Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 30, 2012


Need to Open Doors, Raise Ceilings in Broadcast, Film and TV Production Industries (Mediacaster Magazine)
There’s still a glass ceiling on the screen based industry in Canada. The “old boys’ club” still commands authority, particularly in the broadcast industry, as well as in film & TV production and distribution sectors. The “glass ceiling” continues to exist but it has moved up a level of seniority, with more opportunities for women in decision-making roles (but fewer in technical ones). That’s according to Frame Work II: Canada’s Screen-Based Workforce, a snapshot of the current employment of equity groups in the context of today’s business and technological developments, released today by Women in Film and Television – Toronto (WIFT-T).

Ethnic-focused nursing homes put a Canadian face on filial piety (Dakshana Bascaramurty, Globe and Mail)
This is life at the ethnoculturally focused nursing home geared toward the Chinese population, one of the fastest-growing minority groups in Canada. Some have endured a five-year wait (and counting) for the privilege of living here, and waited 10 years for a space in Yee Hong’s Scarborough-McNicoll location. It’s not just comforts of cultural accommodation that attract ethnic minorities to these specialized homes. Research is emerging that there’s a significant health benefit, with the familiar mitigating the culture shock, social isolation and confusion that can come with being transplanted into a mainstream nursing home. Within the field, Yee Hong has emerged as an innovator in care, routinely boasting lower rates of depression, falls, skin ulcers and hospitalizations among its residents, compared with those living in mainstream homes. Susan Griffin Thomas, Yee Hong’s Mississauga director of care, attributes its success to high staff retention rates and a commitment to seeking out best practices from other homes across the country.

Tories pitching ‘significant’ immigration reform 45 (Daniel Proussalidi, Toronto Sun)
As Parliament resumes sitting on Monday with pensions and the 2012 budget top of its mind, the Conservatives will also throw what the prime minister has called “significant reform of our immigration system” into the mix. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told Sun News Network on Thursday one of the biggest changes will be to “invite businesses to go overseas, recruit the people who they think will work well in their companies, give them those job offers, and then we’ll bring them in (to Canada) on a super-fast basis.”

Kenney pushes for more skilled immigrants to ‘grow the economy’ (Cam Fortems, Kamloops Daily News)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney happened to ride in the same elevator in a downtown building Friday with local entrepreneurial success story Ron Mundi. And Kenney said Mundi — who bought and sold a half dozen hotels here and now owns the Coast Kamloops in Aberdeen — is the kind of immigrant the Conservative government wants to see more of in Canada as it shifts away from bringing in family members of those already here. “The focus will be on economic immigrants who can help grow the economy,” Kenney told reporters.

Jonathan Kay on assimilating immigrants: One tale from the front lines (Jonathan Kay, National Post)
The Shafia trial, like the Parvez trial before it, has produced calls for more “assimilation” and “integration” by Canadian immigrants — Muslims, in particular. This is part of a larger backlash against multiculturalism that gained force after 9/11. Stephen Harper’s Conservatives spoke for the majority when they rewrote the Canadian citizenship guide to specify that “Canada’s openness and generosity do not extend to barbaric cultural practices that tolerate spousal abuse, ‘honour killings,’ female genital mutilation, forced marriage or other gender-based violence.” But “assimilation” and “integration” are just words. Immigrants do not instantly adopt modern liberal notions of gender equality just because we ask them to. Nor will women who feel anxious and isolated in a new country throw off their veils and report their abusive husbands just because they see a well-intentioned public-service announcement in Arabic or Urdu. Calls for “assimilation” aren’t of much use unless they are accompanied by an understanding of how immigrants actually learn and adopt Canadian values.

How Twitter reacted to the Shafia verdict – minus the media (John Ferri, Open File Ottawa)
After a trial that lasted more than three months and captivated the attention of Canadians accross the country, a jury in Kingston today found three members of the Shafia family guilty of first degree murder. The media have covered this case since day one, but the verdict was met with an outpouring of reaction from Canadians on Twitter. OpenFile collected some of the notable tweets.

