Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 20, 2012


New Crew of City Builders Step Up to Make Their Mark (DiverseCity)
Twenty-eight rising leaders have been selected as the new cohort of DiverseCity Fellows. Fellows is a one-year leadership development and network-building program that aims to harness the potential of a diverse cross-section of leaders so that they can address the challenges that lie ahead for the greater Toronto region.

Who are Building Blocks? We are! (DiverseCity)
Building Blocks offers a civic literacy primer how government makes decisions and how to impact those decisions in highly diverse, low income communities in the Peel York and Toronto Regions. But who are the people behind Building Blocks?

Vancouver’s Canadian-born Chinese in their 30s and 40s make their mark, no small thanks to Milton Wong (Charlie Smith,
Vancouver resident Ken Sim has a life that many would envy. As the cofounder of Nurse Next Door, the self-made entrepreneur oversees a thriving Canadian home-care company with 50 locations. This year, he and his business partner, John DeHart, expect to generate $26 million to $30 million in revenues. Sim, a married father of four, and DeHart have been profiled in magazines and spoken at their alma maters, and are regularly courted by investment bankers who want to turn Nurse Next Door into a public company listed on a stock exchange… Sim, 41, is one of numerous Canadian-born residents of Chinese heritage whove moved into leadership positions in this region. Several were mentored by recently deceased financier and philanthropist Milton Wong, who last year was given Vancouvers highest honour, Freedom of the City. Their number will likely increase as members of this groupwhich is significantly younger than the population as a wholemove into the prime of their careers.

Be a Racial Justice Hero (Suazann Hawkes)
As Martin Luther King day just passed, the team at posted a great little article on how to be a racial justice superhero all year long. Terry Keleher writes: Racial Transformers dont fixate on whos a racist or whether someone intends animus. For they know that the deepest racism lies not just in the hearts and minds of individuals, but in the roles and rules of big institutionslike schools, courtrooms and corporations. Thats their primary focus of changethese familiar systems of power, churning out deep and deadly racial inequities by the day. All it takes is a little drilling down into your daily routineexamining whats going on and what you can do differently. Begin by thinking about the institutions you routinely interact withstores, banks, media outlets, health facilities, schools, your workplace, community or religious organizations, city government and so on. Its a quick read full of terrific reminders of the kinds of individual practices and intentions that can add up to transformative change.

Publication: Gender, Care, Migration – Europe-Canada Compared (European Union Center of Excellence, McGill University)
Concepts of care and care work reveal a gender division of labour, with women doing most of this work, often in the employment of other women. Care work is emotional work, involving a relationship to the body, and requiring skills. These three terms also call for rethinking work itself, as frontiers of public/private and national borders are redrawn. In the North, care work is often done by migrant or immigrant women. Analysing through the lens of gender and migration can provide new understandings, about the globalisation of care work that is generating new social and economic relations in the North as well as the South, as well as relations of power between women that result from this way of structuring care in ageing societies.

Chinese man deported after decade on the run in Canada found guilty of fraud (Washington Post)
A Chinese businessman deported from Canada after more than a decade on the run was found guilty of contract fraud Friday and sentenced to 15 years in jail, in what his lawyer and family say is a test case for Chinese fugitives around the world. Zeng Hanlin, who fled to Canada in 1999, was charged in relation to a failed business merger, said his Canada-based lawyer, Daniel Kingwell.

27 Appointees Named To Ontario’s Highest Honour (Ontario Government News)
* Three-time Toronto Mayor, David Crombie, former Ontario opposition leader John Tory, and popular bilingual children’s educator Suzanne “Marie-Soleil” Pinel are among 27 Ontarians being appointed to The Order of Ontario. The appointees were chosen for their contributions to the arts, law, science, medicine, history, politics, philanthropy and the environment. Nathalie Des Rosiers of Ottawa, a legal expert who has made groundbreaking efforts to ensure that victims of child sexual abuse get compensation for their injuries. She heads the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. John Tory of Toronto, a lawyer, business leader, community activist, broadcaster and former MPP and Leader of the Official Opposition. He is a consummate champion for the Greater Toronto Region as a founding member and chair of CivicAction and chairs and volunteers on countless fundraising campaigns.

