Immigration & Diversity news headlines – December 9, 2011


Call for submissions for “The Cities of Migration Project”, looking for good practices of inclusion (Migration Policy Group)
The Cities of Migration project, sponsored by Maytree- a foundation in Canada, is launching a first call for submissions for good practices on the theme “Good Ideas from Successful Cities: Municipal Leadership on Immigrant Integration”. The idea of the project is to highlight local governments that have taken positive steps to recognize and manage responsibly the complex realities of immigration and migrants in their communities. The activities should be city-led and can range from: planning, zoning, services, housing and employment to human resources and procurement. There are potentially some good ideas out there which involve inclusion of undocumented migrants, access to services and how such policies benefit the community as a whole; these sorts of examples are certainly something to highlight! The deadline for submitting is 30 January 2012 and for more information you can visit the website.

Premier appoints new immigration task force (Government of BC News)

Premier Christy Clark announced today the creation of the B.C. Immigration Task Force to review key government programs in order to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in British Columbia. “We’ve laid out an ambitious plan to create jobs in the BC Jobs Plan and we will need skilled immigrants to help fill more than one million job openings expected over the next decade,” said Premier Christy Clark. “The goal of this task force is to assess all of the immigration programs currently available to B.C., address their effectiveness and recommend ways to improve the current system so that British Columbia can successfully attract more skilled workers every year.”

Feds to revoke thousands of citizenships in historic sweep (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
In what’s being dubbed the biggest citizenship fraud sweep in Canadian history, the federal government is set to crack down on 4,700 more people believed to have obtained citizenship or permanent resident status illegally. The announcement comes six months after the government moved to strip 1,800 people of their Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status for the same reasons. Up until this year, Canada had revoked just 67 citizenships since the Citizenship Act came into force in 1947.

Immigrants a boon (Gerry And Pierrette Cowie, The StarPhoenix)
They are taking jobs that many born in Canada don’t want. The “foreigners” to whom Hodge refers may not be fluent in English, but they are learning; where they haven’t come with a set of skills, they are developing them; and some will soon own businesses and create – guess what? –jobs. Look around. It’s happening now all over Saskatoon.

Here’s your chance to participate in the 14th National Metropolis Conference: Become a Volunteer! (Metropolis)
The 14th National Metropolis Conference is a 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. If you are interested in learning more about this sector or if you would like to see first-hand how a conference of this size operates, we would like to invite you to become a volunteer.

Minority Women Top the National Book Awards (Michelle Pham, Schema Magazine)
Of the four honorees at the American National Book Awards, three of them are women of color. Nikky Finney, Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky was honored for her recent poetry collection, “Head Off & Split” which quickly sold out in bookstores across the nation and online at Amazon after she delivered a sensational acceptance speech.

Bullying Knows No Race, Religion, or Sexuality (Shahla Khan Salter, Huffington Post)
I’m a mom — an Ontario Muslim mom with three kids in the public school system. I know kids are bullied in school. I know kids use the word “gay” as an insult to harass other kids — queer and straight. I know kids can be mean without using any explicitly derogatory terms. I also know what it means to a kid to be on the receiving end of this type of harassment and how parents must be involved on both sides of the equation to stop bullying when it happens.

New Survey On Immigration To Be Released On December 15, 2011 (German Marshall Fund of the United States)
The Fourth-annual Transatlantic Trends: Immigration survey of North American and European public opinion in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain will be released on December 15th. The survey addresses a number of current issues related to immigration and integration including:
The impact of the Arab uprisings on attitudes toward immigration in Europe
Public views on high skilled immigration
Views of Muslim immigrant integration
Public views on qualities most important for naturalization

Supreme Court hears testimony in niqab case (CTV)
The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments Thursday about a Muslim woman who wants the right to wear a veil over her face while she testifies against two men she accuses of sexually assaulting her. It’s a case that has dragged through the courts for more than three years and one that has pitted the constitutional right of religion freedom against the rights of the accused to a fair trial.

Judges, lawyers clash over right to testify with face covered (Kirk Makin, Globe and Mail)
It was that kind of day at the landmark hearing, where the court must determine whether religious ritual and observance can trump the right of an accused to a fair trial. Judges clashed repeatedly with lawyers who sought to rank one right ahead of the other – particularly Mr. Butt. The judges questioned not only the fairness of allowing the defendant, N.S., to hide her facial expressions during cross-examination, but whether two diametrically opposed rights can ever be reconciled.

Women have right to wear niqab during trials, court told (Tracey Tyler, Toronto Star)
Women who wear the niqab should not be forced to facially disrobe as their price of admission to the justice system, the Supreme Court of Canada heard Thursday. But lawyers supporting a Toronto woman known as N.S., who wants to wear her niqab while facing her accused rapists, fielded pointed questions from judges skeptical of claims that seeing a witness’s face has little value.

