Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 15, 2012


Citizens represent informed and influential (DiverseCity)
Recently, Maytrees Alejandra Bravo spoke on CBCs Metro Morning about citizen involvement on city boards in view of the changes to the board of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Heres a summary of her comments, followed by a link to the recording.

Super Visa applications for visitors to Canada are often rejected (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Caught up in the immigration backlog to sponsor her mom and dad to Canada permanently, Emma Canizales was thrilled to learn of Ottawas new visa to facilitate her parents visits. The so-called Super Visa allows eligible individuals to travel in and out of Canada to visit their family here over a 10-year period with up to two years for each stay while their sponsorship applications are processed. We met all the requirements and had no doubt my parents would get the visa, said Canizales, who came to Toronto from Honduras in 2001 and now works as an accountant in Vancouver.–super-visa-applications-for-visitors-to-canada-are-often-rejected

Re-imagining Canada’s immigration system: divergent views on the best path forward (Fiona O’Connor, Samara Canada)
Kenneys presentation highlighted some of the very real and persistent challenges facing Canadas newcomers. It gave only passing mention, however, to the question of how recent and upcoming changes would impact the countrys existing commitments, such as ensuring safe working conditions, family-reunification and refugee programs. Perhaps most notably, and of central concern to many of the conference participants, was the absence of any reference to the expansion of Canadas Temporary Foreign Worker program, which many criticize. The causes and implications of this shift are explored in detail in this 2010 report published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, which argues that the short-term focus of Canadas temporary labour migration policy will not help the country realize its long-term labour market needs. There seems to be consensus that Canadas immigration system is in need urgent need of attention. But reflecting on Kenneys speech, and contrasting it with the issues debated in some of the smaller conference workshops and panels, one cant help but notice the divergent narratives and concerns emerging from the government on the one hand, and immigration practitioners on the other.’s-immigration-system-divergent-views-on-the-best-path-forward

Kenney’s plan (Windsor Star)
‘JUST-IN-TIME’ IMMIGRATION Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says it’s time to put a premium on selecting skilled immigrants who can quickly fill gaps in the country’s labour market. It’s a strategy that makes a great deal of sense. “The time has come for fundamental change to our rigid, slow-moving immigration process and this government will deliver that change,” Kenney told the Economic Club of Canada last week. “People with flexible human capital, high levels of language proficiency and a prearranged job are set for success so that will be an important guidepost as we move toward transformational change.”

Wild Rose Report: Protecting the integrity of Canadas immigration system (Blake Richards, Cochrane Times)
Canada has a tradition of welcoming newcomers to our country. But generously receiving someone who respectfully knocks for admittance to our home is not the same thing as leaving the doors wide open to anyone to enter, for any reason. Our Conservative Government is committed to protecting the integrity of our fair and generous immigration system. Our new legislation – the Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act – proposes further changes that build on reforms to the asylum system that already passed Parliament in June 2010 as part of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act.

Fraser Institute: Recent Immigrants Not Faring as Well as Those Who Arrived Before 1987, Costing Taxpayers More Than $16 Billion Annually (Marketwire)
Immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1987 and 2004 received about $6,000 more in government services per immigrant in 2005 than they paid in taxes, confirms a new report released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

Report: Fiscal Transfers to Immigrants in Canada: Responding to Critics and a Revised Estimate –

No economic turnaround for recent immigrants, authors say (Peter O’Neil, Edmonton Journal)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys assertion that recent immigrants are doing much better economically is incorrect, says a new Fraser Institute analysis to be made public Thursday. Economists Herbert Grubel and Patrick Grady issued their report, obtained by the Edmonton Journal, to refute two Simon Fraser University academics who critiqued a Grubel-Grady analysis last year.

Landing Pads – Competition challenges architects to create dwellings for the Venice Biennale (Alison Mayes, Winnipeg Free Press)
If you landed in a totally unfamiliar place as an immigrant or migrant, what sort of home would you design? Would it echo your culture of origin while adapting to a strange new landscape, climate and construction materials? Would it open up confidently to its surroundings, take a protective stance, or express the tension between settled and unsettled that newcomers feel? Some of the brightest minds in Canadian architecture are asking questions of that kind as they gather in Winnipeg this week. Migrating Landscapes has a free opening tonight at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and is on view until April 29. It’s an exhibition of imaginative dwelling designs by 26 finalists in a high-profile national competition.

