Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 21, 2012


Should Canada’s immigrants play by Australian rules? (Frances Woolley, Globe and Mail)
Australia is like Canada, only different. There, like here, one in five people were born abroad. Like us, they have a points based immigration system, favouring skilled workers. Yet while Canadas recent immigrants struggle in the labour market, earning significantly less than the native born, Australias immigrants experience a much smaller earnings gap. A recent paper by University of Waterloo professor Mikal Skuterud and his Australian co-author, Andrew Clarke, attempts to discover Australias secret.

Report Why Do Immigrant Workers in Australia Perform Better Than in Canada? Is It the Immigrants or Their Labour Markets? (PDF):

Seema Jethalal, RPACC Managing Director, Named A DiverseCity Fellow. (Artscape)
Seema Jethalal, Managing Director of the Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre, has been selected as a 2012 DiverseCity Fellow. As one of twenty-eight rising leaders in the new cohort, Seema will participate in 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 ahed for the greater Toronto Region.

Toronto rabbi paid a price for his courage (Tristan Hopper, Postmedia News)
In a scholarly career spanning six decades, Rabbi Gunther Plaut exchanged letters with Albert Einstein, discussed non-violence with Martin Luther King, Jr, redrafted Canadas refugee legislation and remained an outspoken human rights critic and spokesman for Canadians Jews. Plaut, a key figure in the development of Reform Judaism and a figurehead of Canadian Jewry, was laid to rest at Holy Blossom Temple Memorial Park, the cemetery of the synagogue he served for more than 50 years. The esteemed scholar and Rabbi died Feb. 8 at the age of 99.
Read more:

Op-Ed: Why Multiculturalism is Racism (Prof. Phyllis Chesler, Israel National News)
Dr. Salim Mansurs new book Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism [1] has been positively reviewed and endorsed by a handful of mainly conservative reviewers and distinguished intellectuals. In my opinion, the book has been underestimated. It is a real gem. And, despite a recent spate of other important books on this subject, including Ibn Warraqs Why the West Is Best [2], Mansurs work is unique. Mansur gives us very valuable information about the history of multiculturalism in Canada, which is important because Canada where Mansur lives, writes, and teaches may well be the very first Western democracy to have legally enshrined this policy. We learn, up close, what that policy has done.

Deportations (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Karen Horsman spoke with Toronto immigration lawyer, Guidy Mamann.

The problem in public life isnt Islam, but religion itself (Doug Saunders, Globe and Mail)
We always knew it could happen: A devout Muslim heads a conservative political party that takes office in a multicultural Western country, then leads a campaign to enforce mandatory prayer and to lobby for religious-based values and laws. How will people react? Well, it happened in Britain this week, and heres how they reacted: Judges and leading thinkers fought back in the name of a secular state, but the Queen, the Pope and Britains right-wing newspapers all spoke up in support of the Muslim party leaders campaign.

Feb 21st is International Mother Language Day (
International Mother Language Day (IMLD) was first proclaimed in 1999. It has been recognized since 2000 to promote languages of the world and is of special note to who see the day as recognition of the importance of maintaining a childs first, or home, or mother language. It is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of linguistic diversity and multilingualism.

Judges need discretion in sentencing (Iain Hunter, Times Colonist)
Increasingly, the brief says, judges are losing the ability to keep the mentally ill from imprisonment – a reason prison guards oppose C-10. Incarceration of an income-earning parent visits poverty and other risks upon children. The poor, aboriginals and visible minorities, who already are “over-represented” in the prison population, will suffer further if judges no longer have the discretion to impose sentences other than imprisonment.
Of course, to those intent only on finding a punishment to fit the crime, the conditions that lead to criminal behaviour really don’t matter. Neither does the rehabilitation of offenders who eventually will return to the streets and communities that the law seeks to keep safe

NDP needs to create a Ministry of Diversity, Equity, and Equalityif they win (Indo Canadian Voice)
Adrian Dix needs to create a Ministry of Diversity, Equity, and Equality if he becomes Premier which the polls indicate. The previous NDP government introduced the Ministry of Womens Equality but equity issues need to be broadened to include persons with disabilities, LGBT, the poor, and women, among others. A government has to actively take steps to remove barriers and develop specialized policies for these groups otherwise their interests just get buried in the mountain of other work that needs to be accomplished.

