Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 7, 2012


Ontario spoiling for fight with Ottawa (Sunil Rao, South Asian Focus)
Thirteen. That’s the number of members assigned to the Expert Roundtable on Immigration, as named by Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Charles Sousa last week. It’s lucky for some. Will it prove so for new immigrants? Ratna Omidvar, one of the experts on the panel, merely smiled noncommittally when posed the question by Focus.

Survey reveals citizenship is more than a mere passport (South Asian Focus)
Recent national public opinion research reveals Canadians believe citizenship is more than having a passport and obeying the law. While these things are important, when asked what makes someone a good citizen, Canadians also emphasize: treating men and women equally (95 per cent); accepting those who are different (82 per cent); protecting the environment (80 per cent); respecting other religions (65 per cent); and actively participating in one’s local community (51 per cent).

Malcolm Gladwell On Canadian Immigration: It’s The Solution To, Not The Cause Of, Economic Problems (Jacqueline Delange, Huffington Post)
Author Malcolm Gladwell understands the importance of countries remaining open to newcomers during times of economic hardship, having immigrated as a child to Canada, where he says he was welcomed “with extraordinary warmth.” “It’s a mistake not to welcome newcomers with open arms because, properly welcomed, history has shown that they make contributions. Canada is a strong country built almost entirely around immigrants,” he said.

The Multicultural Mix Of Urban Canada (Doug Picklyk, Marketing Magazine)
Canada leads all G8 nations in population growth, driven largely by immigration. The rich ethno-cultural diversity of the country can be seen on the streets of the largest metro areas as the size of visible minority groups continues to grow. According to the 2006 census, the vast majority of Canadians belonging to a visible minority group live in the country’s major cities, with visible minorities comprising 63% of the population of Toronto, 59% of Vancouver and 31% of Montreal. (2011 Census data on visible minorities won’t be released until 2013.)

Time to regulate diversity in the boardroom? (Aaron Dhir, Globe and Mail)
A Liberal Senate bill introduced last June would address disparities by requiring the boards of publicly traded firms to have at least 40 per cent representation of each gender. This bill mirrors similar initiatives in Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Iceland mandating varying degrees of gender representation on the boards of publicly traded companies. This week, the European Commission said it is studying mandatory quotas as a way to speed up the representation of women on corporate boards. Quotas are controversial and may not be the most politically viable way to address inequality. Indeed, key players on Canada’s corporate governance stage have opposed them. But the numbers show it is time to move beyond voluntary initiatives and begin a serious exploration of regulatory options. There are some significant alternatives to quotas worth considering.

P.E.I. population secretariat shut down (CBC)
P.E.I.’s population secretariat has been folded into the Department of Innovation, and Opposition MLA Hal Perry believes that restructuring is bad news for new Islanders. The Opposition discovered last month the secretariat had been shut down when it asked for a meeting to discuss the services it offered. The office at the Atlantic Technology Centre in Charlottetown is empty, and employees are now working down the street at the department of Innovation and Advanced Learning.

Artists in the GTA: Reel Asian’s Sonia Sakamoto-Jog brings business savvy to the nonprofit world (Leah Sandals, Yonge Street)
Effective and business-savvy. Prepared and professional. A numbers whiz with a Rotman MBA and an undergrad in computer science. These are qualifications most Torontonians expect in Bay Street financiers, not Spadina Avenue arts administrators. But Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, executive director of the Reel Asian Film Festival is happily breaking the mold—not just for herself, but for all those who still think that the arts and business must forever remain at odds.

Hello, my name is…pardon? (Lakshine Sathiyanathan, The Ethnic Aisle)
It’s that dreadful moment the instructor makes a palpable pause. The fluidity with which he calls out the attendance list comes to a grinding halt. He loses his roll with the rollcall. We’ve reached the last names starting with “S” and I want to pre-emptively raise my hand. Uncertainty prefaces it and it is dotted with a question mark (unlike the Western-friendly names announced matter-of-factly.)

Canadian Muslim youth group tied to al-Qaeda stripped of charitable status (Sarah Boesveld, National Post)
A Canadian Muslim youth organization has been stripped of its charitable status after a Canada Revenue Agency investigation linked it to a Saudi-based group that allegedly financed Islamist terror campaigns. An audit of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth revealed the charity had developed ties to a number of organizations that allegedly helped fund al-Qaeda operations around the world and failed to comply with a number of standards required for charities to maintain their status.

