Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 31, 2011


Admit the best, not most fluent (The StarPhoenix)
The comprehension and communications skills required aren’t uniform across these jobs and professions, and a onesize-fits-all approach simply isn’t feasible. To deny a Spanish-speaking engineer from Latin America the opportunity to contribute her skills to Canada simply because of a lack of fluency in an official language is as absurd as denying a Kazakh welder entry for that reason, when they both can communicate effectively enough to do their jobs. And that should be the determining factor: Whether these skilled newcomers can communicate effectively in their areas of expertise to get the job done. Canada needs too many of them, from wherever they are willing relocate, to impose on them restrictions that have little to do with their ability to contribute but have much to do with our reluctance to be more expansive and accommodating.

Visible Minorities and Bilingual Positions in the Federal Public Service Impact of Official Language Requirement – PDF (Public Service Commission of Canada)
To examine the impact of linguistic requirements on career progression of visible minorities in organizations under the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA). This Bulletin focuses on:
¦ employment share of visible minorities in bilingual positions; and
¦ duration of employment immediately prior to bilingual imperative appointments.

Worldly Veggies Take Root in Scarborough (Emily Van Halem, Torontoist)
Good things are growing in some unlikely places in Scarborough. Picture a local schoolyard and rooftop where fresh vegetables are being cultivated. But dont just picture lettuce and tomatoes; these east-end gardens are growing much more than that. They are home to a harvest of okra, callaloo, Asian eggplant, and yard-long beanscrops that are more likely to be seen in specialty grocery stores than sprouting up from Southern Ontario soil. Even more exciting than the unique array of foods being grown are the people who have a hand in ityoung gardeners from Bendale B.T.I., a Scarborough high school, and Access Alliance, a multicultural health and community centre. Alongside a dozen other sites across the GTA that are taking part in the World Crops Project, they are intentionally sowing diversity into their community-worked soil.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Office: Call for Proposals (Integration Net)
The purpose of this CFP process is to elicit proposals for the delivery of settlement services consistent with CICs policies. The CFP process will include the provision of the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), and activities and projects under the Settlement Program. Deadline: December 7, 2011.

Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease (McMaster University)
While obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD) affect everybody, research has shown that certain populations, such as South Asians and Aboriginal peoples, are at generally higher risk than those of Caucasian origin. Dr. Sonia Anand, Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease, is identifying health behaviour risk factors in diverse ethnic groups. Anand is examining factors such as elevated blood glucose levels, dietary patterns and genetic factors to develop prevention strategies to reduce cardio-metabolic risk factors and CVD for those most in jeopardy. She is also examining these factors in diverse populations across the infant-child-adult life span.

Indo-Canadian Trucker Who Was A Doctor In India Deliver Baby In Plane (The Link)
For 25 years in his native India, Balvinder Singh Ahuja worked as a pediatrician, treating thousands of children, saving many lives. For the past six months in Toronto, however, Ahuja has been learning to drive a truck, convinced it was too difficult a process to practise as a foreign-trained doctor in Canada, reported the Toronto Star. But his experience as a veteran physician kicked into high gear Saturday when he performed an emergency delivery on an Air India flight from New Delhi to Toronto, turning a passenger cabin into a birthing room within minutes and improvising with makeshift instruments.

Toronto through the lens of Eric Kim (Tom Ryaboi, blogTO)
Before coming to Toronto, I didn’t quite know what to expect. Being from L.A., I had my typical stereotypes of Canadians idiosyncrasies like the two-dollar coins, the spelling of everything with “u” (favourite vs favorite), as well as the cops on horses. However spending around a week in Toronto, I have fallen in love with the place. I was amazed by the diversity of Toronto, the great food and friendly people. Getting back to the subject at hand, there are so many people and places to shoot in Toronto. It’s a very busy and bustling city, with each neighborhood offering their own diversity of characters. I felt that even walking two blocks would totally change the environment and feel. Needless to say, Toronto has a great pulse and a great place to shoot street.

