Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 11 2011

Five Good Ideas – the book!
We’ve published Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non-Profit Success. Featuring a collection of the best ideas from our Five Good Ideas sessions, we’re sure that you’ll find the book a handy quick-reference guide.


Video: Diversity in leadership in the GTA (DiverseCity Toronto)
Ryerson University’s Myer Siemiatycki presents the DiverseCity Counts 4 report, which finds that while they comprise 40% of the GTA population, only 11% of those elected to office are visible minorities.

Maytree Foundation study addresses lack of diversity in elected office (Samuel Getachew, Sway Mag)
She is a mentor for both the old and new, especially in the pursuit of a career that is as exclusive as law. In many ways, Coley is a dream candidate for any elected office in Canada. In the last year alone, she was a candidate for office twice – one for school board trustee and one for an MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament). Yet, at both attempts for an elected office, she failed and was soundly defeated. Her experience is not just a personal loss, but society loses when good, qualified people are not given opportunities to contribute to the political fabric of our city, province and country. A recent study seems to underline the facts with practical ideas as to how to improve the electoral successes according to society’s make up and composition.

Diversity in Local Government (CBC Metro Morning)
The GTA may be proud of its diversity, with 40-percent of Toronto residents not born in Canada, but the composition of local governments doesn’t mirror the population. We spoke with Louroz Mercado, a former candidate in Mississauga’s civic election.

Goar: New priorities are changing immigration (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
Driven by economic pressure and political ideology, Jason Kenney is transforming Canada’s immigration system. But he is doing it so gradually and in such carefully crafted installments that most people are unaware of the magnitude of his ambition. The immigration minister’s latest announcement is a good example. Last week he imposed a two-year moratorium on applications to bring parents and grandparents into the country. During the freeze, he will consult the provinces and the public about how to change the family reunification system permanently.–goar-new-priorities-are-changing-immigration

What do most countries expect of immigrants who want to sponsor their families to reunite? (MIPEX)
Like Finland, Australia, Canada, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, and the United States apply their countries’ generally inclusive definitions of the family and basic conditions out of respect for family life. Moreover, most countries that try and attract labour migration do not put many obstacles in the way of family reunion. Immigrant families can better reunite and participate in countries that help all newcomers find the right jobs… But increasingly, several countries where immigration is politicised, increasingly by the far right, are asking reuniting families to fulfil conditions that many nationals could not: higher marriage ages, higher incomes, mandatory tests, also for spouses abroad, mostly with higher fees but little support.

Religion slowly making its way into corporate towers (Michael Swan, The Catholic Register)
Nadir Shirazi calls religion “the black sheep of the diversity family.” Getting corporate Canada to sit down and talk about accommodating religion at work is a tough sell compared to other diversity-in-employment seminars, said Skills For Change executive director Cheryl May. “It’s more of an edgy topic,” she said.

diversity Conference photos (Skills for Change)
We captured the event on camera and selected the top 50 for you to view.

Your thoughts and reactions: #divwrk11 (Skills for Change)
Your thoughtful questions, comments and reactions are what made the conference challenging and insightful. Thank you to all event participants who broadened the dialogue by sharing it with their online followers! Check out the event Twitter feed below to read what people were saying.

Family reunification plan a short term solution: critics (Mike Adler, insidetoronto)
This week, groups representing Toronto immigrants, notably in the Chinese community, gave the announcement a mixed reception. Kenney said he would admit more parents and grandparents to Canada as permanent residents this year – 25,000, compared to 15,500 such admissions in 2010. But he also announced a “temporary pause” in accepting parent or grandparent applications for up to two years. “I don’t really think he listened to us,” said Felix Zhang, spokesperson for a Scarborough-based support group, Sponsor Our Parents, which had asked Kenney not to freeze applications.–family-reunification-plan-a-short-term-solution-critics
Sponsor our parents –

Foreign nannies cry foul (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Immigrants admitted through the government’s foreign live-in caregiver stream say they’ve been duped by the immigration minister, who touted the program’s success and certain growth prior to the May election, only to claw back on the number targeted for permanent residency next year. Although the government maintains 98 per cent of livein caregivers eventually become permanent residents, last week Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said fewer people were qualifying for the program, adding that it was one of two streams poised to take a hit in 2012 as the government freezes overall immigration while boosting certain economic streams. It’s a far different tune than the one Kenney was singing last year.

