Immigration & Diversity news headlines – December 20, 2011


Sticky Fingers and Social Glue (Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
Toronto has been incredibly successful in Canadas multicultural experiment. We cant forget what makes us beautiful hopes and dreams. We have to foster the conditions that keep us open, responsive, growing, and connected (not closed, divided, disconnected, and fractured). We need to find deliberate strategies to connect us so we dont end up with permanent solitudes. Yes, we should and must get the instruments and attention from senior levels of government. But the glue that I am talking about, the glue between people that really makes a difference, is in our own hands, on the sports fields, and in the boardrooms. So my hope for 2012 is for all of us to get a tad sticky and to put our fingers in the glue.

Youth weigh cultural cuisine in light of demand for local, sustainable food (Tracy Bains, Vancouver Observer)
RangiChangi Roots hosted a workshop in December at the first HSBC-Evergreen Youth Action Series to discuss sourcing local, organic food for ethnic dishes and supporting a sustainable diet.

Report: Barriers To Health Service Utilization By Immigrant Families Raising A Disabled Child (Settlement AtWork)
This two-part, mixed methods study assessed attitudinal, policy, and practice barriers to health service utilization by immigrant parents from Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean who are raising a disabled child or youth in the Greater Toronto or Hamilton areas. The project was based on a critical review of the literature on immigrant/refugee families raising a child with a disability, which indicated that very little is known about the health and social service access, utilization, and service care experiences of these families, particularly in the Canadian context.

Immigrants experience higher unemployment, lower wages: RBC (Vancouver Sun)
Higher-than-average education levels have not spared newcomers to Canada from experiencing higher unemployment rates and lower incomes than their work colleagues who were born in the country, according to the Royal Bank of Canada. Indeed, if immigrants skills were rewarded in a manner similar to that of Canadian-born workers, it would have resulted in $30.7 billion in increased incomes, the bank found in a new study that examines the immigrant labour market gap.

Fewer jobs, income for newcomers: bank (Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun)
Higher-than-average education levels have not spared new-comers to Canada from experiencing higher unemployment rates and lower incomes than their work colleagues who were born in the country, according to the Royal Bank of Canada. If immigrants’ skills were rewarded in a manner similar to that of Canadian-born workers, it would have resulted in $30.7 billion in increased incomes, the bank found in a new study that examines the immigrant labour market gap. “It is a big number,” said Dawn Desjardins, RBC assistant chief economist, in reference to what she called an “untapped” economic contributor.

Immigrant entrepreneurs are vital for the economy (Sarah Wayland, WISE5)
A recent review by Immigration Policy Center provides some interesting information about the role of immigrants in the 21st century economy. Of interest to the Wise5 project, the report describes how entrepreneurship is one of the primary channels through which highly skilled immigrants benefit the economy. Paralleling findings from Canada, immigrants in the U.S. are more likely than non-immigrants to become entrepreneurs. In 2010, over 40% of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or their children. Indeed, evidence suggests that immigrant entrepreneurs help to create jobs and economic growth in both Canada and the U.S.

Event: International Day For The Elimination Of Racial Discrimination Dinner – March 22, 2012 (Elementary Teachers of Ontario)
Join the ETT Anti-racism, Equity, and Social Justice Committee on March 22, 2012 at 5:00 p.m. at Liberty Grand for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Dinner. In addition to fine dining, entertainment, dancing, and the presentation of the Doris Ferguson Memorial Award for TDSB students, the evening will also feature keynote addresses from Barbara Hall, the Chief Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and Deena Ladd, a Co-ordinator for the Workers’ Action Centre.

Citizenship is a leap of faith (Aisha Sherazi, Ottawa Citizen)
I was reluctant to weigh in on Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys recent announcement that women wearing the niqab will have to remove it for citizenship ceremonies. People are so polarized on this issue that it almost makes little sense to discuss it. I expect few people will change their minds once they hear my view, and I dont necessarily want anyone to either. After all, this is a free society, where we pride ourselves in being able to do just that, think freely, discuss freely and disagree amicably.