GTA’s first Muslim cemetery gets approval (CBC)
The Greater Toronto Area will be getting its first cemetery catering to all Muslims this summer. The province has granted a license to the Toronto Muslim Cemetery Corporation, allowing it to operate the site in Richmond Hill, Ont. The corporation says the cemetery is a joint project between Sunni and Shia Muslim communities and will open in June.

Ontario wants a larger piece of the immigration pie (Brad Lee, Toronto Star)
Ontario will continue to be at a disadvantage when it comes to selecting skilled immigrants until the federal government no longer controls who comes here and in what numbers, says provincial Immigration Minister Charles Sousa. The Ontario government is taking action by convening its own roundtable of experts to chart a new strategy for the province to meet its labour needs through immigration, Sousa told about 1,000 delegates at the recent National Metropolis Conference on immigration and settlement.–ontario-wants-a-larger-piece-of-the-immigration-pie

Tories want more caps on immigration (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Though divided along party lines, a House of Commons committee ultimately wants the federal government to consider more caps on applications for immigration in order to tackle a backlog that’s now reached nearly 1 million, according to a report tabled Tuesday. The Tory majority on the committee also wants the government to make skilled workers the priority, particularly the 300,000-strong backlog in applications received prior to 2008.

Lifting of hijab ban in world soccer welcomed (Prithi Yelaja, CBC News)
Lifting the ban on Muslim women soccer players wearing hijabs in international matches is being hailed as a victory for human rights by those who had urged it be overturned. “I’m ecstatic. This is a win for Muslim women and their allies,” said Farrah Khan, a Toronto social worker and activist whose group Right2Wear championed the cause. “This sends a really clear message — let’s stop bullying Muslim women and get out of their wardrobes. It’s a religious and feminist issue.”

‘March for Understanding’ Aims to Tackle Racism in Alberta (Justina Reichel, Epoch Times)
As the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination approaches on March 21, an Alberta organization is campaigning all month long in an effort to educate and inspire local communities to work towards eliminating racism in the province. Dubbed “March for Understanding,” the annual campaign hosted by the Centre for Race and Culture has grown from a one-day commemoration on March 21 to a month-long event that includes community events, celebrations, lectures, films, performances, workshops, art projects, and more, all in an effort to promote cross-cultural and racial understanding.

Toronto immigrants are freewheeling into the city’s lifestyle (Carla Wintersgill, Toronto Star)
A collaboration between the Toronto Cyclists’ Union and CultureLink Settlement Services, Bike Host matches immigrants with mentors, who teach them how to navigate Toronto on two wheels. The second year of the program starts soon, with host matching sessions beginning in April. CultureLink also promotes cycling through its Green Settlements Initiative, which distributes a Toronto cycling handbook translated into 16 languages and holds biking workshops throughout the city “Learning how to get around, how to not get lost, and how to cover your transportation costs is all about settlement,” says CultureLink cycling outreach coordinator Kristin Schwartz.–toronto-immigrants-are-freewheeling-into-the-city-s-lifestyle

Government of Canada Funding Promotes Economic Growth in Southern Ontario Francophone Communities (Funding Portal Alerts)
Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orleans, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced an investment of $1.5 million to support activities that will benefit people and businesses located in various francophone communities across southern Ontario. “The Government of Canada is committed to creating jobs and growth in southern Ontario, and to ensuring that francophone communities can continue to prosper,” said MP Galipeau. “The funding announced today will support three provincial organizations that are working to improve the economic foundation in official language minority communities in the region.”

Immigration plan needed: Ellis (Luke Hendry, The Intelligencer)
The city may start looking overseas to help stock its pool of employable workers. Mayor Neil Ellis is pushing for an immigration plan to ensure the city has enough skilled workers. Ellis told councillors during a recent strategic planning meeting that the city needs an immigration plan to help build its pool of skilled workers.

Tutoring options improve (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
More new immigrants, refugees and their families living in Nanaimo will have access to a free English-language tutoring program thanks to provincial funding. The English as a Second Language Settlement Assistance Program gives recent immigrants and refugees an opportunity to access basic English language programs.


Refugee Lawyers Group Continuing Legal Education Conference – Bill C-31 and Refugee Reform: Seriously Bogus (Refugee Lawyers Group)
Downloadable presentation papers and additional resources related to Bill C-31.