Canada to ‘strictly’ enforce sanctions on Iranian immigrants (Louise Elliott, CBC)
The federal government is set to clarify how it will deal with applications for investor-class immigration to Canada from Iran, CBC News has learned. Canada imposed sanctions last November, freezing all financial transactions with the Middle East state in an attempt to put pressure on the Iranian regime. But those sanctions effectively shelved the applications of Iranian nationals trying to immigrate to Canada under the investor class, putting those applications in limbo.

Iranian-Canadians caught in the crossfire (Allan Woods, Toronto Star)
Canadas sanctions against Iran were meant to stop Tehrans ability to build nuclear weapons, but they are also having a devastating impact on Canadas large Iranian diaspora, community leaders say. Now there are talks underway between the foreign ministry and the federal immigration department to address the effects that a devalued Iranian currency and a ban on financial transactions are having on Iranian-Canadians.–iranian-canadians-caught-in-the-crossfire

“Not Part Of The Culture” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the explanation of the use of language by a defendant at a murder trial with Adeena Niazi. She is Executive Director of the Afghan Women’s Organisation .

New website offers Canadians “window” to Chinese culture (Chinese English news)
A new multimedia website on Chinese culture was launched here Wednesday in Vancouver, aiming to provide Canadians another “window” to Chinese traditions and spur tourism. Jointly created by China’s Consulate-General in Vancouver and multicultural radio station CHMB AM1320, the “Window to Chinese Culture” website ( has three main categories — culture, tourism and the latest news.

More charges laid in immigration fraud (CBC)
The RCMP have laid charges against two more men in a citizenship and immigration fraud case in Bedford. Hani Dalqamouni, 39, and Nael Al-Mehdawi, 37, have been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Dalqamouni, a Canadian citizen who is believed to be residing in Jordan, is charged with three counts of counselling misrepresentation under the act. Al-Mehdawi, who is also believed to be residing in Jordan, is a permanent resident status holder and has been charged with misrepresentation.

Celebrating Diversity at ConU (The Link)
The International and Ethnic Associations Council will hold Concordias first Cultural Diversity Week starting Monday, Jan. 23. We hope this event captures what we want it to capture, which is spreading the beauty of cultures, not a specific culture, said Marvin Coleby, Chairman of the IEAC. Hopefully it becomes an annual thing, that it gets bigger and bigger, he said.

MorningFile: City to fight racial profiling, Mulcair’s Canadian loyalty questioned (Sarah Leavitt, OpenFile Montreal)
Montreal announced a new strategy in dealing with racial profiling in the city yesterday. Mayor Gérald Tremblay explained that the three-year plan will include the forming of a committee made up of representatives from the city, the police force and the Société de transport de Montréal. “Profiling in any shape or form is unacceptable,” Tremblay said. “Because it is opposed to the value of inclusion and equality and dignity that are so near to all Montrealers.” According to Montreal Police Chief Marc Parent, a retired Montreal police officer allegedly attempted to sell information about informants to the Mafia. An investigation is ongoing into what the police officer who was in the force for 30 years did, but Parent reiterated that none of the informants involved were at risk. In this situation, we have an individual who, in bad faith and dishonestly, decided to share information, Parent said. We must put in place a system that allows us to detect them and to have a rigorous management of these units.

Immigration stats from A to Z (Winnipeg Free Press)
From where do Manitoba’s African immigrants hail? The Free Press takes a closer look at the statistics.

Letters of the day: We are all Africans (Winnipeg Free Press)
Thank you for recognizing and saluting the diverse and fast-growing community of refugees and other immigrants to Manitoba from Africa (Our City, Our World, Jan. 18) You are opening our eyes to the challenges and successes of these brave people. Ruth Bonneville’s gorgeous front-page portrait is a heartwarming highlight.

