Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 27, 2012


Remembering Rabbi Gunther Plaut (Maytree)
Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut died on February 8, 2012. He was 99 years old. He leaves a lasting legacy for all of us working for social justice, fighting for the vulnerable and marginalized in Canada and across the globe. In the 1980s, Rabbi Plaut was appointed by the federal government to revise Canadas refugee legislation

Canada’s pattern of immigration spreads east and west (David Campbell, Globe and Mail)
Immigration into Canada is nothing new. There are now more than seven million first generation immigrants in the country and some four million of them have come to Canada in the past 20 years. What is rapidly changing is the distribution of new immigrants within Canada

Multicultural Theatre Space Named Finalist for 2012 Great Grants Award (Canada Newswire)
The Ontario Trillium Foundation today announced that The Multicultural Theatre Space (The MT Space) is a finalist for the prestigious 2012 Great Grants Awards. The awards recognize Ontario organizations that have demonstrated exceptional results, innovation and a lasting impact on the communities they serve.

Canada cracking down on ‘passport babies’ (Natalie Stechyson, Postmedia News)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada is poised to crack down on so-called passport babies or birth tourism the practice of travelling to Canada to give birth so that child can have Canadian citizenship as a media report out of China reveals a ring of consultants that coach pregnant women to do exactly that. We are aware of crooked consultants who encourage pregnant women to illegally travel to Canada to give birth and gain access to Canadas considerable benefits, Citizenship and Immigration spokeswoman Candice Malcolm told Postmedia News on Sunday.

Conservatives mull changes to citizenship rules for babies born on Canadian soil (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
It’s one of the oldest immigration tricks in the book: get pregnant, fly to another country, have your baby, and voila – you’ve got immigrant ties to said country. It even happens in Canada.

`Man with no Name’ deportee back in Canada 149 (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Two Canadian border services officers were apparently detained briefly in Africa while trying to deport Canadas infamous Man With No name to Cameroon and then Guinea, officials say. The mysterious deportee, who goes by the name Andre Jerome Walker, 39, has been sitting in Lindsay and Toronto-area jails for seven years as officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) try to deport him to his homeland, which he wont reveal to authorities.

Colombian Flavor in a Calgary restaurant (John Gilchrist, Off the Menu, For the Calgary Herald)
Its been 11 years since Maria Teresa Gallo and her husband left Colombia, claiming refugee status, and moved to Canada. Lawyers in Bogota, they sometimes dealt with cases involving drug deals and drug dealers. And when their lives were threatened one too many times, they thought it was time to move to quieter pastures. So, Canada it was. Arriving in Calgary, the Gallos linked up with other Latin Americans and soon decided that the growing community needed more food from South America. So Maria Teresa opened a food outlet in the Heritage Market selling Colombian empanadas and other specialties from her homeland.

Lost Canadians sue government over discriminatory citizenship (Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer)
While speaking at a press conference in Surrey, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stated that the government does not deny citizenship based on age, gender or marital status. Yet these factors are at the heart of problem for “Lost Canadians”, who are taking the federal government to court over its refusal to grant citizenship to victims of Canada’s discriminatory laws of the past.

Single parents, recent immigrants less likely to vote, Statscan finds (Stephanie Levitz, Globe and Mail)
Single parents, new immigrants and those in the skilled trades are among the Canadians least likely to cast a ballot, a Statistics Canada survey suggests. And one researcher says that’s a worrying trend for democracy. Statistics Canada examined factors associated with voting in the last federal election by tacking voting-related questions onto a recent labour force survey.

Full report – Factors associated with voting (Statistics Canada):

CBA says Bill C-31 raises serious concern about excessive ministerial discretion (Canadian Bar Association)
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has serious concerns with Bill C-31, Protecting Canadas Immigration Act, calling it overbroad and suggesting it will likely result in unintended consequences for refugees, as well as other bone fide immigrants and temporary residents in genuine need of protection. We laud the objective of the legislation to deter fraudulent claims, says Mario Bellissimo, member of the Executive of the CBAs National Immigration Law Section. Unfortunately, what is proposed will profoundly alter the landscape for refugee protection by limiting rights and privileges and impeding access to the appeal process for legitimate immigrants and refugees.

