Immigration & Diversity news headlines – December 19, 2011

IMMIGRATION / SETTLEMENT / DIVERSITY

Immigrant wage and employment gaps persist: RBC Economics (Canada Newswire)
Despite higher education levels, Canadian immigrants experience higher unemployment rates and lower incomes than workers born in the country, according to a new report issued today by RBC Economics. The report, Immigrant Labour Market Outcomes in Canada: The Benefits of Addressing Wage and Employment Gaps, estimates that the potential increased incomes for immigrants if observable skills were rewarded similarly to Canadian-born workers is $30.7 billion or 2.1 per cent of GDP in 2006 (the latest census data available).
http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/897413/immigrant-wage-and-employment-gaps-persist-rbc-economics

Full report PDF – http://www.rbc.com/newsroom/pdf/1219-2011-immigration.pdf

Shortchanging immigrants costs Canada (Tavia Grant And And Rita Trichur, Globe And Mail)
Canada has a well-documented history of attracting the best and brightest immigrants from developing countries. But many of these people wind up jobless, or in minimum-wage survival jobs. And theres a wider economic cost to the country of under-utilizing these skilled workers. New research by the Royal Bank of Canada, to be published Monday and released exclusively to The Globe and Mail, puts a price tag on that lost opportunity. The study finds that if immigrants skills were rewarded in a similar way to that of Canadian-born workers, the increase in their incomes would amount to $30.7-billion or the equivalent of 2.1 per cent of the countrys gross domestic product.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/failing-to-recognize-immigrants-skills-costs-canadas-economy-307-billion/article2274738/

The economic costs of under-utlizing skilled immigrant workers (Globe and Mail)
Canada has a history of attracting highly-skilled, talented workers from around the world who end up unemployed or working for minimum wage when they arrive here. According to new research by the Royal Bank of Canada, the economic cost of under-utlizing this part of our workforce is $30.7-billion, or 2.1 per cent of the country’s GDP. Join us Wednesday at noon ET to discuss this issue with Diana MacKay of the Conference Board of Canada, Elizabeth McIsaac, executive director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, and Report on Business reporter Tavia Grant.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/jobs/the-economic-costs-of-under-utlizing-skilled-immigrant-workers/article2274792/

Diversity in leadership what a difference a week makes! (Maytree)
Last week we pointed out how a lot of recent news about diversity in leadership in Canada wasnt that great. Well, were happy to flip that coin a bit this week to report on some great insights, reports and articles that have been recently published!
http://maytree.com/blog/2011/12/diversity-in-leadership-what-a-difference-a-week-makes/

Stories from our elders: a prelude to a new kind of community (Janet Pearson, TulsaWorld)
The city of Tulsa, through Mayor Dewey Bartlett’s office, recently embarked on an ambitious and unique initiative called Across The Generations. Through a partnership with the Toronto-based Legacy Project, Tulsans in coming years will strive to create a model for new kind of community “that addresses changing demographics, financial realities, environmental imperatives, and the social needs of all generations,” according to the local Legacy Project website… The possibilities for intergenerational activities are endless: An example: Shared adult and child day-care sites, which would greatly help the middle generation that’s trying to look after both. “An intergenerational approach can add significant value to system efforts focused on education, health care promotion and delivery, family caregiving, immigrant integration and the environment,” Bosak wrote.
Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/article.aspx?subjectid=211&articleid=20111218_222_G1_Itssom303606

Make immigrants pay (Steve Lafleur, National Post)
The Canadian government recently announced a moratorium on immigration applications for parents and grandparents of Canadians under the family reunification program. The objective is to eliminate the existing backlog of applicants. A new renewable three-year visa category was introduced for parents and grandparents as a compromise. Given the existing backlog and the controversy surrounding the cost of the program, pushing the pause button may well be necessary. But rather than eliminating the program, as many opponents have urged, the government should instead find a way to ensure that sponsors are bearing its full costs. Family reunification is an important tool in attracting economic immigrants, who are more vital than ever to our economy. Before making drastic decisions, we should examine some of the benefits of the program.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/12/19/steve-lafleur-make-immigrants-pay/

