Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 10, 2012


How immigrants affect the economy: Weighing the benefits and costs (Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail)
As new permanent residents, immigrants become consumers of Canadian public services, such as health care, education, welfare and infrastructure. They contribute to those services through their taxes. A recent Fraser Institute study by Herbert Grubel and Patrick Grady argues immigrants impose a burden of about $6,000 each by consuming more in services than they pay in taxes. But economists Krishna Pendakur and Mohsen Javdani argue the amount is closer to $450. (Each side disputes the other’s methods.)

Tell us: Nominate a change-maker in immigrant integration (Globe and Mail)
While experts, think tanks and bureaucrats put forth their ideas on how to make immigration work better, individual innovators are moving ahead and making the changes they see are needed. From community members with fresh approaches to mentoring and integrating newcomers, to employers who recognize that a diverse work force broadens a company’s vision and knowledge, these are the people building tomorrow’s Canada today. Click here for videos and profiles of six people who are innovating in their communities. Use the form below to nominate someone who is making a change.

Orleans woman honoured for work with newcomers (Brier Dodge, Orleans EMC)
Orleans resident Shabnam Assadollahi was recognized by Ottawa-Orleans MP Royal Galipeau and Coun. Bob Monette for her work with multiculturalism. Galipeau spoke in the House of Commons on March 9, following International Women’s Day. He read his speech again in Orleans as he thanked Assadollahi for her work in Orleans. “Ms. Assadollahi founded a number of multicultural programs to help newcomers – particularly women – adjust to their new country,” he said. “Through her compassion and understanding of the realities facing newcomers, this exceptional woman is such an asset to our great country.” Born in Iran, Assadollahi was jailed for 18 months at the age of 16 for speaking out against the government.

New immigration rules require deft touch (Marilla Stephenson, Chronicle Herald)
There is more than one way to shut the doors in the faces of potential new immigrants to Canada. This week, The Chronicle Herald, in partnership with the University of King’s College, is profiling the now-defunct program in Prince Edward Island that enabled thousands of applicants to fast-track their arrival in Canada by paying for a position in a provincial nominee program. Like a similar program in Nova Scotia, the intent of the program was to match foreign workers with established businesses while helping to develop stronger immigrant populations.

Guest column: Closure of visa offices will hurt our economy (Randall Martin, The Province)
Visa offices at Canadian embassies in Germany, Japan, Iran, Malaysia and Bangladesh were closed this week. Applications to visit or study in Canada will now need to be shipped to other countries for processing. The federal government states that this is a step toward the streamlining and modernization of Citizenship and Immigration Canada operations in Canada and abroad. These closures will cost Canada much more than it endeavours to save. Each of these countries sends us students, at every level and type of institution, in every region of the province and every province.

OPINION: The growing challenges of the Afro Canadian Caribbean community (Chicago Tribune)
Canada is often described as a multicultural, tolerant and diverse society that welcomes new immigrants from across the globe. While there is no denial of its liberal immigration policies, there are going concerns and observations that the nation is becoming more exclusive than inclusive and the population facing the brunt of social exclusion are people of Afro Canadian and Afro Caribbean descent. Why? Their novel and distinct feature gives them little or no opportunity to melt into the Canadian mosaic, as they remain the most visible of visible minorities in Canada. It is a fact and there is no need to continue sweeping it under the rug but rather to be boldfaced and comment about the challenges facing the Afro Canadian-Caribbean community.,0,1317014.story

Hate crimes drop in York (Joe Fantauzzi, York Region)
While overall hate crimes dipped in York Region last year, incidents that targeted the black community were up from 17 in 2010 to 21. The 21 incidents were the second-highest number recorded in the past five years, according to an analysis of police statistical reports. But the region is not becoming more intolerant, Thornhill African Caribbean Canadian Association co-founder and social justice activist Gary Thompson said, noting economic difficulty, rapid growth and increased diversity can lead some people to perceive changes in the ethnic makeup of their neighbourhoods as a threat. “It’s an age-old situation,” he said.–hate-crimes-drop-in-york

CBC’s Susan Marjetti wins Leadership Award (CBC)
Congratulations to Susan Marjetti, Managing Director of CBC Toronto, who received the first Outstanding Leadership Achievement Award at the Innoversity Creative Summit 2012 recognizing her work in making the media more inclusive and innovative by embracing the increasing cultural diversity of Canada. Susan has been successfully implementing diversity strategies in half a dozen Canadian markets, over 30 years, including the last 10 years at CBC Toronto. A champion of an inclusive media, Ms. Marjetti believes successful TV and Radio programs must speak to and connect with an ever-evolving audience. Under her leadership, CBC’s Metro Morning has been the number one morning radio program in Toronto 43 times and CBC News: Toronto is the first anchor team of colour on a flagship newscast in a Canadian major market.