Former B.C. authors file plagiarism lawsuit (Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun)
The plaintiffs claim that Zhang’s novel Gold Mountain Blues, originally published in China and released in English earlier this month, lifts certain plot and character elements from six of their works, which deal with the experience of early Chinese immigrants to Canada. Ottawa author Denise Chong, originally from Prince George, also claims Zhang plagiarized elements of her 1994 novel The Concubine’s Children, but she is not a plaintiff in this case. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

CBSA urged to act on marriage fraud complaints (David McKie, CBC News)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says hes preparing to toughen Canada’s immigration law to crack down on what he characterizes as a serious problem, marriage fraud, but he also wants the Canada Border Services Agency to do its part. The agency has been criticized for failing to act quickly in dealing with allegations of marriage fraud. In some instances, individuals complain that the agency fails to even acknowledge their request for an investigation.

Getting immigrants interested in hockey not easy (Bill Kaufmann, Calgary Sun)
But the NHL shouldn’t take for granted such devotion among newcomers to Canada, states a new report by the Conference Board of Canada. The agency states professional sports leagues like the NHL must do more to cater to Canada’s rapidly-changing demographics to remain viable in the long run. That’s largely due to the much easier accessibility and loyalty to the dominant game of the native lands, states the report.

Fans fight for hockey night in Punjabi (Chantaie Allick, Toronto Star)
For the past three years Punjabi Canadians have revelled in the ritual Canadian pastime of tuning in to Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi. But they lost that small piece of cultural Canadiana when CBC cancelled the popular broadcast. The move has South Asians across the country up in arms. A lot of the attention that hockey received from the community has been attributed to this broadcast, said Harnarayan Singh, who co-hosts the program with Amarinder Singh. Fans across the country tuned in with their families to support their favourite team.

Diaspora Film Festival shines light on cultural diversity (Justin Skinner, Inside Toronto)
Filmmakers from around the world will share their cultural experiences when the Diaspora Film Festival returns for its 11th year.
The festival was founded in 2001 by its current director Shahram Tabe, an Iranian-Canadian who moved to Canada more than 20 years ago and wanted to continue his involvement in the arts. Since then, it has grown from a small, day-and-a-half-long event to a full six days of films, discussions, workshops and more.’s%20on/article/1233654–diaspora-film-festival-shines-light-on-cultural-diversity

There *are* limits to free expression (Erna Paris, Globe and Mail)
The right to free speech is one of the most important democratic freedoms. It enables the flow of information and encourages diversity of opinion in the public sphere, as well as criticism of political leadership, all of which are in the public interest. But like most freedoms, it is not absolute, nor should it be.

Regulate Hate, not Speech (Eric Brousseau, McGill University, CCLA blog)
Erna Paris has recently argued that absent hate speech laws, Canadian multiculturalism risks coming apart at the seams through the normalization of outlying and offensive views on minorities. While the assumption that hate speech laws are all that stands between Canada and the increasingly hostile environments in the US and Europe is flawed, there is a stronger response to this paternalism: free speech is the price you pay for democracy and sometimes its ugly. No one has to agree with Mr. Whatcotts views to support the claim that it is never acceptable for a majority to decide that a minority viewpoint is so unpalatable and distasteful that it ought to be banned… The Supreme Court ought to strike down the impugned provision of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code as failing to meet the stringent standards of Charter scrutiny. This would be a serious victory for those who believe that a robust freedom of expression is essential to democracy and that its potentially ugly side-effects are a necessary evil. After that, lets convince Bill Whatcott and others like him of the hurtfulness of their views through an open and public debate rather than the legislature and the courts.

Helping newcomers: Immigrants at a Crossroads (Shawn Jeffords, The Standard)
When Inga Plieryte immigrated to Canada, she thought she was sacrificing one dream for another. She picked up her life and came here two-and-a-half years ago to get married. But in her home country of Lithuania, she was planning to open her own day-care centre. It’s been a life-long dream, one she gave up on when she arrived. “I just didn’t know where to begin,” she said. “I wasn’t sure what people would expect of me.” But Plieryte said the Crossroads program, run by the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre, has resurrected that dream. She is one of the recent graduates of the business program for immigrant women and is in the early stages of planning her entry into the child-care profession.

‘Baby bust’ spells trouble for rich nations (Chris Arsenault, Al Jazeera)
There are two main solutions to the baby bust: increasing fertility rates or encouraging immigration. Both seem fairly simple, but can be difficult to achieve… From the perspective of national interest, Canadas immigration policies – which prioritise skilled workers and investors – may offer the best model. In proportion to its population, Canada naturalises the most people in the world by far, Janoski said. Canadian immigration policy is really focused on economic growth, where immigrant investors or skilled workers are given preference over family reunification which drives the model in the US and other countries, he said.

