Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 21, 2012


Good Ideas from Toronto: An Exchange of Immigrant Integration in Cities (Mario Sorgalla, BertelsmannStiftung)
Cities and urban regions exercise a powerful pull factor on immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The integration of immigrants, that complex and challenging process of helping thousands of immigrants fulfill their hopes and dreams, becomes then a central feature of successful cities.

Visible minorities shut out of leadership positions (Ratna Omidvar and John Tory, Toronto Star)
There is ample research suggesting that women have not yet broken through the glass ceiling. Even though they represent over half the population today, they account for only 28 per cent of leadership roles in the GTA. Unfortunately, for another invisible majority, the statistics are even bleaker. While visible minorities (women and men) account for over half of the population of the GTA, only 4.2 per cent of them occupy corporate senior leadership roles in the city.–visible-minorities-shut-out-of-leadership-positions

Wise5 findings released today (Sarah Wayland, Wise5)
In conjunction with the first two of our five planned project wrap-up and networking events, we are releasing the final report and other documents related to the Wise5 project. This report builds on findings from these interviews, from relevant articles and reports, and from primary research into services and supports to identify key business supports and business start-up trajectories that have met with success. It contains recommendations for communities for supporting immigrant businesses and identifies best practices that can be adopted in other regions.

Visible Minority Women in Senior Management Positions in Toronto (Senator Donald Oliver)
Honourable senators, today I wish to draw your attention to the results of a recent study on the number of visible minority women occupying senior management positions in the Greater Toronto Area. The results show that they are seriously under-represented. The study was conducted by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and its findings were published on March 8 in honour of International Women’s Day. The report, entitled Women in Senior Leadership Positions: A Profile of the Greater Toronto Area, measured the representation of women, including visible minorities, in leadership positions in seven sectors, including elected and public office.

New immigrants must be employable, have language proficiency: Jason Kenney (Tristin Hopper, National Post)
By targeting younger and more language-proficient immigrants, a transformational package of immigration reforms promises to end the vicious circle of unemployment for newcomers, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. For too long the story of immigration to Canada has been summed up by the frustration of the highly trained professional who arrived with the expectation of being able to work at his or her skill level, he said, addressing the Canadian Club of Toronto on Monday.

Canadians judge Conservatives as top economic managers: poll (Rebecca Lindell, Global News)
Seventy-nine per cent of Canadians approve of changes to the immigration system recently announced by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The changes would give priority to immigrants who promise the greatest economic benefit to Canada, over those coming for humanitarian reasons or to reunite with their families. They can roll everything else they talk about into (the economy). The more they can make immigration, for example, look like it is about economy rather than compassion, better for them, Bricker said.

Immigrant Womens Pathways to Health Care Utilization (Wellesley Institute)
This study aims to better understand the pathways to health care utilization among urban immigrant women living in low income neighbourhoods. Our goal is to gain in-depth information on the pathways to accessing health services among immigrant women, to help program planners and policy makers identify effective interventions to increase access to health services.

How long do new immigrants have to wait before they are eligible for health coverage in Ontario? (Wellesley Institute)
In Ontario, the three month OHIP coverage delay applies to new immigrants and Canadian citizens returning to the province; refugees and those who have been denied asylum; people who have lost their documentation, such as the homeless and mentally ill; and those who are in the country illegally. During this wait, the uninsured avoid health-care treatments and often become more sick by the time they enter the health-care system. As a preventive health measure, an equity principle, and a cost reduction measure, the three month wait should be abolished to allow all Ontarians their right to health.

Health care for the uninsured: why its important and next steps (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Recently, the Wellesley Institute participated in the Seeking Solutions Symposium, a conference that addressed access to health care for people living in Canada without health insurance. Even though we in Canada like to think that everyone has access to free health care, this is not the case. The fact is, people who lack documentation do not have public health coverage. Moreover, in some provinces, including Ontario, newcomers and returning Canadians must wait 3 months before they are eligible for public health coverage. And this has negative and inequitable health impacts.

Conservatives Target Economy With Proposed Immigration Changes (
Proposed changes include giving more power to the provinces, setting a minimum language standard, placing greater emphasis on skilled trades, younger workers and credentials that can be recognized more easily.

Preserving the cultural mosaic (Sudbury Northern Life)
Creating a vibrant and inclusive city is the on-going mission for the City of Greater Sudburys Diversity Advisory Panel.
Formed in 2004 with representatives from five core areas francophone, multi-cultural, aboriginal, youth and community-at-large with a budget of $26,000, it stands poised to walk the talk. This city has so much to offer and that includes diversity, said Leonard Kim, chair for the Diversity Advisory Panel.

Irish newcomers: Canada is the place to go (Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press)
Pubs bursting at the seams are a reminder of the old saying that on St. Patricks Day, everyones a little bit Irish. But statistics show that immigration to Canada has become a lot more Irish. By the end of 2011, there were more than 5,200 temporary foreign workers from Ireland in Canada, up almost 1,000 from the year before.