Multiculturalism a Canadian reality (Canadian Press)
Calling multiculturalism a reality of modern Canada, the Supreme Court has slapped down a claim from parents who say their rights were violated by a Quebec ethics-and-religion class that teaches students about different faiths. The unanimous verdict Friday upheld lower court refusals to exempt the Drummondville, Que., family’s child from the controversial multi-denominational course. In the verdict, Justice Marie Deschamps wrote the parents did not prove their religious rights were infringed or that the school board’s refusal to exempt their child violated their constitutional rights.

Learning your native language is tricky, say adult offspring of immigrants (Oakland Ross, Toronto Star)
Behold the sometimes tongue-tied world of the language-deprived. That, at least, is how they see themselves the offspring of immigrants who now must struggle to hold their own in the language of their parents, one that should have been theirs as a birthright. To make things up, more often than not, they have to go back to school and start all over again, practically from scratch. We notice it a lot, says Maria Figueredo at the department of languages, literature and linguistics at York University. They still maintain a link with their background. Its a matter of maintaining a sense of identity. Or of finding one.–learning-your-native-language-is-tricky-say-adult-offspring-of-immigrants?bn=1

Top Ten Answers to the Question: Where Are You From? (Renée Sylvestre-Williams, The Ethnic Aisle)
Canada is made up of immigrants, some here earlier than others. Its become a bit of a game to see whos from here as in their family has lived in Canada for a few generations and who may not be from here as often experienced by Canadians of colour despite being born and raised in the country. It tends to follow a pattern. Youre talking to someone when the Question comes up, Where are you from?

Call for Papers: Portuguese Studies Review Special Theme Issue (Settlement AtWork)
This special issue of the Portuguese Studies Review will address Identity, Civic Engagement and Multiculturalism: Portuguese-Canadian Immigrant descendants in Canada and Portugal.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Finds NS Human Rights Commission Violated Procedural Fairness (CCLA)
Despite recent amendments to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, claimants are still having difficulty navigating the system. In a decision by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Justice McDougall found that the Commission breached its duty of procedural fairness by denying a claimant the right to reply to a submission disputing his request for an extension of time.

Supreme Court Addresses Freedom of Religion in the Schools (CCLA)
The Supreme Court of Canada has rendered its decision in the case of S.L. v. Commission scolaire des Chenes, a case in which parents sought an exemption for their children from Quebecs mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) course. The Supreme Court found that the refusal to grant an exemption did not violate the parents freedom of religion in this case. While the Court accepted that the parents had a sincere belief in the need to pass on the precepts of their religion to their children, the Court found that the ERC course did not interfere with this obligation in an objective way and therefore freedom of religion was not infringed.

Newcomer on the move: Promoting physical activity for young immigrant/refugee women (
The Newcomer On the Move project is built upon the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS) proven On the Move concept, which advocates for fun-filled, female-only programs where participants can build their skills and self-confidence. Community-based On the Move programs provide participants with opportunities to try new sports and physical activities, visit and become familiar with community physical activity facilities and service providers, learn healthy living skills, and build a foundation for life-long healthy living.

UTs Centre for Diaspora Studies newsletter (
The Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies (CDTS) at the University of Toronto (UT) has released its first newsletter. The newsletter will feature research of the CDTS students and faculty, upcoming events including conferences, workshops, and seminars both within Toronto and internationally.

Catholic students must take Quebec religion and ethics class: Supreme Court (Graeme Hamilton, National Post)
A controversial Quebec school course teaching children about ethics and world religions does not infringe on the freedom of parents seeking to raise their children as Catholics, the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled. The high court dismissed an appeal from parents in Drummondville, Que. who had sought to have their children exempt from the mandatory course when it was first introduced in 2008. They had complained the Ethics and Religious Culture course forced children to learn material that did not reflect their religious beliefs.

Calgary Muslim/Jewish dialogue continues (Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald)
Calgarys Ahmadiyya Muslim and Jewish communities are holding their second scholarly dialogue. In a gesture of reciprocal hospitality, the second of a two part Muslim-Jewish dialogue will be held at the Bait-un-Noor Ahmadiyya Mosque on February 22, says Rabbi Shaul Osadchey, of Congregation Beth Tzedec. In the first meeting of the Jewish and Ahmaddiyan communities held at Congregation Beth Tzedec, Rabbis and Islamic scholars discussed their respective views on the subject of the meaning and relevance of their religions holiest scriptures. Over 250 people attended and for many of the participants it was their first time to visit a synagogue.

