Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 16 2011


Fundamental split over elected representation debate (Sunil Rao, South Asian Focus)
They were reading from the same tea-leaves, but their readings couldn’t have been more dissimilar.
We’re nowhere near parity, complained the researcher don. We’ve come a long way, crowed the political strategists. Yet both were in agreement over the basic facts: visible minorities comprise 40 per cent of the GTA’s population, yet have only 11 per cent elected across the three layers of public office. “Interestingly, while all visible minority categories are under-represented relative to their population share, South Asians have the best record of electoral success, federally and provincially,” observed Prof Myer Siemiatycki of Ryerson University, who conducted the research.

From integration to inclusion (R. Mohan, South Asian Focus)
Words are important, mused Ratna Omidvar. And this week she proposed Peel Region’s new buzzword should be ‘inclusion’. In fact Canada itself needs to move from integration, of the new immigrant into the mainstream, towards inclusion, she felt. “Integration asks a great deal of the newcomer,” observed Omidvar. “Learn our ways, get a good job, speak our language, pay taxes. “But inclusion asks a great deal of the host society.” And we need to include newcomers, for our collective benefit, she added.

Unfair And Inefficient (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about a newly released EI report with Matthew Mendelsohn. He is Director of the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto.

Immigrants should adopt Canadian values to settle here, survey finds (Steven Chase, Globe and Mail)
Wojtek Sawicki, a Polish-born immigrant who now calls Toronto home, says he thinks newcomers should adopt Canadian values as a requirement of settling here, including the idea that men and women are fundamentally equal. A new poll suggests the 31-year-old is far from alone. In fact, theres a solid consensus around the notion that immigrants should accept certain values as a precondition for joining Canadian society.

How much are your parents worth to Canada? (Allan Thompson)
So just how much is Grandma worth anyway? And how about Dad? That, in essence, is the question that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has now asked Canadians to ponder in a national discussion about whether or not it makes sense to encourage the sponsorship of parents and grandparents as immigrants. Kenney froze any new applications for parental sponsorship for two years pending a deliberation about what to do with the program.–thompson-how-much-are-your-parents-worth-to-canada

NDP MP urges help for Afghan student seeking to study in Canada (Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star)
An NDP MP is urging the federal immigration department to fast track the study permit of a young Afghan woman who has been accepted to an Ottawa private school. Roya Shams, accepted at Ottawas Ashbury College, is an example of Afghanistans future and Canada should be doing everything it can to help her achieve that goal, said Hélène Laverdière. Shes a kind of symbol for me, a kind of symbol of the Afghanistan were hoping for education, women being involved in society, Laverdière said.–ndp-mp-urges-help-for-afghan-student-seeking-to-study-in-canada

Tensions mount over Ottawas vow to help Afghan interpreters (Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star)
Frustration is growing in government ranks that Ottawa is falling down on its vow to help Afghan interpreters and their families find a new life in Canada. I would say longstanding and growing frustration, a senior official said this week after the Star highlighted the plight. The target of that frustration is the Citizenship and Immigration department, which critics say is dragging its feet on a Conservative vow to help Afghans who helped the Canadian mission in Kandahar resettle in Canada.–tensions-mount-over-ottawa-s-vow-to-help-afghan-interpreters?bn=1

Travesty to deny Afghan translator (Peter Worthington, Toronto Sun)
Last July, the Toronto Stars Paul Watson reported from Kandahar that an Afghan translator who had worked courageously and dangerously for Canadian troops was denied entry to Canada. As a result of Watsons story (hes an excellent reporter), Canadian Immigration reviewed the case of Sayed Sharifi and has again rejected him as an immigrant to Canada. Apparently, on review, they found Sharifis story inconsistent with his account of the risks endured, exaggerated and unlikely. He was therefore deemed not to be credible. Again. To find this young man not credible verges on the incredible.

Drake Dishes on His Racial Identity in Canada (Vinnie Yuen, Schema Magazine)
In an interview with the Village Voice blogs, hip-hop artist Drake talked about his Canadian perspective on race and his background. Do you see greater racial divides in America compared to Canada? Drake seems to think so.

Some immigrants faking language tests, officials (Tom Godfrey, Qmi Agency)
Federal immigration officials are targeting unscrupulous immigrants who are paying big bucks for fake certificates that show they have mastered English or French tests required to come to Canada. The fraudulent language tests were first detected among immigrants applying to come here from Indonesia and Timor-Leste, according to a report from a Canadian visa officer in Indonesia. Some Toronto lawyers claim a number of tradespeople and immigrants find the standardized International English Language Testing System (IELTS) difficult and have to write the test twice or three times to pass.

