Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 6, 2012


Tweetable Diversity in Leadership Moments: Top 11 of 2011 (Tina Edan, DiverseCity Toronto)
2011 was an exciting year for diversity in leadership. While we continue to see a gap between the diversity we see on the streets of the GTA and that of our boardrooms, media and government, there are reasons to be hopeful.

The public sector should reflect Quebec’s diversity (Montreal Gazette)
Coming to grips with cultural diversity requires an effort on both sides, but it’s an effort that pays extraordinary dividends. Research from around the world shows that companies and economies that have made a commitment to diversity have happier, more productive workforces, are more prosperous, and show greater creativity and flexibility. Unfortunately, in Quebec, “diversity” seems still to be just another way of saying “non-francophone.” In too many quarters, diversity is perceived as something to be overcome, with newcomers thoroughly integrated into the province’s francophone community to ensure the survival of that community.

Live up to ideal of multiculturalism (Ahmed Shoker, The StarPhoenix)
The following is the viewpoint of the writer, a member of the Islamic Association of Saskatoon. As a proud Canadian Muslim, I had the honour to summarize the Islamic position on the niqab in The StarPhoenix and the Canadian Islamic Congress magazine on April 8 and 16, 2010, respectively.

Sask. needs wide welcome mat (Murray Mandryk, The StarPhoenix)
There’s certainly nothing wrong with wanting to attract people from Ireland, or from anywhere else for that matter, who want to come here and help address Saskatchewan’s shortage of skilled labour. If the goal is to attract newcomers who provide an immediate contribution to the economy and will make a long-term commitment to staying, there’s even an argument that the transition would be easier for white, English-speaking Europeans with similar job training and educational backgrounds as we find in Canada. This might be especially so in the case of less diverse, smaller Saskatchewan communities. Currently, about 70 per cent of new immigrants wind up in Regina or Saskatoon. But the lesson we should have learned 100 years ago, during the province’s first great immigration wave, is that if you open your doors to the world, you forfeit control over who you are inviting. And the notion that you can, or even would want to, micromanage your immigration policy to the extent of having politicians travel across the ocean to find specific skilled workers for a few specific employers seems wrong-headed.

In Nova Scotia politics, minority groups punch above their weight no more (Oliver Moore, Globe and Mail)
Should a black person’s vote count more? How about an Acadian’s? That’s been the case in Nova Scotia for decades, with riding composition finessed so these minority communities send a disproportionate number of MLAs to the provincial legislature. The disparity is nothing compared to Old Sarum — the most notorious of the United Kingdom’s historic “rotten boroughs,” in which MPs were sometimes elected by a tiny number of voters — but it has long raised fundamental questions of democratic fairness.

Star of Little Mosque on the Prairie Zaib Shaikh has a bright acting future (Richard Ouzounian,
The man from the mosque is moving on. When Little Mosque on the Prairie starts its sixth (and final) season Monday night at 8:30 p.m. on CBC, it will close the most important chapter to date in the rapidly rising career of its leading man, Zaib Shaikh.

CBC’s ‘Little Mosque’ cast says sixth and final season marked by tears, laughs (Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press)
The CBC series was an immediate sensation when it debuted on Jan. 9, 2007. More than two million viewers tuned in to the premiere — a smash by Canadian standards, with numbers that rivalled the viewership of star-packed U.S. imports. The show had originally been slated to debut in the fall but anticipation was so high the public broadcaster bumped up the premiere. At the time, it was hard not to be roused by the novel premise — a young big-city lawyer ditches his lucrative job to move to a small Prairie town and become an imam. The storyline managed to hit all the right social, political and religious buttons at a time when emotions were still raw from the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Exotic vegetables coming soon from a farmer near you (Rita Trichur, Globe and Mail)
Farmer Jason Verkaik sees a business case for diversity in the vegetable patch. Carrots and onions are his mainstay crops. But this third-generation grower is also experimenting with exotic produce such as Indian red carrots, Jamaican pumpkins and Mexican tomatillos at his Bradford, Ont., farm. This year, he’ll try his hand at fuzzy melons.