Badminton spans cultures with weekend tourney in Markham (Michael Hayakawa,
The Toronto Multicultural Youth Council has teamed up with Federation of Badminton Clubs Canada to stage a two-day tournament this weekend at Markham District High School. Were attempting to bring together youths of different cultures and to raise awareness about the importance of multiculturalism and physical activity, Eva Ho, council spokesperson said. Ho estimated they will have close to 400 participants.–badminton-spans-cultures-with-weekend-tourney-in-markham

Canada needs to learn its black history (Tomi Gbeleyi, The Brunswickan)
Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and Malcom X are historical figures well known to many university students as leaders who fought against inequality and racism. Names like Marie-Joseph Angélique or Olivier Le Jeune, however, will likely not ring a bell. These two people were slaves in Canada and are part of Canada’s multi-faceted black history. Marie-Joseph Angelique was a female black slave who burned half of what was known as Old Montreal, and Olivier Le Jeune was a boy younger than eight years old who came into Canada from Madagascar as a slave but died a free man.

Community trumps diversity (Jan Dean,
Celebrating black history means celebrating everyone’s history, says Diane Lee Clemons. The gospel singer/philanthropist and wife of former Toronto Argonaut Michael (Pinball) Clemons was the keynote speaker this morning at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board’s eighth annual Black History Conference.–community-trumps-diversity

The challenge of migration (Michael Davies-Venn,
Gina Higginbottom, nurse researcher at the University of Alberta wanted to find out the health care challenges pregnant migrant women face. The issues these women face in their new country are at times very personal, Higginbottom says. Large-scale immigration and increasing ethno-cultural diversity is a feature of many high-income nation states and increasing diversity often presents challenges for practitioners in health care, she says. For some immigrant women, its not acceptable to have a male obstetrician. Thats one example of the culturally-based challenges faced by health care providers in higher-income countries and the migrant women they provide maternity care for. To help deal with such problems, Higginbottom, whos also a Canada Research Chair in Ethnicity and Health, successfully won a grant from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) that she will use to bring researchers from the leading immigrant-receiving countries Canada, the United Kingdom, United States and Australia to the U of A for a symposium. The scholars will present and compare scientific studies related to the experiences of pregnant migrant women. Higginbottom says they will work to help close the gap in maternity care in some immigrant communities.

Jason Kenney maintains workaholic pace reaching out to ethnic communities (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Tapped by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to court the ethnic vote, Kenney’s efforts paid off in the May, 2011 election. Whether it had to do with Liberal disarray, Kenney’s efforts or other factors, the Conservatives dominated key multicultural ridings in the Greater Toronto Area to knock off such once-popular Liberals as Ken Dryden and Martha Hall Findlay, finally securing their coveted majority. Last week, Statistics Canada unveiled the latest census data that show two-thirds of population growth is currently driven by immigration. Within 20 years, newcomers will account for more than 80 per cent of population growth. So reaching out to new Canadians will become ever more important for politicians.

Ethnic outreach serious business, says Kenney (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
There’s a lot more to ethnic outreach than platitude-filled speeches, free food and presents, says the Conservative government’s resident expert. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney suggests it’s really about reconnaissance. Kenney confessed to Postmedia News during a recent Toronto tour that he usually embarks on these weekend ethnic outreach programs with some “trepidation” given how “exhausting” they are. “But once you get into it, I enjoy it,” he added, noting it’s an opportunity to hear first-hand about the struggles facing the thousands of people whose cases make up about 80 per cent of typical MP constituency work.

Vancouver professionals create new Asian Canadian queer-oriented health organization (Craig Takeuchi,
In Vancouver, there are two South Asian Canadian queer support organizations, one for Muslims, and one for Filipino Canadians. But for East or Southeast Asian Canadians? None. A gaping hole in culturally specific health and social resources was left when the Asian Society for the Intervention of AIDS, which began in 1995, folded in March last year. The pan-Asian organization provided sexual health services, social support, and outreach for queer people, drug users, sex workers, and more. Unfortunately, it lost its charitable status (after failing to file returns with the Canada Revenue Agency) and most of its government funding, according to a news report by Xtra .

