Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 22, 2012


Inclusive Workplace (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about diversity with Michael Bach, he is the director of diversity, equity and inclusion at the firm, KPMG. And with Ritu Bhasin, she is a People Strategist and Diversity Specialist with Bhasin Consulting Incorporated.

Bowen named Diverse Fellow (Brampton Guardian)
Orlando Bowen is a former professional athlete who believes in giving back to the community. While he was a Canadian Football League linebacker, Bowen devoted time to helping youth and spoke out against bullying. Since his retirement he has continued that work, as the founder and executive director of One Voice, One Team, a charitable organization which combines sports and community awareness to teach leadership skills to young people. He was recently appointed one of 28 DiverseCity Fellows by the Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance designed to mentor the GTA’s future leaders and increase the diversity of the heads of organizations. The 28 Fellows will take part in a year-long mentorship program where they will attend workshops and devise city improvement projects.–bowen-named-diverse-fellow

Making Canadian citizenship matter (National Post)
Is Jason Kenney the best Immigration minister Canada has ever had? Very likely. Mr. Kenney has done much to plug the gaping holes in our immigration and refugee system and to restore the value of Canadian citizenship. On Thursday, in his latest move to fix a broken refugee determination process, Mr. Kenney introduced a law that he hopes will cut the time it takes to assess the validity of a standard refugee application from 1,000 days to just 45. Even if he manages to cut the wait time to just 100 days or 200 days, his bill should save provincial and federal taxpayers billions.

Canadian doctors call female genital mutilation a `human rights violation’ (Sheila Dabu Nonato, Postmedia News)
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada is calling for a cultural change in attitudes toward female genital mutilation, a practice it calls a human rights violation. The society has reaffirmed its stance on the practice in a new policy statement published in the February edition of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada. The clarification was necessary to ensure that all Canadian doctors know that the practice is illegal and “unacceptable” here.

Complete policy statement (PDF) –

Harkat challenges security certificate in court (Globe and Mail)
A lawyer for Mohamed Harkat says the security certificate process being used to deport the Algerian refugee is unconstitutional. “The hearing we got was unfair,” Harkat co-counsel Norm Boxall told the Federal Court of Appeal on Tuesday. Mr. Harkat, a former Ottawa pizza delivery man, faces removal from Canada under a certificate that declares him a security threat due to alleged terrorist links.

I couldn’t think of a better place to stay, than Canada: Bhargava (Sunil Rao, South Asian Focus)
Canada relatively young, Ambassador (Retd) Kant Kishore Bhargava decided to do so when he was almost a senior, at age 64. This career diplomat, who’d earlier lived in several parts of the world, and knew the advantages and disadvantages of most places, decided to migrate to Canada — a resounding endorsement of The True North Strong and Free, if ever there was one. Today his three grown children no longer reside in Canada; yet he and his wife Manju continue to stay here, which is also instructive.

Illegal drug khat popular with some African immigrants but apparently not their kids (Steve Mertl, Yahoo! News)
Most Canadians probably haven’t heard of khat, an ancient African stimulant that’s illegal in this country. It’s not as if there are street-corner khat dealers with half-whispered offers to sell bundles of the amphetamine-containing plant. But a rise in the number of immigrants from the Horn of Africa has led to increases border seizures of khat in recent years as smugglers try to meet the demand.

Feds continue race-based hiring (Brian Lilley, London Free Press)
The federal government is continuing to set aside jobs for specific groups based on race, gender and ability, more than a year after it pledged to end such practices. In November 2010, Stockwell Day, the treasury board president at the time, told the House of Commons that he was instructing departments to end the practice of setting aside jobs for specific groups, such as women, aboriginals, visible minorities and the disabled. “We have also communicated that all department postings must not shut out any specific groups and must be open to all qualified candidates. Final decisions must be based on merit and on qualifications,” Day said at the time.

Pregnant Chinese women conning immigration system (Mark Dunn, Toronto Sun)
The government plans to crack down on a scam in which pregnant Chinese women are coming to Canada for the sole purpose of giving birth so the child becomes a citizen, QMI Agency has learned. The fraud is mostly based in Hong Kong where unscrupulous consultants are coaching wealthy Chinese mainlanders how to keep their pregnancies hidden entering Canada on student or visitor visas. Avoid any baby or maternity items in luggage, wear dark clothing going through customs to look slimmer, and arrive in Canada no later than in the seventh month of pregnancy are among the tips given. Once here, the women go into hiding until they are due to give birth and then go to a hospital to deliver the baby. No one knows the extent of the abuse.


The truth about bogus refugees (Peter Showler, Embassy)
(Password required for full text) Last week the government introduced Bill C-31 in the House of Commons: a big, complicated refugee bill that reduces access to Canada’s refugee system, imposes long-term mandatory detention on refugees who arrive in groups, and weakens the protections for accepted refugees.