Not Enough Support (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the unique challenges faced by many new Canadians suffering from mental health issues, with Halim Amini. He is founder of the Sabawoon Afghan Family Education and Counselling Center .

Fitting Canada’s new faces (Gerard Keledjian,
The fifth and current wave of immigration to Canada started after reforms were made to the country’s immigration law in the late 60s and throughout the 70s. The majority of immigrants began coming from South Asia, China, and to a lesser extent from the Philippines, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. So what do those recent immigrants look for when they go to optical stores here? And are there any differences between the ones who moved to Canada and their native-born offspring when it comes to consuming eyecare products?

P.E.I. immigrants were never given answers on Canadian investments (Winnipeg Free Press)
A program in P.E.I. that was intended to attract immigrants who would actively participate in the province’s economy was killed by the federal government over fears it was threatening the integrity of Canada’s immigration system, says an investigative news report by journalism students at the University of King’s College. The report published today by The Huffington Post says that while the program attracted thousands of immigrants, mostly from China and the Middle East, many moved on to other parts of Canada after arriving in Prince Edward Island.

Like It Or Not, Diversity Isn’t Going Anywhere (Michel Martin, NPR)
Interestingly enough, recently some conservative writers have rediscovered a 2006 study, published in 2007, that we talked about on Tell Me More. That study was by Robert Putnam, the social scientist famous for his previous work on civic engagement, Bowling Alone. The work I’m talking about was a massive study of how diversity affects civic engagement, and he found — to his discomfort, actually — that more diverse communities actually suffer in many ways from civic withdrawal. People are less likely to volunteer, vote, give to charity and work on projects together. People trust each other less, so they do less and hunker down.

Wild Rose Report: Immigration key to economic future (M.P. Blake Richards, Cochrane Times)
Canada will continue to maintain strict adherence to traditional markers for accepting an applicant, like language skills and suitability, whether they have family currently living in Canada, and whether or not they have already secured employment. Our Conservative Government’s response to the economic challenges and opportunities facing Canada will continue to be unveiled throughout 2012. It is my belief that the changes we are proposing will continue the trend of improving Canada’s economy and maintain our position as a world leader in growth.


Amendments to the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (Marketwatch)
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney today announced that the Government is proposing amendments to Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. “Over the past few weeks, I’ve listened to parliamentarians and witnesses,” said Minister Kenney. “We have always said that we were open to amendments that make Bill C-31 stronger and help us to fight human smuggling and to protect Canada’s immigration system. These amendments do just that, and make for a stronger bill.”

Kenney’s concession a welcome pattern for refugee reform (Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail)
Let’s hope that Jason Kenney’s backtrack on detaining boatloads of refugees without a judge’s review is a signal he’s trading warnings of stranger-danger for a focus on the real problems with Canada’s refugee system. Wednesday, he suddenly jettisoned the most noxious measure in his proposed refugee reforms, a provision that would force asylum-seekers who arrive by boat to face a year in mandatory detention – without any review. Now they’ll get reviews of their detention after 14 days and then, after six months. Mr. Kenney ditched a bad idea to move on. It should be a pattern, because some of the reforms are needed.

Conservatives bow to pressure, amend parts of controversial refugee bill (Toronto Star)
The Conservative government proposed amendments to a controversial new refugee bill on Wednesday, but critics say they still have major concerns with the legislation. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney admitted he was prompted to introduce some changes to Bill C-31 by months of outrage from refugee advocacy groups and Opposition critics. “I believe it’s not right for the government to take the position that the original bill is the only option possible,” he said.–conservatives-bow-to-pressure-amend-parts-of-controversial-refugee-bill

Kenney amends controversial refugee bill (Louise Elliott, CBC)
Several legal experts have argued that provision would almost certainly generate costly court challenges because it is inconsistent with the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Charter of Rights and Supreme court precedents. Refugee law professor Peter Showler was among the legal experts who have warned it’s not yet clear how much the government has backed down. While changing the controversial clause was “excellent news,” Showler said, he noted that the first review at the 14-day mark won’t give migrants enough time to prove their identities.

