Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 1, 2011


Canadian border agency pursues dozens of criminal files on marriage fraud (Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press)
Canada’s border agency has opened more than three dozen criminal investigations related to marriage fraud in the last few years, newly released documents show. The Canada Border Services Agency has also begun a probe of possible organized criminal involvement in arranging marriages of convenience to attain status in Canada. Information from the government’s immigration case processing centre in Alberta revealed similarities among marriage sponsorships that led them to suspect phoney relationships.

Keeping the City’s LGBT History Alive (Jess Davidson, Torontoist)
In an era when same-sex couples can get married, have children, and live life “out” in Toronto with little fear of harassment, it’s easy to dismiss discrimination as a thing of the past. But the negative history surrounding LGBT issues is still being written, a fact that is evident in our politics and schools. Even our own city, home to one of the largest celebrations of diverse sexual and gender identities, has a murky past when it comes to protecting the rights of the LGBT community. This serves to remind that the past should not be forgotten, and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives serves a vital role in this by curating the history of LGBT people in Canada. Home to the largest individual LGBT archive in North America, the CLGA’s mandate is to acquire, preserve, organize, and give public access to information and materials in any medium (including 8-tracks and 35mm!), by and about LGBT people, primarily produced in or concerning Canada.

Presentation at CASSA Conference: A Diagnosis for Equity (Nasim Haque, Wellesley Institute)
St. James Town Initiative’s Nasim Haque delivered a presentation at the conference, A Diagnosis for Equity: A Dialogue on Mental Health, Addiction, Chronic Disease and Sexual Health in South Asian Communities, organized by the Council of Agencies Servicing South Asians (CASSA). The conference was held at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on October 24, 2011.

What’s Love Got to Do with It? (David Cohen,
Still it makes more sense to beef up the existing safeguards than to embark on a new program that will surely cost significantly more to administer. Bringing the heavy lifting to Canada will only exacerbate tensions that already exists between Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency. I say punish corrupt Canadians meaningfully and educate naive Canadians about the potential pitfalls of spousal sponsorship. After that … buyer beware. Those who choose to engage in risky behaviour can’t expect the government to spend more taxpayers’ money than is necessary in order to extricate them from their precarious circumstances. In the end, I’ll be surprised if the new regulations don’t come into force. For the government the optics are too good to pass up. The regulations appear to fit with the Conservatives’ tough on crime agenda. Their core supporters will applaud any effort to straighten out the crookedness they perceive everywhere in the immigration system. And finally, the government gets to curry favour with some of the cultural communities, whose votes they very much desire

Hockey losing numbers game (Bill Kaufman, Qmi Agency)
The number of young hockey players in Canada could fall by more than a third in the next decade, warn those who oversee the amateur game. That trend could seriously have an impact on Canada’s international dominance in the sport, says Hockey Canada’s Glen McCurdie, who adds attracting immigrants to the game is a key to halting the slide. “If we continue to do what we’ve done, we do feel our population could decrease by more than a third in the next number of years,” said McCurdie, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of membership services.

Canada’s “whitewashed” history of discrimination (Linda McKay-Panos, Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre)
Thus, it may be considered quite remarkable that, despite these historical and current challenges, Canada has garnered a reputation of being a shining example of positive multiculturalism. Perhaps because of the importance to Canadians of democracy, rule of law and freedom of expression, racialized and religious minorities have been able to achieve redress for some of the worst offences, but they have done this in spite of our historical and current laws, policies and attitudes. Multiculturalism is truly a wonderful concept; there is strength in diversity. Our multicultural communities have demonstrated this in Canada.

Event Nov 10-11: Multiculturalism or Interculturalism? What are the implications for Albertans and Canadians? (University of Calgary)
Over November 10-11, 2011, Canadian and European experts in cultural diversity issues will meet at the University of Calgary to discuss these and other related issues.

Peel immigrant agency loses lawsuit (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
A Peel immigrant settlement agency shut down amid allegations of financial mismanagement has lost a lawsuit it filed against the federal government. In an order issued last week, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a motion by the Inter-Cultural Neighbourhood Social Services to proceed with a $12-million lawsuit against Citizenship and Immigration Canada and two government officials, alleging negligence and breach of duty. It was a setback for the Mississauga-based agency, which closed in 2009 after immigration officials terminated its annual $5 million funding. The group provided language, employment and referral services to 40,000 immigrants a year.–peel-immigrant-agency-loses-lawsuit

Should governments provide Chinese-language homes for seniors? (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
Ethnic Chinese leaders in Metro Vancouver are lobbying various B.C. governments to build “culturally appropriate” seniors homes where services are provided in Chinese languages. It raises a big ethical question: Is this the government’s responsibility?