Africentric High School? (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Josette Holness. She is co-chair of the parent council at Toronto’s Africentric Alternative School.

Racial slurs scrawled on a bathroom wall (Carolyn Jweda, University of Windsor, CCLA blog)
An Ontario human rights lawyer alleges the City of Windsor has some serious issues with racism. And, he has video evidence he says proves it. Toronto-based lawyer Selwyn Pieters was in Windsor last week representing a client during a human rights tribunal. His client, Alan Shreve, is a city employee who alleges racist comments were regularly made regularly at work in the public works department. While at the citys 400 Building last week, the lawyer says he found proof to support his clients claims.

Minister of State Ablonczy to Celebrate Contributions of Hispanic Canadians (Canada News Centre)
The Honorable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), will be the keynote speaker at the Canadian Hispanic Business Associations fifth annual awards ceremony honouring its 10 most influential Hispanic Canadians, which will take place at the Ottawa Convention Center on November 15, 2011.

Noncitizen Demands the Right to Vote (Darryl Greer, Courthouse News Service)
Less than a week before a city election, a U.S.-born lawyer claims the section of the Vancouver City Charter that bars noncitizens from voting is unconstitutional. Scott Bernstein claims in B.C. Supreme Court that he was called to the British Columbia Bar in August 2010 after graduating from the University of British Columbia Law School in May 2009.

Canadians, Ottawa out of sync on immigration (Howard Ramos, Chronicle Herald Opinions)
The Conservative government might mistakenly think such support is reason to justify its attack on family-class immigrants and family reunification over the last few years. Upon release of CIC targets for next year, Mr. Kenney noted that new policies would not favour the reunification of spouses and children with immigrants already settled in Canada. The new policies are less clear-cut when it comes to immigrants desire to sponsor their parents and grandparents. The minister announced new and innovative policies to offer 10-year visas for parents and grandparents to visit Canada for up to two years, yet at the same time, he placed a moratorium on any new applications, which essentially closes the door on such reunification. Mr. Kenneys sentiments and policies on this front, however, dramatically counter those of Canadians polled, 90 per cent of whom believe that Canada should put the same, or even higher, priority on immigrant family reunification. Only eight per cent of those polled thought it should be lowered. It is unclear on what basis the government is deciding to make changes to this category of immigrants. Perhaps more controversial is the largely untold story of the Harper regimes policy toward dramatically increasing the number of temporary foreign workers to Canada.

International students needed to boost economy (Ava Czapalay, Chronicle Herald Opinion)
Recently, Canadas minister of immigration announced a program that would assist up to 1,000 international PhD students to become permanent residents. With most of Nova Scotias research capacity housed within the university sector, it is imperative that Nova Scotia act now to retain this talent pool, which in turn will contribute to innovation and growth within local industries. We must not stand by and watch our most talented students move to other Canadian cities to establish careers and families. Nova Scotia has a serious demographic challenge. Outmigration, an aging population and low birth rates are contributing to a shrinking labour force. EduNova, a non-profit alliance of education and training providers in Nova Scotia, believes that our skilled-labour shortage can be addressed in part by having more international students put down roots in the province.

The Shafia trials message on honour killings (Jonathan Kay, National Post)
Among Canadian immigration opponents, there is a popular narrative that goes like this: Newcomers to this country want our generosity, but not our values. They arrive on our shores with their hands outstretched, refuse to learn English or French, go on welfare, and reject Canadian liberal values in favour of retaining their old-world backwardness and bigotry. As it turns out, for the vast majority of immigrants to Canada, none of this is true.

New study finds women not well represented on Canadian corporate boards (Canada Newswire)
Some disconcerting findings on the lack of diversity in the boardrooms of Canada’s largest corporations were released today in the Canadian Board Diversity Council’s Second Annual Report Card. While 73 per cent of corporate board members feel their boards are diverse, the reality is that women are significantly less likely than men to serve on corporate boards. In fact, most board members oppose the development and adoption of a formal diversity policy.
Full report – PDF –

Boardrooms Not Diverse (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Pamela Jeffery. She is the founder of the Canadian Board Diversity Council.

Muslim meat donation helps soup kitchen (CBC)
A New Brunswick soup kitchen will be able to serve hundreds of meals with fresh meat thanks to a donation from the local Muslim community following a religious celebration. The Fredericton Community Kitchen received more than 350 pounds of ground beef and stew beef from the Pak-Canada Association of New Brunswick.

