Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 28, 2011


Balancing social and economic interests with family sponsorships (Jennifer Nees, Canadian Lawyer)
The reaction of the immigration bar to this announcement has been mixed. While some counsel applaud the governments efforts to address the extensive processing times (five years and counting), others are concerned that the unspoken truth is that the government no longer places an importance on sponsoring parents and grandparents. Theres been much discussion about the various benefits and drawbacks of the parental sponsorship program. Among the benefits are the importance of family reunification as a tenet of the Canadian immigration program, the benefits that parents and grandparents provide with respect to familial issues such as childcare, and the liquidated assets that many parents and grandparents bring to Canada when they land as immigrants. The drawback arguments have included the possible increased demand on health-care services from elderly new immigrants and the general lack of contribution to the Canadian workplace as elderly new immigrants may be less likely to enter the Canadian labour market.

Ontario loses federal funding as more immigrants head elsewhere (Tobi Cohen, Postmnedia News)
The federal government is poised to slash another $31.5 million from immigration settlement services in Ontario where community organizations are already reeling from similar cuts last year. While overall federal funding for things like language, employment and housing support will dip by $6 million, Ontario’s loss appears to be the rest of the country’s gain as every other province and territory except Quebec which handles its own immigration program will get a bigger share of a shrinking settlement funding pie. Some of the largest increases are coming in Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Saskatchewan.

Minister Kenney announces increased settlement funding for 11 provinces and territories (Canada News Centre)
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today announced allocations for federal funding of settlement services in all provinces and territories outside Quebec for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The Government of Canada wants newcomers to integrate into Canada. That is why we have tripled settlement funding since 2005-06, said Minister Kenney. We are committed to ensuring the distribution of settlement funding is fair and that immigrants receive the same level of service, regardless of where they choose to settle.

Ontarios dwindling appeal to immigrants prompts funding cut from Ottawa (Steven Chase, Globe and Mail)
Ontario is slowly losing its appeal for immigrants as newcomers head to more promising regions to make a life for themselves, a trend prompting Ottawa to reduce the funding it gives Canadas most populous province to settle arrivals. The state of affairs has Ontarios Immigration Minister blaming the Harper government for the problem and warning the that disappearance of the cash will hurt newcomers in his province.

Details of all settlement funding announcements for all provinces and territories can be found on the CIC site –

Kenney comments may be attempt to erode judicial independence, experts say (Don Butler, Postmedia News)
When Immigration Minister Jason Kenney complained earlier this year that intrusive and heavy-handed Federal Court judges were frustrating the governments efforts to deport failed refugee and immigration claimants, the Canadian Bar Association fired back. Following Kenneys February speech at the University of Western Ontario, Rod Snow, the CBAs president at the time, issued a stiffly worded letter rebuking the ministers comments as an affront to our democracy and freedoms.

Ethnic marketers capitalize on GTA’s shifting demographics (Dakshana Bascaramurty, Globe and Mail)
A few years ago, this crowd might have squeezed down the narrow aisles of a cramped ethnic supermarket in search of specialty foods, but today theyre getting what they need at a No Frills off Highway 410. Statistics Canada predicts that by 2031, 63 per cent of the GTAs population will be visible minorities (a Stats Can term that clearly needs some rethinking), with South Asians and Chinese leading the pack thats up from the 43 per cent counted in 2006. With the minority set to become the majority, the GTA has become ground zero for marketers from major retailers, banks and wireless providers trying to attract the ethnic consumer.

U of T food truck diversity lags behind city (Irina Vukosavic, The Varsity)
A Toronto-wide initiative to diversify food truck options has been in full swing in recent months but it seems that U of T is lagging behind. Though there are a handful of food truck vendors around the campus, their menus are usually split into two categories: standard street meat and Chinese food. The lack of diverse options has caused an issue with some students.

