Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 9, 2012


Great Expectations (CBC Metro Morning)
Each year ten to twelve thousand newcomers land in York Region. Some have jobs, or family and friends waiting for them. But for others, there is nothing but hope – and the road ahead can be a long and arduous one. This week on Metro Morning, and CBC News Toronto at 5, 5:30, 6 we look at the challenges immigrant families face in York Region and beyond.

Immigrants are our bread and butter and the census proves (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
There are more of us 33.47 million, according to the census. But far too many of us are aged 65 and up 5 million. The proportion of seniors will, in fact, grow more rapidly in the coming years as the first wave of baby boomers reaches 65. Therefore, we need more young people in the workforce. We need them for our collective prosperity and, especially, to pay for our pensions, old age security and health care. Therefore, we need to make more babies. But we are not, to the extent we need to. Canadas birth rate of 1.67 children per woman is well below the minimum of 2.0 required. Therefore, we need to get more immigrants, which we are.–immigrants-are-our-bread-and-butter-and-the-census-proves-it

Cut the overlap in immigration system, report warns (Tu Thanh Ha, Globe and Mail)
Canadas immigration system can be improved without a major overhaul if program overlaps can be reduced, with Ottawa focusing on long-term labour market objectives and letting the provinces and the business-driven temporary worker program address short-term needs, says a new report.

Canadas immigration selection model should focus on long-term labour market needs (Globe and Mail Editorial)
Canada’s immigration program is admired around the world, and has inspired copycat versions in Sweden, Germany and Japan. But to stay ahead of the curve, Ottawa needs to address one glaring weakness the inability of newcomers to get jobs that reflect their education and expertise. A new report by Toronto Dominion Bank says the government can overcome this obstacle by making the federal skilled worker program more flexible. Two-thirds of Canadas annual 250,000 immigrants enter through this stream, which is already under review by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

Immigrant pay falls behind (Heather Yundt, The Province)
The income and employment gaps between new-comers and native-born Canadians are growing, but expanding the provincial nominee program could change this, a top TD economist argues. TD chief economist Craig Alexander said the provincial nominee program, which allows potential immigrants to apply directly through a province when looking to immigrate to Canada, would help attract more marketable candidates.

Editorial: 2011 Census shows a fading Ontario? Don’t count on it (Toronto Star)
Go west, guys and gals. Thats where its all happening. Ontarios day is over. So over that even immigrants from poverty-stricken countries cant find opportunity here. Thats the once-over-lightly reading of the 2011 census data. Luckily for Ontario, thats far too simplistic a reading. Yes, there are troubling trends. Ontarios population growth dipped slightly below the national average and the province faces increasing competition for immigrants from the west. But thats not the whole picture. Not by a long shot.–2011-census-western-canada-is-growing-fastest-but-ontario-still-the-biggest

Battling Ontario for immigrants (Dan Lett, Winnipeg Free Press)
It’s Ottawa’s version of gladiator games, with the provinces all thrown together into a single arena to see which one will emerge victorious. The battle is over the suddenly fashionable provincial nominee immigration program, which several provinces, Manitoba among them, have used to boost populations and fill holes in their labour markets. Unfortunately, Ottawa, which has concerns about the way some provinces are administering the program, is refusing to increase the total number of provincial nominees. Ottawa is also making the requirements for admission more stringent. In particular, the federal government wants to see more emphasis on English- or French-language proficiency.

Blame lack of federal cash for slow population growth in Ontario: Minister (Jonathan Jenkins And Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun)
Ontario is losing out on immigrants who want to come here because the federal government is too stingy with support, the provinces Immigration Minister Charles Sousa said Wednesday. We have a huge backlog 56,000 individuals want to come to Ontario that arent being processed, Sousa said, after new census results show the provinces share of newcomers to the country is slipping compared to other provinces. The other provinces have had greater accommodation and greater allocation for their PNP (provincial nominee programs) Ontario has only 1,000.

A growing Canada, reshaped by immigration (Tasha Kheiriddin, National Post)
On Feb. 8, Canadians were treated to the first tranche of information from the 2011 census, relating to population growth and its geographical distribution. The numbers show that our population grew by 5.9% since 2006, the highest increase of any G8 country. This spike was driven not by mommies but by migrants, who represent two of every three new persons now living here; in 50 years, that ratio is projected to increase to five out of six. Growth is centred in the West, with a five-year increase of 10.8% recorded in Alberta, 7% in British Columbia and 6.7% in Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, Quebec and the four Atlantic provinces proved less attractive to newcomers, with an increase of 4.7% and an average increase of 2.2%, respectively. What do these numbers mean for Canadians – and their politicians?

