Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 13, 2012


Video: The Opening Doors Project – Migration and Mental Health (CMHA)
The video speaks about the intersection between mental health and social determinants of health such as race and social exclusion.

Diversity Training Doesn’t Work (Peter Bregman, Harvard Business Review)
A study of 829 companies over 31 years showed that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” Millions of dollars a year were spent on the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes and the diversity of the organizations remained the same… The solution? Instead of seeing people as categories, we need to see people as people. Stop training people to be more accepting of diversity. It’s too conceptual, and it doesn’t work. Instead, train them to do their work with a diverse set of individuals. Not categories of people. People.

Diversity at top good for business (Dan Ovsey, Financial Post)
Sandra Stuart is a member of a C-Suite composed of one-third women. The chief operating officer of HSBC Canada has had the opportunity to rise through the ranks of the international banking industry with few obstacles and today champions diversity in the companys recruitment and retention practices. She recently spoke with Dan Ovsey, editor of FP Executive, about the challenges of todays executive women and whats being done to overcome them. Following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Women are not miracle workers (Terence Cororan, National Post)
International Women’s Day came and went last Thursday, leaving a clear and stunning message for our time: It looks like the near-biblical issue facing the world’s women today is how many of them hold down directorships at major public corporations. The corporate angle dominated International Women’s Day coverage – thanks to a new European Commission call for public consultation on a plan for quotas for women on corporate boards. Driving news reports in Canada was a call last Thursday from the Canadian branch of Catalyst for a voluntary plan to have 25% women on FP500 boards by 2017. Royal Bank of Canada, always a sucker for the latest social cause, was the first to sign on.

Activist fights oath to Queen (Tom Godfrey, QMI Agency)
Black community activist Charles Roach says hes escalating his 24-year legal battle to have an allegiance to the Queen dropped from the Canadian Oath of Citizenship. Roach, 78, a long-time Toronto lawyer, has been waging a legal challenge since 1988 to have the oath changed. The permanent resident of Canada chose not to become a citizen because of a refusal to swear the Oath of Citizenship because it contains a promise to bear allegiance to the Canadian monarch.

Irish eyes are smiling over growing endowment fund (Nick Lees, Edmonton Journal)
An Irish-born businessman who became fed up with being treated like “some country hick” in Ontario is a step closer to his dream of creating the University of Alberta’s biggest scholarship. Proceeds from the Ireland-Canada Chamber of Commerce’s St. Patrick’s Day Ball Saturday at the Crowne Plaza-Chateau Lacombe took the chamber’s endowment fund to more than $100,000. “We believe we can grow the sum to $250,000 in the next five years,” says Colm O’Carroll, who owns Epsilon Chemicals and E-Chem. “With matching grants from the Canadian, Irish and Alberta governments, we plan to create a $1-million endowment fund. “It would lead to an annual stipend of $40,000 in perpetuity and allow a gifted student to study in Ireland.”

DIASPORA short film captures experience of recent arrivals in Toronto (
Barbara Deignan and her boyfriend Cian McDevitt moved to Toronto just over a year ago, and have made a short film about the Irish diaspora, capturing the fears and hopes of those calling the city their new home.

Iranian Business Trade Show: Blending Business and Community (Mike MacKenzie, SmartCity blog)
Halifaxs Iranian community is gearing up for this weekends Iranian Business Trade Show. Now in its second year, the annual event blends business with community and features interactive presentations that celebrate Halifaxs proud and diverse culture. According to event organizer Nikki Jafari, it also provides a valuable opportunity for small businesses that dont necessarily have the resources to attend larger-scale events. Its a good chance for business owners to network with each other and promote their products, says Nikki. Its an opportunity that many of the businesses dont often get.

Share your human rights story join the Living Rights Project! (Ontario Human Rights Commission)
Three ways to tell the human rights story
Tell us what you think human rights in Ontario means
Tell us your personal experience or someone elses story related to a ground of the Human Rights Code what its like to be a person with a disability, a person of a certain race or religion, an LGBTTQ person, an older person, etc.
Tell us how the Human Rights Code has affected you or someone you know

Hey Canada, Let’s Make a Difference (Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, The Mark)
My family came to Canada from Sudans neighbouring country, Uganda. By chance, I was born in Canada but, had I been raised in Uganda, it is unlikely that I would have the opportunities that I do: to have a career where I am on TV, able to speak my opinions, and respected as a woman of colour. My life would have turned out completely different. Few places offer the kind of life opportunities that Canada does. Canada is unique. Where else in the world can you go to school with, get married to, and work side by side with people regardless of their race, religion, gender, or sexual preference? Canada is perhaps the most pluralistic country in the world, which gives Canadian youth a special ability to become game changers, even world changers.

White Issue(s) (Jonathan Robson, The Ethnic Aisle)
You see them at ____fest at Harbourfront, or catch them climbing out of Bakka Phoenix. Volunteering at Karma Co-op. Gaunt, yogic middle-aged men and floor-skirted women who seem to embody whats left of the promise of the Annex a generation ago. Presumably they like Metro Morning for the music, and set their weekends by its litany of cultural events and festivals. Often theyre wearing a vest and sandals. These are the white people who seek out multicultural experiences. I am not one of them.

Startup Visa Canada Update (Maura Rodgers, Startup Visa Canada)
It is exciting to see that all of our efforts and your support to date has helped reinforce that this is an important program, worthy of attention and action. In addition, we have met with Provincial leaders in BC and are in the process of setting up another meeting with Immigration Canada to discuss an alternative Business Investor Program in more detail. If the meeting is successful, I can only speculate that the next step would be for immigration Canada to assign a person and/or team to gather data to help them structure how a Startup Visa in Canada could work.

Reform needed for broken immigration system: Dykstra (Niagara This Week)
Rick Dykstra is weighing in on possible immigration reforms, following the release of a backlog report. On March 6, Dykstra, St. Catharines MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Immigration and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney, joined other members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration for the release of Cutting the Queue: Reducing Canadas Immigration Backlog and Wait Times. Dykstra said the Harper government, when elected in 2006, inherited an immigration system that was broken and did not meet Canadas economic needs. The report, released after months of study, provides 10 recommendations for the government to address the issue.–reform-needed-for-broken-immigration-system-dykstra

The New North | Arctic multiculturalism (CBC)
As newcomers to Canada head north in search of money and a better life, theyre changing the face of the northern landscape. Samir Atalah is originally from Syria and speaks six languages. When he came north for a job and an adventure he had planned on spending only a few months in Iqaluit. That was five years ago. “We see a lot of people coming in Nunavut,” he said. “They don’t come for nothing. We show them what is good, what is not.”

This is Canada (Surrey North Delta Leader)
Frido Profoehr sees a lot of himself in the faces in front of him. While Profoehr, at age 76, may be older and more European than the 21 mostly female students he teaches in the second-floor classroom at Cedar Grove Baptist Church, hes got a lot in common with them. In 1961, he came to Canada from Germany, speaking little English, and found that hed have to build up his pipefitting and welding career from scratch. More than 50 year later, hes giving back and helping new and some less recent immigrants get on their feet, and learn what they need to become citizens. And more.


Refugee system ‘a disgrace,’ advocate says (Mary Sheppard, CBC)
Being recognized as a refugee in Canada can be more of a roll of the dice than a fair process, a woman who has worked with refugee claimants for more than 20 years says. “I dont think thats justice,” Mary Jo Leddy told CBC News. It’s a disgrace to our country,” the director of Romero House in Toronto said in response to an analysis of data for 2011 from the Immigration and Refugee Board that shows an inconsistent approval rate among the IRB’s adjudicators. Leddy, who has attended hundreds of hearings, said while there are “very competent” board members, “there are some who are simply terrible. Thats what makes it a lottery.”

Canadian refugee decisions hinge on presiding judge, says report (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Ottawa should rethink its plan to ban certain refugees from appeals in light of a new report that suggests asylum outcomes very much depend on which refugee judge presides on the case, says the studys author. York University law professor Sean Rehaag examined all 34,204 decisions made in 2011 by the 148 refugee judges appointed to the Immigration and Refugee Board and found their approval rates varied from 0 to 100 per cent. The overall acceptance rate was 44.6 per cent. The evidence suggests that who decides on these cases has a significant impact on the outcomes. The luck of the draw is still at work, said Rehaag, who released the report Monday.–canadian-refugee-decisions-hinge-on-presiding-judge-says-report

2011 Refugee Claim Data and IRB Member Recognition Rates (CCR)
Data obtained from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) through an Access to Information Request reveals vast disparities in refugee claim recognition rates across IRB Members in 2011. In 2011, some Members very rarely granted refugee status, including Daniel McSweeney (0%, 127 decisions) and David McBean (1.9%, 108 decisions). Others granted refugee status in most of the cases they heard, including Thomas Pinkney (98.0%, 799 decisions) and Deborah Morrish (97.9%, 366 decisions).

NIC’s Global Learning Initiative presents ‘Seeking Refuge’ Thursday (Comox Valley Echo)
North Island College’s Global Learning Initiative, in collaboration with the World Community Development Education Society, is pleased to present a screening of the film Seeking Refuge on Thursday, March 15th in the Stan Hagen Theatre located on NIC’s Comox Valley campus. Seeking Refuge is a riveting documentary which follows five asylum seekers as they navigate Canada’s refugee review system. Directed by Karen Cho, this film provides a provocative, eye-opening look at the plight of these refugees who have each escaped war, persecution or rape in their homeland, only to be facing an uncertain future stuck in Canada’s slow-moving system.

Seeking Refuge trailer –


The Racialization of poverty in Vancouver (PovNet)
The Huffington Post reports on a study by geographers at UBC that uses census data to explore how Vancouver is becoming more segregated based on income and race. The report draws on a similar study from Toronto. Very rich and very poor neighbourhoods have doubled in size, while middle-income neighbourhoods have been reduced by half. The number of immigrants in the lowest income neighbourhoods has also doubled. Geographer David Ley says that new poverty is very significantly tied up with recent immigrants.”


6 million reasons to stop wage theft – Reason #3: Speaking out could mean losing your job – Aliza’s story (Workers’ Action Centre)
I have been here in Canada for almost 6 years working hard. I worked at a beverage company as a temporary agency worker for 1 year. I was paid $9.00 per hour, which is under the minimum wage, with no vacation pay. At the end of the year I was asking for my T4 and the temp agency that I worked with immediately kicked me out of my job! This is not fair to me or to anyone, so I am fighting for my rights as a worker and as a human being. To all those who are working through temporary agencies, be alert about your rights, be safe and make sure you are in good hands.

Help us shine a light on the Canadian skilled-jobs gap (Dianne Nice, Globe and Mail)
A growing shortage of skilled labour in western Canada is prompting Ottawa and the provinces to cast their eyes toward Canada’s immigration policies. On the one hand, Ottawa has a huge backlog of immigration applications. On the other hand, the western provinces are desperate to find workers to fill the skilled jobs that will keep their economies growing.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments cooperate to speed up foreign qualification assessment and recognition for skilled newcomers (Canada News Centre)
Governments are working in partnership to help internationally trained professionals find work in their fields through a national framework to improve the recognition of foreign qualifications. Federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for the labour market announced today, through the Forum of Labour Market Ministers (FLMM), the release of a progress report on the implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework for the Assessment and Recognition of Foreign Qualifications[1]. All governments are working towards the common goal of ensuring that foreign qualifications are assessed and recognized in a fair, consistent, transparent and timely manner. This collective effort will help internationally trained professionals put their knowledge, skills and experience to work sooner in communities across the country.


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

A Different Future (CBC Metro Morning)
A bus from Toronto will pull into a bus terminal in downtown Washington later today. Among the passengers getting off, 10 black male students from Westview Centennial, a Toronto high school at Jane and Finch. They call themselves “Brothers Unlimited”. The goal of this trip, to show them a different future. The CBC’s Mary Wiens met them in Toronto a couple of days ago.


Social Finance Round Up: BC Introduces Community Contribution Companies,CSI Releases Community Bonds (Nabeel Ahmed, produces a weekly round up featuring social finance related news, insights, job openings, and events. We source the content for these round ups from Twitter, an RSS reader, and directly from our community of social finance practitioners. Below is our round up for the week of March 12, 2012.

Leadership Lessons from Twitter (Tina Edan, Maytree)
From capturing details of daily life to being a mobilizing tool for social change, there is no doubt that Twitter has become an important medium of communication. It teaches us many things about what, as a culture, we deem important and worthy of repeating. What Im interested in is what we can learn from it. In particular, what does it teach us about leadership?

Opportunity or penalty? AODA vs. HRC (Andrew Lawson, First Reference Talks)
Going back two posts to How to comply with two laws at the same time I asked a skill testing question to which nobody responded! Nevertheless, I will answer the question here because I know you are busy and dont have the time to respond to my skill testing questions. Is the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA):
Opportunity focused?
Penalty focused?
Is the Ontario Human Rights Code (HRC):
Opportunity focused?
Penalty focused?


Traffik Femme Focuses on Human Trafficking, Violence Against Women (Pat Donnelly, Montreal Gazette)
Slavery was abolished in the 19th century. But human trafficking continues to plague the planet. And, yes, its happening in Canada, too. Lynne Cooper of Le Trunk Collectif said it was Victor Malareks book The Natashas: The New Global Sex Trade that triggered her interest in the subject. Her production of Emma Hachés Traffik Femme, performed by Nico Lagarde is playing this week (until Thurs. March 25) at the Segal Centre Studio, in English. The run will continue next week, in French, March 17 to 24.

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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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