Fraud prevention event will educate elderly and new immigrants on importance of changing PIN numbers (Samina Esha, National Post)
The Crime Prevention Association of Toronto will host its first Change Your PIN Day on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in an effort to help residents avoid becoming victims of fraud. The event is part of the city of Torontos Fraud Prevention Week, which runs until March 24, and will educate new immigrants and the elderly in particular about the dangers of identity theft and credit card fraud.

Canadian Muslims & Jews Unite to Combat Increasing Hate Crimes in Winnipeg (Islam Today)
An increase in hate-induced violence against Muslims and Jews during the past year in the province of Manitoba and its capitol Winnipeg have brought the two faiths together to confront it. In one of the many incidents, a young hijab-wearing woman driving a car is persistently stalked through traffic by a man making shooting gestures at her. In another, a girl’s hair is set on fire at school by a boy making a slur against Jews. Now Jews and Muslims in the Canadian province of Manitoba are getting together to stand up to the hate.

Immigration Partnership aims to create more vibrant communities in Grand Erie (Jennifer Vo,
TThe Grand Erie Local Immigration Partnership will release what they call a Community Action Plan that businesses and organizations could use to help make Haldimand County more appealing to immigrants. According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 about nine per cent of the total population of Haldimand County were immigrants. Those newcomers account for only 15 per cent of the total immigrant population of Grand Erie.

Immigration reform will prevent unemployment `cycle,’ Kenney vows (Tristin Hopper, Postmedia News)
By targeting younger and more language-proficient immigrants, a “transformational” package of immigration reforms promises to end the “vicious circle of unemployment” for newcomers, says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. “For too long the story of immigration to Canada has been summed up by the frustration of the highly trained professional who arrived with the expectation of being able to work at his or her skill level,” he said, addressing the Canadian Club of Toronto on Monday.

DiverseCity: From Leaders to Leadership (Tina Edan, DiverseCity)
DiverseCity initiatives create opportunities for leaders to exercise their leadership.

Tories deepen strategy to target new ethnic voters, bread and butter Canadians, high-earning Greens (Jessica Bruno, Hill Times)
New ethnic communities, so-called bread and butter Canadians, and high-earning Green Party voters are the next groups that could prove future fertile ground for the majority-governing Conservative Party, say strategists. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (Calgary Southeast, Alta.), who is his partys key player on courting the ethnic vote, told an audience at the Manning Networking Conference on March 9, which attracted hundreds of influential Tories in the nations capital, that the success of the Conservative strategy to attract new voters from ethnic communities rests on identifying available groups who share the Conservatives values.

Local group helps immigrants call Canada home (Vik Kirsch, Mercury staff)
Zimmer empathized with a new Canadian challenged not only by a new country, but new language. Its not easy to thrive under that kind of stress, Zimmer told a Delta Hotel gathering of the Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partners, an organization of dozens of groups helping immigrants call Canada home. Haileselassie is learning to adapt to a warm community. I thank God that now I live in Canada, Haileselassie said, hopeful others will find the caring community she has.–local-group-helps-immigrants-call-canada-home

Buying your way into Canada may get pricier (Bill Mann, MarketWatch)
As investment clubs go, its one of the more unusual ones around the money you spend to join isnt really an investment and its not really a club. But more and more people are trying to join and it could soon become one of the more expensive memberships to have. The Canadian government has had an Immigrant Investor Program for years. Not that long ago, when my wife and I checked into it, it would have cost a C$250,000 interest-free investment to get a permanent-residence card from the Canadian government. The government would use your money for five years, then give it back. A pretty good deal. Plus, it would save months of waiting and a lot of the Canadian government paperwork. But Ottawa has kept raising the bar. Its now up to an C$800,000 investment and about to get higher perhaps a LOT higher.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair honoured as champion for diversity (Kirsten Parucha, Toronto Star)
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is being honoured as a champion for diversity. The award, to be presented Friday by the Diversity Business Network, honours Blair for his success in the implementation of diversity strategies. Blair is credited with promoting diversity in the workplace and for his commitment to building positive relationships with the diverse communities across the city, the business group says.–toronto-police-chief-bill-blair-honoured-as-champion-for-diversity

New Canadians share their stories (Jonathan Hamelin, Leader-Post)
What would you tell people back home about Canada? It was a question posed to a group of soon-to-be Canadians on Monday at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Prior to the ceremony that would see 55 people become Canadian citizens, they broke off into groups where facilitators led roundtable discussions that allowed immigrants to share their experiences.

Multicultural Marketing: The Filipino Market Is Bigger Than You Think (Chris Daniels, Marketing Magazine)
The beauty of this market is they respond really well to marketing communications, says Stanley Furtado, senior manager for Dyversity Communications. That is why we keep going back to this market for clients like RBC. Theyre low-hanging fruit, in part because they notice when a brand actually seems to recognize them. But they also have a very Western outlook, and immigrants coming from the Philippines share similar cultural values with Canadians. Filipinos subscribe to the nuclear familial structure: 90% of them belong to a Christian denomination and they tend to be well-educated and fluent in English, says Denise Spitzer, Canada research chair in gender, migration and health for the University of Ottawa. In fact, while many Filipino newspapers in Canada say theyre published in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, when you flip through the pages, 60% of the content is in English. So our ads tend to be in English, with a few works in Tagalog, says Furtado.

