Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 4, 2011


Popular program gives new Canadians free access to cultural institutions (Globe and Mail)
When Darshan Harrinanan acquired his Canadian citizenship, he celebrated by taking his wife and three young children to marvel at the treasures of Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. In the year since that fall day in 2009, his family visited a variety of cultural institutions around the province at least 20 times – and all of them at no charge, thanks to a unique homegrown program that offers new Canadian citizens a 12-month “cultural access pass” to attractions nationwide.

Come to Canada Wizard a continued success (CIC)
The Come to Canada Wizard, which helps people determine if they are eligible to come to Canada, has recorded over 200,000 visits since being launched this summer. “By helping potential immigrants and visitors to understand the immigration process, this tool is reducing their dependence on immigration consultants,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “It demonstrates how CIC is creating a responsive and efficient immigration system that benefits applicants, immigrants and Canadians alike.”

Tim Hudak defends controversial anti-Liberal flyer (blogTO)
As if those transphobic ads from the Institute for Canadian Values aren’t bad enough, the Tory candidate for MPP in Brampton West has been distributing anti-Liberal flyers that take issue with sexual education curriculum in Ontario — you know, those policies that aim to fight homophobia and foster equality among students at a young age.

Election Blog: Fact-checking Hudak’s “Homophobic” Flyer (Toronto Standard)
Fortunately, the curriculum itself is online, there for the torturously bureaucratic reading. We took a look to see if Hudak’s flyer’s claims lined up with the facts. Here’s what we found, allegation by allegation.

Getting the Muslim youth vote out in Ontario (
Concerns have been raised about the lack of political engagement of Canadian youth. During the federal election, voting flash mobs at Canadian universities were seen as a way to get young voters excited and eager to vote. Unfortunately, most efforts to engage youth have been initiated by groups and organizations that I feel do not reflect the ethno-cultural diversity of Canada’s major cities. As an activist in Ottawa’s Muslim communities who is passionate about civic engagement, I wanted to take a lead in addressing what I’ve seen as a lack of engagement among young Muslims of voting age.

Tax, spending issues more important to voters than demographics: analysts (CTV)
To be sure, data show demographics do play a role in voting tendencies, says Barry Kay, a political science professor at Wilfrid Laurier University. As a result, the parties have narrowcast parts of their messaging and platforms at women, workers, immigrants and other groups. The Liberals, for example, promised a $10,000 tax credit for employers who train and hire certain freshly minted Canadian professionals. For their part, the Tories promised to reduce barriers to newcomers by improving transparency of foreign-credential recognition, and to create a tax credit for employers who sponsor language training. Statistics Canada data show 28.3 per cent of people in Ontario were immigrants in 2006, up from 23.7 per cent in 1991. While the Liberals have tended to do well in areas dense with newcomers, Kay says there are myths about visible minority voting patterns. For one thing, he says, the immigrant community is “much more diverse” than has been fully appreciated.

Is it really good for Canada’s population to grow? (Vancouver Sun)
The article doesn’t really take a definite position on whether population growth is good. But it indirectly suggests that population growth is a positive thing by noting that immigration trends to B.C. are going down because of a troubled global and Canadian economy. If our economy was in better shape, it says, we’d probably be taking in more immigrants. But is this the whole story on the pros and cons of immigration? Not really. A recent Nanos poll revealed that four out of five Canadians want immigration levels to either stay the same or decrease.

Mother apologizes for entering Canada ‘through the woods’ (Calgary Herald)
A mother arrested in Alberta for allegedly abducting her daughter from Idaho two years ago told immigration officials she didn’t believe she was breaking any laws when she entered Canada “through the woods.” Megan Ethne Y’Tara attributed her actions to her “sincere and deeply held religious belief that it was my God-given right to travel freely throughout the Earth.” “If I was mistaken in that, I do apologize for trespassing,” Y’Tara told an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Monday in a hearing conducted via telephone.

PM’s chance to defend freedom of speech (Toronto Sun)
After five years in power, the Conservative government finally has introduced a bill to repeal the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act. After five years in power, the Conservative government finally has introduced a bill to repeal the censorship provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act. That provision — called section 13 — gives the government the power to censor anything on the Internet “likely to expose a person … to hatred or contempt”.


Stateless Children (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
The Summary Conclusions from an Expert Meeting on “Interpreting the 1961 Statelessness Convention and Preventing Statelessness among Children” are now available. The meeting was convened by UNHCR and the Open Society Justice Initiative in Dakar, Senegal on 23-24 May 2011. Also newly available on the subject of stateless children is this speech delivered by James A. Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative, in New York on 15 September 2011.