Let’s Be Serious About Multicultural Marketing (Lina Ko, Canadian Marketing Association)
Statistics Canada predicts that by 2031, 63 per cent of the GTAs population will be visible minorities with South Asians and Chinese leading the pack thats up from the 43 per cent in 2006. With the minority set to become the majority, the GTA has become the battleground for marketers from major retailers, banks and wireless providers trying to attract the ethnic consumer. With ethnic minorities predicted to become the majority across the GTA in the near future, mainstream businesses are looking to capitalize on the demographic shift. But ever since I’ve begun to counsel clients on multicultural marketing when I first immigrated to this country in 1990, I’ve always been skeptical about how long does it take for companies to realize it takes more than Google Translate to ‘multiculturalize’ a marketing strategy.

Diversitys multiple dividends (Financial Post)
Loblaw Companies Limited is a strong proponent and industry leader in terms of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Spearheaded by its inclusion council, composed of senior leaders across the organization, Loblaw, Canadas largest food retailer, recognizes inclusion and diversity as a strength and asset to the organization. Reflect our nations diversity is one of the five pillars of our companys corporate social responsibility commitment, explains Sarah Davis, chief financial officer, who joined Loblaw in 2007 as the senior vice-president of financial operations, rising to become CFO in 2010.

Deloitte releases second edition of Women in the boardroom: A global perspective (Deloitte Canada)
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) today launched the second edition of a report from the Deloitte Global Center for Corporate Governance, Women in the boardroom: A global perspective, which examines the legislative efforts being pursued across 17* countries to encourage more women to serve on listed company boards.

Full report PDF –

GMS Immigrants & Visitors to Canada Plan upgraded to suit newly introduced Super Visa program (Digital Journal)
Group Medical Services (GMS) has expanded its Immigrants & Visitors to Canada (IVC) emergency medical insurance plan to meet the medical insurance needs of Super Visa applicants. Following the recent announcement by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) of its new Parent and Grandparent Super Visa program, GMS is offering visitors to Canada more flexibility on their medical insurance coverage during their stay in Canada.

Interfaith series: Parenting in a two-religion household (Josh Tapper, Toronto Star)
Whats an interfaith family to do when the eight nights of Hanukkah spill into Christmas, as they do this year? To find the answer to this and other thorny questions about two-religion households, the Star recently visited the homes of four Toronto families navigating the testy world of interfaith parenting.–interfaith-series-parenting-in-a-two-religion-household

Interfaith Families Part 1: Chrismukkah in the city (Josh Tapper, Toronto Star)
One mezuzah marks the back door frame. Save for a small pewter Star of David in the dining room, the home is without religious symbols. This is intentional. Michael was raised as a Protestant. Tracys childhood included elements of both Reform and Conservative Judaism. For the sake of their children, they strive to reflect the reality that this home has two faiths under one roof.–part-1-chrismukkah-in-the-city

Interfaith Families Part 2: Muslim-Christian family strives for unity without uniformity (Josh Tapper, Toronto Star)
You would want your child to marry someone closest to your religion or your faith or culture, he says. That is human nature. Yet Sohail and Raheel, had an intersectarian marriage of their own she is Sunni and he is Shia. The ensuing backlash from their own families in Pakistan was one of the reasons the couple, who playfully call themselves Su-shis, moved to Toronto three decades ago–interfaith-families-part-2-muslim-christian-family-strives-for-unity-without-uniformity

Toews: War criminal manhunt ‘very successful’ (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says hes pleased with a war criminal and street thug manhunt that was launched on the Internet and led to the arrests of 14 dangerous fugitives. Six of those captured by authorities have been turfed from Canada. Toews said many of the arrests followed tips from the public who reported sightings and other information to police and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Tap immigrants to help shape foreign policy (Tom Axworthy, John Monahan And Natalie Brender, Globe And Mail)
As Canadas focus on Libya shifts from the drama of regime change to the challenges of peace building and reconstruction, could the expertise of Libyan-Canadians be useful to the design and execution of Canadas efforts in that country? And could diaspora communities contribute to addressing other challenges currently facing Canadas foreign policy-makers, such as the famine in East Africa, impediments to nation-building in Afghanistan or the armed conflicts along the border between the two Sudans? If so, are federal departments and NGOs well prepared to solicit and use such expertise?

