Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 9, 2012

IMMIGRATION / SETTLEMENT / DIVERSITY

Ottawa needs to balance common sense and compassion in immigration reform (Toronto Star editorial)
To hear Stephen Harper’s government tell it, Canada’s immigration system is in dire need of a fix, and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney intends to deliver it. In a meeting with the Star’s editorial board this past week Kenney sketched out bold plans for a faster, more flexible system that will give “the best and the brightest” newcomers a better chance to succeed, and will rely less on temporary workers. In effect, Kenney envisages filling gaps in the labour market by importing more highly qualified workers on a permanent basis, helping them to hit the ground running, and curbing our reliance on temporary foreign workers in areas where joblessness is high.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/1157603–ottawa-needs-to-balance-common-sense-and-compassion-in-immigration-reform

Revamping immigration system won’t solve all the problems (Vancouver Sun)
In the end, the federal government solved the problem of Canada’s eight-year-long, 284,000-applicant immigration backlog the simplest way possible: it erased it. Ottawa has cancelled applications that predated Feb. 27, 2008, telling applicants they are welcome to apply again and promising to refund the collective $130 million in fees they paid to apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Program. It might have been fairer for the government to sift through the waiting list for particularly worthy candidates, but the list had become so long that just starting over made pragmatic sense. The government’s goal of creating a “fast and flexible economic immigration system” could never get off the ground as long as the enormous backlog existed.
http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Revamping+immigration+system+solve+problems/6420628/story.html

Video: Jason Kenney on transforming Canada’s immigration system (Globe and Mail)
The Immigration Minister explains to the Globe’s Marina Jimenez that Canada needs to streamline the process to allow qualified immigrants into the country sooner, and allow their expertise to benefit Canadians faster.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/video-jason-kenney-on-transforming-canadas-immigration-system/article2393024/

Canadian-designed sport hijab earns FIFA’s attention (Sudbury Star)
The international soccer governing body will consider a prototype of a sports hijab designed by an Iranian-Canadian. The International Federation of Association Football, commonly known by its acronym FIFA, banned the hijab in 2007. Rule 4 of FIFA’s Laws of the Game states that a player’s equipment “must not have any political religious or personal statements.” However, FIFA announced last month that it will allow women to wear specially designed sport hijabs. A final decision on the new headwear is expected in summer.
http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3528051

Protesters vent their ire against Canadian govt (Arjun Sharma, Hindustan Times)
With the proposed changes in the rules and regulations for immigration and citizenship of federal skilled workers (FSW) by the Canadian government, residents of Ludhiana aspiring to go to Canada have found Facebook to vent their anger against the Canadian government. Residents also staged a protest at Chattar Singh Park here on Sunday. Under the proposed legislation, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) will close the files of FSW applicants who applied before February 27, 2008, and for whom the immigration officer had not made a decision based on selection criteria by March 29.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/Punjab/Ludhiana/Protesters-vent-their-ire-against-Canadian-govt/SP-Article1-837879.aspx

Immigrant aspirants in Dubai feel cheated (Majorie van Leijen, Emirates 24/7)
Immigration consultancy is a big business in Dubai. People insecure of how to go about the big move to another country often choose to adopt the services of an ‘immigration consultant’, who facilitates the process from assessment to settlement. However, many of the emigrants end up feeling cheated and disappointed with what they get in return for the large sum of money they paid, the effort they made and the time it took.
http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/immigrant-aspirants-in-dubai-feel-cheated-2012-04-07-1.452587

Let’s get representative (Dr. Ivan D. Harding, Anglican Journal)
In the March issue of the Montreal Anglican [p. 4] a picture with the caption read in part, “More than 40 women priests from across Canada attended a service at St. John’s Church in Lunenburg, N.S.” All the women priests in the picture were white Anglo-Saxon Canadians. Conspicuous by their absence were visible minority women ordinands to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada. “We were edified and encouraged by the fellowship and being able to connect with our sisters,” Canon Borden Taylor said. What of those sisters, those visible minorities, who comprise more than 40 per cent of regular churchgoers? In the dioceses of Montreal and Toronto, respectively, visible minorities comprise the majority of worshippers in most churches today. It can be said that had it not been for visible minorities, there would be more church closures.
http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/other/news-items/c/opinion/article/lets-get-representative-10567//abp/166.html