Immigration boosts Manitoba’s population (Ross Romaniuk, Winnipeg Sun)
Winnipeg remains Canadas eighth-largest metropolitan area with a growth rate that has more than doubled over that of the countrys previous census period, though some say its 4.8% hike in population is far short of where it should be. According to Statistics Canada figures released Wednesday, Winnipegs base city population was 663,617 during the latest census tally, with a higher core population of 671,551 and a wider census metropolitan area (CMA) count of 730,018. Thats a 5.1% increase from the 694,668 CMA population recorded for Manitobas capital during the previous census in 2006.

Canada, keep it beautiful (we need the immigrants) (Peggy Curran, Montreal Gazette)
Beware the ides of 2026. The future will be here sooner than you think. In fact, you’d be wise to start right now by making friends with those new people up the street with the three children and thanking them for calling Canada home. Because if the latest analysis by the census gurus at Statistics Canada is to be believed, immigrants are Canada’s only real hope for population growth in the foreseeable future.

Hamilton population growth slow and steady but still good (Hamilton Spectator)
Everson believes the growth is driven by Toronto and GTA residents and businesses relocating because of Hamiltons lower cost of living and costs of doing business and good quality of life. Statistics Canada demographer André Lebel, however, said the growth is driven mostly by immigrants. Two-thirds of the growth in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area a larger area than the city which includes Burlington and Grimsby came from immigration.–hamilton-population-growth-slow-and-steady-but-still-good

Immigration a growth driver (Janet French, The StarPhoenix)
Not too long ago, it was a rarity to hear foreign tongues spoken on the streets of Saskatoon. New census data released Wednesday by Statistics Canada show Saskatchewan is becoming increasingly multicultural growing by attracting tens of thousands of immigrants to a place that was once one of the most homogeneous parts of Canada. The census found 28,000 immigrants moved to the province between 2006 and 2011, which accounts for about 42 per cent of Saskatchewans population growth. Thats three times the number of immigrants who moved to the province in the previous five-year period.

Kenney rejects Alberta push for greater say in immigration (Peter O’Neil, Edmonton Journal)
Citing quality control and integrity problems, the federal government rejected Wednesday Albertas appeal for a further major expansion of the Provincial Nominee Program that allows provinces and territories to play a lead role in choosing immigrants. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney also warned that continued massive growth in the program would eventually eliminate Ottawas role in immigration selection, leading to a balkanized system. Kenney was responding to an appeal from Albertas minister in charge of immigration/human services, Dave Hancock, who said his province needs more immigrants to deal with the provinces critical shortage of skilled workers.

Census figures give Harper ammunition in pitch for reforms (Bill Curry, Globe and Mail)
Stephen Harper wants people to go where the jobs are. Thousands of Canadians are way ahead of him. The Prime Ministers Conservative government is preparing a budget thats expected to herald a major focus on demographics transforming immigration, skills training and pensions in an effort to boost long-term growth.

6 personal finance tips for new Canadians (Pete Evans, CBC)
Besides the challenge of settling into a new home and culture, immigrants to Canada face a host of issues when it comes to getting their financial lives in order and planning for their retirement. But theres one thing Canadians all have in common: the sooner we start investing in our financial future, the better. Statistics show Canadians on the whole only contribute about 6 to 7 per cent of the maximum theyre allowed to their RRSPs every year.

Call For Proposals: CBR Assistants for the Economy and Resilience of Newcomers (EARN) project (Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto (SPT), in partnership with Newcomer Womens Services Toronto (NEW) is recruiting 10 community based research (CBR) assistants for the Economy and Resilience of Newcomers (EARN) project, funded by the City of Toronto. The goal of this project will be to examine how newcomers to Toronto who have lost paid employment during the current economic recession, have developed economic resiliency through self-employment and small business development. EARN will examine the systemic barriers and challenges immigrants engaged in self-employment are confronted with and identify the resources, community supports and strategies they have developed to mitigate these difficulties. As well, project staff will create a public education tool and provide policy recommendations on how to better support newcomers engaged in self-employment while encouraging economic development within the city of Toronto.

Retirement for new Canadians (Gail Vaz-Oxlade, Moneysense)
Moving to a new land is a huge change. There are cultural issues. There may be religious issues. Youll no doubt miss your home a lot. But moving to a new land brings big opportunities for those who are prepared to take advantage of them. Many new Canadians have done very well by working hard and appreciating the second chance they have to build the life they want. The biggest mistake you can make financially as a new Canadian is to jump into something you dont understand simply because its the way everyone else is going. While seeing the opportunities and making them work for you makes good sense, adopting bad habits does not.