A Confusing NHL Racial Controversy Gets Muddier, As Banana Reference Nets A One-Game Suspension (Barry Petchesky,
We thought this one was going to be cut-and-dried. We thought Krys Barch said something hateful and racist and unacceptable to P.K. Subban, and the NHL would come down with all its disciplinary might to show that there’s no place for racism in hockey, and then we’d all move on. Naturally, nothing’s that easy. Last week, Florida enforcer Barch was ejected for saying something to Montreal’s Subban, who is Jamaican-Canadian. The Miami Herald reported that a linesman had overheard Barch use a “racial slur” after Subban had mixed it up with another Panthers player. We don’t know many different racial slurs, and unless Barch went to the George Allen School Of Racist Things Old People Say, we assumed he used a certain n-word, and no suspension could be long enough after the FA suspended Luis Suarez eight matches. Apologies to Barch for assuming anything, because that’s not what happened at all.

Alleged racist attack caught on video (CBC)
CBC News has released a video showing a black Vancouver man being beaten by an alleged white supremacist who has since been charged in connection with a string of apparently racially motivated attacks.
A CBC News videographer happened upon an apparent road-rage incident while on duty on Vancouver’s West Side in December 2008.

Top Conservative staffer’s mom gets nuclear regulator gig (Kristen Shane, Embassy)
The mother of a top Conservative staffer and former adviser to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is the newest member of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, raising opposition concerns over whether it was a patronage appointment. Rumina Velshi recently retired from a decades-long career with Ontario Power Generation. She is the mother of Alykhan Velshi, a lawyer in his late 20s from Toronto, who made a name for himself on Parliament Hill over five years on and off as a Conservative staffer. Most notably, he worked as Mr. Kenney’s director of parliamentary affairs and communications before the 2011 federal election.

Community on camera – Contest challenges newcomers capture their impressions (Steve Henschel, Niagara This Week)
First impressions are everything. When newcomers arrive in Canada they begin a new life, adjusting to Canadian customs and forging connections in the community. What those connections are and just how welcoming Niagara can be were examined through the lens with a photo contest held over the last few months by the Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre’s and Niagara Folk Arts’ Community Connections for Newcomers programs. The contest challenged newcomer Canadians to submit a photo and caption illustrating how they view their community with the chance to win $100 in one of four communities — Welland, Grimsby, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines.–community-on-camera

Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women: Empowering Women Who Want to Escape Abuse (South Asian Generation Next)
There are a number of organizations working in the South Asian community that help women in abusive relationships. Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women is one of those organizations that understand challenges faced by women from immigrant and South Asian communities. In serving these women there are significant religious, cultural and psychological pressures. In our conversation with Executive Director Sunder Singh of Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women, we explored the challenges faced by women in abusive relationships and how his organizations helps women in distress.

Photo exhibit hopes to boost awareness about Pap tests and raise money for a Toronto health centre (Toronto Star)
All proceeds raised from the exhibit will go to the Immigrant Women’s Health Centre (IWHC) in Toronto, a sexual health clinic serving immigrant, refugee and marginalized women across the city.

Harper condemns Gatineau mosque attack (CBC)
A mosque in Gatineau, Que., that has been a target of vandalism was spray-painted with graffiti overnight Thursday, prompting a condemnation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Workers at the Outaouais Islamic Centre awoke Thursday to discover swear words and derogatory references to Arabs and Allah spray-painted in white.

Islamic finance: paying for piety? (Erica Alini, Maclean’s)
For Canada’s 1.3 million Muslims, UM Financial arrived on the financial scene with a valuable service: mortgages that, in compliance with sharia principles, don’t charge interest. But its failure last year has sparked a fierce debate about whether Islamic banking should be banned, or whether it’s still a potentially lucrative industry in need of better regulation.


Asylum seekers should not be treated like criminals, expert says (Tara Carman, Postmedia News)
Asylum seekers are not criminals and B.C. is flouting international law by treating them as such, according to a report prepared for the United Nations’ refugee agency. Detained refugees in the Vancouver area are more likely than their counterparts in Toronto or Montreal to be held in a provincial jail or pretrial facility rather than an immigration holding centre.
Full report PDF – The Human and Financial Cost of Asylum Seekers in Canada

Canada to deport man linked to Rwanda genocide (AFP)
Canada has ordered a Rwandan refugee accused of inciting genocide to be deported next week, but his lawyer vowed on Thursday to continue a 17-year legal battle to quash his expulsion. Leon Mugesera, now in his late 50s, was informed last month by Canadian authorities that he must leave the country by January 12, according to court documents obtained by AFP.

