Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 24, 2011

A Tale of Two Canadas (Ratna Omidvar, DiverseCity Toronto)
In the DiverseCity Counts 4 report, The Diversity Gap: The Electoral Under-Representation of Visible Minorities, Professor Myer Siemiatycki writes that “government is our shared, public arena and its leadership profile can reflect how power, influence and status are distributed in society.” But government looks very different depending on where your GPS takes you. The Diversity Gap both identifies serious geographic differences in our region and challenges our assumptions about where the opportunities for electoral success are found for visible minorities. In many ways, within a diverse urban region that is the Greater Toronto Area, two Canadas can be found.
I belong here in Canada, though I often feel unwanted (Devanshu Narang, Community editorial board, Guelph Mercury)
And leaving aside the issue of these hard working, intelligent, “Asians” or “South Asians” taking over the “Canadian” universities, as that itself is a topic of a separate discussion, what is more important is the fact that an undercurrent of racism still runs in our minds, somewhere deep, somewhere shallow. That is perhaps one reason why study after study shows that if someone has the job qualifications, but an Asian or South Asian surname, they have a 50 per cent less chance of being called for interviews when they apply for work. And we are not even talking hiring selections. That is perhaps why places of worship, created in accordance with the law of the land and at places designated where they should be set up, are still at times opposed on the grounds that they are different from Canadian architecture or culture. What is the solution?–i-belong-here-in-canada-though-i-often-feel-unwanted
B.C. polygamy ruling offers ‘road map’ to avoid prosecution: lawyer (Charles Lewis, National Post)
Prof. Bala said that most people have focused on Bountiful, but if the law were struck down the greater problem would be among new Canadian immigrants. “We could have a flood of immigrants coming into the country in polygamous relationships, and there would be no legal way to keep them out.” France in the 1970s and 1980s, he said, had no ban on polygamy and so many immigrants sought the country as a home.
The dark side of extreme Filipino emigration (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
Metro Vancouver is home to more than 80,000 Filipino immigrants and temporary foreign workers, most of whom faithfully send home cash “remittances” to family members in their island homeland. But a new scholarly report reveals that even though millions of off-shore remittances may seem like a blessing to the Phillipines, they are also a curse. The export of Filipino workers, including many who are skilled, is contributing to the Phillipines failing to advance as a self-sustaining nation, one which effectively serves its own people.
Post-9/11, visa officers still just ‘winging’ it (Michael Den Tandt, Postmedia News)
Woefully inexperienced and lacking the information to make clear judgments, most officials are forced to rely on gut feelings, audit suggests.
Brockville & District Multicultural Council wins Community Excellence Award (Jill Hudson, St Lawrence EMC)
The Brockville & District Multicultural Council won the Community Excellence Award at the Brockville Chamber Gala, Nov. 10.  This year the multicultural festival celebrated its 30thh year. Reg Francis enjoys it so much that he has not missed a single year. “We just look forward to it – try to improve on it every year,” said Francis. “Because it was in its 30th year we tried to get more, different groups to come and give us their views also.”
Town of Oakville Welcomes New Canadians (
The Town of Oakville, in partnership with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, welcomed 50 new Canadian citizens at a citizenship ceremony at Town Hall on November 17, 2011. Oakville’s newest Canadians come from 21 different countries, including Bangladesh, China, Colombia, England, India, Iraq, Kenya, South Korea, Macedonia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Venezuela.
Much-needed specialized school programs that build equity must expand (John Campey, Canadian Education Association)
Inequities grounded in race, sexual orientation, gender, poverty, and class still haunt our education system.  They must be much more explicitly and vigorously challenged through a significant, dedicated allocation of resources, backed up by policies and practices that actively challenge the status quo.