Tories dial back sections of contentious refugee bill (Stephanie Levitz, Winnipeg Free Press)
The Conservative government proposed amendments to a controversial new refugee bill Wednesday, but critics say they still have major concerns with the legislation. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney acknowledged he was prompted to introduce changes to Bill C-31 by months of outrage from refugee advocacy groups and opposition critics. “I believe it’s not right for the government to take the position that the original bill is the only option possible,” he said. “I’m open to other reasonable ideas… and I believe the modifications are in agreement with our objectives.”

Refugee bill changes ‘strike the right balance’ on detention concerns: Jason Kenney (Tobi Cohen, National Post)
The federal government is conceding on a number of opposition and stakeholder criticisms of proposed legislation aimed at cracking down on bogus refugee claimants — but those opposed to the bill argue it hasn’t backed down enough. Just before a Commons committee sat down to review Bill C-31 clause-by-clause Wednesday, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney indicated the government would agree to amend provisions in the Protecting Canada’s Immigration Act that call for “irregular arrivals” who come to Canada en masse, possibly as part of human-smuggling operations, to be subject to automatic detention for up to a year without a review of their case.

Bill C-31: Refugee Legislation Amended As Conservatives Bow To Pressure (Michael Bolen, Huffington Post)
The Conservative government is bowing to pressure and proposing amendments to a controversial new refugee bill. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says migrants deemed part of “mass arrivals” will now have their detention reviewed at the 14-day mark, as opposed to having to wait a year. He says the intention was never to detain legitimate refugees but to have greater ability to process smuggled migrants who arrive in large numbers.

Immigration minister unveils refugee bill tweaks (Kristy Kirkup, Toronto Sun)
The government is amending its controversial refugee bill after legal experts and opposition parties criticized the length of time refugees could be detained. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday the government will amend Bill C-31, Protecting Canada’s Immigration Act, to limit how long refugees are detained for review to 14 days, and a second review stretch to six months. The original bill would have allowed for detention times of up to 12 months without judicial review for large groups of smuggled migrants.

Judge rips immigration adjudicator for ‘ludicrous’ questions on claimant’s Christianity (Douglas Quan,
A federal judge is slamming the treatment of a Chinese man whose refugee claim was denied after an adjudicator concluded he didn’t know enough about Christianity to be a true believer. Calling the basis for the denial “ludicrous and unfair,” the judge said the ongoing practice by the Immigration and Refugee Board of testing the religious knowledge of applicants claiming religious persecution back home is fundamentally flawed and should be abandoned. “First, religious knowledge cannot be equated to faith. And second, the quality and quantity of religious knowledge necessary to prove faith is unverifiable,” said Judge Douglas Campbell, who ordered the case back to the IRB for review by another adjudicator.

Video: Stop Bill C-31: A Law Against Refugees! (Agir Montreal)


Video centre: Population and Dwelling Counts – Highlights

Housing + income + food = health: Wellesley Institute submission to UN food expert (Wellesley Institute)
Housing, income, food and health are all strongly linked. It is important to understand the interconnections, the vicious and virtuous cycles that feed each other, and the impact policy and program interventions can have on those cycles. Those are some of the key messages that the Wellesley Institute’s Director of Housing and Innovation, Michael Shapcott, delivered to the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, during his fact-finding mission to Canada.

Need More Housing (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Armine Yalnizyan. She is the senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and joins us every Tuesday and Thursday on Metro Morning.


Fed survey shows some cabbies were doctors (Tom Godfrey,
The urban legend is alive and well — there really are Toronto cabbies who were physicians at home in their native lands. Now there are figures to back that up. More than 200 taxi drivers, mostly from the Toronto-area, were found to have been doctors in their homelands before arriving in Canada for a better life, according to the federal immigration survey.