Rwandan man will face death if deported, longtime lawyer argues Marianne White, Postmedia News)
The former lawyer of a Rwandan man accused of inciting to genocide said Thursday he is appalled by Ottawa’s decision to send him back to his home country next week. Well-known Quebec jurist Guy Bertrand, who stopped representing Leon Mugesera in December when he received a notice of deportation, said Canada has made a “serious mistake”. “The government has taken a very, very big risk in sending Mr. Mugesera back to Rwanda,” Bertrand said in an interview.

Mother of alleged Iranian nuclear defector wins reprieve (CBC)
A Federal Court judge has temporarily halted the deportation of the mother of an alleged former employee of Iran’s nuclear program, after both women defected and fled to Canada. A Jan. 4 decision by Justice Michel Shore, posted on the Federal Court website, grants a stay of execution on an immigration removal order of the unnamed woman, pending a judicial review of her case. The woman’s daughter claims to have been an employee of the state organization responsible for Iran’s controversial nuclear program, which many fear is developing weapons as well as energy-producing capabilities.


The high cost of poverty (Toronto Star)
“How are we treating those who are less fortunate?” Premier Dalton McGuinty asked that question in 2007. “It’s one of the best tests of government,” he said. That was when he first committed to reducing the stubbornly high levels of poverty that strip far too many Ontarians of the opportunities they need to succeed. So, what does McGuinty have to say now — four years and an election later — about the province’s ongoing plans to reduce child poverty by 25 per cent? Not much, apparently.–the-high-cost-of-poverty

Inequality Is Not Inevitable (Ken Battle and Sherri Torjman, 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.

Rising inequality demands debate (Times Colonist)
How much is too much? It’s time to ask that question about income inequality in our society. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives cleverly frames the issue with an annual New Year’s look at the compensation for 100 corporate CEOs compared with the average Canadian.

One solution to growing income disparity (Benjamin Gillies, Troy Media)
Improving the financial position of the majority will always remain problematic when we acquiesce to the need for profit above all else. Ensuring profitability is an important economic goal, but improving the corporate balance sheet has oftentimes come at great expense to many citizens. Raising taxes cannot alone solve this problem, because it fails to address the contradictory objectives of profit-driven companies and the people they employ. Instead, it is time Canadians adopted a more holistic perspective on economic inequality, and examined the potential of an alternative business model – the worker cooperative.

Servicing the Unbanked (Gary Schwartz, The Mark)
This is Part 1 in a two-part series exploring the opportunity to service the large unbanked and underbanked population in North America through innovative new banking services. Part 1 discusses the “mobile wallet,” and explores the applicability of this service offered in Zambia and other countries to the North American market.

New Policy Brief: Importance of Accessible Community Recreation Services (Wellesley Institute)
Check out our latest policy brief identifying potential policy actions arising from the Youth Photovoice research findings is also available. This policy brief is the second in a series and provides a glimpse into key policy directions that will be detailed in several issue-focused policy briefs to follow. This policy brief addresses current community recreation services available, fees and service reductions, and policy recommendations for keeping youth healthy.

Want To Chase The American Dream? Move To Canada (Gothamist)
Meanwhile, up in Canada, an economist at the University of Ottawa found that just 16 percent of Canadian men who grew up in the bottom tenth of incomes stayed there as adults, compared with 22 percent of Americans. Reviewing 50 studies of nine countries, the economist ranked Canada, Norway, Finland and Denmark as the most mobile, while America and England were tied for least mobile. “The bottom fifth in the U.S. looks very different from the bottom fifth in other countries,” Scott Winship, a researcher at the Brookings Institution, tells the Times. “Poor Americans have to work their way up from a lower floor.”


Solid Research Supports Diversity in Business (Profiles in Diversity Journal)
There are many ways to build support for diversity and inclusion initiatives at your workplace. Sometimes, anecdotes or looking at competitor’s diversity programs are the best way to help others understand the experiences of diverse employees. Often, the hard data and support provided by rigorous research conducted by Catalyst and other research organizations is required. In particular, the business case benefits from a grounding in solid research. Catalyst has explored hundreds of studies and reports on the business case for gender diversity. Although each organization, as well as each individual, will have a unique set of issues that seem most compelling, looking at the overall research is a first step in strengthening a business case.

