Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 28, 2012


Jane Pepino talks about the importance of DiverseCity onBoard (DiverseCity Toronto)
Womens College Hospital (WCH) started working with DiverseCity onBoard in 2007 as part of rebuilding a new board for Womens College after becoming independent in 2006. WCH was and is committed to ensuring that its work is deeply rooted in the needs of its community. According to Jane Pepino, WCH board chair, it was important to meet that commitment, in part, by having a board that reflects the communitys diversity: Unless we are aware of what every community needs, we wont be able to fulfill that mission. DiverseCity onBoard just gave us a ready-made list of wonderful talent.

Video: Drei Fragen an … Ratna Omidvar (StiftungMercator)
Three questions, with Ratna.

Reviewing immigration reforms (Mehdi Rizvi,
The “mix of federal-provincial strategies” on immigration “is a recipe for confusion,” according to Professor Keith Banting, Research Chair in Public Policy at Queen’s University. Differences among provincial immigration and integration strategies have set the stage for continuing federal-provincial conflict and created a system that is confusing and complex, he added. “With more than 50 streams in various provincial nominee programs and various pathways at federal level,” immigrants with equal qualifications will get treated differently, “depending on which door they knock on,” he said.

Kenney Says Immigration Overhaul to Come in Bits and Pieces (Matthew Little, Epoch Times)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney continued to pump expectations for a significant overhaul of immigration during his testimony at Parliaments immigration committee on Tuesday. In an interview afterwards, Kenney said the changes will be incremental rather than implemented in any one specific dramatic change.

Confusion over council motion leaves community centre in lurch (Daniel Dale, Toronto Star)
Anil Randas can afford to pay for swimming lessons for his 3-year-old daughter. He cant afford to pay for lessons for his 5-year-old son. If his local community centre, Antibes, were designated a priority centre, kids and seniors programs there would be free. But Antibes, located in a low-income pocket of North York with a high proportion of immigrants, has not received the designation. Why not?–confusion-over-council-motion-leaves-community-centre-in-lurch

CBC continues fight for PNP names (CBC)
The CBC continued its legal battle Tuesday to get the names of P.E.I. companies that received funding under the Provincial Nominee Program. CBC lawyer Alan Parish argued in P.E.I. Supreme Court that revealing the Island companies that received PNP units would not harm the businesses.

Province takes over denturists regulator (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Last year, the government ordered the audit after wide-ranging complaints from its members and the public. The allegations range from inappropriate business relations to complaints about materials leaked to assist someone in becoming a member, as well as inappropriate comments made by the regulator regarding race, religion and sex. Many of the complainants were foreign-trained denturists.–province-takes-over-denturists-regulator?bn=1

Media Awareness Network Releases New Program to Address Bias and Hate in Media (Marketwire)
Media Awareness Network (MNet) today launched a new suite of digital and media literacy resources to help educate young people about how media representations can negatively influence how we view certain groups in society. The Diversity and Media Toolbox, a web-based program for teachers, students, law enforcement representatives and the general public, looks at issues relating to stereotyping, bias and hate in mainstream media and the Internet. The program is broken into two distinct but complementary topic areas: online hate and media portrayals of ethnicity and race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and Aboriginal people.

Cancer care researcher helps improve system for new Canadians (Meghan Potkins, Calgary Herald)
At an otherwise jubilant citizenship ceremony held in downtown Calgary on Tuesday, one face among the crowd of new Canadians briefly registers a trace of sadness. Dr. Bejoy Thomas knows better than most the hardships that many immigrants and ethnic minorities face in Canada.

New Canadians face hurdles when arranging financing *Denise Deveau, For Postmedia News)
Militsa Fiuza, a mortgage agent with Invis in Toronto, says the problems the Mohans faced are typical with new immigrants. “The biggest challenge they face is establishing credit. They have no history here. Another is the large down-payment requirements.” She says that it’s getting easier, slowly but surely. “Banks used to demand up to a 35 per cent down payment. Because immigration is playing a huge role in the housing markets, the banks are starting to tailor mortgage programs to them. But there is still more required of new Canadians than someone who was born and lives here.”