Full media coverage:

Immigration flexibility will attract ‘hidden jewels’ to Canada: Kenney (Robert Hiltz, National Post)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says changes are coming to Canada’s immigration system to make it more flexible in an effort to combat labour shortages. Kenney told CTV’s Question Period that the government is planning to change the points system for selecting immigrants to recognize the skilled trades. This policy change would alter the focus of the traditional immigration preference for university-educated migrants including engineers and doctors.

Changes to immigration system will help Canada bring in tradespeople: Kenney (Robert Hiltz, Postmedia News)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says changes are coming to Canada’s immigration system to make it more flexible in an effort to combat labour shortages. Kenney told CTV’s Question Period that the government is planning to change the points system for selecting immigrants to recognize the skilled trades. This policy change would alter the focus of the traditional immigration preference for university-educated migrants including engineers and doctors. “People who are skilled tradespeople have an almost impossible job of coming to Canada under our current system because the skilled worker program basically selects people with advanced university degrees,” Kenney told CTV.

Blood and Honour: Trial by Public! (Lauren Emily Oxford, Vancouver Media Co-op)
The crimes of white supremacists are not exceptions, because they exist amidst an underlying racism that continuously places people of colour as Outsiders from an imagined White Canadian identity. Within Canada, people of colour are three to four times more likely to be poor. We are over-represented in low-income jobs such as garment and janitorial work. Institutional racism is embedded in public bodies such as the criminal injustice system and educational system, as well as the laws and policies that govern these lands and our lives. Over the past few months alone, there have been numerous examples of state-sanctioned racism– from Jason Kenney’s niqab ban during citizenship ceremonies to Harper’s response to the Attawapiskat crisis – with real consequences and impacts for the self-determination and dignity of our communities. They also highlight the normalizing of public racist discourse that tends to take the form of “immigrants stealing jobs/not integrating” or “natives getting a free ride” or “black/brown men or youth always being violent” etc.

Alleged B.C. neo-Nazi heckled outside court (CBC)
Protesters heckled an alleged B.C. neo-Nazi charged with assault as he entered a Vancouver court building for a brief appearance before a judge Friday. RCMP have alleged that the accused, Shawn MacDonald, is one of three members of a white supremacist organization called Blood and Honour who face assault charges in connection with attacks on visible minorities between 2008 and 2010.

Foreign workers face being sent home over work permit snarl (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Thousands of temporary foreign workers are at risk of losing their permission to work in Canada and being sent home — ironically, just as Ottawa is fast-tracking work permit processing. Since November, many foreigners working in skilled jobs and trades in Canada have had their renewal applications rejected. Some are being forced to collect wages under the table while trying to restore their work status. Legal experts blame the chaos on two government departments being badly out of sync in processing the documents required to get a temporary work permit.–foreign-workers-face-being-sent-home-over-work-permit-snarl

Canadian Television Gag Irks Muslims (Elad Benari, Arutz Sheva)
A gag which aired on the Canadian program “Just for Laughs: Gags” has managed to upset Muslims both in Canada and around the world, Shalom Toronto reported. “Just for Laughs: Gags” is a hidden camera comedy show which features silly pranks on unsuspecting subjects while hidden cameras capture their response. Last April, Shalom Toronto reported, the program aired a gag which showed six “Muslims” lying in wait for motorists returning to their car in a parking lot, and then laying out prayer mats and kneeling to “pray” on them.