Our shameful legacy (Donald H. Oliver, The Gazette)
If Canadians think about the history of slavery at all, we tend to regard it in terms our neighbours to the south with a slight smugness and a sense of moral superiority. But we shouldn’t, because Canada has a long and painful history of slavery of our own, the legacy of which is still being felt today. As Black History Month draws to a close, let’s look at our nefarious and painful past, but also celebrate the countless success stories of African-Canadians over the past four centuries.

In 2011, the Citizens Louisa Taylor won a fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research that allowed her to research and write about immigrant health in Nepal, India, the United States and Canada. This multimedia series in the Ottawa Citizen is the culmination of that work.

Why Canada is hazardous to their health (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Every year, tens of thousands of immigrants arrive in this country hoping to lead long and happy lives. While most arrive healthier than native Canadians, within a decade that begins to change, and their mortality rates rise, along with their rates of chronic disease. As Louisa Taylor writes, a growing number of experts say the Canadian health-care system is failing many of the people we bring in and must change if it is to be truly universal.

From the margins to the mainstream (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Released last year, the guidelines reflect an effort by some Canadian practitioners to push immigrant health from the margins to the mainstream. There’s a recognition that if something is amiss in how our system cares for immigrants, it needs to be addressed at the most basic level. Whether it’s an obstetrician developing new ethnicity-specific growth curves, a nurse adjusting the way she takes someone’s medical history, or a family doctor learning who to test for what, front line doctors and nurses are stepping up to meet the needs of their increasingly diverse practices.

For immigrants, language barrier is a health barrier (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Sarah Bowen has spent a lot of time thinking about communication in health care, and she likes to sum it up like this: Theres a saying that without language, medicine is veterinary science. Its absolutely crucial.

Researchers try to unravel mystery of immigrants’ health woes (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
They came here assuming that if they worked hard and did their best, they would thrive. If they thought about health at all, it was simply that our medical system would take care of them, just as it takes care of all Canadians. But a growing number of doctors, nurses, researchers and policy-makers say that’s a flawed assumption, and a potentially dangerous one. They argue that much like employment health care is emerging as one area of immigration where Canada is failing many of the people we have brought in, whether they are recent arrivals like Sudesh or longtime residents like Magon.

The complicated challenge of refugee health (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Refugees are a small and shrinking proportion of the immigrants Canada receives every year. In 1991, they represented almost 30 per cent of permanent residents, while in 2010 the figure was less than 10 per cent. But they loom large for medical practitioners because their needs are often more acute, and their resources fewer, than those of the far more numerous skilled workers and their families.

Starting over in a new country means new ways to stay healthy (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Research suggests that immigrants in many Western countries arrive healthier than the native born population, but their mortality rates rise over time. Innovative programs are trying creative ways to get the prevention message to newcomers.

Citizen Lou (Louisa Taylor)
Louisa blogged about her trip to India and Nepal, where she did much of her on the ground research for this series.


Refugee groups respond to Jason Kenney’s letter to Xtra (Dale Smith, Xtra!)
Refugee groups have taken issue with assertions made by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in an open letter to Xtra about a story on proposed government changes to regulations concerning refugee settlement in Canada. In his letter of Feb 4 Kenney cites the huge backlog that led to unacceptable wait times, noting that a handful of sponsorship groups have flooded the system beyond its capacity to process requests.

Statelessness Guidelines (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
UNHCR has begun issuing “Guidelines on Statelessness.” The first is “The Definition of ‘Stateless Person’ in Article 1(1) of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.” The aim is to “provide interpretive legal guidance for governments, NGOs, legal practitioners, decision-makers and the judiciary, as well as for UNHCR staff and other UN agencies involved in addressing statelessness.”

