Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 30, 2012


March Newsletter (Maytree)
In this issue:
• Always Be/Beware of Collaborating
• Osman Hamid – confident, committed, and eager to learn
• Social purchase for social purpose
• How to campaign for social change
• Building Blocks in Agincourt: Rezwanul Karim helps community members navigate the fog of government
• Celebrating leadership in Canadian employers
• Jane Pepino talks about the importance of DiverseCity onBoard
• Connecting with new talent through professional immigrant networks
• Connecting immigrant entrepreneurs to success
• Community innovation: more than ever before, the time is now
• Transformational thinking: undergraduate education in Ontario should focus on educating undergraduates
• News You Can Use

Third party to assess immigrants: Kenney (Tobi Cohen, National Post)
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, Mr. 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.

Feds move to eliminate immigration backlog (CTV)
Almost 300,000 people who applied before 2008 to come to Canada are having their applications returned. The move will cost the federal government up to $130 million in refunded fees but will also eliminate the backlog of skilled worker applications.

Budget: $130M refund aimed at legislating away skilled worker backlog (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
The federal government will refund up to $130 million to skilled workers who applied to Ottawa to come to Canada before 2008 in a bid to get rid of a backlog of about 300,000 applications through legislation. The plan, outlined in part in Thursday’s budget, ultimately will allow the government to ensure skilled newcomers actually meet current labour market needs.

Special Edition: Canadian Government Slashes Immigration Backlog (Canada Immigration Newsletter)
The promise of new, streamlined immigration systems is no comfort for the thousands of individuals and their families who have now seen their hopes for Canadian immigration come to an end. “This is such awful news for the people who have been waiting patiently in line,” says Attorney David Cohen, “Of course, they are free to submit a new application, but that will be of little solace at this time. I truly feel badly for them”.

Feds move to eliminate immigration backlog by returning applications (Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press)
“Canada risks losing the global talent competition for the world’s best and brightest as potential immigrants choose to take their skills to other counties with more responsive immigration systems rather than remain in the queue to have their applications process in Canada,” Thursday’s budget said. Changes made to the federal skilled workers programs by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney since 2008 have seen a greater focus on bringing in workers with specific skills to fill labour shortages.

Budget 2012: Foreign aid, missions abroad, defence all see cuts (Carl Meyer, Sneh Duggal, Kristen Shane, Embassy)
The 500-page budget document, the largest Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said his government has created, sees the government emphasize trade and immigration as ways to bolster Canada’s economy in the long term. But it also notes smaller official residences, a smaller vehicle fleet, and extended posting durations for diplomats. The government is moving to put more under-employed Canadians to work, including immigrants. It’s further tying immigration to the economy to make the system “proactive, targeted, fast and efficient,” according to the budget document. That includes wiping out the backlog for certain applicants to the federal skilled worker program.

Child incest charges stayed after RCMP refused to pay for translation (Sunny Dhillon, Globe and Mail)
The father was promptly arrested and, in January, 2008, charged with 13 counts, including incest, sexual assault, assault and uttering threats. But the charges were stayed two years later after the RCMP refused to pay thousands of dollars to have recorded statements translated and transcribed, a decision the force now calls “regrettable.” The story of justice-system failure came to light Thursday, courtesy of a report by the provincial children’s representative. B.C.’s Justice Minister quickly vowed to implement all three of the report’s recommendations, characterizing the case as an inexcusable tragedy.

Watchdog slams ‘unacceptable’ end to child incest case (Bethany Lindsay, CTV)
The provincial children’s watchdog is calling on B.C. to rethink its priorities after translation delays led to charges being stayed for a refugee accused of sexually assaulting his teen daughter. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, B.C.’s independent representative for children and youth, released a heartrending review of the 2010 court case on Wednesday, lamenting the fact that the alleged victim and her immigrant family were “effectively denied access to justice.”

Child-sex charges stayed due to court delays (CBC)
Child sex abuse charges against a father were stayed by a B.C. court because of unreasonable delays getting the family’s statements to police translated, according to B.C.’s children’s advocate. B.C.’s Children and Youth Representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s said on Thursday that she launched a special investigation into the case after learning the charges had been stayed in 2010. The incident is one of a rising number of cases that have been stayed due to unreasonable court delays. In 2011 judges stayed 109 cases due to delays, almost double the number from 2010.