New immigration laws likely means lawyers busy (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Some Toronto lawyers are expecting business to be brisk as more refugee claimants begin flocking to Canada before tough new immigration laws take affect in June. A record amount of claimants are expected to flood into Canada from Hungary, Mexico and other refugee-producing nations before Ottawa imposes a list of safe countries from where asylum seekers can apply. In those cases, refugee claims will be decided in 45 days, with limited appeals.

Refugee Night at U of O: the Good, the Bad, and the Outrageous (Refugee Forum)
Refugee Night was an evening to celebrate an important milestone in the history of refugee protection – the 60th anniversary of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention – and to take a serious look at the state of refugee protection in Canada and the world today.

Refugee families reunited halfway around world in Comox Valley (Comox Valley Record )
A second Palestinian Iraqi family that spent time in a Syrian refugee camp have moved to the Valley, thanks to the efforts of the Comox Valley Refugee Support Committee. The Al Halaaqs — a family of nine who lived at the United Nations desert camp for two years in northern Syria after being forced out of Baghdad — arrived last week, reuniting with the Abo-Nofal family, which arrived about two months ago.


New Research on the Equity Potential of Community-Grounded Primary Care (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
Brilliant health economist, Bob Evans, occasionally spoke of ‘zombies’: policy and health funding prescriptions that were constantly refuted by evidence but kept coming back. One such zombie is the idea that equity and effectiveness are incompatible. New research from ICES comparing primary care models, however, demonstrates that Community Health Centres, whose fundamental goal is improving health equity and supporting some of the most health disadvantaged populations, also provide highly effective care.


Ontario staggers under burden of fiscal federalism (Matthew Mendelsohn, Toronto Star)
The Drummond report’s chapter on “Intergovernmental Relations” has received little attention so far. That needs to change. The chapter provides a devastating, evidence-based case that lays a lot of the blame for Ontario’s fiscal woes on the steps of the federal government. When Premier Dalton McGuinty complained on Monday about federal decisions that are having a disproportionate effect on Ontario, he actually had the evidence on his side.–ontario-staggers-under-burden-of-fiscal-federalism

Education cuts hurt immigrants (Mehdi Rizvi, Straight Goods)
Recent recommendations by Don Drummond may lead to lasting damages to our education system. Drummond, an economist, has suggested many cuts in education spending, from kindergarten to university level, including increasing classroom sizes in primary, secondary and high schools, and a seventy percent reduction in non-teaching staff, such as psychologists, education assistants and guidance counselors. Drummond recommended a 1.5 percent increase in post secondary funding, which might sound generous in light of proposed cuts. But with more than 225,000 immigrants arriving in Canada every year — and most of them settling in Ontario — enrollment is increasing by 1.7 percent.


Immigrant employment: Multi-national employees help Toronto-area companies thrive around the globe (Jessica Hume, Toronto Star)
When Peter Hawkins and Arnon Melo first began hiring at their Mississauga-based international shipping company, their limited budget meant most applicants were immigrants. That was 2002. Since then, Mellohawk Logistics has grown and become successful, shipping goods around the globe. Its budget has increased and the company now offers more competitive salaries and benefit packages. But about 80 per cent of its staff members are immigrants. This is not a coincidence.–immigrant-employment-multi-national-employees-help-toronto-area-companies-thrive-around-the-globe

Toronto immigrant networks connect newcomers with jobs and community help (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Recognizing the strength of community associations helping immigrants, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council recently launched the Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) website. Its goal is to “forge connections between immigrants, employers and community agencies,” with the ultimate objective of advancing immigrant employment, says manager Raquel Sevilla. The website features a directory searchable by profession or ethno-cultural group, individual success stories, an event calendar and background on each of the 32 community groups and agencies that form the network.–toronto-immigrant-networks-connect-newcomers-with-jobs-and-community-help

It’s crunch time – again (Gary Lamphier, Edmonton Journal)
The provincial government’s long-term job creation estimates are equally rosy. It expects more than 600,000 new jobs will be created in Alberta by 2021. All that job growth is attracting more interprovincial and international migrants. Calgary and Edmonton ranked as the two fastest-growing major cities in Canada between 2006 and 2011, according to the latest federal census. But if the provincial job growth forecasts prove accurate, even that won’t be enough to meet Alberta’s expanding labour needs.