News Release Come to Canada Wizard an increasingly popular tool (CIC)
The Come to Canada Wizard, which helps people determine if they are eligible to come to Canada, has recorded more than 400,000 visits since being launched last August. This is one way that my Department is creating a more responsive, transparent and efficient immigration system that benefits applicant, immigrants and Canadians alike, said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney


Investment needed to get people off welfare (Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News)
Increasing the amount of money someone on welfare receives will help them makes ends meet – but it won’t help many people get a job. Pat Capponi, a Toronto advocate for poverty and mental health issues, was in Chatham Tuesday to lead an Ontario Works (OW) forum that included 15 local recipients. The forum discussed ways to improve the system.

Caregivers need public support and recognition (Janice Keefe, IRPP)
This IRPP study is an overview of caregiving in Canada today, including the costs incurred by caregivers and the type and extent of public support they receive. Author Janice Keefe presents projections of future care needs and examines potential improvements in policy for income security programs, labour market regulation and human resource management in health and home care.


Growing economy with a personal touch (Sunil Rao, South Asian Focus)
After a long and distinguished career at the highest levels of the international hospitality industry, Sohail Saeed was wondering what next. He had anyway been interacting with the powers-that-be at Queen’s Park, making presentations on how tourism could be further enhanced, for instance – so when the opportunity came up to be more closely engaged with civic development by being among a city’s key economic growth architects, he jumped at the prospect. Today Saeed finds himself Director of Economic Development at one of Canada’s fastest growing and most demographically diverse cities, the City of Brampton.

Immigrants need help finding jobs (CBC)
A new strategy to bring more immigrants to Sudbury will be released later today in the hopes of bringing more immigrants into the region. A Statistics Canada report in 2008-2009 found that Sudbury was one of the least popular destinations for immigrants in the country: it was in the bottom three cities. For those who work at bringing new people to the area, it’s a troubling trend for a community with an aging population and a shrinking tax base. Scott Fisher, who is with the Local Immigration Partnership in Sudbury, has been hosting forums and focus groups to find out how to attract and keep immigrants in Sudbury.

Why Hire Skilled Immigrants, the Non-Profit Sector Perspective (
Because of Canadas aging population and the scarcity of young workers, tapping into the full range of talent in the Canadian workforce especially the currently underutilized skills of new immigrants is an urgent priority for the non-profit sector. A survey conducted by the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector (HR Council) in 2008 found that that 39 per cent of the non-profit workforce is aged 45 or older and there arent enough young people available to replace these departing boomers. Skilled immigrants, who have been selected by Canada as best equipped to meet the needs of our economy, can help make up the labour shortfall and their skills and experiences can help your organizations succeed.

Managing a Diverse Workforce, the Private Sector Perspective (hireimmigrants)
Hiring skilled immigrants is just the start of tapping into the skills and experience of these diverse employees. Companies in the private sector that want to out-perform the competition need to create talent management processes that ensure all employees are engaged and contributing to their full potential. Your company also has a responsibility to ensure all employees are treated equitably and provide accommodation as required.

Workplace inequality still felt for LGBTQ (24 Hours)
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities still face workplace discrimination in Canada, despite significant recent improvements. About one in ten LGBTQ workers find co-workers and employers intolerant of their sexual orientation, and between one-third to half of respondents had experienced some form of discrimination in their professional lives, according to an Angus Reid poll released Tuesday.

The GTAs top employers for 2012 (Diane Jermyn, Globe and Mail)
With so many national and international head offices in or near Toronto, the winners of the GTAs Top Employers contest faced fierce competition. Size didnt matter. Employers were compared with others in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs.

Menial No More: Discussion and Reflections (John MacLaughlin, Ontario Literacy Coalition)
Last week I was at a meeting of literacy and basic skills providers when the topic shifted to Menial No More. Almost everyone agreed with the sense that employers were expecting more from entry-level employees. The conversation became much more thought-provoking when we started to talk about who should be providing the unemployed with these new skills. A number of people thought that it was an employers responsibility to provide the training for these skills. Indeed, this is not a unique sentiment, as I have heard similar views from senior policy makers. During that discussion, I openly wondered whether we should be leaving the responsibility of training our most vulnerable to employers and industry. I think publicly-funded institutions have a real role to play in this form of training and it was interesting to note that most of the literacy programs I talk to think that learners would greatly benefit from an injection of vocational training. The question then becomes: how does a literacy and essential skills program do this? What would such programming look like? And how can this be orchestrated in terms of funding?