Child by surrogate refused entry to Canada (Calgary Sun)
A Chinese woman who tried to sponsor a sperm donor child without telling Canadian immigration officials has lost a bid to bring the baby here. And, Toronto-area immigration lawyers said the precedent-setting case can open a floodgate of sponsorships involving surrogate moms.

Italian-Canadian clubs face ‘uncertain future’ (Beatrice Fantoni, The Windsor Star)
While Italian family names persist generations after their bearers left Italy for Canada, Italian-Canadian cultural clubs might not. For Caroline Di Cocco, a former MPP for Sarnia-Lambton and one-time president of the Lazio Federation of Ontario, recording the history of Ontario’s Italian-Canadian clubs was a matter of urgency. “More and more of these clubs see an uncertain future,” Di Cocco said in a telephone interview from her home in Sarnia.

Canada issues first ‘super visa’ (India Today)
The first Parent and Grandparent Super Visa has been issued by the Canadian government, a minister announced on Monday. “We pledged to process the Parent and Grandparent Super Visa in less than eight weeks,” Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, said in a statement.

Langar on Wheels rolls out to Punjabi community (Tamara Baluja, Globe and Mail)
The Greater Toronto Areas South Asian immigrant population has grown by about 50 per cent between 2000 and 2006. Thats why PCHS is trying to drum up support for Langar on Wheels, a South Asian variation of the Meals on Wheels program, which would likely bring food from the langar, the Punjabi word for the communal kitchen in a Sikh house of worship, to the homes of Brampton, Mississauga and Malton seniors. The organizers say Langar on Wheels will be the first of its kind in the GTA and possibly even Canada. What this Langar on Wheels program shows us is that we need to rethink the way we give that it has to be responsive to the needs of our community, said Eileen MacKenzie, the executive director of the Community Foundation of Mississauga, which provided a $30,000 grant to PCHS in early December. As our citys demographics change, we need to respond to those needs.

Choice is vital (Siraj Narsi, Calgary Herald)
As a progressive and moderate Muslim, I agree with the government’s decision to ban Muslim women from wearing a niqab or other garment that hides their face during taking the oath of Canadian citizen-ship. This is a reasonable decision and should be supported by all Muslims, conservative or liberal. The oath of Canadian citizen-ship is a legal ceremony where a person’s identity should be known, regard-less of that person’s religious or cultural beliefs. I personally believe that Muslim women should not wear the veils in any form. It has been argued by many Muslim scholars that this is more of a cultural practice rather than prescribed by the holy Qur’an. However, I have a fundamental disagreement with Ladha’s demand that Muslim women leave their baggage, i.e., the veils, behind them when they come to call Canada home.


Refugee judges offered do-over after flunking exam (Nicholas Keung, The Record)
Refugee judges who failed an exam and screening for their same jobs in a revamped asylum system are being given a second chance to redeem themselves. Last summer, the federal government sought to fill 105 new civil servant positions, which will replace the current system of independent adjudicators who decide whether a persons claim for asylum in Canada is valid.–refugee-judges-offered-do-over-after-flunking-exam

Horvàth’s call to Canada: Have empathy for the Roma (Marycarl Guiao, Rabble)
Aladàr Horvàth, chair of the Roma Civil Rights Foundation in Hungary and a former member of the Hungarian Parliament, provides an overview of the history of the Roma people in Hungary and the social and political landscape in the country that has brought so many of them to Canada seeking refugee status in recent months.

African refugees say they were welcomed to P.E.I. (CBC)
Three members of a family, who moved to Abram-Village as refugees from war-torn Burundi, told a P.E.I. Human Rights Commission tribunal Monday that they were welcomed to the Island with open arms. The family was called as witnesses by the French Language Board as testimony resumed at the discrimination hearing of Aritho Amfoubalela.

‘She’s fallen through the cracks’ (Charlie Fidelman, Gazette Health Reporter)
Jelly Herrera, with Stage 2 aggressive breast cancer, didn’t know withdrawing her refugee claim could end up costing her life… Herrera came to Canada as a refugee in 2006. She was fleeing an abusive ex-husband in the Philippines. In 2008, she was granted refugee status and health coverage. Herrera met a man and fell in love. On Nov. 6, 2010, they married. Based on poor advice from an immigration lawyer, Herrera withdrew her refugee claim and instead applied for permanent resident status, losing her health benefits when her refugee card expired.