Exploitive rent demands ‘a norm’ for newcomers (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Rafiqul Islam paid his landlord $8,600 of rent upfront for a bachelor apartment in Mississauga. Unaware of tenants’ rights under Ontario law, new immigrants like Islam are being asked by landlords to pay as much as a full year of rent upfront to secure their first home because they have no Canadian employment or credit history. Housing advocates say such demands are illegal and the exploitation of immigrants has become all too common, due to loopholes in the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, as well as weak provincial enforcement–illegal-rent-deposits-a-norm-for-newcomers?bn=1

Agincourt library offers a stepping stone for newly arrived (Mohammad Wahaj Arshad, Toronto Observer)
For grade seven student Hing Wai, the Toronto public library in his Agincourt community is more than just a place with books. It’s a second home. Toronto’s libraries have been under threat of budget cuts over the past several months, as cost-conscious city councillors searched for ways to trim staff and hours. But for Wai and other students who rely upon the Agincourt library, any service cut would make his life more difficult. Agincourt has a large amount of residents who are immigrants to the country and who lack resources such as computers or study areas in their homes, most amenities settled Canadian families take for granted. For the newly-arrived, the Agincourt library becomes not just a place to get books but rather it becomes an integral part of their life.

New funding will attract foreign trained health workers, study best practises (Betty Ann Adam, The StarPhoenix)
Removing obstacles that prevent internationally trained health-care professionals from working in Saskatchewan is the goal of $5 million in new funding from the federal and provincial governments. A second funding announcement also made Friday in Saskatoon will focus on improving efficiency of chronic disease prevention and management and improve access to care for vulnerable population

How do personal networks affect economic adjustment among immigrants? (Sarah Wayland, WISE5)
A recent report written by Statistics Canada (2011) examines how immigrants’ social capital affects their economic success in Canada. Social capital concerns individuals’ personal networks and is thought to lead to better economic outcomes because personal networks are a source of information about jobs and business opportunities.

Call for Proposals – Southern Alberta Small Centre LOCAL IMMIGRATION PARTNERSHIPS (Integration Net)
This Call for Proposals (CFP) is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in partnership with the Alberta Ministry of Human Services (AHS) to strengthen the role of local communities in serving and integrating immigrants through Local Immigration Partnerships. This is a collaboration between AHS and CIC; CIC is the sole funder for any agreements initiated under this CFP. The deadline for submitting applications is: March 9, 2012: 4:00p.m.EST.

Call for Proposals – CALGARY LOCAL IMMIGRATION PARTNERSHIP (Integration Net)
This Call for Proposals (CFP) is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in partnership with the Alberta Ministry of Human Services (AHS) to strengthen the role of local communities in serving and integrating immigrants through Local Immigration Partnerships. This is a collaboration between AHS and CIC; CIC is the sole funder for any agreements initiated under this CFP. The closing date for the Call for Proposals: February 24, 2012.

Lobby’s arguments don’t add up (Salim Mansur, Toronto Sun)
The main argument of the pro-immigration lobby, as I pointed out last week, is the net economic benefits from immigration outweigh social costs over time. This argument has been turned into an axiom — self-evident truth — by the pro-immigration lobby, and is broadcast by the mainstream media. Anyone or any group who dare question this axiom are intimidated, silenced and marginalized by the pro-immigration lobby, through the media, as reactionaries, or worse, as bigots. That was the lesson taught to Enoch Powell, the British MP who warned of the negative consequences of open immigration in his April 1968 speech to a Conservative party gathering in Birmingham, England. He was branded as a mad hatter and a bigot, and his destroyed political career stands as a warning by the pro-immigration lobby to politicians questioning its agenda and what it can do to them. But the axiom needs to be examined, since an economy such as Canada’s is complex and social costs are real.

Should immigrants to Canada have to speak either English or French? (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney wants to get tough on language. During a press conference, Thursday, Kenney chided the provinces for their lax language requirements with regards to the Provincial Nominee Program, an immigration scheme which allows provinces to choose immigrants based on local labour needs. “I guess what we’re saying to (the provinces) is it doesn’t make a lot of sense to invite someone to Canada who doesn’t speak any English,” Kenney said according to the Canadian Press.

Kenney Continues On Immigration Busting Path With “Minimum Language Skills” Requirement (The Link)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney feels every month or few weeks – he has to come out with something new on the immigration front in keeping with the Conservatives and the old Alliance party agenda of curtailing Canada’s immigration or at least reducing that from the non-English speaking countries, particularly from the Asian hubs of India and China.
Kenney’s newest rant is making “Minimum Language Skills”, which is a roundabout way of saying let’s begin rejecting immigrants who don’t speak English.