Burnaby woman launches new community market (Jennifer moreau, Burnaby Now)
There’s a new market in town, one that aims to help immigrant and refugee women develop their business acumen while some money. Burnaby resident Lubna Abdelrahman started the community market, which runs the last Saturday of each month in the gym at Edmonds Community School. “Most of my clients who book the tables are newcomers,” she said. “We try to empower them.”

Video: Diverse City (Leah Vandenberg, TV Cogeco Kingston)
Highlights from the 2012 Queen’s University Culture Show, presented by the African Caribbean Student’s Association.


Unusual for refugees to arrive in Canada by boat: immigration expert (Global News)
An expert on Canada’s immigration system says it is unusual for refugees to arrive by boat in Canada. Professor Sharry Aiken, a law professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, says it’s difficult for refugees to get to Canada by boat because of the distance that has to be travelled by sea. The RCMP and the Canadian Border Services Agency are investigating whether a yacht that ran into trouble this week off the coast of Nova Scotia was involved in human smuggling.

Tough law may bring more tragedies (Brian Medel, Chronicle Herald)
Tragedies like the one off Nova Scotia’s coast earlier this week may become recurring events if Canada proceeds with legislation making it tougher to make refugee claims, says a leading immigration lawyer. If the legislation is passed, people will take even “more dangerous methods to get here,” Lee Cohen, a Halifax lawyer who specializes in immigration cases, predicted Thursday. “I think it’s the wrong approach to a serious problem.”

Placing LGBTQ refugee lives at risk (Xtra!)
On Feb 16, Bill C-31: Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act was introduced into Parliament. Bill C-31 is an omnibus refugee reform bill that brings together a number of refugee bills and replaces the former compromise refugee Bill C-11. Although there are a number of issues with Bill C-31, we have chosen to identify three central features of the bill that are extremely troubling and problematic for refugees. In addition, we want to call attention to the impact of this bill, specifically on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) refugees.

‘Torture’ group carrying 500-client caseload (Stanley Tromp, Vancouver Courier)
I f you walk down the 2600 block of East Hastings Street, you can see, at the end of a path set back from the street, a community police station. On the second floor above it stands a plain white office, bearing the sign VAST. This stands for the Vancouver Association for the Survivors of Torture, a charity founded in 1986 to help refugees confront their traumas and adjust to a new land. Up the stairs and past the reception desk, a small potluck gathering of about 20 people is in progress to celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Guests from Uganda, Serbia-Croatia, Mexico, Iran, Cuba and other nations, some who call VAST their second home, are swapping recipes and stories.

UNHCR commends efforts to rescue and bring ashore passengers aboard SV Tabasco 2 (UNHCR press release)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) commends the efforts early this week to find, rescue and bring passengers on board the ill-fated SV Tabasco 2 ashore. “The rescue operation, in the Atlantic Ocean, ensures that the age-old maritime tradition of rescuing people in peril on the high seas is preserved,” said Mr. Furio De Angelis, UNHCR Representative in Canada. “We commend the Canadian government for its commitment to international obligations and for providing survivors with the necessary medical care.”

April 4: Welcome to Canada? A Lunch & Learn On the Latest Immigration & Refugee Bill C-31 (CCLA)
Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
Myer Siemiatycki, Centre for immigration and Settlement Studies, Ryerson U.
Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Metro Toronto and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic


Budget homepage, fulle text (Government of Canada)

Articles tagged federal budget (Behind the numbers)
Articles written by CCPA and supporters.

Small business reaction to the federal budget (Wallace Immen, Globe and Mail)
Research tax credits, extension of a hiring credit, and promises to reform immigration and temporary foreign worker programs were noteworthy sections in Thursday’s federal budget that were praised by small-business owners and advocates. “Over all I’d grade the budget a B for what it does to help small business,” said Catherine Swift, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

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.

