Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 26, 2012
IMMIGRATION / SETTLEMENT / DIVERSITY
Immediate labour-force needs are just part of the immigration equation (Globe and Mail)
In the wake of the federal budget and as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney prepares to make sweeping changes, the government should take a balanced approach to reforming the economic-class immigration stream. Addressing both short- and long-term labour-market goals and focusing on highly skilled immigrants seems judicious. Recent policy changes notably greater use of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, the Provincial Nominee Program and the new ministerial instructions have shifted the focus toward the short term, responding especially to pressures to fill occupational and skills shortages.
Federal government making it easier to hire temporary foreign workers (Sarah O, Calgary Herald)
Alberta businesses, frustrated by red tape and delays in hiring temporary foreign workers, got a break Wednesday from the federal government… Until now, companies had to pay workers what is known as the prevailing wage. But that requirement now changes in the high-skill trades category. For added flexibility, wages up to 15 per cent below the average wage rate will be accepted so long as it can be clearly demonstrated the same wages are being paid to Canadian workers, Finley said at Wednesdays news conference in Nisku.
Alberta praises new foreign-worker rules (Globe and Mail)
Canadian companies that want to bring in highly skilled foreign workers temporarily will be able to do so faster and pay them less under new federal immigration rules aimed at addressing the countrys persistent labour shortages. In areas of the country that are booming economically particularly Alberta companies are complaining about the lack of skilled workers, a problem that Ottawa has identified as one of Canadas biggest policy challenges. Of 190,000 temporary foreign workers who entered Canada last year, 25,500 went to Alberta.? Businesses that use the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which allows employers to bring in workers if they can prove they have advertised the jobs locally without success, say they are relieved that it will become less cumbersome, but critics worry the changes will lead to lower wages across the country.
Strengthening Canadas Econcomy Government of Canada Progress Report 2011 on Foreign Credential Recognition (FCRO)
Foreign credential recognition is a complex issue that involves many partners and stakeholders and in which the Government of Canada plays a facilitative role in the development of coordinated, pan-Canadian approaches. [Note 1] The assessment and recognition of foreign credentials have been obstacles to the effective labour market integration of many internationally trained individuals (ITIs) at levels commensurate with their skills and experience. While foreign credential recognition (FCR) is a provincial and territorial responsibility in Canada, the federal government collaborates with provincial and territorial partners and various stakeholders to reduce barriers in FCR. This progress report presents a sample of the accomplishments of federal program initiatives in FCR in 2011.
Immigration is a privilege, not a right (Toronto Sun)
Immigration, per se, is not a bad thing. Many birth rate deficient western countries, including Canada, need newcomers each year. But putting a fanatical emphasis on immigration quotas or numbers is a bad idea. Delivering needed foreign skilled workers and professionals to industries and businesses is not a bad thing. But making immigration policies hostage to politics is. Canadas immigration policies have become hostage to politics since the early 1980s, when immigrant numbers swelled and ethnic enclaves sprang up around major urban centres. Wily politicians saw ready-made vote-banks in these ethnic enclaves and cleverly ramped up family-class immigration, as well as instituting various grants in the name of multiculturalism, to keep these vote-banks working. Therein lies the rub. Once in place, vote-bank policies are very difficult to dismantle.
Citizenship office to close (Kingston Whig Standard)
The city is set to lose its most valuable tool in assisting new immigrants as a cost-cutting measure by the federal government. On June 1, the federal government will close Kingstons only Citizenship and Immigration Canada office, an appointment-only office on Clarence Street that has two full-time staff. The office assists new immigrants, refugees, international students and temporary workers in filing applications, and provides general information on citizenship and immigration programs offered by the federal government.