Ethnic Enclaves Offer Comfort But Immigrants Need To Integrate Into Canadian Society (Balwant Sanghera, The Link)
It is true that ethnic enclaves offer a sense of familiarity, belonging, security and comfort especially to new immigrants. However, in the long run, they limit their ability to integrate into the mainstream. In this context, it is important to recognize that all of us must make an earnest effort to reach out and integrate into the mainstream. Whether we have been here for generations or have just come off the aeroplane, we must learn at least one of Canada’s official languages-English or French. Furthermore, we should make a concerted effort in reaching out to others.

Burka bravery: Women seeking extended ban that has nothing to do with religion (Michael Coren, Toronot Sun)
It says a great deal about Canadian pluralism and decency — and about the diversity that still exists in the corners, if not mainstream, of Islam — that a group of Muslim women can come forward and ask a Conservative government minister to extend, not limit, the burka ban. Those brave activists within the Muslim Canadian Congress do not speak for all Muslims of course, but then neither do the various extremist Islamic groups in the country. But unlike the MCC, those fanatics pretend otherwise.

From C to C: Chinese Canadian Stories of Migration, a Documentary Review (Ed Sum, BChannel News)
In the documentary, “From C to C, Chinese Stories of Migration,” the ‘C’ can mean anything. It is not just about coming from China to Canada, but it is about what some Chinese people did to contribute to Canadian society—some became war vets—while others faced scrutiny. Most of these immigrants were ostracized. They were denied their basic civil rights during the turn of the 19th century. They arrived in this country during the two economic booms of the Pacific Northwest in the search for their ‘Gold Mountain.’ The families and a few survivors of that time recount their tales of racial inequality, survival and injustice. When compared to today’s immigration laws, some people may be shocked. This film skillfully dodges any political commentary and simply looks at how secluded one particular nationality felt.

Rebuffed Afghan combat interpreter wrongly accused of taking story to the media (Paul Watson, Toronto Star)
A Canadian Army commander and senior diplomat decided a highly praised Afghan combat interpreter didn’t need safe refuge in Canada, faulting him for complaining publicly about delays, an internal document shows. The former head of Canada’s elite special forces, and our deputy ambassador to Afghanistan, turned down Sayed Shah Sharifi’s visa application last fall, just weeks after he spoke to the Toronto Star in July. They didn’t believe Sharifi’s claims that the Taliban want to kill him for aiding Canadian combat troops, an essential qualification for a visa under a special program.–rebuffed-afghan-combat-interpreter-wrongly-accused-of-taking-story-to-the-media


Human-smuggling bill violates rights of real refugees (David Berger, Montreal Gazette)
The government of Canada is making changes to our refugee-determination system that deprive asylum-seekers a fair hearing. It often portrays them as criminals and queue-jumpers. It has introduced a bill that it says is aimed at deterring smugglers, but that mostly targets refugees. Let us look at the reasons why these measures must be reconsidered.

A friend in Mexico (Globe and Mail editorial)
It takes an American to argue persuasively that it is in Canada’s national interest to strengthen its ties with Mexico, a relationship that academic Robert Pastor says has been “consciously or unconsciously undermined” by successive Canadian governments. A good place to start would be for Ottawa to lift its visa restrictions on Mexicans. Implemented in 2009, the visa was intended to stop spurious refugee claims by Mexicans. But Canada has toughened its refugee laws, and persisting with the visa requirement is widely seen in Mexico for what it is, an insult to a key hemispheric ally.

Canada risks being seen as pandering to mass murders (Winipeg Free Press)
Here’s an ethical dilemma for you: does a person who may face torture deserve more compassion than hundreds of thousands of innocent murder victims? Apparently Canada’s immigration laws can’t make a distinction or, if it does, seems to consider the threat of torture more inhumane. At least that seems the case by allowing an alleged killer to gain protection in Canada against punishment for his possible involvement in one of the biggest mass murders in modern history.