McGill PhD student grilled by U.S. border agents (Benjamin Shingler, Herald News)
A Montreal university student was detained at the U.S. border, held for several hours, interrogated, had his personal belongings searched and saw his computer confiscated for over a week. What caught the authorities’ attention? His doctoral research on Islamic studies, he says.
http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/82304-mcgill-phd-student-grilled-us-border-agents

Toronto’s ReelWorld Film Festival celebrates ethnic diversity (Lynn Fenske, Toronto Film Examiner)
Since Toronto appears to be the most multicultural metropolis in the world it seems only natural that the city has a festival showcasing films made by and for people of colour.
http://www.examiner.com/film-in-toronto/toronto-s-reelworld-film-festival-celebrates-ethnic-diversity

Hate mail after ban on bible handout at Ontario schools (CTV)
An Ontario public school board’s decision to ban distribution of Gideon Bibles to its young students has unleashed a torrent of threatening calls and hateful emails directed at trustees. Some messages to the Bluewater District School Board express racist sentiment and question trustees’ patriotism.
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20120408/gideon-bible-handout-ban-bluewater-120408

The government’s vision for an immigration program focused on job creation, economic growth, and prosperity (CIC)
And I’m here today to tell you that in our budget last week, we are signalling a program of transformational reform of Canada’s economic immigration programs to ensure that the future for the people stepping off the plane today at Pearson, ends up like the future of so many of you in this room….. people who have realized Canada’s opportunity rather than a future of disappointment, of barriers, of hurdles, of underemployment and indeed of unemployment. Now let me tell you some of the bad news, and then the good news. The bad news is that, for the better part of three decades, we have seen the economic outcomes for immigrants on the decline. Higher levels of unemployment compared to the general population and lower levels of income. In fact today, the unemployment rate amongst native born Canadians is about 7 per cent, but amongst immigrants to Canada, it’s 14 per cent. The unemployment rate for Canadians with university degrees is about 5 per cent, but amongst foreign born Canadians with university degrees, it’s about 15 per cetn –three times higher.
http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?nid=667119

Gambling leaves too many people with no chance (Roger Currie, Winnipeg Free Press)
Tepperman relates the problem to other addictions that have plagued First Nations. But he offers almost no examination of the growth of aboriginal casinos, which have become a major source of economic development for aboriginal people. He does a good job of surveying the history of gambling in a variety of cultures, especially the Chinese and other Asian communities. The growth of gambling in Canada has paralleled the dramatic rise in immigration from these countries. Immigrants from these areas are definitely players at Club Regent and McPhillips Station and dozens of other casinos across Canada.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/books/gambling-leaves-too-many-people-with-no-chance-146513485.html

Muslim women lambaste one-dimensional stereotypes (Nadia Kidwai, Winnipeg Free Press)
IN the aftermath of the Shafia trial here in Canada and more recently the murder of Shaima Alawadi in San Diego, the image of Muslim women in the media is too often one that is associated with narratives of suppression, repression and violence. Enter Love, InshAllah, which admirably aims to lambaste these one-dimensional stereotypes in one fell swoop. Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women is a collection of short, real-life accounts of the love stories of 24 different American Muslim women. Edited by San Francisco-based writers Ayesha Mattu and Nura Maznavi, the book gives several Muslim women writers the space to tell their own stories, on subjects that are rarely given much public coverage in Muslim communities: love, romance and, yes (gasp), even sex.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/entertainment/books/muslim-women-lambaste-one-dimensional-stereotypes-146513475.html

NDP Tables Bill To Address Discrimination Of Immigrants (The Link)
New Democrat Citizenship and Immigration critic Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway) introduced a bill this week that will establish an appeal process, under section 38 of IRPA, when a person is denied permanent residency due to health issues or disabilities.
http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=15616