Extremism elsewhere, moderation in Canada (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
Stephen Harper eked out his majority last year by relentlessly pursuing selected immigrant/ethnic/religious minorities in Toronto and Vancouver. Smith never recovered from an assertion by one of her candidates that he had an advantage because he is white. She visited a Sikh gurdwara, her head covered by a shawl a Sikh version of the hijab in the holy precincts. Her husband, too, covered his head with a handkerchief. Both sat cross-legged on the floor with a turbaned Sikh Wildrose candidate. But that was not enough to repair the damage. By not firing the two candidates or even condemning them, she paid the price not just with the gay and immigrant communities but with the larger public.
Town’s efforts in welcoming new immigrants to town moves into implementation phase (Stacey Roy, EMC Smith’s Falls)
From producing a welcome package for immigrant families to establishing a multicultural festival and new comer’s support group Smiths Falls’ Local Immigrant Partnership (LIP) strategic plan has a strategy to improve the town’s welcome to international residents.
These and 10 pages of other projects and activities make up the implementation phase II of the LIP Council’s work that began April 1, 2012 and is funded until March 31, 2013. The Smiths Falls: A Strategy to Welcome Newcomers plan was launched last Friday at the Comfort Inn. These strategies address the identified challenges that emerged from the four focus areas of the plan, which are: economic integration, provision and promotion of settlement and public services, the creation of a welcoming community attitude and environment, and sustainability of LIP initiatives.
Ottawa to re-examine former Nazis past after evidence emerges linking him to 1943 massacre (Stewart Bell, National Post)
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told a group of Holocaust survivors on Wednesday the government would re-examine the case of a Nazi collaborator living near Montreal, according to a participant in the meetings. The Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre brought the four Holocaust survivors to Ottawa to urge the ministers to take action against Vladimir Katriuk after new evidence surfaced implicating the 90-year-old Quebecer in a wartime massacre of villagers in Eastern Europe.
Rwandan genocide trial starting in Ottawa (Jessica Smith, Metronews)
A Rwandan genocide trial begins in Ottawa Monday as lawyers start selecting jurors to do a long and difficult job. Jacques Mungwarere was arrested in Windsor in 2009 and charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. He accused of involvement in massacres and rape, according to information made public in the preliminary hearing. His lawyer Christian Deslauriers said the selection process will narrow a pool of about 1,000 to a bilingual jury of 12 plus two alternate jurors who will spend approximately six months on the trial. Evidence will be in English, French and some translated from Kinyarwanda, he said. Some testimony will be via video-link from Rwanda.
New Canadians sworn in at ceremony (Peterborough Examiner)
One became Canadian because he never wanted to lose his freedom again. One became Canadian because she fell in love with a Norwood man. One became Canadian because she wanted an education. One became Canadian because she wanted to cast a ballot. Forty-two people representing 27 different countries took their oath of citizenship and sang the national anthem as new Canadians during a ceremony Wednesday at the Canadian Canoe Museum .
Gender selection ad raises debate (Rochelle Baker, Abbortsford Times)
Debate in Abbotsford around gender preferences in children is surfacing after media reports about a U.S. fertility clinic that advertised the sex selection in a Indo-Canadian newspaper. An ad for the Washington Center for Reproductive Medicine appeared in the Indo-Canadian Voice, in print and online, telling prospective clients they could create the family they want, “boy or girl,” using reproductive technologies. The clinic performs biopsies on embryos slated for in vitro fertilization and tests their DNA to determine the sex.
Video: Haroon Siddiqui on selective abortion (Toronto Star)
Columnist Haroon Siddiqui on the moral dilemmas raised by gender-based abortion.
Volunteers, immigrants, community get together for 50 years at the Scarborough Museum (Louise Andre, Toronto Observer)
Fifty years ago, a bit of Scarborough made a monumental move to start a new life as the Scarborough Museum. Volunteers, combined with the Lions Club, came together to save Cornell House, which was going to be demolished because it was in the way of a railway track, museum curator Madeline Callaghan said. The train tracks were being widened and Cornell House was in the way, so the community pulled together. They fundraised and moved the house. It took two separate vehicles to move the Cornell House from Markham Road to [Thomson Park].