News Release First Parent and Grandparent Super Visa issued two weeks after launch (CIC)
The first Parent and Grandparent Super Visa has already been issued, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced today. We pledged to process the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa in less than eight weeks, the Minister noted. Weve issued the first of the Super Visas in just two weeks and we remain committed to reuniting families through the Super Visa in a timely manner.
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2011/2011-12-19.asp

The United Nations of Burnaby (John Mackie, Vancouver Sun)
Byrne Creek secondary could be the poster child for the growing ethnic diversity of the Lower Mainland. “The families in our community come from over 70 different countries,” says the school’s principal, Dave Rawnsley. “We’ve got large numbers of students from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea, you name it. A lot of families have come from the Philippines. It’s an incredibly rich [community], true multiculturalism.”
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/canada-in-afghanistan/United+Nations+Burnaby/5876810/story.html

Kenney strong over immigration (Vancouver Sun)
Kenney brusquely dismisses the conclusion of both critics and admirers who say he’s taken a tougher, red-meat line on immigration and citizenship issues as the new Conservative majority government settled in amid rising global economic insecurity. “I don’t accept it,” Kenney said Friday. He cited a series of pre-election measures that were also controversial, including measures against marriage fraud, human smuggling and crooked immigration consultants, as well as tougher refugee legislation.
http://www.canada.com/Kenney+strong+over+immigration/5876189/story.html

Improving Canada’s immigration system (Montreal Gazette)
As the federal government set about retooling the country’s immigration system this fall, it identified two important goals. It wants, first, to admit a larger number of skilled workers, and second, to whittle down the seven-year backlog in its family-reunification program. This week, it added a third objective: protecting live-in caregivers from possible exploitation by the families they live with.
http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/Improving+Canada+immigration+system/5875597/story.html

Niqab ban raises fears of a less-tolerant Canada (Teresa Smith, Postmedia News)
Ella, who was born and raised in Ontario, says in the past few years, she has noticed a sense of growing anger and fear from Canadians. She says that’s particularly true since Quebec introduced Bill 94 in 2010. The bill, still working its way through the legislature, would require public employees, education and health workers, and anyone seeking government services, to have their faces uncovered at all times. The debate spread across the country and was the first in a series of moves Ella says have changed her experience of Canada.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/life/Niqab+raises+fears+less+tolerant+Canada/5876475/story.html

Two burka controversies, two sets of circumstances (Jim Hendry, Barrie Examiner)
All burka controversies are not created equal. Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal of a ruling that a woman testifying in a rape case could be required to remove her burka. Earlier this week, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Muslim women will have to unveil when taking the oath of citizenship. The court case is more complex and substantial.
http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3408266

‘We are not a threat’ (Teresa Smith, Postmedia News)
Canadian who chooses to wear a niqab says fear and anger is growing against Muslims.
http://www.vancouversun.com/life/threat/5876851/story.html

Kenneys new policy of unveiling is eminently reasonable (Larry Cornies, Special To Qmi Agency)
Canada is fully integrated into the transnational world. What the Harper government is presumably trying to do, like other governments before it, is continue to walk the delicate line between preservation of a national identity and a kind of Canadian tribalism that would threaten to undermine and replace it. The removal of a womans veil, niqab or burka violates no Islamic law, said Raheel Raza, a member of the Muslim Canadian Congress, in response to Kenneys new regulation. Nowhere in the Quran does it say that Muslim women must cover their faces nowhere, she said in an interview this week. In fact, in Saudi Arabia, Muslim women who attend the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca for the hajj, are not allowed to cover their faces.
http://www.lfpress.com/comment/columnists/larry_cornies/2011/12/16/19134451.html