Social Capital and Economic Integration of Visible Minority Immigrants in Canada (Muhammad Raza, Roderic Beaujot and Gebremariam Woldemicael, SpringerLink)
On the basis of the 2002 Ethnic Diversity Survey, we study the role of human and social capital in explaining the personal earnings of foreign born persons working full-time, aged 2564 years. The income differences associated with given visible minority categories are reduced after controls for human and social capital, but the differences remain significant, especially for men and for all but the Chinese category. Among the human capital factors, education and speaking English or French at home are positively related with earnings, while having the highest degree or diploma from outside of Canada is negative for all groups, although not statistically significant. Among the social capital considerations, trust was associated with higher income, while lack of participation in community organizations was an earnings disadvantage. Counter to expectations, individualization, or weak bonding and weak bridging ties, was associated with higher income, for men and for the other/multiple visible minorities and white immigrants.

SISO school, language programs used to steal millions: police (Matthew Van Dongen, Hamilton Spectator)
Police allege top SISO officials used some of Hamiltons most valued immigrant help programs particularly those for youth to hide the theft of millions of dollars, according to court documents. The RCMP announced charges last week in an alleged $4-million fraud involving three staffers at the now-bankrupt immigration settlement agency, including former boss Morteza Jafarpour.–siso-school-language-programs-used-to-steal-millions-police

Are Bilingual Immigrants Healthier? (Freakonomics)
A new study by Ariela Schachter, Rachel Tolbert Kimbro, and Bridget K. Gorman found that strong English skills and native language skills are associated with better health for immigrants. Using language as an indicator of adaptiveness to a new country, the researchers set out to investigate the healthy immigrant effect.

Human Library event combats prejudice (Jeremy Warren, The StarPhoenix)
The Saskatoon library is for one day only letting patrons borrow human “books” – but they are for reference only and can’t be taken home. The Human Library, as similar events are known elsewhere in the world, is a one-day experiment for the Saskatoon library during which patrons can borrow a person for an informal conversation about the prejudice or stereotyping that person has faced in his or her life.

Historians rewrite Canadas citizenship guide (Katrina Heer, University Affairs)
When the contents of Canadas official citizenship guide for immigrants changed in 2009 to include more military history with a greater emphasis on Canadas monarchial ties with Britain, two University of Manitoba professors decided to produce a different version of Canadas past, one that would embrace both triumphs and failures. Their commentary an 80-page collaboration called the Peoples Citizenship Guide: A Response to Conservative Canada (pictured right) launched this past February at McNally Robinson Booksellers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, making the bookstores bestseller list for that week.

PM announces support to address family violence and violence against women and girls committed in the name of “honour” (Office of the Prime Minister)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced support to Shield of Athena Family Services for a project that will help address and prevent family violence and violence against women and girls committed in the name of honour. He was accompanied by Shelly Glover, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Our Government is committed to protecting women, girls and other vulnerable persons from all forms of violence, and to hold offenders accountable for their acts, said Prime Minister Harper. Honour crimes are intolerable and barbaric, and violate Canadian laws and values. The support announced today will serve to raise awareness and will contribute to preventing such heinous crimes.

Our conversation with Daisy Wright on Canadian Experience and Job Search (The Zieglers Blog)
What you should do when you are told you don;t have Canadian Experience
What you dont have to do in your resume
Why you have to be B.A.D.
How to behave in a call interview
And much more.

Wise5 project coming to an end! (Sarah Wayland, WISE5)
Spring has sprung, and this project is wrapping up. After close to a year of research, discussion, and writing, we are ready to share our findings about immigrant entrepreneurship with the public! Events will be held in Hamilton and London tomorrow, in Windsor and Kitchener-Waterloo on Friday March 23, and in the Niagara Region on April 18. Each event will feature a presentation about the Wise5 project, the release of a short video focused on entrepreneurship in that community, and local speakers, including immigrant entrepreneurs.

Immigration rules can be sound, yet unfair (Howard Elliott, Hamilton Spectator)
Taehoons autism didnt manifest itself until after hed been here for several years. By that time the family was settled, Sunmi attending school and Sungsoo working, and paying taxes. All that changes if Citizenship and Immigration, or minister Jason Kenney, wont reconsider the decision. The family will have to leave the life they have built over the past decade, all thanks to fate and rigid policy. Yes, we have to have rules. By and large, this one or one like it is sound public policy. But surely we are mature and sophisticated enough to make exceptions where appropriate, and also to consider the potential Taehoon brings to Canada alongside what it might cost to take care of him.–immigration-rules-can-be-sound-yet-unfair

Canada/Islam: Muslim food, clothing drive helps Calgarians in need (International Islamic News Agency)
We want to ease the pain of them not being able to support their families. Thats why we are doing this, said Idrees Khan, chair of the Muslim Families Network Society. Charity is the third pillar of Islam. As Muslims, we are supposed to share our wealth, or whatever we have, with people in need. Its highly important. One unique aspect of Saturdays event is that the Muslim Families Network Society provides halal meat in its food hampers. Halal is meat that meets the dietary restrictions laid out in Islamic law, and it can be very difficult to obtain at traditional food banks. The Muslim Families Network Society also hands out grocery gift cards, so that recipients from a variety of countries and cultures can choose the food items they are used to.