New Canadians promise renewal for Christian churches (Brent Wittmeier, Edmonton Journal)
For some aging Canadian churches with declining attendance, the road ahead is grim and marked by suffering. But for congregations being infused with new Canadians, there’s promise of resurrection and renewal that fits well with the message of Easter. At Mary Help of Christians, most of the 500 or so parishioners hail from Hong Kong or Taiwan, says Alan Ching, a 52-year-old physiotherapist who chairs the parish pastoral council. Cantonese is the main language in two of three weekly masses at the old Knights of Columbus building, just off Jasper Avenue at 119th Street. The early Sunday morning mass is in English. Approaching its 25th anniversary in May, the number of families at the church is holding steady.
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/life/Canadians+promise+renewal+Christian+churches/6426072/story.html

Multi-cultural outlook on music (Sean Meyer, London Community News)
Unlike the so-called melting pot in the United States, Canada is described as a cultural mosaic where a mix of ethnic groups, languages and cultures co-exist within Canadian society. London is an example of this mosaic with its many diverse communities, but another one will be found on the stage at the Aeolian Performing Arts Centre later this month. The Light of East Ensemble will be performing at the Aeolian on Sunday, April 22, bringing its own multi-cultural musical harmony to the stage.
http://www.londoncommunitynews.com/2012/04/multi-cultural-outlook-on-music/

‘Canada can’t sit on its duff’ (Ian MacAlpine, Kingston Whig-Standard)
The book deals with the issue of bringing skilled immigrants to Canada and some of the pitfalls involved in that. It appears the government is listening to some recommendations in the book and making changes to immigration policies, says Beach. “The people at Citizenship and Immigration Canada have been following the work on this as we’ve gone along and since we’ve been published,” says Beach in an interview in his Dunning Hall office, which is cluttered with books, papers and studies from his four decades of research in economics and immigration. “I do notice every once in a while there’s some sort of announcement from the minister. “It’s my job to poke holes for making improvements. But I find it increasingly difficult every time the minister answers something we tick it off and say that’s consistent to what we’re recommending here. “This is unlike anything I’ve ever done in my life and is having an almost immediate effect on quite major policy changes in Ottawa. It’s almost a bit surreal.
http://www.thewhig.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3526900

Fighting racism across Turtle Island (Dan Kellar, rabble.ca)
The response to white power #boneheads organizing in Edmonton and London is strong as hundreds of anti-racists and #antifa warriors drive neo-nazis back under the rock they came out from under. These actions occur as communities in Vancouver come together to march for the elimination of racial discrimination and as Canadian minister of censorship and deportation Jason Kenney uses question period to have his government attack No One Is Illegal (http://nooneisillegal.org) as “more than just a noisey protest group.”
http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/awl/2012/04/fighting-racism-across-turtle-island

Introducing Toronto featured in Canadian Newcomer magazine (Gerard Keledjian, The Immigrant)
“The program is the brainchild of Community Producer Gerard Keledjian, who was inspired to create it by his own immigration experiences. Keledjian, who came to Canada from Dubai a year ago and is active in the immigrant community, volunteered with Rogers TV to make this series. “I wanted to help myself build my Canadian portfolio, by helping others,” he says. “I want to educate newcomers about all the tools, programs, and opportunities out there… and inspire them with achievements that previous newcomers were able to make.”
http://theimmigrant.ca/2012/04/06/introducing-toronto-featured-in-canadian-newcomer-magazine/

Introducing Toronto (Rogers TV)
This half-hour magazine program introduces various community agencies and educational institutions that serve the immigrant community in Toronto. These include job search workshops, language courses, bridging programs, mentoring initiatives and other resources.
http://www.rogerstv.com/page.aspx?lid=12&rid=16&sid=4799&ref=introducingtoronto