Stirring up the melting pot: Young Interracial Couples reflect upon romance (Anna Katryan, South Asian Generation Next)
For decades, Canadians have been branding their country as the greatest multicultural haven in the world, where cultures can pray, educate and live together seamlessly in clustered societies. With an eclectic mix of co-workers, classmates and neighbours strolling on our streets, workplaces, and schools, it is safe to say that Canada has now blossomed into a hotspot for many brave young couples willing to transcend their cultural and racial differences in the all too familiar name of love
Diabetes Expo Explores Causes, Offers Solutions to South Asians (Bhaswati Ghosh, South Asian Generation Next)
The 4th Annual South Asian Diabetes Expo, hosted by South Asian Diabetes Chapter of the Canadian Diabetes Association, was recently held in Mississauga. This full day event provided onstage programming, opportunities to ask questions of healthcare professionals, a testing and trade show area with more than 30 exhibitors of diabetes products and services, and the chance to meet and connect with others dealing with diabetes in the South Asian community. Generation Next took this as an opportunity to understand the causes that put South Asians more at risk of developing diabetes as well as to seek suggestions from experts to prevent both the onset of and complications arising from this disease.
Career Choice—whose Decision? (South Asian Generation Next)
Dilemmas Faced by South Asian Students in Choosing their Career.  “I don’t really want to become a doctor, but since my parents are willing to pay for it, I’ll just do it.” Too many times, young individuals face the dilemma of what career path to follow. They constantly ask themselves, “What should I do in life?” and they often get a response like this: “You should probably consider a career in medicine, law, or teaching. This is the right thing to do.”
Bringing Canadian Banking Closer to South Asian families (Asma Amanat, South Asian Generation Next)
With a view to particularly cater to the South Asian community and to raise awareness about various products and services offered by RBC, the branch hosts monthly seminars. “Last month, we held a seminar for helping small business owners start up their business. We would hold a workshop right here and integrate those people with other professionals in the community so that they can help them grow as well,” Fahd says. He talks about new immigrants from South Asia who often stay with friends or family and are, at times, unacquainted with how things like mortgage work in Canada. For people like these, the branch plans to host a seminar on first-time home buyers.
Immigration rules tightened for violent offenders (Louise Elliott, CBC)
The government is expanding the list of crimes that would prevent someone from sponsoring a family member to immigrate to Canada, a move the immigration minister says is designed to better protect immigrant women. According to new regulations that take effect Wednesday, anyone convicted of a crime resulting in bodily harm to any person will not be allowed to sponsor family members to come to Canada. And they would be blocked from doing so for at least five years following the completion of their sentence.
Government of Canada Bars Violent Criminals from Sponsoring Members of Their Family (Marketwire)
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.
Ottawa faces legal challenge over backlogged immigrant visa applications (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
More than 300 people around the world awaiting immigration visas have filed legal notices against the Canadian government, claiming they are being “warehoused” in a lengthy backlog. The notices, filed with the Federal Court of Canada, are asking Citizenship and Immigration Canada to process their applications within a reasonable time frame. The litigants, some of whom applied as far back as 2004, accuse CIC of violating a pledge to assess and finalize decisions in a timely fashion.–ottawa-faces-legal-challenge-over-backlogged-immigrant-visa-applications
Afghan interpreter rejected by Canada says he’s been hunted by Taliban (Bruce Campion-Smith and Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star)
An Afghan interpreter turned away from Canada says he has been hunted by insurgents on motorcycles because of his work with the Canadian military. Sayed Shah Sharifi disputes the accounts of Canadian officials who have played down the threat he faces for aiding allied forces in Kandahar.
Seeking safety for Sudanese women (Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post)
In the meantime, she applied to the UNHCR to be relocated to Canada, the U.S. or Australia. Akok was the only one in her group of 50 to be assigned to Canada. “I remember the lady telling me, ‘That will be good for you as a single mother,’” she said. The rest of her family was assigned to Dallas, Texas. Akok has only visited them twice since she arrived in Regina in March 2000. “I think (Regina is) a good place to raise your kids. The only thing is the cold — I never get used to the cold. It feels like it’s getting worse every year,” she said, laughing. While in Canada, Akok has often thought of the women in Sudan whose lives have been changed by war.
Five challenges we can’t ignore (Diana Carney And Eugene Lang, Ottawa Citizen)
Canada 2020 contends that there are five fundamental, inter-related challenges confronting the country that require strategic political leadership and policy action from the federal government. In all these areas it is time for a more aggressive, focused and creative federal policy response.