Why We Need to Reform Deportation Rules for Bad-Doers (Gavin Charles, Huffington Post)
Leon Mugesera and Abu Qatada have lived oddly similar lives. Both men are from troubled countries: Mugesera is Rwandan; Qatada is Palestinian-Jordanian. Both are refugees; Mugesera arrived in Canada in 1992, while Qatada immigrated to the United Kingdom a year later. Both are accused of major crimes: Mugesera is alleged to have incited genocide; Qatada has been convicted in absentia of conspiracy to commit terrorism. Both have been subject to deportation attempts; while Mugesera was deported from Canada on Tuesday, Qatada won an appeal of his deportation last week. And both are emblematic of troubled Western immigration systems.

Sudanese immigrant survived civil war only to become homicide victim in Calgary (Stephane Massinon, Calgary Herald)
Gatleak Thor Metkurjock fled a civil war in Sudan and lived for years in a refugee camp in Kenya — but it was violence at a house party in Bankview that claimed the young man’s life. The victim of Calgary’s latest homicide first arrived in the city in May 2010 with his three brothers. They were separated from their mother seven years earlier and conflict in the wartorn country had left them without a father.

Refugees and Refugee Policy Today (SOS Children’s Village)
The conditions surrounding refugees’ migration today are very different than they were in 1951, when the UN Refugee Convention was adopted. One new Canadian bill could have a negative impact on the child rights of refugees.

Harper’s very political religion (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
It is wrong to accuse Stephen Harper of mixing church and state just because he wants to promote religious freedom worldwide. First, church and state are not all that separate in Canada. Why else do you think Ontario taxpayers fund Catholic separate schools? Also, the Charter of Rights recognizes “the supremacy of God.” Second, freedom of and from religion is a secular principle. A prime minister who promotes it should be commended, not criticized. It is also unfair to accuse Harper of advancing an evangelical Christian agenda — championing only the cause of Christian minorities abroad. His game is more nuanced.–harper-s-very-political-religion


Jagrup Brar a changed man after being ‘on welfare’ (Andy Ivens, The Province)
Jagrup Brar feels like a changed man after spending the last four weeks trying to get by on the $610 a single, employable person receives in welfare for one month from the province. “This has been a life-changing experience for me,” the MLA for Surrey-Fleetwood told The Province on Sunday. “The Downtown Eastside is way, way deeper poverty than any other part of the province.” Brar spent the first half of the month in Surrey and moved to the DTES on the 15th.

A Fork in the Road: A week-long series from Mary Wiens (CBC Toronto)
Governments the world over face the challenge of remaking themselves for lean times ahead. Low voter turnout suggests that many people don’t have faith that governments can continue to deliver high quality public service, let alone resolve the big problems of our time, from climate change to obesity to traffic congestion. But so far, much of the public debate about government’s role has revolved around two polarizing questions; whether to cut services, or raise taxes. Mary Wiens has found a growing movement among policy experts that the way forward must go beyond the debate over service cuts or maintaining the status quo.—a-week-long-series-from-mary-wiens/

Raising The Retirement Age Is The Wrong Way To Deal With The Retirement Crisis (Andrew Jackson, Behind the Numbers)
Raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security/Guaranteed Income Supplement (OAS/GIS) benefits is the worst possible way to deal with the retirement income security crisis facing Canadians. Experts such as former Assistant Chief Statistician Michael Wolfson project that one half of all middle income baby boomers face a severe cut to their living standards in old age. This is due to falling employer pension coverage (down to 25% in the private sector), rising household debt combined with low savings, and the big hit to “fend for yourself” RRSPs which comes from high fees and low investment returns. The right way to deal with this looming crisis is to expand the Canada Pension Plan now to raise incomes for seniors in the future.