Heather Mallick’s Reasonable Test™ for an unreasonable world (Heather Mallick, Toronto Star)
A number of unreasonable things have emerged in Canada this week. They call for The Reasonable Test™, something I have devised to calm the waters in a time when many people appear to, not to put too fine a point on it, hate each other to the point where neither exile nor disembowelment will do the trick… Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says immigrants should learn English before coming to Canada. While this can’t be applied to refugees, who are too busy awaiting the knock on the door and the application of live electrical wire to learn a new language, spoken English does allow immigrants an open door into Canadian life. “May I buy you a drink?” “Loonies and toonies.” “A Brinks truck crash just south of Kirkland Lake.” These are phrases that will change your life when you land at Pearson. Also, “We charge for luggage carts here.” It’s essential to speak English. This is not unreasonable.
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1157907–heather-mallick-s-reasonable-test-for-an-unreasonable-world

Media Portrayals of Visible Minorities: Overview (Media Awareness Network)
Media speaks volumes about what is important in a society. George Gerbner of Temple University discusses how portrayals in media can affect how children see themselves and others: he argues that if you are over-represented, you see yourself as having many opportunities and choices while if you’re under-represented, you see yourself as having the opposite. Minelle Mahtani of the University of Toronto agrees: “Ethnic minorities in Canada do not see themselves mirrored in the media, and this perpetuates feelings of rejection, trivialises their contributions, and devalues their role as citizens in their nations” [1]. Since the media grants legitimacy to certain populations by including them and treating them respectfully, fair and equal representation is critical for building a healthy multicultural society.
http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/ethnics_and_minorities/overview.cfm

Man denied Canadian citizenship over oath mix-up (CBC)
A government official wrongly denied an immigrant his Canadian citizenship because he wrongly believed the man was mouthing the oath of citizenship rather than repeating it out loud, Citizenship and Immigration Canada says. The mix-up took place at a March 29 ceremony, CIC said in a letter to the CBC’s Evan Dyer. “A citizenship officer at the ceremony determined that the candidate was not articulating the words of the Oath of Citizenship,” said CIC spokeswoman Mary Jago.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/04/05/ottawa-canadian-citizenship-denied-after-error-around-oath.html?cmp=rss

Voters enable government spending (Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen)
Their preferred future, the “northern tiger,” relies on a number of key policy decisions. Post-secondary education needs to be better aligned with actual job demands. We need to increase the percentage of immigrants who will be quickly employable, something the federal government is tackling. Canadian businesses need to invest in technology and fight to be best in the world. The report’s bottom line is that we need a diverse economy that uses all the skills we have, not a narrow, resource-based economy that leaves many out. Achieving those kinds of goals would involve business and government working together to take big decisions, many of which would not have immediate payback for shareholders or voters. This would be extremely uncharacteristic behaviour. Right now, we have a country where some provinces are booming and others are struggling. Despite increasing levels of education, youth unemployment is high. Our immigrants have a tough time finding meaningful work. If we want that to change, we will need to start thinking about something bigger than what government can do for us, right now.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Voters+enable+government+spending/6419799/story.html

Police board takes steps to monitor ‘carding’ of young men (Patty Winsa, Toronto Star)
After years of allowing officers to stop and document a disproportionately high number of black residents, the Toronto Police Services Board is finally taking steps to curb the practice. Following a recent series of Star articles that showed blacks were subjected to three times as many stops as whites, the civilian oversight board passed several motions Thursday that will dramatically increase monitoring of the practice known as “carding.” A motion from chair Alok Mukherjee recommended that city Auditor General Jeff Griffiths conduct an independent review of the race-based statistics kept by police, who record skin colour — black, brown, white or “other” — each time they stop and document a resident.
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1157566–moves-address-concerns-that-young-black-and-brown-men-face-police-harassment-because-of-race?bn=1

CSI Regent Park Blog: Revitalization or Gentrification? (Natasha Stephens, CSI)
I have been working with the Regent Park employment services and other organizations on exploring a strategy to integrate internationally trained professionals into the CSI community. CSI Regent Park can contribute to the revitalization process by exploring strategies to provide valuable Canadian experience through the community animator positions as well as in a number of volunteer roles. Revitalization can also mean professional newcomers reaching their full potential in Canada and giving back to the community in professional roles. Like most professional immigrant families, Nadia’s family left Regent Park once they could afford to do so. However, because of the revitalization, the professional trained abroad can now stay, live and work in Regent Park.
http://socialinnovation.ca/blog/csi-regent-park-blog-revitalization-or-gentrification

