swear their oath of allegiance to “Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors”, might now expect to see the citizenship ceremony presided over by an army officer, we learned last week in a release sent out by Citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenney. If you haven’t had the chance to go to a citizenship swearing-in—the ordinary kind, not the showcase ceremonies that sometimes take place—I suggest you consider putting it on your to-do list. It can be informative, inspiring and sometimes entertaining.

Rumours of sham marriage enrage Punjabi community after suicide (Raveena Aulakh, Toronto Star)
So, did Dhami marry Saroa to come to Canada? And why did he jump into the river? Was he lovelorn or was it shame that she would tell people he was assaulting her? The couple’s story is a typical he-said, she-said conflict. But in a community rocked by fraudulent marriages, where people wed to immigrate and then abandon their spouses, the incident has sparked universal rage.–rumours-of-sham-marriage-enrage-punjabi-community-after-suicide?bn=1

Government plans crackdown on marriages of convenience (Robert Hiltz, Postmedia News)
The government is set to change the regulations for immigrants marrying a Canadian in an effort to crack down on marriages of convenience. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the plan includes a conditional period to ensure marriages are real to prevent citizenships being handed out fraudulently. “Someone who gets immediate permanent residency and then it turns out they’re a marriage fraudster becomes extremely difficult to take action against them and remove them because it’s hard to prove in court that they lied when they came in,” Kenney told reporters this wee

Mythbuster: The role of immigrant sponsors (The Province)
Myth: Immigrants who come to Canada as seniors will be cared for by the relatives who sponsored them. Although most families bring over their elderly relatives with good intentions, some will realize they didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be. Canada’s smaller family units leave fewer people to share the duties of caring for the elderly, and people feel overwhelmed when they have to balance work and other responsibilities with taking care of parents or grandparents who rely on them financially, physically and emotionally.

Philanthropy and Diwali (South Asian Philanthropy Project)
I thought it was off-putting that the Globe & Mail kept describing philanthropy as a traditional “Canadian” norm that these new Canadians are adopting. First, I imagine that charitable giving is probably a traditional part of Diwali festivities in India and elsewhere – for example, offering free meals at local temples. Second, the philanthropic sector seems less robust here than in America, with far fewer private and family foundations, for example – so I think it’s strange to assume that Canada is influencing the South Asians and not the other way around.

Immigration defines Canada, not just its politics (Wesley Moir, Western News)
At the height of the recent provincial election, the nation’s economic struggles were at the forefront of debate. When an ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality began to rear its head, one student couldn’t help but notice its impact on Canada’s longstanding multicultural identity. “I firmly believe that immigration and multiculturalism are not simply political policies and ideologies, but a way of life,” says Christopher Stuart Taylor, a third-year PhD student at Western. “They are as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup, but continue to be hotly contested issues throughout Canadian society.” During the election campaign, the term “foreign worker” became a hot-button issue. The Liberals promised to provide a job subsidy program for new Canadians; the Progressive Conservatives retorted that Canadians would lose jobs to foreign workers under the plan

Trudeau scholar examines Chinese-Canadian immigration (Mary Leong, UBC Arts Wire)
History PhD student and Trudeau Scholarship winner Laura Madokoro looks at the historical crossroads between foreign policy and immigration practice. Madokoro’s research traces the movement of Chinese refugees that fled the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from 1949 to 1989, and the politics of Chinese refugee settlement in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Academic success for child immigrants linked to age of arrival in Canada (
Children who immigrate to Canada have a better chance of finishing high school if they arrive in the country at a younger age, according to a new study published today by Statistics Canada. The study, by Professor Miles Corak of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, shows that immigrant children arriving in Canada after the age of nine are more likely to drop out of high school than those arriving at a younger age.

Age of immigration directly linked to success in high school: study (
Children who immigrate to Canada have a better chance of finishing high school if they arrive in the country at a younger age, according to a new study published today by Statistics Canada. The study, by Professor Miles Corak of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, shows that immigrant children arriving in Canada after the age of nine are more likely to drop out of high school than those arriving at a younger age.

Child immigrants over 9 more likely to drop out (Louise Elliott, CBC News)
Children who immigrate to Canada after the age of nine are far more likely to drop out of school and never go back, a new study suggests. Researchers looked at the census data of more than 100,000 new Canadians who immigrated before the age of 18. The study showed a link between educational achievement and the age at which a child learned English or French.