CBC excludes First Nations and Visible Minorities in Political Panels (Iain MacKenzie, The Canadian)
CBC boasts that Canada’s “most-watched political panel” is “Chantal Hébert, Andrew Coyne, and Bruce Anderson, with CBC News chief correspondent Peter Mansbridge.” When are the producers of CBC’s The National with Peter Mansbridge going to appreciate that there are many Canadians who also have critical insights to share on national and parliamentary politics, who are of First Nations and visible minority backgrounds? Doesn’t the producers of CBC The National understand that Canada is not simply a “bicultural society” of “two founding nations”? CBC’s apparent exclusion of First Nations and visible minorties from its “most watched panel” is consistent with Canadian institutionalized racism.

Newest Canadians get guide to life here (Erin Madden, Winnipeg Free Press)
Iva Wilson’s volunteer work combines many of the activities she enjoys the most — teaching, meeting new people and learning new cultures. As a volunteer with the Immigrant Centre, she spends her time facilitating an English class with participants from around the world. The centre helps new immigrants adjust to life in Manitoban and Canadian society by offering free and low-cost programming. “It’s almost like travelling without a passport,” said Wilson, a St. Charles-area resident, noting in her class this fall she’s had students from China, Japan, the Philippines, Venezuela, Switzerland, Russia and Belarus. “It’s just so much fun. You hear such great stories. I learn a lot.”

Multicultural conference aims to educate (Morgan Modjeski, Fort McMurray Today)
The Multicultural Association of Fort McMurray is holding a conference today to examine the ways Fort McMurray’s culturally diverse community has strengthened the community on a whole. The conference scheduled for 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Golden Years Society hopes to show those attending how the unification of cultures in Fort McMurray is an important part of the community

Immigrant children more vulnerable to poverty: Report (Dave White, News1130)
Immigrant children living below the poverty line in BC are suffering more than their native counterparts, according to a report card released last week. And it makes their transition into Canadian life that much more difficult. Timothy Welsh with the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies says immigrant children already deal with learning a new language and entering a different education system.–immigrant-children-more-vulnerable-to-poverty-report

Give Afghan hero safe refuge in Canada, online petitions urge (Paul Watson, Toronto Star)
From Africa, through Europe to Mexico, the U.S. and across Canada, thousands of people are joining the outcry against the Canadian governments refusal to give an Afghan war hero safe refuge. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says former Afghan interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi, who was praised for his bravery on the battlefield by Canadian troops he worked alongside, doesnt deserve a visa to escape Taliban revenge.–give-afghan-hero-safe-refuge-in-canada-online-petitions-urge

European Commission asks: When is an adult not an adult? (Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX)
A couple can be legally married at age 18but a non-EU couple cannot reunite together under several EU countries family reunion rules until age 21. Government and academic studies have evaluated the impacts. Age limits have not proven to be proportionate or effective for integration. There are also better ways to prevent forced marriages, according to former victims and womens shelters.

Ask the Religion Experts: How can we improve interfaith dialogue? (Ottawa Citizen)
A number of Ottawa faith leaders weigh in.

Canada: Immigration System Lax And Dangerous, Audit Reveals OpEd (Jim Kouri, Eurasia Review)
Canadas immigration enforcement officials do not inspect their visa system to protect their country from foreign criminals and people with chronic or deadly diseases, according to a report released Wednesday and obtained by the U.S. National Association of Chiefs of Police. Just after releasing the report, the governments top auditor George Warsema stated during a news conference that the Canadas visa system is antiquated and needs to be updated to deal with current and future international conditions.

Getting on Canada’s wanted list (Ottawa Citizen)
What does it take to be on Canada’s wanted list for suspected war crimes or crimes against humanity?

Racism and ignorance go hand-in-hand (Mindelle Jacobs, Edmonton Sun)
But is it shocking that a member of a visible minority group would go on a racist tear against other non-whites? Not at all. Despite what the politically correct camp might tell you, racism is not solely an assault on human dignity perpetrated by Caucasians. Non-whites can be just as racist, hateful and ignorant. We are inherently tribal a primal trait that serves to cement group identity but can also divide us and lead to xenophobic extremes. Look at the slaughter and displacement of black Africans by Arab militias in Darfur.

