Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 9, 2012


Choosing the right new Canadian (Ratna Omidvar, Globe and Mail)
Last week, Immigration and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney laid out a plan to help Canada find the right immigrants for the right jobs. These changes have the potential to accelerate the rate at which new immigrants can get on their feet and the rate at which Canada can benefit from their contributions… Canada needs to consider the long-term implications of this shift. The scope and scale of our demographic diversity has been an essential ingredient of our multicultural success. This diversity is also a natural, if somewhat latent, link to new markets and new products. As the economies of Russia, India, China and Brazil continue to grow, it will become more important that we use all our assets, including our immigrant ambassadors, to further our interests in these regions.

Provincial immigrant nominee programs (Wallace Immen, Globe and Mail)
Immigration remains a federal responsibility, but agreements with Ottawa allow provinces to nominate candidates who want to invest and run a business for accelerated immigration.

Minister: All options on table when it comes to immigration (Stephanie Levitz The Canadian Press)
Major changes to the immigration system could include erasing a massive backlog of applications, the minister in charge said Wednesday. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said all options are on the table when it comes to modernizing the process of bringing in would-be immigrants.

Gov’t to examine immigration transformation (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Canada will consider legislating away its massive backlog of immigration applications and allowing provinces to cherrypick from one big pool of would-be newcomers in a bid to transform Canada’s immigration system into one that’s driven by the economy, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday. In a speech to business leaders at an Economic Club of Canada luncheon, Kenney promised “transformational change” to immigration that emphasizes the need for skilled newcomers who can fill gaps in the country’s labour market.

Halifax radio station offering dates with mail-order brides under fire from MPs (Debra Black, Toronto Star)
A radio contest in Halifax that is offering a trip to the Czech Republic and four dates with Czech women registered on a mail-order bride website triggered heated criticism in the House of Commons on Wednesday — the day before International Women’s Day. Megan Leslie, NDP MP for Halifax, asked Parliament yesterday: “Who would have thought a hundred years ago that in 2012 women would be able to run for election, have successful careers and be given away as prizes in morning radio contests?”–halifax-radio-station-offering-dates-with-mail-order-brides-under-fire-from-mps?bn=1

Monsieur Lazhar wins 6 Genies (CBC)
Monsieur Lazhar was the big winner Thursday night at the Genie Awards — the heart-warming story about a teacher making a difference in the lives of a middle-school class earned best picture and five other trophies. Director Philippe Falardeau took home best director honours and best adapted screenplay for the story of an Algerian immigrant, his own life full of heartbreak, who steps in to teach a middle-school class after their teacher commits suicide.

The Case for Diversity (Pamela Jeffery, Financial Post)
The numbers are scary. By 2020, it’s estimated that Canada will have 1 million fewer people working as the all-powerful boomers start exiting the workforce and heading for retirement. Many of those jobs and roles will be at the management and senior executive levels. Who is going to step in to take charge? It’s an interesting time and one that really shows up a glaring disconnect. As a country, we pride ourselves on embracing new cultures and our diverse makeup. Yet take a picture of the boardrooms and C-suites from coast to coast and you’ll very likely see a group of white men making all the decisions. Thankfully, things are starting to change. Conversations are taking place about what diversity means and why it’s important to bring fresh faces and perspectives to the table. Put simply, diverse voices and perspectives lead to better decisions. And on a very basic level, it just makes sense that the decision makers resemble the markets they serve. While intellectually, most of us get it, the fact is that what needs to happen requires systemic change. It’s happening, but it’s happening at a snail’s pace.

Few visible minority women in leadership roles in Toronto: Report (680News)
Women from visible minorities have hit a glass ceiling when it comes to achieving leadership roles in the GTA. A new study out of Ryerson University found women of colour make up only 2.6 per cent of top jobs in both the public and private sectors.–few-visible-minority-women-in-leadership-roles-in-toronto-report

Catalyst challenges FP500 to fill 25% of board seats with women (Caitlyn Coverly, Financial Post)
International business women’s advocacy group Catalyst announced a call to action this morning for Canadian corporations to increase the overall proportion of FP500 board seats held by women to 25 per cent by 2017. The announcement comes on International Women’s Day, “a day where the world is focused on women and their place in society,” according to Deborah Gillis, senior vice president of Membership and Global Operations at Catalyst.

