Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 14, 2011


Same-old at the top (Toronto Star editorial)
In the past year, voters have sent fresh new batches of politicians to Toronto city hall, Queen’s Park and Ottawa. More often than not, the smiling faces of the winners on TV were middle-aged, male – and white. So it is no surprise that a new study concludes that visible minorities are badly underrepresented in political office. They make up 40 per cent of the population of the Greater Toronto Area but only 11 per cent of its elected officials. What makes the Diversity Gap study, authored by Ryerson University’s Myer Siemiatycki for the Maytree Foundation, interesting is that it underlines how serious the problem is at the municipal level.–same-old-at-the-top

Minorities under-represented in municipal politics (Gerald V. Paul, The Caribbean Camera)
A new report revealed that there is a diversity gap in elected office. And it’s deeper and wider than previously thought. “The absence of political parties and the power of incumbency make diverse representation in municipal politics hard to achieve. Government is our shared, public arena and its leadership profile can reflect how power, influence and status are distributed in society, ” Myer Siemiatychi, author of the report and a Professor at Ryerson University, noted. The study released on Tuesday by the Maytree Foundation, found visible minorities account for 25 per cent, or 12 of the 47 GTA seats in the Ontario Legislature.

How Canadian Banks can Manage Diversity and Inclusiveness to Win – PDF (Infosys Technologies Limited)
Diversity inclusion is a stated objective of corporate policy in an increasing number of organizations worldwide. While the social and economic benefits of such policies are well recognized in general, they assume a compelling significance in Canada, with its dominant immigrant population. The demographic pattern, which currently leans towards those originating from the British Isles (28 percent) or France (23 percent), is also changing. The visible minority, which mainly comprises Chinese and South Asians, will form between 19 and 23 percent of Canada’s population by 2017. Hence, the influence of this group, which already controls nearly half of all transactions in the capital cities, is only set to grow. Open cultures such as the United States and Australia have practiced a policy of assimilation on the road to economic prosperity. In a globalized world, each nation must work towards creating an environment that offers equal opportunity for people of diverse ethnic and regional backgrounds. Further, industry cannot hope to meet stakeholder expectations by taking an isolationist approach – thus, diversity inclusion packs in as much economic compulsion as political propriety.

Race running emotions high (Brampton Guardian)
It’s been a long time since an issue at the public school board attracted the kind of standing-room-only crowd seen at one of its regular meetings this past Tuesday night. More than a decade ago the provincial government stripped Ontario school boards of their power to set property tax rates and since then trustees have rarely seen so many upset parents cram their board room looking for answers. The throng was there ostensibly to demonstrate community outrage over threatening emails sent to a family from someone inside a Mississauga elementary school and express disappointment with the way board officials are handling the situation. But not long into the delegation presented by a former Peel board teacher, it was clear the issue fuelling discontent among the hundreds of South Asian residents in attendance is race and a belief the local education system isn’t doing enough to achieve equity in its classrooms, its schools or administrative offices.–race-running-emotions-high

Elvis of the east (Mohsin Abbas,
Vancouver singer Kristie Yung never expected her musical tribute to an ailing Pakistani pop singer would attract such attention from Bollywood fans and become a hit on YouTube almost overnight. Born and raised in West Vancouver, the 23-year-old Chinese-Canadian musician writes, produces and performs her own material in a variety of genres, including pop, jazz, electronic, rock, hip hop, Afro-Cuban and African. When approached last summer to help arrange, perform and co-produce the title song and soundtrack for a Toronto-based television series called Mangoes, Yung was a little daunted by the thought of working in Urdu, a language unknown to her. But with the help of television producer and actor, Adeel Suhrwardy, and radio host and producer, Nick Chowlia, she was soon up to the challenge and able to put together a fine soundtrack.