Breast Cancer in Toronto’s Bangladeshi Communities (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Dr. Ophira Ginsburg, a local oncologist who is working to improve the odds for Bangladeshi women with breast cancer, both in Toronto and in Bangladesh.
http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/episodes/2012/04/04/breast-cancer-in-torontos-bangladeshi-communities/

REFUGEES

Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 7 #1, 4 April 2012 (Refugee Rights Day edition) (CCR)
CONTENTS:
Protecting Refugees from Bill C-31: Time to take action
How will you mark Refugee Rights Day this April 4th?
Conditional Permanent Residence: Increasing vulnerability and violence
Sponsoring Parents and Grandparents: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) wants to hear from you
Participate in the CCR Spring Consultation, Fredericton, 31 May – 2 June
http://ccrweb.ca/en/bulletin/12/04/04

Saskatoon coalition worries about refugee bill (Janet French, The StarPhoenix)
A Saskatoon refugee advocacy and support group is adding its voice to a chorus of protests about a Conservative refugee bill now before Parliament. The Saskatoon Refugee Coalition held a news conference Thursday to outline its worries about Bill C 31, Protecting Canada’s Immigration Act. The bill, which is meant to streamline the processing of refugee claims and prevent abuse of Canada as a safe haven, could rip apart refugee families and deport immigrants who have lived here for years, should the minister decide their home country is “safe.”
http://www.thestarphoenix.com/life/Saskatoon+coalition+worries+about+refugee+bill/6421475/story.html

Laval family blames lost paperwork for deportation (CBC)
A Laval family is facing what appears to be imminent deportation to Guinea Sunday after public pleas for reconsideration have failed to result in a last minute reprieve. Several dozen supporters of the Keita family protested outside the Montreal office of the federal Citizenship and Immigration department Saturday in the hopes that the government would step in and stay the deportation order. Kankou Keita and her five children were ordered deported back to their native Guinea after their refugee claim was refused.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2012/04/08/montreal-immigration-deporation-guinea.html

A quiet sense of mission (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Abdullahi Hassan Eyow studied petroleum geology, and spent the early part of his career searching for oil deposits trapped beneath the arid landscape of northern Somalia. Then came war, followed by life in Canada as a refugee who never stopped thinking about his homeland and what he could do to make it safer. Eleven years ago, Eyow returned to Somalia to begin a new career: finding and developing human potential stifled by civil war.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/quiet+sense+mission/6426808/story.html

Protesters call on Canadian government to kill immigration bill (Ross Armour And Sascha Porteous, Langara College Voice)
Former chairman of the Immigration and Refugee Board Peter Showler said in an interview with rabble.ca that Bill C-31 is “a bill that violates the Canadian Charter of Rights, international law and, frankly, common sense as well.” “We actually do believe that it is necessary to reform Canada’s refugee system but it’s important to do it in a way that has features that are fast, fair and effective. None of these features are contained in Bill C-31,” said Showler.
http://langaravoice.com/protesters-call-on-canadian-government-to-kil

Hungary’s ‘refugees’ not winning the country fans in Canada (William Lower, The Budapest Times)
Hungarians currently top the list of foreign nationalities seeking refugee status in Canada. It is a delicate problem. As far as I know, the Canadian government would like to avoid imposing visa restrictions on Hungarians travelling to Canada because if it did, almost certainly Hungary would reciprocate. On my last two trips ticket agents at the airport in Toronto have inspected my Hungarian residency permit. Maybe it was just out of curiosity (“Wow! I’ve never seen a Canadian with one of these before!”). But I think not. Today there is more scrutiny of Hungarians entering Canada and more scrutiny of Canadians making a return trip to Hungary. That’s speculation on my part but airline ticket agents never used to ask to see my permit. Today they do.
http://www.budapesttimes.hu/2012/04/06/hungarys-refugees-not-winning-the-country-fans-in-canada/