Library strike: ESL students explore city after being forced out of classroom (Kristin Rushowy, Toronto Star)
When the library strike began, this class of 30 adult ESL students was left with nowhere to meet. So their teacher turned the city into their classroom, planning outings so they could keep learning English after the North York Central branch where they gather three mornings a week was shut down as workers walked off the job. Barbara Rosen decided to make the best of a bad situation.–library-strike-esl-students-explore-city-after-being-forced-out-of-classroom

Colour Me: Canadian film explores identity (Saada Branker, Sway)
At the start of an Edmonton Breakfast Television interview about the award-winning film, Colour Me, a jovial host throws a heavy first question to Toronto filmmaker, Sherien Barsoum. What does it mean to be Black in Canada? If pressured by time running out or the camera focused squarely on her, Barsoum gives no indication. There actually is no definition, she replies temperately. Thats what we discovered.

Return of the Dads: one Scarborough fathers simple solution to his communitys most taboo problem (Lauren McKeon, Toronto Life)
The most taboo question in Torontos Caribbean and African communities is why half of black fathers refuse to help raise their kids. One father, the son of an absent dad himself, has a simple solution

Entrepreneurial spirit took George Lengvari to the top of his field (Fred Langan, Globe and Mail)
George Lengvari arrived in Canada in 1951 as a penniless Hungarian immigrant and went on to become one of Canadas most successful life insurance brokers. It was a profession he came to relatively late in life, starting when he was almost 40 after spending the postwar years in refugee camps in Europe and in menial jobs first in Britain and then in Canada.

Playwright lifts the veil on racism against Muslims (Liz Monteiro, Record)
Rohina Malik was tired of the negative portrayals of Muslims in the media post 9/11. The daily discrimination faced by Muslims in modern American society prompted her to write a play reflecting that experience. Malik, a 35-year-old Chicago-based playwright and actress, brings her one-woman show, Unveiled, to Waterloo on Friday.–playwright-lifts-the-veil-on-racism-against-muslims?goback=%2Egde_4219082_member_103907573

Conservatives using No One Is Illegal to distract from anti-immigrant record (
Immigrant and refugee rights groups from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver were brought up in Parliament yesterday [1] and targetted in a press release by Minister of Deportation Jason Kenney [2]. The Tories have charged that No One Is Illegal is “not simply another noisy activist group but hard-line anti-Canadian extremists”. However as Sozan Savehilaghi from No One Is Illegal – Vancouver Coast Salish Territories notes, “It seems as if everyone who is a dissident and stands up for equality and social and environmental justice is an extremist in Harper’s corporate Canada”, referring to Tory government recently targeting Indigenous communities and environmentalists against Enbridge pipeline also as “extremist”.

Old planetarium is an ideal place for an homage to citys immigrants (Dolores Sandoval, Montreal Gazette)
Last week, the Tremblay administration announced plans to sell the old Dow Planetarium. Where are the Montreal millionaires with immigrant roots? This is your opportunity to step up to the plate and help turn the Dow into a cultural observatory for studying and celebrating our nations immigrant heritage. The proposed Musée-Observatoire de lImmigration would showcase the contributions of immigrants like yourself, your parents or your grandparents: their arrival, their relations with the Aboriginal peoples living here and their work in building Canada. Why do we need an immigrant study centre?

Local women who wear the hijab draw a mixed reaction (Fay Al-Hakim, Vancouver Sun)
About 20 per cent of B.C. women wearing the hijab a general term for various head and body coverings worn by some Muslim women have experienced some form of racism based on the way they look, said Mufti Aasim of the B.C. Muslim Association. This number has been dropping as people become more informed, he added.

Diasporic Genius program in Thorncliffe Park (Danielle Milley, InsideToronto)
David Buchbinder is excited to tap into the creativity and wisdom of the people of Thorncliffe Park. The CEO and artistic director of Diasporic Genius selected the dense and diverse community of Thorncliffe Park for the its community pilot project with a vision of creating a 21st century village square. “Thorncliffe Park is a special place, it is highly diverse, obviously, so that fits with our project,” Buchbinder said.–diasporic-genius-program-in-thorncliffe-park

Scholarship program seeks partners (InsideToronto)
People who want to invest in youth who are making a difference in their communities are invited to sponsor the Investing in Our Diversity Scholarship Program. The program, which is part of the Toronto Police 14 Division Community Police Liaison Committee and is a partnership between Scadding Court Community Centre and Toronto Community Housing, is looking for people and organizations to sponsor the scholarships, which are provided to students who come from marginalized areas and who are not only academically motivated, but also are involved in anti-racism and diversity initiatives and building healthy communities.–scholarship-program-seeks-partners


Arab Spring helps push asylum claims up in the West (Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters)
The Arab Spring helped push up the number of people seeking asylum in the West by 20 per cent last year, with record numbers fleeing conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ivory Coast, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday… Canada had 25,300 applications, a nine per cent increase.