Multi-culture media growing fast as immigration increases in capital (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Rangar is producer and host of Mirch Masala Radio, Ottawas only South Asian drive-home show. Broadcasting five days a week on CHIN Radio, the House of Commons information analyst spins an hour of the drive-home staples of news, weather and traffic, mixed with updates on health, arts, culture and a heavy dose of music from Bollywood and local artists with roots in India, Pakistan and elsewhere in the region. A second hour is hosted by a rotating crew of Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu-speaking hosts, all volunteers. They are doing what immigrants have long done using media to preserve their heritage while putting down roots in a new country. With more than 21 per cent of Ottawa-Gatineau residents born outside Canada, according to the 2006 Census, there are more immigrants in the capital than ever and the media landscape has expanded to serve them.
Recipients Of The 2012 Victim Services Awards Of Distinction (Ontario Government News)
The recipients of the 2012 Victim Services Awards of Distinction:
Leanne Prendergast, Anti-bullying advocate
The Agoro family – Bashir, Abiola, Moji and Shola Agoro
Tammy Rankin, Elder Abuse Advisor, Region of Durham
Dr. Mohammed Baobaid, Executive Director, Muslim Resource Centre For Social Support and Integration
Colleen Abeles, Women’s Counsellor
Kelly Albin, Family Court Support Worker and Volunteer
Sandra Brown, Director of Special Projects Nishnawbe-Aski Nation
Mary Lou Fassel, Director of Legal Services Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Manijeh Moghisi, Women’s Counsellor K3C Community Counselling Centre
David Todd Morganstein, Volunteer Yellow Brick House
Boost Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention
London Abused Women’s Centre
Sexual Assault Centre – Hamilton and Area
The Religion Issue (Ethnic Aisle)
Oh, religion! Along with politics, its one of the things youre not supposed to talk about in polite company. Well, we at the Ethnic Aisle thought: nuts to that! And thus the Religion Issue was born.
Lankan in Canada gets Toronto Star Award for Excellence (Daily News)
A skills shortage and a Mississauga employer’s leap of faith have changed the fate of Krishnarl Suntharesan and hundreds of skilled immigrants desperate for elusive Canadian work experience. Instead of being stuck in her survival job delivering flyers, Suntharesan, a biochemist from Sri Lanka, was enrolled in Maxxam Analytics’ co-op programme for skilled immigrants and is now a senior lab analyst at the Mississauga – based company. Since the programme’s launch in 2001, Maxxam, which tests environment products and food and water samples among other services, has brought in more than 400 co-op students like Suntharesan, later hiring half of them, from lab technicians to IT and human resources specialists.
Ignatieffs bon/wrong mots (Martin Patriquin, Maclean’s)
As I said, Ignatieff has every right to say what he wants about Quebec to whatever television crew shows up at his door. Hes even allowed to get many, many things wrong, as he did in the BBC interview. Quebec is master of its own house, he said. They run their own immigration policy. [not
really: Quebec has say over the selection of immigrants, but the overall policy
is set by Canada. From the 1991 Canada-Quebec Act: "Canada shall establish
annually the total number of immigrants for the country as a whole, taking into
consideration Québecs advice on the number of immigrants that it wishes to
Diabetes in the GTA maps onto ethnic communities in the suburbs (John Michael Mcgrath, Openfile Toronto)
A new report from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences finds more or less what a similar ICES report found a few years ago, but the facts are even more widespread and possibly even more alarming. Diabetes in the GTA exists pretty much where you’d expect it to: in the suburbs, where poverty is highest, walking-distance amenities are rarest, and city services are less densely clustered.
Multiculturalism popular with Canadians: Polls (Sheila Dabu Nonato, The Province)
Multiculturalism remains popular among Canadians. However, the older they are, the more they have reservations about Canada’s model of managing diversity, according to a study involving several polls commissioned by the Mosaic Institute and the Association for Canadian Studies. Eighty-two per cent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they believed multiculturalism should be exported to other countries to help them address their ethnic, religious or linguistic conflicts compared with 57 per cent of those aged 65 and older.