Aspirations for Higher Education among Newcomer Refugee Youth in Toronto: Expectations, Challenges, and Strategies (Yogendra B. Shakya, Sepali Guruge, Michaela Hynie, Arzo Akbari, Mohamed Malik, Sheila Htoo, Azza Khogali, Stella Abiyo Mona, Rabea Murtaza, Sarah Alley, Refuge)
A large percentage of refugees have low levels of education and official language fluency upon arrival in Canada. Thi spaper discusses educational goals of newcomer refugee youth from three communities in Toronto (Afghan, Karen, and Sudanese), and explores how these are linked to premigration and post-migration determinants. Guided by community-based research principles, we collaborated with eight refugee youth peer researchers and conducted ten focus groups and thirteen interviews with refugee youth. Results show that newcomer refugee youth develop strong aspirations for higher education in Canada as a proactive response to overcome pre-migration experiences of forced migration and educational disruptions. We then discuss how these youth negotiate educational goals in post-migration context in relation to shifts in family responsibilities and everyday encounter with multiple systemic barriers in Canada. In doing this, we examine the thin line between vulnerability and empowerment that refugee youth straddle and reveal policy gaps and contradictions in the depoliticized humanitarianism within refugee resettlement in Canada.
http://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/refuge/article/view/34723

Canada no longer a safe haven for genuine refugees (Sonya Nigam, Canadian Lawyer Magazine)
While Canada ranks fifth as one of the world’s happiest places, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees it ranks 8th as a destination of choice for asylum seekers — with the United States, France, and Germany taking the top spots.
http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/4122/canada-no-longer-a-safe-haven-for-genuine-refugees.html

POVERTY / HEALTH / HOMELESSNESS / SOCIAL INCLUSION

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (anadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Numerators, denominators and Conservative attack ads (John Stapleton) – March 26
2. The 2012 Alberta general election will take place April 23, 2012
3. Senators Hugh Segal and Marjory LeBreton disagree about the demise of the National Council of Welfare (Armine Yalnizyan, rabble.ca) – April 5
4. The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness: New Alliance Champions End to Homelessness in Canada (Wellesley Institute, Calgary Homeless Foundation and partners) – April 5
5. Report Card on Ending Homelessness in Ottawa, Jan. – Dec. 2011 (Alliance to End Homelessness in Ottawa) – April 3
6. Commentary on The Harper Government™ by Frances Russell (Winnipeg Free Press) and Paul Wells (Macleans.ca)- April 3,4
7. Later Retirement : the Win-Win Solution [to the Old Age Security age of
eligibility question] (By Peter Hicks, C.D. Howe Institute) – March 2012
8. 2012 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada – April 3
9. Latest Media and Policy News (By Jennefer Laidley of the Income Security Advocacy Centre) – April 2
10. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Labour Force Survey, March 2012 – April 5
— Canada at a Glance 2012 – April 4
— Food availability, 2011 – April 2
11. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit
http://www.canadiansocialresearch.net/personal/news080412.htm

Governments have betrayed their promises to the poor (Deirdre Pike, Hamilton Spectator)
Betrayal. It’s a major theme in the Christian church during Holy Week which wraps up tomorrow with the celebration of Easter Sunday. Betrayal has also been the theme of the budgets that have been put forward by both our provincial and federal governments over the last two politically unholy weeks. For the nearly 90,000 people in Hamilton who live below the poverty line, the betrayal has been most stinging from the provincial Liberals. It all started back in 2008 but culminated last week when social assistance rates were frozen and the Ontario Child Benefit (OCB) was stalled by $100 a month.
http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/699803–governments-have-betrayed-their-promises-to-the-poor

Scrapping welfare council is a cheap shot by a government that doesn’t care about the poor (Steve Kerstetter, Toronto Star)
Ever since its creation by an act of Parliament in 1969, the National Council of Welfare has been the only federal agency with a mandate devoted exclusively to improving the lives of low-income Canadians. The Conservative government’s decision to scrap the council in the budget speech was a cheap shot — in more ways than one — and a shot that will deprive Canadians of one more source of valuable research.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1157655–scrapping-welfare-council-is-a-cheap-shot-by-a-government-that-doesn-t-care-about-the-poor