Afghan interpreter denied Canadian visa (Paul Watson, Toronto Star)
A battlefield interpreter, hailed as a courageous leader by the Canadian soldiers he served with, has been rejected by immigration officials who questioned his decision to go public with his complaints about a bogged-down system. Sayed Shah Sharifi was lost in Canada’s immigration labyrinth when I found him here last July, desperately seeking a visa under a special program for Afghans whose lives were in danger because they worked with Canadian soldiers and officials. Days after the story of his frustrations and fears appeared on the front page of the Toronto Star this summer, Sharifi received preliminary approval to move to Canada. And then, in recent weeks, he was just as suddenly rejected with a form letter.–afghan-interpreter-denied-canadian-visa?bn=1

Peterborough Partnership On Immigrant Integration Hosting Conference November 17th At Holiday Inn (PTBO Canada)
Noticing that the face of Peterborough is changing? Want to know more about harnessing the true potential of diversity? The Peterborough Partnership on Immigrant Integration (PPCII) is hosting its second ‘Together we Prosper’ Conference on November 17th from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Holiday Inn. This conference has something to offer everyone: Business folks, decision makers, educators, social and health service providers, international and domestic students, parents, New Canadians or naturalized Canadians.

Brain Scans Show that Being Bilingual Can Ward Off Alzheimer’s Effects (Karen Merzenich, PositScience)
Previous studies have shown that being bilingual may delay dementia, but for the first time, a Canadian study has used brain scans to offer additional proof of bilingualism’s protective effects on the brain. Research conducted up to this point has compared older people that speak either one or two languages to gauge the age at which Alzheimer’s symptoms begin to show. Based on this kind of research, there is solid evidence that bilingual people have a later onset age for cognitive decline. The new study, published in the journal Cortex, added results from CT scans of the brains to further bolster this kind of finding.

New book profiles 51 British Columbian immigrants (The Province)
Nearly one in three British Columbians has immigrated from another country, creating the multicultural mosaic shown in the new book, BC People: Portraits of Diversity in BC. Initially an internet and DVD-only project, the illustrated profile of 51 British Columbians from a variety of cultural backgrounds has become so popular that it’s being printed and distributed to libraries across B.C.
Book site:

Newcomers honour Nov. 11 (Harvinder Sandhu, Surrey Now)
I was talking to some newcomers to Canada and reminded them that all banks and government offices were going to be closed on Friday. They didn’t know why, as they have only been here for a few months. I took it upon myself to inform them about Remembrance Day and what it means to us Canadians. As my history lessons have faded away, I did a quick search on the internet to get the details behind this important day. I know it is to remember our fallen soldiers, but since I was informing those who didn’t know, I wanted to make sure I got the right information – and there is a lot of information.

Ryerson Remembrance Day Ceremony 2011 (Julia Hanigsberg, Ryerson)
The peace and prosperity of our land is possible only because it has been protected by the efforts and sacrifices of generations of Canadians who have put their lives on the line. Over the years, thousands upon thousands of Canadians have left the comfort of their homes, their studies, and their careers to battle tyranny and to keep the flame of justice alight. These brave individuals were as diverse as the land they sought to defend

What’s a newcomer to think? (Bartley Kives, Winnipeg Free Press)
Every year, the population of metropolitan Winnipeg actually grows by 10,000 or 11,000 people, according to Statistics Canada, and not all of this growth can be explained away by births. But many of these new arrivals complain they find the city a bit impenetrable, on a cultural and historic level, which is ironic considering the overwhelming sense of place that characterizes the Winnipeg mindset. The city’s new-found chauvinism, which can be felt in everything from the pride over the return of the Jets to the advent of Louis Riel Day, should go a long way toward helping newcomers “get” Winnipeg. But in the meantime, we could all hone our sense of geographic self. To that end, I’ve devised a quiz to help acclimatize recent arrivals to this town.