Jason Kenney got it wrong (Hassan Arif, Telegraph Journal)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s language belies the values of multiculturalism, with his statement that “if you don’t like it, if you feel uncomfortable, then maybe you chose the wrong country.” This is not a welcoming or tolerant message. Mr. Kenney has even closed the door on any reasonable accommodation, as there are legitimate issues of being able to identify a woman in burqa that could be accommodated through showing their face to a female official, or taking the oath in a private room. The ban on the burqa – and Mr. Kenney’s language – does not sound like an attempt to protect women’s rights. If anything, denying a woman in burqa the right to swear the oath of citizenship further isolates her from mainstream society. This policy sounds more like a dog-whistle to anti-Muslim prejudices. In France, measures banning women from wearing hijab in public schools and burqa in public places are motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. While the Conservative measures are much less extreme, they appear very much in this same vein.
http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/opinion/article/1464763

Canadian schools struggle with what to do about Christmas (Dakshana Bascaramurty And Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail)
When the principal at Cambridge Public School in Embrun, Ont., a small community east of Ottawa, cancelled the Christmas concert this year to accommodate nine students who didnt want to participate, she thought it might upset a few families. She underestimated the backlash. Principal Mhairi Rowland received more than 300 e-mails from across Canada, many of them vicious. The kinder critics called her a Grinch and accused her of cancelling Christmas.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/holiday/canadian-schools-struggle-with-what-to-do-about-christmas/article2274932/

Mommy, theres a Holiday tree in my school! (Jeewan Chanicka, Toronto Star)
As the holidays approach, so too does a sense of disquiet about celebrating Christmas in public schools. Some feel that their ability even to use the word Christmas has been muted and they have been rendered invisible due to political correctness. Gone are the Christmas concerts and Christmas carols of the past. Instead, some feel that they can only say Happy Holidays, have Winter Concerts and put up Holiday trees. Increasingly, there is growing resentment over this perceived removal of Christmas from the dialogue in public schools: We celebrate their holidays, why cant we have Christmas anymore?
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1103619–mommy-there-s-a-holiday-tree-in-my-school

How poor nations prop up Canadian health care (Toronto Star)
Consider it the great brain robbery. Canadians have for years been quietly stripping poor nations of a precious commodity their doctors, nurses and other health professionals. In fact, Canada is prominent among poachers of medical talent from other countries, especially from developing nations where this talent is desperately needed and in lamentably short supply. Other major offenders include the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1103565–how-poor-nations-prop-up-canadian-health-care

Tory most-wanted list thwarts efforts to deport alleged war criminals (Colin Freeze, Globe and Mail)
The Conservative governments new most-wanted list of alleged foreign war criminals has backfired, with a South Asian mans new-found notoriety gumming up Ottawas attempts to kick him out of the country. His life is at risk of torture upon return to Pakistan, lawyer Tamara Morgenthau told an immigration hearing on Friday morning. She explained that a federal official concluded this week that her client was specifically in jeopardy because of the publicity being placed on him by the most-wanted list.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-most-wanted-list-thwarts-efforts-to-deport-alleged-war-criminals/article2274902

Immigrant-investor program in Maritimes collapses in scandal, lawsuits (Tamsin McMahon, National Post)
Every year, roughly 60 numbered companies are registered on Prince Edward Island. In 2008 that number suddenly quadrupled, to more than 240, as the provincial government rushed to approve a flood of applications for an immigration program that partnered local businesspeople with foreign investors in exchange for visas, and which was about to be shut down by the federal government. By the time the island immigrant investor program had ended, more than $500-million had flowed into local businesses, immigration consultants, lawyers and government coffers, the provinces auditor-general later found, a huge sum in a province whose annual operating budget is $1.5-billion.
http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/12/17/immigrant-investor-program-in-maritimes-collapses-in-scandal-lawsuits/

Visible Minority Librarians of Canada Network (ViMLoC Network) – PDF (Canadian Library Association Proposal)
This will be an ongoing network: To provide a forum for visible minority librarians across Canada to discuss issues and concerns specifically related to their profession.
http://www.cla.ca/Content/NavigationMenu/CLAatWork/Networks1/ViMLoC_Network_ToR_final_dec11.pdf