Vancouver Jewish Film Festival’s diverse lineup busts up stereotypes (Ken Eisner,
What is a Jewish film festival, exactly? You don’t find many, say, Presbyterian film festivals, or Best Catholic Movies of the Year lists (although the movie lists in this publication can get pretty catholic). But as the only religion also considered an ethnicity—and one that is particularly associated with storytelling—the concept isn’t totally meshuga. “The focus of a Jewish film festival is simply to highlight the diversity of Jewish culture,” says Robert Albanese, executive and artistic director of the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival, happening November 10-20. This is the second time in a row the 10-year VIFF veteran has directed the event; he has also run repertory cinemas and a long-standing photography business.

Passion For Education (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with the Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board, Chris Spence. He recently visited China to explore its education system, and exchange opportunities for students from both countries.

February 21-22, 2012: Symposium on Access to Health Care for the Uninsured in Canada (CLEONet)
The Seeking Solutions Symposium will bring together ethicists, legal experts, researchers, practitioners, policy analysts, and community members to address access to care for individuals living in Canada without health insurance. Expert presentation syntheses and roundtable workshop discussions will examine ethical and legal debates, present emerging research evidence, share policy and practice experience, and develop concrete guidelines, recommendations and action plans to address this pressing health care & service delivery need.

A snapshot of Canadian Multiculturalism (The ICD Interns Voice)
Overall, Canadian multiculturalism is a major asset within Canadian society and in promoting the country abroad. Although there are new immigrations trends and new people arriving to Canada daily, I feel the country can use this to its advantage to help those newcomers, which were in the same situation as the citizens were before. Many in the world do not know much about Canada and about the multiculturalism policy. Here I hoped to present a little snapshot of this lovely country.

Unity in Diversity celebration (InsideHalton)
Unity in Diversity is the theme of an official proclamation by city hall. The Burlington Baha’i community has been celebrating Unity in Diversity Week for the past nine years. Each year the mayor of Burlington has proclaimed the week, which usually falls on the second week of November.–unity-in-diversity-celebration

Book looks at religious diversity in Kingston (Ashliegh Gehl, Our Working Kingston)
The Queen’s Religious Diversity in Kingston Project saw the researches interview dozens of individuals about their religious groups’ activities in Kingston. The work also led to 24 episodes of the television program Profiles: People of Faith, which ran on Cogeco in 2004 and 2005 and featured James interviewing Kingstontians about their religious lives.

Immigrants need not declare affairs, judge rules (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Must people declare their extra-marital relationships when applying for immigration to Canada? “Surely our society has not found itself at that point,” said Federal Court of Canada Justice Roger Hughes in overturning a decision by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to reject an application based on “misrepresentation.” In February, immigration officials refused an application by Kolowole Osisanwo, a Canadian citizen, to sponsor his mother, Modupe Adedoyin, father Cladius Alaba and sibling Olakunle to Canada from Nigeria.–immigrants-need-not-declare-affairs-judge-rules

Students explore stereotypes (Roger Belgrave, Brampton Guardian)
Newcomer students at the Peel board discussed common stereotypes and their leadership potential at a recent youth forum.
More than 500 Grade 5 to 12 students attended the Peel District School Board’s third annual event held at its Mississauga headquarters. Your Canada: Student Leadership in Our Diverse Country was held over two days and offered to students who are English language learners and/or newcomers to Canada.
Harmony Movement— a charitable organization encouraging youth to embrace and promote harmony, diversity and equality— presented the conference and workshops for teachers and students.–newcomer-students-explore-stereotypes

Media Democracy Days: a view into the future of journalism (Shima Ghailan, Vancouver Observer)
This year, Media Democracy Days is hosting a series of panels on issues including diversity, unions and public opinion, and aboriginal voices. A highlight of the event is “The Future of Journalism: Crisis and Opportunities” (Saturday, Nov. 12), which discusses how journalism has changed in recent years to integrate social media, blogs and citizen journalism.