Ottawa Mosque chooses new imam (Mohammed Adam, The Ottawa Citizen)
Samy Metwally says it’s important to him to create a positive image of Islam. An Egyptian Islamic scholar with a degree in Christian-Muslim relations has been appointed imam and spiritual leader of the Ottawa Mosque, home to the city’s largest Muslim community. Samy Metwally, who was a visiting Fulbright scholar at the Hartford Seminary two years ago, took up his job last week with a commitment to advance the cause of moderate Islam, help Ottawa Muslims contribute more to the wider society, and enhance multi-faith co-operation.

RJ Aquino | A Profile of One of Your Prospective City Councillors (Claudia Chan, Schema Magazine)
There are 94 candidates on the ballot for this upcoming municipal election. I have to say that the lengthy list of names can make it quite daunting for Vancouverites to decide who to vote for, find out who’s who and what they each stand for. I took a second to research one of the many candidates to gain a better sense of what they have to offer as a prospective City Councillor. RJ Aquino is one of the 41 candidates seeking to fill one of ten City Council seats in this November 19th’s municipal election. Born in the Philippines, RJ is currently an active member of the local Filipino community in Vancouver and works as one of the co-founders of Tulayan—an organization that aspires to help Filipino Vancouverites build positive cultural identity. By working directly with the members of this community, he recognizes the value in building rich cultural relationships though a grassroots approach – the same grassroots ideals that COPE represents.

Lone-parent status among Ethnic Groups in Canada: Data Explorations on its Prevalence, Composition and Generational Persistence Aspects – PDF (Fernando Mata, Metropolist BC)
The lone-parent phenomenon in Canada has been identified as a key driver of several social and economic outcomes such as higher risks of falling into poverty, scholastic underachievement of children living in these low-income families, and a lower level of socioeconomic integration. Using custom tabulations from the 2006 Census, the analysis focused on the prevalence, composition, and generational persistence of this phenomenon across selected ethnic groups in Canada. The census data suggests that, among the 16.3 million adult census family members living in census families, visible minorities reported lone parent family status more frequently compared to non-visible minorities both across its foreign-born and Canadianborn populations.

The changing face of Laval (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
Laval’s English-speaking population grew by 35 per cent from 1996 to 2006 – a notable exception to Quebec as a whole during that period, when the anglophone population dropped by half a percentage point from 1996 to 2001, and rose by a quarter of a per cent from 2001-06. And many of the suburb’s new English-speakers are neither rich, nor Canadianborn, notes Sarantopoulos, 42, who collects and distributes food, clothing and other supplies for needy residents. “When I came here it was very, very French,” says Sarantopoulos, who moved to Laval as a teenager and has worked at the community centre for nine years. “Now, we’re serving so many English people. For our Christmas baskets we’ve got 1,200 people on our list.”

Out of Africa, into your homes (Margo Goodhand, Winnipeg Free Press)
We are all immigrants. Some of us just took a little longer to get here.
Free Press columnist Colleen Simard’s Cree ancestors arrived here for good sometime after the great glacier covering the province finally started to recede — between 12,000 and 10,000 BC. The Goodhands steamed here from Scotland in the late 1890s. (My maternal grandparents from Scandinavia arrived in 1904.) And exactly 14 days ago, one tired family of three flew in from the Congo, their worldly belongings stuffed into four suitcases. We were all newcomers, once. Sometimes it seems we’ve forgotten that fact.

Proposal To Put Conditions On Spousal Immigrants Will Increase Violence Against Women (The Link)
Women’s organizations, newcomer advocacy groups and ethno-specific organizations expressed concern over the federal government’s plan to introduce “conditional permanent residence” for some sponsored spouses. The organizations believe that the proposal will increase the risk of spousal abuse, especially among newcomer women. “Women will be forced to stay in violent or abusive relationships for fear of deportation,” said Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver.

The Waiting Game (Chantal Desloges, South Asian Generation Next)
As my colleague Richard Kurland has said, when it comes to sponsoring your father or mother, “there’s a better chance of the parent seeing a coffin before a Canadian visa.” “How long will it take for my Canadian visa application to be processed?” It is, hands-down, the most frequent question I get from clients. And for good reason. Important life decisions often hang in the balance of an immigration decision. For some, a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity is at stake. For others, matters of life and death are literally on the line.