Why Bill C-31 Must Be Rejected: An open letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (Harald Bauder, Canada.com)
Dear Minister: Canadians are proud of their country’s tradition of providing protection for those in need. Bill C-31, Protecting Canada’s Immigration System, however, contradicts this tradition. The bill protects no one and threatens many. It treats asylum seekers as criminals rather than people who need our protection. It is discriminatory, conflicts with Canadians’ sense of fairness, and violates the fundamental rights guaranteed to all people by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In particular, bill C-31 would give the minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism the power to “designate” a group of refugees – including women and youths – who can be jailed for up to 12 months without any judicial review. These individuals can be released only at the minister’s pleasure or when their refugee status is determined.
Video: Together We Can Give Hope (Mennonite Central Committee Ontario)
Many refugee families are waiting for church sponsorship. Partner with MCC to sponsor one of those families.
News Release Reform of the Interim Federal Health Program ensures fairness, protects public health and safety (CIC)
A federal program that provides health-care benefits to protected persons, refugee claimants and others is being reformed to ensure fairness for Canadian taxpayers while emphasizing the need to protect public health and safety, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Our Governments objective is to bring about transformational changes to our immigration system so that it meets Canada’s economic needs. Canadians are a very generous people and Canada has a generous immigration system, said Minister Kenney. However, we do not want to ask Canadians to pay for benefits for protected persons and refugee claimants that are more generous than what they are entitled to themselves.
Refugee health care benefits go under the knife (Toronto Sun)
Refugee claimants’ access to what critics call gold-plated health care coverage will disappear by summer. QMI Agency has learned Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will announce Wednesday that by late June, claimants will get federal coverage for emergency care and conditions that are a risk to public health. Kenney’s tough medicine for refugee claimants means they will no longer have eye, dental, or prescription drug expenses covered by taxpayers – benefits most Canadian citizens and permanent residents don’t receive.
Refugee health benefits scaled back by Tories (Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC)
The federal government is putting an end to paying for certain health-care benefits for refugee claimants, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Wednesday. “Canadians are a very generous people and Canada has a generous immigration system,” Kenney said in a news release. “However, we do not want to ask Canadians to pay for benefits for protected persons and refugee claimants that are more generous than what they are entitled to themselves.”
Rollbacks for refugee hopefuls ripped (Tobi Cohen, Winnipeg Free Press)
A government plan to roll back extended health-care benefits for asylum claimants in a bid to save money and deter bogus applicants is grossly unfair to the thousands of legitimate refugees who desperately need the help, opposition MPs said Wednesday. The comments were made after the government unveiled plans to cut off supplementary services like pharmaceutical care, dentistry, vision care and access to free assistive devices for claimants. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney argued Canadians don’t get government-funded eye and dental care and neither should refugees.
NDP, Grits slam Tory refugee prescription- Politics (Daniel Proussalidi, Canoe.ca)
The NDP and Liberals are on the attack after the Conservative government moved to kill Cadillac health benefits for refugee claimants. “It’s scandalous behaviour,” NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said Wednesday. “To start saying that you’re going to deprive them of something as fundamental as health care is an indication that there is something very wrong with the values of the Conservatives.” Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae accused the Tories of trying to punish refugees and whip up hostility against them. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Mulcair and Rae are wrong.
Refugees shouldnt get better treatment than Canadians (Brian Lilley, Sun Media)
Call it a victory for common sense a victory for Sun viewers and readers. The Harper government has announced that after reviewing their program for providing health care coverage to refugees, they will scale it back in some areas. This started with a query from yours truly back in the fall of 2010. Tipped off that the system for refugees was better than what Canadian citizens, including our most vulnerable, could get from their own government, we asked to see the plan. It was shocking. The plan offered full prescription coverage even for those who had been rejected as refugees. It required no co-payment from those getting free prescriptions from the Canadian taxpayer. Thats something Canadians, be they on private plans or their provincial government plans, normally have to do. The refugee plan also paid for eye exams, glasses and contacts again, no requirement to pay anything. Dental care, something many Canadians have to dip into their own pocket for, is still currently covered for refugee claimants again even those who have been rejected as bogus. Canada is a generous country and most do want to help people whose life is in jeopardy, often due to speaking out on political issues in their home country but giving better benefits than we are willing to give our own was a bridge too far for many. Today, Jason Kenney, confirmed that changes are on their way.
