Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 23, 2011


Super visas will make immigrants lives easier (Manpreet Grewal, Special To The Vancouver Sun)
The visa might add a financial burden on the sponsoring family, however, because parents and grandparents applying for a super visa will be required to obtain private health care insurance for their stay in Canada but that will be a small price to pay. What remains to be seen is the translation of the policy into practice. Parents and grandparents usually want to come here for family occasions like significant birthdays, weddings, deaths and births. Sometimes, immigration officials have been brutal in denying people entry to attend funerals of even close relatives. Following the moratorium on sponsorship applications for parents and grandchildren, any effective strategy has to take into consideration the volumes of people who will apply for the super visa and how effective Citizenship and Immigration Canada will be in processing them and allowing people to travel here in a timely manner. This will lead to pressure on visa offices overseas and will require more resources to address the increased volumes to meet the required timelines.

Visible minorities thin on the ground at Canadian city councils (Anna Mehler Paperny, Globe and Mail)
Winnipeg councillor Mike Pagtakhan looked around at a Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting this year and was delighted to see some non-white faces among the throngs. Until he introduced himself. I asked, Hey, are you councillors, reeves, mayors? They said, No, no: Were with the administration. I thought, Uh, okay. It was unreal. I was just shocked.

Immigrants detect the whiff of decline in Ontario (Kelly McParland, National Post)
The transformation of Ontario into a complete waste of time appears to be almost complete. Under the guiding hand of Premier Dalton McGuinty, the province has been reduced to have-not status, the manufacturing base has eroded, Ottawa has been strong-armed into financing a regional development office, unemployment is 8.1% (above the national average and getting worse) and the best solution the government can come up with is a plan to pour money into alternative energy in hopes of jobs (along with about 32 other countries and jurisdictions hoping to do the same thing.) Along comes Citizenship and Immigration Canada to reveal that Ontarios reputation has fallen to the point that immigrants are bypassing it as they head west to provinces with better prospects.

Was study of Muslim Canadian attitudes truly impartial? (Harry Sterling, Edmonton Journal)
In order to obtain further views on such diverse findings the Macdonald-Laurier Institute commissioned commentaries on the studys results by three analysts with recognized expertise in the field of Muslim public opinion, integration with Western society, terrorism and other themes raised in the study: Salim Mansur, Professor of political Science, University of Western Ontario, Alex Wilner, Senior Fellow in Terrorism and Security at the institute, and American Professor Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum in Washington and Taube Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. In his summary, Alex Wilner stated that In coming years Canada will have to decide how best to tackle homegrown Islamist radicalization. Salim Mansur commented that the findings are mostly reassuring and confirmthat Canadian Muslims appear to be the most contented, moderate and, well, Canadian in the developed world. Daniel Pipes said the study reveals a number of problematic attitudes, from desire for Sharia to support for Al-Qaeda, but it also establishes that Canada has the most moderate, diverse and open Muslim population in the West. Many undoubtedly will find the institutes study offers a useful insight into the thinking of Muslim Canadians. However, others may be struck by the fact the three commentators have significant differences in how they assess the reality of the findings.

Islamophobia in Your Inbox (Stephen Scheinberg, The Mark)
Can hate now be spread through the click of a button? My friends and family, most of them educated and liberal people, are being enlisted to spread anti-Muslim hatred with one touch of their forward buttons. Worryingly, they are sending on material analogous to the kind of Islamophobic writings that seem to have inspired the recent Norwegian tragedy.

Video: Islamicism is biggest threat to national security,says Prime Minister of Canada Mr.Stephen Harper (YouTube)
Now is the time to remove terrorism satanism fascism Islam from the west,the first thing we must do is to stop finally the immigration of Muslims then to close all Islamic schools so fascist schools and to stop the building of Mosques objects of the Devil where muslim(terrorists) Clerics prepare the next terrorists to kill non muslims,nor 0.0001% of articles in the Koran do not calls for peace and love to respect others,but 99,999% of the Koran calls for hatred,violence,war,then for terrorism for Jihad to kill Christians Jews and non Muslims.

GTA woman has niqab pulled off in assault (CBC)
A Muslim woman from Mississauga, Ont., who had her niqab pulled from her face at a local mall, says her young children no longer feel secure with only her nearby. Inas Kadri, whose assault at Sheridan Centre in Mississauga was caught on a security camera, spoke to CBC News on Tuesday as she awaits the sentencing of the woman who attacked her. Kadri was shopping with her three-year-old son and two-year-old daughter when she was approached by two women. One of the women began swearing at her, about her religion and her veil, telling her, “Leave our country. Go back to your country,” Kadri said.