What does ‘Canadian experience’ really mean for immigrants? (Bill Taylor, Toronto Star)
Three simple words, but they can add up to a Catch-22 for new immigrants looking for work: “Canadian experience required.” If you can’t land your first job, how are you supposed to build that all-important breadth of knowledge? There’s more to it, experts say, than getting up at the crack of dawn to drive your kids to hockey and stopping en route to pick up a double-double at Tim Hortons. And knowing what a double-double is. The clichéd example of doctors and engineers driving cabs in Toronto is a truism for a reason, says Allison Pond: “It still happens more than it needs to. It’s still an issue.”–what-does-canadian-experience-really-mean-for-immigrants

How to get a job even with no Canadian experience (The Zieglers Blog)
When I first came to Canada and started to look for a job there were at least three excuses I got to bounce at every interview: “Your French has too much accent”, “You don’t have a Security Clearance” and “You don’t have Canadian Experience” The first one is obvious because I’m not French. The second one was true and there’s nothing you can do about.
But the third one is ridiculous. And what could you answer to that? “Of course I don’t have Canadian experience! I am a newcomer for God sake!

Immigrants will fuel labour-market growth until 2015 (Ray Turchansky And Melanie Collison, Edmonton Journal)
Only a few years after Canadians were warned of a mass exodus of educated workers to the United States and countries farther afield, a “reverse brain drain” is starting to hit Western Canada in particular. Amid soaring unemployment rates elsewhere in the wake of a global recession, Alberta faces labour shortages pegged at 77,000 in 2019 by Ernst & Young and 114,278 in 2021 by the government of Alberta. The result is three avenues of incoming workers — from overseas, the U.S., and the eastern provinces.

Hundreds of newcomers flock to career fair (Brett Bundale, Chronicle Herald)
Dong Zhang didn’t come to the job fair to chit-chat. When the 26-year-old Saint Mary’s University graduate arrived at the International Careers Fair in Halifax, he made a beeline for three financial services firms. Dressed in a grey suit with a portfolio under one arm and a stack of targeted resumes under the other, Zhang delivered tailor-made pitches to recruiters for Citco Canada, TD Canada Trust and RBC Royal Bank. “I majored in finance and I would like an entry-level job in my field,” said Zhang, from China but looking to put down roots in Nova Scotia.

Foreign workers allowed to launch class action against Denny’s in B.C. (Yahoo! News)
More than 70 temporary, foreign workers can proceed with a $10-million lawsuit against a company operating Denny’s restaurants in British Columbia. Supreme Court of B.C. Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick has certified a class-action suit against Northland Properties Corporation, which operates Denny’s Restaurants and Dencan Restaurants Inc.

‘Eyes and ears’ can help bridge cultural gap for job-seeking immigrants (Rahul Gupta, InsideToronto)
Learn the culture and customs of your adopted country was the message from a panel to an audience of job seekers from different countries looking to gain entry into the Canadian market. Immigrant business professionals Gautham Nath, Vinod Bonthala and Samuel Vuillaume were on hand at the 2012 IEP conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on Feb. 10 to share their stories about settling and eventually succeeding in their new countries.–eyes-and-ears-can-help-bridge-cultural-gap-for-job-seeking-immigrants


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

When cash isn’t the cure (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
If you’ve been following the lively public debate around TCHC’s stand alone houses, you might have come away thinking Toronto Community Housing has only one goal: raise money to fix up its buildings. It’s a worthy goal. You can’t stay long in the landlord business if you don’t break even, and you can’t be a responsible landlord unless your buildings are in good repair.

Good news: Council rejects mass sell-off of TCHC homes, adopts plan for special commission (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
Toronto City Council voted on Tuesday to reject the proposal to sell off 740 of Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s (TCHC) affordable homes in 675 buildings and has instead adopted the plan, put forward by the Wellesley Institute, to create a special commission to help Toronto’s social housing agency navigate to a financially secure future. This is a big win for TCHC tenants, and for all of Toronto.


Police lay human trafficking charge (Todd Vandonk, My Kawartha)
Peterborough-Lakefield police will be laying its first ever human trafficking charge today (March 6). Police inspector Tim Farquharson says the charge is result of an investigation that started two weeks ago in the downtown. According to Insp. Farquharson, plain clothed detectives noticed a woman walking downtown with two black eyes on Feb. 16. Officer saw the same woman again on Feb. 28 and identified her as sex trade worker.–police-lay-human-trafficking-charge

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.

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Your morning #Immigration & #Diversity news headlines – March 5, 2012 #inclusion #cdnimm Five good reads from the week...