New national movement to end homelessness launched today (Wellesley Institute)
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness was officially launched today. The alliance aims to work with partners across the country, and at the national level, to create a national movement to prevent and end homelessness across Canada. At the heart of the work is “A Plan not a Dream” – which sets out a strategy to move from aspiring to end homelessness to actually preventing and ending homelessness. How can this happen? “The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness has been formed to build a national movement to end homelessness from the community up.”
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/new-national-movement-to-end-homelessness-launched-today

The provincial budget abandons poverty reduction promise. (Workers’ Action Centre)
The 2012 Ontario budget abandons the McGuinty Government’s poverty reduction strategy – a commitment to reduce poverty by 25% by 2013. A freeze on social assistance means that, after inflation, Ontarians with the lowest incomes will be dragged further into poverty. The budget ignores the child care crisis. Instead of building jobs, revenues to fund social services and the economy, this budget cuts our social services. Ontario’s minimum wage remains frozen at $10.25. The minimum wage is not tied to the cost of living, the cost of food and rent that are all rising. The minimum wage is already 10% below the poverty line for a single person working full time. A family of four needs almost double the minimum wage to bring their family out of poverty.
http://us2.campaign-archive.com/?u=b32b33961fd1e65272919d8a6&id=f642772ba5

EMPLOYMENT & WORKERS

Ontario’s job training shuts out half of unemployed (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
If the best route out of poverty is a job, a commission studying Ontario’s welfare system thinks the province can do more to help its most vulnerable residents find work. Part of the problem is that almost half of Employment Ontario’s $1.2 billion worth of training programs are available only to people receiving employment insurance benefits. And yet, barely half of the province’s jobless — and less than a quarter in Toronto — are eligible for EI.
http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1158287–ontario-s-job-training-shuts-out-half-of-unemployed?bn=1

Aging population may boost wages, cut interest rates: Bank of Canada (Claire Sibonney, Montreal Gazette)
Boivin also highlighted the important contribution of immigration to dealing with the aging problem. The budget announced plans to eliminate a backlog of stale applications by foreign skilled workers so that immigrants whose skills are in greater current demand can enter Canada faster. He said a key challenge was to remove the barriers that keep educated and skilled immigrants from working in their fields.
http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Aging+population+boost+wages+interest+rates+Bank+Canada/6411301/story.html

Where are our jobs going to come from? (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
The number of jobless is higher than suggested by the unemployment rate, which does not count those who have quit looking for work. Underemployment there’s aplenty, especially in Ontario and Quebec, particularly among the young and new immigrants. The work they do get is mostly low-paying and temporary, with few or no benefits.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1156886–where-are-our-jobs-going-to-come-from

CITY OF TORONTO / CITIES / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Transit and Other News.
http://spacingtoronto.ca/2012/04/06/fridays-headlines-241/

My City Lives: Dave Meslin and the Fourth Wall (Spacing Toronto)
The ‘fourth wall’ is a term used to describe the imaginary barrier separating an audience from a stage. When an actor speaks directly to the audience, or an audience member interacts with the cast, the fourth wall has been ‘broken’. In this video Dave Meslin argues that City Hall also has a fourth wall and forces us to ask how does one break the fourth wall at City Hall to create a culture of local citizen engagement?
http://spacingtoronto.ca/2012/04/03/my-city-lives-dave-meslin-and-the-fourth-wall/

Introducing Civic Impact (Yonge Street)
This week Yonge Street is proud to introduce Civic Impact. While our Development News section covers investment in Toronto’s physical form, and our Innovation and Job News covers investment in the city’s economy, Civic Impact will cover investment in areas like the environment, community-building, diversity, sustainability, social initiatives and innovative partnerships and collaborations dedicated to the greater good, rather than just the bottom line.
http://www.yongestreetmedia.ca/features/introducingcivicimpact04042012.aspx

