Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 5, 2012


Ratna Omidvar visits our Region of Waterloo Immigrant Civic Participation – Dialogue on Diversity (Rick Baker)
Ratna is the president of Maytree Foundation, a private foundation that promotes equity and prosperity. Ratna described her organization, “We are not a complaint-driven organization. We recognize problems and focus on solutions.” To provide context for her audience, Ratna briefly described her background: she was born in India and attended university in Germany; she married an Iranian and lived in Iran; and 30 years ago she moved with her family to Canada. So, Ratna spoke from personal experience when she said “Immigrants have to decode the unwritten rules”. People who come to Canada have few problems learning the written rules such as speed limits and instructions on signs. Challenges exist in the many unwritten rules.

Jason Kenney wants to ‘stop the madness’ in immigration system (Anna Mehler Paperny, Globe and Mail)
Jason Kenney has had it with incremental measures. “It frustrates the hell out of me,” the Immigration Minister told The Globe and Mail’s editorial board on Wednesday. “We’re bringing hundreds of thousands of people into the country to end up, many of them, unemployed or underemployed in an economy where there are acute labour shortages.” …Transforming Canada’s immigration system is a good idea, says Maytree Foundation president Ratna Omidvar – just a little belated. “He’s imagining a system that we should have had 10 years ago.”

Report – Making It in Canada: Immigration Outcomes and Policies (IRPP)
Over the past three decades the labour market outcomes of immigrants to Canada have declined. Many recent arrivals have had difficulty finding employment, and earnings have gone down, particularly among men. Research has shown that there is no single explanation for this decline, pointing instead to a number of factors such as a shift in source countries, weak language skills, low economic recognition of foreign work experience and the high-tech bust of the early 2000s. In response, the Canadian government has significantly altered the country’s immigration policy. Although labour market outcomes have improved somewhat since the reform, the overall trend has not been reversed. Garnett Picot and Arthur Sweetman review the existing research, discuss recent changes to immigration policy and programs, and present a number of policy recommendations to address these challenges.

Ottawa’s insistence on high immigration levels during downturns questioned in report (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
A new report on immigration outcomes questions Ottawa’s insistence on maintaining Canada’s high immigration levels despite a recession. Bringing in a huge number of immigrants during an economic downturn could create an underclass of new Canadians caught up in adversity, said the study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.–ottawa-s-insistence-on-high-immigration-levels-during-downturns-questioned-in-report

Chop immigration in recessions: think-tank (Peter O’neil, Edmonton Journal)
The decision of successive Canadian governments since the early 1990s to maintain high immigration flows during tough economic times has added to the poor performance of newcomers over the past 30 years, says a study released Wednesday. “During recessions economic outcomes deteriorate more among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born,” wrote Arthur Sweetman and Garnett Picot in a paper published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, a Montreal-based think-tank.

Toward a better system of admitting immigrants (Montral Gazette)
To counter this kind of parochialism, Ottawa wants to work with the provinces and employers across the country to set up a pool of skilled workers who could be deployed quickly wherever their skills are needed. As a theory it sounds fine, except that workers tend to have their own ideas about what they want to do and where they want to live. One measure that will not fail is the government’s plan to conduct a pre-assessment of applicants before they submit their application. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the idea is to “be more upfront and honest” with would-be immigrants, screening out those who don’t have the requisite job or language skills. What would make this initiative even better would be to include a warning that the federal government does not have the final word – that the provinces and the professional orders do. Call it truth in recruiting.

Skilled workers program changes gives Canada a black eye: lawyer (Tanya Carman, Vancouver Sun)
Canada’s decision to close the files of skilled workers who applied to immigrate before March 2008 will give the country a black eye internationally and deter future immigrants with needed skills, according to a Vancouver immigration lawyer.

Economic Inequality, Women, and Minority Women (Social Planning Toronto)
An excerpt from a public presentation by Kay Blair, Executive Director, MicroSkills – March 2012 It’s been nearly 40 years since the Royal Commission on the Status of Women completed its work and, as yet, there have not been many positive effects for women resulting from the commission’s work. Most glaring are the deepening levels of economic inequity and the declining condition of women.

Immigrant parent-child separation, York University study call for participants (
York University’s Infant and Child Mental Health Lab, in collaboration with Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre are conducting a study to better understand the needs and issues related to parent-child separation.