Why is Toronto’s city centre 82 per cent white? (Rebecca Tromsness, Networked Streets)
Toronto has long seen itself as the most ethnically diverse city in the world and with almost half of its population as visible minorities, this makes sense. Yet research shows a majority white city centre. What does this mean for the city of Toronto?

Journalist wins Carleton fellowship named for former Toronto Star columnist Jim Travers (Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star)
The experience of Australias immigration laws and their possible influence on Canadian policy will be under the spotlight thanks to a fellowship named after former Toronto Star editor and columnist Jim Travers. Katie DeRosa, a journalist with the Victoria Times Colonist, was named Wednesday as the first recipient of the $25,000 R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding Fellowship, presented by Carleton Universitys School of Journalism and Communication. DeRosa beat out 24 other applicants with her proposal to probe Canadas crackdown on human smuggling and its impact on refugee claimants. She plans to use the funding to travel to Thailand and Australia where Canada is taking inspiration for some of its own immigration laws and examine that countrys detention of asylum-seekers.–journalist-wins-carleton-fellowship-named-for-former-toronto-star-columnist-jim-travers

Stepping stone: Why new immigrants settle in Scarborough (Sarah Taguiam, Toronto Observer)
Scarborough has welcomed a wave of new immigrants for the past 25 years. According to the 2006 census, 57 per cent of Scarboroughs population is made up of immigrants. For many, Scarborough has become a stepping stone for those who want to write a new chapter of their lives in Canada. Rolan Coloma is an immigration expert who teaches sociology and equity studies at the University of Toronto. He said a combination of affordable housing, accessible transportation, and proximity to schools, stores and places of worship has made Scarborough the ideal gateway community. Historically, immigrants have found Scarborough to be a much more welcoming place for settlement primarily because it has an infrastructure built to support them, he says

Religion and State: An Uneasy Separation? (John McCoy, The Mark)
A recent Supreme Court decision raises pressing questions about the changing nature of the relationship between religion and state in our increasingly multicultural society. Does religion belong in Canadian schools? This question is by no means new, but a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada has again placed it at the forefront of debates over Canadian identity and multiculturalism. On Feb. 17, the court upheld the constitutionality of Quebecs Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program. Part of the mandatory primary- and secondary-school curriculum in Quebec since 2008, the ERC program replaced Catholic and Protestant religious education in public schools. In brief, it promotes an understanding of major world religions, including aboriginal spirituality, as well as some reflection on ethical questions such as the meaning of societal values and norms. In S.L. vs. Commission scolaire des Chênes, parents concerned about the programs teachings lobbied for the right to exempt their child from the course, but the Supreme Court rejected their appeal. The implications of this case stretch beyond the merits of the ERC program itself, highlighting the very real challenges facing Canadas culturally and religiously diverse society with respect to the delicate interaction between religion and state.

Canada doesnt want this autistic boy (Carmela Fragomeni, Hamilton Spectator)
A Hamilton family from South Korea trying to stay in Canada has been denied because of the potential health care and social services costs for their 12-year-old autistic son. For Sungsoo Kim, who came to Hamilton with his family nine years ago, the rejection for permanent residency is devastating. He was first here on a student permit and then stayed on work permits.–son-s-autism-preventing-family-from-being-allowed-to-stay-in-canada

Walking the walk with diversity (Ken Herar, The Times)
I’ve had the following statement said to me many times; “There is one race, the human race.” I would like to take some time to expound upon this. There’s some truth to this reference; however, sometimes it’s used as a blanket statement and it neglects to delve into the real issues we face in our communities. Yes we are all part of the human race, but the issue we still face is that people are categorized and defined by their nationalities, which can lead to stereotyping.

PQ slams halal meat production (CBC)
The Parti Québécois is sounding the alarm bell over an Islamic food ritual, calling slaughter for halal meat an affront not only to the rights of animals but to the values cherished by Quebecers. The pro-independence party declared its concerns Wednesday about halal animal-rights standards, and is worried that mainstream companies are selling the meat, without any labelling, to unsuspecting Québécois customers.

