Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 9, 2012


Diverse Voices in the media – a weekly roundup (Maytree)
If you’re familiar with the DiverseCity Toronto Voices project, then you know we connect diverse new voices, who have a wide range of expertise, with mainstream media. We track media mentions of our Voices candidates and thought it would be a great idea to highlight articles, interviews and more for our network. These articles feature work by Voices candidates as well as recent articles and press releases related to the program.

Diversity bypasses the bench (James Morton, Toronto Star)
In theory, the personal characteristics of judges are irrelevant. The court system is supposed to be blind to accidental attributes like gender, race and religion, reaching decisions solely by weighing the law and the evidence. The reality is something else altogether. The law is seldom definitive; almost every case has a range of legally justifiable decisions. Judges inevitably make decisions that are influenced by their personal history and so the choice of who will be a judge is not trivial. In recent years judges have dealt with gay marriage, the ability of Quebec to separate, drug treatment centres and many other matters affecting Canadians in their daily lives. The life experience of a judge will inevitably impact on the decisions made.–diversity-bypasses-the-bench

Public-sector diversity (
Quebecers, more than other Canadians, tend not to work or live in multicultural environments. While the state can’t interfere in people’s choice of where they live, it could make it easier for Quebecers of different … backgrounds to get to know one another in the workplace. How? By hiring more non-francophones. It has long been a sore point with the province’s anglophones, allophones and visible-minority populations how closed the municipal and provincial civil service are to them if they want to seek employment there. Anglophones — a category that includes both those whose mother tongue is English and allophones whose first of Canada’s two official languages is English — accounted for 11.9 per cent of Quebec’s population in 2006…. that year anglophones held only 2.8 per cent of jobs in the provincial civil service and seven per cent of local, municipal and regional public-service jobs.

Five trends in Canadian immigration (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The common wisdom, from Italy to the United States, is that resistance to immigration magnifies in direct correlation to how much a country’s citizens struggle economically. There are increasing signs that hard thinking is beginning to play out in Canada, which has the highest immigration rate per capita in the world – and which is now, along with the rest of the globe, undergoing financial strains. Polls have long shown that Canadians, more than residents of any other country, believe that high immigration is “good for the economy.” But signs of wariness are appearing. A recent Nanos poll found four out of five Canadians either want immigration levels to stay the same or decrease.

Why is Vancouver so bad for immigrants’ health? (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
Why is Metro Vancouver so hard on immigrants’ health? This bad news about Metro was buried in a recent report from Statistics Canada, which surveyed 7,000 immigrants and found roughly one in 10 report poor health four years after most arrive in decent shape. The StatsCan report had no trouble emphasizing its unsurprising findings that newcomers to Canada who are refugees, older, can’t find work and struggle with English or French end up reporting more illness. But it didn’t do anything to explore Vancouver’s correlation with sickness.

Becoming good while doing good (Dow Marmur, Toronto Star)
Mary Jo Leddy is a religious leader, a Catholic theologian and a social activist. For the last two decades she has been the moving spirit of Romero House, now a community housed in four buildings in the west end of Toronto that provides shelter and advocacy for refugees. Here she has fused her three vocations into one monumental project. In addition to telling moving stories about some of the people who’ve gone through Romero House since it was established, Leddy’s new book, The Other Face of God, is a fascinating account of the creative interaction between her faith, her thinking and her commitment to what Jews call tikkun olam, mending the world.–marmur-becoming-good-while-doing-good

Immigrants claim better knowledge of Canada’s history (Randy Boswell, Postmedia News)
Immigrants to Canada claim a stronger knowledge of the country’s history than those who were born here, according to one of the surprising results of a nationwide survey probing Canadians’ grasp of the past. More than 2,300 people were polled by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies for a year-end report that explores respondents’ perspectives on Canada’s history, including how they assess their own command of the subject.