Immigration and the demand for life insurance: Evidence from Canada, 1911 (PoliEcon)
This paper analyses the determinants of the demand for life insurance using sample data from the 1911 Census of Canada. We find that immigrants’ demand for life insurance was on average around seven percent lower than that of native born Canadians and varied depending on the time that elapsed since immigration. The results imply substantially lower risk aversion of immigrants and possibly indicate the importance of personal networks for informal risk sharing that could evolve over time. We also find that the value of life insurance held by immigrants increases with time elapsing since immigration and converge towards the value of individuals born in Canada.
Full report:

TO2015 officials studying every aspect of Pan American Games in Guadalajara (Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press)
“They put a great face on the Games,” Troop said. “It’s clear there’s a major event happening here. I think the Mexican fans have been terrific. I was at baseball (Tuesday) night, Canada versus U.S. and it was filled with Mexican fans and they were very engaged, very involved.” TO2015 officials hope to benefit from the cultural diversity of Toronto. “We are the most multicultural city in the world,” said city Coun. Mark Grimes. “All these countries who are here today, they’re represented living in Toronto so it’s going to be really neat to gather up that energy and bring it to Toronto.”

Video: Leslie Seidle – Seven Country Study of Immigrant Integration (EUCANet)
Leslie Seidle, Forum of Federations, presents the first outcomes of the research project “Immigrant Integration Policies and Multilevel Governance in Federal States and the European Union”.

Welcoming Canada’s newest citizens (Shobhita Sharma, Londoner)
Leaving behind friends, family and practically everything they owned in the Philippines, Jeniffer Matias and her husband, Anthony, moved to Canada with their young son Kendrick about four years ago. “We moved here for the sake of our son,” Jennifer said. “Canada offers so many opportunities, especially for young children.” On October 18, the Matias’ took the oath to become Canadian citizens at the Wolf Performance Hall. The ­London Public Library hosted a ceremony attended by 250 people where 77 Londoners were awarded Canadian ­citizenship certificates.


Staffing watchdog has eye on refugee board (Kathryn May, Postmedia News)
The federal staffing watchdog intends to take over investigating and fixing any irregularities in internal staffing at the Immigration and Refugee Board to protect the “integrity” of staffing in the public service. Maria Barrados, president of the Public Service Commission, acknowledged the move is unusual, but she considers it necessary to protect the integrity of the staffing system she oversees.

Mechanisms for regularization for precarious migrants in Canada (FCJ Refugee Centre)
The term precarious migrant refers to the vulnerability of individuals who: a) do not have any legal entitlement of being in Canada or b) may possess some form of immigration status, but imposed with specific conditions and parameters. Both of these situations are embedded with the threat of being removed from Canada at a moment’s notice. Precarious migrants in Canada are vulnerable to many forms of abuse as the law often fails to protect them – both in principle and in practice. The existence of these impermanent or illegitimate immigration statuses that fall outside permanent residency is the result of the unfair, inequitable and restrictive nature of our refugee and immigration system. Therefore, any plan towards regularization for these populations requires addressing systemic problems on some level. People find themselves with precarious immigration status or without status in Canada for a variety of reasons but most relate to their circumstances of being oppressed on the basis of their race, gender, disability, social status, economic status, age, and/or variation from gender or sexual norms.

South African asylum seeker suffers setback in Canada (Chriss Watters, Engineering News)
The media reported recently, and perhaps with a little less passion than previously, that Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal had dismissed Brandon Huntley’s appeal against the refusal of his application for refugee status in Canada at the beginning of this month. The courts had reportedly termed the appeal “totally unmeritorious”. Huntley has applied to be recognised in Canada as a refugee because, besides various other claims, white people in South Africa are the victims of a deliberate and ongoing campaign of ‘genocide’. The latest series of media reports may have created a false impression. In 2010, Canada’s Federal Court, which is much like our High Court, upheld the Canadian government’s application to overturn the decision of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

‘It’s God’s work’ (Janine LeGal, Canstar Community News)
Sister Aileen Gleason has changed the lives of hundreds of refugees starting anew in Canada. Deeply affected by seeing the conditions of refugees while she travelled, worked and lived in different countries, Sister Aileen felt called to do something. Supported by the Sisters of our Lady of the Missions, she began what would become a lifetime of sponsoring thousands of refugees to come to Canada, changing many lives along the way.


