Immigration & Diversity news headlines – December 8, 2011


Maytree & Metcalf Foundation Release New Report on Immigrant Entrepreneurship (Maytree)
Immigrant Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship in the GTA by Dr. Sarah Wayland explores whether self-employment and entrepreneurship is a viable option for lifting new Canadians out of poverty in the Greater Toronto Area.

Video Toronto Road Show: Gute Ideen aus Kanada (Maytree)
Thanks to the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Foundation in Berlin, we have video of one of the presentations made in Berlin.

Diversität in Unternehmen, in der Verwaltung, in den Medien (Fatih Çiçek, MiGAZIN – original in German)
About the text: the author’s thoughts and impressions after the conference “Diversity and Participation – Learning from Toronto.” A delegation of 28 from Toronto presented November to 2 December 2011 under the auspices of the Maytree Foundation in front of the Bertelsmann Foundation in cooperation with good practice examples for the integration of immigrants.
German –
English translation –

The Local Diversity Gap: Assessing The Scope And Causes Of Visible Minority Under-Representation In Municipal Elections (Karen Bird, McMaster University)
This paper assesses the scope and seeks to understand the causes of disparities in descriptive representation in municipal politics in some of Canada’s largest cities. It shows first that visible minorities are extremely under-represented in city councils in Ontario, relative to the representation of other groups at that level, and relative to minority representation in provincial and federal politics. It shows that the extreme representational deficit is not due to an unusual shortage of minority candidates at this level. The paper then explores voter bias as a potential explanation.

Are We Star Gazing? Can Canadian Schools Really be Equitable and Inclusive? (Gordon Porter, Canadian Education Association)
We are a long way from achieving equity for kids with intellectual disabilities in Canadian schools. In some ways I am an accidental participant in this discussion. I began my career in education as a high school history teacher and then elementary school principal. My interest in strategies to address the needs of students who were not having success in school eventually led me to be an “advocate” for inclusion for students with disabilities. I must say the journey on this issue has been an interesting one. After thirty years of being engaged on this question, I continue to wonder if I am a practical and pragmatic educator from small town New Brunswick – with a realistic vision of what inclusion can do to assure equity for all students; or am I one of those well intentioned but idealistic advocates often accused of “star-gazing”?

“Hello Equity, we’d like to introduce you to Accountability” ( Jeff Kugler, Canadian Education Association)
When one enters a hospital for cardiac surgery, one expects that the Ministry of Health and the hospital administration has ensured that the surgeon completing the procedure possesses the latest and most successful methods for treatment AND that the surgeon is expected to do the BEST for ALL patients. No one would ever expect that the surgeon would not be held accountable to the highest standard. In the education system today, how are we all being held accountable? As far as many practitioners see accountability at this time, it is only around the results of standardized tests. It is time to move to accountability around the truly important issues in education.

World Migration Report 2011 – Communicating Effectively about Migration (IOM)
The recent global economic crisis has highlighted the resilience of migration and further confirmed that human mobility forms an integral part of our globalized world. Migration is one of the ways in which the exchange of talent, services, skills and a diversity of experience is achieved. Yet migration remains politically sensitive and governments face the difficult task of dispelling the misunderstandings surrounding it. Indeed, misinformation and misperception can trigger a vicious cycle which influences government policy, and in turn, perpetuates negative attitudes in mass media and the community at large. Policies and political discourse can therefore play a major role in shaping the image of migrants in home and host societies. Communicating effectively about migrants and migration policy to the wider public remains one of the biggest challenges governments in countries of origin and destination face.

Related PDF (includes work from Frank Sharry): How to communicate Strategic communication on migration and integration,_documents_and_external_sites/09)_Publications/PUB_1624_How_to_Communicate.pdf

Presentation slides: Immigrant Economic Experiences A Canada-Us Comparison – PDF (Lucia Lo, Geography, York University)
A. Economic debate on immigration
B. Theoretical contexts
C. Empirical contexts
D. Economic experiences
E. Conclusions

Event: January 26, 2012 – January 27, 2012 – Toronto: Fifth Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference (Settlement AtWork)
This conference will discuss issues related to ethnic and race relations, international migration and immigration, cultural and linguistic communities, inter-group dynamics, nationalist movements, aboriginal affairs, and human rights.

