Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 2, 2011


CFP – CIC and MCI – Delivery of Coordinated Language Assessment and Referral Services (Settlement AtWork)
The Settlement and Intergovernmental Affairs Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Ontario Region and the Immigration Programs Branch of the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI), Province of Ontario, invite proposals to deliver language assessment and referral services to Ontario immigrants who are eligible for language assessment and language training programs funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.

Weil applauds Segal for openness to diversity (Janice Arnold, Canadian Jewish News)
The arts can be a tool to promote intercultural dialogue and diversity, Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s immigration and cultural communities minister, told more than 100 young adults at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. And a strong arts community is good for both society and the economy, she added. Quebec, like the rest of Canada, can benefit from the diversity that results from attracting young immigrants from around the world with the talents that the province needs, Weil told the Oct. 24 gathering.

Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go? (Difference at Work)
Immigration is woven into the DNA of mankind. According to National Geographic, there is a theory that over 25,000 years ago, when the 7 continents are believed to still have been connected, thousands of people emigrated on foot from what is now known as Siberia to Alaska. This alone proves immigration is nothing new. When we are not satisfied with something, we have the motivation to walk away and find what we need somewhere else. With all the current public discussion of immigration law reform in the U.S. and the ballooning backlog of immigration applications here in Canada, I was inspired to take a look into the history of immigration to North America. I trust you will find these glimpses as interesting as I have.

Quebec to continue welcoming record numbers of immigrants to province (Winnipeg Free Press)
Quebec’s Liberal government says the province will continue to welcome record numbers of immigrants, despite complaints that it’s not doing enough to integrate newcomers, many of whom don’t speak French. Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said Tuesday that Quebec would let in between 51,200 and 53,800 new arrivals in 2012 with basically the same number expected in 2013 and 2014. About 18,900 of those arriving next year are expected to be unable to speak French.

Coming soon: Settlement At Work redesign (Settlement AtWork)
This Thursday you will see a redesigned Settlement At Work website, complete with a blog, twitter and user-submitted content. The new site marks the next step in our positioning Settlement At Work as the “Knowledge Hub for the Settlement Sector in Ontario”. Be sure to check the site this Thursday.

Immigration will radically change Canada (Hamilton Spectator letter)
Immigrants allow us to sustain our high standard of living, including our pensions. They increase our falling school populations, pay taxes and are employed in some areas shunned by indigenous Canadians. Some are entrepreneurs and have created much needed employment. But Canadians should realize immigration will have a profound effect on our political, religious, economic and social landscape. Will the immigrant population assimilate into our culture and reflect our present Canadian values?–immigration-will-radically-change-canada

He rose to be among the top officers in Toronto’s Best (Sunil Rao, South Asian Focus)
After 35-plus years of dedicated and loyal service with the Toronto Police Service, Staff Superintendent Cyril Fernandes has announced his retirement. His story serves as an inspiration to the entire South Asian community – a community that in recent years has gained a new-found respectability in the Canadian mainstream. Today, one out of every two residents in the GTA area is a visible minority, with Toronto itself having half its residents having been born out of the country. But the picture was very different just a few decades ago. Today the Staff Super recalls that when he first began to train to become a police officer in Toronto, he was the only visible minority in his class of 90.

Is the Supreme Court Headed Right? (Daniel Del Gobbo, Huffington Post)
What Justice Karakatsanis lacks in appellate judicial experience she gains in practical understanding of how government operates, having worn many hats in different provincial administrations. Speaking before a parliamentary committee, she emphasized how this perspective will lend her unique insights on the bench, as will her diverse background. Karakatanis maintains the Supreme Court’s current complement of four women judges, represents its first Greek-Canadian judge, and speaks three languages fluently, including English and French.


From Bombs to Books (Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now)
At 14, the woman and her cousin left their conflict-plagued home in Sudan and walked more than 1,000 kilometres to neighbouring Ethiopia. The story was remarkable enough to put a bug in Starr’s brain about a creating a book chronicling the many stories from refugee families who made incredible journeys to Canada. He sat on the idea for a couple of years and eventually ran it past a publisher. “They were very, very interested in talking to me about it,” he said. And on Oct. 11, From Bombs to Books was released.