Muslims Solace Calgary Vulnerable (OnIslam)
Disregarding differences in culture or faith, Muslims in the Canadian city of Calgary have organized a food and clothes distribution event to help vulnerable refugees, immigrants and needy people to face the hardships of life. “We want to ease the pain of them not being able to support their families,” Idrees Khan, chair of the Muslim Families Network Society, which organized the event, told the Calgary Herald on Sunday, March 18.

The PQ plays its anti-immigrant card, again (Ihsaan Gardee, The Gazette)
The Parti Québécois’s recent launching of a false J’accuse at the Quebec Muslim community over halal meat epitomizes a time-tested tactic in the pursuit of political support that Hollywood and citizens alike have long lampooned. sLike the characters in Wag the Dog, a film about a Washington spin doctor who distracts the electorate from a presidential scandal by hiring a Hollywood producer to create a fake war, the PQ finds itself attempting to distract the Quebec public with seemingly parochial issues under the aegis of “values” debates while trying to avoid substantive issues of greater import.

Burnaby school wins international award (Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun)
Burnaby’s Byrne Creek secondary school has been named winner of the 2012 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award – the first Canadian school to receive the prestigious award from the inter-national education leadership association… The award is given annually to a school that has moved beyond the narrow focus of academic achievement and engages the “whole child, creating learners who are knowledgeable, emotionally and physically healthy, civically active, artistically engaged, prepared for economic self-sufficiency and ready for the world beyond for-mal schooling.” Byrne Creek opened seven years ago and has 1,250 students, many of whom are immigrants or refugees. More than 60 per cent of the school’s population has a native language that is not English.

Jews, Muslims take on hatred (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
A young hijab-wearing woman driving a car is stalked through traffic by a man making shooting gestures at her. A girl’s hair is set on fire at school by a boy making a slur against Jews. Both incidents happened in the last year in Winnipeg, and both show anti-Islam and anti-Semitic forces are alive and kicking in Manitoba. sNow Jews and Muslims in the province are getting together to stand up to the hate.

Immigration Minister Wants a “Real” Investor Program for Visa to Canada: Transcend Consultants (PR Web)
Canada’s Immigrant Investor program is set to be revamped to make it more valuable for and useful to Canada’s economy. In an interview with National Post, the Minister suggested that the changes to the program may include increasing the investment amount from the current $800,000. Majority of the applicants under the program apply through Canada embassy in Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Persian gulf countries.

Chinese learning French to emigrate to Quebec (CBC)
Thousands of people in China are trying to write their own ticket out of the country in French. Chinese desperate to emigrate have discovered a backdoor into Canada that involves applying for entry into the country’s francophone province of Quebec as long as they have a good working knowledge of the local lingo.

Foreign spouses face tighter rules in Canada (CBC)
If a foreign spouse’s marriage in Canada does not last two years, he or she could be deported, according to a proposed new federal rule. The Conservatives believe a two-year probationary period for foreign spouses would prevent men and women from getting away with immigration fraud by marrying Canadians just to get into the country. A Canadian spokesman for Volga Girl, a North American mail-order bride company, cheered the new regulations, saying he knows some people have used the system to side-step the Canadian immigration process.

Evaluation Shows Ministerial Instructions Are Relevant and Necessary (CIC)
According to a new evaluation, there is a continued need for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to manage the intake and processing of immigration applications in a timely and efficient manner, and ministerial instructions (MI) are a flexible and responsive tool to do so. The evaluation confirms that it was right and necessary to take measures to manage the sheer volume of applications we receive, said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.
Full evaluation –

St. Patricks Day: Irish seek opportunities in Canada but would rather be home (Lesley Ciarula Taylor, Toronto Star)
Irish Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore, in town to open a new settlement centre for the latest flood of Irish immigrants to Canada, was looking forward to toasting St. Patrick at the end of the day with a spot of Ontario red wine. In two tiny rooms jammed with brogues and shamrocks, Gilmore put a brave face on the brain drain that has robbed Ireland of 100,000 people in the last two years. Theyll be back, he said. Thats what happened in the 80s.–st-patrick-s-day-irish-seek-opportunities-in-canada-but-would-rather-be-home

Canadian immigration feeling the luck o the Irish (Stephanie Levitz, The Record)
Pubs bursting at the seams are a reminder of the old saying that on St. Patricks Day, everyones a little bit Irish. But statistics show that immigration to Canada has become a lot more Irish. By the end of 2011, there were more than 5,200 temporary foreign workers from Ireland in Canada, up almost 1,000 from the year before.–canadian-immigration-feeling-the-luck-o-the-irish

Growing movement is redefining the faces of fashion (CTV)
Jamaican-born Canadian model Stacey McKenzie recalls that when she first started out in the mid-1990s, there was little diversity seen among the models cast for shows. “There was a couple of designers that had different ethnicities on the runway and those designers included Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, Todd Oldham, maybe Tommy Hilfiger from time to time… but that was it,” she said in an interview at Toronto Fashion Week where she walked in the Bustle show. “Nowadays, everywhere you turn, there’s more than one black girl… there’s more than one Asian girl,” she added. “I’m even seeing East Indian girls which is so super cool because before, I would never see an Indian girl on the runway.”