RCMP efforts to tackle citizenship fraud hailed (Business Recorder)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney recognised the efforts of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in tackling fraud in the citizenship and immigration programme. In a statement, here on Saturday, Canadian High Commission in Pakistan said that this week, the RCMP charged two people with offences under section 29(2)(a) of the Citizenship Act for allegedly attempting to mislead Citizenship and Immigration Canada into believing they met the residence requirements to obtain Canadian citizenship.
http://www.brecorder.com/general-news/single/599/172/1262335/

Canada’s best Immigration minister (Calgary Herald)
If there was ever any doubt that Canada now has an Immigration minister willing to tackle the backlog of problems in our immigration pipeline, including problems created by excessive attention to politically correct posturing, Jason Kenney’s recent decision to ban the burka and niqab at citizenship swearing-in ceremonies should remove any doubt about his effectiveness, and courage.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Canada%2Bbest%2BImmigration%2Bminister/5876455/story.html

Feds to address polygamy in revised newcomer guide (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Canada is hoping to crack down on polygamous relationships such as the one that’s come to light during the sensational Shafia honour killing trial, according to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney who will unveil a revised guide for newcomers early next year that will addresses the issue specifically. In a year-end interview with Postmedia News, Kenney said while polygamy is a concern he raised early on in his mandate, it’s one that’s been difficult to tackle.
http://www.canada.com/Feds+address+polygamy+revised+newcomer+guide/5877869/story.html

Canada’s Barefaced Multicultural Lie (Carolyn Cooper, Jamaica-Gleaner)
But if Canadians do, in fact, value ‘openness’ and ‘equality’, shouldn’t Muslim women enjoy the freedom to openly practise their religion in peace? Even if this means claiming the right to cover the face! Why should Muslim women have to choose between their religion and the prospect of Canadian citizenship? And who is the ‘our’ to whom Kenney appeals? The immigration minister seems to have decided that the Canadian family comes in only one model. And any ethnic or religious group that doesn’t look the part must be excluded. But is it reasonable for the minister to assume that all Canadians share a common identity and identical values?
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20111218/cleisure/cleisure3.html

Islam and the Repression of Women (Haideh Moghissi, The Mark)
It seems four Afghan women had to lose their lives in a horrifying murder plot in Kingston, Ont., for the Canadian public, including a number of Muslim Imams, to acknowledge a terrible tragedy: Every year, thousands of women are killed by their male relatives in the name of restoring family honour, and this reality does not exclude Canada. The cold-blooded murder of the Shafia daughters may have woken the community up to the existence of honour killings in Canada, but other cases of such horrific victimization in our country have certainly preceded it. In December 2008, another Muslim zealot in Toronto killed his teenage daughter, Aqsa Parvez, simply because she refused to wear the hijab. The sad record of crimes of this type in Canada since 9/11 is, by some counts, 16 cases, involving Sikhs and Hindus in addition to Muslim families.
http://www.themarknews.com/articles/7810-islam-and-the-repression-of-women

Teen suspended in facebook flap (Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star)
A Windsor high school student has been suspended after accusing schools of abandoning Christmas and the national anthem and then making disparaging comments about minority students on her Facebook page. Natasha Burge, 19, reposted a comment Nov. 3 saying those who feel offended by Christmas celebrations and the singing of the national anthem at school should “please feel free to go back to your own (expletive) country,” Burge goes on to suggest walking through Kennedy Collegiate dressed up as Santa and “screaming merry christmas to the arabs, pakis, towel heads and whatever other race that doesnt like it.”
http://www.windsorstar.com/life/story.html?id=5834438

Becoming a protester (Gurpreet Singh, Straight.com)
The day Time magazine announced “The Protester” as its person of the Year in 2011, my memories drifted back to December 2007. That’s when Indo Canadians rallied in support of a paralyzed failed refugee claimant outside Vancouver International Airport. It was not because of the impact of the protest, but because I was one of the demonstrators. Laiber Singh, a refugee claimant, was ordered deported by the Conservative government despite thousands who had petitioned seeking residency for him on humanitarian grounds. This issue enraged Indo Canadians, who showed up at a rally on the day he was brought to the airport to be flown to India. What added insult to injury was that it was on December 10, the international human-rights day, and irate members of the Indo Canadian community felt humiliated by the federal governments action.
http://www.straight.com/article-566341/vancouver/gurpreet-singh-becoming-protester