Is it a crime to want to live? (Marina Nemat, Winnipeg Free Press)
Do we Canadians really know enough about the horrific disregard for basic human rights in many parts of the world? Do we understand what it means to be in constant fear of arrest and torture because of a few sentences we happened to utter to criticize our government? To be lashed because we were wearing the wrong kind of clothes? To be thrown in jail only because of our religion or beliefs? To be incarcerated for reading “illegal” books? To be put in solitary confinement or even be hanged because we are gay or lesbian? There is an important question that we Canadians need to ask ourselves: Why do some people leave their homes and families, spend years in refugee camps, or, out of sheer desperation, pay human smugglers to come to Canada? Many of us know the answer to this question because we ourselves are refugees or immigrants. Some of us arrived here with only the clothes on our backs, shrapnel in our bodies, and lash marks on the soles of our feet, not to mention emotional and psychological scars.

Benefit concert to aid refugees (Niomi Pearson – Ladysmith Chronicle)
This Sunday, local music enthusiasts will sing to send Syrian refugees to safety in Canada. The Refugee Benefit, being held at Ladysmith First United Church, will aid a local group’s effort to sponsor a family of three to come to Canada. Organizers say that with the recent unrest in the country, it could be a matter of life and death for Yousif, his wife Noor and son Mohammad.


Food bank demand remains near record high (Andy Johnson,
Two years after the end of the recession, Canadians continue to need help putting food on the table with more than 851,000 people visiting a food bank in March of this year, according to a new survey. In total, 851,014 people walked through the doors of a food bank, a number that is down 2 per cent from 2010 but which marks a significant increase from before the 2008 recession.
Full report:

Food Bank Report (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Katharine Schmidt. She is the Executive Director of Food Banks Canada. Her agency is releasing a report today that shows food bank use in this country is up by 26% since 2008.

Canada remains in 6th place in annual UN development ranking (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
Canada is ranked sixth in the world in terms of achievements in incomes, health and education, the United Nations’s annual human development index shows. The latest report, to be released Wednesday, shows Canada’s overall position hasn’t changed from last year and has climbed three notches since 2006.

Canadians can’t afford their wealthy (Frances Russell, Winnipeg Free Press)
Jim Stanford, chief economist for the Canadian Auto Workers, has carved out a tiny corner for progressive economic thought in a field dominated by his colleagues on the fiscal and economic right with his articles for The Globe and Mail and commentary on CBC-TV. In his latest Facts From The Fringe newsletter, Stanford reports that Canada now has 61 billionaires, meaning Canada boasts not simply a one per cent to 99 per cent inequality, but a 0.0002 per cent to 99.9998 disparity. According to Canadian Business, their combined wealth is $162 billion, about five times the size of Ottawa’s $33.4-billion defic


Ottawa urged to help expedite licences for foreign-trained doctors (Kim Mackrael, Globe and Mail)
The federal government should fund temporary work programs that help foreign-trained doctors get their licences faster, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada says. Andrew Padmos, the college’s chief executive officer, said between 6,000 and 10,000 doctors can’t practise in Canada because there aren’t enough spots in residency programs.

Canada’s broken promise (Globe and Mail editorial)
Parochialism is harming Canadian productivity and innovation — and holding back the potential of well-educated newcomers. Many employers are stubbornly refusing to hire immigrants who don’t have Canadian experience — and firing them first during economic downturns. The result is that newly arrived immigrants have an unemployment rate that is twice as high as that of the Canadian-born population, in spite of being better educated.


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

Library committee says no to closing branches (Tamara Baluja, Globe and Mail)
Toronto’s library budget committee unanimously voted on Tuesday against closing branches. The committee considered a string of suggestions from individual members of the newly appointed Toronto Public Library Board, including shuttering 38 of Toronto’s 98 branches, selling the historic Yorkville branch and reducing opening hours. The board also considered other recommendations, such as eliminating computers at libraries, and charging for library cards. The library budget committee followed staff recommendation and rejected the suggestions.

