Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 29, 2012


Europe’s job exodus, Canada’s immigration shift (Brian Stewart, CBC)
There is one part of Europe’s economic suffering at least that suits Ottawa and the provinces just fine. The high unemployment among the continent’s skilled trade workers has opened a motherlode of tens of thousands of prized immigrants of exactly the type Ottawa now wants to encourage young, well-educated and fluent in either English or French. In short, the type who will “fit in” fast without needing much help from costly immigration services, though it is never spelled out quite that bluntly.

Minister Kenney proposes to assess foreign education credentials before skilled workers arrive (Canada News Centre)
Canada is proposing a major change to how foreign skilled workers education credentials are assessed, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. The proposed new requirement would mean that applicants wanting to immigrate as Federal Skilled Workers would have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified by designated organizations before they arrive in Canada.;jsessionid=ac1b105430d82c67e9efcdb54cbcadc4aa6d24bc9a11.e34Rc3iMbx8Oai0Tbx0SaxmLa3f0?mthd=tp&

Immigration minister plans reforms to foreign credential recognition (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced plans to hire an outside company to assess the educational credentials of newcomers before they arrive in Canada in a bid to keep foreign physicians from having to drive cabs when they arrive. On the eve of an anticipated austerity budget, Kenney said the government will issue a request for proposals within the next two months in the hopes of selecting a third-party organization that can begin conducting these overseas assessments by the end of the year.

Immigrant workers’ credentials should be assessed before they arrive: minister (Global Winnipeg)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is proposing rule changes that would assess and verify the education credentials of some immigrants even before they arrive in Canada. The new requirement would mean that applicants seeking to come in under the federal skilled workers program would have a sense before they arrive whether they’ll be able to get work in their field. The question of how to assess foreign schooling and training has long been a contentious issue in immigration policy.

Ottawa groups aiding immigrants hit by second year of deep funding cuts (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Ottawa agencies serving immigrants are closing programs, laying off staff and reducing hours to cope with the second year of deep cuts in government funding for settlement programs and the prospect of further reductions in the coming months. Ive already given notice to 10 people and Im now trying to pull some back from the brink, said Carl Nicholson, executive director of Catholic Immigration Centre, one of the citys oldest and largest agencies. Everybody is walking around with a long face. A lot of clients are not happy, people from various communities have come in to talk to me. Other people are coming in and saying Why me? and Im saying, The whole point of this is budget cuts. Im not any happier than you.

Alberta takes off the Stetson (Gary Mason, Globe and Mail)
Ms. Redfords ascension caught many off-guard, especially those outside the province. Alberta was supposed to be the Texas of Canada, a rural hinterland populated by rednecks in Stetsons whose idea of fun was performing doughnuts in their pick-up trucks. Or so the myth went. An earlier clue that the persistent stereotype was out of date came in October of 2010 when Naheed Nenshi, a Harvard-educated business professor, harnessed the powers of social media to get elected mayor of Calgary the provinces conservative bastion. After Ms. Redford was chosen to lead the provincial Tories, Mr. Nenshi told the CBC: We have if you really like tokenism a female premier, an Indo-Canadian leader of the opposition, a woman leading the third party. The mayor of the second-largest city is Jewish and the mayor of the largest city is Muslim. You know what? Thats Alberta.

Do you know how you got here and when? It pays to know (Al MacRury, Hamilton Spectator)
Canadian residence is one of the requirements necessary to qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) benefits, HRSDCs Ottawa media relations office told us. In order to properly evaluate an individuals years of Canadian residence, foreign born OAS applicants are required to submit proof of their original date of entry into Canada as part of their application. There is (generally) no requirement under the CPP for an applicant to prove their original date entry to Canada, as eligibility and entitlement to benefits is not based on residence, but rather on contributions made to the CPP. HRSDC says Service Canada offices will accept immigration records, immigration documents and stamps in passports. But are they available? The answer is yes.–do-you-know-how-you-got-here-and-when-it-pays-to-know

Newcomers to Canada face borrowing hurdles (Denise Deveau, Postmedia News)
“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.” New Canadians are definitely an increasingly important market for mortgage providers. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration reports that over 280,000 new immigrants came to Canada in 2010 – the highest number in 50 years. Between now and 2031, the foreign-born population of Canada is projected to increase approximately four times faster than the rest of the population. Thomas Fischer, executive director for Habitat for Humanity in Brampton, notes that 80 per cent of families that approach them for financing are immigrants. on The Real Outsiders Report (Samara Canada)
The findings of The Real Outsiders Samaras recent report on the disengagement of eligible voters in the Canadian political process serve to dispel this myth. In the study, those who identified as political outsiders had often been involved and active in political issues such as accessing daycare or covering tuition costs but had become disengaged through their interactions with the political system. In other words, disengaged Canadians by and large do not lack the knowledge or passion to engage in the political system, but they do legitimately feel that this system has failed them.