Futures Conference (TDSB)
Throughout the world, governments and school boards are facing challenges as they work to put equity policy into systemic practice. To further equity practice for all, the Toronto District School Board will host FUTURES – Equity and Inclusive Education Conference on May 3 – 5, 2012. The conference will provide an excellent showcase for effective practices, highlighting innovations, and grappling with the challenges arising from efforts to improve equity in education.

Todays leaders must ask, not demand (Wallace Immen, Globe and Mail)
What are the factors that are changing? The key changes are around diversity: the variety of thinking coming from different generations in the work force, from different cultures as immigration creates a global mix of workers and from the fact that business is now done increasingly across boundaries.

PG Chamber Calls for Organization to Help Retain Skilled Immigrants (
The Prince George Chamber of Commerce is pushing for the creation of an organization that would help maintain new skilled immigrants in BC. Acting Operations Manager Sam Batarseh says the Provincial Nominee Program and the Federal Government’s immigration program have been effective at attracting skilled immigrants to the province. “The problem over here between the PNP and the Federal skilled immigrant program is once your money runs out, who’s going to look after you?” says Batarseh, “Through PNP your employer is going to look after you, is going to make sure to maintain you as a skilled immigrant working in BC, while [with] the Federal Skilled program, there is no guarantee that anyone is going to look after the applicants.”

Why We Believe Torture Does Not Work (CCLA)
The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is very concerned by reports that Public Safety Minister Victor Toews approves the use, by CSIS, of information procured by torture. Reportedly, the Minister said that CSIS may share the most complete information available at the time with relevant authorities including information based on intelligence provided by foreign agencies that may have been derived from the use of torture or mistreatment. CCLA supports the prioritization of protecting human life, safety and property but we do not believe that the fruits of torture will further these goals. Rather, we believe that torture is incompatible with security.

Community Safe Harbour Updates (Safe Harbour Initiative)
Safe Harbour Community Organizers have been busy continuing to deliver diversity and inclusion workshops and resources across British Columbia.

Minding the Gap (Jess Davidson, Torontoist)
Toronto neighbourhoods are increasingly becoming polarized by income. The middle class that once reigned supreme is quickly erodingpart of a trend that has become more and more apparent over the past four decades. Housing prices in the city are skyrocketing as the recent recession continues to cause job loss. Considering all of this, it is no surprise that attention is being paid to the widening and increasingly evident gap between the rich and the poor. Tuesday night, a report on this topic was released by Diaspora Dialogues, the University of Toronto Cities Centre, and MASS LBP. It recommends ways of alleviating some of these problems locally, using ideas drawn from a panel of 44 randomly selected Torontonians, whom the studys authors say are representative of Torontos demographic mix… Together, the panel put together 97 recommendations based on seven themes (taxation, economics, and employment; transit; housing; health; immigration, diversity, and culture; community development and services; and education and equity). While the findings and proposed solutions are certainly not earth-shattering or exhaustive, they are a reflection of the mood of a group of average Torontoniansalbeit only the few Torontonians who participated in the study. According to Hulchanski, the recommendations are realistic and not onerous to implement.

Media Advisory – New Canadians Say Diversity Policies Aren’t Working (Canada Newswire)
A new study suggests that, despite their good intentions, Canadian employers have been slow to embrace diversity policies in the workplace. The study, commissioned by the Progress Career Planning Institute (PCPI) is being released just as new census figures are expected to show a sharp decline in immigration in Ontario that could affect the province’s economy. The study focused on mid-career immigrants with six to 15 years experience in the workplace. It found fewer than half were working in companies that have policies welcoming new Canadians.

Immigration stream would be welcome (Bill Stewart, Journal of Commerce)
Recent news reports that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and the federal government are contemplating creating a “skilled worker” stream for permanent immigration are welcome news for the construction industry. By most accounts, Canada’s construction industry will again be plagued with manpower shortages in the near future.–immigration-stream-would-be-welcome

From Ethnocentric to Diversity The Struggles of Black Canadians: RBC Black History Month Student Essay Competition Entry (Khadija Waseem, Sway)
RBC, with the support of Free the Children, asked students applying to college or university to tell us their stories of how black Canadians have helped define Canadas diverse heritage. Every day, were publishing a new essay from the competition to celebrate our youth. Pick up your copy of Sway magazine in March to find out who the three scholarship winners are.