Young Urban Muslims (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Ossayma Canbarieh. She is a national reporter with Radio-Canada International, and the creator of an on-line documentary called “Me, the Muslim Next Door”.

Me, the Muslim Next Door What Muslim Reality Shows Should Be (Muslimah Media Watch)
One of the main criticisms of TLCs All American Muslim was that the shows characters were representative of only a small part of the American Muslim community. If you felt that way, then a great antidote is Me, the Muslim Next Door, a web documentary produced for Radio Canada International. Filmed in Montreal and Toronto in both English and French, Me the Muslim Next Door is over two hours of audio, video, and still photography, broken up into 4-6 minute segments, with each of the shows participants having several segments. These segments took place in the participants personal landscapes at home, on the street, with their families.

Cape Breton human rights advocate new chairwoman (Chronicle Herald)
A six-year member of the provincial Human Rights Commission is the bodys new chairwoman. Justice Minister Ross Landry, minister responsible for administration of the Human Rights Act, announced Tuesday that Eunice Harker will take on the role.

Parents demand plan for more staff diversity in Peel schools (Louise Brown,
Angry parents and community members shouted at Peel District School Board trustees Tuesday night for not giving a detailed plan of how they plan to hire a more diverse staff that reflects the growing diversity of the regions students. The group of about 20 people presented trustees with a report by an unnamed source that suggested only 9 to 10 per cent of the board’s 230 principals are visible minorities, but board spokesperson Brian Woodland said the list appeared flawed because it seemed based only on surnames. The board does not survey employees based on their racial background.–parents-demand-plan-for-more-staff-diversity-in-peel-schools

People guarding our borders often inexperienced, undertrained, overwhelmed (Den Tandt, Vancouver Sun)
Why ‘often inexperienced’? It turns out working in immigration control isn’t particularly glamorous, CBC’s drama The Border notwithstanding. CBSA analysts work long hours, turnover is high and consequently more than 40 per cent of them have less than two years’ experience. Astonishingly, the AG found that “in the absence of a formal training program, they rely mostly on guidance material, coaching, and on-the-job training to acquire the knowledge they need to fulfil their responsibilities.”

Auditor general finds disturbing cracks in Canadas visa approval system (Robert Hiltz, National Post)
An auditor generals report has found disturbing weaknesses in the way Canadas border and immigration agencies hand out visas. In his report released Tuesday, Interim Auditor General John Wiersema says the Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration Canada lack the guidance, training and information to properly determine who should and shouldnt be let into the country.

Multiculturalism important to Moose Jaw (Carter Haydu, Times-Herald)
Multiculturalism is an important part of the fabric of the Friendly City, according to Moose Jaw Multicultural Council (MJMC) settlement services manager Stefanie Palmer. On Tuesday, she told the Times-Herald a multicultural community is one that breeds tolerance and one that, through discourse, its members come to understand despite differences in values and cultures all people share common concerns such as family welfare and safety.

Ruling Wednesday on Canada’s polygamy law could have wide-ranging implications, lawyer says (Neal Hall, Vancouver Sun)
The constitutionality of Canada’s polygamy law will be decided Wednesday by B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman. If the judge decides to strike down the law, it could have wide-ranging implications for pensions, health benefits and immigration policies, a Vancouver lawyer said Tuesday. “Potentially there are a number of implications beyond whether or not polygamy is legal,” Ron Skolrood explained.

Immigration judges failing new requirements (CBC)
More than half of the immigration judges applying to review refugee claims in Canada in 2012 are not qualified to do the job, a CBC investigation has found. Thats because more than half of them failed to meet new criteria that will be a requirement of the role after it undergoes legislative changes.

Community forums to spread awareness about new visa rules (South Asian Focus)
The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is holding community forums in Vancouver and Toronto to facilitate dialogue on Canadian immigration issues including family reunification wait times, marriage fraud, foreign degree accreditation and refugee system reform. The first of these events was held in Surrey, BC, over the weekend, at the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara’s Seniors Centre. The next townhall-type meeting follows in Toronto this December.

Event June 20-22, BC: Canada and Refugee Resettlement: Research and Innovation for the 21st Century (ISS of BC)
Three hundred delegates are expected including academics, federal and provincial policy makers, service providers, public institution representatives, funders and youth. This conference will create a national space to share and learn current successful practices, policy discussions and research that will help shape ongoing regional and national dialogues in enhancing support for refugees settling in Canada. The conference will take place at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond, British Columbia.