Multi-culti Toronto is a draw for global hip-hop ingenues (May Jeong, Globe and Mail)
In 2009, when Arabic hip-hop artist Yaseen Qasem (a.k.a. I-Voice) decided to leave the Bourj el-Barajneh Palestinian camp in the outskirts of Beirut to study abroad, Canada was not an obvious choice. He had family in Houston that was willing to help, but when his uncle found out that Mr. Qasem was intending to study sound engineering, he reneged on his offer, saying that music never mind rap was haraam. Forbidden. The search continued, and when a cousin in Toronto casually floated the question, Why not Canada?, Mr. Qasem thought to himself, Why not, indeed. is a pan-Canadian online resource and community for ESL/FSL professionals, currently under development by Citadel Rock Online Communities Inc., supported by their key collaborators for this project, the Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks. Also known as the National Repository project, is a shared Federal-Provincial initiative funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The name comes from the latin word tutela which means guardianship and tutelage

Are Canadian writers Canadian enough? (John Barber, Globe and Mail)
That’s definitely one of the striking things about contemporary Canadian literature, said Paul Martin of Edmonton’s MacEwan University, former director of Canadian studies at the University of Vermont. But it’s not something we should be apologizing for. I think it’s something we should be pretty excited about. Internationalism is a sign of confidence, many observers agree, and a faithful reflection of the ethnic diversity of modern Canada. Going back to the middle of the 1990s, Canadian fiction became confident enough it no longer had to be set in southwestern Ontario or the Prairies, said University of Toronto English professor Nick Mount. I think it felt it could set wherever it wanted to be set. Others are less impressed. In his provocative When Words Deny the World, writer and University of Guelph professor Stephen Henighan complained almost a decade ago that Canadian writers and publishers were neglecting their own gardens in pursuit of the greener grass of global acceptance, producing Hollywoodized fiction to suit the domineering appetites of Giller Prize judges.

Generation Next: How are the children of immigrants faring in Canada (Alison Hebbs, Fedcan blog)
Youd think that many people take on the life-altering process of moving to a new country with a better life for their children in mind. Canada has worked hard to open its doors for families in search of a brighter future. And how are these efforts translating? Well, in Canada, the pattern is one of upward mobility for second generation immigrantsoverall. For example, the children of Chinese and South Asian immigrants outperform their parents when it comes to educational attainment and labour market outcomes. Actually, they outperform the general Canadian population too. However, as Dr. Philip Kelly, associate professor of geography at York University, explained to attendees of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Big Thinking lecture on October 20th, this is not true across the board.


Canadian Council for Refugees Consultation – Protecting Refugee Rights: The importance of independence (Colleen French, Refugee Research Network)
From 24-26 November 2011, refugee and immigrant rights advocates from across Canada will be gathering in Montreal for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) 2011 Fall Consultation on the theme Protecting Refugee Rights: The importance of independence. The Consultation will together more than 300 people from across Canada and beyond, they offer key opportunities for information exchange, networking, and strategy development. Participants include refugees, immigrants, representatives of NGOs, government, UNHCR, academics, community workers, youth advocates and international guests. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Consternation among refugee sponsors (Tom Denton, Winnipeg Free Press)
More than one million are waiting overseas, documents filed, to come as immigrants to Canada, Ottawa has disclosed — this against an annual admissions target of 250,000. Every immigration category has its own queue. roups who sponsor refugees into Canada have an extra challenge. The Harper government has placed an embargo on submission of new sponsorships for 2012 (and perhaps longer) that will restrict the national new-case target to only 1,350 refugees next year. Winnipeg’s Hospitality House Refugee Ministry alone filed sponsorships for that many in the first eight months of this year.

Canadas bill to curb immigrant smuggling requires two further amendments (Benjamin Perrin, Troy Media)
Migrant smuggling is a dangerous, sometimes deadly, criminal activity which cannot be rationalized, justified, or excused. From both a supply and demand side, failing to respond effectively to migrant smuggling and deter it will risk emboldening those who engage in this illicit enterprise, which generates proceeds for organized crime and criminal networks, funds terrorism and facilitates clandestine terrorist travel; endangers the lives and safety of smuggled migrants, undermines border security, with consequences for the Canada/U.S. border, and undermines the integrity and fairness of Canadas immigration system.