CBSA probing immigration scam (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Some Portuguese construction workers building top Toronto projects like venues for the Pam Am Games say theyre forced to dish out up to $4,000 each to unscrupulous bosses for letters to have their visas renewed. Officers from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) are probing the allegations, that some Toronto lawyers said is widespread and only surfaced after complaints by some construction trades workers.

Golden opportunity for immigrant lawyers in Ontario (Jeff Gray, Globe and Mail)
The participation of Stikeman Elliott and other big law firms in the program is not just altruistic. In a globalized business world, a stable of lawyers who speak foreign languages, and are familiar with other cultures, can be a key competitive asset on Bay Street. Born in South Korea, Mr. Yi worked as an in-house lawyer for IBM and an affiliate of Chevron in his home country, while earning a masters of law from Northwestern University in Chicago in 2004. But he decided he wanted the adventure of living full-time in North America, and emigrated with his wife and two children to Toronto in 2010.

Celebrating diversity and culture (Kirsten Goruk, Herald-Tribune)
Tonight marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and to help spread a spark of inclusivity across Grande Prairie, residents are invited to celebrate together. We wanted to share the word because anytime were increasing information about diversity and inclusivity in our community, it helps to promote a great way of life, said Lisa Watson, community support supervisor for the city.

Kim Okran’s story an inspiration to other immigrants (Mario Bartel – Burnaby NewsLeader)
By all appearances, Kim Okran is a successful businesswoman entering her middle years with confidence and style. From her office in Burnaby’s “Little Korea” area on North Road, she runs 20 English-language schools in Korea, Japan, Mexico, Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto. She does marketing for wine companies. Okran’s come a long way from the anxious young woman who boarded a plane in Seoul, South Korea when she was 29 and out of work. With $5,000 to her name, she hoped an education in Canada would lead to a better life.

The persistence of racial inequality in Canada (Grace Edward Galabuzi, Amy Casipullai and Avvy Go, Toronto Star)
Today in Canada we have legal protection for victims of discrimination and a constitutional guarantee of equality rights for all. Thus some would say that the March 21 commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is redundant since every day is a racism-free day in Canada. Indeed, according to an Angus Reid poll, while a third of Canadians (32 per cent) believe that racism is a significant problem in Canada, 55 per cent are satisfied that we have overcome it. But consider these facts from a recent Toronto Star series on Race and Policing. Black males living in Toronto are three times more likely to be carded by police, no matter where they live; police stop residents more frequently in neighbourhoods that are largely populated by people of colour. Not only are racialized people considered a greater crime threat, they also face greater surveillance.–the-persistence-of-racial-inequality-in-canada

The case of Iranian immigrants in the greater Toronto area: a qualitative study (Critical Pedagogy)
Iranians comprise an immigrant group that has a very different cultural background from that of the mainstream Canadian population and speaks a language other than English or French; in this case mainly Farsi (Persian). Although Iranian immigrants in Toronto receive a high proportion of care from Farsi-speaking family physicians and health care providers than physicians who cannot speak Farsi, they are still not satisfied with the provided services. The purpose of this study was to identify the obstacles and issues Iranian immigrants faced in accessing health care services as seen through the eyes of Iranian health care professionals/providers and social workers working in Greater Toronto Area, Canada.

Local multimedia specialist says Calgary media doesn’t represent the city’s ethnic diversity (James Wilt, Calgary Journal)
After moving from Armenia to Calgary in 2005, the former broadcaster began to notice that local media often does a poor job of representing all the various ethnicities in the city.

An exploration of Muslim-Canadian identity (Don Campbell, University of Toronto Scarborough)
When it comes to the place of Islam in Canadian society many cultural stereotypes abound. Combating those stereotypes while exploring the Islamic identity was the aim of a recent week-long celebration held at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC). Hosted by the UTSC Muslim Students Association (MSA), Islam Awareness Week (IAW) focused on the theme of integrating Islamic heritage along with other identities in a multicultural society like Canada.

Muslim youth group returns to spread awareness (Sylvie Berry, Paris Star Online)
Paris will welcome back the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada (AMYA) this weekend for another afternoon of informative lessons on the Islam religion. The County of Brant Public Library Paris branch will host the group of Muslim youth on Saturday, March 24, 2012 from noon to 4 p.m. The non-profit charitable religious organization established in over 200 countries, with 65 chapters within Canada, will present Sharia, the misunderstood Islamic Law on Saturday.