Content focus of rights museum (Geoff Kirbyson, Winnipeg Free Press)
With both fundraising and construction moving toward completion, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is turning its attention toward the exhibits it will put on display. Museum officials met Sunday with representatives from across the country from the Chinese Canadian community to begin discussions how to tell their story. Joseph Du, president of the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, where the talks were held, said he’d like to see a pair of human rights issues that are close to his heart addressed at the museum — the head tax, a fixed fee charged to each Chinese person entering Canada starting in 1885, and the Chinese Exclusion Act, a U.S. law that banned immigration from China. “It’s about education. People will learn from history and hopefully won’t make a similar mistake,” Du said. “We hope (the discussions) are the beginning, like a seed that will flower and turn to fruit.”

Gafuik: Financial literacy a skill all Canadians could get better at (Nicholas Gafuik, Calgary Herald)
Among the top challenges facing recent immigrants is money and financial literacy. Indeed, the same Trudeau Foundation poll found that six-in-10 say immigrants should be required to become economically self-sufficient in their first year in Canada. Money and financial literacy is a big issue for a lot of Canadians, not just newcomers. The debt-todisposable income ratio has risen steadily over the last 20 years reaching 148 per cent in 2010. Momentum, a local organization that provides financial literacy programs for lower-income Calgarians, notes that more than half of Canadians say they need help with financial management skills. Financial concerns rank even higher among immigrants.

Series (part 1): Tough on refugees: Are non-Canadians getting a fair shake from our federal judges? (Don Butler, The Ottawa Citizen)
Federal Court of Canada judges appointed by Conservatives are significantly less likely to overturn decisions by government officers and tribunals to deny refugee claims or deport non-citizens than are judges appointed by past Liberal administrations. And an applicants likelihood of success diminishes even further if the appeal or review of their case is heard by judges named to the court in the past three years by Stephen Harper.

Findings raise questions about Federal Court immigration rulings (Don Butler, Postmedia News)
Federal Court of Canada judges appointed by Conservatives are significantly less likely to overturn decisions by government officers and tribunals to deny refugee claims or deport non-citizens than are judges appointed by past Liberal administrations. And an applicant’s likelihood of success diminishes even further if the appeal or review of their case is heard by judges named to the court in the past three years by Stephen Harper. The findings come from an Ottawa Citizen analysis of 480 refugee, immigration and citizenship decisions posted to the Federal Court’s website in the first six months of this year. Along with similar findings in academic research, they raise troubling questions about the degree to which the court is delivering consistent justice to those who rely on Canada’s immigration and refugee processes.

A sample of Federal Court decisions (Don Butler, Postmedia News)
In the first six months of this year, the Federal Court overturned 184 citizenship and immigration decisions made by tribunals, officers and citizenship judges. Here is a sample of those cases.

A primer on the immigration appeal process (Vancouver Sun)
Federal Court judges hear appeals and judicial review applications from a wide range of processes and decision-makers in immigration, refugee and citizenship cases. But only a small percentage of those decisions ever make it to Federal Court. Here’s a short overview.

Is there an ideological divide in immigration and refugee system? (Don Butler, Postmedia News)
Federal Court of Canada judges appointed by Conservatives are significantly less likely to overturn decisions by government officers and tribunals, to deny refugee claims or deport non-citizens, than are judges appointed by past Liberal administrations. And an applicant’s likelihood of success diminishes even further if the appeal or review of their case is heard by judges named to the court in the past three years by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The Judges: An immigration and refugee case scorecard (Ottawa Citizen)
The Citizen analyzed 480 immigration, refugee and citizenship decisions issued by the Federal Court of Canada between January and June 2011. Here are the results for each of the 33 judges who ruled on appeals and applications for judicial review.

