Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 5, 2011


While 150,000-plus wait, few parents and grandparents are accepted (Embassy)
Opposition MPs are disturbed that Canada barely hit the low end of its target admission rate for grandparents and parents as permanent residents to Canada last year, while more than 150,000 lingered in line. Two top bureaucrats from Citizenship and Immigration Canada took MPs on the immigration committee, who are mostly new to the committee, through a kind of Immigration 101 departmental briefing on Sept. 29.

5 suggestions to get Canadas immigration system back on track (Nick Noorani)
Here we go again. The backlog of immigrant applicants to Canada has again ballooned to one million. It now seems like bringing the numbers down is an impossible task. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney has made several valiant efforts over the years to adjust the entrance criteria, but the applications are still several hundred thousand more than can be processed. And, those who are approved, are still finding unexpected career and settlement challenges once they land. So whats the solution? In the past year I have travelled across Canada speaking to almost a thousand immigrants one on one in the GTA, Southwest Ontario and Metro Vancouver and I have heard from them firsthand their stories and challenges. The system needs correction and Minister Kenney has undertaken a democratic consultation process of meeting stakeholders to find out what is needed. I was at a roundtable meeting with him on July 20 in Toronto, where I shared some ideas.

National identity overhauled (Edmonton Journal)
The strategy is clear. The Conservative government wants to reconstruct a sense of national identity out of the remnants of our British colonial past. This distinctly English-Canadian version of nationhood does not represent adequately our country’s increasingly diverse population. Indeed, this strategy could backfire because it may be viewed in some quarters (notably in Quebec, among our First Nations peoples and among non-English, non-British Commonwealth descendants) as a step backward: a regression.

When Italy met Canada (Maclean’s)
For recent immigrants, it is puzzling, to say the least. My first reaction was to say, No, these are not Italians, says Eleonora Maldina, a 25-year-old from the northern Italian city of Bologna, who came to Canada three years ago. A translator and language teacher, she spends much of her time working with third-generation Italian Canadians who want to improve their ability to talk to their relatives back home in their native language. At first she didnt like what she saw. Italian Canadians had an almost obsessive attachment to a stereotypical and old-fashioned idea of the country shed grown up in. One student, she recalls, described the complex rules that determined how to name newborns after grandparents and other late relatives, a tradition most Italians have abandoned. At first, she made it her mission to correct them with the same zeal she reserved for banishing made-up Italian-Canadian words such as insuranzaa mash up of insurance and assicurazioneand basamentothe Italianized version of basementfrom her students vocabulary.

Toronto-Danforths Conservative cricket candidate (Toronto Observer)
As far as Rita Jethi is concerned, sport is the key to bringing people together and keeping them engaged in the community. Jethi is the Progressive Conservative candidate for Toronto-Danforth in this Thursdays provincial election. She says she uses cricket, the sport she grew up with in India, to get to know the members of her community and keep them engaged.

Diversity at Royal Bank of Canada Law: No Flash, Just Pure Substance (In-house Access)
Diversity is a core value at RBC that emanates from the CEO down. Their website is impressive chock-full of information, initiatives, progress reports and metrics. RBC has enough diversity awards on its mantel to make any mother proud. RBC Law has a significant number of female leaders as well. Sixty percent of its executives and 40 percent of the senior managers are women. The number of diverse leaders is somewhat less, but laudable all the same. David focuses on filling the pipeline at the entry-mid levels with the next generation of diverse leaders. When hiring, RBC mandates that the candidate pool for every vacancy include at least one female and one diverse candidate. A big challenge is the retention of female lawyers, which RBC Law addresses with various strategies, such as greater flex work. We dont have hard quotas here, says David. Rather, we have high goals and exert moral suasion.

MPs Spending Too Much Time Unravelling Red Tape (Huffington Post)
A family divided by geography, a dying man without access to his insurance, an elderly person unable to get his old-age pension. These are Canadians at their most vulnerable — financially, emotionally and mentally at risk. So whose job is it to help solve these problems? The Canadian public service… or your member of Parliament? he correct answer is our public service; those men and women who administer government services for all Canadians. However, according to former MPs who participated in a recent Samara report, many MPs commit a large amount of time and staff resources to getting constituents in the back door of bureaucracy. In fact, about one-quarter of former MPs described their proudest moments as those where they directly helped an individual constituent navigate Canadian bureaucracy, especially in the areas of immigration and government benefits.