Churches helping new Canadians settle in (Lindor Reynolds, Winnipeg Free Press)
They were singing, swaying and praying in the pews at Crestview Park Free Methodist on Sunday morning.
Women in African print dresses and colourful headscarves waved their hands in the air. Little girls in their Sunday best skipped up the aisles. The house band lit into a hymn and the congregants raised their voices in joyous celebration. It was a typically exuberant Sunday at the small St. James church, one of dozens that attract recent African immigrants and their extended families. Africa is one complex and gloriously unmanageable ‘theme’ to choose to kick off our 2012 series, Our City Our World, which is why it’s taking up the whole newspaper on Jan. 18. These churches, some of them with a handful of celebrants and others with 100-plus attendees, form the backbone of Winnipegs burgeoning African community.–137557913.html

Multi-instrumentalist hasn’t Mis-ed a beat (Rob Williams, Winnipeg Free Press)
Gentil Mis didn’t learn to play guitar with his feet to impress people, he learned to play the instrument in case he lost his hands. The talented 23-year-old and his family were constantly pursued after fleeing the war in Congo, so he taught himself to play the guitar with his feet in the event of a tragedy where his hands or arms wer e chopped off, or even made useless from disease.

Special “Africa Edition”:

Bibles in Schools – A statement from Kelvin Warkentin with The Gideons International in Canada (CBC)
As you’ve probably already read on our website, we began offering New Testaments to Grade Five students in 1946. The Canadian public school system at that time was very open to it, so it became an annual tradition across the country that students would receive their own personal, pocket sized copy. Canada was a different country back then, especially with regards to the diversity of religions in the classrooms.

Culturally Relevant Islamic Institute Equips Muslims to Educate Others (Ken Chitwood,
Muslims place a high emphasis on knowledge of the Quran and that wisdom being passed on from generation to generation. In the Middle East, and other Muslim majority countries, there are easily accessible opportunities for Quran-based education. On the rare occasion when this type of traditional Islamic training is available to Muslims living in the West, many times it is disconnected from their Western reality. To meet that need, the Al Maghrib Institute, a Sunni Muslim educational institution operating in Houston and throughout the United States, teaches students orthodox Islam in a way that helps individuals apply principles in their contemporary Western contexts.

The Star brings Afghan schoolgirl to Canada (Michael Cooke, Toronto Star)
As the wheels of the ancient Afghan Airlines flight left the ground, I sent a text back to the Star news desk: She’s out. We couldn’t be sure until the plane, packed with Muslim pilgrims on their way to Iraq, lifted us up and away from Afghanistan. There was so much that could have gone wrong in Kandahar. It is the heartland of the Taliban, after all. Even the Afghan police they’re supposed to be on our side tried to stop us leaving at the civilian airport. But today Roya Shams, the 17-year-old Afghan girl, is in Toronto and on her way to Ottawa’s prestigious Ashbury College, thanks in part to the generosity of Star readers.–the-star-brings-afghan-schoolgirl-to-canada

PHL, Canada execs tackle Pinoy migrants issues (GMA News)
Philippine and Canadian authorities discussed this week labor and migration issues affecting Filipino workers and migrants entering Canada. Ambassador Leslie Gatan took up the matter with Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last January 16, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

Man files rights claim against Gatineau (Katia Dmitrieva, Ottawa Citizen)
A man has filed a complaint with Quebec’s Human Rights Commission after he says he was singled out by the City of Gatineau for criticizing a controversial immigrant values guide. Kamal Maghri, who has lived in Canada for 11 years and works for the federal government, said he was shocked when he discovered that a city official had been investigating him. He had complained to the city about the guide when it came out in December.

Muslim visitors hope to end cultural misconceptions (Ben Proulx, Fort Saskatchewan Record)
Fort Saskatchewan recently played host to a Muslim group looking to dispel misconceptions about the Islamic religion. Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada (AMYA) sent a group of 15 youth volunteers out to the Fort on Saturday in an effort to counter terrorism and to educate the general public on Islam.