Interactive: Your 2011 census at a glance (Globe and Mail)
A summary of Statistics Canada’s first release from the 2011 census. It contains population and dwelling counts.

Immigration saga ends poorly (Tyler Olsen, The Chilliwack Time
s)A Chilliwack man whose daughter’s autism led to his family being refused entry to Canada has returned to India. Last August, Transwest Helicopters general manager Krishnan Balakrishnan told the Times that he was considering returning to his native country because of Immigration Canada’s declaration that his daughter would pose a long-term burden to Canada’ health care system and was thus ineligible for a temporary residency permit. A CBC Radio documentary produced by John Chipman for the Sunday Edition revealed that Balakrishnan had indeed decided to return to India. According to Chipman, by October, Balakrishnan’s life was in turmoil, and not only because of the immigration problems.


Bill C-4: anti-human smuggling or anti-refugee? (Correy Baldwin, this magazine)
Rather than whipping up public hostility toward refugees, our government should be a model for upholding international obligations and commitments, and working to alleviate the conditions from which people are fleeing through foreign aid, peacekeeping, and diplomacy. We must help those who flee to do so safely. We should be creating and nurturing the support networks that will be here for them once they arrive: community organizations and programs for language training, education upgrading, and small-business grants to ease their integration. There is only so much that government bent on keeping refugees away can do. Global numbers are on the rise and we cannot shut our doors. Sooner or later well have to face themand best to do so graciously.

MV Ocean Lady Tamils were “asylum shopping”- Canadian Minister (Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence and Urban Development)
‘One principle of asylum law is that you seek protection at the first available opportunity. You don’t asylum shop,’ said Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The Canadian Minister made this comments in regard to the human smuggling ship MV Ocean Lady arrived off the West Coast carrying 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers. More than two years after the ship arrived the first public hearing to determine whether to accept them as refugees took place on Monday. At the first public hearing to determine whether to accept 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who came to Canada on board smuggling ship MV Ocean Lady, the first person to be tried contradicted himself on several matters raising questions of credibility.

Focus on the Media (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
ICAR has just released a new briefing on “Asylum Seekers, Refugees and the Media,” which looks at “how refugees are reported in the English media.” Several other recent items have examined media representation of refugees and asylum seekers and its consequences:
Media Missing the Boat on Asylum-seeker Coverage (Crikey, Dec. 2011) [text] “Negatively Shaping the Asylum Agenda? The Representational Strategy and Impact of a Tabloid News Campaign,” Journalism, OnlineFirst, 10 Jan. 2012 [abstract] Today Tonight: Refugees from Journalistic Decency (The Drum, Oct. 2011) [text] World Migration Report 2011: Communicating Effectively about Migration (IOM, 2011)


Colour Coded Health Care: The Impact of Race and Racism on Canadians Health (Wellesley Institute)
Colour Coded Health Care, a new literature review by Sheryl Nestel, offers a survey of relevant academic and community-based research on racial disparities in the health of Canadians appearing between 1990-2010. In addition to surveying the research on mortality and morbidity by racialized groups in Canada, it surveys the evidence of bias, discrimination and stereotyping in health care delivery.


Engaging Employers on Immigration (CIC)
This winter, CIC Deputy Minister Neil Yeates and Associate Deputy Minister Peter Sylvester will be holding roundtable meetings with Canadian employers to seek input that will help inform CICs economic immigration programs and policies. CICs outreach to employers is aimed at getting a better understanding of their challenges, particularly related to workforce planning, hiring and recruitment, and how they use the immigration system. The discussions will focus on the following topics:
Making the selection of high-skilled, labour-market ready workers more demand-driven;
Modernizing how we manage immigration applications, to better control intake, prevent backlogs and improve processing times;
Positioning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to respond to Canadas economic needs complementing, not displacing local labour supply

Professional networks help immigrants help themselves: New network of networks builds connections for immigrant employment (TRIEC)
Professional immigrant networks are not new, but the dozens of associations of immigrants helping immigrants in the GTA have been operating mostly under the radar until now. At an event at the Toronto Board of Trade today, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC), the Government of Canada and Scotiabank are introducing a vital new website as part of the Professional Immigrant Networks initiative (PINs) to forge connections between immigrants, employers and community agencies all with the goal of advancing immigrant employment.


New Web site to help skilled immigrants find jobs in Toronto (
A new online network with the goal of connecting immigrants with jobs is set to go live tomorrow, according to the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). With funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Scotiabank, the Web site will highlight existing networks of professional immigrants, and showcase them in front of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) employers. The URL of the site will be revealed early tomorrow, says Racquel Sevilla, manager of program development at TRIEC.