Pioneer role leads lawyer to honour (Drew Hasselback, Financial Post)
The award was nominated by someone outside Deloitte, and Mr. Fredeen was surprised when he learned of the nomination. This year Mr. Fredeen absented himself during all board deliberations on the social responsibility award. There were other deserving nominees, and an easy solution would have been to simply ignore Deloitte’s nomination. Yet the breadth and range of Deloitte’s initiatives were such that it would have been a huge injustice to deny the organization the award simply because of Mr. Fredeen’s connection to the CGCA advisory board. Deloitte’s legal department promotes diversity internally and externally through a series of measures directed by Mr. Fredeen. It’s hard to list them all, but here are a few. Deloitte has hired from the Internationally-Trained Lawyers Program at the University of Toronto, and Mr. Fredeen has mentored in-house counsel from diverse backgrounds. A self-described “married, white, straight guy,” he directs Deloitte’s efforts to champion gay rights. He was a founder of Legal Leaders for Diversity and Inclusiveness, a group that has so far brought together 60 general counsel from top Canadian organizations to commit to diversity.

Oxford County looks to bolster local work force (Woodstock Sentinel Review)
Oxford County council Thursday backed an initiative to draw immigrants to the county to fill local jobs. The county’s immigration portal will have a large role to play in making Oxford appear like an attractive destination to immigrants. The portal project was launched last year and it strives to increase awareness of Oxford as a destination and provide more information for stakeholders to support Oxford as a destination site. Through that, the hope is to make the county look attractive to newcomers and retain their skills. “In Oxford itself, one of the biggest drivers to attract newcomers is going to be economic opportunity or employment opportunity,” said Community Employment Services CEO Jeff Surridge, who spoke to council Wednesday. “If there is jobs they will come.”

The part-time revolution (Judith Woods, Ottawa Citizen)
How would you feel if your boss called up today and asked whether you’d like Friday off? In fact, what if he or she offered you the opportunity to have every Friday off? You would, of course, forgo a fifth of your salary (two fifths, if you fancy a duvet day on Thursdays too), but everything else about your working life would continue as normal. There would be no loss of status, your career progression would be unaffected — and you wouldn’t even have to have a baby to justify the shift in your work-life balance.

CIBC celebrating its 20th Annual Diversity Month this June (TRIEC)
Celebrating diversity and recognising its value is nothing new for CIBC. This June, they are celebrating their 20th Annual Diversity Month. It’s going to be a nationwide celebration of the diversity within CIBC and how it is a major strength of their organisation. CIBC firmly believes that their success depends on a workforce that reflects the diversity ofCanada. “If we don’t have a workforce that mirrors the diverse communities that we serve, we’re not going to be able to help our diverse client base achieve what matters to them” says Matt Petersen, Director, CIBC Diversity Strategies. “We also need to make sure we have people who bring multiple talents, multiple perspectives and multiple ways of solving problems to ensure that we continue to be a leader in the financial services industry and continue to innovate.”

TELUS Reports First Quarter 2012 Results (Marketwatch)
TELUS named one of best employers for new Canadians For the second straight year, TELUS was named one of the Best Employers for New Canadians in an annual competition that recognizes the nation’s leaders in assisting recent immigrants make the transition to a new workplace and a new life in Canada. TELUS was among 40 organizations chosen this year. Launched in 2007, the competition is managed by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in partnership with ALLIES, a joint initiative of The Maytree Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

TRIEC receives funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (TRIEC)
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is helping TRIEC take its Professional Immigrant Networks Initiative (PINs) to the next level. OTF recently awarded TRIEC a two-year, $85,000 grant to expand the outreach efforts of PINs in order to reach more networks, more employers and more skilled immigrants, including developing a vibrant online community on the PINs website (

Linking immigration with youth employment (North Bay
There’s been a lot of talk lately about immigration. Apparently, Canada needs hundreds of thousands of new immigrants in order to keep the jolly Canadian economy rolling forward in the face of an aging and retiring Baby Boom generation. How is it then that Canada’s youth unemployment is so much higher than the rest of the population? At 12 per cent unemployment, there’s a certain grim irony to the fact that Student Employment Centres across Canada are closing down and locking their doors. Canada’s youth, it seems, don’t need any extra help to land a job. Given the demographics we are facing, it is important to plan for the future, but why can’t we plan better to include our kids in the equation?


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

Diaspora Dialogue (CBC Metro Morning)
This evening, