Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 14, 2012


5 good reads week from the week of March 5 (Maytree)
There was a lot of buzz last week around Minister Kenney’s announcements of potential changes to immigrant selection in Canada. He focused on “streamlining” economic immigrant selection by increasing the voice of employers. Ultimately, we’re talking about creating a more welcoming experience for new immigrants and ensuring the ongoing prosperity of our newcomers and our communities, right?

Government of Canada Recognizes the Contributions of Canada’s Multicultural Communities with New Historical Designations (Marketwire)
The Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today announced the designation of 11 new national historic sites, persons, and events related to the history of multicultural communities that define significant moments in Canada’s history. They will be included in Canada’s family of national historic sites on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC).

Achieving equality means facing steroeotypes: expert (Emma Graney, Leader-Post)
Achieving equality will take more than treating everyone the same way, says Tim Wise, it’s about acknowledging stereotypes and factoring them into everyday thinking. Wise, an internationally recognized authority on racism, spoke at the University of Regina on Tuesday in the first of a series of lectures to combat racism.

Rye Leads, City Lags (Rebecca Burton, The Eye Opener)
In a city where women account for over 50 per cent of the population, they continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles. These findings come from a report released by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute on March 8. The report, coinciding with International Women’s Day, concluded that within seven key industry sectors such as elected office, senior executives and board of directors, women only make up 28 per cent of these roles. Visible minorities account for even less of these positions.

Moratoriums protect the child (Patricia Paul-Carson, Globe and Mail)
Under the regulations that accompany the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the final decision to admit a child in an intercountry adoption to Canada is made by provincial and territorial authorities, not by federal immigration officials (although immigration is usually a federal responsibility). No provincial or territorial officials, except for Quebec, travel to countries from which their parents adopt. So the provinces and territories aren’t really in a position to determine the likelihood of a child being legally available for adoption. The only thing they have is copies of adoption-related documents. Even Quebec officials are not stationed in sending countries; they visit them periodically. This means the provinces and territories are dependent on federal immigration authorities for information and advice. Canadian immigration officials have tried to validate these adoption documents by searching for birth parent gravesites, by examining DNA tests of people who pose as parents to ensure their DNA matches that of the child, and by interviewing birth parents to determine that their consent to the adoption was freely given.

Oshawa offers lessons on population growth as other cities struggle (Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press)
To Fernando, there are three main reasons for Oshawa’s good news on the population front. “It’s the bedroom community (for Toronto), it’s economic growth in a number of areas with business and education, and then immigration,” she said. As other manufacturing cities in Ontario struggle with plant closures and residents migrating to the resource-rich western provinces, Oshawa has been working hard to break its dependence on General Motors for jobs, particularly after the auto sector’s meltdown in 2008. “Oshawa doesn’t just mean GM to people,” Fernando said. “It can mean something else.” The city is working on revitalizing its downtown, expanding its health-care services and is also developing a suite of support services to attract immigrants to the area. The big driver of growth, however, seems to be Oshawa’s proximity to Canada’s most populous city.

Feeling isolated in our own neighbourhood (Tung Chan, Vancouver Sun)
Over the years, we watched our street change. Many of the small, old houses came down, replaced by large homes with tall fences and security gates. We do not know the new neighbours — some of them don’t live there all the time — but once in a while Margaret and Gary will see someone on our street. They would say hello but would not get an answer. “Maybe it’s language,” they confide to me. “Maybe they think we want something. But we don’t like it. It’s our neighbourhood.” They feel like outsiders on their own street. I share their feeling as I have been living in this neighbourhood for almost as long as them. As members of a visible minority, recently immigrated people from Asia often think of themselves as the outsiders. They worry about finding a balance between fitting in, being accepted, and maintaining their cultural identity. But things are changing. Statistics Canada projects that by 2031, 70 per cent of all people living in Vancouver will be immigrants or the Canadian-born children of immigrants. Three people in five could belong to a visible minority. Of those, the largest percentage will be Chinese.

The White Issue (The Ethnic Aisle)
This week on the Ethnic Aisle: white writers talk about whiteness.

U.S. homeschoolers wary of Canadian bill (Erin Roach, Baptist Press)
Homeschool defenders in the United States are wary of proposed legislation in Alberta, Canada, that could set a philosophical precedent for government intrusion into what parents are allowed to teach their homeschooled children. “This is concerning to us because this is the first time we’ve seen anything like this on North American soil, where a government has actually proposed to include homeschools in a law that would constrain what parents could teach their children or to alternatively require them to teach something in a certain way,” Michael Donnelly, staff attorney for the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association, told Baptist Press.

Office helps integrate newcomers (Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance)
A society that welcomes immigrants and smooths their integration into Canadian society has set up shop in Langley. The Immigrant Services Society of B.C. (ISS) officially opened its office on Logan Avenue in Langley City on March 8.

Net migration hits record in Montreal (Roberto Rocha, Montreal Gazette)
Last year the city took in 38,315 immigrants, beating the 1992 high of 34,504. Emigration has remained pretty flat since 2008, giving Montreal a net migration of 33,523 newcomers, also a historic high. Immigrants now represent 31% of Montreal’s population. As the last census shows, immigrants continue to be the force behind population growth in Canada.


Bill C-31 – Fast but not as fair: Major changes to Canada’s refugee system (Peter Showler, Maytree blog)
On February 16, the government tabled Bill C-31 in the House of Commons. It is a large bill that changes three different pieces of refugee legislation: the current refugee system, the new refugee system scheduled to be implemented on June 29, 2012 and Bill C-4, the so-called Anti-human Smuggling Bill. The bill is not good news for refugees. It speeds up the refugee claim process to the point where many refugee claimants will have difficulty telling their story; it creates a two-tiered claim process where some claimants will be denied an appeal, it punishes refugee claimants who arrive in groups and it reduces the security of permanent residence for all refugees. Here are the most important elements of the bill.

Use social media to speak out against Bill C-31 (CCR)
Tell others about the impacts that Bill C-31 will have on refugees in Canada using social media. Here are some ideas.

MP REPORT: No patience for abuse of system (Colin Mayes – Vernon Morning Star)
Many of my constituents have e-mailed their concerns over the many cases of foreigners abusing our immigration system and the costs to taxpayers. Minister Jason Kenney, of Citizenship and Immigration, is taking action to correct and streamline the immigration rules. The minister stated: “We are a generous nation but we have no tolerance or patience for people who don’t play by the rules and who lie or cheat to become a Canadian citizen.” I agree. About 6,500 people have been deported for using false documents or fraud to get into Canada. Taxpayers have borne the cost of $170 million in bogus refugee claims from the EU alone. Our asylum system is broken.

Launching new E-Journal on Refugee Issues: “Refugee Review” (Refugee Research Network)
The Refugee Review journal is an electronic publication, developed, managed, edited, and peer-reviewed entirely by new scholars, on a voluntary basis. The volunteers are selected from among the New Scholars Network membership and approved by the NSN Executive Committee. Given the versatility of an electronic publication, the journal’s aim is to collect and promote diverse contributions, from standard academic articles, research papers and book reviews to photo- and video-documentary, interviews, narratives, and fiction. We believe that accepting quality material that includes but also goes beyond the purely academic will more thoroughly illuminate research findings, collaborative projects and other exciting, engaging work that is being done by those who are new to the field.

Second refugee family reunited with friends halfway around world in Comox Valley (Scott Stanfield – Comox Valley Record)
Yousif Al Halaaq considers himself a lucky man, thankful he and his family could leave behind a chaotic existence in the Middle East and come to Canada. Al Halaaq is a Palestinian Iraqi who, along with his wife Abitsim and their seven children, fled Baghdad and spent more than three years living without electricity at two United Nations camps between Iraq and Syria. The family now rents a five-bedroom home in Comox, thanks to the efforts of a local refugee support organization. The children, who range from seven to 19 years, are attending Vanier Secondary and Aspen Park Elementary schools. Yousif and Abitsim are taking English classes at North Island College.

How a Syrian refugee risked his life to bear witness to atrocities (Rick Westhead, Toronto Star)
For months, the computer engineer had walked the dusty streets of Hama, a restive city in central Syria, bearing witness to countless acts of brutality. Using the built-in camera on his iPhone 3, he had recorded dozens of videos documenting the barbaric attacks on civilians by Syrian security forces. But on a morning in early October 2011, after word came that his family’s asylum request had been approved by Canadian authorities, he was worried that the footage he had recorded, the risks he had taken, would be for naught.–mostafa-a-syrian-engineer-now-a-refugee-in-canada-secretly-videoed-atrocities-and-posted-them-on-youtube


Erosion of housing, homelessness spending continues, as latest federal spending estimates are released (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
The erosion of federal housing and homelessness investments is continuing, according to the 2012/13 Estimates, the official inventory from the Government of Canada of detailed spending by every federal department and agency. With inflation running at 4.87 percent over the past two years, the federal government would need to spend about $3.3 billion in the coming year just to stay even with the $3.1 billion in housing and homelessness investments in fiscal 2010/11. The latest estimates put federal housing and homelessness spending for the coming year at $2.3 billion, down 30 percent from the inflation-adjusted level of two years ago. And, of course, over the past two years, in addition to inflation, there has been growing housing need in most parts of the country, and a growing population.


Best Employers for New Canadians (Canada’s Top 100 Employers)
Now entering its 6th year, the Best Employers for New Canadians competition is managed by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in partnership with ALLIES, a joint initiative of the The Maytree Foundation and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, two foundations with long histories of strengthening Canadian communities. This special designation recognizes the nation’s best employers for recent immigrants. These employers offer interesting programs to assist new Canadians in making the transition to a new workplace — and a new life in Canada. This year’s winners were announced in a special editorial feature published March 14, 2012 in The Globe and Mail.

Companies that encourage new Canadians to apply (Diane Jermyn, Globe and Mail)
In today’s competitive labour market, new Canadian job seekers without Canadian experience or recognized credentials face increasing difficulty. The 2012 winners of Canada’s Best Employers for New Canadians have reached out to support newcomers in practical and welcoming ways.

For second consecutive year Loblaw earns distinction as one of the Best Employers For New Canadians (PR Newswire)
For the second year in a row, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) has been named one of the Best Employers for New Canadians by Mediacorp Canada Inc. This award commends Loblaw for its efforts in creating a great place to work for newcomers to Canada that is inclusive and respectful of ethnic diversity. This recognition reflects positively the Company’s commitment to Reflect our Nation’s Diversity, one of five Corporate Social Responsibility principles that shape the way Loblaw does business.

Local Employers Pythian And Algonquin College Recognized At The 2012 Employer Council Of Champions Summit – PDF (hireimmigrants Ottawa)
Hire Immigrants Ottawa and the Employer Council of Champions (ECC) presented Pythian and Algonquin College with Employer Excellence Awards today at the 2012 Employer Council of Champions (ECC) Summit. Pythian, a remote database and consulting services company, was recognized for its innovative programs including a buddy system that ensures internationally trained staff integrate better into their workforce. Algonquin College was honoured for a variety of initiatives, including projects that help promote education and employment opportunities for skilled immigrants who work at the college. Algonquin College also received an Employer Excellence Award in 2008.

BMO Honours 3 Canadian Universities for Diversity in the Workplace (Ryan Leclaire,
BMO Financial Group has recognized The University of British Columbia, The University of Toronto, and The University of Victoria as 3 of Canada’s most diverse employers. The acknowledgment comes as part of this year’s Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition, sponsored by BMO Financial Group.

Webinar: Building Success for Immigrants with Essential Skills (Settlement AtWork)
This will be an excellent opportunity to share knowledge and best practices on integrating essential skills into labour market programs that support immigrants.

6 million reasons to stop wage theft – Reason #4: No consequences makes it easy to break the law – Gary’s story (Workers’ Action Centre)
I moved to Toronto from Vancouver in October 2009, because my mother took ill. Since being here I have worked many different jobs and faced violations in all of them. I am sickened by it. After working for a maintenance company for three weeks I did not receive a pay cheque. I stayed working for another two weeks because of the boss’ promise that I would be paid. In the end, I never received the money. I filed a claim with the Ministry of Labour in May of 2010. A year and a half later I was sent notice that the claim had been sent to a collection agency. I’ll likely never see the wages I worked hard for. What’s wrong in Ontario?

Wage Theft – Information for Employees (Windsor Worker’s Action Centre)
Wage theft is a growing problem. The Windsor Worker’s Action Centre is working hard to help workers avoid becoming victims of wage theft, by actively engaging in a campaign to educate both workers and employers across the City of Windsor. Don’t become a victim! Stay informed!

The Decline of People Skills & Workforce Shortage (CBC The Current)
Canadians face a conundrum. Lots of people are unemployed and yet a labour shortage looms. And the upcoming workers – the Gen Ys aren’t impressing the bosses. Coddled, courted, entitled and without boundaries, employers complain they lack basic social skills. And the fear is that One generations’ awkwardness will affect an entire nation’s economy.

More Adults Would Move for Temporary Work Than Permanently (Gallup)
More than one in four adults worldwide (26%) say they would like to go to another country for temporary work, according to Gallup surveys in 119 countries in 2009 and 2010. This figure is nearly twice the 14% worldwide who say they would like to migrate permanently to another country if they could and translates into roughly 1.1 billion adults.


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

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


Outside the academy: The value of solution-focused community research (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
As a director of research at a large community agency, I am admittedly a bit biased on this question. Community-based primary research is good, not because of the much-touted participatory processes it uses, nor because it fulfills some evaluation criteria of funders, or because this research is somehow more “authentic.” Community-based research is important because it addresses material realities and it seeks real solutions.

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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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