Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 27, 2012


New Canadian citizens take their oath (Heather Campbell,
A citizenship ceremony with a twist at the Marguerite Lougheed Centre welcomed 48 new Canadians on March 21. “Once a year, special citizen ceremonies that involve roundtable discussions before the ceremony are hosted by the community,” Claire Reid, national program manager for Building Citizenship at the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC), explained.

Canada’s Immigration Department – Overstepping its Authority (Max Chaudhary)
In other words, the current regulations purport to oblige applicants to disclose the names of any lawyer they consult in the course of preparing their application to the immigration department. I have often been consulted on spousal applications (which are characterized by very complicated forms) where the couple, armed with my advice subsequently file the application themselves. I have also been consulted for ‘second opinions’ by persons who had seen one Canadian immigration lawyer but were not fully comfortable with the advice provided by the first Canadian immigration lawyer. The above section can slap a person who did not declare their seeking advice with a finding of a “material misrepresentation”, or a rejection of the entire application on the basis of being incomplete. The misrepresentation results in a two year ban from Canada, and a significantly more difficult time re-entering Canada after the two years has expired.

Stand up for the immigration lawyers! (Jennifer Nees, Canadian Lawyer Magazine)
Immigration lawyers and their governing bodies have widely held that bill C-31 will violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as other international conventions. This type of legislation will likely result in countless hours of needless litigation and Charter challenges. But I am not the best person to debate this. I practise business immigration, not refugee law, and I am not going to hold myself out as an expert on the refugee experience. But this quote (and the exchange with Winnipeg MP Kevin Lamoureux) was so that the minister could denigrate the entire immigration bar so completely. Why the derisive attitude towards the immigration bar?

Immigration to Canada (Genealogy Canada)
The following are FREE databases online from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) which can be used to check the immigration of your ancestor to Canada.

Canada’s anti-Asian immigration policy revisited in SFU Library’s new Komagata Maru website (Tracy Bains, Vancouver Observer)
SFU recently hosted a symposium to discuss the Komagata Maru (1914) and celebrate the launch of a new website dedicated to documenting this infamous incident from Canada’s history.

Silly advice book should help moderate Muslims (Peter Worthington, Toronto Sun)
It’s hard to take seriously a book that’s causing some anguish (and even more embarrassment) among those who could be called “moderate” Muslims. The 160-page book, A Gift for Muslim Couple(itls), seems more Monty Python than aspects of the Qur’an or sayings of Muhammad. In fact, it is based on dictums of Sharia law which is no laughing matter.

White pride demonstrations in Edmonton, London, Ont., fizzle in face of anti-racism protests (Steve Mertl, Yahoo! News)
White supremacists have been active in Canada for a century, with the Ku Klux Klan flourishing in Saskatchewan in the 1920s and operating elsewhere in the country to lesser success, but they’ve never had more than a toehold. The latest eruption of white pride met with similarly little sympathy when anti-racist protesters cowed a handful of neo-Nazis who tried to hold parades in Edmonton and London, Ont., last weekend.

Stampede organizers reaching out to ethnic communities (Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald)
Over the past year the Calgary Stampede has stepped up its community outreach initiative to build closer ties to groups with little previous connection to the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Michael Casey, president and chairman of the Calgary Stampede, said continuing immigration as part of the city’s dramatic growth over the past decade means the Stampede has to recognize there are many people here who know little about the western values behind the event.


Protect Refugees from Bill C-31: Joint statement (CCR)
The Justice for Refugees and Immigrants Coalition (comprised of Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, and the Canadian Council for Refugees) 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.

Advocates say new refugees bill violates charter (Dan Neutel, For Postmedia News)
A new bill currently under debate is dangerous and will strip refugee claimants of their most basic rights under Canadian and international law, says a group of human-rights advocates and refugee lawyers. The Justice for Refugees and Immigrants Coalition, comprised of members from Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Council for Refugees, held a news conference on Parliament Hill Monday to denounced Bill C-31.

Closing Doors (Mark McAllister, Brennan Leffler, Mia Sheldon, Global News)
Less than a year after the arrival of the Ocean Lady, the MV Sun Sea arrived in Canada with 492 more Tamil asylum seekers. But instead of being welcomed with open arms, their arrival has sparked a political backlash. The government is poised to pass Bill c-31, which will mean major changes for refugees who arrive in groups. Under that legislation, asylum seekers can be put in detention for a year with no review. Members of those groups would now lose the right to appeal if their refugee claim is rejected. And, even if their claim is accepted, they would have to wait five years to apply for permanent residency, and bring their families to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Canada’s lenient refugee laws have become an easy target for international criminals, and the changes are necessary.

Mr. Harper: I just don’t understand your human smuggling (Gisèle Gauthier, Oye! Times)
The Harper Government is blocking people’s ability to flee persecution by giving money to foreign governments to keep refugees away from our shores. Canadian refugee laws are being changed to punish those who do reach us. With the new laws, a federal immigration minister can now single-handedly designate countries as being “safe”, and the arrival of refugees as being “irregular”, having shut down the human rights committee that was mandated to give advice about ground conditions in countries of origin. This shift towards political expediency brings with it disastrous consequences for genuinely desperate asylum seekers. Those already here are now threatened with the prospect of being sent back to their “safe” countries. Regular Immigration laws and programs have also been radically altered, hindering the likelihood of a secure, normal family life for immigrants who now call Canada home.