Stephen Harper creates a clear path for Jason Kenney to emerge as next Conservative leader (Charlie Smith, Straight.com)
As Harper’s parliamentary secretary, Kenney criss-crossed the country to forge deep ties with groups representing new Canadians. Later, Kenney was promoted to oversee the immigration ministry. Cullen and I both surmised that these revelations about MacKay are designed to put Kenney at the front of the line as Harper’s successor as Conservative leader. As the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Kenney is well-positioned to make the types of connections that will help him in a future leadership race.
http://www.straight.com/article-566356/vancouver/stephen-harper-creates-clear-path-jason-kenney-emerge-next-conservative-leader

A new home in Sarnia (Mashoka Maimona, The Observer)
Caroline Di Cocco was six years old when she became part of Canada’s centuries-old immigration narrative. Hailing from a rural town in Frosinone, Italy, her family joined the wave of Italian immigrants post-Second World War and set up shop in Sarnia.
http://www.theobserver.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3409069

Humble pioneer of multiculturalism honoured with Ontario Good Citizenship Medal (Patricia Leboeuf, Ottawa Citizen)
Harris believes that his achievements while being at the forefront of the fight for multicultural equality in Ottawa were only due to the support hes received from others. The medal belongs to all those people as well, he says. Hes just holding on to it.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Humble+pioneer+multiculturalism+honoured+with+Ontario+Good+Citizenship+Medal/5872443/story.html

South Asians in Canada: Achievers, not Aliens (South Asian Generation Next)
When the first batch of South Asian migrants came to Canada almost a century ago, they were a minorityvisible or not. Mostly Sikhs belonging to the farming background settled in the BC region. Within four years, they were denied the federal vote and access to political office, jury duty, professions, public service jobs and labour on public works. The regulations didnt change until 1947. Suffice to say, the first South Asian immigrants didnt have it easy in Canadaa land so distant and alien to the one from which they immigrated from for a better life.
http://www.sagennext.com/2011/12/16/south-asians-in-canada-achievers-not-aliens/

Tory ban on political loans a barrier to women and immigrants, Dion warns (Jane Taber, Globe and Mail)
He argues the new legislation will politicize financial institutions and is discriminatory against women, aboriginal people and new immigrants. More than that, it will put banks or credit unions in the position of deciding who should be a candidate and for what party. The new act would prohibit political candidates from accepting loans from friends or corporations or unions, limiting acceptance of loans to financial institutions.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/tory-ban-on-political-loans-a-barrier-to-women-and-immigrants-dion-warns/article2273993/

Canada richer as new citizens are sworn in (David Lea, Oakville Beaver)
Canada is now richer by 49 people. These were the words of Judge Kris Mohan after he presided over a recent ceremony in Town Halls South Atrium, which saw 49 people from 21 different countries receive their Canadian citizenship.
http://www.insidehalton.com/community/life/article/1265312–canada-richer-as-new-citizens-are-sworn-in

Kenney should rip the masks off goalies, too (Gordon Clark, The Province)
I’d never given much thought about whether it was un-Canadian to cover your face during a patriotic event until Immigration Minister Jason Kenney set us all straight last week. We can thank Allah for that, or “God,” as he’s better known in these parts. But, you know, he’s got a point . . . Kenney, that is, and not God, although it’s hard to tell them apart some days. How can you really trust what someone is thinking when their face is veiled? How do you know they’re not up to no good?
http://www.theprovince.com/Kenney+should+masks+goalies/5881021/story.html

Blame Canada! The Right-Wing Menace To Our North (Eric Andrew-Gee, The New Republic)
And Conservatives have scored big with new immigrants, especially South and East Asians in the suburbs around Toronto. The new waves of immigrants are more fiscally and socially conservative than the old wave, Ibbitson points out. Immigrants today from India and China and the Philippines are probably trying to get away from the corporatist elements in the society, and also have a strong emphasis on the family.
http://www.tnr.com/article/world/98661/canada-harper-keystone-conservative