Diversity-rich Vancouver is NAMB’s 2nd ‘Send’ launch (Adam Miller, Baptist Press)
Vancouver is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, with a population of 2.3 million, according to the Canadian census. It’s a city of several cities — Richmond, Steveston, New Westminster, Burnaby, Surrey and Pitt Meadows to name a few. Dozens of communities bustle along the transit line (Skytrain and Seabus), each with its own personality and spiritual typography. To reach the people who live in Vancouver, it will take churches that reflect the ethnic makeup and culture of the communities in which they are planted. The North American Mission Board, on Nov. 8, launched its second Send North America city emphasis — Send North America: Vancouver.

Nov 17: CERIS Town Hall Meeting: Exploring Options for a Future Migration Centre (CERIS)
As many of you may be aware, CERIS funding will end in March 2013. The Board has been discussing options to meet the research needs of the future. It’s now time for everyone to get together to share their thoughts about what could best do that. A Town Hall meeting will take place on November 17, 2011 at OISE – University of Toronto to let you participate in these discussions and help shape the future of immigration and settlement research in Ontario.


Young refugees from war-torn countries hurt by feds’ transportation fees, expert says (Sam Cooper, The Province)
The federal government must reverse the ill-considered policy of extracting transportation fees from already over-burdened refugees, a Metro Vancouver expert says. Rana Dhatt, executive director of the Burnaby Multicultural Society, was reacting to The Province’s recent story in which Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts warned that about 500 Surrey kids are at risk of being recruited into gangs because of fees being charged to vulnerable refugee parents. Watts said that the feds were asked to drop transportation fees that can run into the tens of thousands for refugee families, but her request was rebuffed.

Pickering church to host Iraqi refugees (Moya Dillon,
A Pickering congregation is reaching out to give an Iraqi family a new start in Canada. The congregation of St. Isaac Jogues has been busily working to rescue an Iraqi family who fled religious persecution in the country, seeking refuge in nearby Syria. Now under siege in that country’s unrest, the family is again on the move. “When you look in our congregation, most of us are refugees or new Canadians,” said Alex McDonald, a member of the congregation.–pickering-church-to-host-iraqi-refugees


Breathing New Life Into Our Democracy (Deborah Coyne, The Mark)
This is the final part of a three-part series focusing on citizen disengagement from the political process in Canada, and how we can best go about fixing it. Part 1 explained why Canadians are disillusioned with dysfunctional political institutions. Part 2 proposed the establishment of a Canadian Council of Governments to co-ordinate intergovernmental relations and objectives, thus ensuring more accountable and responsive levels of government.


Webinar: Closing the Gap: City Leadership on Employment and Workforce Diversity (Cities of Migration)
Join Cities of Migration for a free international webinar to learn about employment strategies from two municipalities, Hamburg and Copenhagen, who have built a strong campaign and delivered results in their commitment to workforce diversity. International presenters from Hamburg and Copenhagen. This webinar is co-hosted with Open Society Foundations’ At Home in Europe Project.

Photos from The Globe’s Small Business Summit (Globe and Mail)
The Nov. 8 event in Toronto featured speeches and workshops designed to help entrepreneurs grow their companies. Photo 17: Greg Taylor, left, from Steam Whistle Brewery, listens to Ratna Omidvar of the Maytree Foundation during the Bridging the Skills Gap: Tapping into Immigrant Talent talk at the Small Business Summit at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto on Nov. 8, 2011.