Immigrant tales: When life gives you lemons make nimbu-paani, says Nitin Dhora (South Asian Focus)
Canada poses numerous challenges to new immigrants, and it’s tough all around – but do all of them fail? The truth is, the vast majority of newcomers are successful in building a new, happy, comfortable life for themselves. Canada is a land of immigrants, and every immigrant has a story behind them. As part of an ongoing series, Focus profiles the lives of people in different walks of life who’ve achieved varying levels of success, today serving as inspirational role models to all Canadians.

One on one with Jason Kenney (Jewish Tribune)
In parallel with the so-called Durban III conference held at the United Nations recently, a parallel human rights conference was held that sought to raise awareness of the flaws of the Durban series of conferences and to promote a real agenda of human rights. This Anti-Durban conference boasted speakers such as Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and human rights scholar Anne Bayefsky. Jason Kenney, Canadas minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, also attended and spoke boldly in support. Canada was the first nation to withdraw from the Durban II and III conferences, but Canada hasnt always been as unflinching in its support for Israel and while some may be skeptical as to the reasons, a closer look is profoundly revealing.

Multiculturalism: A Failed Policy? (Mind the Gap)
Canada has experienced a very different history of immigration; however, it has moved recently in the same direction as Europe in reaction to a perceived increase in immigration challenges. The general discourse towards immigrants has changed dramatically within the last decade in Canada, shifting towards one of fear and insecurity. The arrival of Tamil boats on the West Coast of Canada in August 2010 sparked conflict over the arrival of war criminals or bogus claimants before their cases were reviewed. As well, many who claimed refugee status were declared illegal before their cases are reviewed or were deemed line jumpers. There is a recent attitude within the government and across the country of the arrival of too many immigrants and that integration is not occurring, which is similar to European sentiments. This has led to alterations in family reunification policies, the decrease in settlement funding for new immigrants in many Provinces, and feelings on insecurity in regards to newcomers. The most recent example of the latter is of Prime Minister Harper stating Islamicism is the largest threat to Canada. This is shocking, as Canada was the first country in the world to declare a policy of state multiculturalism in 1971 and, by these means, risks turning away from this policy even further.


White South Africans refugee appeal denied (Chronicle Herald)
The Federal Court of Appeal has dismissed a refugee claim appeal from a white South African man who said he was the victim of racist attacks. The court called Brandon Huntleys appeal “totally unmeritorious.”

Iranian refugee nearly latest victim of poor translation (National Post)
Dozens of significant translation errors by an interpreter at a refugee hearing are blamed for a deportation order that almost sent an anti-government activist back to his native Iran, the latest language problem at the Immigration and Refugee Board needing court intervention. The case raises more questions about the quality of simultaneous translation between refugee claimants and the adjudicators deciding their fate, despite repeated complaints by immigration lawyers.

Family fights to stay in Canada (Burnaby Now)
Immigration officials are deporting a local family despite claims they face persecution and discrimination in their home country. The five family members are Roma, also known as Gypsies, and they are from the Czech Republic.

Government of Canada announces one appointment and four reappointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (CIC)
One appointment and four reappointments to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) were announced today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. Normand Leduc, Éveline Fiset, Elaine Doyle and Renée Bourque were reappointed in the Montréal regional office. David John Lowe was appointed in the Toronto regional office

October 25: Forum on the new refugee process (FCJ Refugee Centre)
Different perspectives on the new refugee process will be presented by the Immigration and Refugee Board, refugee lawyers and community members. We are privileged to have a great group of speakers who will be able to approach into the coming reforms. The agenda includes an overview of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and its implementation process, the new intake and interview process, changes to the IRB Rules and the hearing process, Refugee Appeal Division.


Vital Signs Local Reports 2011 (Community Foundations of Canada)
Community foundations participating in the national Vital Signs program issue a report card on their community’s progress and use that publication to:
Increase the effectiveness of our grantmaking
Better inform our donors, and all citizens, about local issues and opportunities
Assist us in making connections between organizations and individuals to address those issues

Vital Signs 2011 report: Ten issues Torontonians should know (National Post)
The Philippines in 2010 became the No. 1 source of immigrants to Toronto, with 40,000 Filipinos becoming permanent residents of Greater Toronto last year, surpassing those from India (in second place) and immigrants from China. About two-thirds of Filipinos are university-educated, but the report says they are subject to deprofessionalization and pigeonholed in jobs as caregivers.

Toronto’s Vital Signs (Toronto Community Foundation)
We research and report on Toronto’s quality of life in our annual Toronto’s Vital Signs® Report. It is a consolidated snapshot of the trends in our city, highlighting progress we should be proud of and challenges that need to be addressed. Access the report and artcles from the Toronto Star special series.