REFUGEES

Harper names new chief justice of Federal Court (Don Butler, The Ottawa Citizen)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has appointed one of his hand-picked judges, Paul S. Crampton, as chief justice of the Federal Court of Canada. Just 51, Crampton could potentially hold the $310,200 job until 2035, when he turns 75. University of Ottawa law professor Peter Showler said the appointment doesnt bode well for the courts handling of refugee and immigration cases, which make up 65 per cent of its caseload.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Harper+names+chief+justice+Federal+Court/5873066/story.html

Sounding the alarm on Camp Ashraf (Irwin Cotler, Toronto Star)
While the world prepares to celebrate the beginning of the New Year, the people of Camp Ashraf, Iraq, live in imminent peril. At the camp set up by American forces 3,400 Iranian refugees are facing prospective massacre at the hands of the Iraqi government. The majority of residents have survived until now because of U.S. protection, but with American forces leaving by the end of the year, the Iraqi government has imposed an arbitrary deadline of Dec. 31 for residents to leave. Those who have nowhere to go will likely be attacked and killed; yet, the international community has been largely silent to their plight.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1103599–sounding-the-alarm-on-camp-ashraf

Hungary, Canada and the Roma — Aladàr Horvàth (Refugee Research Network)
This seminar examines the impact of 20 years of democracy on the Roma communities in Hungary, and why this changing context has caused many Roma to flee Hungary for Canada.
http://www.refugeeresearch.net/node/8975

Why are Hungarian Roma seeking asylum in Canada? (Kristen Shane, Embassy)
A high-profile Roma intellectual in Hungary with ties to a junior party in the countrys coalition government is seeking refugee status in Canada, which Roma rights activists say bolsters their claim that Hungarian Roma are fleeing to Canada because of a real fear of persecution, not for economic reasons
http://www.embassymag.ca/dailyupdate/view/why_are_hungarian_roma_seeking_asylum_in_canada_12-19-2011

Bill C-4’s Doubtful and Ineffective Future (Stephen Law, The Dominion)
Refugees who flee persecution and look for safety might want to think twice before coming to Canada through smuggling operationsat least thats the message the Conservative majority government seems to be sending.
http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/4280

Critics question government’s response to refugee claims (Dale Smith, Xtra!)
Despite citizenship and Immigration minister Jason Kenneys Dec 8 pledge to create more spaces in Canada to accept refugees who are persecuted because of their sexual orientation, critics are questioning the governments record on this file. Kenney committed to create more spaces in Canada for refugees from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), including a pledge to continue to resettle religious minorities and victims of persecution on the grounds of sexual orientation, including those from Iran who have fled to Turkey.
http://www.xtra.ca/public/National/Critics_question_governments_response_to_refugee_claims-11258.aspx

POVERTY / HEALTH / HOMELESSNESS / SOCIAL INCLUSION

Minimum wage hike key to cutting poverty (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
The truth is, however, Martinez and most other Ontario workers struggle even when employers pay the provincial minimum wage of $10.25 per hour, say workers rights advocates. They are hoping Queens Park makes good on its election promise to appoint a minimum wage advisory committee as part of its annual progress report on poverty reduction, which is being released Monday. They also want the government to make permanent a two-year, $6-million labour ministry initiative launched in 2010 to clear the backlog of workplace violation complaints.
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1103783–minimum-wage-hike-key-to-cutting-poverty

Canada Income Inequality And The Decline Of Unions: Have We Passed A Point Of No Return? (Rachel Mendleson, Huggington Post)
MacPherson’s struggle is a reminder of the gaping hole in the labour market that unionized jobs once occupied. “Unions are a major force for greater income equality at the national and local level,” says Stephanie Ross, a labour expert at York University. “Through collective bargaining, they basically turn bad jobs into better jobs; into jobs that have a decent wage that can sustain a certain standard of living.” So it should come as no surprise that the diminishing capacity of organized labour appears to be having the opposite effect.
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/canada-income-inequality-decline-unions-middle-class-jobs_n_1139136.html