Innovation Cities Index 2011: Toronto named among 10 most innovative cities in the world (Yonge Street Media)
Toronto is the 10th most innovative city in the world, according to the annual rankings from 2thinknow, a Melbourne, Australia-based consultancy firm. As reported by the Huffington Post Canada, more than 331 cities were benchmarked by the firm and assessed in three general categories: cultural assets, human infrastructure and networked markets. Toronto is one of only four North American cities—and the only Canadian city—to crack the top 10. “Four Canadian cities made the top 100, but only Montreal, at 31st place, was listed along with Toronto as a ‘nexus’ city—one of 33 urban areas that are at the heart of the global economy.”

Calgary passes Toronto on prosperity scale (Business First)
Toronto is no longer the most prosperous city in Canada. The Toronto Board of Trade has issued its annual Scorecard on Prosperity, which compares conditions in 24 of the world’s urban centers. And the Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Calgary is the highest-rated city in Canada on that index.

Toronto wins provincial award for mid-rise and avenues plan (Yonge Street Media)
Toronto, and more specifically the office of Brook McIlroy Planning, has won an award for a plan to build reasonably sized buildings and strengthen our avenues.

Open Letter to Toronto City Council in Support of Toronto’s Poorest Residents and the City’s Hardship Fund (Social Planning Toronto)
SPT and community partners are calling on Toronto City Council to save the City’s Hardship Fund – a program that offsets emergency medical costs for low income seniors, particularly senior women, and people with disabilities who have no access to provincial support. At its September meeting, City Council narrowly voted down a motion to spare the Hardship Fund from elimination in the 2012/13 budget, with 22 Councillors voting in favour of saving the fund and 23 voting to consider eliminating it in the upcoming budget. In 2010, the Hardship Fund cost the average property taxpayer just sixty cents on an annual property tax bill of about $2,400.’s-poorest-residents-and-the-city’s-hardship-fund

What Wasn’t Built (CBC Metromorning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Mark Osbaledeston. He is the author of “Unbuilt Toronto 2: More of the City That Might Have Been” , it details Toronto projects that never made it past the drawing board.

Selling Utilities (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with David Soknacki. He is a former Toronto city budget chief.

John Campey awarded the MCC Hope & Freedom Award in Toronto (KJ Mullins, Digital Journal)
Before Pride Parades, Will and Grace and the It Gets Better Campaign a man named John was working to make changes for queer youth facing bullying while at a school in Toronto. John Campey became a trustee assistant in 1985 for the Toronto Board of Education and then as a Trustee for the Down. The first openly gay candidate nominated for a major political party in Ontario Campey lost his riding of St. George/St. David in 1987 in the provincial election to Ian Scott, the Attorney Genera.

Regent Park Film Festival (CBC Metro Morning)
The Regent Park Film Festival begins today.

Creative Civic Engagement (CBC Metro Morning)
Dave Meslin’s exhibit, “The Fourth Wall: Transforming City Hall” is on now at the Urbanspace Gallery at 401 Richmond.


Is there more money than we think? (Sherri Torjman,
This post kicks off a series of 6 blog posts, published weekly,that will examine how social purchasing can support social enterprises. Social finance concerns itself with finding capital for social enterprise. While there are many different types of social enterprise, they all have a common thread. They invest capital and use profit to meet social purposes.*

Public dialogue in Winnipeg explores new ideas for Canada’s economic future (Digital Journal)
On Friday, Nov. 4, some of Canada’s most impressive young leaders, the Action Canada Fellows, will host a public dialogue in Winnipeg, MB on ideas for advancing Canada’s economic future. The dialogue will be focused on three issues: how inequality and poverty are jeopardizing our human capital, how to develop a creative workforce for tomorrow, and financing Canada’s low-carbon energy future.

Non-profits worried new law will hurt smaller agencies (Bill Curry, Globe And Mail)
Canada’s non-profit sector is grappling with the implications of a new federal law that gives members the equivalent of shareholder rights – creating avenues for more accountability and engagement but also concern over legal expenses and unintended consequences.

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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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