Refugees getting their kicks (Winnipeg Free Press)
They kicked a ball around refugee camps, then Winnipeg’s inner city. Now, they’re competing for Manitoba against the best soccer teams in Canada. This morning before dawn, the Portage Trail under-16 boys team boards a flight for the National Club Championships in Lethbridge, Alta., starting Wednesday. Five members of the top-level team are newcomers to Canada — and to organized soccer. For kids around the world, soccer is the game,” said Garry Neufeld, who manages the soccer team and housing projects for IRCOM (Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba Inc.).


Few solutions on issues of poverty (Owend Sound Sun Times)
Solving poverty is a priority, Bruce-Grey Owen Sound candidates agreed. But specifics were few and consensus scarce as five of seven candidates tackled affordable housing, the minimum wage, rising energy and food prices and disappearing rural jobs at a forum on social justice on the weekend.

Five simple steps to alleviate poverty (Hamilton Spectator)
I’m sure there is nothing new in what is written above. With the income tax system, we don’t need to create anything new, we just have to reprogram it. No eHealth fiasco. Making the poverty line plus a percentage tax free would encourage those who have low paying jobs to continue working; there is a reward.–five-simple-steps-to-alleviate-poverty

India abandons poverty rate benchmark for social programs (Reuters Canada)
Instead, the government wants to rely on an official survey to identify subsidy beneficiaries under a new food security bill promoted by Sonia Gandhi, the powerful head of the ruling Congress party. “The (government) planning commission is not taking the view and has never taken the view that benefits should be restricted to only those below this poverty line,” Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, one of government’s top policy advisors, told reporters. Ministers, whose government is struggling to deal with high inflation and corruption scandals, want to win favor with poor voters as the ruling Congress party heads for state elections next year.


The downside of hiring people just like you (Globe and Mail)
Nick Noorani has met a lot of talented immigrants who have had a hard time landing a job. The founder of Canadian Immigrant magazine says some of the biggest challenges can stem from cultural differences evident during the job interview. “Some newcomers come from places where it’s not okay to boast about your achievements, so you play it down. In Canada, you can’t play down your achievements,” said Mr. Noorani. “We have different body language in interviews. In a lot of countries, especially Asian countries, it’s considered rude to look you in the eye … you can imagine how that measures up with the Western notion of shiftiness.”

No more credit for illegal work experience (Toronto Sun)
The practice of letting foreign lawbreakers reap the reward of citizenship was cancelled after the contradiction was reported on by QMI Agency earlier this year. Last January QMI Agency revealed a decision by bureaucrats to allow illegal work experience to count as a credit for those who were attempting to gain citizenship in Canada. In one e-mail, obtained through access to information, a civil servant questioned whether there was a difference between illegal work experience in Canada and illegal experience outside the country.


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to City Hall, Police Budget Cuts, TCHC & Public Housing, Waste Management, Arts & Culture, Provincial Election, Mississauge News, Transit & TTC and Other News.


An important message from YSEC (Young Social Entrepreneurs of Canada)
We are writing to inform you that due to capacity constraints, YSEC will be closing its doors. We have worked hard for the past year to overcome these constraints and to continue to be a source of value for this community. But fulfilling the organization’s full potential called for more resources than we have available; making this a tough decision, especially in light of the tremendous growth we have witnessed in Canadian social entrepreneurship

Developing a Mentoring Program at Your Nonprofit (CharityVillage)
When one pictures a mentorship program, an image of a young, new staff member sharing a conversation with an experienced, wise, senior member might come to mind. But mentorship programs have evolved and expanded beyond that traditional model. Both matching decisions and communication methods have expanded to include mentorship between peers at similar levels in an organization, mentorship in triads or groups, and mentorship facilitated completely online. However, one common thread ties all of these different programs: relationships that involve trust and the sharing of experience.

Social Finance Round Up: MaRS Announces Funding for Centre for Impact Investing, GIIRS Launches ( produces a weekly round up featuring social finance related news, insights, job openings, and events. We source the content for these round ups from Twitter, an RSS reader, and directly from our community of social finance practitioners. Below is our round up for the week of October 3, 2011.


UN: World Must Increase Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking (SOS Children’s Village)
Speaking at the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking second ministerial meeting, the President of the General Assembly Nassir Abdulaziz stated that the world needed to work together to end what ranks as the world’s third most profitable crime after drug and arms trafficking. He stated that “Although human trafficking takes place in the dark margins of our societies, we must not ignore its presence.”

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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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