March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (National Union of Public and General Employees)
Today, we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. On that day in 1960, South African police opened fire and killed 69 people, mostly women, at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in Sharpeville South Africa. Canadian society has marked the day since it was declared by the United Nations in 1966, as a moment of reflection and commitment to racial justice in our own society.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March 2012 (UNESCO)
On 21 March 1960, police gunned down 69 men and women and children in the South African township of Sharpeville as they demonstrated peacefully against the countrys Apartheid laws. The world has changed since then, but millions still struggle every day against the injustice of racism and discrimination. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a moment to honour the memory of those whose lives were stolen in Sharpeville. It is an opportunity for all to join the fight against racism.

Persian New Year (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Sima Sahar Zerehi. She is an Iranian-Canadian and journalist with the weekly newspaper Shahrvand.

Statement Minister Kenney issues statement congratulating OMNI Television on Canada’s first-ever Mandarin-language NBA Broadcast (CIC)
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement congratulating OMNI Television on Canadas first-ever broadcast of an NBA game in the Mandarin language.

Muslim community calls PQ alarmist over halal meat (CCLA)
«Quebecs Muslim community is perplexed after the Parti Québécois called into question the slaughtering of animals for halal meat. The PQ claims the traditional religious ritual used to kill the animals flies in the face of Quebec values because it is inhumane, and could even violate public-health standards.»

Harry Jerome Awards mark 30 years of excellence in African-Canadian community (Leslie Ferenc, Toronto Star)
The call came to the laboratory, as Eugenia Duodu was tweaking an experiment. I was having a bad day; my reactions were not going well, she said of the moment she answered the phone and frustration turned to joy. When I got the call that I had won the Harry Jerome Award (for academics) I was so happy, I jumped up and down and so did my colleagues. Duodu, 23, one of the top organic chemistry students at the University of Toronto Mississauga, is among the 19 winners of the 2012 Harry Jerome Awards. Their achievements will be celebrated at a gala April 28 presented by the Black Business and Professional Association and RBC Royal Bank.–harry-jerome-awards-mark-30-years-of-excellence-in-african-canadian-community

Neo-Nazi group’s racist hate crimes condoned by public apathy and silence: police (David P. Ball, Vancouver Observer)
It’s still unclear whether a Filipino man from New Westminster sleeping on a white couch at Commercial and 5th just before midnight on Oct. 10, 2009 woke up when three neo-Nazis poured flammable liquid on him, or after they lit him on fire. The 26-year-old man escaped with burn injuries, tearing his flaming shirt off as he ran. We do know, however, that a black man had the courage to help, only to get beaten himself and taunted for his skin colour, according to witnesses, in a white supremacist case that has police and activists worried and searching for answers as we approach the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Wednesday.

More than half of Canadians mistrust Muslims, poll says (Randy Boswell, Postmedia News)
More than half of all Canadians believe Muslims can’t be trusted and nearly as many believe discrimination against Muslims is “mainly their fault,” according to the results of a new national survey released ahead of Wednesday’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The online poll of 1,522 Canadians, commissioned by the Montreal-based Association for Canadian Studies and Toronto-based Canadian Race Relations Foundation, also highlights how Canadians see the Internet as by far the leading conduit for racism in the country, and that more than one-third of respondents say they’ve “witnessed a racist incident” in the past year.


Refugee Rights Day – Take Action (OCASI)
This year we also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Canadian people receiving the Nansen Refugee Award. The Nansen Refugee Award was created in 1954 and is given annually to an individual or organization in recognition of extraordinary and dedicated services to refugees and is the most prestigious honour conferred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In 1986, the Nansen went to the people of Canada – the only country to have received the award as a nation.

Bill C-31 and How it Harms Children (Human Rights Watch)
A bill that would require mandatory detention for some migrants would violate Canadas binding international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to Members of Parliament, Human Rights Watch said that Bill C-31, Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act,” would violate human rights law by allowing for a year of detention without review for certain groups of people, including 16- and 17-year-old children. Instead of identifying and punishing human smugglers, this bill would punish their victims, said Bill Frelick, Refugee Program director at Human Rights Watch. Canada should go after people who profit from human smuggling, not people fleeing persecution.

Canada:C-31 Law Incompatible with International Refugee and Human Rights Law (William Gomes,
Certain provisions of proposed Bill C-31, Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act, appear harmful to refugees and asylum seekers and incompatible with international refugee and human rights law. The detention provisions of Bill C-31 are ostensibly proposed to deter human smugglers, but in reality they will target refugees fleeing persecution who will in turn, suffer consequences. Our goal with Eye on the World is to illustrate and highlight politically oriented problems and tragedies that traditional media channels don’t have time or interest in covering.

Human Rights Watch Attacks Mandatory One-Year Detention Of Illegal Immigrants In Tory Anti-Smuggling Bill (Althia Raj, Huffington Post)
The mandatory one-year detention of illegal immigrants proposed under the Tories’ new anti-smuggling bill violates basic human rights and breaches Canadas international legal obligations, says Human Rights Watch. The international rights advocacy group headquartered in New York is urging Canadian MPs to vote against the bill, which it claims punishes victims as young as 16 who lean on human smugglers to escape persecution, rather than the criminals themselves.