Canada Inc. is missing the India opportunity (William Polushin, Globe and Mail)
As we venture into a new year of business opportunities and challenges around the world, I couldn’t think of a better way of describing the mindset that is required by Canadian entrepreneurs, managers, employees and policy makers if we are to effectively make the transition from a trading nation to nation of traders. The quasi-optimistic, often unrealistic, and overly cautious approach that I have found characterizes too much of Canada Inc.’s approach to markets not called the United States is not a winning strategy in the global economy. As I wrap up my latest trip to India, two things stand out in my mind.

Grey Toronto: The Food Vending Situation (Niki Siabanis, Spacing Toronto)
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Toronto’s street food scene falls very short of our city’s reputation of being ethnically, and culinarily, diverse. Despite the success of food festivals like Taste of the Danforth, the city’s day-to-day street food culture is being mired down by red tape, both real and imaginary, while other North American cities are recognizing the growing culture of street food.

2012 will be challenging (Arnold A. Auguste, Share)
Over the past year, the accomplishments and the talents that have covered the pages of Share tell a story of people who are creative, talented and innovative self-starters who are contributing to the richness of this nation. There are people in our community who contribute to this country every day through their extraordinary talents and resolve. So, we may ponder the dire warnings or we can instead focus in difficult times on ways to meet the challenges ahead with our proven resourcefulness and determination.

Save the date: Immigrant children conference, UofGuelph (
Dr. Susan Chuang will once again host the conference ‘On New Shores: Understanding Immigrant Children and Youth’ at the University of Guelph in 2012. The dates are October 25-26. The theme is happiness.

From humble beginnings to global success for Muslim sitcom (The National)
The concept was radical in its non-radicalness: a television series about Muslims who were neither extremist nor oppressed. Five years ago this January, the writer Zarqa Nawaz created something no one had seen before: a sitcom about ordinary Muslims living alongside non-Muslims in North America. They laughed. They cried. They got interrogated at airports.

Lucene Charles and Canadian Immigration Policy (Sarah V. Wayland, RaisetheHammer)
The family applied to to stay together in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. By all accounts, they meet the criteria for such an application: Lucene earns a good salary in a skilled position, and the family is well-integrated into the community, with the children involved in athletics, Cadets, Scouts, Hamilton Children’s Choir and more. None of the children have ever lived in St Vincent, Lucene’s home country. Yet their application has been rejected, and the future is uncertain. As Canadian citizens, the boys have the right to remain in Canada regardless of what happens to their mother and sister.

Outrage over looming deportation (Joan Walters, Hamilton Spectator)
A deportation order that would separate a Hamilton woman from her Canadian children for a mistake made 15 years ago has triggered a campaign on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other websites. Lucene Charles, a 36-year-old mother of three boys who are Canadian, faces the choice of leaving her children in foster care in Hamilton when she is deported, or taking them to her home country of St. Vincent in the Caribbean.–outrage-over-looming-deportation

Author Marina Nemat to speak at AccessPoint (
Arrested at 16, Marina Nemat was a prisoner in Iran for two years, tortured and forced into marriage before arriving in Canada as a refugee. On Monday, Jan. 9, Nemat will speak about “living through trauma, and the power of telling one’s story,” at AccessPoint on Danforth, a community hub for immigrants and refugees near the corner of Danforth and Victoria Park avenues.’s%20on/article/1275247–author-marina-nemat-to-speak-at-accesspoint

Nanny nation: From the Philippines, with love (Toronto Star)
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, more than 150,000 foreign workers enter the country every year to work temporarily in jobs that help Canadian employers address skill shortages, or to work as live-in caregivers. The federal Live-In Caregiver Program was created to address shortages for child and elder care. Most of the foreign workers who enter Canada under this program are Filipinos, and most work as nannies.

Immigration isn’t just about numbers (Salim Mansur, Toronto Sun)
The big issue in Canada, as in other western liberal democracies, next to the economy is immigration. It is of concern to everyone, yet it is a conversation spoiler whenever the subject is raised in private or public gatherings. But it demands attention, and we must learn to discuss immigration and its implications for our country as a liberal democracy without becoming insulting or abusive.