Diverse workplaces plentiful in Alberta (Zoey Duncan, Openfile Calgary)
According to a study completed by the Association for Canadian Studies, while Canada as a whole has multicultural workplaces, those in Alberta rank among the most diverse in the country. A higher level of cultural diversity can make for not only a more tolerant world, but can give a company a competitive edge.

Poor English language skills can affect those seeking jobs in Canada: CG (Indian Express)
Admitting that his country badly needed skilled workers like plumbers, electricians and auto mechanics, the Canadian Consul General in Chandigarh, Scot Slessor, however, warned that poor English language skills was affecting the chances of job aspirants from Punjab. “The major problem is that people who migrate from here to Canada cannot speak fluent English, thus while communicating there they have problems with the locals. For example god forbid if any accident takes place then they will not be able to communicate properly with the police. So before applying to Canada they need proper English classes to ensure they are well versed and do not face any problem there. It will only help them with finding jobs,’’ Slessor told The Indian Express, on the sidelines of the ninth Punjabi Divas on Thursday.

Charters should ground use of temporary foreign workers: Pilots association (Andrew Duffy, Postmedia News)
An Ottawa-based pilots association wants the federal government to ground charter airlines’ use of temporary foreign workers to fly Canadians south in the winter. The Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows more than 20,000 babysitters and nannies into Canada every year, along with thousands more cooks, farm workers, musicians, performers, cleaners and truck drivers. It is also used to bring in a smaller number of doctors and IT specialists. The program is designed to address key shortages in the Canadian labour market.

Randstad Canada Joins Diversity Business Network (DBN) to Advocate Diversity in the Workplace and Supply Chain (Canada Newswire)
The Diversity Business Network (DBN), welcomes Randstad Canada to its growing online community of Canadian corporations who recognize the benefits of diversity in hiring and the supply chain. “Diversity is a natural part of our company. It is not just a program. It’s an extension of how we work in society,” states Jan Hein Bax, President of Randstad Canada. That is one of many reasons why Randstad has joined DBN as a consortium leader for human resources.

The offices of the worker and employee advisers: potential changes on the way (Christina Catenacci, First Reference Talks)
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has recently proposed a new regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that would prescribe certain functions of the Office of the Worker Adviser and the Office of the Employer Adviser in regard to worker complaints of reprisals by employers under section 50 of the Act. What does it really mean?


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

“Balanced And Bolder” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Peter Milczyn, he is the chair of Toronto’s Planning and Growth Management Committee. A report recommending changes to the city’s official plan will go to his committee today.

Toronto report sparks city motto debate (Erika Tucker, Global News)
A report commissioned by Toronto City Councillor Peter Milczyn has spurred talk among Torontonians of a new city slogan. While the research report, entitled “Balanced and Bolder: Recommendations for strengthening Toronto’s official plan,” didn’t suggest a new slogan should be adopted to replace Toronto’s current motto, “Diversity, Our Strength,” media reports initially claimed it did.


Open Government Consultation: Tell Us What You Think! (Government of Canada)
The Government of Canada is currently seeking your feedback from December 6, 2011, to January 16, 2012. Since March 2011, the Government of Canada has taken steps to enhance Canadians’ access to data and information to engage Canadians and create opportunities for dialogue.

Nominate an Emerging Canadian Leader to Canada’s Foremost Leadership Program (Digital Journal)
Through this fully funded 11-month program, young Canadian leaders are gaining the skills, insights and networks they need to realize their goals of making a difference to our country. Each fellowship year centres on a policy theme. The annual theme influences all aspects of the fellowship year, the selection of Fellows, invited guests, and the Fellows’ Task Force policy projects. The 2012 fellowship theme: Does Canada have the education systems it needs to meet the economic and societal challenges of the future? If you are an emerging leader or you would like to nominate someone for the fellowship, visit for details on the 2012/13 Call for Nominations. The nominations for the 2012/13 leadership program are open until 5 p.m., Feb. 17, 2012. For more information visit

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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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