Canada: Vote No on Migrant Detention Bill (Human Rights Watch)
A bill that would require mandatory detention for some migrants would violate Canadas binding international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter to Members of Parliament, Human Rights Watch said that Bill C-31, Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act, would violate human rights law by allowing for a year of detention without review for certain groups of people, including 16- and 17-year-old children.

Muslim lesbians fight deportation in Canada in fear of honor killing (Melanie Nathan, LGBTQ Nation)
An Arab-Israeli lesbian couple, who fled to Canada from Israel in fear of death at the hands of their Muslim family have been told they can remain in Canada for another chance at receiving asylum. Iman Musa and Majida Mugrabi, living in Toronto, filed unsuccessful refugee claims that were appealed to the Federal Court of Canada; and now the couple has been granted another hearing by an Immigration and Refugee Board based on new information that shows one of Mugrabis cousins confessed to the honor killing of his sister 12-years ago, reported the Toronto Sun.

Twice as many Hungarian asylum seekers in Canada in 2011 (Joëlle Stolz, The Guardian)
The writer Akos Kertesz, 80, has just left his home in Hungary to seek asylum in Canada. In 2011, Ottawa registered almost twice as many applications from Hungarian nationals compared with the previous year, with 4,450 cases, up from 2,350 in 2010, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada figures. The CIC does not record ethnic data on applicants, but this trend is thought mainly to concern Roma. Immigration minister Jason Kenney wants to tighten up existing legislation. He has also highlighted the paradox that Canada should be seeing more refugees from democratic Europe than from Asia or Africa. As a member of the European Union Hungary counts as a safe country and its nationals do not need a visa to visit Canada. Ottawa is, however about to change this policyvictimised by far-right groups a Roma militant, who has also taken refuge in Canada.

‘Jail Cell’ Protest against Bill C-31 (Canadian Civil Liberties Association)
Take your photo in (or in front of) the jail cell then share your picture to help spread the word that C-31 must be stopped.

Bogus refugee detention space boosted (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
More than 100 new rooms are being added to a federal immigration detention centre in Toronto as border officials move to crack down on queue jumpers and bogus refugees in July. More Canada border services officers have been hired and extra hearing rooms to adjudicate refugee claims are being built since officials under a new Balanced Refugee Reform Act will have 45 days to determine if a claimant is a legitimate refugee, or should be sent packing.

A modern look at the plight of black refugees (Lois Legge, Chronicle Herald)
George Elliott Clarke is trying to right a 200-year-old wrong one speaking engagement at a time. The award-winning poet and author has teamed up with acclaimed spoken word artist El Jones to talk about black refugees from the War of 1812. But the tour, starting again in March, isnt just a history lesson. Clarke says inaccurate portrayals of black refugees, who fled the conflict between the Americans and the British, carry into today. And those accounts set the foundation for stereotypes that persist.

Gratitude for refugees(Chris Corrigan)
It is important that refugees who arrive in Canada are welcomed and that we do everything we can, through our governments and in our communities to embrace what people bring. As a friend of mine an immigrant himself has written on the issue of the transformative capacity of the stranger: What if the alien holds the key to unlocking our own alienation? That is a worthy question for a world in which we are increasingly intermingled with one another.


One Year Later, The Dignity Project Continues to Make a Difference (Canada Newswire)
Today, The Salvation Army is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the launch of The Dignity Project, which is designed to educate and inform the public about the challenges facing society’s most vulnerable people. Last March, The Salvation Army launched this initiative with the release of a report, The Dignity Project: Debunking Myths about Poverty in Canada, which explored common misconceptions regarding poverty. The report was supplemented with a series of events across Canada that were designed to inspire and educate the public about what it means to live in poverty.

Bold changes needed to reform social assistance, city committee told (Danielle Wong, Hamilton Spectator)
The voices were many and varied, but the message was clear: social assistance reform is needed in Hamilton. Eight local groups presented their responses to the second discussion paper released by the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario at a city committee meeting Monday.–bold-changes-needed-to-reform-social-assistance-city-committee-told

Review of Social Assistance in Ontario: Overview (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
In February 2012, the Commission released a Discussion Paper that identified options going forward. The Wellesley Institute prepared a rapid analysis of the Discussion Paper and worked again with our partners to create a formal response to the Commission. The Commission will deliver its formal report to the government in June 2012. In the meantime, we will continue to blog on social assistance reform, so check back regularly.


Ontario Budget Watch: A Post-Drummond, Pre-Budget Analysis (CCPA)
In his new report, Ontario’s Fiscal Reality: Glass Half Empty or Half Full?, economist Hugh Mackenzie takes a critical look at the assumptions that drive the Drummond report’s claim that Ontario is in a fiscal crisis that can only be resolved through unprecedented austerity. He finds that the predicted fiscal crisis is driven not by lower-than-normal economic growth, as Drummond and the government assert, but by a series of unusual assumptions carefully selected to inflate the deficit, and that using more normal and reasonable assumptions, the deficit turns out to be a problem that can be resolved without austerity budget cuts. In his report, Mackenzie writes: “The province is recovering, more slowly than anyone would wish, from the worst recession to hit the world economy since the 1930s. It is coming to terms along with much of the rest of the developed world with the likelihood that in the future the economy will grow more slowly than it did in the past. It is finally having to deal with the cumulative impact on Ontario’s fiscal capacity of nearly two decades of unaffordable tax cuts. But Ontario is not in a fiscal crisis.”