An Inconvenient Truth: Government Cracking Down on Marriages of Convenience (Chantal Desloges, South Asian Generation Next)
You meet. You get married. She leaves you at the airport. It’s not quite the fairy tale ending most Canadians think of when they fall in love overseas. Yet it has become an increasingly common story, as more and more fraudsters from around the world are looking to take advantage of Canada’s generous spousal sponsorship program. The Conservative government has been concerned about this issue for quite some time. After months of town hall meetings and consultations last year, Ottawa is set to propose new immigration amendments aimed directly at tackling marriage fraud. The upcoming proposal will introduce a conditional permanent residence period for sponsored partners who have been in a relationship of two years or less with their sponsors.

Murder In The Name Of Honour (Bhaswati Ghosh, South Asian Generation Next)
What then grants men in certain cultures the extra-judicial authority to kill women in the name of guarding family honour? The answer lies in the centuries old male chauvinistic societal structures that give men the right to control every motion of a woman’s life—right from her birth until her last breath. And in such a set-up, there aren’t any clear definitions of what constitutes dishonouring the family—it can be anything from marrying outside one’s caste (common reason for honour killings in India) to not keeping up with religious and social customs or amoral sexual conduct (common reason for honour killings in several Islamic societies). According to United Nations Population Fund estimates, annually, around 5,000 women are murdered in the name of honour killings. Around 500 of these deaths occur in Pakistan alone.

Naheed Nenshi: A Mayor Who Understands Investments in Community & Immigrants (Bhaswati Ghosh, South Asian Generation Next)
Calgary’s fairly new and dynamic mayor is still an eligible bachelor. As South Asian Generation Next catches up with him at Mississauga Summit at University of Toronto, Mississauga campus, we wonder how 39-year-old Naheed Nenshy continues to be a bachelor, despite his South Asian descent. Isn’t his mother hunting for a suitable daughter-in-law? The question takes him by surprise and elicits a roaring bout of laughter at the same time. “Oh, my God! Of course, she is! She’s been at it for twenty-one years, I think. She loves it when I travel across the country, because she figures there may be more prospects,” explains Mr. Nenshi.

Court begins hearing Islamic bank dispute (CBC)
The financial dispute between an Islamic bank and about 200 families whose mortgages are in limbo, moved to a Toronto courtroom on Thursday. The homeowners had interest-free mortgages with United Muslim Financial totalling about $32 million. Since 2005, UM Financial has offered loans and mortgages to people who want to adhere strictly to Islamic (Shariah) law, under which no interest can be charged on a loan.

Music Brings the People… Well, You Know (Anupa Mistry, Toronto Standard)
Slipping into the warm din of 99 Sudbury’s gallery space last night, it was easy to forget about the miserable weather and early onset darkness of November. Laughter and a semi-circle of raucous drummers mellowed the gallery’s pristine air as a large group gathered for a debut concert and CD launch for The Tree, an offshoot of Across Boundaries’ music therapy program. Situated just north of Eglinton Avenue and Caledonia Road, Across Boundaries is a mental health centre catering to people of colour. “We work from an anti-racism, anti-oppression and holistic framework,” explains executive director Aseefa Sarang, a smiling woman who seems to know everyone in the room. “Our music therapy program is very well-attended. It’s the loudest, most envied program within the agency.” Although music therapy has been in place at Across Boundaries for 15 years, The Tree is a new initiative that aims to storify the musical expression of the agency’s ethnoracial community.

AIDS Action Now calls for halt to deportation of HIV-positive Mexican (Xtra!)
Members of AIDS Action Now and Latinos Positivos held a vigil in Yonge-Dundas Square Nov 8 to protest the possible deportation of Herberth Menendez, an HIV-positive Mexican asylum seeker who has been living in Canada since 2007. Menendez’ asylum claim was rejected and Immigration Canada is now conducting a “pre-removal risk assessment,” which is the last step before someone is deported.