Feds say wife beating book is ‘filth’ (Kris Sims, London Free Press)
It’s supposedly a guiding hand for newlywed Muslim couples, advising husbands to raise their hands to their wives if they step out of line. The book titled “A Gift to Muslim Couple” was sold in a Toronto store, containing advice for Muslim men with the itch to discipline their brides including: slapping, ear pulling, scolding, withholding cash and confining her to the home. “Canada’s tolerance does not extend to barbaric cultural practices, such as honour killings, violence against women, forced marriages and female genital mutilation,” Immigration and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney told a press conference in Ottawa. “Such practices are condemned and carry the full sanction of the law in Canada, that’s the message we send to anyone who is selling or buying such filth.”

Doors are open in Toronto to diversity (Peter Haggert, InsideToronto)
March saw the inaugural Canadian Supplier Diversity Conference, a new event courtesy of the Diversity Business Network. Relatively new, the network was started by social justice and diversity advocate Courtney Betty, who was delighted with the turnout for this first affair. The conference drew more than 400 people for a trade show and seminar series to Toronto’s Exhibition Place. That’s an eye-opening amount of participation for a first-time event and it speaks volumes about the need for business information.–editor-s-desk-doors-are-open-in-toronto-to-diversity

Federal Budget 2012: Jim Flaherty plays down impact of budget cuts (Les Whittington, Toronto Star)
Besides the restraint program, the first Conservative majority budget will also introduce major changes in the way Ottawa selects new immigrants, regulates environmental projects and funds research and development by businesses. Its being billed as an economic blueprint that looks beyond todays issues and financial stats. It not only sets out Ottawas fiscal situation but also plots a new direction in several policy areas, according to Conservatives. Look at this as a hybrid budget, almost a throne speech. It will be broader than budgets past, a senior government official said.–federal-budget-2012-jim-flaherty-plays-down-impact-of-budget-cuts

Feds downplay appointment of Montreal immigration judge who can’t speak French (Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press)
The federal government is downplaying its appointment of an immigration judge in Montreal who can’t speak French, after its move provided fodder Wednesday for the increasingly vocal language debates taking place in Quebec. The government defended itself after a report surfaced that one of its recent Immigration and Refugee Board nominees had a decision overturned by Federal Court because he had accepted a document filed in French that, the court ruled, he couldn’t necessarily understand. The story originally appeared in Montreal La Presse newspaper and drew criticism of an appointment by the Conservatives in 2010.

Human rights tribunal to probe Peel school boards racial makeup (San Grewal, Toronto Star)
The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has made a groundbreaking decision to examine the racial makeup of the Peel District School Board. Lawyers for vice-principal Ranjit Khatkur have argued in preliminary hearings that her race and cultural background played a role in the boards decision to overlook her for promotion to principal on a number of occasions. It was noted that in 2007-08, only five of 235 principals 2 per cent in the board were South Asian, while close to 30 per cent of Peel Region was South Asian.–human-rights-tribunal-to-probe-peel-school-board-s-racial-makeup


Refugee claims from Hungary soar, UN reports (Laura Stone and Josh Tapper, Toronto Star)
Last year, 4,409 Hungarians sought asylum in Canada making it the top country of origin for claimants to Canada, according to a new report from the UN Refugee Agency. Government officials and immigration experts agree most of the claimants from Hungary are Roma. But with their cases so often rejected, it has been hard to prove if they are legitimate refugees. Roma are being persecuted in Europe. Thats why they come to Canada, said Max Berger, an immigration lawyer who represents many Roma clients.–refugee-claims-from-hungary-soar-un-reports

Human smuggling and trafficking in Canada (Ian Johnson, CBC News)
Although it’s not yet clear whether Tuesday’s fatal capsizing of a yacht off the coast of Nova Scotia was a failed attempt to smuggle illegal immigrants into Canada, there is no doubt that human smuggling is a booming business and Canada a favoured destination for migrants and refugees of all kinds. While most arrive in Canada legally, there are others who try to take shortcuts around the country’s immigration system using human smugglers.