Canada Continues Deportations of Mexico’s Refugees (Pacific Free Press)
The Montreal-based group Mexicans United for Regularization (MUR) and their allies will hold a public rally on February 25 at 1pm in front of the IRB in order to stress the urgent need for a moratorium on deportations to Mexico and a regularization program for Mexicans living in Quebec. Thousands of Mexicans have fled Mexico because of extreme violence and instability. Returning to Mexico threatens the lives of many. The Canadian governments lack of responsibility regarding asylum conventions and its refusal to recognize the violent and dangerous reality of the country, along with the inability of the Mexican state to protect its citizens, forces many Mexicans to make the difficult choice of staying here without documentation .

Ruling a heartbreaker for city mother (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
Family reunification may be a cornerstone of Canada’s immigration program but for Housnia Ibrahim, it’s an impossible dream. On Friday, her 30-year-old dream of being reunited with her daughter ended when the Immigration and Refugee Board dismissed her appeal.


New Generation of Thinkers Link Inequality, Innovation and Prosperity (Mike Marin and Anouk Dey, Behind the numbers)
What do the Occupy Movement and Canadian software giant OpenText have in common? Most people, including the campers and coders themselves, would probably say very little. But, while the message coming out of Robson Square and St. James Park last fall was about economic justice, it is highly relevant to economic growth as well. Canadas high levels of inequality and poverty dont just erode social cohesion, but also jeopardize our ability to succeed in the knowledge-based economy.

Levers for Change: Hospital Health Equity Plans (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
Addressing pervasive health inequities is an incredibly complex challenge. Valuable population health research has been done, comprehensive health equity strategies have been developed but how to drive these strategies into action? One vital way is identifying the key levers that will most effectively support the needed policy, program, investment and service changes, and identifying the policy and resource mechanisms to shift those levers and implement and sustain the identified changes. A vital health care system priority and lever for change is performance measurement and management and evidence-driven planning. How can we drive health reform and innovation if we arent measuring what we are doing and managing for program impact? For equity, the challenge becomes how to embed equity within ongoing planning, delivery and performance management.

Dr. Camara Jones on Race, Racism and Canadians Health: Video (Wellesley Institute)
Dr. Camara Jones from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention gave a lively talk to an engaged audience about the trend of racism in health care in the United States. A national conversation on racism in health care is still lacking in the United States, she argues, and certainly in Canada this is also true. Further this necessitates a larger discussion about race and racism and how that affects the health of a population. Watch the video below to hear more.

Stanford Social Innovation Review Highlights Vibrant Communities (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
The work of Vibrant Communitiesa national poverty reduction initiative led by the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement in partnership with the Foundationwas highlighted in the December issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Aboriginal-Focused Philanthropy (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
The Foundation is pleased to highlight the 266 entries received for the Inspiring Approaches to First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning Changemakers Competitionan initiative of Ashoka Canada and several foundation partners, including the McConnell Family Foundation, to solicit innovative projects and ideas to improve First Nations, Métis and Inuit Learning.

The Options Paper: What Does It Say and What Does It Mean? (webinar and backgrounders) (Income Security Advocacy Centre)
The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario released its Options Paper, entitled Discussion Paper 2: Approaches for Reform, on February 3, 2012.There is a very short period for public response and feedback the deadline for responding is March 16. The options could have far-reaching implications for people on low incomes. In this webinar, Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre presents information that will help groups and individuals understand and respond to the Commissions Options Paper.


Can austerity create prosperity and address inequality? (Maytree)
Recommendations affecting all Ontarians have been put forward in the Drummond Report, officially called Public Services for Ontarians: A Path to Sustainability and Excellence. The report makes recommendations in a vast number of areas of provincial, and intergovernmental jurisdiction, including immigration, nonprofits, education, justice, employment and training, health, infrastructure, environment and much more. Many of the recommendations intersect with Maytrees work. Over the coming weeks, well be breaking down the report in these specific areas, linking you to our and our networks work.