Meet the Quon’s | Canada’s First Chinese-Canadian Restaurant Family to Hit Cable TV (Julia Paek, Schema Magazine)
The year 2011 seems a bit late for an Asian family debut, but perhaps this Chinese-Canadian family of five from Edmonton, Alberta was waiting for the right moment to enter the public realm. I had the opportunity to meet the charismatic cast of the new reality TV series, The Quon Dynasty at their show’s Vancouver premiere. Each of the cast members were incredibly full of life, and natural celebrities. From the outset, I was assured that their lively family dynamic was not an act.

The 99 | Secular Islamic Superheroes! (Justin Ko, Schema Magazine)
Enter Naif al-Mutawa. A Kuwaiti psychologist, al-Mutawa has spent the last few years building up an extraordinary premise—a comic book series based on, but not explicitly about certain aspects of the Islamic religion. Named The 99, after the 99 attributes of Allah, his franchise has reached new heights this year in the Muslim world and across the globe with a television series set to air in Saudi Arabia and various other Islamic countries. The titular “99” are a wide variety of superheroes, both male and female, who each embody some aspect of Allah, although al-Mutawa is clear to note that the comics are not overtly Islamic but rather include allegories from the Qu’ran, just as American comics like Superman embody subtle and secular Christian references.

Miss Representation | Power and Portrayal (Kait Bolongaro, Schema Magazine)
Miss Representation raises an alarming truth about how women in government or powerful positions are portrayed. From Sarah Palin being asked if she had breast implants to the constant criticizing of Hilary Clinton’s ‘haggard’ look, women who challenge men in positions of power are continually hassled about their appearance, placing them back in the confines of youth and beauty, reminding them and viewers that a woman’s number one priority should be looking beautiful at whatever cost.

No, You Can’t Borrow My Hijab for Halloween (Sadiya Ansari, Schema Magazine)
Mommy, can I be a Middle Eastern terrorist this Halloween? Not words you would likely hear a child say when selecting a Halloween costume, so why do adults think “being” a race or culture as a costume is appropriate? Students Teaching Against Racism in Society (STARS) at Ohio University attacked this issue with a brilliant series of posters demonstrating how ridiculously offensive it is to be a “culture” for Halloween. This bewildering behaviour has been a problem on campuses in both Canada and the United States and has even extended beyond Halloween. Universite de Montreal students recently sparked controversy during frosh week this September by donning blackface, appearing to present themselves as a Jamaican track team.

No laughing matter (Bruce Arthur, National Post)
Hockey is a closed society, in a lot of ways. Diversity exists – Russians, Finns, Swedes, Czechs, etc. – but racially, it remains the least diverse major sports league, unless you get into NASCAR, tennis, or golf. That’s demographics as much as anything, and it is slowly changing. Bissonnette’s mother is half-black, but Canada has no notable tradition of blackface, and it is not exactly taught in our schools. For many Canadians, how would we know? Blackface, of course, is freighted with meaning. From the 1830s to the civil rights era, it was used to lampoon, dehumanize, and degrade black people, primarily in the United States. Jolson was one of its most famous practitioners, but there were many, with minstrel shows that stretched into the 1950s and ’60s. It’s essentially analogous to the Confederate Flag – it’s a symbol of racism and oppression to a lot of people, even as others insist it does not harm.

Immigrant intake will remain at 250,000 says Minister Kenney (Gloria Elayadathusseril,
Immigration levels will stay at around 250,000 newcomers a year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney says ahead of unveiling 2012 Immigration Action Plan.

Canada Immigration Reform: Jason Kenney Seeks Young, Educated, Skilled And Fluent Newcomers (Huffington Post)
Kenney says when he is done with his multiple reforms of the system, the flow of newcomers into Canada will be predominantly young, well educated, highly skilled, and fluent in English or French. They’ll be admitted to Canada within a year of applying. And soon after, they’ll start paying taxes because they will have lined up a job prior to arrival or should be able to find one quickly once they land.