SOCIAL INNOVATION / NONPROFITS

Canadian democracy invaded by U.S.-style ‘wedge’ politics (Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun)
That single act would result in the Vancouver MP being described in the House of Commons, and in a news release from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, as a cheerleader for “anarchists and anti-capitalist mobs” and a defender of the rights of “violent foreign criminals, war criminals and bogus asylum claimants.” It was even argued by one of Kenney’s colleagues that the photo shows that Davies and the NDP may be sympathetic to anti-Israel terrorists, human smugglers, violent anti-capitalism protesters, and anarchists who believe the Canadian state is an “illegitimate occupying power” on aboriginal territory that should be known as Turtle Island, not Canada. This isn’t the first time government critics have found themselves under the political equivalent of a truckload of bricks.
http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/story.html?id=6418847

Canadians Agree That Charities are Important to Society (Association of Fundraising Professionals)
In November, 2011, Ipsos Reid, on behalf of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) conducted a Canadian survey on “What Donors Want.” The good news for the sector is that most Canadians consider charities to be important in filling a gap of needs not being addressed by the public and private sector. However, a challenge remains in communicating and educating donors about fund allocation. Many donors fail to make the connection between investing in administration and effective operations, despite having high standards for how charities operate.
http://www.afpnet.org/Audiences/ReportsResearchDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=10392

HUMAN TRAFFICKING / MODERN-DAY SLAVERY

Systemic failures and human trafficking (Hamilton Spectator)
If it hasn’t already happened, there ought to be a serious conversation between Canadian diplomats and their Hungarian counterparts about how a group of known criminals came to Canada and conducted a reign of crime that lasted years and victimized dozens. Last week saw the final defendants in the largest human trafficking case in Hamilton history plead guilty. Some of the jail sentences seem woefully inadequate considering the offences involved — luring young workers here then forcing them to live in terrible conditions and work for next to nothing, and forcing them to lie to obtain social benefits. Violence was never far from the centre of the case. An alleged hit man was even recruited for the purpose of killing witnesses, investigators and prosecutors, and the families of witnesses were threatened.
http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/701225–systemic-failures-and-human-trafficking

Bringing down Canada’s massive human-trafficking ring (Adrian Morrow, Globe and Mail)
One December morning, a 49-year-old Hungarian named Sandor Simon was at a Hamilton welfare office when he became agitated, saying he was terrified of the people he was living with and wanted to escape. Staff knew an RCMP constable, Lepa Jankovic, was investigating suspicious activity involving Hungarian nationals, so they called her. When she arrived, Mr. Simon was hunched over with his arms in his lap, in a full sweat, his hat curled up in his hand.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/bringing-down-canadas-massive-human-trafficking-ring/article2394819/?from=sec431

In pictures: The many faces of Ferenc Domotor’s human-trafficking scheme (Globe and Mail)
The Domotor criminal organization is an extended family and its associates, who moved from Papa, Hungary to Hamilton and set up a large human trafficking operation, a welfare fraud and a stolen cheque scheme. Men were brought from Papa to work as unpaid labour on construction sites in Southern Ontario. All the major players are related, by blood or marriage, to kingpin Ferenc Domotor.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/in-pictures-the-many-faces-of-ferenc-domotors-human-trafficking-scheme/article2394803/

2.4 Million People Are Victims Of Human Trafficking (The Link)
The UN crime-fighting office has said that 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any one time, and 80 % of them are being exploited as sexual slaves. Yuri Fedotov, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, told a daylong General Assembly meeting on trafficking on Tuesday that 17 % are trafficked to perform forced labor, including in homes and sweat shops. He said $32 billion is being earned every year by unscrupulous criminals running human trafficking networks, and two out of every three victims are women.
http://thelinkpaper.ca/?p=15725

Focus on Human Trafficking & Smuggling (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
New events, publications and web resources.
http://fm-cab.blogspot.ca/2012/04/focus-on-human-trafficking-smuggling.html

Trafficking resources (CCR)
Information about trafficking
Trafficking campaign home
About Trafficking
The CCR and trafficked persons
Take Action
Resources
http://ccrweb.ca/en/trafficking-resources

Human Trafficking (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Nicole O’Reilly. She is a reporter with The Hamilton Spectator, and was telling us about human trafficking of Hungarian men by a Hamilton family. Three members of the family pleaded guilty to several charges and will be sentenced later today.
http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/episodes/2012/04/03/human-trafficking/

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marco

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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