Refugee lawyers say bill would create conditional permanent residence (Kristen Shane, Embassy)
An immigration bill introduced last week in Parliament opens the door for refugees resettled in Canada to have their permanent residence status stripped of them and for them to be deported, even years after their arrival, say refugee lawyers. The government says there’s nothing new happening; it’s just streamlining a current two-part process into one step.

Lawyers see a ‘vindictive’ new refugee law (Jim Creskey, Embassy)
he government’s new immigration and refugee bill, Bill C-31, is flying under the radar for two reasons, so far. The first reason is that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is sucking all of the oxygen out of the national political debate. Mr. Toews’ disaster of an Internet surveillance scheme, which would permit the minister to appoint “inspectors,” empowered to enter any place under the control of a communications provider and examine and copy any document they wish, is starting to get the scrutiny it deserves.

CFP: The Canada and REfugee Resettlement Conference (Refugee Research Centre)
This National Conference is organized by Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia and The Centre for Refugee Studies at York University.

The state’s new place in the souls of the nation (Babara Kay, National Post)
Canada’s Supreme Court has erred in its latest ruling that a mandatory Quebec curriculum in Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC), from which a Drummondville Catholic couple wished to exempt their son, does not infringe the couple’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of religion. The ERC program, which begins in Grade 1 and continues throughout high school, was introduced into Quebec schools in 2008 without consultation with parents. It was designed to teach children about a wide variety of religious belief systems, including Catholicism, the religious provenance of 90% of Quebecers, with a view to creating a tolerant and open population. No Quebec child is exempt from it, not even the home schooled.


The Drummond Commission recommendations on immigration (and the missed opportunities to address immigrant children/families) (
There has been much examination and discussion of the recommendations of the recently released Drummond Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services (struck by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan). notes that the Commission has lost the opportunity to highlight and promote the importance of addressing both the needs of immigrant families with young children – and the contribution that immigrant parents can make to the Ontario economy if these needs are supported.

Drummond, Deconstructed (Karen Foster, Behind the Numbers)
It is in our power, as reporters and writers and ordinary people, to question the gospel coming from this government-finance cabal. When it comes to the Drummond report, there are two questions of primary importance: First, is the report based in sound economics? And second, in whose interests are its recommendations? Both questions dovetail into a larger, more fundamental one: is this really our best and only option? It is my view, and one I share with many others, that it was falling for the Thatcher line at the dawn of the neoliberal era – “there is no alternative” – that all but guaranteed the world financial crisis of 2008. We would be wise not to fall for such rhetoric again.


Canada’s foreign worker boom (John Geddes, Maclean’s)
It was the worst imaginable way to jolt Canadians toward noticing that low-wage foreign workers are an increasingly important segment of the country’s labour force. Ten workers, nine from Peru and one from Nicaragua, recruited to fill jobs vaccinating chickens, were killed, and three others badly injured, when their van ran a stop sign and collided with a truck at a rural crossroads in southwestern Ontario. The truck driver, a Canadian, also died in the crash early this month. The accident thrust the reality of who works at the lowest tiers of farming and some other sectors briefly into the news. But even with that burst of attention, the swelling statistics on migrants remain little discussed. When Stephen Harper’s Conservatives won power in 2006, 255,440 foreign temporary workers lived in Canada. By 2010, their ranks had expanded to 432,682.

The tragedies of migrant workers (PovNet)
With the recent deaths of eleven migrant workers in Ontario, which mirrors a similar tragic van crash in BC in 2007, advocates and activists are renewing their demands for the provincial and federal ministries to enforce and increase the rights and protection of migrant workers. Justica for Migrant Workers, PICS, and United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW), are calling for a renewed effort to protect the rights of migrant workers. The Tyee and Rabble have both recently produced in depth series on the lives and harsh working conditions of migrant farm workers.

Quebec Rights Commission seeks to ban the obligation for migrant workers to live with their employer (CCLA)
The Quebec Human Rights Commission stated in report released Monday that migrant workers in Quebec are victims of systemic discrimination, hoping the provincial government promptly changes its immigration programs. An interesting statistic: In 2010, some 7,000 low-skilled migrants from Guatemala, Mexico and the Caribbean were hired in Quebec, mostly to work temporarily in the agriculture sector. About 400 of them are live-in caregivers from the Philippines working as domestic aides.

Quebec students must take ethics-religion course (CCLA)
The Supreme Court of Canada has sided with the provincial government and the earlier ruling by the Quebec Court of Appeal, rejecting an appeal from Quebec parents who claimed their children’s freedom of religion was being infringed, by having to complete an ethics and religious culture program implemented in the province’s schools in 2008. The program, which was introduced to elementary and high schools by the provincial Education Ministry, replaced religion classes with a curriculum covering all major faiths found in Quebec culture, including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and aboriginal beliefs.

Canada’s best diversity employers for 2012 (Diane Jermyn, Globe and Mail)
It’s not enough for Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2012 to have diversity and inclusiveness programs in place. Winning companies also needed a clearly defined strategy to achieve their goals along with review and tracking measures. Mediacorp’s editorial team judged employers on their programs for five major employee groups: women; members of visible minorities; persons with disabilities; aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual (LGBT) peoples.