Surrey businesses tackle employment and labour shortage (Surrey North Delta Leader)
How to attract, hire and retain skilled immigrants will be the focus of a 15-session program across the province. On Friday, Feb. 10, employers representing businesses in Surrey will brainstorm on the topic. Lead by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC), with funding from the Province of BC, the purpose of the consultation is to better understand the labour market needs of the Surrey region as part of an overall effort to develop more effective solutions that address the hiring challenges of businesses in BC.

Immigrant job searchers need better access, more training (Meredith MacLeod, Hamilton Spectator)
The immigrants gathered around the conference table are well educated, have plenty of work experience and are eager to find a job. None of that will be enough. That was the message to them from Victor Stanford, an employment adviser with the YMCA, a day after one of Canadas major banks urged the federal government to modify the immigration system to take better advantage of the skills of newcomers.–immigrant-job-searchers-need-better-access-more-training

Canada’s migrant farm worker system – what works and what’s lacking (Kazi Stastna, CBC)
The fatal crash of a van carrying migrant farm workers in southern Ontario has raised questions about the kind of workplace protections Canada offers to such workers. At this time, there is no evidence that Tuesday’s accident was related to issues of workplace safety, but those familiar with the world of migrant workers say they are not adequately protected and that the problem lies less with a lack of rules than with a lack of enforcement and inadequate sanctions for employers who violate them. “Compliance with regulations is either voluntary, or it depends on the employer to show compliance, or it’s complaints-based,” said Jenna Hennebry, associate director of the International Migration Research Centre at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., who has done extensive research on migrant workers in Canada. “You end up having enforcement issues.”

Our Official Statement About The #farmworker Tragedy In Hampstead, On (Justice for Migrant Workers)
Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW) is urging the Office of the Chief Coroner to undertake a Coroners Inquest into the deaths of eleven people who died tragically in a vehicle collision in Hampstead, Ontario. Ten migrant workers employed as chicken catchers and the driver of a transport truck died late Monday afternoon in the town of Hampstead, Ontario. We would like to take this time to send our sympathies to the families whose lives have been shattered as a result of this accident says Chris Ramsaroop, organizer with Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW). As we mourn this tragedy it is important that we take immediate steps to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again continues Ramsaroop.

Family Day Action To Demand Justice For Migrant Farmworker Deaths (Justice for Migrant Workers)
As Ontarians prepare to celebrate Family Day, Justicia for Migrant Workers is urging community allies to join us to demand justice for the families of Ralston White and Paul Roach. We will also be remembering the lives tragically lost in the recent crash that killed ten migrant workers just outside London, ON. Ten migrant workers employed as chicken catchers and the driver of a transport truck died on February 6, 2012. Mr Roach and Mr. White were two Jamaican migrant workers who were killed in a confined space accident at work in September of 2010. All charges were recently dropped against three people who operated Filsinger Farms where these deaths occurred. A plea bargain resulted in a guilty plea for one supervisor of a minor charge of failing to provide proper precautions against confined spaces and a miniscule fine of $22,500 for both deaths. This is believed to be one of lowest fines issued for a workplace death in the history of Ontario


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage including City Hall and Transit.

Transit Debate Crib Sheet: Key Votes and Reaction Roundup (Hamutal Dotan, Torotoist)
If you missed the play-by-play of yesterdays transit debate, weve put together a summary of all the key facts, figures, and reactions to get you caught up.


February edition of Charity Law Insights for 2012 (Drache Aptowitzer LLP)
February is shaping up to be an interesting month for charities as the Parliamentary Committee on Finance begins its investigations into the charitable sector. While the committee will meet until late April, much of the charity sector leadership has been engrossed in making submissions and co-ordinating information for the committee. Drache Aptowitzer LLP will be participating in the committee’s hearings and monitoring the situation on behalf of the sector.


Guilty plea in human trafficking case (Nicole O’Reilly, Hamilton Spectator)
She asked her first victim to be her common-law partner in Hungary and took him to Paris on the pretense of a romantic vacation before coercing him to come to Canada and forcing him to live like a slave in her basement. Her next three victims were brought to Hamilton by others, but they too lived under her Mohawk Road East roof with her actual common-law husband. They ate scraps, had their identification seized and were instructed to make false refugee and welfare claims. They never saw their benefit money or wages from work in her familys construction businesses.–guilty-plea-in-human-trafficking-case

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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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