Affordable housing elusive for new Canadians in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal (UBC)
With housing prices at record levels, a University of British Columbia-led study finds that new Canadians are struggling to find adequate and affordable housing in the countrys three largest cities. The study of 600 immigrants and refugees using settlement services in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal finds that half of those surveyed reported living in crowded dwellings with hazards such as dampness and mould, broken plumbing, insect infestation and inadequate heat.

The study is part of a larger research project entitled Precarious Housing and Hidden Homelessness among Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigrants in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Study co-authors include UBC graduate student Jenny Francis, Valerie Preston from York University in Toronto and Damaris Rose from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique in Montréal.

Vancouver lagging in immigrant housing (Derek Bedry, 24 Hours)
Vancouver has been declared the second-least affordable city in the world and now it holds the distinction of having some of the worst housing for immigrants in Canada. University of British Columbia researchers surveyed 200 immigrants and refugees who use settlement services in Vancouver and found half lived well below the poverty line in crowded, mouldy, insect-infested dwellings with broken plumbing and heating. Most said they spend over half their income on housing. The study found similar results in Toronto and Montreal.

Vancouver study: High cost of city housing a hardship for B.C. immigrants (Elaine O’connor, The Province)
Overcrowded apartments, broken plumbing, poor heat, insects and rats, leaks and mould these are just some of the hazards immigrants to Canada must put up with to find affordable housing, according to a new UBC study. Researchers examined the plight of 600 immigrants and refugees in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, and found half living in substandard spaces, unable to afford better.

Housing harder to find for newcomers, study shows (CBC)
New research out of the University of B.C. suggests it’s more difficult for newcomers to Canada to find affordable housing, especially in big and expensive cities like Vancouver. The study, led by researcher Daniel Hiebert, looked at 600 immigrants and refugees across the country. It found that a refugee living in Vancouver is often putting more than half their income towards an overcrowded home.

ECARD Community Forum 2012 (Ethno Cultural Council of Calgary)
In celebration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Ethno-Cultural Council of Calgary invites you to attenda Community Forum.

Multiculturalism In Canada A Model For Other Countries OpEd (Natalia Simanovsky, Eurasia Review)
In Canada, multiculturalism is deemed by the majority of society to be a successful government policy precisely because it promotes, among other things, national unity. For the most part, multiculturalism in Canada fosters social cohesion by placing all cultures on an equal footing. It creates common values, such as tolerance, that can be shared by the many different members of society, despite the fact that many citizens originate from a variety places with disparate religious backgrounds. In other words, multiculturalism can be defined as an approach that aims to assist with the integration of immigrants and minorities, remove barriers to their participation in Canadian life and make them feel more welcome in Canadian society, leading to a stronger sense of belonging and national pride.

Canadian produce industry adapts to changing demographics (Cynthia David, The Packer)
With 1 million new immigrants expected to make Canada home over the next five years, retail produce offerings are changing dramatically in urban centers such as Toronto, where Asian, South Asian and Caribbean communities are growing by leaps and bounds. Some wholesalers, such as Vic Carnevale, president of Veg-Pak Produce Ltd., have imported produce for years for the citys growing ethnic supermarkets, which have become a powerful competitor to traditional grocery chains. In the past year, Carnevale has increased his volume of direct imports from the Dominican Republic outside the local season. Boxes of long beans, okra, green mango and curry leaves fill his showroom at the Ontario Food Terminal.

Is this generation great? (Harry Leslie Smith, Globe and Mail)
As a young immigrant I paid my dues to this new country. I found work, paid my taxes and accepted my civic responsibilities. My hard work was rewarded and I was able to purchase a home for my young and growing family. In summer, I cut my backyard grass, and in winter, I shovelled the snow from my driveway. It was marvellous to me how far I had travelled: from street urchin to respectable, middle-class man. Each day, I reminded myself how hard-fought was the road I had taken from the slums to the suburbs. Each day, I gloried in my three sons, who experienced childhood without poverty or hunger. Yet even then, I understood I was fortunate and owed a debt to my country… Too many of us ask for expedient solutions to our societys ills but want to push the tab down the table. Too many of us read or watch economists, bankers, investment brokers as if they alone were the answer to our problems in Canada and the Western world. But the problem is not just debt and economic malaise. All of us must work together the middle class, the poor, the rich to make a balanced country, a society that can reward entrepreneurs and protect the vulnerable. Instead, like in the thirties, we are divided by class and money.