Federal budget cuts another $131 million in housing spending on top of big cuts last year (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
The 2012 federal budget, released on Thursday, confirms the ongoing erosion of federal funding for affordable housing. Not only is there no new money on offer, but the budget sets out a total of $131 million in cuts to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the federal government’s national housing agency, over the next three years – followed by an annual cut of $102.2 million in subsequent years. The latest budgetary cuts come on top of housing cuts announced in the federal spending estimates for last year and this year.


What Others Are Saying: Provincial Budget Watch (Ontario Nonprofit Network)
The following resources have been culled through feedback with other nonprofits and community organizations to give a broader sense of how the provincial budget will affect the various subsectors.


Why so many immigrant professionals are driving cabs. And what Jason Kenney can do about it (Marni Soupcoff, National Post)
The federal bureaucrats who work in visa offices have nowhere near the scope of knowledge or experience to make these sorts of assessments, so contracting the job out will help. This is a far cry from a solution to Canada’s problem with smoothly integrating immigrants into the labour market, however. In some ways, it’s beside the point since it has no impact on the biggest challenge for new Canadians seeking work: the protectionist provincial, municipal and professional occupational licensing requirements that make entering a trade or profession an unnecessarily long, expensive and difficult (if not impossible) process.

Myths and truths about foreign credential evaluation (Silvia Di Blasio, Canadian Immigrant)
As a career/employment counsellor for immigrants to Canada, one of the first questions my clients ask is: “Will having my credentials evaluated help in my job search?” The answer is, it depends. I have found a misconception around the credential evaluation process; most immigrants have heard that having their credentials evaluated is key to entering the Canadian labour market or to further their studies in Canada in a post-secondary institution. This is not completely true, as it all depends on many factors, and different situations may require different types of credential evaluations.


Video: Subways vs LRT & Waiting For Summer (EP4) (TVI CrossRoads)
Transit in Toronto and Subways vs LRT with Mitzie Hunter, CEO of CivicAction and member of the Expert Advisory Panel Regarding Transit on Sheppard East; Piragal Thiru, 2011 DiverseCity Fellow; Ashwin Balamohan and Niro Mahan, two public policy and transit enthusiasts;


Mowat News March 2012 (Mowat Centre)
New Mowat Research
Mowat Centre EI Task Force
Energy Policy Research
Mowat Opinions

Not-for-profit corporations need to be aware of upcoming changes (Imagine Canada)
The following is the first of a two-part series on changes to the federal and provincial rules governing not-for-profit corporations. Five Queen’s University Law students, from the Pro Bono Project Faculty, travelled to Brockville on Monday, March 5 to present the upcoming federal changes to the incorporation of not-for-profit organizations and touched on the provincial legislation which is also coming soon.

Sector in Conversation (Ontario Trillium Foundation)
Sourcing bright ideas, fresh perspectives and personal opinions on transformational change from Ontario and around the world.

Charity meets accountability (Andrew Russell, Humber Et Cetera)
In the pursuit of demonstrating public accountability, one Canadian organization is stepping up to help strengthen the reputation of the charitable sector. Imagine Canada—an organization dedicated to strengthening charities and non-profits— is launching a new Standards Program aimed at increasing the effectiveness of charitable organizations.


Theatre review: The Voyage a powerful look at human trafficking (updated) (Erika Thorkelson, Vancouver Sun)
What does it feel like to be stuck in a shipping container with twelve strangers on a sea voyage with an uncertain end? The Voyage brings issues of human trafficking to startling life by immersing audiences in a theatrical experience unlike any other. Despite being only 20 minutes long, The Voyage is a powerful piece of work. It is the newest edition of Boca del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series, which uses intimate spaces and innovative multimedia techniques to create a personal connection between small audiences and larger political issues.

Judge hands down Canada’s toughest penalty for human trafficking (Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail)
Gyula Domotor sat hunched over in the prisoner’s box as a Superior Court judge sentenced the 34-year-old to seven and a half years in prison for human trafficking Thursday – the toughest penalty ever imposed in Canada for the crime. It was a long way down for a man who once enjoyed a comfortable suburban life, inhabiting a palatial home in an affluent subdivision, driving a Mercedes and paying cash for a Caribbean cruise.

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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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