Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 30, 2011


Artists in the GTA: Sharada Eswar tells South Asian tales old and new (Leah Sandals, Yonge Street)
Whether it’s music, art, the written word or movement, the uniting thread amongst Eswar’s projects is her commitment to storytelling. It’s a passion sparked at the age of five, when—”as a good South Indian girl,” she jokes—she began lessons in classical South Indian singing and storytelling, eventually earning certificates in the subject. During her undergrad at the University of Calcutta, Eswar studied English literature, while her masters’ at Jadavpur University focused on feminism in Indian literature. After graduating in 1993, she started working at ad agencies until shortly after the birth of her daughter.

Islamic immigration’s effect on nations’ laws (Chad Groening – OneNewsNow)
Brian Rushfeldt, executive director of Canada Family Action (CFA), warns that the issue could soon become a widespread problem. “What concerns me is we’ve got people immigrating to Canada, but they want to bring their own values and their own beliefs here and live in a country that promises them a lot, but they don’t want to live by the law nor the values of the nation that they’re coming to,” he notes. “And somehow, our immigration department has to put a stop to that.” Rushfeldt believes the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is more likely to clamp down on immigration than is the United States.

How immigration and the changing fundraising landscape will affect you (Katya Andresen, Nonprofit Marketing blog)
Giving USA has released a research spotlight that reflects on how profound demographic shifts are going to alter the fundraising landscape in the coming decades. According to the report, it is estimated that 82 percent of the total US population increase from 2005 to 2050 will result from 67 million new immigrants and their 50 million U.S.-born children and grandchildren.

Court rules Hells Angel not entitled to stay in Canada (Tu Thanh Ha, Globe and Mail)
Mark Alistair Stables has no criminal record and has been a permanent resident of Canada for more than four decades. But a court has ruled that the government has the right to expel him because he is not a citizen and was a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels. “Non-citizens do not have an unqualified right to enter or remain in Canada,” Mr. Justice Yves de Montigny said in a Federal Court decision earlier this month.

Ashton stresses diversity as key to new politics (Niki Ashton, NDP)
Toronto. NDP Leadership candidate Niki Ashton has stressed celebrating and supporting diversity is a key element of her new politics campaign and the future of the NDP and Canada. Ashton took the message to an event marking the opening of the Ethiopian Cultural Centre in Winnipeg, a Latin American event in Toronto and to Danforth, the heart of Toronto’s Greek community. “The old politics of Stephen Harper sees diversity only in terms of votes. New politics sees our diversity as a key element of our identity and future as Canadians.” Ashton said that the Federal government must take an active role in working with ethnocultural communities on issues ranging from language and culture to immigration.

MissRepresentation and the portrayal of female politicians in the media (Fiona O’Connor, Samara Canada)
MissRepresentation is a new documentary released in 2011 that looks at the connection between how the American media portrays women and American women’s underrepresentation among ranks of elected representatives and other leadership positions.

The Multi-Faith Secular: Changing the Discourse on Religious Accommodation in Schools (Nadir Shirazi, Canadian Education Association)
To their credit, the Ontario Ministry of Education, previously led by Kathleen Wynne, consulted with best practices and made religious accommodation a tenant of the Ontario Inclusive Education Strategy. Unfortunately, religious accommodation is a deeply legal term that doesn’t speak to the shifting nature of a new generation of Canadian students and spiritual identity – and the discourse of religious accommodation doesn’t protect schools and boards when they make an “accommodation” based on a public backlash.

Resident wins provincial award (Joseph Chin,
Mississauga’s Teenaz Javat, a 2008 graduate of Sheridan College’s Canadian Journalism for Internationally Trained Writers program, has been presented with a 2011 Premier’s Award.
Presented annually to six recipients, the Premier’s Award celebrates the contributions college graduates make to Ontario and throughout the world. Nominations are submitted from each of Ontario’s 24 colleges in six categories: Business, Creative Arts and Design, Community Services, Health Sciences, Technology and Recent Graduate.–resident-wins-provincial-award

Should libraries stick to books? (Paul Moloney, Toronto Star)
Toronto’s budget chief questioned Tuesday whether the Toronto Public Library should be in the business of offering popular movies and material not in the English language.–should-libraries-stick-to-books

Infographic – #E2sday: The Many Faces of Innovation (
As companies continue to expand globally, executives understand that their companies can’t be successful if they ignore diversity and inclusion strategies. Ultimately, including a heterogeneous but cohesive blend of different genders, ages, and ethnic groups provides multiple perspectives, allowing for better problem solving and more creativity. As more social business tools enter the workplace, it is becoming easier to bring diverse groups of people together to collaborate more effectively on projects and innovate even faster.