Former boss Morteza Jafarpour charged in $4 million SISO fraud (John Burman, Hamilton Spectator)
Morteza Jafarpour, executive director of the now-defunct Settlement and Integration Services Organization, has been charged with defrauding the federal government of more than $4 million between 2008 and 2010. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Hamilton Niagara commercial crime section charged Jafarpour, 52, of Ottawa and Ahmed Robert Salama, 39, of Oakville, Wednesday following a 15-month investigation with Hamilton police.–former-boss-morteza-jafarpour-charged-in-4m-siso-fraud

Voter fraud concerns in east Toronto widespread (CBC)
Allegations of widespread voting irregularities in an east Toronto federal riding are similar to complaints from a neighbouring riding and a municipal byelection held nearby, two people closely involved say. “This should have come out a long time ago,” Muttukumaru Chandrakumaran, who ran in a municipal byelection in Ajax, Ont., said Wednesday. Chandrakumaran was responding to a CBC News investigation on Tuesday that uncovered allegations of electoral fraud concentrated in the Tamil community in the riding of Scarborough-Rouge River. Those allegations, which span both the federal and provincial ridings, centre largely on what appears to be a lack of oversight surrounding election-day additions to the official voters list. Chandrakumaran said he remembers groups of people from his Tamil community who were not on the voters list showing up at polling stations during the 2008 vote and claiming to live at the same address.

Life Stories of Montrealers Displaced by War, Genocide, and Other Human Rights Violations (Integration-Net)
This oral history project explores Montrealers’ experiences and memories of mass violence and displacement. A team of both university and community-based researchers is in the process of recording life story interviews with more than 500 Montreal residents over the next five years.


Coming to Fredericton, 31 May – 2 June: CCR Spring Consultation 2012 (CCR)
In these tough economic times how do we ensure that refugees are treated fairly and honourably, in a process that is independent and affordable? How can we promote immigration policies and practices that avoid unnecessary costs for newcomers and the Canadian taxpayer? This spring join us for the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) Consultation on the theme of Cent-sible Justice: Affordable solutions for refugees and immigrants to talk about these and other questions that affect newcomers to Canada.

Mexican human rights activists appeal to Ottawa to recognize persecution of civilians (Linda Diebel, Toronto Star)
Her experience is hardly unique, a fact the group made clear here. Their speaking tour, arranged by Amnesty International and several Canadian universities, comes at a critical time for human rights groups dealing with Ottawa. The Conservative government is on the verge of passing Bill C-31, legislation that gives the immigration minister the sole right to declare a country safe thereby making it virtually impossible for its citizens to gain refugee status in Canada. Mexico is a perfect example of why this legislation is so troubling, NDP immigration critic Don Davies told the Star. Thousands of people in Mexico face persecution by the authorities and yet Mexico is Canadas friend and NAFTA partner. Does that mean political partisanship will enter into decisions of state?–mexican-human-rights-activists-appeal-to-ottawa-to-recognize-persecution-of-civilians?bn=1

Justice for Immigrants and Refugees Coalition (Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers)
The Justice for Refugees and Immigrants Coalition (comprised of Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Refugee Lawyers Association) supports an immigration system that is fair, independent of political considerations, and affordable. Bill C-31 is unconstitutional, undermines our humanitarian traditions, and violates our international obligations – it should be withdrawn. Bill C-31 is bad policy. It creates a manifestly unfair system for deciding refugee claims and gives Ministers broad, unfettered and unprecedented powers. The concentration of enormous and vaguely defined powers in a Minister, with no mechanisms of judicial accountability, displays a dangerous inclination away from the rule of law and principles of responsible and democratic governance.