PM to Multicultural Media: “Your viewers, listeners and readers actually pay a lot more attention to what you say and report” (South Asian Generation Next)
Acknowledging the significance of multicultural media, Mr. Harper said “We understand that while the so-called mainstream media refers to you as the ethnic or cultural media, in fact, we understand that in many cases you have far more viewers, listeners and readers than the so-called mainstream media, and often it’s the case that your viewers, listeners and readers actually pay a lot more attention to what you say and report. So it is important as we communicate with them, particularly here in the Greater Toronto Area, that we keep in touch with you.”

Canadian Ethnic Media Association unveils award winners for 33rd Annual Gala at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre December 10th (Digital Journal)
The Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) annually recognizes and celebrates excellence in ethnic media. This Saturday’s event marks CEMA’s 33rd Annual Awards Gala, and the first to be held at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre.

Hill Dispatches: The ethnic politics game (Karl Nerenberg, Rabble)
Now that the Conservatives have managed to penetrate into the heart of urban Toronto, with members such as Joe Oliver and Mark Adler, they want to do the same for Montreal. Their best hope — maybe their only hope — is Mount Royal. From an electoral point of view it is certainly the lowest hanging fruit in Montreal and area. That is why Conservative “marketers” have been calling voters in the Mount Royal riding to tell them that Cotler will be retiring soon, precipitating a by-election. They then invite those voters to support the Conservatives. The only problem is that Cotler has not announced his retirement and no by-election is in the works.

Siddiqui: Immigrants should boycott Gatineau (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
The city of Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa, has issued a 16-point guide to educate immigrants on what they should and should not do. The “statement of values” ought to be amended, added to and addressed to all Canadians, not just new immigrants. Start with the section warning newcomers about their smelly food. If “strong odours emanating from cooking” is to be a no-no, the admonition deserves a national audience, I think.–siddiqui-immigrants-should-boycott-gatineau

Gatineau Immigrant Guide Vital: Reader (Ken Gray, Ottawa Citizen)
“I have personally counciled immigrants who did not know or understand cdn culture or what is considered normal behaviour because our govm’ts and other people in positions of influence refuse to tell them point blank. The typical p.r. & cryptic comms are too watered down for the newcomer to grasp – especially if they are learning the official languages at the time. The whole immigration process needs a complete overhaul and they can fix half the problems by telling immigrants the truth at the outset. Save them (and canadians) a lot of headaches and “integration growing pains”. Bravo to the City of Gatineau for making a small step towards better communications with future cdn citizens.”

JIAS celebrates its 90th anniversary (Sheri Shefa, Canadian Jewish News)
Marking the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services Toronto’s 90th anniversary, author and filmmaker David Bezmozgis spoke at the agency’s annual general meeting about his family’s immigration experience with JIAS Toronto 30 years ago. Bezmozgis, who is the celebrated author of Natasha and Other Stories and The Free World, and was named one of The New Yorker’s 20 most promising fiction writers under the age of 40, centred his speech around his family’s JIAS Toronto file.

Star immigrant snarled in red tape (Hugh Adami, Ottawa Citizen)
Fatemeh Kamkar is someone who could make a contribution to this country, the kind of immigrant the federal government always says it wants. A student at the University of Ottawa since 2005, when she arrived from Iran, Fatemeh is a year away from her doctorate in cellular and molecular medicine.

Human Rights Milestone Remembered By Toronto’s Queer Community (Jaime Woo, Torontoist)
Last Friday the anniversary of an important milestone in queer history quietly slipped past: the inclusion of sexual orientation into the Ontario Human Rights Code 25 years ago, on December 2, 1986. The change meant legal protection against harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation at a time when being fired for being gay was not uncommon, and employees so fired were without recourse.