Aboriginal Research Project (CBC Metro Morning)
Later this morning, the Toronto Aboriginal Research Project will be released, via Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

Assembly of First Nations Launches Conversations: Rethinking Canada (Talent Oyster)
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today launched an initiative aimed at encouraging a new and inclusive dialogue among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians. The Ka Na Ta Conversations recall the original relationships and are intended to address misunderstandings and develop a new perspective on Canadian identity fully inclusive of the Indigenous reality and world view. “Through the Ka Na Ta Conversations, we honor the past by respecting Indigenous rights and responsibilities, we commit to reconciliation and we envision a future based on mutual respect and understanding,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, after taking part in the first Ka Na Ta event at the University of Winnipeg October 5, 2011. “By engaging in open conversation together, we can achieve fairness and equality, uncovering the unique potential for contributions to Canada and the world.”

It takes a province to end homelessness: Presentation notes (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
Yesterday I delivered the keynote presentation to the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing and Homelessness Network conference at Port Blandford on Oct. 26. In my presentation, I warned that the ongoing erosion of federal housing investments will cut vital funding that local groups across Newfoundland and Labrador require to develop effective housing solutions.

Public Health, Priority Populations and Driving Health Equity Into Action (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
Public health have long been leaders in health equity strategy (see Sudbury’s Ten Promising Practices). One key direction has been working with local communities and those marginalized and vulnerable populations facing the most inequitable health outcomes or barriers to services and support. I spoke at an Ontario Public Health Association forum on how to engage with priority populations to identify key service gaps, population needs and levers for change, and to design and deliver the best mixes of programs and resources to enhance the opportunities for good health for all. We spoke of a number of key challenges: how to frame the need to act on underlying social determinants of health in understandable and energizing ways; how to balance coherent overall equity strategies that can connect many specific initiatives with focused programs and investments to improve the health of the worst off fastest; and how to stay grounded in and responsive to diverse community needs and perspectives.

On young people and public policy (I) (Alison Loat, Samara)
Last week I was invited to speak to a group of public engagement professionals who work for the Canadian government. They were interested in some of the work I’ve contributed to that’s helped facilitate people’s involvement in public service and public policy over the years, and what I’ve learned about the state of citizen engagement in our public life today. Watchers of this space (we hope!) have a pretty good sense of what Samara is working on, but I thought I’d share a few notes on the other story I talked about: my experience with the now-defunct organization called Canada25, which I started with a group of friends about eleven years ago. Our goal was to create a non-partisan vehicle for young people to participate substantially in the public issues of the day. Our reasoning was that, without some sort of vehicle, young people would choose to devote their interests and energies elsewhere, to the long-term detriment of our communities, and country.


Top Entrepreneurial Cities in Canada (Sarah Wayland, WISE5)
A recent report by Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) identified the large- and mid-sized cities in Canada that “have the entrepreneurial edge.” The question of what makes an entrepreneurial city is complicated, and it cannot be answered by looking at a single indicator. Therefore, CFIB looked at 12 indicators, grouped into three broad categories.

TRIEC’s Elizabeth McIsaac to speak at ICTC’s Tech Talent Summit: Strategies for Diversity and Inclusion (TRIEC)
This summit will look at diversity and inclusion strategies, and best practices that have now become essential to organizations’ success and overall business performance.

PINs Leaders e-Lert October 2011 (TRIEC)
In this issue:
• Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) Initiative Updates
• Welcome New Network Members
• Events and Opportunities
• News and Resources


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


Purple is the colour of freedom (Ian Holroyd, North Oakville Today)
Katarina took part in Abbey Park High School’s Purple Day last Friday, which commemorated the school’s final day of their Human Trafficking Awareness Week. Historically, purple is the colour of luxury and today, freedom is a luxury that many people are not afforded. That’s why Abbey Park students were asked to dress in their brightest violets, mauves and lilacs in order to raise the profile of human trafficking and modern day slavery.–purple-is-the-colour-of-freedom

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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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