Nansen Refugee Award (UNHCR)
Do you know of anybody who has gone beyond the call of duty and shown outstanding dedication and service to the refugee cause? Or maybe a group of people or an organization? If so, please nominate them as a candidate for the Nansen Refugee Award. All you have to do is to request the nomination form here and send it to: nansen

Webinar: Communicating against the Grain: Strategies to counter the criminalization of migrants (CCR)
This presentation is inspired by Karl’s popular presentation during the ‘Changing the Narrative: Strategies to counter the criminalization of migrants’ workshop at the CCR Fall Consultation in November 2011. This webinar is for individuals with CCR member organizations.

Feds keep deportation pressure on (Sue Montgomery, Montreal Gazette)
The Canadian government reiterated its determination Monday to deport suspected Rwandan war criminal Léon Mugesera after an immigration and refugee board member ruled he was a flight risk and should stay locked up until all his legal battles are done. Last week, Mugesera was on the verge of being deported from Canada – after almost 20 years in the country – when he ended up in hospital for three days due to stress and anxiety. As soon as he was released Saturday, Canada Border Services Agency arrested and detained him.

New wrinkle in Mugesera case (Sue Montgomery, Montreal Gazette)
Ottawa has information that proves the Rwandan government is criminal and that fabrication of evidence about the 1994 genocide is a common occurrence sanctioned by the authorities, claim lawyers trying to stop the deportation of suspected war criminal Léon Mugesera. In a motion to be presented in Quebec Superior Court on Friday, law firm Roy Larochelle Avocats Inc. says that documentation never before presented shows its impossible for Mugesera to have a fair trial in Rwanda and that the judiciary is not impartial.

‘Hotel Rwanda’ figure opposes Canada extradition (AFP)
Paul Rusesabagina, whose efforts to save 1,268 refugees was the basis of the film “Hotel Rwanda,” on Thursday asked Canada not to deport a Rwandan accused of helping to incite the 1994 genocide. In a letter to Canada’s immigration minister, Rusesabagina does not defend Leon Mugesera, who made an infamous speech in 1992 that is alleged to have played a major role in inciting the 1994 genocide in which radical ethnic Hutus killed as many as 800,000 Tutsis. But he said he opposes Mugesera’s extradition to Rwanda where he says Mugesera risks being tortured.

Mexican journalist in B.C. fears for life if deported after exposing corruption (Tamsyn Burgmann, The Canadian Press)
Her voice is strained as Karla Ramirez recounts seeing the butt of a gun, a man telling her she’d better be careful or her body might turn up in an empty lot. Yet she proceeds to name names, defiantly alleging corruption in the highest echelons of a Mexican government ministry that she says she unearthed while working there as a journalist. “Names are here,” she said, thumbing through her book The Talent of Charlatans, at a news conference Thursday. The book was written and published with the help of Vancouver’s University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University last July.

Refugees answer churches’ prayers – Help revitalize struggling places of worship (John Longhurst, Winnipeg Free Press)
Newcomers to Manitoba don’t just energize and reinvigorate communities — they revitalize churches, too. That’s what happened to First Presbyterian Church in Winnipeg.


The Case for a National Pharmacare Program (Danielle Martin, The Mark)
Its a familiar story in Canada, where one out of every 10 patients who is prescribed a drug cannot afford to take it as prescribed, according to a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto. These are often prescription medications that have been proven to be highly effective at extending and improving life.


Role reversal: Mentoring from the bottom up (Marjo Johne, Globe and Mail)
At least once a month Nitin Kawale, president of Cisco Systems Canada Co., sits down for a one-on-one mentoring session with Ioana Birleanu, a twentysomething business manager in Ciscos offices in the Netherlands. Mr. Kawale has years of work experience and several levels of seniority over Ms. Birleanu, but he isn’t the mentor in these sessions. Instead hes the student and protégé, learning over the past year how to use social media for internal and external communication.