Scarborough to get a new Ethnic FM Radio station (Hugh Thompson, Digital Home)
In a broadcasting decision handed down today, the CRTC has approved an application by Subanasiri Vaithilingam for a broadcasting licence to operate a commercial ethnic FM radio programming undertaking in Scarborough, Ontario. Scarborough, a popular destination for new immigrants to Canada, is a dissolved municipality of over 600,000 people located at the Eastern edge of Toronto.

Fulkari sends the message of humanity, women’s rights, and understanding (Soutah Asian Generation Next)
Fulkari Dance Group performed traditional Punjabi folk dance that celebrated women, honoured family relations, and preached the need for equality among all. 7 Arts Dance Company’s colourful performance provided a fusion element with classical dance to Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and other top Bollywood hits.

Registration Open for the 14th National Metropolis Conference – Future Immigration Policies: Challenges and Opportunities for Canada (Metropolis)
The National Metropolis Conference is an annual forum for researchers, policy makers, representatives from community and settlement organizations to get together to share and exchange knowledge and experience in the field of immigration and settlement. The 14th National Metropolis Conference will be held on February 29, 2012- March 3, 2012 at Westin Harbour Castle, in Toronto, Ontario.

Event Dec 8: Toronto – City to celebrate achievements in human rights (City of Toronto)
The City of Toronto will present the 2011 Access, Equity and Human Rights Awards in recognition of Human Rights Day, December 10. Awards will be presented to five recipients who have made a significant impact upon the lives of Torontonians by working towards the elimination of barriers to equality and discrimination.

Board diversity important, worthwhile: Survey (Canadian HR Reporter)
Canadian corporate directors agree board diversity is an important and worthwhile initiative that can contribute to better decision-making and governance, according to a study by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD). Diversity in the Boardroom: Findings and Recommendations of the Institute of Corporate Directors is based on a series of town hall discussions in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax, and a survey of 550 ICD members.

Directors more handsomely compensated: Conference Board of Canada (Barbara Shecter, Financial Post)
In terms of further diversity, 18% of corporate boards have at least one director who is a member of a visible minority, up from 13% in 2008. No organizations reported having a director with a disability, or from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) community.

Director compensation in Canada rose sharply in the past two years (Digital Journal)
Compensation for directors of publicly traded Canadian corporations rose significantly between 2008 and 2010, a trend that is expected to continue, according to the Conference Board of Canada’s 2011 Canadian Directors’ Compensation and Board Practices report.

Privacy, civil liberties advocates issue statement of principles on Canada-U.S. perimeter agreement (Rabble)
In advance of today’s anticipated Canada- U.S. border deal signing in Washington, D.C., privacy and civil liberties advocates are releasing a 12-point statement of principles (see below) they hope will help guide public and parliamentary debate in the months to come. The joint statement of principles was developed over the past few months and represents basic concerns with the trade-off expected behind the anticipated deal. The organizations listed below are available for comment on their statement as well as the content of the anticipated 32-point Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness action plan.

CCLA Reacts To Canada-U.S. Border Deal Statement; Concerned About Implications For Privacy Rights (CCLA)
In light of the new details revealed today with regards to the border security deal between Canada and the United States, CCLA urges Prime Minister Harper and President Obama to refrain from any implementation of the Action Plan before the Adoption and Release of the Announced Privacy Principles.

Canada’s Political Outsiders (Nick Ruderman, The Mark)
To understand this puzzle in greater depth, Samara, a research organization that studies and encourages citizen engagement with Canadian democracy, has undertaken an unprecedented series of focus groups exploring the reasons Canadians are choosing (in greater and greater numbers) not to become politically involved. One of these groups was composed exclusively of less-educated young people (the average age was 21). This is significant because previous studies have tended to study disengagement among university-educated youth. Samaras focus group was comprised primarily of participants who had completed high school but had not enrolled in college or university. Given that low turnout among young people is still disproportionately concentrated among those without a post-secondary education, such a focus is long overdue, and the results of that study provide some intriguing insights into the reasons for their disengagement from politics.