Careers Today Canada: Workplace diversity event card (Minto Roy, Diversity CLUES Consulting Inc.)
Minto Roy, founder of Vancouver based Careers Today Canada and co-owner of the Canadian Immigrant Magazine will discuss how diversity can become a key strategy to sustain and grow sales revenue and provide a competitive edge to a companys brand awareness at an upcoming BC HRMA roundtable.The presentation will focus on the following topics.
Proven Ideas and examples of how to effectively screen, hire, engage and maximize the performance of various of a diverse workforce including; Generation XY, boomers, professional immigrants and persons with disabilities.
How and why diversity is being driven by the consumer market and why companies must adapt.
How HR can play a key role in diversity management and leadership to create and empower an organizational culture

Ontario unhappy with ‘increased’ funding (South Asian Focus)
Ontario is unhappy at “increased” settlement unding announced last week by the federal Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “I am disappointed with the Harper Government’s short-sighted decision to cut support to Ontario’s newcomer settlement agencies,” said Ontario Minister of Citizenship Charles Sousa. He was reacting to CIC Minister Jason Kenney, who last week said the federal government has “tripled settlement funding since 2005-06” for 11 provinces and territories.

Statement from Charles Sousa, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Ontario News)
I am disappointed and concerned with the Harper Government’s short-sighted decision to cut support to Ontario’s newcomer settlement agencies. Those cuts will make it harder for newcomers to find jobs and contribute to Ontario’s economy, at a time of global uncertainty when Ontario needs everyone at their best. I am urging the federal government to think twice and make the right decision.

Better prospects in Canada: firm (Katlene O. Cacho, Sunstar)
WITH countries like New Zealand and United Kingdom becoming stringent in accepting immigrants, a homegrown visa service provider, PinoyCare, encouraged Cebuanos to go to Canada instead. “There are a lot of job opportunities that await everyone in Canada; it is the entry that is an issue,” said Prisca Niña Mabatid, president and chief executive officer of PinoyCare Visa Center, during the firm’s 12th anniversary celebration at the Radisson Blu Cebu.

Toronto’s Scarborough Museum to lead Youth Diversity Experience across Canada (City of Toronto)
The City of Toronto’s Scarborough Museum has been recognized as a leader in engaging youth and newcomers to Canada, having recently received a $400,000 grant from the Inter-Action Multiculturalism Grants and Contributions Program of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. The grant will allow the museum to expand and enhance its Canadian Museums and Youth Diversity Experience program, which is designed to integrate newcomer youth (ages 14 years and older) into their community through heritage and cultural projects.

RFP: Project Evaluation (SettlementAtWork)
CMAS was funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to develop a new childcare model. The proposed Care for Newcomer Children (CNC) model and associated requirements incorporate options and flexibility of care to meet the varying needs of organizations and the newcomer families they serve. CMAS is looking for a third party to evaluate the system in three categories. Deadline: December 9, 2011

Equity is Happiness (Kareem Ibrahim, Canadian Education Association)
Equity is happiness. In order to ensure student achievement, it is critical to employ equitable practices in schools, both inside and outside the classroom walls. Being the main place of socialization for students, from a young age until their years as emerging young adults, one’s school experience can make or break the futures of students who feel threatened or uncomfortable at school. Just to think that the smallest things that one’s peers might do has the potential to make another’s life completely miserable is a daunting thought that, personally, redefines my priorities as a student leader. Not Long ago, I might have had organizing school dances and spirit days at the top of my extra-curricular to-do list, but now I find myself looking at things with a lens tinted with thoughts of equity and inclusion.

City of Toronto Immigration Portal updated (Settlement AtWork)
The City of Toronto’s portal for immigrants has been updated with lots more information for Toronto’s immigrants.

New Public Service Announcement Videos for Positive Spaces Initiative (Settlement AtWork)
New Public Service Announcement Videos have been posted for the Positive Spaces Initiative, the project developed by OCASI to share resources and increase organizational capacity across the sector to more effectively serve LGBTQ newcomers.

Catholic agencies fear damage from cuts to settlement agencies (Michael Swan, The Catholic Register)
Catholic agencies that help immigrants and refugees settle in Ontario don’t know how they will cope with their share of a $31.5-million funding cut to settlement agencies in Ontario.