What does the case of Trayvon Martin tell us about racism in Canada? (Andrew Lawson, First Reference Talks)
Racism has reared its ugly head as a result of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin several weeks ago in Sanford, Florida. Yesterday’s Slate article, “The New Selma?” is just one example of the varied and complex discussions taking place online. This United States-style racism just does not exist in Canada, right? Well, that was my first thought as I followed the news of this tragic event and the resulting media frenzy. The Canadian media have been covering the story almost as enthusiastically as their American counterparts with this National Post article being one example. The difference being that the Canadian media are reporting these events as happening “down there,” which allows Canadian residents to take comfort from the fact that “it could never happen here.”

Scotiabank Turns to Immigrants to Boost Canadian Banking (Sean B. Pasternak, Bloomberg)
Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada’s third- largest bank, plans to increase the share of banking services it offers for newcomers to the country, said Anatol von Hahn, the lender’s group head of domestic banking. “Emigrating India, China or Mexico, we try to get you before you arrive to get you to open some of your banking services,” von Hahn said yesterday during an interview in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where the Toronto-based bank is holding its annual meeting.

Religious ad sparks transit fury (Ashlee Lacasse, QMI Agency)
A Muslim advertisement stating “There is no god but Allah” has started a vigourous debate amongst Toronto transit riders and sparked a review from the Toronto Transit Commission Advertising Commission Group. After five complaints were made, a working group including Coun. Karen Stintz has decided to allow the advertisement to remain in the Kennedy subway station.

Surrey bigamy trial: Accused thought she was divorced before marrying again (Cheryl Chan, The Province)
A former Surrey woman on trial for immigration fraud and bigamy said she married her three husbands with sincere intentions and thought she was divorced before marrying for the second and third times. In New Westminster Supreme Court Wednesday, defence presented Jotika Ashni Reddy, 33, as a naive, trusting woman with dyslexia who was taken advantage by a friend and an immigration consultant.

Two Carleton professors shortlisted for Donner Prize (Laura Armstrong, The Ottawa Citizen)
Economics professor Worswick co-authored Toward Improving Canada’s Skilled Immigration Policy: An Evaluation Approach with Charles M. Beach and Alan G. Green, which focuses on the need for reform in Canada’s policy towards skilled immigrants. He said he was surprised by the recognition as the book targeted academics and policy analysts but hopes it will stimulate new research in the area of skilled immigration.

Immigration book on short list (Whig-Standard)
Two Queen’s University professors co-authored a book that has been shortlisted for the prestigious Donner Prize. Charles Beach, a professor of Economics, and the late Alan G. Green, who was a professor Emeritus and who died before the book was completed, penned Toward Improving Canada’s Skilled Immigration Policy: An Evaluation Approach along with Carleton University professor of Economics Christopher Worswick.

Op-Ed: What does your Toronto look like? (KJ Mullins, Digital Journal)
Those in the city of Toronto often talk about being a culturally diverse city but what does that really mean? Does it mean imitation foreign food and beliefs toned down to Canadian standards or does it mean being able to relate to a sea of people?

Food truck operators, city councillor seek new recipe for success (Arielle Quigley, Toronto Observer)
Carly Dunster is a food lawyer and part of a campaign known as the Toronto Street Food Project, which is targeting the lack of diversity in street food. She said that the city was not ready for the A La Carte program and that it was too over-regulated.

Richmond school district to look at impact of poverty (Sandor Gyarmati, Delta Optimist)
Richmond school trustee Rod Belleza wants to know how the district can better help students impacted by poverty. The board of education Monday was to discuss a motion by Belleza asking staff to investigate the perceived impact of child poverty in the district, measures that have already been taken as well as recommendations for actions by the district that could help improve student success for those impacted.

Minority report: Taking a closer look at newsroom diversity (Belinda Alzner, J-Source)
Journalists report on a colourful world, so why are their newsrooms so blatantly monochrome? News organizations have spoken about the importance of having people from different backgrounds present in the field, yet there is an incredible lack of diversity within the media. Are we making a point to not hire members of visible minorities? No, it’s not that simple. Instead, fingers point to institutional barriers that are largely systematic and unconscious. In the latest issue of the King’s Journalism Review, Iris Estrada explores the subject of diversity in Canadian newsrooms and uncovers some of the problems faced by journalists who belong to a visible minority.

Multicultural society shares Italian immigration experience in Revelstoke (Aaron Orlando, Revelstoke Times Review)
Revelstoke resident Tony Scarcella was a guest speaker at the Revelstoke Multicultural Society’s monthly film night series at Okanagan College last week. Scarcella followed his extended family to Revelstoke in 1952 when he was 16, leaving his farming community of Spezzano Piccolo in Calabria behind.