Strong Action: The Ontario Budget (CBC Metro Morning)

Ontario Student Budget Consultation, Results – PDF(CIVIX)

OCASI – 2012 Budget punishes low income Ontarians


Ontario Campaign 2000:


Wellesley Institute:

Wellesley on implications for housing:

People for Education:

Canadian Federation of Students Ontario:

Health Providers Against Poverty:–toronto-doctor-worries-budget-cuts-will-affect-poor-patients-the-most


Registered Nurses Association of Ontario:


Society of Energy Professionals:

Ontario Council of Hospital Unions:



Ontario Federation of Labour:

Elementary Teachers Federation:

Erin Weir / Steelworkers:

Conference Board of Canada:

Workers Action Centre:

YWCA Toronto:

Cooperative Housing Federation of Ontario:

Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association:

Put Food in the Budget:

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA):

John Stapleton on the Vibrant Canada website:

To get a semi-regular roundup of media and policy items related to poverty and social / economic justice, and the local, provincial, and federal politics surrounding these issues, you can subscribe to the new ISAC list:


Tory Deficits and the Austerity Budget Ruse (Mike McNair, The Mark)
Canadians have been misled to believe that the global economic downturn, not persistent cuts to the revenue base, is to blame for the need for austerity.

8 things to watch for in today’s federal budget (Laura Payton, CBC News)
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made a habit of avoiding pre-budget leaks, he and his cabinet have made a point of telegraphing what to expect. Their mantra and what they believe is a key part of their success is that they tell voters what they’ll do and then they do it. With an estimated deficit of $33.3 billion and a promise from the government to balance the budget by 2014, here are eight elements to watch for in today’s budget.

Mind the gap: A generation battle brews over budget (Globe and Mail)
Thursdays landmark budget will do much more than chart a course to eliminate the deficit through cuts in government spending. The budget aims to place government and the economy on a sound footing for years to come. But there is a price, as generation is pitted against generation, one kind of immigrant against another, the growing, prosperous parts of the country against regions in decline.


Webinar recording – Winning HR Practices: A Closer Look at the 2012 Best Employers for New Canadians (
Creative practices in recruiting and integrating skilled immigrants can build an organizations brand as an employer of choice, helping them win the war for top talent, and lead to a more innovative and productive workforce. This webinar highlights award-winning practices from the winners of the 2012 Best Employers for New Canadians competition and offers advice to other employers looking for ways to best tap into and integrate this talent pool.

Program sees 15,000 workers come to Ontario (Luke Edwards, Niagar this week)
The early warm weather has local farmers itching to get out on the land. And with the spring, seasonal workers will be arriving. Foreign Agricultural Resource Management Services (FARMS) is a seasonal agricultural worker program that sees roughly 15,000 seasonal workers come to Ontario farms for the growing season. It provides local farms with a supplement to local labour during the busy growing and harvesting months.–program-sees-15-000-workers-come-to-ontario

Human trafficking affects foreign workers (Suzy Thompson, Fast Forward Weekly)
In a report released on March 23, researchers from Mount Royal University and the Action Coalition on Human Trafficking (ACT) say that Calgary is a source, destination and transit point for human trafficking. Human Trafficking in Calgary: Informing a Localized Response says that women are primarily trafficked from eastern Europe, Asia and within Canada mainly for sexual exploitation, and men from India, Pakistan, Latin America and parts of Africa for labour exploitation. These findings align with an appraisal of human trafficking in Canada conducted in 2009 by the United Nations.

Help! No one wants to hire me as a foreign worker (Eileen Dooley, Globe and Mail)
Make sure your credentials are accepted in Canada. Many licensed and regulated professions as well as skilled trades have different standards, depending on the country they were acquired in. Ensure that your education as an electrical engineer in Macedonia is accepted in Canada. If it is not, you may need to adjust your work expectations in order to find a job in Canada, then work toward the applicable education requirement. Make sure your résumé talks specifically about your experience in electrical engineering. Highlight your skills and accomplishments, showing how they directly apply to the work you are looking for.


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

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


Video: Five Good Ideas with Deena Ladd – Opening Our Doors to Leaders: Community Engagement 101 (Maytree)
More and more non-profit organizations are recognizing the importance of engaging the communities they serve in a meaningful way. But what exactly is meaningful community engagement? What are some of the ways in which your organization can do this? What are some first steps for you to begin the process of changing the message of service users and clients to people feeling that they are community members and active participants? How can you embed this approach in all aspects of your organization, programming and staff? This session addressed these and other questions as Deena Ladd shared her experience and ideas on building community participation in your organizations.

Community Leadership in Justice Fellowships (Your Legal Rights)
Purpose of the Fellowships: Through these Fellowships, the LFO brings together leaders from public interest organizations with Ontario universities, law schools and community colleges, with a common focus on improving access to justice and promoting professional excellence.

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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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In case you're wondering whether we are in or every will be in a "post-racial society" (protip - NO)