“Beyond Food Banks: Ending hunger in Canada” (CBC Metro Morning)
5 part series from Mary Wiens.

Assistance for redeeming the Canada Learning Bond (Settlement AtWork)
The Canada Learning Bond is a federal education savings grant that most people are unfamiliar with. This November, 60,000 Toronto families received a government voucher telling them exactly how much of that money HRSDC has on hold for them up to $2,000 for close to 80,000 children. SmartSAVER provides a voucher kit to help community organizations encourage their clients to redeem this money.

Children in care face higher risk of poverty, health issues: report (Evan Duggan, Vancouver Sun)
Students in B.C.’s public school system who have been in government care face higher risks of poverty, mental-and physical-health problems, and hunger, according to a report by the McCreary Centre Society, a Vancouver-based non-profit research organization focused on youth. Of the 29,440 students who took the 2008 B.C. Adolescent Survey, roughly three per cent were living in government-arranged care including foster and group homes, or under the auspices of youth agreements, government-supplied allowances that permit youths aged 16 to 18 to look after themselves.

Increasing Income Inequality: Side-Effect of Fight against Crises? (Calgary Real Estate)
We have recently written about increasing income inequality in Canada. This trend isnt unique for Canada, as 71 per cent of the worlds population live in countries where income inequality has been increasing including large-population countries like China, India, Russia, and the United States. What is the reason and what can we expect in the future?

Compulsory Christmasity and Agnostic Existence (The Ethnic Aisle)
I wish I wasnt so tortured by Christmas, but I am. My family has always played fast and loose with the holiday. Meet Raggedy Anne, who I got when I was four. My dads job had taken my family to Saudi Arabia, which is not a place known for sales of Christmas wrapping paper; I found Anne behind the curtains in the living room. Back in Canada, most of my 20 aunts and 19 uncles (crazy, right?) gave out presents, but I had 50 or so first cousins (totally crazy, right?) who also needed something to unwrap. My haul was big, but fairly budget.


United Association Local 46 director, immigration lawyer react to skilled labour shortage (Kelly Lapointe, Daily Commercial News)
The looming labour shortage has many members of the construction industry trying to come up with new solutions… The temporary foreign worker is another option to help ease the labour shortage and the program is being used in many different sectors, not just construction. Labour market opinions (LMO) are the most common way for foreign workers to become employed in Canada.–united-association-local-46-director-immigration-lawyer-react-to-skilled-labour-shortage

Ambrose gets earful about labour shortage (Gordon Kent, Edmonton Journal)
Immigration and labour shortages are the main federal budget issues being raised in consultations with local business leaders, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose says. “What they’re saying is there’s a labour short-age crunch here in Alberta. What I’m telling them is we’re keenly aware of that,” she said Monday following a pre-budget meeting with a half-dozen business people. “Alberta is in a very unique situation. We’re experiencing phenomenal growth, and with that growth comes huge demands on business.”


Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round-up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Development, Transit and Other News.

Rob Ford boasts about his accomplishments in 2011 (Derek Flack, blogTO)
It’s year in review time, and Rob Ford couldn’t help but get in on the fun. Earlier today he posted a roundup of his accomplishments in 2011 to his Facebook page, which is sure to send his critics into full-out fact-checking mode. I’m not going to go through the entire document myself, but it’s worth noting the manner in which many of the items on the list are framed.


Charities working hard for your money (Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail)
Social services come in all shapes and sizes. Some are remarkably effective, and some are not. Some are nimble and creative, and some are not. The best ones change peoples lives. But too many of them mistake activity for results. As Warren Buffett said, Giving money away is easy. Giving money away well is fiendishly difficult. Lots of charities work with youths at risk. But these kids are highly transient. Probably eight of 10 of these charities will tell us they arent able to track anything, says Greg Thomson, director of research for Charity Intelligence Canada. Evas stands out because they create a connection with the kids, and theyre actually able to demonstrate the impact they have. Thats why Charity Intelligence has named Evas as one of its 33 top charities of the year.

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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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