The Canadian Cancer Societys Diversity Survey (Canadian Cancer Society)
Cancer does not discriminate – all communities are affected by it. We want to engage you and other Ontarians in the work of the Canadian Cancer Society and create a world where no Canadian fears cancer. To achieve this goal, we need to continue to encourage more people from all of the different communities to work, volunteer, and give to the Canadian Cancer Society. It is crucial to our mission. This November and December we will be conducting a survey with our volunteers and staff. We will be collecting information so we can better understand our unique and dedicated group of volunteers and staff. This information will help us build an even more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone. Survey data will help us better understand the full range of range of characteristics, skills, perspectives and voices in our organization, which also enhances our ability to reach and serve all communities across Ontario.

Canada Bars Violent Criminals From Sponsoring Members Of Their Family (Muchmor Canada)
The Government of Canada is making it much harder for people convicted of crimes that result in bodily harm against members of their family or other particularly violent offences to sponsor any family class member to come to Canada, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said today. I was very concerned after a court decision in 2008 found that a Canadian citizen, who was convicted in India of killing his sister-in-law after setting her on fire, could sponsor his new wife, said Minister Kenney. The regulatory changes now in force aim to prevent a similar situation from happening again.


Canadian Medical Residents to Receive Global Child Health Training (SOS Children’s Villanges)
According to the CPS website, Although international electives are widely permitted by residents, global child health (GCH) issues are not formally taught as part of the four year Canadian paediatric residency curriculum. Now, in a project supported by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), the child health experts are working to change inward-looking medical education to encompass global health issues, as pediatricians must care for growing numbers of new immigrants, refugees and internationally adopted children.

Why local journalists should skip town for a few weeks (Nick Taylor-Vaisey, Openfile Ottawa)
We caught word that an Ottawa Citizen reporter had left the comfy confines of her newsroom, bound for an adventure in faraway places. That reporter, Louisa Taylor, is a senior writer at the Citizen, and she’s travelling in Nepal, India and the United States to produce a series on immigrant and refugee health. Her trip’s funded by a journalism fellowship offered by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Along the way, she’s blogging and tweeting what she sees and hears. Taylor took some time to respond to a few questions we had about her journey.

Farkas tells Roma not to go to Canada (
National Roma Authority president Flórián Farkas yesterday warned Roma people against seeking refugee status in Canada. He said those who leave Hungary will not be any better off as Canadian authorities have rejected asylum applications and those attempting to emigrate there find themselves in an even worse position. Farkas recalled that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the Roma Authority signed an agreement of historical importance last May which can substantively change the position of Hungarian Roma.


Growing class divide means some children may be denied a generational legacy (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
Youth are cited as one of the top concerns for residents across our citys neighbourhoods. United Way Torontos environmental scan, Torontonians Speak Out, identified this in 2002, so that it became one of the community funders top three priorities (neighbourhoods and newcomers being the other two). More recently, Trish Hennessy, from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), has been doing focus groups with Environics, to understand Torontonians voting records and public policy priorities. Among other interesting findings, she has found some deep resonance around issues of legacy. This is among voters who have voted in the current municipal administration, they too are talking about the next generation. As this boomer bulge ages, it is considering what it wants to leave behind and to whom. The question is what shape that legacy will be, and for whom will we leave it?

Whither the public good? (Frances Russell, Winnipeg Free Press)
Our political language about taxes has changed. Gone is “ability to pay.” The new catchphrases are “user pay” and “pay as you go.” The bottom-line message to citizens is “if you can’t pay, you don’t go.” You don’t get to drive into our congested cities without a toll; you don’t get your garbage collected without a fee; and who knows, soon you won’t get to visit a doctor without a charge. So pervasive is everyone-for-himself that there is hardly anyone talking about concepts such as “the public good” and “a rising tide lifts all boats.” There’s no more community, just individuals and their self-interest.–the-public-good-134379453.html

Who wants to talk about income inequality? (Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail)
The Occupy movement if movement is the proper word fizzled after a brief burst of artificial importance in the media. The souls who camped out were a disparate lot, with rather inchoate ideas about how to change society, let alone challenge seriously the capitalist system. Their camps are now being dismantled, sometimes by court order. They did point, however, to a challenge few politicians want to address: growing income inequality and the verifiable fact that, within that growing inequality, the very, very rich are pulling away from the rest of society. You can see this at work within the upper reaches of the corporate sector, where the gap between what bosses and employees make has widened. No longer do compensation committees look at this metric; instead, they compare CEOs compensation with that of other CEOs, so that the vortex of higher pay continues within the narrow confines of cozy cross-comparisons.