Tribunal of last resort (Don Butler, Postmedia News)
Thus began a journey that has taken the 44-year-old Zacarias, who now lives in Ottawa, through Canada’s overburdened refugee system and ultimately to the Federal Court of Canada. His case casts light on the essential, if poorly understood, role the Federal Court plays in refugee, immigration and citizenship matters, which make up more than 80 per cent of its caseload.

Whither multiculturalism… or wither multiculturalism? (Sunil Rao, South Asian Focus)
Multiculturalism is, of course, very important, for all things in Canada. Among other things, it calls attention to a Canadian South Asian literary identity, and affords Canadian authors of a South Asian heritage a specific place in the sun, said participants at the recent Festival of South Asian Literature and the Arts. But in recent times, despite considerable advancement in what is called “diasporic literature”, multiculturalism itself has receded into old stereotypes – and these negatives are on the ascendancy, several writers felt.

Library newcomer program marks three years (Cynthia Reason,
In just three short years, the Library Settlement Partnership has made a difference in the lives of thousands of newcomers in Toronto and beyond – just ask Celia Cruz-Hew of CultureLink. A library settlement worker at the Eatonville branch of the Toronto Public Library in Etobicoke, Cruz-Hew receives almost daily emails, phone calls and visits from the clients whose lives have been changed by the program.–library-newcomer-program-marks-three-years

The Muslim next door: becoming local in Vancouver (Eva Sajoo, Vancouver Observer)
How much of who we are is shaped by where we come from, and where we are? For SFUs Derryl MacLean, the impact is decisive. His lecture on the making of Vancouvers Muslim community part of the universitys So you think you know Vancouver series was delivered to a large crowd at Harbour Centre on November 24. The first recorded presence of Muslims in Canada was in 1871. In Vancouver, Muslim immigrants were visible in 1931. Unlike in other parts of Canada, the Muslim community in this city is predominantly South Asian yet most did not arrive here from India or Pakistan. Instead, they first migrated to East Africa and Fiji, where they remained for several generations. Political upheavals in the early 1970s, especially in countries like Uganda and Tanzania, brought the largest groups of Muslim immigrants to Vancouver.

Too much sensitivity doomed the Shafia girls (Robert Fulford, National Post)
The Shafia girls were likely the victims, not only of a crime, but of our perverse national habit: We emphasize multicultural propriety more than the welfare of individual human beings. And this goes triple for Muslims. That’s the background that shapes the day-to-day policies of teachers, social workers and even police. It makes them overly anxious to conciliate, to mollify. It disarms their best instincts and prevents them from doing what they would want to do: Get potential victims out of danger. Official Canada has been terrorized by fear of the word Islamophobia. We live by a rule that is implicitly stated in the media every day and privately drummed into every schoolteacher, social worker and cop: Don’t dare show the smallest sign of insensitivity to the customs of Muslim immigrants.

Corbella: Cultural relativism (Licia Corbella, Calgary Herald)
Arjomand, a prominent Canadian-Iranian activist, says but for official multiculturalism and the cultural relativism it breeds in Canada, those three teenagers and one woman might be alive today. It was revealed on Wednesday and Thursday in the Kingston, Ont. courtroom where the Shafia-clan stand trial that, despite clear signs that the girls were in physical and emotional danger and despite at least one-dozen crisis workers being involved in their cases including teachers, social workers and police officers the girls received very little help and support.

The impact of considering birthplace in analyses of immigrant health (Michelle Rotermann, Statistics Canada)
According to the 2006 Census, nearly 20% of Canadas population were foreign-born.1 Moreover, in the last 35 years, the predominant source countries of immigrants to Canada have shifted from Europe to Asia, the Middle East and Africa.1 Because of immigrants increasingly diverse origins, it is important to study them as a non-homogenous group. A challenge facing health researchers is that small sample surveys can limit the analysis of immigrant subpopulations. The objective of this article is to illustrate how combining data from several cycles of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) increases analytical power and yields a clearer picture of immigrant health by identifying more precise subgroups. Examples are presented to demonstrate how indicators of health status vary by birthplace and period of immigration.