The 8 Best Innovation Ideas From Around the World (Ross DeVol, The Atlantic)
Best practices in high-skilled immigration policy can be witnessed in Canada. The government has consistently promoted Canada as a destination for immigrants and prides itself on having a fairly open and straightforward immigration process. In 2010, Canada welcomed 280,636 immigrants while the U.S. accepted 1,042,625 — on a per capita basis less than one-half of the Canadian figure. Under the Canadian immigration system there are three categories: economic, family reunification and refugee. The economic class is based upon a detailed points system that calculates relevant skills. Canada, with a population one-tenth that of the U.S., accepted 186,913 “economic immigrants” in 2010, accounting for 66.7 percent of its total. These immigrants unquestionably contribute to economic growth, job creation and increased demand for housing. In contrast, the U.S. currently caps employment-based visas, including those with extraordinary skills, professionals holding advanced degrees, skilled workers and professionals, special immigrants (e.g. religious workers), and investors, at 140,000, or just 13.4 percent of all immigrants.

The Circuit: Toronto Lawyers Association hosts first-ever ‘Diversity Soirée’ (Yvonne Bambrick, Precedent)
The Toronto Lawyers Association held its first-ever Diversity Soirée last Thursday night, celebrating the strength of the growing cultural diversity reflected in the Toronto bar. The well-attended wine and cheese party, which took place at the TLA lounge on University Avenue, featured guest speaker Justice Harry LaForme.

Murder suspect’s polygamy put family at risk of deportation, court told (Timothy Appleby, Globe and Mail)
If Canadian authorities had discovered that an Afghan-born immigrant now on trial for murder had concealed the fact that he had two wives, he and his large family would all have been deported, his trial heard Tuesday. “They would have withdrawn residence for all the family,” Montreal immigration lawyer Sabine Venturelli told the jury.

No Muslim Reality Show Needed in Canada (Hafsa Lodi, Illume Magazine)
In the realm of reality series, shows like “Keeping up with the Kardashians” and “Jersey Shore” tend to thrive. After all, watching grown women party like they’re still in high school is far more entertaining than watching scenes of Muslims bow in prayer. But when TLC’s new reality show, “All-American Muslim,” premiered earlier this month, almost two million viewers stayed in to watch it, causing a storm of opinionated blog posts and tweets to surface on the web. In Canada meanwhile, some of us failed to comprehend why there was, and still is, so much hype surrounding the show.

Are super visas another sign of ‘super’ economic migration reliance? (Mario D. Bellissimo, Embassy)
Subscription required for full text. The government has placed a two-year moratorium on new parent and grandparent sponsorships to alleviate the current backlog and in turn created a new parent and grandparent ‘super visa’ that comes into effect on Dec. 1.

Niqab Rage: Canadian Woman Given Sentence for Anti-Muslim Bigotry (Waleed Ahmed, Muslim Matters)
It was supposed to be just another shopping trip when Inas Kadri ventured out to the mall with her two little children last August. As she was browsing through the shops and checking out the sales, a woman approached her and started cursing and yelling at her. This woman swore at Kadri, who wears a niqab, about her religion and told her to “Leave our country. Go back to your country”. In her anger and rage, this woman took her hate to the next level and pulled off Kadri’s niqab. All this was caught in the mall’s security camera.


Live chat: Refugee and immigration rulings (Ottawa Citizen)
The Citizen’s Don Butler talks to Sean Rehaag from York University’s Osgoode Law School on the wide variability in the way Federal Court of Canada judges rule on cases involving immigrants and refugees. The conversation happened on Tuesday, at 12.45 p.m. Read the transcript.

Ministerial chill eroding IRB: ex-chair (Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen)
The Immigration and Refugee Board describes itself as Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal. But according to a former IRB chair, the board’s independence appears to be eroding. Peter Showler, who chaired the IRB from 1999 to 2002, said the quasi-judicial board’s independence is vital to safeguard the autonomy of its members, who rule on refugee claims made in Canada, hear immigration appeals and conduct admissibility hearings and detention reviews.

Court has no mandate to retry refugee cases (By Raphael Girard, Ottawa Citizen)
While recent trends in decision-making by the Federal Court in immigration and refugee cases (described in the Citizen’s series on the subject) may cause some members of the immigration bar to lament the fact they can less successfully manipulate the immigration enforcement system by invoking judicial review, Canadians at large should not be concerned that genuine refugees are being summarily denied protection and removed from this country to face persecution in their own countries. On the contrary, there has not been a single case since the current determination system came into effect in 1989 whereby the UN has chided Canada for failure to uphold its obligations under the Geneva Convention of 1951.

Kenney defends government’s handling of appointments to refugee board (Ottawa Citizen)
Only two people appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board on the recommendation of Immigration Minister Jason Kenney have links to the Conservative party, Kenney said Tuesday. He was responding to questions in the House of Commons about allegations by a former IRB chair, Peter Showler, that the board is no longer fully independent of the government. The Citizen reported Showler’s comments Tuesday.