Toronto documentary tracks high school students journey of self-discovery (Justin Robertson, Globe and Mail)
Anthony McLeans mum is white, his dad, Jamaican. When he was three-years-old his parents divorced and Anthony moved to Aurora, where he was the only black kid in his class. Some kids teased me, he said. I had this yearning, I wished I was white. But by Grade six, there was a shift. Then, kids were saying I wasnt black starting calling me Oreo, he said. It infuriated me. I was struggling to come to terms with my identity. Mr. McLean started reading books on Malcolm X and tomes on black history, searching for answers on what being black meant. One day he was playing basketball with a white friend, when his friend told him he was white because he pronounced the g in walking, instead of saying walkin. I didnt have an answer for him, Mr. McLean said.

Hatred that flies below the radar (Nicole MacIntyre, Hamilton Spectator)
IS HAMILTON A TOLERANT, ACCEPTING CITY? The truth is many citizens suffer from hate, discrimination or harassment every day walking down the street, at work, in their homes. Some get angry, some joke about it. Many keep quiet, many choose to speak up.–hatred-that-flies-below-the-radar

Accessible legal advice is vital for immigrants (Rupi Sahota, South Fraser Legal Resource Centre)
Accessing free legal advice can be a barrier for many members of the community. Accessing such information in languages besides English can be even more difficult. To fill this gap in the community, the South Fraser Legal Resource Centre has partnered with the Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society to host a weekly legal resource clinic for the South Asian community. The clinics will be a free service to those wishing to obtain information and resources in the areas of family, poverty, and immigration law.

Building human rights into municipal planning is aim of new OHRC guide (OHRC)
Attorney General John Gerretsen today joined Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, to launch In the zone: Housing, human rights and municipal planning. The guide offers municipalities information about their legal obligations, and about the tools and best practices they can apply to connect human rights and housing when making zoning and planning decisions. In the zone can be a helpful tool for municipal planners, councillors, housing service managers, district social services boards and others who make decisions about planning and zoning for housing. It is also a good resource for organizations and advocates who are working with municipalities to advance human rights in housing


Due process as important as efficiency in refugee reform (Globe and Mail Editorial)
No refugee determination system will ever be perfect. There will always be those who try to game it, as well as many more who cannot access it at all. Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys refugee reforms, aimed at making the process more efficient and decisive, are generally good. If implemented, they will improve an unwieldy asylum program. There are, however, legitimate concerns about a lack of due process in the new bill, known as Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act.

Toward a better refugee-determination system (Montreal Gazette Editorial)
Canada has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation as a place of refuge for people fleeing persecution in their homelands. At the same time, however, it has also gained repute as an easy mark for the unscrupulous who fraudulently use our generous refugee-acceptance system as a way to get into Canada without submitting to standard immigration requirements and procedures.

New Legislation Targets Canadian Permanent Residents (Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL))
On February 16, 2012, the government tabled Bill C-31, new immigration and refugee legislation that significantly undermines Canadas domestic and international obligations to protect and resettle refugees. The new bill includes several vindictive measures. One of the most pernicious is the new conditional permanent residence for refugees.

Taking liberties: Canada’s booming business of detention and deportation (Matthew Behrens, rabble)
Most Canadians would shudder at the thought of women being shackled to their hospital beds after giving birth. Yet that is exactly what happens to a specific class of women who, having come to Canada seeking safety, are detained even though they pose no threat to the public. Detained refugees experience the trauma of being shackled and chained on their journey to and from medical care and during certain procedures in Canadian hospitals, according to a brief presented to the House of Commons last month by McGill University researchers Janet Cleveland, Cécile Rousseau and Rachel Kronick. In addition, they reported many detained refugees forgo health-care visits for fear of being shackled and humiliated. This shameful state of affairs represents just one of the many abusive practices currently applied against some of the world’s most vulnerable people once they arrive in Canada. It also shines a spotlight on the devastating consequences of both the Balanced Refugee Reform Act passed last year and Jason Kenney’s further repressive Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, introduced last week.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys new refugee law lacks balance (Toronto Star)
Since the Conservatives took power six years ago, fewer of the immigrants arriving in Canada are coming as refugees. As a share of all newcomers, refugees have gone down from 13.7 per cent to 9.2 per cent. Yet Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Ottawa must to do more crack down on bogus refugees who are clogging up the system and costing taxpayers too much money. He is proposing legislation that would rapidly deport two types of refugee claimants: those who come to Canada as part of a part of an irregular arrival (any vehicle or network suspected of smuggling people) and those who come from countries he considers safe (such as Hungary).–immigration-minister-jason-kenney-s-new-refugee-law-lacks-balance