Dropout rates rise with immigrant child’s age of arrival (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
According to a Statistics Canada study, the chance of immigrant children dropping out of high school rises the older they are when they arrive here, especially after the age of nine. “More important to their success is how old they (are when they) come, not where they come from,” said author Miles Corak, an economist with the University of Ottawa’s graduate school of public and international affairs. Based on 2006 census data, Corak’s study found 15 per cent of boys and 11 per cent of girls who come to Canada before the age of nine ultimately dropped out of high school, compared to the Canadian average of 10.3 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively.–dropout-rates-rise-with-immigrant-child-s-age-of-arrival

Video: Canada’s Immigration Policy (Sun TV)
Canada’s immigration policy and Muslim extremism with Eric Duhaime.


The FCJ Refugee Centre’s 20th Anniversary Gala is just around the corner. Hurry up and get your ticket! (FCJ Refugee Centre)
As you may know, we are celebrating our 20th anniversary as a Refugee Centre. To celebrate, we are having tour our Gala Dinner in November 17

Teachers can help make for a more just society, Leddy tells conference (Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Catholic Register)
Catholic teachers, in their “noble and ethical task” of educating youth about the Catholic faith, can help create a more “just” Canadian society by welcoming refugees, social justice activist Mary Jo Leddy told the 15th annual When Faith Meets Pedagogy conference. The Oct. 27 to 29 conference, which was sponsored by the Catholic Curriculum Corporation, featured workshops for Catholic school teachers across the province.


Privatization? How about non-profitization! (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
But what if there was a way to privatize without tears? What if you could release the City from its responsibilities and make tenants’ lives better? Perhaps the answer is “non-profitization” – an idea inspired by the UK experience. From 1988 to 2008, over 1.3 million UK homes were transferred from the control of municipal governments to private, non-profit housing associations. (This is not the same as Margaret Thatcher’s well-known “Right to Buy” policy, where individual council houses were sold to the people who live there. That’s an interesting story, but not today’s topic.)

Homeless advocates help remove anti-camping clause from proposed amendments to Toronto’s Streets By-Law (PovNet)
According to the Wellesley Institute, thanks to their quiet efforts as well as other advocates for the city’s homeless, a clause prohibiting “camping,” “dwelling,” and “lodging” on Toronto’s streets and in public areas has been removed from the proposed amendments the “Use of Streets and Sidewalks” bylaw that will be going before the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee for approval in November.

Families, Time and Well-Being (Andrew Jackson, Behind the Numbers)
Inequality of well-being among families with children is increasing at an even faster rate than income inequality, according to a new study by Peter Burton and Shelley Phipps, “Families, Time, and Well-Being in Canada”. They find that total family working hours have increased over the past decade, but not for those at the top of the income spectrum who have been receiving the largest gains in income. “We study changes in time and money available to families with children from 1971 to 2006. Increases in incomes at the top of the Canadian income distribution since the mid-1990s have taken place without any significant increases in total family hours of paid work. On the other hand, for families in the middle of the income distribution, family income has stagnated, despite the fact that parents jointly supply significantly higher hours of paid work. If both time and money are valuable resources for the production of well-being for family members, these findings suggest that inequality in well-being has increased even more than inequality of income.”

What’s really up (and down) with incomes (Andrew Coyne, Maclean’s)
Weeks after the whole sorry mess began, we’re still being treated to deep thinkers pronouncing upon the Occupy gatherings as if they meant something Deeply Significant. This piece in the Vancouver Sun is a classic of the genre: inequality soaring, incomes stagnating, etc etc. All of which would be terribly concerning if there were any factual basis for it. I’ve tried to deal with this elsewhere in prose, but sometimes there’s just nothing like a graph. Here, then, courtesy of Statistics Canada, is that runaway trend towards a society divided into haves and have nots, the “growing gap” you’ve been hearing all about.

Can we tax our way to equality? (Erica Alini, Maclean’s)
With the Occupy protesters still camping out on city lawns across Canada, it’s worth investigating whether our tax and transfer system needs a tune-up if we’re going to tackle income inequality. To be sure, we are a more unequal society than we were thirty years ago, even after one takes into account the redistributive effects of personal income taxes and things like the National Child Benefit and Employment Insurance programs. In 1989, the after-tax income of Canada’s richest 20 per cent was 7.2 times that of the poorest quintile of the population, according to the Conference Board of Canada. In 2009, the richest group made 9.1 times what the lowest income earners did.