Diversity and inclusiveness can boost financial performance, and then some: Ernst & Young (Digital Journal)
Companies with sustainable inclusiveness initiatives have a competitive advantage in a globalized economy, says Ernst & Young, one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2012. “Diversity of thought and experience can help lead to improved problem-solving, ability to take advantage of global opportunities, and avoidance of groupthink”, says Fiona Macfarlane, Chief Inclusiveness Officer, Ernst & Young. “By ‘stirring up the pot’ in positive ways, diversity can encourage intellectual debate and conflict, which helps lead to innovation, potentially putting a company ahead of its competition.”

National Bank Again Named One of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (Digital Journal)
National Bank (TSX:NA) is proud to have made the list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers, as chosen by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which recognizes 50 Canadian employers who have developed exceptional inclusiveness programs for employees from five major groups: women; members of visible minorities; persons with disabilities; aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual people (LGBT).

University of Toronto named Top Diversity Employer for 2012 (Elaine Smith, U of T News)
The University of Toronto’s focus on diversity has earned national recognition as the university has been named a Top Diversity Employer for the fifth consecutive year.

Stikeman Elliott named One of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for Second Time (Broadcaster)
Stikeman Elliott LLP is very pleased to announce that it has once again been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. This recognition byMediacorp Canada Inc. marks the second time the firm has received this honour. Continuing a milestone year of celebrating its 60th anniversary, Stikeman Elliott was also ranked as one of Canada’s Top Employers for a fourth consecutive year and one of Canada’s 50 Best Employers for the third year in a row.

Law firms recognized for diversity programs (Jennifer Brown, Canadian Lawyer & Law Times)
Two law firms have been named as Canada’s best diversity employers. Stikeman Elliott LLP and Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP were recognized by MediaCorp Canada as Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2012. Canada’s Best Diversity Employers program recognizes 45 employers from across Canada with exemplary diversity initiatives in five employee groups: women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal Peoples, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered/transsexual people. More than 2,750 employers across Canada started the application process for this year’s competition, which was reduced to a short-listed group

Mississauga companies among country’s best (Chris Clay,
Two Mississauga companies and one with an office in the city have been named among the 50 best-managed companies in the country. Mississauga’s KUBRA and The Central Group, as well as Avison Young, which has offices on Eglinton Ave. W., made the 2011 list of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies. The program is sponsored by Deloitte, CIBC, The National Post and Queen’s School of Business.–mississauga-companies-among-country-s-best

Saskatchewan employers addressing diversity (News Talk 980)
When it comes to diversity in the workplace Saskatchewan is doing reasonably well. Five major employers in the province made the top 50 list of “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers”. The list includes SaskPower, SaskTel, SGI, mining company Cameco and the City of Saskatoon

Boeing, Hydro, government best diversity employers (Winnipeg Free Press)
THREE Manitoba organizations are included in this year’s list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers — Boeing Canada Operations Ltd., Manitoba Hydro and the Government of Manitoba. It’s the sixth year for the program, which examines diversity initiatives covering five major employee groups: women, members of visible minorities, persons with disabilities, aboriginals and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual (LGBT) people.

In the Electro-Motive shutdown, an unsettling message for Canadian industry (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
Mr. Gugliotta’s isn’t the only family struggling in the days after the closure. Some older workers thought they were on the cusp of retirement. Others are immigrants who came to Canada for a better life. They volunteer in their community and donate to charity. They bought houses and cars and clothes and paid their taxes. They went out to movies, ate breakfast at the diner before their shift and bought boots at the local workwear shop.

New website aims to bridge skills gap dogging Canadian manufacturers and exporters (Derek Lothian, CMEC)
A new online tool connecting skilled workers with employers in Canada’s industrial sector is tackling fears of a looming labour crisis that is expected to produce up to 500,000 vacant jobs across the country over the next decade. Set to launch March 1, is the only national website of its kind, pairing candidate skill sets, education and practical experience with the specific needs of Canadian manufacturers and exporters.


“So are they all, all honorable men” (Steve Munro)
Di Giorgio talked about the relationship between previous mayors and CGMs noting that both David Gunn and Rick Ducharme had left under strained relationships with past administrations. What he neglected to mention was that Webster was threatened not by a professional disagreement, but by Mayor Ford’s mistaken belief that staff owe him a personal allegiance supporting whatever position he might take. Di Giorgio actually said that excellence in a CGM means the ability to perform tasks set by the leader of the city, by the Mayor. That’s not how professional staffs work in Canada, and indeed this concept violates both Council’s code of ethics (which provides that staff work for all members of Council without favour) and the Professional Engineer’s code that regards tailoring advice to suit the opinion of the hearer, rather than facts and the professional opinion of the engineer, as a form of misconduct

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

RT @alexhimelfarb: "Austeria" RT @jkozuch: Vancouver engineer @raulpacheco creates Twitter hashtag to share research with public: #Immigration Minister...