Canada says Romani people not subjected to state-organized repression in EU (
The seriousness of the reasons why Romani people are emigrating to Canada, however, is highlighted by the case of Viktória Mohácsi, a Romani woman who is a former Member of the European Parliament and an activist. Mohácsi’s EP mandate expired in 2009. After returning to Hungary she had to request police protection due to the death threats she received. She is now reportedly requesting asylum in Canada herself. Most Romani immigrants coming to Canada today are from Central and Eastern Europe, especially from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. According to Canadian statistics, Czech citizens filed 58 requests for asylum in 2010, 24 of which were granted. In 2009, 90 people from the Czech Republic were granted asylum in Canada and 84 were granted asylum there in 2008.

“Community Devastated” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s proposed changes to the refugee system, with Mexican journalist Luis Horacio Najera, he was granted refugee status in Canada when his life was threatened in Mexico, and with Gina Csanyi. She is Executive Director of the Toronto Roma Community Centre.

Good moves on refugees (Edmonton Journal Editorial)
As ideals go, extending everyone the benefit of the doubt for an in-definite period has become unsustainable. Take the case of refugee claimants. The federal government states that in 2011 Canada received 5,800 asylum claims from people living in European Union countries. In fact, according to Ottawa, Canada now receives more applications for refugee status from Europe than it does from either Asia or Africa.

Tories beef up refugee legislation (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
The Conservatives are playing politics and flexing their majority muscle with a tough new omnibus bill that will deport so-called “bogus” refugee claimants quicker, clamp down on human smugglers and require certain visa holders to turn over biometric data, critics say. Billed as an improvement to the Balanced Refugee Reform Act ad-opted during the previous minority Parliament but not yet implemented, the new legislation effectively reintroduces contentious elements that were omitted so the Tories could reach a consensus with the opposition.

Safe haven denied for Mexican refugee (Jessica Smith, Metro Ottawa)
A local refugee who worries his family will be killed when they are deported to Mexico this month wants the federal government to know his home country isnt safe. I got shot on my face, said Uziel Cuautle, who has a scar on his left cheek. It happened during a carjacking in Mexico City in 2007. The same bullet killed his girlfriend. Cuautle said he disagrees with the Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act.–safe-haven-denied

Mother and children who fled violent abuser in France must now face new refugee hearing (Don Butler, The Ottawa Citizen)
Omaima Makdesi and her three children fled to Canada in 2008 to escape a violently abusive husband who regularly beat and threatened to kill them. Last year, the Immigration and Refugee Board granted them protection as refugees. Its a common enough story. Desperate women regularly turn to Canada when authorities in their own countries are unable or unwilling to protect them. The twist is that Makdesi and her children were living on the island of Martinique, a territory of France, and are dual citizens of France and Syria. While Syria is seen as a place where domestic abuse goes unpunished, few would say the same of France.

Family faces deportation to China (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
A well-liked Etobicoke restaurateur and his family are being deported to China forcing the closure of their popular eatery and a loss of jobs for five workers, including two Canadians. Zhuo Yi Jiang arrived in Canada in 2002 with wife, Wei Hang Ye, both 40, and their son Jia Jun Jiang, 11. They later became parents of a Canadian-born daughter, Zhi Jun, 7. Jiang filed a refugee claim on behalf of his family to remain in Canada but it was rejected by an Immigration and Refugee Board. An application to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds was also refused. The family has to report to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), on Airport Rd., on Tuesday to make arrangements for their deportation.

Deportee flees from T.O. airport (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Canadian police and border agents are searching for a Chilean man who bolted to freedom at Toronto’s Pearson airport as he was being deported from Canada. A Canada-wide warrant has been issued for the suspect, whose identity has not been released by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Officers said the suspect, who was in Canada illegally, escaped about three weeks ago, but the CBSA did not provide the public with information at the time.