Canada 2020 – The Canada We Want in 2020 –
Mental Health Issues among South Asians (Baldev Mutta, South Asian Generation Next)
The issue of mental health is rarely discussed in the South Asian community. The moment someone talks about mental health, the word “PAGAL”, meaning insane or crazy usually comes to play. But, people with mental health issues are not crazy. For most such patients, the journey is long and painful—one that ends at the gate of “stigma”. At Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS), we see more than seventy clients every year, who suffer from one or multiple forms of mental health issues. Some of the mental health illnesses include depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bi-polar disorders, concurrent disorders and psychosis to name a few.
Senate report calls for national child sexual exploitation strategy (Amy Chung, Postmedia News)
The sexual exploitation of children is a deeply rooted reality in too many Canadian homes, families and communities, says a Senate report that calls on the federal government to develop a national strategy to combat this crime. On June 22, 2009, the standing Senate committee on human rights was mandated to study the issue of the sexual exploitation of children in Canada, looking into the scope and prevalence of the problem across the country. On Wednesday, its report, entitled The Sexual Exploitation of Children in Canada: the Need for National Action, was introduced in the Senate.
Feds failing poor children, groups claim (Jeff Outhit, Record)
Federal politicians have failed a pledge to eliminate child poverty and anti-poverty groups are demanding action. A coalition of 120 groups released a national report card on family poverty Wednesday. It calls on Parliament to commit to reducing poverty by 50 per cent by 2020. “Children have been failed by the Canadian government,” said Alizeh Hussain, interim Ontario co-ordinator for the Campaign 2000 anti-poverty initiative.–feds-failing-poor-children-groups-claim
Child poverty rate falls to 9.9% in N.B. (CBC)
Nearly one in 10 children in New Brunswick continues to live in poverty, according to a report released Wednesday by the Human Development Council Saint John. The report says the province’s child poverty rate fell to 9.9 per cent during the survey year of 2009 — the second lowest in the country. But Randy Hatfield, the executive director of Human Development Council Saint John, said the figure doesn’t tell the whole story.
20,000 more Alberta children living in poverty (Karen Kleiss, Edmontonjournal.Com)
A new report shows the number of Alberta children living in poverty has increased 40 per cent in recent years, and Alek Kuot’s six children are among them. The 35-year-old Sudanese refugee was laid off last year and her husband, who works in a bakery, brings home $2,000 a month. Rent is $1,400. “It is hard,” Kuot said in broken English while her four-year-old son Deng played at his ABC Head Start program Wednesday morning. The family escaped from war-torn Sudan, where Kuot was shot through the knees when she was 12 years old.
B.C. moving in wrong direction on child poverty: report (Evan Duggan, Vancouver Sun)
Nearly 140,000 kids in B.C. are growing up in poverty, yet the government continues to go without a provincial strategy to deal with the worsening problem, according to a government-monitoring coalition. B.C’s child poverty rate rose from 14.5 per cent in 2008 to 16.4 per cent in 2009, moving in the opposite direction of the national average, according to the latest numbers published by Campaign 2000 — a coalition of nationwide organizations that monitor government action following a 1989 promise by the House of Commons to end child poverty across Canada by 2000.
A better seat redistribution plan (Editorial, Langley Times)
The federal Liberals have come up with a much better way to deal with the inequality of various regions of Canada in the House of Commons. Rather than expand the Commons by 30 seats, The federal Liberals have come up with a much better way to deal with the inequality of various regions of Canada in the House of Commons. Rather than expand the Commons by 30 seats, the Liberals suggest continuing with the current 308 seats, but taking seats away from Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Webinar Dec 5: Dialogue on Diversity: Setting the Stage for Business Growth and Innovation (Cities of Migration)
Join us in an online conversation with Jane Allen, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, Deloitte (Toronto), to talk about why diversity is important and what organizations can do to successfully integrate skilled, internationally-trained workers and fuel economic growth. Interview host: Justin Treagus, CEO, OMEGA (Auckland, New Zealand)
Skilled immigrant integration and organizational change (TRIEC, Youtube)
Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC and co-chair, TRIEC, talks about changing corporate culture to recognize, welcome and leverage assets of the skilled immigrant talent pool. She also speaks about successful strategies for making this kind of change a reality.