Canada: Indicators on inequality outcomes and policies affecting them (OECD)
Various indicators of inequality outcomes, policies affecting labour income inequality, as well as of tax and transfer policies have been gathered. For each individual country, the country profile assembles those indicators which are considered as most relevant and for which data are available for a majority of countries. Each diamond shows the level of the indicator compared with the OECD average, thus showing country differences and what the available policy levers are. The dotted line represents the OECD average, and the data are in units of standard deviation.,3746,en_2649_34113_49333038_1_1_1_1,00.html

Harper’s grand plan: What it is and how to fight it (Syed Hussan, rabble)
The “demographic” problem and immigration. “I should add that we also did not reduce immigration or give in to protectionism… We will also undertake significant reform of our immigration system. We will ensure that, while we respect our humanitarian obligations and family reunification objectives, we make our economic and labour force needs the central goal of our immigration efforts in the future.”

Black History Month: Canada had its slaves, too (Brenda Branswell, Ottawa Citizen)
What unfortunate distinction does Olivier Le Jeune hold in Canadian history? Le Jeune was the first recorded black slave in New France, brought to Canada from Africa in the 17th century when he was a child. If you didn’t know the answer, you aren’t alone.


English Names on Resumes (Career and Job Search Help Blog, TPL)
In a report released in October 2011, two University of Toronto researchers, Philip Oreopoulos and Diane Decheif, found that resumes featuring English names were more than 35-per-cent more likely to receive a callback than a resume featuring Chinese, Indian or Greek names. The researchers sent dozens of employers identical resumes – changing only the names of the applicants. They found that employers across Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver significantly discriminated against applicants with common Indian and Chinese names relative to English. The callback rate differences were larger in Montreal, while smaller in Vancouver. Recruiters were also interviewed to explain why they believe name discrimination occurs. It turns out that productivity concerns cannot explain name bias. Rather, recruiters said that employers often treat a name as a signal that an applicant may lack language or social skills. And in this time & resources-pressed work environment, employers are wary of applicants with foreign names, hence foreign background and possible lack of adequate English-language and social skills for the Canadian marketplace. However, the researchers also suspected that recruiters are afraid of making a “bad hire”, especially during these tough economic times.

New Canadians Looking for a Career Boost to Gather at 9th Annual IEP Conference (Heather Williams, LEAP)
Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) face many challenges when immigrating to Canada. Finding meaningful employment is a major concern shared by most IEPs. The 9th Annual IEP Conference presented by PCPI, that is FREE OF CHARGE, will address issues relating to underemployment of new Canadians, through industry-specific panel discussions, key note speakers, and more.

The Canadian Skills Shortage: Keeping Tradespeople Employed for the Foreseeable Future (Marketwire)
The current challenge of all major industrial manufacturers in Canada is the shortage of skilled workers with the right experience. Research conducted by the Canadian Steel Trade and Employment Congress, (CSTEC) underscores this challenge in the broader Steel Sector.

Employment centres touted a link between immigrants and jobs (Fannie Sunshine, InsideToronto)
Mukital Khan had faith luck would be on his side when he left Bangladesh and moved to Toronto in August.
A telecommunications engineer in his home country, Khan wasn’t deterred when people told him that without Canadian experience, he wouldn’t find a job in Canada. Shortly after arriving in Toronto, Khan learned of Skills for Change, an Employment Ontario organization that helps immigrants and those re-entering the workforce find jobs.–employment-centres-touted-a-link-between-immigrants-and-jobs


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

Better civic thinking through conceptual theft (Wyndham Bettencourt-McCarthy, AV Club)
It’s rare to find a group of adults advocating theft on stage—and at a library, no less—but the five-finger discount was the primary motivation behind last week’s Steal This Idea!, a free panel discussion held at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library, although the focus was on the pilfering of concepts rather than objects. Presented by the Diaspora Dialogues and the Literary Review of Canada, the sold-out event featured local celebs Olivia Chow, Sook-Yin Lee, and Rick Smith, each presenting a municipal idea that another city has embraced and that they hoped Torontonians would “steal.” After introductions courtesy of Toronto Star columnist Royson James, each presenter delivered their spiel, which was met with a short rebuttal courtesy of Sheldon Levy, president of Ryerson University.,68413/

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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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