Notes on an Occupation (Brigette DePape, The Tyee)
It is not surprising that cities built to maintain the status quo are trying to evict Occupiers — they feel threatened by an empowered and awakened mass. But as a new friend and seasoned activist, Derrick O’Keefe, explains, you cannot evict an idea whose time has come. Whether or not the physical encampments remain, a force has been unleashed that goes beyond the tent cities.

Canada accused of still failing its poor (CBC)
It has been more than 20 years since the House of Commons unanimously resolved to end child poverty by 2000, but a national advocacy group says it’s shocked by how little progress has been made. While the economy has more than doubled in size since that 1989 resolution, the incomes of Canada’s poorest families have stagnated, Campaign 2000 says in its 20th annual report card on child and family poverty released Wednesday.

Campaign 2000 to Release 20th Report Card on Child and Family Poverty in Canada (Digital Journal)
The 2011 report, Revisiting Family Security in Insecure Times, reflects on the state of child and family poverty 22 years after the unanimous House of Commons’ resolution to end child poverty in Canada by the year 2000 and two years after the unanimous House of Commons resolution “to develop an immediate plan to end poverty for all in Canada”. The report includes recommendations for the federal, provincial and territorial governments.
Full reports –

Vancouvers Vision is for housing (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
Imagine a Mayoral candidate who put housing at the heart of his election platform. Imagine a slate of City Council candidates who bragged they had secured funding for 1500 low-income units, opened low-barrier homeless shelters, created new co-op and rental housing and promised, if elected to do more of the same. Imagine them displaying an interactive city map on their campaign home page, showing the 14 lucky neighbourhoods to benefit from new social housing. Would they get elected? In Vancouver, they just did.

Op-Ed: Understanding those marginalized by Canada’s EI system (Andrew Reeves, Digital Journal)
What groups are most systemically omitted from the current EI program? Why? First of all, you must be residing in Canada to receive benefits. Therefore, many temporary migrant workers (live-in caregivers, seasonal agricultural workers, etc.) may not be eligible if they leave Canada when their work is complete. This is the case even though when they are working in Canada they pay into EI as required by law.

The devaluation those with disabilities (Dave Hingsburger,
I was pushing down a hallway, wheels fighting against thick carpet. A fellow in a suit came by, asked me, kindly, if Id like some help, if could he push me. I said, No, carpet is tough to push on, but it gives me a good workout. He smiled back and said, Well, its nice to meet one of you people thats not simply lazy. I stopped and stared at him and he smiled back, thinking that hed complimented me. That his remark had risen me up from the lazy scum who dont work. I took offense at his compliment. He walked off, not having been challenged in his belief, but simply determining that I was the exception that proved the rule. It was my first hint that Id somehow become one of those people those people they talk about on television.

Decisions Published (Toronto Board of Health)
Notes regarding:
The Global City: Newcomer Health in Toronto
Toronto Public Health Newcomer Pilot Projects
Improving Health and Health Equity through the Toronto Parks Plan
and more.


When macro goes micro (Paul Gallant, Yonge Street Media)
When Maggie Chen worked in Shanghai as an economist for the Chinese government, she looked at macro-economic trends in order to analyze the impact on the labour force, vocational training and the social-insurance system. After immigrating to Canada just over three years ago, Chen found herself in the middle of something of an economic experiment. The test: Will the Toronto job market embrace the skills and experience she has, or will she have to alter her career path to make a living? “I’m struggling with switching between my plan A and B,” says Chen, 41. “It’s a cost-efficiency evaluation problem.” … The good news side of Chen’s experience is the growing number of resources available for new Canadians and awareness of the challenges they face. It’s not like Canada can afford to snub its immigrants. Susan Brown, a senior policy advisor for labour force development at the City of Toronto, is familiar with Chen’s situation, both theoretically and personally. As Chen’s career mentor through the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, Brown has been Chen’s cheerleader through her job search.

Speaking with confidence (Kelly Pedro, London Free Press)
To anyone else, “like” and “special” are just words. For Alberto Camayo, those two words are, well, special, signalling an independence he’s had for the first time in London. Thanks to his workplace, Pivotal Services, the Thames Valley District school board and Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Camayo can go places without his children acting as translators and say words such as “like” and “special” without worrying that he’s saying them incorrectly. “Now in public, I’m not afraid,” he said. “I feel more confident.”