Statistics show seniors do consume more health care (Rob Found, Edmonton Journal)
Since M. Ruth Elliot saw fit to call immigration officials ignorant for showing a bias against elderly immigrants, she should have backed up her claims with a bit more fact checking and/or math. I’m not complaining (my grandmas might be reading this!), but older people actually do have a greater impact on our health-care system


Welcome to Canada. Now what? Unlocking the potential of immigrants for business growth and innovation (Deloitte Canada)
We need immigrants to fuel our economic growth and they are eager to contribute their skills and experience, so why aren’t we fully and more effectively integrating them into the workforce? We posed this question to various stakeholders as part of our second annual Dialogue on diversity roundtables held across the country earlier this year. The result was a series of thought-provoking and insightful discussions on how Canada can do a better job of integrating skilled, foreign-trained workers into our workforce by identifying the barriers to integration and breaking them down.

Productivity woes aggravated by failure to hire new immigrants (Rita Trichur, Globe and Mail)
Companies that fail to capitalize on the skills of new immigrants are aggravating Canada’s productivity woes by erecting employment barriers that hamper innovation and economic growth. And if foreign-born workers continue to experience the promise of prosperity as hollow, this country risks losing the growing global war for talent as Brand Canada is tarnished abroad.

Canadian Employers Missing the Potential for Innovation and Growth from Immigrants: Deloitte (Marketwire)
According to a new white paper by Deloitte, Welcome to Canada. Now what? Unlocking the potential of immigrants for business growth and innovation, many Canadian employers are finding it easy to put diversity and inclusiveness into a mission statement, but difficult to put them into practice. In its second cross-country study of diversity practices called “Dialogue on diversity,” Deloitte learned that the dreams of educated newcomers – people vital to our economic growth – are being eroded by unrecognized credentials, no Canadian experience, a lack of support for networking, and lingering biases in recruitment.

Vampires in the workplace: 3 tips for sourcing & recruiting employees with vampirism (Michelle Pinchev, CEO blog)
Despite the seemingly insurmountable barriers faced by Vampires, many leading employers have recognized and capitalized upon the potential, value and diversity that the undead bring to the workplace. Unfortunately, as many minorities know too well, the greatest barrier vampires face is fear – employers who are afraid of the unknown and too afraid to take risks, are missing out on top talent.

Multi-generational diversity in the workplace – an India perspective (Business Standard)
Western countries, including UK, USA and Canada, have already focused research efforts on studying multi-generational diversity in organisations. They have categorised generations using a widely accepted practitioner classification based on birth years related to significant events in history in the western context. The categories so defined are: Veterans, Baby boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. While this grouping makes sense in the Western context, the application of the same terminology and time frame in the Indian context needs to be questioned

Global Study Indicates More Work Must be Done to Promote Gender Equality in the Workplace (Canada Newswire)
Findings from Randstad Canada’s latest global Workmonitor survey highlight the need for employers to become leaders in workplace. Equal opportunity is essential to creating a motivated and innovative workforce in today’s economy. Although great strides have been made in the area of gender equality, many men and women continue face an uphill battle as they aim to advance their careers.


Event Dec 1: Big City, Big Ideas Lecture Series: Bob Yaro (IMFG)
This series of four lectures is organized by IMFG, the School of Public Policy and Governance, the Department of Geography and the Program in Planning, Urban Strategies Inc, and Digital City Indicators Facility. The fourth lecture in this series is by Bob Yaro, President of the Regional Plan Association, New York, entitled Planning a Region: Infrastructure and and Imagination for North America’s Largest City-Region. It will be held on December 1, 4-6 pm, at the George Ignatieff Theatre, Trinity College.

Next chapter in Toronto’s budget debate: library cuts (Natalie Alcoba, National Post)
Following a week in City Hall news dominated by a warrior princess and foul language, the divisive budget debate returns with what some have deemed “radical” suggestions to cut library costs. It’s just a hint of what is sure to be an acrimonious budget season, as city departments from Toronto Fire to parks and recreation reveal how much they are able to shave off their bottom lines at a meeting this month.

Event Dec 1: SPT Member Forum on the City’s 2012 Operating Budget (Social Planning Toronto)
Come and find out about:
City of Toronto’s 2012 staff recommended operating budget
What it means for our communities
Opportunities to participate in the budget process


Nov. 17: Accessible Customer Service Workshop: What Nonprofits and Charities Need to Know and Do (CLEONet)
By no later than January 1, 2012 all nonprofits and charities in Ontario must comply with the accessible customer service standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Nonprofits attending this workshop will learn about their legal obligations under the Act and come away with resources to help them comply.

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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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