Lousy budget hurts the weakest among us (Edmonton Sun Editorial)
Collectively, Edmontonians should admit this week to letting down the poorest and most vulnerable of our residents. Why? Because we couldnt elect 12 individuals and a mayor able to understand the concept of priorities and that means costs are going up big time for every city resident. Many city residents can barely get by as it is. An extra $178 a year in taxes and services is someones Christmas, someones utility bill, someones essential car repairs. But if youre a senior citizen, someone caught in the poverty cycle or someone living on Assured Income for the Several Handicapped, these kind of increases can put you out on the street.
http://www.edmontonsun.com/2011/12/16/lousy-budget-hurts-the-weakest-among-us

Bill to increase seat count passes into law (CTV)
The country’s fastest growing provinces are getting more MPs, but whether Canadian voters in big cities and suburbs — especially visible minorities — will actually get electoral respect remains an open question. Following a lightning-fast study and debate, the Senate passed Bill C-20 on Friday, legislation to redistribute ridings across the country. The House of Commons will swell to 338 seats from 308 — Ontario will get 15 more seats, Alberta and British Columbia will each receive six more seats, and Quebec three. The new seats will be in place by the time the next national vote rolls around in 2015.
http://ottawa.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20111216/senate-bill-mps-111216/20111216/?hub=OttawaHome

TD commits $1 million to United Way financial literacy strategy (Leslie Ferenc, Toronto Star)
Tanya Loor is a mobile financial worker with FAPS, travelling around the city delivering one-on-one counselling services to help address complex issues including credit card debit and accumulating interest on payday loans. Most people dont understand how they work, Loor said adding working with community partners is helping spread the word about the free financial services. The TD Bank Group has committed $1 million over three years to support the program. Shameed Ali, a specialized human resources analyst at TD Canada Trust, has lead seven financial literacy workshops so far to help low-income families, newcomers, seniors and youth gain greater stability and ultimately to help stem the tide of poverty in the city. He volunteers because its important for him to give back to the community and to help those in need help themselves.
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1103939

EMPLOYMENT & WORKERS

Mike Lipkin Forging ahead: how to inspire others on the cusp of change (Maytree)
At the 2011 ALLIES Mentoring Conference, Mike Lipkin challenged the audience to realize their potential by motivating them to continue to make a difference in the lives of skilled immigrants. He reinforced the power to transform knowledge into action in practical and exciting ways and provided an energetic and uplifting finale to the conference.
http://maytree.com/blog/2011/12/mike-lipkin-forging-ahead-how-to-inspire-others-on-the-cusp-of-change/

Immigrants get fewer jobs, earn less (CBC)
Despite having generally higher levels of education, new Canadians earn less than their native-born peers and are less likely to have a job. Simply paying Canadian immigrants as much as their Canadian peers with similar education levels could be worth as much as $30.7 billion to Canada’s economy, the Royal Bank of Canada said in a report Monday morning. “While Canada has done a great job of attracting foreign talent, integrating newcomers effectively has proven to be more of a challenge,” the report states.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2011/12/19/rbc-immigrants-report.html

Deena Ladd (Racism Free Ontario Initiative)
Deena Ladd has been working to improve the working conditions for immigrants, racialized communities and low-wage earners for almost 20 years. These workers are often women who are the most marginalised and vulnerable. She has been successful in establishing partnerships and linkages to shine a light on exploitation and discrimination.
http://cassa.on.ca/racismfreeontario/deena-ladd/

Caregiver policy may lead to shortage, feds warned (Thandi Fletcher, Postmedia News)
The federal government is making it easier for foreign live-in caregivers to stay in the country once their contract is up, but an industry leader is warning the new policy could cause a serious caregiver shortage. Immigrants with live-in caregiver visas will now be able to obtain an open work permit 18 months sooner, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Thursday. Already, about 14,000 live-in caregivers have been given open work visas since the policy was changed, the minister’s press secretary confirmed Thursday.
http://www.canada.com/Caregiver+policy+lead+shortage+feds+warned/5870338/story.html