Alienated from what? By whom? (Andrew Potter, Citizen Special)
While some of them – urban aboriginals in particular, and certain segments of the youth vote – have every reason to feel like political outsiders, can we really say the same about francophone Quebecers, new Canadians, and members of rural communities? More than any other constituencies in the country, these three groups have been relentlessly courted by political parties from all points of the political compass. It is not an overstatement to say that making these three groups happy has been the overriding focus of federal policy for the past 40 years.


Update on Detention (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
One of the Migration Information Source’s Top 10 Migration Issues of 2011 is “Immigrant Detention under Scrutiny in Australia, United Kingdom, and United States.” There have been some recent shifts in Australia’s detention policy; the government has decided to begin releasing asylum seekers who were detained because they arrived by boat. At the same time, IRIN recently reported on the mental health consequences of detaining asylum seekers for extended periods.

One man’s horrific tale of fleeing homophobic violence in Africa (Paula Stromberg, Xtra!)
Vancouver lawyer Rob Hughes, well-known for representing gay and lesbian refugees over the past 20 years, says Canadian law allows refugee protection for those who can demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution. They must also prove they cannot be safe in another part of their country and that their own state government is unable or unwilling to protect them. In Vancouver, Hughes represented newcomer Sombede Korak at a refugee hearing in 2011. Korak is a gay man who recently fled West Africa. He’s from Ghana’s second largest city, Kumasi, in the centre of the country’s Ashanti Region.

Canada’s Role in the Global Refugee Crisis and Canada-U.S. Trade and Security: Hot Topics for Dec. 7 (Carleton University)
Carleton University experts are on standby to provide commentary on today’s hot topics.


We’re taking your calls: National phone-in today (CBC The Current)
Poet Lorna Crozier and Rob Rainer, executive director of Canada Without Poverty join Anna Maria Tremonti in studio to hear your stories.

Some Vancouver parents ‘too poor’ to send kids on field trips (Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun)
Stand at the entrance of Lord Strathcona elementary in the heart of the Downtown Eastside and look north: There is Grouse Mountain in all its glory – an enormous self-proclaiming advertisement for urban entertainment and middle-class self-indulgence. However, for many children attending Vancouver’s oldest elementary school in the city’s poorest district, that magnificent sight is all of Grouse Mountain they’re likely to experience.

Costs of poverty can’t be ignored, says report (Ryan Ross, The Guardian)
Islanders can’t afford to ignore the costs of poverty any more, says the author of a report on eliminating poverty. Angela MacEwen, an economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said people can’t continue to look at the symptoms of poverty without looking at the root causes.,-says-report/1

Past Aboriginal Housing Crises (CBC The Current)
Today, our project Game Changer looks back at First Nation communities to ask why wasn’t each a Game Changer for itself and for the next community? We hash out the aboriginal housing crisis to find out what we can do to solve it, once and for all. And we also look at one community that’s been branded a success story and get an update from another community that a few years back, horrified the nation the same way Attawapiskat is today.

Contest uncovers hidden tragedy of impoverished seniors (CTV)
The founders of a Toronto agency were so struck by what they say is a hidden crisis of Canadian seniors living in poverty, they decided to hold a contest to do something about it. Peter Cook, who runs Seniors for Seniors, an agency that hires younger seniors to run errands for older seniors, is the mastermind of the contest, along with this wife. A few weeks ago, they put out a call to social workers to nominate needy Toronto-area seniors who could benefit from a prize of $1,000 a month for a year. The stories they got back were heart-wrenching.

Aboriginal Health Report (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Dr. Janet Smylie. She is a researcher at the Centre for Research and Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital, and also the lead investigator of a study that will be released later today called the, “Our Health Counts, Urban Aboriginal Health Database”, research project.


Fixing the Hole in Employment Insurance: Temporary Income Assistance for the Unemployed (Michael Mendelson and Ken Battle, Caledon Institute)
Many unemployed Canadians are ineligible for Employment Insurance, so that welfare becomes their only alternative. But welfare rates are low, especially for single employable recipients. Further, applicants must exhaust their financial assets, and the paternalistic requirements of welfare are stigmatizing. As a consequence, it is difficult to bounce back from welfare into the economic mainstream. The solution most often proposed has been to loosen the rules for Employment Insurance; however, we show in this paper that many unemployed workers would still be left in the cold even if we did that. Something is needed between Employment Insurance, with its relatively higher benefits but limited reach, and welfare, to which anyone in need can apply but only for inadequate benefits. We propose a new temporary income measure to fill the gap between Employment Insurance and welfare the Jobseekers Loan.