Minister takes aim at barriers to skilled immigrants (Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is calling for a “transformational change” to Canada’s immigration system that emphasizes the need for skilled newcomers who can fill gaps in the country’s labour market. Ina speech to business leaders Wednesday at an Economic Club of Canada luncheon, Kenney outlined several pilot projects and strategies the government is considering to reduce the backlog of nearly one million applications while making the system more economically focused.

Inequality: The role of unions and race (CCPA)
The University of Toronto’s Richard Florida has an important two-part series in The Atlantic focusing on what is driving the growing income gap in American cities. In particular, he and colleague Charlotta Mellander look at what is driving the differences in income inequality, since it’s not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon, even in the U.S.

SPT and Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto Launch New Project (Social Planning Toronto)
SPT is happy to be working in partnership with Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto (NEW) on a new community-based research project entitled “Economy and Resilience of Newcomers (EARN): Access for Newcomers to Economic Development through Self-Employment and Small Business Development”. SPT and NEW staff have been working on the development of the project in recent months, and are now moving forward with the research phase of this initiative.

Are you outraged yet? Legislating away immigration backlog an option, Kenney declares (LoonLounge)
Under Harper, Canada’s immigration system has deteriorated exponentially. What was a backlog of 600,000 has grown to nearly 1-million people. What was a 1-2 year wait for a decision has deteriorated to an up to 8-year wait. While the Tories played the immigration card in the last election, temporarily increasing the number admitted into the country to around 265,000, they have now reduced the yearly number to 225,000 and cut the Skilled Worker class application allowance in half. They are remaking the refugee claim system into one with no appeal. And family reunification? Well that only costs Canadians money – how could it be good for us?

Councillor pushes for another immigrant ‘welcome’ event (Janis Warren – The Tri-City News)
A city-organized gathering last year for new and recent immigrants to Coquitlam could become an annual showcase. On Monday, the chairperson of the city’s multiculturalism advisory committee, pressed staff to repeat the Welcome Event every year as last September’s session drew around 300 newcomers, many of them looking for information about how city government works as well as job opportunities.

Dance to promote Toronto’s cultural diversity (Corriere Canadese)
The 2012 NextSteps season at Harbourfront Centre is well underway, bringing audiences an array of globally inspired dance performances from Canada’s best companies, and both emerging and established artists. The series is programmed to reflect Toronto’s unique cultural diversity. Now in its sixth and most extensive season ever, the Chimera Project, in association with Harbourfront Centre are pleased to present Fresh Blood featuring the best in up-and-coming contemporary choreographers, March 16 and 17.

A shipload of trouble (Tamsin McMahon, Maclean’s)
Normally the announcement of billions in federal cash flowing into a community would be cause for unbridled optimism. But in Nova Scotia, the $25-billion contract to build combat ships at the Halifax Shipyard has instead raised the spectre of an old immigration scandal and strained relations between the province and Ottawa. Nova Scotia hopes the shipbuilding windfall will help it lure new immigrants to revive its hobbled workforce, while Ottawa no longer seems to trust the province to run its own immigration system. The dispute stems from the provincial nominee program, a federal program which is designed to let each province pick at least some of its own immigrants. Under this program during the mid-2000s, Nova Scotia required immigrants to fork over $100,000 to local businesses in exchange for management-level “mentorship” training that was supposed to lead to full-time work. Roughly 900 immigrants complied, but many ended up unemployed or working at car dealerships, fish stands and laundromats, with thousands in fees pocketed by local businesses and consultants. Not surprisingly, about two-thirds of those immigrants left the province in search of jobs elsewhere.

Hill Dispatches: Kenney’s concern about racism does not extend to everyone (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
In this fallow period before the next federal budget on March 29, the government’s plan seems to have been to lay low and not initiate too much. The budget would do all the talking, and just about everything else the government did or said until then would be aimed at getting Canadians prepared for something major, and maybe even radical.


Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 6 #11, 8 March 2012 (CCR)
In this issue:
Bill C-31 Rolls Back Refugee Protection – at what cost?
Get involved this Refugee Rights Day, April 4th
Register Now!: CCR Spring Consultation, Fredericton, 31 May – 2 June
Faces of the CCR: Rosa Elena Arteaga, Battered Women Support Services, Vancouver
New from the CCR

Kenney should turbo-charge Canada’s refugee system (Chris Selley, National Post)
Jason Kenney might not the best immigration minister Canada has ever had (even if a recent National Post editorial suggested he is), but he’s certainly showing more guts than we came to expect from his Liberal predecessors. For many years, conventional wisdom held that to pursue touchy immigration or refugee reforms was to risk the ire of ethnic communities. Now Mr. Kenney pursues those reforms while also spearheading the Conservatives’ very successful outreach efforts in some of those same communities. That has to grind the Grits’ gears.