Diplomat accused of fraud in El Salvador loses bid to stay in Canada (Adrian Humphreys, National Post)
A senior diplomat from El Salvador accused of squandering his government’s money — most of which was supposed to pay rent on its consulate in Vancouver — has had his refugee status in Canada withheld, with the Federal Court of Canada declaring fear of returning home to face trial for serious, non-political crime is not political persecution. Joaquin Roberto Meza Delgado spent his professional life advocating for his Central American homeland as a minister of public works, head of a political party, former ambassador to the United Nations and, until 2006, the consul general in Vancouver.

Thank you for your support! FCJ Refugee Centre 20th Anniversary (FCJ Refugee Centre)
Members of Parliament were in attendance as were members of the CBSA, current and former residents, religious from the many local congregations along with FCJ sisters and Companions in Mission. Sr. Yvonne McKinnon fcJ, the FCJ sister who had first welcomed the Rico family into 83 Hamilton Street, then an FCJ House flew in from Edmonton for the event and for Loly and the family this was the icing on the cake!

Newsletter Anniversary Edition Nov. 2011 (FCJ Refugee Centre)
Take a look at our Newsletter special edition. Read about:
-Celebrating the Dedicated Work of Judy Broadbent.
-Refugee Forum: Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Future of Refugees in Canada
-FCJ Refugee Centre: 20 years of History
-Mechanism to Regularize Precarious Migrants in Canada Proposal
-Awards and Recognitions
-Gala Celebration – Thursday November 17th 2011

Seneca College student alleges homophobic attack (Katie Toth, Xtra!)
An altercation at Seneca College involving homophobic and racist slurs ended on Nov 25 with a gay refugee from Iran suffering a cut to his throat. Mojtaba says he suffered a neck wound and a series of homophobic and racist slurs at the hands of a fellow student at Seneca College in Toronto. Mojtaba, a 22-year-old Seneca student, came to Canada in 2009 with the help of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees. He says on November 25 he was waiting for a friend outside the editing suite at the school when another student began to behave unusually.


Measuring Poverty (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jane Hawtin spoke with our business commentator Michael Hlinka.


Foreign-trained MDs benefit Canada but cost Africa (Globe and Mail editorial)
A new study in the British Medical Journal estimates that the actual cost of doctors’ out-migration from nine sub-Saharan African countries to Canada, the U.K., the U.S. and Australia is at least $2.2-billion and could be as high as $13.5-billion. This doesn’t even take into account those who emigrate but are unable to get licensed to practise. Not only do countries such as South Africa, Kenya and Uganda face an acute shortage of doctors, nurses and midwives, but they also bear the greatest burden of global diseases such as HIV/AIDS. “The loss of these vital members of society undermines both health and social stability in African communities,” notes the study.

Are you currently working on a job that pays minimum wage $10.25? (Workers’ Action Centre)
A reporter from Toronto Star is looking forward to listen to your story and experiences at work to write a story on the minimum wage issue. The $10.25 is too low for people to live on, particularly in Toronto. We need push the government to raise minimum wage and index it to infaltion rate to pull people out of poverty.

Kobayashi Online Develops New Web Resource for Employing Canadian Immigrants (Newswire)
“We’re extremely happy to have worked with to create a user experience that furthers the Non-Profit’s efforts to help businesses thrive by hiring immigrants, especially since our company has benefited tremendously from hiring immigrants,” said Brent Kobayashi, president, Kobayashi Online. “We have worked with many Non-Profits and understand their fixed budget needs. We never oversell clients on development that isn’t required and always deliver within the promised budget.” is based around creating a customized user experience around that caters to visitors’ specific needs. Web users can navigate categories that best fit with the stage they’re currently at: Getting Started, On Your Way, and Champion (for those who have success stories to share). Information is also categorized based on role, organization size and sector.

Wise5 preliminary results from London (Sarah Wayland, Wise5)
The Wise5 team has conducted some preliminary analyses of the interviews we conducted in London. Here is a sneak peek at some of our findings… Consistent with what we heard from the entrepreneurs in Windsor, London entrepreneurs stated that the best way to help immigrants who wish to start businesses is to provide access to low-interest business loans.

ERIEC November Newsletter (ERIEC)
In this issue:
Strategic Planning Session Develops Roadmap for Growth
Corporate Business Breakfast
Career Mentorship Graduation
Consider being a mentor!
Speed Career Networking Session Focuses on Engineers
Mentee Profile – Cecile Tian
Deloitte Impact Day

Mentoring into the mainstream (South Asian Focus)
When he came to Canada from India 22 years ago after working nearly 10 years in multinational companies in South East Asia and the Middle East, there was no support for Brampton resident Iqbal Ali. Says Ali: “Having gone through that pain I really wanted to help and guide other newcomers, so they don’t have to experience the same frustrations.” Ali is one of 14 mentors who have gone above and beyond in a bid to help newcomers. These 14 have each mentored 10 or more skilled immigrants with The Mentoring Partnership, a program of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (Triec).


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

Fourth Wall: Participatory Budgeting (Hilary Best, Spacing Toronto)
As the 2012 budget discussion heats up, citizens are liable to feel that their priorities are not reflected in the proposed spending. Emotions surrounding the spending decisions and the process by which they are reached are justifiably intense – these choices shape the city around us. The public is invited to engage in this process through a series of consultation events and activities (this year’s festivities begin December 7th). As Councillor Ford put it this past year, “we always listen to the people.” Yet many participants walk away feeling like their participation hasn’t made an impact on the outcomes.

Budget 2012: The House Isn’t Burning, But We’re Going to Cut Things Anyway (Daren Foster (AKA City Slikr), Torontoist)
Which is what this entire budget process has been all about: appearances. The big scary $774 million figure was simply being used to give the appearance of a budget precipitously close to the brink of disaster, out-of-control spending run amok. The ugly stick used to beat us into fearing an oncoming train wreck if we don’t pull up hard on the brakes. Ballast needs to be tossed over for the city to stay afloat. For a year, that was the refrain. Then, come yesterday, staff delivered a budget presentation that’s not as dire or drastic as feared. Tax hikes aren’t as big and brutal as the numbers that were being floated beforehand, and please, look away from the proposed user fees. Cuts weren’t as deep as they could’ve been. Look, folks. We had 105 wading pools we could’ve cut. We only axed 5! There were 59 outdoor pools on the chopping block. We pardoned 57. Library branch closures? Pshaw. We only want to “adjust” hours. If you don’t count dialysis patients, we didn’t lay a glove on WheelTrans. School nutrition programs? Kids are small, they won’t miss the snacks!

Posted Toronto Political Panel: What will it take for transit users to get any respect? (National Post)
Medley’s sentiment isn’t an especially widespread one, but it does raise the question of what is the appropriate response — emotionally, intellectually, and tactically — to political powers that insist the 23¢/day personal vehicle tax was an unmanageable burden on citizens, whereas a 20¢/day transit fare hike coupled with a thoroughly less pleasant travel experience is not. So what would I do to protest? I’d share the video of TTC Chair Karen Stintz explaining, at July’s Council meeting, that it was imperative for the City to spend money removing the Jarvis Street bike lanes because her North Toronto constituents found the handful of minutes added to their afternoon commute to be simply intolerable. Passionately quoting a resident she met on the campaign trail, Stintz declared, “It is not a four-minute delay. It is not a five-minute delay. It’s the difference of me being home at 6:00 to have dinner with my kids.” The lives of non-motorists apparently do not merit the same consideration.

City of Toronto begins review of Toronto’s taxi industry (City of Toronto)
The City of Toronto is conducting its first comprehensive review of the Toronto taxicab industry since 1998. The review will address a number of issues and build a strategy for addressing those issues to allow the industry to move forward.
The City is inviting stakeholders to get involved in the process at this early stage to help identify the priority issues for the taxi industry and to explore ways to best resolve them.

Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living ranking highlights – Global (Mercer)
These significant challenges to the security of expatriates and local residents in many locations led Mercer to choose personal safety as the special topic of its 2011 rankings. Those cities and countries that have escaped the brunt of social unrest and economic downturn have been able to continue investing in urban infrastructure and other provisions for comfortable and enjoyable daily living to improve the quality of living for their residents. If economic and political instability remain a global factor, cities in parts of Asia-Pacific and Western Europe, as well as in Canada, will continue to benefit from their relative stability and wealth of public services and recreational provisions, becoming more attractive destinations for expatriate employees.
Vancouver (5th)
Ottawa (14th)
Toronto (15th)
Montreal (22nd)
Honolulu (29th)


Impact Investing is ‘the new black’ (Stacey Corriveau,
The term itself was first coined by the Rockefeller Foundation. There are many definitions now floating around, with ‘impact investing’, ‘social finance’, ‘mission-related investing’, and ‘responsible investing’ tending to be used interchangeably. This paper defines impact investing as ‘a proactive approach to investing that seeks to solve social and environmental challenges through direct investment in private companies, projects and funds, while also earning a relatively attractive financial return’.

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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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