Feds say fatal yacht accident may have been human smuggling attempt (Ken Meaney, Chantal Mack and Sheila Dabu Nonato, Postmedia News)
Survivors of a yacht that broke down and began taking on water in heavy seas off Nova Scotia are claiming refugee status and the incident which claimed one life and left three people missing is being treated as a possible attempt to smuggle people into Canada. “This tragedy highlights the need for speedy passage of the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act,” said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in a media statement.


Screening for Poverty: Identifying an Important Social Determinant of Health (Naheed Dosani,
So why bother with poverty reduction as a health intervention? According to Dr. Bloch, because the evidence shows that poverty is a major health condition and the biggest determinant of health, especially for those who live on low incomes. One only needs to scratch the surface of the growing body of research evidence to see the importance of poverty on health outcomes. Poverty has been shown to account for 24% of person years-of-life lost in Canada, second only to 30% for neoplasms, out of all potential causes of illness. Further, the evidence showing the impact of poverty on the risk of a variety of diseases is quite diverse.

2012 Ontario Budget (Ministry of Finance)
Full text.

Ontario Budget news coverage
Full coverage.,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.,cf.osb&fp=6ec4d91cbf226b3b&biw=1440&bih=815&ix=acb

Ontario Budget 2012: Duncan chooses path that hurts the poorest Ontarians (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
In the lead up to the Ontario budget, the Wellesley Institute asked whether Minister Duncan would choose a road of fiscal prudence, or whether he would adopt the austerity agenda of his opponents. Today he chose the austerity agenda. In his speech today, Minister Duncan said that we all have to play our part to return the budget to balance. But in this case, fairness doesnt mean treating everyone the same way. Doctor and hospital CEO salaries will be frozen, while social assistance rates have also been frozen. But the impact of a salary freeze is very different for a physician or CEO than a rate freeze for someone who is living on $599 a month. The Wellesley Institute has previously talked about the impact on the health of Ontarians of the governments decision to freeze social assistance rates and slow the increase in child benefits.

Education funding cut in 2012 budget (People for Education)
There will be substantial changes in education over the next three years, as a result of Ontario’s 2012 budget.

Completing the job started by Mike Harris (Hugh Mackenzie, Behind the Numbers)
The crowning irony of Premier Dalton McGuintys ninth budget is that it completes the job of cutting government down to size started by the Mike Harris Conservatives in the 1990s. You wont find the direct attacks on public services and the people who deliver them that featured so prominently in the Harris budgets, but the result is the same.


The classroom as global village (Mary Teresa Bitti, Financial Post)
According to Statistics Canada, only 24% of foreign-trained professionals working in regulated occupations find employment in their field-despite having higher education levels than their Canadian-born counterparts and foreign work experience to back up their degrees. In fact, a lack of Canadian experience and a lack of recognition of foreign credentials is a common barrier to fully participating in the Canadian economy for the majority of foreign-trained professionals choosing to make Canada home. If there is a fast track to acceptance or a certified Canadian stamp, it may come in the form of obtaining an MBA from a Canadian business school. There is a perceived risk on the part of employers when considering foreign-trained and educated candidates because business cultures and educational standards do differ, says Tamer Boyaci, associate dean of the masters program at McGill Universitys Desautels Faculty of Management. But when you go through the educational experience of an MBA program in Canada, you are exposed to a variety of international experiences as well as the local business culture. And that helps recruiters assess the training of the individual more favourably and in a bigger context.

New website touts collaborative approach for addressing skilled labour shortages in Canada (CME)
A new online tool connecting skilled workers, employers, industry groups, educational institutions and government is tackling fears of a looming labour crisis that is expected to produce up to 500,000 vacant jobs across the country over the next decade. Launched on March 1, is the only national website of its kind, pairing candidate skill sets, education and practical experience with the specific needs of Canadian manufacturers and exporters.


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

The Sheppard LRT Report (Part IV) (Steve Munro)
Now we come to what I must call The Chong Dissent, the reports prepared under the company Toronto Transit Infrastructure Limited (TTIL), a dormant TTC corporation resurrected for the purpose because it had $160k sitting in its bank account. All this and more was spent to argue the case for a Sheppard Subway. Council has already opted for an LRT line on Sheppard, but arguments originating from the TTIL reports continue to haunt the debate. Its time to expose their threadbare, self-serving nature.

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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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