Federal Budget 2012: Its time to address income inequality, think-tank says (Les Whittington, Toronto Star)
The Harper government should use the March 29 budget to address growing income inequality, says an Ottawa think-tank in a pre-budget analysis being released Thursday. Income inequality in Canada is at a 30-year high, rising at a faster pace than in the U.S., says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) in a study entitled A Budget for the Rest of Us. The richest 1 per cent of Canadians are now taking home a bigger share of income growth than since the 1920s, middle-income Canadians have seen their incomes stagnate and nearly one in 10 Canadians including one in 10 children still lives in poverty, the CCPA says.–federal-budget-2012-it-s-time-to-address-income-inequality-think-tank-says

Understanding income inequality (Jeff Fraser, Networked Streets)
Income inequality has become a major issue in the media and public consciousness. But what is it, how do we measure it, and why is it important?

CCPA releases Alternative Federal Budget 2012 (CCPA)
Today, the CCPA releases the Alternative Federal Budget 2012: A Budget for the Rest of Us. This year’s AFB presents a public investment plan that promotes a better quality of life for all Canadians, not just an elite few.


Congratulations to the 2012 Employer Excellence Award Recipients (
Hire Immigrants Ottawa recognized the following Ottawa employers at the 2012 Employer Council of Champions Summit for their outstanding practices in the retention of skilled immigrants in their workplaces.

Internships Lead To Life-Changing Jobs (
Internships are one way winners of the 2012 Best Employers for New Canadians are recruiting and integrating skilled immigrants.

Finalists for 17th annual Cultural DIVERSEcity Awards announced (Surrey Leader)
DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society has announced the finalists for the 17th annual Cultural DIVERSEcity Awards. DIVERSEcity will host the awards on Tuesday, April 17 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.

Employers recognized for helping immigrants (Chris Clay,
The City of Mississauga and Pitney Bowes of Canada have both been recognized as being among the country’s top employers for new Canadians. The list, which identifies the best employers for recent immigrants, is a joint initiative of two charitable foundations: The Maytree Foundation and The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation. It was published this week in a special supplement of The Globe & Mail.–employers-recognized-for-helping-immigrants

Press releases from various companies that have won Best Employer for New Canadians
City of Mississauga –
Ernst & Young –
Loblaw –
Medtronic –

Find your path to success: ITA immigrants in trades initiative – PDF (Industry Training Authority)
Many immigrants already have technical skills from their home countries but need Canadian certification. The ITA Immigrants in Trades Training initiative connects skilled immigrants with funded training opportunities across B.C., matching the skills of immigrants with the increasing needs of B.C.s labour market.

6 million reasons to stop wage theft. Reason #5: Repeat offender continues wage theft across Ontario – Eyob’s story (Workers’ Action Centre)
I came to Windsor Canada in 2009 from Africa. I was very excited as I dropped off my resume and applied for my first job in this country. The owner seemed very happy to see me and I was soon hired. I was very happy to get this job as there are not many available in Windsor. I was told that I had to work 3 weeks before I would get paid. The first time I got a paycheque it was short on hours. The second time I got paid the cheque bounced. I kept going to work because I was promised my pay. After 6 weeks, I had only been partially paid for 2. I decided that I could no longer go to work without getting paid.

Welcome to JVS Torontos Career Voice (JVS Toronto)
This blog is a collaborative effort of JVS Torontos expert employment and program staff, to share insights, ideas, opinions and experience with our clients, community and colleagues. We hope to give you a fresh take on the world of work, especially as it affects our community in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as share our favourite resources and Useful Links.

Video: Find a job in canada – how to make it happen. Dr. Lionel Laroche at IEP Toronto Feb 10 2012 (IEP Conference)
In deph analysys of the Canadian labour market and the challenges that people face when moving to Canada.

TIEDI Labour Force Update (TIEDI)
This monthly report provides up-to-date labour market data on immigrants, relying on data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The report includes labour market data for the Toronto CMA and Canada as a whole.

Strategies imported from home countries (Frances Bula, Globe and Mail)
They labour under some disadvantages, but their willingness to take risks, attitudes inherited from entrepreneurial cultures, and outsiders’ view of Canada allows immigrants to spot gaps where there are business opportunities

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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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