Saskatoon Health Region Helps IEHPs Bridge Licensing Gap (
In regulated professions, the lack of a Canadian license can prevent skilled immigrants from being hired into the jobs for which they are trained. Saskatoon Health Region, one of the 2012 Best Employers for New Canadians, helps internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) overcome this barrier by hiring them into non-regulated jobs, such as home care aids. They then work with them one-on-one to help IEHPs obtain Canadian licensure so they can work in their trained professions, such as nursing.

PwC recognized as one of the Best Employers for New Canadians in 2012 (PwC)
PwC was selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for the first time as one of the Best Employers for New Canadians for 2012. This follows PwCs most recent recognition as one of Canadas Top 100 Employers for 2012, which represents the eighth consecutive year PwC has been selected for this prestigious award.

GTA law firms lag on diversity: report (Kendyl Sebesta, Law Times)
Torontos legal sector will suffer if greater numbers of qualified women dont start making their way into senior leadership positions, according to a report by Ryerson Universitys Diversity Institute in Management & Technology. Released this month, the DiversityLeads 2012 report suggests the exclusion of qualified women from top leadership positions in the Greater Toronto Areas legal sector could translate into significant financial and client losses as well as dwindling business performance that could hurt Bay Streets bottom line.

Minister Kenney applauds Alberta for toughening rules to protect foreign workers (Canada News Centre)
I applaud Albertas decision to bring in tougher rules to regulate employment agencies. This is an important and positive step towards protecting foreign workers from unscrupulous labour recruiters. Temporary foreign workers can fall victim to dishonest agencies, which might mislead them in any number of ways including exaggerated promises of employment opportunities or of their chances of becoming Canadian citizens.

Immigration not answer for filling jobs Finley (Brett Bundale, Chronicle Herald)
Nova Scotia should close the widening gap between the supply and demand of skilled workers by getting the jobless back to work, says federal Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. Rather than turn to immigrants to tackle a looming labour shortage, Finley said the province should look to its unemployment line. With 42,000 Nova Scotians looking for work, the provincial government is already calling for the federal government to allow foreign workers to come to Canada to perform work on the ships, she said during a visit to Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax on Tuesday.

International Careers Fair in Nova Scotia matches Canadian immigrants with local businesses (
Nova Scotia held an International Careers Fair in Halifax on 6 March 2012 that attracted many new immigrants looking for jobs in the province. Hundreds of job seekers attended the job fair to meet with nearly 80 local businesses to see what job opportunities were available. Nova Scotia held the event to connect skilled immigrants, international graduates, and temporary foreign workers with local businesses.

Webinar March 22: Building Success for Immigrants with Essential Skills (HRSDC)
Highlights of the webinar will include:
-an overview of Office of Literacy and Essential Skills work in supporting immigrants skills development efforts, and its tools and resources that can help address workplace skills challenges;
-a presentation by the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership on their strategy and action plan to improve the settlement and inclusion of immigrants;
-a summary and results from Winnipeg School Divisions Adult English as an Additional Language (EAL) project, designed to assist newcomers with low language and literacy skills to develop the essential skills required for entry level positions in the workplace; and
-an outline of workshops and activities offered by NorQuest Colleges Centre for Excellence in Intercultural Education for both immigrant employees and Canadian employers.


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.

IMFG releases three new research publications (IMFG)
The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto has released three new research papers by leading scholars on municipal finance, the latest in its ongoing series of publications intended to inform debate on important issues in large cities and city-regions.

My City Lives: Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre (Spacing Toronto)
The Regent Park Arts & Cultural Centre, slated to open this coming Fall, will be an important pillar for revitalizing the Regent Park Neighbourhood. The centre will be a hub to showcase local talent, provide a social platform for the community and for collaboration between creative people and organizations.

The Sheppard LRT Report (Part I) (Steve Munro)
On Wednesday, March 21, Toronto Council will consider a report recommending that the Sheppard rapid transit line be built as an LRT from Don Mills Station east, initially, to Morningside. This is the same scheme that was on the table in the Metrolinx 5-in-10 plan, and approval of this recommendation will more or less put Transit City back on track where it was before the election of Mayor Ford.


What Are You Skating Towards? The Complete Essay Collection now Available (Al Etmanski)
I am always attracted to unoccupied space. Realms where the dominant culture has not advanced its patriarchal or empire narrative.”writes Peter Block in the collection What Are You Skating Towards in 2012? His essay is one of 60 which begins to occupy this space. Combined they are, as Gord Tulloch suggests in his own contribution, the “collected living answers to the question, what matters? How do I best live?” Download What Am I Skating Towards?

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Vote for the Best Do Gooder Videos of the Year #nptech Facebook To Court Minority Biz Groups With New...