More immigrants losing permanent residency (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Sergey Popkov immigrated to Canada from Russia in 2004 and had travelled between the two countries marketing for a Brampton trading company. His permanent resident card expired in 2009 after five years, and Popkov, nominally a Toronto resident, lost his immigrant status when it was discovered he’d spent only 470 days in Canada in that time, short of the 730-day presence required to retain it. It’s a hard lesson for the 55-year-old former commercial pilot, who has twice been denied a visitor’s visa to see his wife, two daughters and grandson — all citizens here. He may remain separated from his family for the foreseeable future.–more-immigrants-losing-permanent-residency

The case for giving female-owned companies an edge as suppliers (Leah Eichler, Globe and Mail)
It was the third conference run by WeConnect Canada, a not-for-profit organization that certifies businesses that are at least 51-per-cent owned, managed and controlled by women. It connect those businesses with companies looking for diverse suppliers. The trend of certifying female-owned businesses has a longer history in the United States, but remains relatively new in Canada. So far, WeConnect Canada has certified about 150 companies and momentum is increasing.

GTA Desi’s Diwali Meetup! (Diksha Narayan, South Asian Generation Next)
The social networking sites have moved from the virtual world into reality! A group started by Smita Vithlani in January called the GTA Desi Group on the popular website – has grown in leaps and bounds. What started as a small get together where likeminded South Asians would meet and interact amongst each other has now become more grand where other meet up groups collaborated and had a grand Diwali Meetup.


MLI Paper – Preventing migrant smuggling: Leading Canadian expert provides comprehensive road map (Macdonald-Laurier Institute)
Incidents like the August 2010 arrival of the Sun Sea shipload of asylum seekers have highlighted Canada’s vulnerability to migrant smuggling. A failure to respond effectively to and deter such migrant smuggling risks emboldening those who engage in this illicit enterprise. According to author Benjamin Perrin in MLI’s newest paper, Migrant Smuggling: Canada’s Response to a Global Criminal Enterprise, there are three primary strategies that countries like Canada can pursue if they wish to deter and ultimately defeat migrant smuggling at the national and international level.
Full report –

A better plan to stop migrant smuggling (Benjamin Perrin, National Post)
However, Bill C-4 contains a maligned provision that would automatically detain migrants who are part of a group arrival designated by the Minister for a year without access to review, unless they are released by the Minister or they are granted refugee status earlier. While the general detention review timelines in the IRPA are unworkable in the context of a large smuggling event (requiring hearings for every individual within 48 hours, seven days, then every month thereafter), Bill C-4 goes too in the opposite direction.

Human Trafficking @CanStopCrime It’s Happening Here Don’t Close Your Eyes (Crime Stoppers International)
Slid deck of a recent presentation, which includes a comparison of human trafficking and human smuggling.

From chaos to Canada (Lan Tran, Calgary Herald)
Immigrants, wives, fathers. Average calgarians who could be your neighbour or colleague. each has a background of hardship, community and inner strength. This is Lan tran’s story.

Helping hand for Tamil refugees (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
In a spartan basement office in East Kildonan, the phone of the minister for internally displaced persons, refugees and prisoners of war rings constantly. Twice a week, at least, it’s the Tamil mom in India calling about her missing son who, out of desperation, got on a boat for Australia months ago and hasn’t been heard from since. For Sam Ratna, a civil engineer elected by Winnipeg’s Tamils to serve on the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam, finding a safe home for 200,000 displaced people is a calling.