Ottawa twists new poverty line (Michael Goldberg, Steve Kerstetter and Seth Klein, Toronto Star)
More than a decade ago, the federal and provincial governments started work on a new poverty line the Market Basket Measure (MBM). After decades of distracting and divisive debates about poverty lines, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada crafted a methodology for the MBM that passed the test of common sense. These days, the federal government appears more intent on throwing all that work onto the garbage heap.–ottawa-twists-new-poverty-line


McGuintys Business Tax Breaks (Erin Weir, Behind the Numbers)
An interesting nugget in last weeks Drummond report is Table 11.1, an updated version of Table 2 from Ontarios Tax Plan for Jobs and Growth (2009). It provides a sectoral breakdown of the McGuinty governments recent business tax breaks: HST input tax credits, cutting the corporate income tax, and eliminating the corporate capital tax. The combined annual cost of these tax breaks, when fully implemented, will be higher than originally estimated: $8.7 billion vs. $8.4 billion.

Out of Step With Ontario – A First Look at the Report of the Drummond Commission (OPSEU)
Ten months after it was first announced, the Commission on the Reform of Ontarios Public Services has finally published its report. The Commission, chaired by former bank vice-president Don Drummond, has made 362 separate recommendations. If implemented, Drummonds plans would permanently change not only our public services, but our province itself. With very few exceptions, the changes Drummond suggests would not be for the better. This paper is called Out of Step With Ontario because that is what Drummonds report is..

Alberta’s golden goose, Ontario’s dead duck (Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail)
A tale of two provinces unfolded this week: Albertans were told how wonderful their provinces future will be, Ontarians how difficult theirs will be. Alberta, if the Conservatives budget can be believed, is rolling in dough. Government spending increased everywhere. Restraint was a word banished from the provinces vocabulary; spending will be up by almost 10 per cent in the next two years… Alberta, courtesy of its booming economy, is attracting a greater share of skilled immigrants; Ontario is getting a higher share of family-class immigrants and refugees, meaning itll take much longer to reach average Canadian wages.

Cdn EdWire Drummond Report Dominates Canada’s Education Discourse (Max Cooke, Canadian Education Association)
The influence of recommendations to cut Ontarios all-day Kindergarten and increase class sizes could eventually be felt nationally.

Drummond report will dash hopes for Ontarios poorest citizens (Luisa D’Amato, The Record)
Don Drummond clearly has sympathy for the poorest of the poor in Ontario. But his report this week on the state of the provinces finances is worse news for them than for anyone else.–drummond-report-will-dash-hopes-for-ontario-s-poorest-citizens

Drummond report, Alberta budget expose Canadas two-tier economy (Chantal Hébert, Toronto Star)
Set the draconian regime for Ontario prescribed by economist Don Drummond this week against the rosy 2012 budget Alberta has just brought down and what you have is the stark picture of a two-tier national economy. Even if one discounts the fact that the Alberta roadmap is designed to see the ruling Tories through an imminent provincial election, the circumstances behind the production of each document make the two provinces about as different as Germany and Italy. On the one side, there is talk of irreparable fiscal damage if every inch of fat and an additional amount of the actual flesh of Ontarios public services is not put under the knife. On the other, in Alberta, there is the commitment to a steady flow of new money for health and education and the promise that its status as Canadas lowest tax jurisdiction will be maintaine–hebert-drummond-report-albert-budget-expose-canada-s-two-tier-economy?bn=1

Questioning the Prophet Drummond (Karen Foster, The Elemental Present)
In the Commission report that bears his name, and in all of his media appearances since its release, Banker Don Drummond has ably played the disinterested expert, taking no pleasure in sharing the gloomy message he has for Ontario. From the way most TV hosts and journalists have rushed forward to uncritically and sycophantically amplify not only Drummonds report but the details of his professional and personal life including his height, physical fitness and workout plan its troublingly clear that most Ontarians in the fifth estate, and likely many in the general public, will accept at face value the predictions and prescriptions of a tall man in a suit no matter their impact on us, individually and collectively.


Winners of “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers” for 2012 Announced (Marketwire)
The winners of this year’s Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition, sponsored by BMO Financial Group, were announced today, recognizing 50 organizations that lead the nation in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. Each year, the editorial team at Canada’s Top 100 Employers reviews the top employer pool to identify the leading organizations that have developed a wide range of initiatives, including programs for: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, aboriginal peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) peoples.