Bring on the skilled workers and sharpen the competitive edge (Gwyn Morgan, Globe and Mail)
Given the shortage of skilled workers, and the pending retirement of thousands more across the country, Canadian businesses and governments should view every person as potential contributor to the work force. With that in mind, improving immigrant integration services should be a high priority. Many immigrants gain entry to Canada on the basis of needed skills yet languish in low-skill jobs due in part to the lack of national standards for assessing qualifications. Another way to ease the skills shortage is to dismantle barriers that prevent people from working to their highest level. Examples of recent progress include allowing nurse practitioners to take on some the work of doctors; enabling pharmacists to write prescriptions; and letting certified technologists handle some aspects of engineering work.

An immigrants success story; an employers enduring pain (Renata Daliesio, Adrian Morrow And Ingrid Peritz, Globe and Mail)
From his humble beginnings in a shantytown north of Lima, Mr. Carrion became the conduit for a small community of Peruvians to find work in Canada with his company, MARC Poultry Vaccination Services. Relatives and friends turned to him, hoping to build a better future for their families back home. And although they were far from their wives and kids, their personal ties to Mr. Carrion meant they were still among family, spending their time off playing soccer and hitting the dance floor at neighbourhood bars. To them, the towering Mr. Carrion who came to Canada after marrying a former nun was a man of influence, a success story with a background much like their own.

Canada looking for Irish workers (Martin Wall, Irishtimes)
A delegation from western Canada is visiting Dublin this week in an effort to recruit thousands of workers for the construction and related trades. The delegation, which includes representatives of the British Columbia Construction Association, Alberta Construction Association and senior officials from the British Columbian Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation hope to identify sources of skilled labour.

Irish could fill up to 80,000 construction jobs in Canada (Fiona Gartland, Irishtimes)
UP TO 80,000 jobs in British Columbia could be filled by Irish construction workers, according to a delegation from western Canada which is visiting Ireland this week. Manley MacLachlan, president of the British Columbia Construction Association, which represents over 2,000 companies, said yesterday there was a world of opportunities for suitable workers in the western province.


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

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

City-boosting book lauds our spaces (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
In an age when half the world has moved to cities – with the demo-graphic shift even more exaggerated in Canada – Triumph of the City is part of a trend in city-boosting publishing. Its enthusiasm for urban life is matched by Canadian Doug Saunder’s book, Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Changing Our World. It explores the aspiring migrant communities on the edges of the world’s giant conurbations, such as Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and Los Angeles.


Innoweave Video Series (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
A new video series is now available through Innoweavea Foundation initiative that provides community sector leaders with new tools and processes to effect change. The series highlights emerging technologies and presentations showcased at the November 2011 Innoweave workshop: Platformation. Produced in collaboration with Anil Patel, Co-founder and Executive Director of Framework, the workshop introduced cloud computing and new information and communications technology (ICT) strategies to more than ninety participants from the community, corporate and public sectors.


The evil of trafficking in human beings (David Warren, Ottawa Citizen)
Suppose, for a moment, that the institution of slavery had survived various 18th-and 19th-century challenges. The practice had continued to be frowned upon by religious people, and governments had intervened, but not to end the trade, only criminalize some aspects of it. In particular, the slaves had to enter into their contracts of bondage voluntarily; and there were various locations at which they could not work. This may seem a ridiculous proposition, but only because we suffer from anachronism. Most of us take our own current attitudes for granted when judging the past, thanks to a failure to teach history seriously. Most will not even try to mentally inhabit the past and thus learn how plausible much different attitudes were in another era; let alone try to think forward from there, to some alternative present. Yet this what I’m asking my reader to do.

Ontario truckers asked to watch for human trafficking (CBC)
A new campaign targeting human trafficking is hitting Ontario highways, with the hopes that truckers and truck stop workers can help report suspicious activity. The TruckSTOP campaign is an initiative from the Ottawa volunteer group Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking in humans, or PACT-Ottawa.

W5: Rescuing ‘the girl next door’ from the sex trade (CTV)
When you hear about human trafficking in the sex trade, most people have an image of women being smuggled into Canada from abroad and forced to work in seamy brothels. But there’s a thriving trafficking trade right here at home and it’s run by pimps who prey on the naïve and innocent. It could be a young woman from your neighbourhood, maybe the daughter of a friend, or the girl next door. And her entry into the sex trade is rarely by choice.

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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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