Canadian Newcomer Magazine Points out that Soft Skills Make the Difference (Heather Williams, LEAP blog)
Immigrants use of soft skills are what make the difference in achieving higher levels of employment especially if it is outside of ones original career path. Canadian Newcomer Magazine published an article featuring immigrants stories of how soft skills have helped them weather the change necessary to gain meaningful employment.


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

Minister supports bid to free Toronto from OMB (Elizabeth Church, Globe And Mail)
Ontarios Minister of Municipal Affairs is welcoming a move by Toronto to take authority for minor planning disputes out of the hands of the Ontario Municipal Board, but says attempts to abolish the provincial appeals body or change its mandate requires consultations with all municipalities. Kathleen Wynne said as a provincial minister and Toronto resident she is pleased that the city is considering taking responsibility for appeals on committee of adjustment matters usually small changes or exceptions to existing land use that now account for the majority of cases before the OMB.

Throw-away Buildings (CBC Metro Morning)
Join us all week for Mary Wiens’ series Throw-away buildings: the slow-motion failure of Toronto’s glass condos. Find out how style over substance could add up to hidden costs in the future, and tell us about your own experiences with condo living.

Highrise Living 3 (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Graeme Stewart. He is an associate with ERA architects in Toronto.


Harnessing the Value of Values (Sherri Torjman,
This exchange is at the heart of social procurement. The successful bidder not only must deliver high-quality products or services. It is also expected to return something to the community that has enriched the bidders bottom line. While governments have long recognized the power of embedded terms and conditions, the expectations associated with contractual arrangements typically take the form of legal, ethical and efficiency considerations. However, there is a new dimension that has become increasingly recognized in recent years: community benefits. In addition to delivering goods and services, prospective contractors should be required to give something back to the community – hence the term community benefits. These refer to the notion that the benefits of a given contract should be felt more broadly than by just the firm or organization that derives monetary gains in the form of cash payments.

The Philanthropist – Vol 24, No 2 (2011)
This special issue is collaboration between The Philanthropist and Imagine Canada. As part of its National Engagement Strategy, over 500 established and emerging leaders will come together from across the country and across the sector to be part of the National Summit for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector in Ottawa, November 28-30, 2011. The issue includes a series of articles that are meant to stimulate and inform discussion and debate about the priority issues to be addressed at the Summit.

Resolved: That the Voluntary Sector Doesnt Get a Fair Deal from the Media (Bob Wyatt, Don Bourgeois, The Philanthropist)
The authors discuss whether or not the voluntary sector gets a fair deal from the media.

Canadas Nonprofit Sector: The People Challenge (Joanne Linzey, The Philanthropist)
The author explores the need for the nonprofit sector to improve condtions to attract and retain paid staff. The author discusses the need for a new narrative, and issues related to compensation, youth, leadership, and governance.

Working for the Mission: Getting Nonprofits to be the Employers of Choice (Miia Suokonautio, The Philanthropist)
The author discusses the negative side effects of high turnover in nonprofits, and explores options for what can be done to retain talented staff members.

How to Communicate Our Value to Our Communities (Monica Patten, The Philanthropist)
The author discusses how to best communicate the value of nonprofits to our communities, exploring three key themes: the need for a communications goal; the importance of context; and the conversations we need to have with Canadians.

REGIONAL SUPPORT Community foundations unite assets, funds, and people to make a positive difference (Globe and Mail)
Community foundations have become key components of community-building across Canada, addressing needs by channelling donor funds into a broad range of local priorities. Community foundations bring together assets, funds and people in communities and then distribute and utilize those assets in different ways in order to make a positive difference and build value, explains Ian Bird, president and CEO of Community Foundations of Canada (CFC), an umbrella group that provides a wide range of support services to emerging and existing community foundations.

Ontario lacks innovative edge: report (Lee Greenberg, Postmedia News)
Ontario gets by on hard work, rather than innovation, according to a new report that says the province’s economic stature continues to slip within North America. The report labelled Ontario one of the most prosperous regions among advanced economic nations, outpacing most of its peers in Europe, Japan and Australia in per capita GDP.

The Canada Revenue Agency revokes the registration of Malvern Rouge Valley Youth Services as a charity (Canada News Centre)
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has revoked the charitable registration of Malvern Rouge Valley Youth Services, a Toronto-area charity. The notice of revocation was published in the Canada Gazette with an effective date of November 12, 2011. On September 29, 2011, the CRA issued a notice of intention to revoke the charitable registration of Malvern Rouge Valley Youth Services, in accordance with subsection 168(1) of the Income Tax Act.

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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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Your morning #Immigration & #Diversity news headlines – November 14, 2011 #inclusion RT @SkillsforChange: Check this video out from...