Webinar recording: Immigration, Women, and Children: Part I – Basic Concepts (Your legal rights)
This webinar reviews basic immigration terms and pointers for women who are not Canadian citizens and whose status may be affected by their partner and the breakdown of their relationship. It covers understanding immigration status, getting control of the immigration file, and where to look for help. The presentation slides include everything covered in the webinar plus a section on how to find help.

April 12: SALCO Forum on Bill C-31, the Immigration Bill (Your Legal Rights)
On February 16th, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tabled Bill C-31 – an immigration omnibus bill now widely condemned as the Refugee Exclusion Act. An amalgamation of some of the most cruel elements of previous bills, C-31 is a drastic and draconian attack on immigrants that introduces measures that jail refugees, establishes an unjust two-tier asylum system, and ends Permanent Residence in Canada as we know it. We cannot let this happen.

Sisters Club Fights Canada Muslim Myths (OnIslam)
Reaching out to their society about their beliefs, a group of Muslim female students in Canada have established a club to clear misconceptions long associated with their faith. “It’s not only to show our own culture, it’s to share my ways of helping people,” Hayfaa Golabkhan, who came up with the idea for the Muslim Sisters Club, told Kamloops Daily News on Monday, April 2.

From Brampton to Bangladesh, anti-Hindu hate is all too real (Jonathan Kay, National Post)
The propaganda campaign against Hindus gets relatively scant attention in Western journalistic circles, despite the many articles we pump out about Muslim anti-Semitism and (more recently) anti-Christian violence in Egypt, Iraq and Syria. Presumably this is because we take it for granted that Hindus are well-protected, since they comprise a majority in India, one of the world’s rising powers.

Diversity in the GTA (Building Industry and Land Development Association)
At last Wednesday’s low-rise forum, we heard from our panel (John Amardeil of BAM, Andrew Brethour of PMA Brethour Realty Group, Susan Wong of Markham Centre Realty. Inc. & Jenny Park of The Epoch Times) on diversity in the GTA. While we all know we live in an exceptionally diverse part of the country, and the world, the forum provided some insights into the people behind the numbers, as well as some truly staggering statistics.


Bill C-31 unfairly targets families (CCLA)
When is it legitimate to target and hurt innocent families? Unfortunately, this is not a riddle. The government’s new omnibus anti-refugee bill (C-31) would do precisely that — and for no good reason. Take, for example, the detention of asylum seekers entering Canada. Under bill C-31, the minister could at his or her whim designate certain “groups” (or families) arriving in Canada, even if their reason for coming is that they were escaping torture, sexual violence or other targeted atrocities in their home country.

Bill C-31 would usher in “harsher regime” for refugees in Canada, critic says (Yolande Cole,
As Canada marks the anniversary of a Supreme Court decision affirming the rights of refugee claimants, advocacy groups concerned about proposed federal legislation are planning to fight the bill they claim will create a “two-tier status” for people fleeing other countries. Vancouver lawyer Catherine Dauvergne, the Canada Research Chair in migration law and a member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), argued Bill C-31 will move the country toward “a much harsher regime for refugee protection”.

Bill C-31 will destroy key aspects of Canada’s refugee system (Edward C. Corrigan,
The Justice for Immigrants and Refugees Coalition, composed of nearly 60 national organizations across Canada, has attacked the proposed changes. They state the changes are “unconstitutional” and undermine “Canada’s humanitarian traditions” and violate “Canada’s international obligations.” The coalition held a press conference in Ottawa March 26, declaring “Bill C-31 is bad policy and creates a manifestly unfair system that will fail to protect refugees in Canada.”

Bill C-31: Refugee wrongs or refugee rights? (Immigration Legal Committee,
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently offered to the press an uncharacteristic opinion about Canada’s temporary foreign worker program. He commented that he would like to give temporary foreign workers “a more realistic choice of staying here as permanent residents.” As a group of lawyers, legal workers and law students, this caught us off guard. After all, the Conservative government has actively increased the temporary foreign worker program since it took power, and, along with it, the potential for exploitative and dangerous working conditions. The vast majority of these migrant labourers, hailing from such places as Latin America and the Caribbean, are denied access to permanent residency altogether.