Report warns middle-income neighbourhoods to vanish (CBC)
Canada’s most populous city faces some key challenges that, if not addressed, could reduce quality of life for over half the population by 2025, according to a new report by the Toronto Community Foundation. The foundation released its Vital Signs report Tuesday, an annual check-up that measures the quality of life of Torontonians when it comes to issues ranging from affordable housing to crime.

Study confirms working-poor woes (Kingston Whig-Standard)
The working poor of Kingston are having a more difficult time making ends meet. That is one of many findings of a local study, Vital Signs, released Tuesday by the Community Foundation of Greater Kingston. “For those who make minimum wage, the numbers don’t add up,” said the study.

Will TCHC tenants be short-changed? (Opening the Window)
The scuttlebutt is that Toronto Community Housing has been asked to cut its 2012 budget by 10%. On the face of it, a 10% cut might seem reasonable. All City departments are being asked to find efficiencies to pay for Torontos budget deficit. Why not TCHC? Let me respond by asking some questions of my own.

Ontario’s main political parties answer questions on critical issues (Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC))
Want to know what Ontario’s three main political parties are saying about social assistance? What they’re saying about income adequacy? Advancing equity in supports and services? Creating good jobs and ensuring accommodation in the labour market, and other critical issues?

New publication: Resilience (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
The Foundation is pleased to announce its latest publication: Resilience. With the purpose of sharing the Foundations evolving strategies and granting focus, Resilience provides an understanding of why we fund what we do and highlights lessons learned from work with our grantees and partners.

Balancing the Books on the Backs of the Poor (Huffington Post)
With fears of a double-dip recession on the rise, some have questioned whether this is the right time for the federal government to begin drastic and hard cuts. Some have even called for a second round of stimulus to ensure that Canada can steer through these troubling economic waters. Although the Harper government has no problem spending money, I believe that they will probably ramp up the cuts that have already started. When they do come in full force, we must make sure that we are not balancing the books on the backs of the poor. This doesn’t make moral sense and it doesn’t make economic sense either. Because make no mistake, poverty costs us all. It forces up our tax bills, depresses the economy, increases health care bills and breeds alienation and crime.


Lewenza supports exploited workers (CBC)
One of Canada’s biggest names in labour threw his support behind workers who claim they aren’t being paid by a local recycler. Canadian Auto Workers national president Ken Lewenza attended a protest outside Global Fiber Recover on Monday… The CAW does not represent the workers and the employees at the plant are not unionized. The Windsor Workers Action Centre first took up the cause and is helping the employees fight for the money they’re owed.


Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Police Budget, Mayor McCallion, Provincial Election and Other News.

Event Oct 5: Tamarack Institute and Mayor Nenshi celebrate urbanist Jane Jacobs (AlphaTrade)
The evening, themed “Cities that Lead”, will celebrate the life of urban visionary Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of American Cities. Come hear the Mayor pay tribute to the influence of Jane Jacobs and discuss his poverty-reduction initiative for the City of Calgary. Also speaking will be Brock Carlton of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, Walter Hossli of Momentum and Alderman Gian-Carlo Carra.

Brought together by art in St. James Town (Toronto Star)
Splotches of yellow, blue and green paint stain the worn hardwood floor of a long-forgotten squash court at the base of a Sherbourne St. high rise. Its evidence of a summer well spent for Lula Lumag. For weeks, the 17-year-old St. James Town resident crammed into a makeshift workshop with other community youth to create bright panels to make a mural on a drab brick wall in her neighbourhood. The project was Lumags first paid job and gave her practical experience as she heads into her first year in the design illustration program at OCAD U. The budding artist is grateful for what the mural will bring to St. James Town, one of the citys poorest communities, populated mostly by newcomers to Canada.


Towards a Broader Conception of Economic Competitiveness (Martin Prosperity Institute)
The economic crisis has challenged popular conceptions of economic growth, both in terms of the definition and the measurement of it. While engendering growth and bolstering competitiveness remains high on political agendas, immediate attention has shifted to creating jobs, lifting wages, addressing inequality, and fostering long-term, sustainability prosperity. A new report from the Martin Prosperity Institute, Creativity and Prosperity: the Global Creativity Index, addresses the challenge of nurturing sustainable economic development head-on, shifting the dialogue from a narrow focus on competitiveness and growth to a broader focus on creativity, prosperity, and well-being.

Beyond Microcredit – Whats Next? (
had the privilege of helping to open the Calgary Microcredit Conference this past weekend on a panel with Mark Durieux, University of Calgary, and Rupert Scofield, FINCA where we provided our thoughts to answer the days question and conference theme: Microcredit and Beyond – The Emerging Wave of Social Business & Social Entrepreneurship.

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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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