Newcomers’ guide: A little common sense, please (Montreal Gazette)
Here’s some advice for any municipality tempted to publish a how-to-fit-in guide for newcomers to Canada: don’t do it. You’ll go wrong. You’ll end up offending people so much they will not accept advice of any kind, no matter how useful. Four years after the municipal council of Hérouxville – a small Quebec town that harboured a single immigrant family – prompted outrage by proclaiming a ban on stoning, the city of Gatineau has lurched into the treacherous terrain of cross-cultural instruction.

Canadian Multiculturalism Minister Receives Public Service Award (
Chabad-Lubavitch of Southern Ontario honored Canadian Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney with its Distinguished Public Service Award, pointing to the Calgary Southeast representative’s “popularity as a champion of human rights, a proud supporter of Israel, and [an] outspoken critic of all forms of racism and hate” as qualities other public servants should emulate.

Successful Vancouver businessman keeps commitment to his cultural roots (Denise Ryan, Vancouver Sun)
Chan’s storied history in the Vancouver business community includes a rise through the ranks of the TD Bank, where he pioneered a groundbreaking strategy, promoting cultural inclusion to capture B.C.’s new immigrant market in Asia. He later became president of SUCCESS, an honourary captain of the Canadian Navy and served one term as a Vancouver city councillor. Chan isn’t afraid to share his story, awkward sidesteps and gaffes included.

VIDEO: Ottawa woman faces deportation after cancer diagnosis (CBC)
After six years in Canada, Iranian immigrant Fatemeh Kamkar has had her been told she would be a drain on the health care system after recently being diagnosed with breast cancer

Exhibit explores religions’ diversity (Western Catholic Reporter)
A new exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization called God(s): A User’s Guide manages to explore the diversity of religious belief without falling prey to moral relativism. It also conveys through the exhibiting of artifacts from a wide range of faiths and multi-media presentations the amazing diversity of religious expression. The exhibit also manages not to offend any of the great monotheistic faiths, at least according to an imam, a rabbi and an Anglican minister who were invited by The Ottawa Citizen to view the displays and give their comments. All in all, the trio had a favourable impression, the Citizen reported.

Iranian community growing on P.E.I. (CBC)
An increasing number of immigrants from Iran has prompted the PEI Association for Newcomers to translate information on its website to Farsi. From 2008 to 2009 the number of Farsi, or Persian, speakers on the Island doubled from 35 to 70, and the rate of immigration has only increased since then.


RCMP officials worry over costs of human-smuggling mission (Douglas Quan, Postmedia News)
Following the arrival last year of almost 500 Sri Lankan asylum seekers aboard the MV Sun Sea cargo ship, the RCMP ratcheted up its human-smuggling prevention efforts, including deploying a team to Southeast Asia, amid internal concerns about the program’s costs. Records obtained through access to information show that in the fall of 2010, senior staff within the RCMP’s federal and international operations directorate exchanged a series of emails questioning how they were going to pay for the program and noting that other units were already starved for funds.

Canada Pledges to Help More Refugees (Canada News Centre)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney pledged that Canada would continue its tradition of helping the world’s persecuted. During his speech to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Minister Kenney committed, for each of the next five years, to contribute to an international pool of resettlement spaces that could be drawn upon in times of extreme urgency such as what happened when thousands of refugees in Libya had to flee.;jsessionid=ac1b105330d89809ce0809254a31a1d7a6c6d6365bd4.e38RbhaLb3qNe34Sc40?mthd=tp&

Hundreds of Namibians seek asylum in Canada (Nico Smit, The Namibian)
Data provided by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) shows that more than 750 claims for refugee status have already been referred to the IRB and 1 027 claims are still pending. Namibia is listed as the third largest source of new refugee protection claims by Canada. Hungary and China are first and second on the list. Of the 753 refugee protection claims referred to the IRB from January to September, 59 have been finalised, and of that number 29 have been accepted and 19 rejected. The IRB does not keep any statistics on claim type, but Melissa Anderson, senior communications advisor for the IRB, says applicants must show that they have a “well-founded fear of persecution based on one of the following grounds: race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group”. Anderson says applicants must be people whose deportation to their home country would subject them to a danger of torture, a risk to their life, or a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

Christian Dem chairman’s Roma adviser seeks asylum in Canada (
While the steady stream of Hungarian Roma seeking asylum in Canada has that government considering reintroducing visa requirements for Hungarians, the news that Christian Democrat Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén’s top Roma affairs adviser had gone with his family to Canada seeking asylum was unexpected.

Supreme Court to hear case of Libyan dissident who was denied refugee status (Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press)
Last month, the Conservative government staged an unprecedented military display on Parliament Hill to celebrate how Canadian fighter jets and a warship helped overthrow Libya’s tyrant dictator Moammar Gadhafi.Nearly three years earlier, Libyan-born Mushen Ahemed Ramadan Agraira had appealed to the government to be allowed to settle in Canada, not hiding the fact that he once belonged to a group dedicated to Gadhafi’s overthrow.

Refugees Better Off than Pensioners? (Pressing for Truth)
For several years, a persistent chain email has been circulating claiming that refugees receive significantly more money in income assistance than Canadians collecting a pension. The information, which is based on a letter published in the Toronto Star, is false. Refugees come to Canada in different ways, but no matter the category, refugees receive very limited income assistance from the government.