The 99% know all about inequality (J. David Hulchanski, Toronto Star)
One thing the Occupy movement does not lack is a clear message: the system is broken and the folks who broke it are not the ones who will fix it. There is no doubt in the minds of many that the economy is rigged in favour of the very few, and that most politicians act on behalf of those few. Why? To quote Jessie James, because thats where the money is. Living in an affluent society like Canada is not very pleasant if one senses no opportunity to continue to be or ever to be economically comfortable, let alone affluent. A huge percentage of jobs are now precarious: low wages, few benefits, no pension, usually no future. More become that way every day.–the-99-know-all-about-inequality

Why arent we talking about income inequality? (Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail)
In Canada, we have fussed a great deal about equality, but not of the income kind. Instead, weve spent much money and changed laws to deal with equality of regions and equality (or equity) of ethnicity and gender.

Special Report on Philanthropy: Ramsden-Wood on progressing from poverty to possibility (Ruth Ramsden-Wood, Calgary Herald)
How would you like to spend two hours riding public transportation to and from work, while your children are home alone? How would you like to go without meals so your children have food? Imagine telling your children you can’t pay school fees in order to keep the heat on. These are the Catch-22 situations that Calgary families face when living in poverty. The devastating effects of poverty penetrate individual lives, groups, neighbourhoods, and sometimes, whole populations. Poverty is a complex issue and needs to be addressed in myriad ways. There are no quick solutions or silver bullets. It is created, compounded and perpetuated by many factors. It can be inherited from our families, exacerbated by the communities we live in, or perpetuated by the systems, policies and practices that shape our lives.

Struggling In The City (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Don McCaskill. He is research director behind the “Toronto Aboriginal Research Project, which will be released later this morning via Native Child and Family Services of Toronto.

Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada (CBC Metro Morning)
For more information on the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada, follow the association on Twitter, Facebook, or email apac.toronto.

Inner City Health (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Dr. Irfan Dhalla. He is a general internist at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre, and also the founder and director of the Virtual Ward , a pilot project designed to care for high-risk patients after they are discharged from hospital.


Reshape and rejuvenate workforce through immigration: Kenney (Heather Scoffield, Toronto Star)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has never suffered from lack of ambition and his latest goal is nothing short of reshaping and rejuvenating the Canadian workforce. He envisions a nimble, efficient immigration machine that will help solve Canadas demographic imbalance and boost the countrys competitiveness simultaneously. Step one comes this week when he announces immigration targets for next year.

Leveraging Talent in a Diverse Population (Michael Charles and Hamlin Grange, The Mark)
Most of Canadas population growth now comes from immigration. Immigrants to Canada have a significantly higher proportion of post-secondary degrees compared to the rest of the Canadian population, yet they are twice as likely to be poor (Maytree Foundation, 2007). Clearly, something is amiss.

Provincial Award Recognizes Immigrant Employment Council of BCs Website (IECBC)
The Government of British Columbia has recognized the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) with its 2011 WelcomeBC Day Award for the development of an innovative website ( that provides employers with a wealth of labour market resources, including direct access to a pool of pre-screened immigrant talent. The award celebrates IEC-BC’s contribution to BC’s economy, achieved through the delivery of employer-focused programs that build organizational capacity by connecting employers with highly-skilled immigrant talent. This year’s recipients also included two immigrants, and all awardees were recognized during the 2011 WelcomeBC Day celebration. Representatives from the Government of Canada, the Province of BC and local community agencies were in attendance.

TRIEC is hiring: 13-month mat leave contract for communications manager (beginning Jan 2012) TRIEC)
TRIECs communications manager is responsible for overseeing all aspects of internal and external communications related to TRIEC and its programs. Working closely with the executive director, and overseeing the work of the communications specialist, the communications manager is responsible for developing and implementing TRIECs communications strategy and overseeing all day-to-day communications activities.

Sound bites from the 2011 Recruitment Innovation Summit (Michelle Pinchev, CEO blog)
In addition to our booth, Career Edge Organization hosted a break-out session, Global Markets, World Class Talent, which featured a diverse panel of employers who spoke about their successes and challenges in hiring internationally qualified professionals. Attendees were highly engaged, actively participating in the Q&A following the panel discussion. Many joined us at our booth during the networking reception that followed.

Big Changes to the BC Provincial Nominee Program (PanCanadian Immigration Law Group)
Starting in November, British Columbia will launch an online investment matching service that will link potential business immigrants to business opportunities in various regions around BC. This will be a fantastic service to those foreign applicants looking to invest in BC and fast-track their permanent residence.