Bill C-31 And Our Refugee System: A Plea For Justice (Gergory Johannson, Pass it to the left)
Are we afraid of refugees? Has something changed? I would like to think not. How we treat the most vulnerable is what defines us as a society. And we’re a good society – I have faith. A few bad apples doesn’t ruin the whole bunch. Rather, the issue is we stopped caring – I am more disconcerted in how careless we have become in regards to refugees, than with what Kenney has to say on this day or that. We elected him to say those things.

Canada refuses sanctuary to a soldier in Charles Taylor’s army (Adrian Humphreys, National Post)
Sampson Jalloh was a young man when conscripted by the rebel army in Liberia that had tortured and murdered his father. A member of the Mandingo ethnic minority, his job was to go into villages and lure fellow Mandingoes out of their homes, where they would be brutalized and killed by rebel fighters.

Refugee board rebuked for questioning claimant’s religious beliefs (Douglas Quan, Postmedia News)
The Federal Court has once again rebuked the Immigration and Refugee Board for the way it probed the genuineness of a refugee claimant’s spiritual beliefs and practices. “The Board is tasked with assessing the applicant’s credibility and not the soundness of his theology,” Justice Donald J. Rennie wrote in a decision. “A claimant may have a poor understanding of the minutiae of the religious doctrine but that does not, necessarily, mean his faith is not genuine.”

Canada Becomes Less Refugee-Friendly (Mike Conway, Capilano Courier)
Canadians take great pride in the generosity and compassion of our immigration and refugee programs. But they have no tolerance for those who abuse our generosity and seek to take unfair advantage of our country,” said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism. He was speaking about the government’s motivation for the proposed Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. This act is the third version of a hotly-debated bill that the Conservative government has been trying to pass since March of 2010. The newest version proposes changes that build on reforms to the asylum system passed in June 2010 as part of another piece of legislation, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The changes are being made because, according to Jason Kenney, “it has become clear that there are gaps in the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and we need stronger measures.”

Canada Keeps Children in Detention (CCR)
The CCR Youth Network demands that the government of Canada STOP detaining children in immigration detention. Many in Canada might be surprised to know that children are routinely held in immigration detention, for weeks and even months at a time.

Bogus Roma refugees cost $500m (Nicole O’Reilly, Hamilton Spectator)
The growing number of bogus refugee claimants from Hungary is costing Canada upwards of $500 million, says the lead prosecutor of Hamilton’s largest human trafficking ring. Assistant Crown Attorney Toni Skarica made the remarks during the guilty plea and sentencing of a mother and son, who were “lower level players” in a Hungarian Roma organization in Hamilton. The gang enslaved 19 people from their native country and forced them to work unpaid labour in Canada.–bogus-roma-refugees-cost-500m

Taking sensitive stories on tour (Lesley De Marinis, Concordia)
Developed in collaboration with the Canadian Council for Refugees and Montreal Life Stories, Mapping Memories is a participatory multimedia project that helps youth with refugee experiences create and then share their stories to diverse publics in Montreal. A major aspect of the project is the Youth Speaking Tour, where young refugees visit schools in Quebec to discuss, among other things, refugee experiences and human rights issues, and to make students aware of the Mapping Memories book and DVD.


Vertical Poverty Revisited: Immigrants in Toronto’s High-Rise Private Rental Housing (Housing Services Corporation)
Building upon the the dataset generated for the United Way of Greater Toronto’s Vertical Poverty report, this paper examines the experience of immigrants in the private high-rise stock in Toronto’s inner suburbs. The research indicates that this housing stock plays a critical role as a supplier of affordable housing for immigrants in one of Canada’s largest gateway cities. The paper also notes that better integration of housing and immigration/settlement policies and services are required to increase social cohesion within these communities and to support better settlement and social integration.

Quick-Fire Questions for John Osbourne, HSC Housing Intern (Housing Services Corporation)
John Osbourne is a PhD candidate in geography at the University of Western Ontario. Originally from Neepawa, Manitoba, he received his undergraduate degree in Geography at the University of Winnipeg. He recently took some time to answer a few questions about himself and his research paper Vertical Poverty Revisited: Immigrants in Toronto’s High-Rise Private Rental Housing.

Take Action on Ontario Budget 2012 (Social Planning Toronto)
On April 3, the NDP made an important announcement. They said they want the budget to include a new income tax on people making over $500,000, with some of that money going to a 1% increase for people who rely on the Ontario Disability Support Program. This would be an important step forward on making the Budget more fair and more balanced.