School Board says yes (Arnold A. Auguste, Share)
The Toronto District School Board’s decision in favour of the long awaited alternative high school with an Africentric core program is cause for celebration among those who have worked with determination for some 30 years for this initiative. This decision builds on the breakthrough elementary level Africentric Alternative School.

CIC Goes Paperless (CIC)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada will make the application process easier while saving $4.2 million over the next three years, by moving more of its business online, Minister Jason Kenney announced today. This change will simplify the application process and make it more accessible to applicants. On line services allow people to apply whenever and wherever they want, with online tools to help navigate the immigration process and fill out forms. As part of the move to online services, beginning December 1, 2011, CIC will no longer print and mail out forms and application kits. If application forms cannot be completed and submitted electronically, applicants can print the forms themselves from the CIC website

MPP addresses students (Louie Rosella,
Ontario’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Charles Sousa was at John Fraser Secondary School this morning, telling a group of close to 50 immigrant students they will have all the resources they need to learn English and succeed in their community.–mpp-addresses-students

Niqab assault case ends in suspended sentence (CBC)
A woman who pleaded guilty to assault after pulling off a Muslim womans face veil at a Mississauga, Ont., shopping mall was given a suspended sentence on Friday. Rosemarie Creswell pleaded guilty to assault after mall security footage showed her pulling off Inas Kadris traditional face veil, known as a niqab, at Sheridan Centre in Mississauga in August 2010. Kadri was with her two small children when the attack occurred

New survey shows Canadians see immigration as a “solution” (Andrew T. Miller, UNews)
Dalhousie University recently played a major role in a new survey that showed Canadians embrace immigrants who integrate into Canadian culture and appreciate the country’s values. The findings of the survey showed Canadians generally welcome new immigrants, with 47 per cent of Canadians believing immigrants make Canada a better place. The survey was commissioned by the Pierre Trudeau Foundation and conducted by the Environics Research Group.

A presumption of guilt (Catherine Solyom, The Gazette)
But despite the programs perceived success, it has been the object of great criticism, paradoxically on the part of human-rights advocates those most interested in seeing war criminals brought to justice. Unlike those wanted by the CBSA for serious criminality a second list was published four weeks later none of the men have been prosecuted in a criminal court, they say, and in all likelihood, they never will be. Suspected war criminals in Canada are accused before the IRB, where the standard of evidence is much lower than in a criminal court, says Alex Neve, the president of Amnesty International. Its not that someone is found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but that there is some reason to believe that he might be a war criminal. And the kind of evidence used in immigration proceedings is much looser.


Canada rejects asylum seeker deported to torture in Libya (Sandro Contenta, Toronto Star)
Canadian officials are washing their hands of an asylum seeker who was tortured when Canada deported him and his family to Libya, while it was still in the clutches of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Adel Benhmuda learned this week that his application to return to Canada with his family, on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, was rejected by immigration officials.–canada-rejects-asylum-seeker-deported-to-torture-in-libya

What is the Federal Court? (Don Butler, Postmedia News)
Unlike the better-known Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada’s work impinges on Canadians’ consciousness infrequently. If you’re an immigration or refugee claimant, however, no court in the country is more important. For some, it literally holds their fate in its judicial hands. In the first six months of this year, the Federal Court dealt with more than 5,000 cases. Of those, more than 80 per cent involved immigration or refugee matters the vast majority asking the court to review decisions by Immigration and Refugee Board panels or Citizenship and Immigration Canada officers.