Bill would strip refugees of basic human rights (Peter Thurley, KW Record)
Who knew that a progressive, welcoming country like Canada, a country known for the rule of law and respect for human rights, could treat abused women seeking political asylum like criminals? Yet on June 16, our Conservative federal government introduced a bill into the House of Commons that will do just that. While toughening penalties for human smugglers, this misguided bill also criminalizes refugees who flee to Canada. It imposes mandatory detention on “designated foreign nationals,” a designation that will be made on all “irregular arrivals to Canada,” for a period of one year, during which there is no opportunity for review.–bill-would-strip-refugees-of-basic-human-rights

Immigration fees potentially leading refugee children to a life of crime. (AM980)
The mayor of Surrey says high immigration fees are pushing the children of refugees into a life of crime, but a federal minister says there aren’t any plans to change the status quo. Refugees to Canada must pay up to 10 thousand dollars in immigration fees, and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts says if she were a gangbanger, she’d pick a refugee kid, because they’re desperate. Still, federal minister James Moore says the conservative government has no plans to reduce the fees in the near future.

COSTI Immigrant Services Celebrates Renovations to Toronto Shelter (Canada News Centre)
Federal and provincial representatives joined COSTI Immigrant Services board members and staff in Toronto today to celebrate the completion of major renovations to the COSTI Immigrant Services’ Reception Centre, newly renamed the Ralph Chiodo Family Immigrant Reception Centre. Approximately 1,000 refugees and homeless people pass through the centre each year, which provides temporary accommodation and settlement services to refugees. The upgrades improved resident rooms, the common kitchen, flooring, and plumbing. In addition, the electrical wiring was brought up to standard and new air conditioning units were installed throughout the building. This renovation project extends the life of the building, making it safer and more efficient for both residents and staff.

Chinatown BIA wants to clean up shop (Jodie Shupac, Globe and Mail)
His effort to modernize Grossman’s is part of the BIA’s campaign to raise the profile of the area altogether, which encompasses the Spadina Avenue strip from College Street at the northern border to Sullivan Street in the south, and Beverly Street in the east to Augusta Avenue in the west. “We want to have a cleaner, safer Chinatown, so people can spend a whole day here, instead of just coming to have a bowl of noodles and going home.”

Refugees on the Run (Theresa Wallace, Canadian Running)
Yves Sikubwabo has no doubt that running has changed his life. “Everything I have now, I owe to running,” he says, “and to the people I’ve met through running.” The 18-year-old Ottawa running phenom, a Rwandan refugee, candidly describes his debt to the sport that brought him to Canada. Kirk Dillabaugh, Sikubwabo’s high school coach, believes there’s even more to it. “Yves’s incredible talent opened doors,” he says, “but his good character and approach to life have allowed him to walk through them. Furthermore, while many students struggle with poverty and homelessness, Yves’s story has become very public, and he has accepted this.”

Refugee Education Review (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
I mentioned in this earlier post that a “a global review of the state of refugee education” was in the works. And here it is: Refugee Education: A Global Review (UNHCR, Nov. 2011).

TEDx Vancouver Announces Jose Figueroa to speak at 2011 Program (Digigal Journal)
TEDxVancouver is excited to announce that recently noted refugee and immigration activist Jose Figueroa will be added to this year’s program. Figueroa, who has been in Canada since 1997, was once a youth member of the University Student Union that was supportive of the FMLN political wing in El Salvador, which has recently been categorized as a “terrorist” organization. Fleeing El Salvador with his wife, Jose was a peaceful student having never taken part in any attacks or fighting between the guerrillas and oppressive government forces.

VIDEO: Is this Caribbean idyll the worst place in the world to be a woman? (Jennifer Yang, Toronto Star)
Hungary, China, Namibia, Colombia, Mexico. These are among the top 10 countries from which refugee claims to Canada are made. But one of the world’s tiniest nations has started appearing on the list, a place many Canadians couldn’t find on a map: St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Last year, 710 Vincentians sought asylum in Canada, up from only 179 in 2001

Burmese refugees see struggle paying off (CBC)
Burmese refugees are struggling to adapt to life in Ottawa, five years after the city became their home, but their new sense of freedom makes it worthwhile, they say. Karen refugees began arriving in the city in the fall of 2006 from camps in Thailand, where some had lived for more than a decade. Ottawa is now home to 300 Karen. They fled the military regime in Burma, or Myanmar, where the Karen people make up seven per cent of the population, the largest minority ethnic group.