Vying for best of new talent (Cheryl Brink, Standard Freeholder)
Leaders in business, politics and community agencies gathered on Wednesday to brainstorm new ways to attract immigrants to the region. The Eastern Ontario Training Board hosted the event, which featured an official from the Conference Board of Canada who spoke about how to compete for the incoming workforce. “Cornwall is among the communities in Canada that have this as a major priority,” said Diana MacKay, director of education, health and immigration. “…Cornwall seems at the ready to get serious about a strategy for successful integration of newcomers.”
Employment Insurance: Delays & Service Canada Office Closures (Workers’ Action Centre)
We wanted to let you know about some important changes happening on the Employment Insurance (EI) front.
The Federal Government has announced a merger of Service Canada centres from 120 to just 22 operating across the country over the next 3 years. The closures will affect 600 workers and their jobs. This also means that accessing services is going to get a lot more challenging for workers needing EI.
My neighbours may be exploiting their nanny (David Eddie, Globe and Mail)
Our neighbour employs a nanny for a four-year-old child. He is our child’s best friend, so he and the nanny visit us at our house frequently. During these visits, the nanny has disclosed to us that she is forced to work 100 hours a week, is paid $500 a month, is given no holidays or weekends and is prohibited from holding her passport or seeing her contract. As she is from another country, she is trapped and has no means to escape her situation. What should we do?
Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media Toronto headlines related to Occupy Toronto, City Hall, Development, G20 and Other News.
Dec 1: ELNstudio (Emerging Leaders Network)
At ELNstudio, you will:
Hear leadership insights from passionate and talented city-builders, including a keynote address from Dave Meslin, a Toronto-based artist, consultant, trainer and organizer.
Work together with a diverse group of leaders from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to address critical issues facing the Toronto region.
Have an opportunity to pitch collaboratively generated ideas to a panel of experienced civic leaders, moderated by Royson James of The Toronto Star.
Is Rob Ford betraying his “left-wing” voters? (Edward Keenan, The Grid)
Sunday evening on Twitter, the activist Dave Meslin put forward the novel idea that Rob Ford had run for mayor and gotten elected on essentially a left-wing platform—to which, Ford’s senior policy guy, Mark Towhey, replied, “Dave, what are you smoking tonight?” In the ensuing conversation, Meslin said that by campaigning on a “no cuts” platform, Ford was essentially embracing the programs the previous mayor, David Miller had introduced. “If he had truly run a right-wing campaign (“I will cut public services”) he would have lost. He would have lost bad,” Meslin wrote—to which Towhey accused Meslin of practising “selective memory.”
Toronto’s Hardship Fund Ask City Council to have a change of heart (Social Planning Toronto)
Mayor Ford and 22 City Councillors – just enough to carry the day – have voted to consider eliminating the City of Toronto Hardship Fund in the 2012 city budget. Thankfully, their decision still requires another vote before the decision is final. For over a decade, the Hardship Fund has supplied emergency medical aid to the poorest of the poor among us – mostly seniors who don’t have two nickels to rub together. The work of the Fund has been profiled in the Toronto Star. Last year, the fund was the last resort for over 1,300 people.
Imagine Canada – Standing Still, Leaping Boldly (Al Etmanski)
I’ve always been partial to imagination as opposed to dreams.  Imagination has an element of intentionality, of agency.  Bold leaps of imagination inspire bold actions. This sense of purpose and deliberation is a good description of Imagine Canada today. After the inevitable growing pains associated with the merger of the Canadian Centre of Philanthropy and the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations several years ago, Imagine is hitting its stride. Under its new leadership, Chair Faye Wightman (President and CEO of the Vancouver Foundation) and CEO Marcel Lauzière, Imagine is becoming a key voice for the Canadian community sector.
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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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