Video: TEMPORARY WORKERS (OMNI South Asian edition)
Be it for few months or years. Almost every temporary foreign worker who comes to Canada wants to settle here permanently. And that’s not an easy task to accomplish. Government is continually raising the bar for them to qualify for the permanent residency in Canada. A pre-Christmas party for the temporary foreign workers was held in Edmonton. Babar Tahirkheli spoke with some of them about their concerns.!

The Precarious Migrant Status and Precarious Employment: The Paradox of International Rights for Migrant Workers – PDF (Judy Fudge, University of Victoria)
Research Question: Do international human rights instruments specifically designed to protect migrant workers’ rights have the potential to challenge the role of immigration law in producing precarious employment?

Career Edge Organization goes beyond “Canadian Experience” (Michelle Pinchev, CEO blog)
Last Friday, a diverse group of leaders from the business and academic community joined forces with immigrant-serving organizations to present a series of innovative ideas to promote the meaningful and sustainable integration of immigrants into the Canadian labour market at the Beyond “Canadian Experience”: Mobilizing Diverse Talent for Corporate and Community Success conference.

Tech industry warms up to women workers (Stephanie Orford,
Once the domain of men, the technology sector is now welcoming more women than ever. These days, women of all stripes are working in the office or from home, running their own businesses, and getting involved in the tech industry on their own terms. “Technology has changed so much in the last 20 years that we’re almost not talking about the same industry anymore,” said Tabitha Creighton, vice president for services at Vancouver-based Knowledgetech Consulting.

Useful data on diversity in Canada’s tech/digital industry can be found here –


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

Aging apartment towers can be humanized (Marcus Gee, Globe and Mail)
It is easy to despair about the high-rise neighbourhoods of Toronto’s inner suburbs. Builders threw up more than a thousand apartment towers in the fifties, sixties and seventies to accommodate a growing population. They stand in vast, windswept spaces along the broad suburban avenues of Scarborough and Etobicoke. Many are showing their age, with rusting balconies, broken pavements and scruffy grounds. Built in an era of cheap fuel, they are energy sieves, badly in need of retrofit.

Toronto: Service Cuts Are Costly, Consider Our Health. Here’s How. (Wellesley Institute)
Rick Blickstead, CEO of Wellesley Institute, appeared before the budget committee today. He highlighted that the health and well-being of all Torontonians must be the priority of the City of Toronto when making important budget decisions. Budget decisions that result in the loss of secure jobs, reduce access to services that people rely on, and that increases social and economic inequality are the wrong decisions for councillors to make.

Budget Committee Deputations: Day One (Hamutal Doltan, Torontoist)
348 Torontonians are registered to tell the Budget Committee what they think of the 2012 budget proposal. We’ll be tracking what they say as the two-day meeting unfolds.

Public Deputations (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the proposed city budget with Carol Wilding, she is president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, and with the president of CUPE Ontario, Fred Hahn.


Special Edition The National Summit for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector – December 7, 2011 (Charity Village)
CharityVillage assigned a writer to each of the priority areas, and this special edition of Village Vibes features their accounts of what transpired in the working sessions for each, and more importantly the work that needs to be done and commitments to action that have been made. Well be following up on actions, commitments and recommendations coming out of the Summit over the coming months. I look forward to your thoughts, ideas and contributions as we work collectively to propel the sector forward on these important issues.

Required training under the AODA customer service standard (Yosie Saint-Cyr, First Reference Talks)
The Accessibility Standards for Customer Service under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) require employers to provide accessible customer service to persons with disabilities. In order to comply with the legislation, all businesses and organizations providing goods or services to the public with at least one employee in Ontario must meet several requirements by January 1, 2012.

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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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