Immigration policy must favour skilled workers: IRPP (Canadian HR Reporter)
Since skills-assessed economic immigrants have had consistently higher earnings than other classes of immigrants, the government of Canada should work to reverse the decline in the number of immigrants admitted into the skilled worker category, according to a new study published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP). “Canada cannot afford to be complacent in seeking to attract and retain skilled workers,” said the report.

The Bright Lights of Canada? (Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun)
Over the last year, international hopefuls have flooded B.C. with the hopes of securing employment in a relatively stable economy amongst an uneasy international economic climate. Specifically, employers have seen an increase of applicants coming from Ireland looking to find immediate employment. This in part is due to 1000 additional working holiday visa allocations made by the Canadian Immigration Centre paired with the highest unemployment rate in Ireland since 1983, sitting at 14.3 per cent. Local recruitment agency Miles Employment Group has experienced the growth of international applications first hand. Since January 2011, an unprecedented 6500 applicants from Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand have applied to Miles. Of this total, 31 per cent are Irish.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Occupy Toronto, City Hall, Traffic & Transit, Cycling, Housing, Mississauga News and Other News.

Countdown to Zero: Balancing Toronto’s Budget (CCPA)
This report looks at the city of Toronto’s annual budgeting process over the past five years and shows that the fiscal challenges facing city council this year are nothing new. Countdown To Zero: Balancing Toronto’s Budget shows how, without relying on transfers from other levels of government, city councillors can bring the budget deficit down to zero – doing the same kinds of things that city council has done in the past, with no need for drastic measures.

Toronto’s current urban planning conflicts rooted in the past (Liam Lahey, Spacing Toronto)
The seeds of Toronto’s modern-day political discord, as it pertains to urban development, were planted in the 1950s. According to Stephen Bocking, one thing that’s become prevalent here over the last 20 years is the notion that urban planning has become an intensely political activity. That belief would be false in his view.

Toronto Talks Mobility Infrastructure (Kelli Korducki, Torontoist)
Mobility management is simply a term for figuring out how to use transportation more efficiently—moving more people with fewer resources. (Hint: this generally involves getting people out of their cars, which are the least efficient mode of transportation across a population.) And the above is what Hazel McCallion thinks about mobility management. The 90-year-old Mississauga mayor “Hurricane” Hazel McCallion was responding to points raised by transit planners George Hazel and Robert Stanley, and Barrie mayor Jeff Lehman, at Wednesday night’s Toronto Talks Mobility forum on transportation infrastructure. Moderated by Toronto Star columnist Christopher Hume, the event saw City Hall council chamber packed to capacity, with some in overflow seats in the rotunda. The goal: straight talk about how to improve transit in Toronto.


Marginal Giving: Why Percentage of Sales Donations Don’t Work (Assaf Weisz,
The last few years have seen a proliferation of websites and business models that donate a percentage (typically 2-10%) of your purchase to charity. I call this model “marginal giving”, because the donation is harvested out of the company’s margin on a sale. That is, if a shirt costs $20, and the seller makes $10 on it, they donate a percentage of that $10. I’m not a big fan of this model, though I started out as one.


Sarah Corman ’03 and Benjamin Perrin ’05 are joint winners of this year’s Wilson-Prichard Award (U of T)
John B. Laskin, president of the Law Alumni Association Council, is pleased to announce that Sarah Corman ’03 and Benjamin Perrin ’05, two very accomplished young alumni, will be this year’s recipients of the Wilson-Prichard Award for Community and Professional Service. Sarah’s commitment as a mentor, extensive pro bono work and dedicated service to the YWCA has earned her the respect and high regard of her peers. Benjamin’s ongoing campaign against human trafficking started during his undergraduate years and has continued through his work as a professor at UBC.

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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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The Diversity@Work conference by @SkillsforChange happens today. Follow along at #divwrk11. More: RT @Soplet: @maytree_Canada #DiverseCity post-election Diversity Gap...