Media and Policy News: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 (ISAC)
Topics: Ontario Budget 2012, Federal Budget 2012, Around the Province and Across the Country, Other Cool Stuff.


Global Talent for SMEs: Building Bridges and Making Connections (ALLIES)
Global Talent for SMEs highlights findings of a year-long study of new, innovative and promising initiatives that can help connect SMEs with the skilled immigrant labour pool. The findings draw on the input of nearly 300 SMEs from five Canadian cities, individual interviews, and an online survey conducted by the Conference Board of Canada.

New approach proposed for immigrant recruiting (Wallace Imen, Globe and Mail)
Canada annually receives about 250,000 immigrants – many of whom have advanced degrees and skills that are in demand – but only a small fraction of them manage to land jobs at SMBs, which represent 64 per cent of new private-sector positions. The issue is two-fold, the report concludes: Smaller employers are often unaware of the skills immigrants bring to the table or how to reach out to them, while newcomers tend to focus their job hunts on well-known corporations. “This represents a huge opportunity,” said Ratna Omidvar, president of study sponsor Maytree, a non-profit foundation that develops programs to integrate immigrants into the work force. The consultations for Global Talent for SMEs: Building Bridges and Making Connections, conducted by a division of Maytree, included 300 small-business owners in five focus groups across Canada, and individual interviews with entrepreneurs.

How to improve immigrant hiring process (Globe and Mail)
Recommendations from small business focus groups.

SMEs: the business case for hiring skilled immigrants (Maytree)
A new report released by ALLIES highlights new ways to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to hire skilled immigrants.

New report brings small business to the immigration conversation (Canadian Immigrant)
A new report released by ALLIES highlights new ways to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to hire skilled immigrants. The report notes that SMEs face skills and labour shortages, and compete with larger businesses for skilled talent. However, due to a lack of HR personnel and resources, SMEs are underutilizing the skills and talents of immigrants in the workforce.

Diversity Lives Here to help with local workforce (Courier-Islander)
Diversity Lives Here provides solutions to the skilled labour shortage that will help employers maintain their workforce while improving their bottom line. Diverse workforces increase innovation, productivity and profitability in an organization. By attracting and retaining skilled personnel, businesses have fewer costs associated with high turnover rates and training expenses. Furthermore, by having a diverse talent pool, an employer can access not only international markets but also international communities within the local market, opening an organization to new customers and clients.

Windsor area Immigrant training program opens doors (Dave Hall, The Windsor Star)
The three-year-old program was recognized Wednesday with a national award from the CMA for helping internationally trained accountants and professionals qualify for the CMA accreditation process while supporting management accounting. So far, the program has received 234 applications, taken in 70 students of which 76 per cent passed the national CMA exams and 86 per cent of those have found employment in their field.

Global job bank would help identify the best immigrants (Marni Soupcoff, National Post)
How can Canada ensure that the new immigrants it accepts will be self-motivated individuals who are attractive to Canadian employers? The latest idea from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who on Friday elaborated on the federal government’s plans to create a huge global job bank to which would-be Canadians can apply while they are still living overseas, is a fairly good start.


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


Social Impact Bonds. What? (Canadian CED Network)
As is illustrated by today’s federal budget, Canada is among a growing number of governments around the world are experimenting with new financial instruments, notably ones that are most often in Canada called ‘social impact bonds’ (SiB).


Few aware of extent of human trafficking in Canada, experts say (Natalie Stechyson, Postmedia News)
As the kingpin of Canada’s largest human trafficking case to date was handed a nine-year sentence Tuesday — the toughest Canadian sentence for human trafficking yet — experts say it represents just the tip of the iceberg.

Human-trafficking kingpin lived life of successful immigrant (Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail)
Ferenc Domotor was the picture of a successful immigrant: He lived in an ample new suburban home, ran a small business and raised four children in his adoptive country. But Mr. Domotor’s wealth had a dark source. He was the kingpin of a large human-trafficking ring that lured men from his native Hungary with promises of a better life, only to make them work long hours for no pay on construction sites across Ontario.

Top 5 human trafficking cases in Canada (Nicole Bogart, Global)
A total of 19 victims were lured into Canada with promises of a new life, but instead were imprisoned in Domotor’s basement, living in horrifying conditions and forced to work for free. In light of this case Global looks at the top five human trafficking cases in Canada.

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

RT @ccrweb: Detention is not in the best interest of refugee #children. Canada must find fair alternatives. #cdnpoli #cdnimm