Carlene Perkins Mentor to 10 or more skilled immigrants (The Mentoring Partnership)
I find it incredibly fascinating to meet and work with mentees from different countries. Many are from parts of the world that I will never get to visit, so its a way for me to experience those places, while also educating myself on some cultural differences.


Alan Broadbent on cities and international collaboration (Maytree blog)
In September 2011, Alan Broadbent met with a number of civic leaders in New Zealand to talk about various urban issues. Recently, we spoke to Alan about his trip. Alan offers his insights and observations from his meetings, including the experience of being in Christchurch, as it starts to think strategically about rebuilding post-earthquake.

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

Fourth Wall: Communicating with the public (Hilary Best, Spacing Toronto)
The Act stipulates a number of text and graphic requirements including the date/time/location of the required public meeting, the purpose of the amendment, prompts about how to access additional information and a key map. A lot of information for a tiny little notice! Whats most unfortunate about all of these requirements is that in spite of their intention to ensure that the public is informed and engaged, they really do the opposite. Hidden in legalese, disguised by the drab design, the average citizen is likely to miss the fact that these notices are meant as an invitation to provide feedback on the proposed change. Torontos not alone in this design disaster we poured through notices from around the world and found nothing that seemed to be actively enticing citizens to speak up. While a recent re-design has improved our local notices aesthetic considerably, the current model still leaves a lot to be desired.

Improving Our Parks (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Dave Harvey. He is executive director of Toronto Park People. The group has just released the first of several reports designed to improve city parks. The report is called “Pathway to Parks – November 2011 – A New Way Forward for Toronto’s Parks.”


Remembering Tom Kent a Giant of Canadian Social Policy (Alan Broadbent, Maytree)
Tom Kents work was of particular importance to our work at Maytree. In addition to being an exemplar of policy development and implementation, with outstanding achievements in health care and social policy, Tom played a strong role in immigration policy. Under his direction, the Points System was developed which transformed the face of Canada. By selecting immigrants on their human capital rather than their place of birth, newcomers arrived with higher educational, language, employment and skills capability, enabling them to contribute to the building of Canada more ably. And as an added benefit, it made our immigration process colour blind, leading to the rich diversity which is now such a great strength of our country.

Once upon a time, there were Five Good Ideas (Tina Edan, Maytree blog)
Let me tell you a story were excited about. Maytree just published the book: Five Good Ideas: Practical Strategies for Non Profit Success. It has been eight years in the making. Heres an inside look at our listening strategy

Caledon’s Tribute to Tom Kent (Al Etmanski)
Only later did I come to appreciate his seminal role in establishing the Canada Pension Plan, medicare and the establishment of the Points System which selected immigrants on the basis of their abilities not country of origin. After he retired he began writing for the Caledon Institute for Public Policy producing a series of policy papers right up to his recent death. Here with their permission is Caledon’s.

Ontario’s Speech From The Throne Focuses On Jobs, Economy (
Ontario is moving forward for a stronger, more competitive economy that protects and creates jobs for families. The Honourable David C. Onley, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, delivered the government’s Speech from the Throne in the legislature today. The speech focused on the government’s plan to help create jobs, strengthen the economy and protect the gains Ontarians have made in our schools and hospitals.

Charities to pay for trash pickup (Paul Moloney, Toronto Star)
Toronto plans to start charging for trash pickup from churches, service agencies, retirement homes and other non-profit organizations that have long received the service for free. Some 1,100 formerly exempt customers will pay commercial rates phased in over four years, and end up pumping $2.9 million annually into city coffers to recover the cost of collection and disposal. The news comes as a shock, said John Campey, executive director of Social Planning Toronto.–charities-to-pay-for-trash-pickup?bn=1#.Tsvp68SkCec.twitter

Charity Intelligence: Transparent on Transparency? (Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf, Charity Village)
In an economic climate that’s already impacting the flow of donor dollars to the nonprofit sector, Canadian charities, foundations and nonprofits are crying foul over the recent launch and national media coverage of a charity appraisal search engine by a self-appointed watchdog organization that casts a shadow over them all. The group, Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci), itself a charity, released news of its online engine on November 15 in a press release followed by stories in both The National Post and The Toronto Star that caught the attention of the sector, not necessarily for its usefulness, but for what many sector experts are calling a naïve analysis of data and lack of knowledge of CRA guidelines and how nonprofits in Canada actually work.

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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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