After years on the run, suspect awaits ‘removal’ (Catherine Solyom, Postmedia News)
Abraham Bahaty Bayavuge sits behind a thick glass partition at the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, shifting nervously in his bright orange jumpsuit. It has been three months since the computer programmer turned fugitive, No. 2 on Canada’s list of mostwanted suspected war criminals, has been detained, awaiting his imminent deportation to the Democratic Republic of Congo, still hoping for an 11th-hour reprieve.


When Politics Trumps Good Policy (Michael Adams, The Mark)
Some governments choose to make decisions based on evidence even when the evidence runs contrary to majority opinion. For instance, when Canada ended the practice of capital punishment in 1976, a strong majority of the population still favoured the death penalty. (An Environics survey in 1979 found support at 77 per cent that figure has since declined to a slim majority of 53 per cent.) But not every government decision is made according to the best available evidence about what actually works: Sometimes, political incentives trump data, and leaders choose to cater to self-interest or perceived self-interest rather than follow expert data.

New tactics in an old fight (Toronto Star)
Despite promises, plans and new programs, Canada has made depressingly little headway in its 22-year fight to do away with child poverty. Campaign 2000, the long-standing champion of the countrys poor kids, has just issued its latest report card: One of out every 10 Canadian children still lives in poverty. Children constitute 40 per cent of food bank users. Children and their mothers are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population.–new-tactics-in-an-old-fight

Aboriginal Achievement Award (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jane Hawtin spoke with Dr. Janet Smylie. She is one of 15 recipients of this year’s National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.


Webinar Nov 30: Increasing Intercultural Competence: Maximizing a diverse workforce (
Developing the intercultural competence of employees will improve their ability to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures. This, in turn, improves employee management, teamwork, productivity and customer service. This webinar will highlight important practices to increase the intercultural competence of your employees.

Unlocking immigrant potential ( etip)
Skilled immigrants are essential for business growth and innovation but they face several systemic barriers to employment, according to Deloittes white paper, Welcome To Canada. Now What? Unlocking the Potential of Immigrants for Business Growth and Innovation. Jane Allen, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer at Deloitte, says employers can remove these barriers and better tap into immigrant talent.

Mentors open doors to opportunity (Derek Sankey, The Calgary Herald)
Frustrated, she also applied to every immigrant resource centre available to her to try to form an ongoing relationship with somebody who could offer local advice to land a job. Then, she heard about a mentoring program through the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council. She enrolled in the council’s Mentoring Collaborative program, a four-month initiative that matches up new immigrants with an established, local professional, which started in January.

Employers crossing cultural boundaries (Denise Deveau, Postmedia News)
This is far from being a local phenomenon. Teresa Gonzalez, director, gateway for international professionals at Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education in Toronto, says “immigrants are expected to account for all of Canada’s labour force growth this year. For that reason, access to this pool of talent has become a pressing issue for employers.” The challenge for many employers lies in knowing where to find the right qualifications and talent for the job.

Industry must think local, hire global (Joel Schlesinger, The Calgary Herald)
Kamon and other immigrant workers often face many challenges finding work in the sector despite its need for skilled workers. They may lack the language skills, or are not able to transfer their professional skills acquired in other nations to similar positions here in Canada. They also often lack knowledge about how to network in their newfound home, isolated and unable to meet with other professionals in the industry who may help them find work. Over the last few years, how-ever, the industry has become increasingly aware that for it to grow, internationally trained, immigrant workers will play a significant role in meeting the demand for skilled labour, says Cheryl Knight, executive director of the Petroleum Human Re-sources Council of Canada. Yet she says the industry also realizes it has some work to do, making its recruiting practices more proactive.

Conservative cuts to live-in caregivers will hurt families: NDP (Indo-Canadian Voice)
The Conservative government will cut the Live-in Caregiver program (LIC) by 25-44 percent next year, contradicting the Immigration Ministers prior assurances that it will be a growing and important aspect of the immigration system in the future. Recently tabled immigration targets for 2012 show the Conservative government will issue 9,000 visas to caregivers and their families, a sharp reduction from 13,909 in 2010 and the projected 12,000-16,000 in 2011.