Citizen journalist nominated for National Newspaper Award (Ottawa Citizen)
For the first time in his almost 40-year career, the Citizen’s Don Butler has been nominated for a National Newspaper Award for stories about how Canada grants asylum to refugees.

People sent back from Canada on departure orders being treated as deportees (Starbroek News)
The police and Immigration Department of Guyana should be aware that a Departure Order is different from a Deportation Order… So persons who leave Canada voluntarily on the basis of a Departure Order within the thirty-day period and pay their own airfare to Guyana cannot be classified as deportees according to Canadian Immigration Laws. However, the Immigration Department of Guyana and the Guyana Police are treating these persons who leave Canada voluntarily on a Departure Order as deportees and have them in custody for nearly two days and more. They are fingerprinted and their passports are seized. They also go through all types of humiliation and abuses by policemen at the CID headquarters.


Ottawa targets ‘high-value’ entrepreneurs with new immigration program (Wallace Imen, Globe and Mail)
Ottawa plans to replace the immigrant entrepreneur program it shelved last year with a new system aimed at identifying and speeding the path for “high value innovators,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says. The previous program, in place for a decade, “was administratively very burdensome and underwhelming in terms of the results.” When it was suspended last July, it had a backlog of nearly 10,000 applicants, and with an average of about 1,000 to 1,500 approvals a year it would have taken nearly eight years to clear, even without new applications. What will happen to the older files when the new program is launched remains unclear, Mr. Kenney said in an interview.

Canada In Drive For Irish Workforce (The Cork News)
Migration experts are targeting workers on Cork’s 14,200 farms in a bid to highlight employment opportunities in Canada, where some provinces are willing to give permanent residence to farmers willing to buy land or build into existing farming businesses. According to, an estimated 6,000 Canadian work permits will be granted to skilled Irish professionals this year, matching Australian demand levels for Irish workers, with farmers, truck mechanics, logistics professionals and other trades in high demand in Canada at present.

Pythian Receives Employer Excellence Award from Hire Immigrants Ottawa (News release)
Pythian, a leading provider of data infrastructure services, was honoured today with the 2012 Employer Excellence Award for Retention and Engagement by Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) for its achievement in workplace diversity. Presented at the HIO Employer Council of Champions Summit-a multidisciplinary council comprising executives from top Ottawa public and private sector companies, business associations and labour groups-the award recognizes Pythian’s ability to recruit the top five percent of the world’s technology talent to create a diverse workforce of experts speaking more than 20 languages.

6 million reasons to stop wage theft (Workers’ Action Centre)
Reason #1: Wage theft hits women hard in Ontario, Mayra and Cristhina’s story. We found work in a hotel in the Muskoka area through an agency. The pay that we received was always $10 per hour, whether we worked overtime or not. This is less than the minimum wage. When we left our job, the employer told us that she would not pay us our last cheque. This employer works with many Latin American people in different hotels, many of them north of Toronto. It is not only to us that the agency does not want to pay.


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

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

Call for nominations to the Social Planning Toronto Board of Directors (Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto is an incorporated and registered non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to:
independent social planning and community development;
social research and policy analysis;
community education and advocacy; and
the development and coordination of human services.


The Microcredit Movement: A Canadian Perspective (Michelle Stern, SocialFinance)
Microcredit, one of a broad range of financial services encompassed in microfinance, (which includes other services such as savings programs and insurance), focuses on providing access to loans. One trend that has emerged from the Indian microfinance crisis is a shift from focusing merely on providing access to loans, to considering their social impacts. While no single universally-accepted social impact measurement tool has been created as of yet, more and more institutions are finding value in building social indicators and metrics for decision-making purposes.

Community Bonds (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galllway spoke with Tonya Surman. She is the co-author of, “The Community Bond: An Innovation in Social Finance” . The book launch happens this afternoon at the Centre for Social Innovation building near Bathurst and Bloor.


Slavery Close to Home (Michelle Brock, Hope for the Sold)
Brother and sister Attila and Gisela Kolompar were recently sentenced in Canada’s largest human trafficking case to date, for keeping labour trafficking victims confined in their basement and forcing them to work in construction seven days a week for no pay. As this Spec article explains, they ate scraps, had their identification seized and were instructed to make false refugee and welfare claims. They never saw their benefit money or wages, and were punished when they tried to escape.

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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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