Ghanaian Gay Refugee In Canada Speaks… (Peace FM Online)
Imagine if your family published a newspaper story saying you were evil, and that the story made some neighbours feel obligated to smash your skull with rocks. There are thousands of stories like this in Africa. This one is horrific but has a happy ending.


Inequality Is Not Inevitable (Sherri Torjman and Ken Battle, Caledon Institute)
This paper was written at the invitation of Canada 2020 as part of an anthology on five major challenges facing Canada. Contributing authors to The Canada We Want in 2020 project were asked to submit brief, focused papers on concrete and practicable steps that could be taken by the federal government to tackle one of the designated challenges – in this case, poverty and inequality.

Income inequality: deep, complex and growing (Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail)
Good for the NDP leadership candidates for talking about income inequality in Canada. At their first leadership debate last weekend, and on their websites, some of the candidates have made proposals about reducing it. The ideas are broad brush, of course, although Brian Topp has a detailed list of big tax increases proposed for the wealthiest people and corporations. But at least the candidates are willing to underscore what has been a frequently ignored challenge.

Meet Canadians living in poverty (CBC The Current)
The Stop Community Food Centre – Toronto, Ontario – When Nadia Edwards arrived in Toronto from St. Lucia, the single mom struggled to provide her kids with food. Then a friend told her about The Stop, a community food centre in Toronto that offers food hampers, lunches and social programs. She shared her story with us over lunch at The Stop.

Editorial: Job inequality leads to income inequality (Vancouver Sun)
Clearly, Canada remains an attractive destination for immigrants, about 250,000 a year (with many more trying to get in), notwithstanding the OECD’s verdict on Canada’s growing inequality. The value of the OECD study is in its diagnosis of the dilemma and its prescription for a cure. The cause of income inequality is not the wizards of Wall Street, the Conservatives or the Illuminati. It is technology and changes in the labour market. Advances in technology inevitably result in job dislocation. Bowling alleys no longer have pinsetters, newspapers no copy boys and elevators no operators. Lamplighters, icemen, milkmen, switchboard operators and typesetters — all gone. Unskilled and low-skilled jobs that require little education have largely disappeared, or have moved offshore where labour costs are cheaper. Income inequality is a product of job inequality.


Overlooking Immigrant Talent Puts Canada at a Competitive Disadvantage (
Canadian organizations need to do a better job of recruiting and integrating skilled immigrants or risk losing them to other countries, according to a report from Deloitte. “It’s really important for Canadian organizations to tap into immigrant talent. We’re overlooking it right now and that’s exacerbating Canada’s productivity problem. It’s also putting Canada at a competitive disadvantage,” says Jane Allen, Chief Diversity Officer at Deloitte.

New website – International Qualifications Network (Government of Canada)
The IQN is for subject-matter partners who work in the field of international qualification assessment or recognition.

Event Dec 13: Seeing the Bigger Picture: Understanding and Using Labour Market Information (Settlement AtWork)
A breakfast workshop series that will help job developers interpret labour market information for their clients. An additional emphasis will be placed on how job developers can work with clients to use labour market information in the development of short and long term career plans.

The Occupational Classes: Not All Jobs are Created Equal – Number of Jobs Edition (Martin Prosperity Institute)
The sixth piece in our series exploring the characteristics of creative and service occupational classes considers the proportions and outcomes of workers who move from one job to another or hold two jobs at the same time.

2012 Employer Excellence Awards: Call for Entries (HireImmigrants Ottawa)
Hire Immigrants Ottawa is accepting entries for the 2012 Employer Excellence Awards from employers in the National Capital Region. In its fifth year, the awards recognize local employers for their innovative policies and practices in the recruitment and retention of skilled immigrants into their organizations. The deadline for submissions is January 10, 2012.


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

December 8 – Budget Committee Concludes Two Intense Days of Public Hearings (Social Planning Toronto)
Public hearings concluded this evening with residents delivering many thoughtful, passionate, odd and inspiring, and at times angry deputations on the 2012 City budget. Will any of this advice factor into the Budget Committee recommendations or final verdict from City Councillors in January? We’ll wait and see.

What the Brothers Ford Keep Missing About Government (Hamutal Doltan, Torontoist)
The mayor and his brother are not, despite the rhetoric, heartless. But they do lack a real understanding of how government should work.


Ms. Smith’s crusade misguided (Winnipeg Free Press)
Manitoba Conservative MP Joy Smith says prostitution — whether the provider is a high-price courtesan or a low-track drug addict — leads to violence against women. In order to stop it, she wants to punish the buyers of the product, while the vendors would be re-educated, presumably to help them overcome the false consciousness that makes them believe prostitution is a legitimate career choice. Ms. Smith is to be commended for her work in raising awareness about human trafficking, but her sweeping conclusion that all forms of prostitution must be stamped out is misguided.

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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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Your morning #Immigration & #Diversity news headlines – December 7, 2011 #inclusion New website: International Qualifications Network (IQN)