Canada Learning Bond is truly “free money” for your kids’ postsecondary education (South Asian Generation Next)
Starting last week, the government is mailing out $500 voucher to more than 60,000 families in the City of Toronto that earn less than $41,500. $62 million of $1 billion funds are being invested in the low income families of the City of Toronto. The families that are eligible to make use of this program are already determined by the Government of Canada based on the tax returns filed by each family. Omega Foundation is urging the eligible Toronto families to make full use of these vouchers and open Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) as soon as they get the voucher in the mail. There is no fee to open the account in any financial institution. All that is needed of the family is to bring Social Insurance Number (SIN) of a parent as well as the child for whom RESP account is to be opened in any financial institution.

Native leader praises UN declaration as historic (Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail)
The head of Canada’s largest aboriginal organization says the year that has passed since this country’s signing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has marked the beginning of reconciliation between his people and Canada. The Canadian government’s endorsement of the document, which was adopted by the UN in 2007, came after years of years of negotiation and hesitation on the part of Ottawa.


TRIEC recognizes special volunteer achievements of Toronto Region individuals and the corporate sector: Over 6,000 skilled immigrants mentored through The Mentoring Partnership (TRIEC)
On Thursday, November 17th, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) will recognize outstanding volunteer contributions to its award-winning program, The Mentoring Partnership, facilitating the mentorship of over 6,000 skilled immigrants.

Skilled workers – Ottawa’s immigration plans make sense (Windsor Star)
With baby boomers aging and the birthrate dropping, Canada has no choice but to entice more immigrants to come to this country. It’s the only way to fill the growing labour void and keep the economy stable. But the government has to be judicious when it comes to accepting applicants, and that’s why a plan to allow an additional 10,000 skilled workers into the country next year is a good one.

Alta. minimum wage not a living wage (Jamie Woodford, Lethbridge Herald)
“Right now Alberta has the lowest minimum wage across Canada, so we’d like to see a review of that. Working for less than $12 an hour with the cost of living these days is just not feasible.” Shannon Phillips, policy analyst for the Alberta Federation of Labour and chair of the Womanspace Resource Centre, said having the lowest minimum wage in Canada reinforces the “growing gap between rich and poor.” “In Alberta, we are a very wealthy place, but we are not doing well in terms of the growing in equality and the growing gap between rich and poor. We’ve seen this play out on an international stage, we’re seeing it also playing out right here at home,” she said. “The fact is that we can do better here in Alberta.”

Get Canadian Work Experience with a Practice Firm (Welcome to Canada)
Need Canadian experience? Need recent experience? Consider applying for a practical hands-on “job” with a practice firm. You don’t get paid but the employment success rate for graduates is excellent.

Preparing for uncertainty (Canadian Lawyer)
Interestingly, topics that have been hot-button items on the legal seminar circuit such as diversity in hiring, alternative billing, and outsourcing offshore did not show up as items resonating much with in-house counsel in Canada, according to the survey findings. For example, despite the various efforts afoot here to promote diversity in the legal profession, 67 per cent of respondents said they are not asking the law firms they do business with to provide a diverse roster of lawyers to work with (i.e. reduced hours, women, visible minorities) as part of an overall diversity strategy in their organization. However, 21 per cent said they are thinking about it and 12 per cent are starting to ask the question. One survey respondent said in response to the diversity question: “We expect the best/most appropriate person for the job regardless of sex, race, etc.” While another said: “We support diversity, but will use a carrot rather than a stick approach.” Leaders in the profession say it’s not a surprise these issues still appear to be in their infancy. “What you’re seeing is the awareness and acceptance of those issues is developing and then it takes some time to get them implemented,” says Fred Krebs, former president of the Association of Corporate Counsel and now an adviser with Washington, D.C.-based Clearspire Service Co. LLC. On the diversity front, some say it shows in-house counsel aren’t paying enough attention to the issue. “It seems we as in-house counsel aren’t doing enough to insist on diversity and inclusion,” says Sanjeev Dhawan, president of the ACC Ontario chapter. “Obviously as purchasers of legal services and collectively as corporate counsel we have clout so we need to find our collective voice and find ways of using it as we are trying to do with the ACC Value Challenge on the issue of fees.”