Brain drain of African doctors has saved Canada $400-million (Geoffrey York, Globe and Mail)
Canada has saved nearly $400-million by poaching doctors from Africa, while the African countries that trained those doctors have lost billions of dollars as a result of medical migration. Wealthy countries such as Canada are benefiting significantly from those African losses as thousands of trained doctors continue to emigrate from African countries that already suffer a severe shortage of health workers, new research shows.

Province Launches Workforce Strategy (Nova Scotia government)
A new provincial Workforce Strategy will help to address the economic challenges presented by a shrinking workforce and help Nova Scotians to acquire the right skills for good jobs.

Business visa rejections pose threat to Chinese investment in B.C. (Gordon Hamilton, Vancouver Sun)
Wangs story is not unique. There are enough anecdotal reports of Chinese business visitors to Canada having difficulty in getting their visas that Pat Bell, British Columbias jobs, tourism and innovation minister, views it as a threat to the provinces China strategy. The Vancouver Chinese consulate views visa rejections as an important issue affecting current and future visitors to Canada. An email statement from the consulate said: The Chinese Embassy and Chinese Consulates in Canada pay attention to this problem and are coordinating efforts with the Canadian government to make progresses that could facilitate as well as attract Chinese investors in Canada.

Health screening woefully inadequate (Toronto Sun editorial)
The Public Health Agency of Canada, meanwhile, lists 56 diseases that demand national surveillance, but you will not find them in any Immigration Canada advisory. We can thank the recent report by Interim Auditor General John Wiersema for bringing to our attention that our porous border is more sieve-like than ever — all of which will no doubt raise the eyebrows of the Homeland Security types in the United States. Thus far the Harper government has done virtually nothing to beef up its visa staff across the world, putting Canada’s security in the hands of just 270 often inadequately-trained officers, and some 1,300 staffers hired from among the locals.


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

Only A Few Seconds More (Steve Munro)
Defenders of the coming service cuts minimize the effect by saying that riders will only have to wait a bit longer, a few minutes at most, for their ride to show up at a stop. The attitude is that the change is trivial and, by implication, grumbling customers dont know when they have a good thing. In fact, when headways are short, a few seconds change can make a big difference. The most striking example we can see every day is on the subway where only a slight extension of headways quickly translates to crowded platforms and trains, and long dwell times at busy stations. The same effect on a smaller scale happens on bus and streetcar routes all over the city.

TTC riders will seethe as cutbacks bite (Chris Selley, National Post)
The vast majority of problems, however, were not about customer service in the value-added sense smiles and doffed caps and buses that wait for you while you run, and chipper young people welcoming you to Union Station with a smile. They were about the TTC providing slow, unreliable, uncomfortable transportation services to its customers. Buses cant or wont run on schedule, bunch up, skip stops; too many short-turns; slow trains; not enough seats; poorly designed routes; standing in line in 2011! to pay cash for tokens.

Toronto has grown into a new label: the compassionate city (Lisa Rochon, Globe and Mail)
Toronto warrants an updated label. For here is a place where cultures from around the world are integrated, where a civil society accepts and even embraces difference. In many ways, according to the 2011 Corporate Knights Sustainable Cities survey, Toronto has become a gentle, noble teacher, the nations top performer for ecological integrity, economic security, infrastructure, built environment, governance, empowerment and, perhaps most notably, social well-being.


Statistics Canada to make all online data free (Carl Meyer, Embassy)
All of Statistics Canadas standard online products, including the census, socioeconomic and geographic data, will be offered to the public for free starting February 2012, Embassy has learned.

CAMH gets $30-million donation for new research institute (Carly Weeks, Globe and Mail)
Cutting-edge work investigating new ways to treat mental illness and provide better care for patients will soon be one step closer to reality because of a massive $30-million donation to create a new research institute at Torontos Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The donation, made by the daughters of the late Audrey Campbell and their families, is the largest private donation ever made to a mental health and addiction research hospital in Canada.