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Occupy Toronto, City Hall, Rob Ford, Transit & Cycling, Pan Am Games, Toronto Zoo and Other News.

Toronto plans to bring relief to suburban food deserts (Sarah Elton, Globe and Mail)
Yet these are the same areas that the citys own research has identified as food deserts predominantly low-income neighbourhoods in the inner suburbs where people live farther than 1,500 metres from a supermarket and typically dont own a car, and where there is below average public transit access, making lugging groceries home an arduous task. In Toronto, parts of Scarborough, North Etobicoke and North York fall under the food desert designation, and many residents procure more accessible produce on the street from less-than-legal purveyors.

New library board proposes shutting 38 branches (Patrick White, Globe and Mail)
Just when library closures appeared to be off the table, theyre back on again. Cost-trimming suggestions from individual members of the newly appointed Toronto Public Library Board include the idea of shuttering 38 of Torontos 98 branches, selling or redeveloping surplus land, selling the historic Yorkville branch and reducing the size of some other branches.


Giving (Globe and Mail)
News, advice and analysis on philanthropy, charitable giving and social responsibility.

Changemakers Competition Now Open! (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
Its official! The Changemakers Competition, Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning, is now open. The competitionan initiative of Ashoka Canada and several foundation partners, including McConnellwill solicit innovative projects and ideas to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning, using the Changemakers collaborative online platform. The platform will allow participants to share ideas, access resources and connect with a community of innovators from across Canada and around the world.

Crowd-Sourced Wikis for Government Ideation (
Social collaboration tools can welcome interested people to contribute ideas that help your agency develop policy. Hear how Ontario, Canada, used a social innovation wiki to gather public input for a policy paper on Social Innovation that helped them implement Ontarios social innovation strategy. In this free webinar, Allyson Hewitt from SiG, and Anne Bermonte from Ontarios Ministry of Research and Innovation, will share lessons learned, and discuss the opportunities and ongoing challenges of using social media to develop policy.

Video: Social Finance Best Practices: Beth Coates (Geraldine Cahill,
On April 8, MaRS hosted nine practitioners of social finance from across the spectrum to speak about the best (and worst) practices in social finance. Hear personal stories and interesting examples from Canadas emerging social finance marketplace. With five minutes each and drawing on their experience and research, these regular contributors to highlighted successful and/or poor social finance practices. A question-and-answer period rounded out the session.

Save The World, Inc.: The Revolution of Philanthropy 3.0 (Doug Saunders)
Officials from agencies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Red Cross have complained the celebrity charities duplicate their work without the standards for example, giving donated food to refugee camps, a practice established charities stopped years ago because it cuts into local farmers profits. Many more of the new philanthropic powers in Haiti, and around the world, are not charities at all in the old sense, but corporations that mix profit-seeking with benevolent missions. Such social enterprises produce results that can be exceptionally efficient and sometimes awkwardly self-interested.

For Ontario nonprofits, theres another new act in town (Joel Secter, Hilborn)
Not long after the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act (CNCA) received Royal Assent, Ontario’s Not-for-profit Corporations Act, 2010 (ONCA) was given Royal Assent as well. Like the CNCA, the ONCA will modernize the provincial not-for-profit sector by enhancing corporate governance, giving more rights to members and affording greater protections to directors and officers of non-share capital corporations. While the ONCA draws extensively on the CNCA, there are material differences between the two statutes, and they cannot be approached as one and the same.


Abbey Park action plan against human trafficking (
Though its seen as a third-world problem, human trafficking exists in Canada and Abbey Park High School students want to do something about it. The school has partnered with the Oakville-founded, anti-trafficking organization free-them to bring awareness to the issues of human slavery in Canada.–abbey-park-action-plan-against-human-trafficking

Human trafficking charges laid in teen prostitution ring (CBC)
A Vancouver man is facing human trafficking charges for allegedly running a prostitution ring involving the inter-provincial trafficking of under-aged girls. Vancouver police say Reza Moazami, 27, was arrested during a raid on a south Vancouver home on Oct. 7 by the vice squad. Sgt. Rich Akin said two girls were found in the house, and Moazami was charged with two counts of living off the avails of the prostitution of a juvenile and one charge of keeping a common bawdy house.

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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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