News Release New website promotes innovations in the assessment and recognition of international qualifications (CIC)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has launched a website promoting innovations in the assessment and recognition of foreign worker qualifications. The International Qualification Network (IQN) website serves as a virtual space for employers, regulatory bodies, governments and organizations serving immigrants to capitalize on promising qualification assessment and recognition practices.

No Experience? No Thank you! Employers Need Incentive to Hire New Grads (Saeed El-Darahali, SmartCity blog)
As many of our fellow Canadians begin to retire and enjoy their golden years – which they deserve for building the greatest nation in the world – the next generation of Canadians will have very big shoes to fill. Building a country is very difficult, but sustaining this momentum will be more difficult with the current and projected trends in population decline. We, as a nation, have a major crisis brewing in our system as the future leaders of tomorrow are sitting idle and not gaining the required experience to begin the succession planning required for our private and public organizations. We need to make an impact on this problem today and the federal and provincial governments must step up to the plate to help create incentive programs for employment for new graduates.

Are there labour and skill shortages in Canada? (Andrew Jackson, Rabble)
Demand for workers can be readily filled from the ranks of the unemployed, discouraged job seekers, and the involuntarily part-time and self-employed. Unemployment and under-employment are especially high among the echo baby boomers entering the work force, recent immigrants trapped in jobs well below the level of their qualifications and experience, and aboriginal Canadians. Despite a slack overall job market, many employers claim that there are significant shortages of at least some kinds of workers across the skills spectrum. Accordingly, they have pressed successfully for a major expansion of the temporary foreign worker program which now accounts for the majority of entrants to Canada, and also for changes to the regular immigration program which would much more closely align immigrant intake with the perceived needs of employers and the job market. Do employers have a point?


Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage including City Hall, Labour Dispute, Transit and Other News.

Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage including City Hall, Labour Dispute, Transit, Development and Other News.

January 19 Budget Post-Mortem (Social Planning Toronto)
Links to stories/Community Reaction to the 2012 City Budget.


UK City Councils to Offer Free Legal Advice via Webcam in Libraries (Michel-Adrien Sheppard, slaw)
The general public can already get legal information and/or advice from public legal education websites or from legal clinics and pro bono groups. Some city councils in the United Kingdom are going one step further. Birmingham and Westminster are teaming up with videoconferencing firm Instant Law UK to offer free legal advice via webcam in public libraries.

Social Impact of Islamic Finance – Myth or Reality? (Part 2) (Farooq Shaikh,
We have previously explored the links between social finance and Islamic finance; here, we explore Islamic finance claims of social impact. Part 1, published last week, examined the model; here, Part 2 lists a few examples of Islamic finance being used to produce social benefits.

Non-profit sector keeps getting smacked harder (Ann Davidson, Montreal Gazette)
Over and over and over, it keeps happening! Another meeting and I have heard about potential changes in the distribution of government moneys to the community sector. Why? The West Island continues to be perceived as a region of wealth and little poverty. Of course the most recent indicator might wash down the facts by creating an average figure in any given neighbourhood that lowers the annual income of the wealthier households and raises the less privileged ones! Those of us who have worked in the community sector know better.


Human trafficking a big problem in Canada (Allison Salz Edmonton Sun)
As many as 15,000 people become victims of human trafficking every year in Canada. That’s far too many, says an MP who has devoted herself to the cause. “Modern day slavery is really manipulation of the mind,” said Joy Smith before speaking to a group of University of Alberta students Thursday afternoon. “To convince people that they’ll give them everything they want, but their real intention is to sell them.”

Ending slavery (Langley Advance)
Local anti-human trafficking advocates are encouraging Langley residents to attend a Jan. 19 meeting to find out about the scope of the problem and what they can do about it. Langley Youth Unlimited and Miss Canada 2011 Tara Teng are hosting Wake Up: A Night Against Exploitation with the goal of making this community a sexual exploitation-free zone.

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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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The CMAJ editorial about revealing fetal gender, abortion & #diversity is going to be hot today methinks... #inclusion RT...