Mistakes by Hindi interpreter leads to mistrial in Brampton sex assault case (Raveena Aulakh, Toronto Star)
Words matter, and how. A “physical” assault is not the same as a “sexual” assault. Touching “between legs” is not the same as touching the “genital area.” And “a couple of weeks” is definitely not “two days.” But a Hindi interpreter mistranslated those phrases exactly that way in a sexual assault case in Brampton, triggering a mistrial and sending ripples through the GTA legal community. Superior Court Justice Casey Hill declared a mistrial in a case against Vishnu Dutt Sharma, an Indian citizen on a work permit in Canada, because the interpreter’s Hindi interpretation of the proceedings was poor and substandard, according to court documents.–mistakes-by-hindi-interpreter-leads-to-mistrial-in-brampton-sex-assault-case?bn=1

Nova Scotia moves to end minorities’ protected ridings (Tamsin McMahon, National Post)
It has been 13 years since Preston, home to Nova Scotia’s largest African-Canadian community, has elected a black MLA, despite a rule giving the riding special status to ensure the province’s black community has a voice in the legislature. Nova Scotia’s lone black MLA, Percy Paris, was instead elected by the neighbouring — predominantly white — riding of Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank. It is an irony often raised by those who argue that the province should end its long-standing practice of offering political protection to Nova Scotia’s minority groups, including its African-Canadian and francophone Acadian populations, through laws that makes their communities immune to the electoral boundary changes done every 10 years.


Moldovan man makes long health care journey (Boston Herald)
It’s a 400-mile commute Sergei Ivantchev makes twice a week to and from the Greenfield duplex that he and his wife have shared with their two daughters as well as his parents since 1998. But the trip, to the Waterville, New Brunswick, Canada, hospital where the 47-year-old Greenfield transplant works as an anesthetist, is just a small part of the journey he’s made since leaving his home country of Moldova.

Canada opened its arms (Nancy Schiefer, London Free Press)
The familiar poise and self-confidence of Adrienne Clarkson comes to the fore in her up-beat new book, Room For All of Us, a salute to the successes of Canada’s immigration system. The former Governor-General, who served from 1999 through 2005, herself an immigrant who shared in the country’s multicultural transformation, is a frontline advocate for open borders. There is something about Canada Clarkson declares in her introduction to the book, which is welcoming, which allows strangers who arrive on its shores with little but a suitcase “to sense that they can belong and be part of something they can help to construct.”


Tories fashion native education system to improve life on reserves (John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail)
A First Nations Education Act could arrive before Parliament this year, aimed at breaking the cycle of failure on reserve schools and representing one of the most important and unexpected priorities for the Harper government. So far, this new initiative has been masked by accusations and controversy over who’s to blame for the crisis conditions at Attawapiskat, or discussion on whether natives on reserves should be given property rights.

MLA’s month of living frugally sounds like a poor joke (Gary Mason, Globe and Mail)
Since the first of January, NDP MLA Jagrup Brar has been hosting near-daily news conferences to update the media on his pilgrimage to live a life of poverty – well, for a month anyway. Late last year, Mr. Brar was the lone MLA to accept a challenge that the anti-poverty group Raise-the-Rates put to all provincial legislators: Spend a month living on the $610 that a single employable person living on welfare in B.C. gets 12 times a year.

Counsel For The Council (Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
There can be no fundamental reform of health care in the absence of improved supports for long-term care, home care and informal caregivers. Community care should figure prominently when the Premiers resume their conversations at their upcoming meeting in Victoria on January 16 and 17, 2012.