International workers drawn to Canada’s safety, economy (Derek Sankey, for the Calgary Herald)
Workers from all over the world are increasingly targeting Canada to find jobs in the wake of sluggish economies elsewhere, according to some recruiters who report noticing a recent spike in the number of workers coming to Canada from struggling countries such as Ireland and others with high unemployment rates. “We started noticing it in 2010 (and) what was really noticeable was the number of people coming from Ireland,” says Sandra Miles, president of Vancouver-based Miles Employment Group. “I have never seen so many people from other parts of the world – from all over.”
http://www.calgaryherald.com/jobs/International+workers+drawn+Canada+safety+economy/5876622/story.html

Resident opens doors for newcomers (Jan Dean, Mississauga.com)
If there had been a mentoring program to help newcomers find work in their fields when she came to Canada 21 years ago, Eva Omes says she would have signed up in a heartbeat. The Polish-born architect, who now lives in Meadowvale, says it would have saved her two years of frustration. Determined to give others the chances she never had, Omes is now a volunteer with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). She recently won an award for having mentored more than 10 immigrants over the past seven years.
http://www.mississauga.com/community/article/1266173–resident-opens-doors-for-newcomers

Diversity? YESS please. (Edmonton Journal)
Today Im excited to introduce one of our Guest bloggers, Kshama Ranawana, the HR coordinator at YESS and a wonderful lady to work with. Kshama will be sharing with us her thoughts on Diversity in the workplace. Imagine my surprise when I learned through a webinar on Diversity at Work that there were many barriers for visible minorities and new immigrants in obtaining work in the Not-for-Profit sector. I am well aware of the challenges these groups face in gaining meaningful employment in other sectors, but I had always believed that the Not-for-Profit category which works with societys marginalized would adopt different recruitment practices.
http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2011/12/19/diversity-yess-please/

CITY OF TORONTO / CITIES / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Transit and Other News.
http://spacingtoronto.ca/2011/12/19/mondays-headlines-217/

Bill to increase seat count passes into law, but will cities get more respect? (Jennifer Ditchburn, The Canadian Press)
Some witnesses who testified at the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee this week said the allowable variance in the size of a riding should be much, much lower. To the extent that we have chosen to over-represent certain Canadians, it is become very apparent that the Canadians who are under-represented are increasingly concentrated in suburban Canada, the GTA (greater Toronto area), visible minorities, Matthew Mendelsohn, director of the University of Torontos Mowat Centre, told the senators. John Courtney, professor emeritus of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan, suggested the maximum allowable variance in a ridings size in a province should be 15 per cent or even as low as one per cent. That, I think, would help to capture the new Canadians, the immigrants with which we are all familiar now, in the suburban areas in and around the great metropolitan centre of this country, Courtney said. It would help to ensure a greater social diversity in the House of Commons.
http://mobile.thestar.com/mobile/NEWS/article/1103520

Vancouver seeks TED prize (Al Etmanski)
While cities may not have much power, many of the social, environmental and financial challenges of the 21st century reside in cities. And so do the solutions. Poverty, social isolation, reliance on fossil fuels, food security, cultural expression and economic growth all end up on the desks of City Councils – certainly as moral responsibilities if not statutory and legislative. Fortunately cities are containers of creativity and they continuously push boundaries, innovate and pioneer solutions. The Four Pillars Drug Strategy is one of numerous examples. On February 1st and 2nd, 2012 Vancouver will host The Cities Summit. They will assemble international business and urban leaders to design the creative, practical solutions for a sustainable urban future. Topics include cities as engines of research and innovation; going digital; cities supporting early stage innovation and investing in urban infrastructure.
http://www.aletmanski.com/al-etmanski/2011/12/city-power.html

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marco

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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Ah the power of "branding"... ;-( RT @mrsmcdowall: Anyone who says McDonalds coffee is good is lying. That is all....

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