From refugee camp, to promising singer (Ted Shaw, Windsor Star)
Magda Kaminski hopes her trip to Los Angeles this weekend opens doors back home in Windsor. The 33-year-old singer and songwriter is nominated for best dance artist for her song This Is It at this Sunday’s Indie Music Channel Awards at L.A.’s House of Blues. This is the same organization which Windsor’s R. Jones and Curtis Scott have been nominated for their R&B song Falling Again. Polish-born Kaminski, who performs with the stage name Magda, has had a hard time convincing club owners and radio programmers in Windsor she has what it takes.
Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues (York U)
The Summer Course on Refugee and Forced Migration Issues is an internationally acclaimed seven-day (May 6-12, 2012) non-credit course for academic and field-based practitioners working in the area of forced migration. It serves as a hub for researchers, students, practitioners, service providers and policy makers to share information and ideas. The Summer Course is housed within the Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS), York University.
Enhancing our Ability to Respond to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Newcomer Youth
within the Settlement Sector – PDF (Zack Marshall, June Ying Yee, and Tess Vo, Griffin Centre)
Settling in a new country is a complex process, impacted by intersecting oppressions of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and economic pressures. Our respondents described particular barriers to connecting with support services to help them settle in Canada. At times these challenges were exacerbated by strained family relations linked to their LGBTQ-identities. Results from this evaluation provide new information about the experiences of immigrant youth with social services in an urban setting, including recommendations for outreach and developing services that are more welcoming to LGBTQ newcomers. Despite being ? uent in English, almost half of our respondents did not recognize the term Settlement Services. Upon hearing about available services, almost all respondents expressed an interest in settlement supports. They are particularly interested in receiving service from workers who are also LGBTQ-identi? ed, who speak the same language, and who are youth themselves. In addition, our respondents indicated that they look online for information when they need it, suggesting that online outreach strategies are an essential resource for reaching LGBTQ immigrant youth.
POVERTY / HEALTH / HOMELESSNESS / SOCIAL INCLUSION
A policy plan to hide poverty, inequality (Hamilton Spectator)
While the public bemoans raucous question periods in Parliament and hyperpartisan debate, a federal government plan for much more lasting damage to public debate is unfolding in Canada. This plan is silencing the voices of those who speak against poverty, inequality and human rights violations and eliminating the information they use. It is steadily eroding our ability to even see these problems by eliminating the data sources that enable us to understand ourselves as a society.
Electoral Boundary Commissions: Canadians May Be Sidelined From Major Revamp Of Ridings Under New Tory Rules (Althia Raj, Huffington Post)
Canadians risk being sidelined from a major reconfiguration of the countrys electoral map by new rules brought in by the governing Tories that limit public consultation and dramatically accelerate the pace of the process, critics say. Ten electoral boundary commissions, one in every province, are quietly at work devising ways to re-jig overpopulated ridings in their region based on new census data.
Electoral Boundary Commissions: Opposition Parties Fear Politics Will Influence Redrawing Of The Electoral Map (Althia Raj, Huffington Post)
Opposition parties are sounding the alarm about the redrawing of Canadas electoral map, suggesting the Tories may hijack the process in order to create safe Conservative seats unless the general public gets involved.
ISAC News and Policy E-List : Wednesday, April 25, 2012 (ISAC)
Latest Media and Policy News related to poverty and social justice, focus on: Ontario budget, Ontario news, Around the Province, Across the Country, Federal, International.