Video: Moving Your Diversity Platform to the Next Level: What’s New for Canadian Business (Stikeman Elliott LLP)
Including Ratna Omidvar, this paneal discussed:
Cross cultural differences and how they can impact your business dealings
Affinity groups – do they make sense for your organization?
Practical ways to support your international client teams doing business in new communities and regions
Leveraging Canada’s diverse business population to benefit your organization
(Ratna speaks at 28 minutes)

Your skilled immigrant business intelligence – a roundup from (week of Jan 2nd) (Maytree blog)
Visit to find out more about recruiting, retaining and promoting skilled immigrants.

Why CSR’s Future Matters to Your Company (Susan McPherson, Harvard Business Review)
More and more, companies are building long-term commitments to corporate social responsibility. In 2012 the rise in consumer activism and mobility, the Occupy movement, 24-hour accountability (thanks to social media), and global resource depletion will force every enterprise, large and small, to make CSR a focal point. Four particular areas stand out among many.

Job creation flounders as cuts loom (Bill Curry And Sean Silcoff, Globe and Mail)
Prof. Corak noted that Canada’s employment numbers for 2011 show the job hunt is much harder for some groups, particularly youth and immigrants. “The groups that are sort of the outsiders, the ones trying to get a foothold in the labour market, are shouldering the burden,” he said.


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

“Suburbs Are Cities” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Roger Keil . He is Director of the City Institute at York University and lead researcher of the “Global Suburbanisms” project.

#CodeRedTO prepares to fight for a rational transit plan (Derek Flack, blog TO)
Given the success of that campaign, which resulted in what many have argued was Rob Ford’s most significant loss on council as mayor, a similar campaign, aptly titled #CodeRedTO, is being put together in an effort to secure “a rational, affordable, and achievable rapid transit strategy for Toronto.” Currently at a preliminary stage of development, the group, which is headed by #CodeBlueTO organizer and transit planner Laurence Lui, is looking to shore up its precise mission statement via online feedback.

Toronto should aspire to be best city for families (Chris Selley, National Post)
Auckland aspires to be the planet’s “most liveable city,” Copenhagen “the eco-metropolis of the world,” New York the “most ambitious city in the world.” Toronto, councillor Peter Milczyn suggested this week, could aim to be “the best big city to raise a family [in].” He was commenting on a report entitled Balanced and Bolder, which he commissioned in his role as chair of the planning and growth management committee. The report suggests Toronto needs to get bolder and more creative in its city planning, and that “aspirational city-wide goals” such as these can help.

Malvern Meeting to Stop Service Cuts (Social Planning Toronto)
Join the Malvern Community Coalition on Thursday, January 12 from 6:00-8:30 p.m. at the Malvern Community Recreation Centre, 30 Sewells Road (north of Sheppard, one block east of Neilson) in Scarborough to stop the budget cuts. Residents will hear from panelists on the nature and impact of the cuts being proposed for Scarborough in many areas including transit, housing, child care, employment and community services such as libraries, recreation centres, etc. The group will discuss the impact of these cuts in Malvern and in the rest of Scarborough. Community members will have an opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas and concerns. Finally, there will also be discussion on the possible next steps for the 2012 budget as well as for future cuts.

Expect Drummond’s report to muddle Ford’s transit plans (John Lorinc, Spacing Toronto)
Every finance minister with even a dram of savvy knows that a critically-important part of the job description involves finding new and innovative ways of keeping the supplicants feeling somewhat defeated as budget day approaches. In that distant era of federal surpluses, Paul Martin, it often appeared, would order the drones in the finance department to take incoming revenue estimates and hack off a zero or two so no one got too excited about spending the windfall. More locally, city financial officials ritually low ball assessment growth estimates and put out imaginary “pressure” numbers to scare the minions and the activists. But Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have devised an artful variation on the theme by first hiring and subsequently un-muzzling TD Bank economist Don Drummond.


What Are You Skating Towards in 2012? (Al Etmanski)
This year my question is: What are you skating towards in 2012? I invited people I had profiled or referenced in my blogs throughout 2011 to write about an idea, concept, or phenomenon that is capturing their attention. I was particularly interested in what was on their horizon, not yet clear, still amorphous.

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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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