BC’s Advisory Council on Social Entrepreneurship Releases Interim Report (Al Etmanski)
Together: Respecting the Future is now on-line. You can access and comment on the draft report using Google Docs. To download a full copy of the Draft Recommendations click here. This draft report represents the current thinking of members of the BC Governments Advisory Council on Social Entrepreneurship on how best to address our provinces tough social challenges now and in the future. We have chosen Bill Reid’s Spirit Canoe as our enabling metaphor. This mythical canoe which is on the back of every twenty dollar bill holds a variety of diverse occupants, not always in harmony, who have to work together to navigate the challenges of their environment.

The New Politics Initiative vision statement of 2001: Open, sustainable, democratic (
The New Politics Initiative is being launched by a diverse assembly of Canadians — individuals from virtually every walk of life, leaders and rank-and-file partisans from a rich array of unions, social justice groups, and other campaigning organizations, as well as leaders and activists within the NDP. Together we see the need for such a party, and we are pledging to support its creation.

Ottawa: Big Charity loses its (united) way (Dawg’s Blawg)
Planned Parenthood. City for All Women. STORM, which reaches out to sex trade workers. Minwaashin Lodge. The Elizabeth Fry immigrant women program. Mothercraft. The Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. The OCISO multicultural family program. YMCA/YWCAs child care support programs. All have been delisted from United Way Ottawa under Michael Allen, the CEO of UWO and a veteran Conservative player. All of them are service organizations focusing on the special needs of women. As blogger Aalya Ahmad notes: [T]he list of defunded organizations goes on and is starting to look disturbingly like the types of groups that have been targeted by the federal Harper government: namely, groups and services that work on equity issues and support womens and girls empowerment. Coincidence?

Big Charity: Who gets turned away at United Way? (Aalya Ahmad, Rabble)
But is Big Charity getting too big for the communities it’s supposed to be serving? In Ottawa, a coalition has been forming around this question. Ottawa Community Action is concerned about the direction that United Way Ottawa (UWO) seems to be taking under current CEO Michael Allen. The coalition is worried that the equal partnerships of yesteryear are being replaced in favour of a top-down corporate structure with a small executive making decisions that are increasingly unresponsive to the small groups and organizations that have agreed to rely on United Way Ottawa for their funding.

Speaking notes for Dr. Kellie Leitch on the occasion of the official launch of the Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation at the University of Waterloo (Canada News Centre)
The creation of the Social Innovation program here at the University of Waterloo, comes at an important moment. This innovation in thinking and approach coincides with the growing awareness that we need to change the way we approach Canadas persistent social challenges problems that still prevent some Canadians from reaching their potential and improving their living conditions. Lets think about the global context. After all, compared to the citizens of other countries, were doing very well. Were living longer and healthier lives than ever before. As a doctor, that gives me great pride.


Meet an Abolitionist: Petra Bosma of IJM Canada (Michelle Brock, Hope for the Sold)
This past summer, I had the privilege of meeting an enthusiastic and lovable International Justice Mission representative at an anti-trafficking meeting hosted by World Vision. Petra Bosma is the Communications Coordinator at IJM Canada. And I would like you to meet her! For those of you who want a job in the social justice field, here is a great example of what that could look like.

A voice for the silent (Amanda Pasionek And Ashley Spinney, The Windsor Star)
Currently, under existing law, there is no requirement for any lounge or high-traffic business to post any type of awareness for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline (NHTRCH). For many, they may have no idea whom or what this hotline is for. Victims of human trafficking include children involved in the sex trade, adults age 18 or over who are coerced or deceived into commercial sex acts and anyone forced into different forms of “labour or services,” such as domestic workers held in a home or farm-workers forced to labour against their will.
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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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