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

Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Occupy Toronto, City Hall, Transit and Other News.

Fourth Wall: Engaging Young People in Local Governanc (Hilary Best, Spacing Toronto)
Young people are a largely untapped population in local decision-making. Brimming with passion and energy, young people are often eager to join important conversations when they are given the knowledge and opportunity to make their voices heard. As many cities have recognized, a culture of civic engagement begins by engaging young people. By making a habit of participating in civic life at a young age, these individuals are likely to be engaged into adulthood. A number of programs have sprung up to capitalize on this potential.

TPSI Fall Newsletter 2 (Toronto Public Spaces Initiative)
TPSI News and Announcements
1.1 Stop the Corporate Takeover of Public Space on Nov 29th
1.2 Panel Discussion ‘City For Sale! TO’s New public space advertising policies and you!’
1.3 Free Movie Screening of ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’
1.4 Put Your Politics Where Your Mouth Is – Luxury Lip Balm Contest!
1.5 Strategy/Info Session – With Juice AND Cookies
1.6 Art Attack!
1.7 Decision on Motion to Abolish the OMB
1.8 Decision on Fresh Restaurant Proposal for Permanent Encroachment onto Public Space
1.9 Homeless Rights in the City
1.10 Occupy Toronto Protests
1.11 Volunteer Opportunity with TPSI
Community Announcements and Events
2.1 City-wide Parks Plan Public Consultation Meetings
Public Space in the News
3.1 “Could Civic Engagement Be the Key to Economic Success,” Peter Levine, The Huffington Post
3.2 “Parks Chief Blocked Plan for Grand Canyon Bottle Plan,” (For Corporate Sponsor!) Felicity Barringer, The New York Times


Vancouver: Making Impact Through Social Finance (Todd Skene,
We are pleased to announce that the Canadian Global Impact Investing Group is expanding into Vancouver with its first local event, “Making Impact Through Social Finance”. Please join us as we hear from organizations deploying capital to transform lives, reduce poverty, fund social ventures, build communities, and support sustainable development. Presentations from the Vancouver for Acumen Fund chapter, Vancity, the Global Catalyst Initiative, and Opportunity International Canada will give us insights into each organization and how they are making an impact. We hope that you will gain a broader understanding of social finance, mission related investing, microfinance,community based investment products, and how you can blend investment opportunities that generate a return while also making a difference.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. New from John Stapleton:
— Less on their plates : Canada’s poorest people are facing a frightful food crisis – September 2011
— Turn out the lights [the anti-tax narrative]- November 2011
2. Employment Insurance in Need of an Overhaul (New papers from the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation) – November 11
3. Right in principle, right in practice : Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Canada (Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children) – November 2011
4. [Alberta] Anti-poverty group applauds Premier Redford’s commitment – November 10
5. Harper Government Takes Action to Support Jobs and Growth (Finance Canada) – November 8
6. An American’s Guide to Canada
7. Charting Prosperity: Practical Ideas for a Stronger Canada (Maytree) – April 2011
8. Stop Harper’s cruel crime bill – November 6
9. Federal Post-Secondary Education Act (Nick Falvo in the Progressive Economics Forum) – November 6
10. Annual Financial Report of the Government of Canada: Fiscal Year 2010–2011 (Finance Canada) – November 8
11. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Canadian Economic Observer – November 2011 issue – November 10
— Provincial and territorial economic accounts, 2010 – November 8
12. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

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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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Just had Reza Ahmadi from @nationalhomesvs lie to my face at my door re. hot water rental. Shame on you...