Atlantic Canadians Agree: Inequality is a Public Issue (Jason Edwards, Behind the Numbers)
Inequality has become a problem for all Canadians. Nationwide, 3.8% of households control about 67% of total financial wealth. The Conference Board of Canada recently addressed the issue, finding that, High inequality can diminish economic growth if it means that the country is not fully using the skills and capabilities of all its citizens or if it undermines social cohesion, leading to increased social tensions. Inequality has been linked to social indicators like mental illness, drug use, obesity, teenage pregnancy, high school dropout rates, violent crime, youth crime, and imprisonment rates. It is in all our interests to build a level playing field for all Canadian residents.
EMPLOYMENT & WORKERS
Immigrant Success (IS) Award (TRIEC)
The four IS Awards winners represent different sectors of the Greater Toronto Region economy from telecommunications to environmental testing and share the same view: Toronto needs skilled immigrants to address skill shortages and give businesses and the region as a whole a competitive edge.
TRIEC and RBC announce winners of 6th Annual Immigrant Success Awards
Huawei Canada: RBC Immigrant Advantage Award
Career Bridge: CBC Toronto Vision Award for Immigrant Inclusion
Maxxam Analytics: Toronto Star Award for Excellence in Workplace Integration
Canadian HR Reporter Individual Achievement Award – Zuleika Sgro, Manager, Talent Management Services, Questrade
TRIEC Nominee (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Peter Hawkins. He is the managing director of MELLOHAWK Logistics, a freight-forwarding firm that is nominated for one of this year’s TRIEC Immigrant Success Awards.
RBC Royal Bank to help skilled immigrants navigate the BC job market (IEC-BC)
On Tuesday April 24th, the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) will launch a mentoring program with RBC Royal Bank (RBC). Eight management-level RBC employees will dedicate 24 hours, over the next four-months, to help skilled immigrants find jobs in BC, commensurate with their skills and education. RBC has partnered with IEC-BC and three local immigrant serving agencies to offer RBC staff a unique professional development opportunity that benefits their organization while helping skilled immigrants integrate into BC’s labour market. Participating mentors hold key positions in RBC, including VP, Enterprise Collaboration, Market Operations Manager, Capacity Optimization Manager and Manager of Western Canada Recruitment. The mentees, who have held prominent positions in their countries of origin, are having difficultly finding appropriate employment in BC, despite their strong credentials and years of experience.
Loblaw Helps Foreign-Trained Pharmacists Become Licensed (hireimmigrants)
Hari Pemasani, a pharmacist from India, immigrated to Canada in 2007. Upon arrival, he looked for a job in his field but was told over and over again that his lack of Canadian experience disqualified him for the openings. That changed when two months after his arrival he interviewed for a part-time pharmacy assistants position at Loblaw, one of the 2012 Best Employers for New Canadians.
Canadian construction industry will need 319,000 new workers by 2020 (DCN News)
Nationwide, an estimated 219,000 workers are expected to retire, meaning the industry will need to replace more than 20 per cent of its current workforce over the next decade. Industry promotion is a high priority, as we will need to tap into all potential sources of labour supply to meet growing needs. Increased efforts will aim at attracting youth, women, Aboriginal people, other industries and immigrants, says Flood.
CITY OF TORONTO / CITIES / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Transit, Development & Real Estate and Other News.
“Far From Dead” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about Transit City with Joe Mihevc. He is a Toronto city councillor and former vice-chair of the TTC.
What’s Next? (CBC Metro Morning)
Over the coming days, Mayor Rob Ford is set to meet with councillors to help shape his agenda at City Hall. This morning Matt Galloway spoke with councillors Michelle Berardinetti and Josh Colle.
SOCIAL INNOVATION / NONPROFITS
Charities that spend on political action a ‘tiny fraction’ (Evan Solomon, CBC)
The Conservatives are clamping down on the political activities of registered charities, but tax returns show only a tiny fraction of Canadian organizations spend money for political purposes. A Canadian Press analysis of the Canada Revenue Agency’s charities database found 450 of the 85,000 charities registered in Canada reported spending money on political activities. That’s less than one per cent of all charities.