Homegrown Ontarios foreign backbone (Geoff Dale, London Free Press)
Yet, even as the crash investigation continues, larger questions linger: Who are these migrant workers, and why does Canada so heavily rely on them? The answers might surprise many consumers, especially in cities far from the farm belt, who think little of where their food comes from or who gets it to their table. Good things grow in Ontario, as the slogan goes, but not without a lot of foreign help. Doing jobs many Ontarians either can’t or won’t, roughly 15,400 migrant workers toil in the province’s agriculture industry, accounting for 70% of the 25,000 such workers employed across Canada. Quebec and British Columbia soak up most of the rest. That off-shore help is part of an even larger labour pool of about 270,000 migrant workers, the equivalent of a medium-sized city, working in all industries.

Worker support groups demand justice for migrant farm worker deaths (John Bonnar, rabble)
Made to endure 12-hour days, low wages, poor working conditions and the constant fear of being deported, fighting for the same rights and protections afforded other workers is almost impossible. As dozens of supporters mourned the deaths of 11 migrant workers who were killed last week when their van went through a stop sign and collided with a truck near Hampstead, Ontario, the group renewed its call for better protections for migrant farm workers as well as an inquest into the deaths of Paul Roach, 44, and Ralston White, 36, who died in the fall of 2010 after being overcome by fumes from a vinegar vat at a farm near Ayton, Ontario.

Migrant workers face systemic discrimination, Que. rights commission says (Marianne White, Postmedia News)
Migrant workers in Quebec are victims of systemic discrimination, says the Quebec Human Rights Commission in a report calling on the provincial government to promptly change its immigration programs. In a study released Monday, the commission noted migrant workers are discriminated against because of their national origin, their race, their social condition, their language or in the case of live-in caregivers their gender.

Québec must revise its immigration law and programs to put an end to the systemic discrimination of migrant workers, says the Commission – PDF (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse)
In an opinion released today, the Commission concludes that live-in caregivers, seasonal agricultural workers and other foreign temporary low-skilled workers are victims of systemic discrimination on the basis of their ethnic or national origin, race, social condition, language and in the case of live-in caregivers, their sex.

Your skilled immigrant business intelligence a roundup from (week of Feb 13) (Maytree), provides businesses with the tools and resources they need to better recruit, retain and promote skilled immigrants. The site also profiles good examples and innovative practices of employers across the country. Each week we bring you a round up of the useful resources posted there.

NorQuest offers business solutions for the intercultural workplace (Edmonton Journal)
Albertans are benefitting from an internationally recognized NorQuest College initiative to promote diversity in the workplace. The college launched the Centre for Excellence in Intercultural Education (CEIE) in 2009 to create better tools and approaches to building culturally diverse workplaces that succeed and work. The CEIE’s core expertise is in Intercultural Communication and English for the Workplace (EWP). The centre’s research, training and train-the-trainer education helps two primary groups: newcomers to Canada and long-term Canadians.


Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Transit and Other News.

Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Transit and Other News.

Local politicians wary about possible TEGH merger (Danille Milley, InsideToronto)
Local residents and politicians were caught off guard by the talk of a possible merger between Toronto East General Hospital and The Scarborough Hospital. “It seemed a little strange, actually, because they’re 17 kilometres apart, they’re in two different LHINs and they’re in two different worlds,” said Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher.–local-politicians-wary-about-possible-tegh-merger

Modern city, modern partnerships (Gregor Robertson And Naheed Nenshi, Globe and Mail)
If youre one of the 80 per cent of Canadians who lives in a city, chances are youre fiercely proud of it. Our cities can match any in the world for vibrancy, quality of life, entrepreneurial spirit and creative and civic culture. But theres no guarantee this will last. Canadas cities face big challenges in the next few decades: managing growth, improving livability, becoming more sustainable and making city living far more affordable.


Video: Catherine Clark on Social Impact Assessment (Ryan MacLean,
Discussions about social enterprise and not-for-profits are often dominated by the topic of measurement. Measuring output, outcomes, and impact can be useful for improving organizations and, furthermore, investors and donors increasingly demand such data. Catherine Clark is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University and directs the Research Initiative on Social Entrepreneurship at (RISE) Columbia University, and discusses social impact assessment in this short video. She explains that compelling data adds value to an organization’s story, and describes several kinds of data.

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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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