April 4 – Lunch and Learn: The Latest Immigration and Refugee Bill C-31 (Settlement AtWork)
The Ryerson Centre for Immigration and Settlement invites you to a Lunch and Learn on the latest Immigration and Refugee Bill C-31.

Help bring refugee to Sault College (The Sault Star)
Sault College is partnering with the World University Services Canada to bring a refugee to Sault Ste. Marie and Sault College this fall through the Support a Refuge program. Students have been fundraising and educating students on-campus about the venture. In order to qualify for the sponsorship opportunity, a minimum of $2,500 must be raised.


Social assistance freeze worries planning council ED (Heidi Ulrichsen – Sudbury Northern Life)
The executive director of the Social Planning Council of Sudbury said she’s “deeply disappointed” to learn the provincial budget will freeze social assistance and delay plans to increase the Ontario Child Benefit. Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program will be frozen for a year, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced March 25.

An OAS cut will increase senior poverty levels (Michael Wolfson, Troy Media)
The federal government has recently been floating one sentence options for cutting the Old Age Security (OAS) program – causing a media flurry, and heated public debate. The only details provided to date indicate that changes would focus on those aged 65 and 66, and that it would not be implemented until sometime after 2020. But what would have happened if the proposed government changes to OAS had been fully implemented in 2011? That is, what if OAS would not have been paid at all to 65 and 66 year olds last year, assuming the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) (the income tested benefit that is part of OAS legislation) remained unchanged?

Canada’s growing inequality gap (David Crane, The Hill Times)
The richest one per cent of Canadians enjoying 32 per cent of all income gains from economic growth in this period and the richest one per cent increasing their share of total income to almost 14 per cent.

Freezing welfare: The wrong decision at the wrong time (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Yesterday Premier McGuinty announced that social assistance rates will be frozen for a year and that the scheduled $200 increase in the Ontario Child Benefit will be reduced to $100, with the remaining $100 being delayed until July 2014. These choices, which the Premier claims are not aimed to reducing the provincial deficit “on the backs of families who may find themselves in difficult circumstances for the time being or on the backs of our children,” will have negative and inequitable health outcomes for the most vulnerable in our society, and particularly for women and children. Already in Ontario.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
1. Austerity mania threatens Ontario’s poor and disabled (Toronto Star) – March 22
2. Tax Fairness Newsletter + Fair Tax Summit Reminder – March 2012 (Canadians for Tax Fairness)
3. The changing face of poverty in Canada (Globe and Mail) – March 21
4. Saskatchewan Budget 2012 – March 21
5. Recent work by John Stapleton
— It’s Not That Much Money – March 20
— A Canadian Affluence Line – March 16
6. Québec Budget 2012 – March 20
7. [Québec] Update on poverty reduction – two new reports from the Centre d’étude sur la pauvreté et l’exclusion – March 2012
8. [Ontario] 29 Submissions in Response to Social Assistance Review Discussion Paper #2 (Poverty Free Ontario) – March 20
9. [Manitoba] The Poverty Reduction Strategy Act – Effective June 2011
10. [New Brunswick] New from the Common Front for Social Justice:
— Open Letter to the Premier : From Words to Action- March 22
— To New Brunswick financial planners: daylight saving time is here! – March 2012
11. Combating Hunger : A Snapshot of Hunger in Ontario in 2011 (Ontario Association of Food Banks) – December 2011
12. Yukon Budget 2012 – March 15
13. 11th North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress (Toronto) May 3-5, 2012 – Online registration and conference schedule


Partnership Investors Earn Praise for Hiring Practices (Tom McDonnell, Smartcity blog)
Earlier in March, the ALLIES project (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies) announced their list of the 2012 Best Employers for New Canadians. Published each year, this list is a collection of businesses across Canada who are innovative leaders in their hiring practices, applying new ways of thinking to challenges that surround attracting and retaining the best talent. I’m proud to say that six of this year’s winning companies are investors in Greater Halifax Partnership.

College Partners with Employers to Help Newcomers Overcome Employment Barriers (
Lack of Canadian work experience is one of the biggest barriers many skilled immigrants face when looking for jobs in their new country. The Corporate Readiness Training Program (CRTP) at Bow Valley College in Calgary helps newcomers overcome that barriers by combining a 10-week classroom component that prepares newcomers for the Canadian workplace with a six-week work experience with employer partners.

Tapping Into Talent: A Case Study – PDF (Hire Immigrants Ottawa)
This case study describes the history and evolution of an ongoing community-based response to the issue of underemployed skilled immigrants in the Ottawa region. The focus is on the development and implementation of the Hire Immigrants Ottawa initiative.

Restaurateur exploited immigrants (James Turner, Winnipeg Sun)
A Winnipeg restaurateur busted for staffing his popular sushi spots on trendy Corydon Avenue with illegal foreign workers is facing a stiff fine after admitting he broke Canada’s immigration-protection laws. Jung Won Choi, owner of Kenko Sushi and now-closed sister eatery Kenko Niwa, pleaded guilty in provincial court Monday to breaching a provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.


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

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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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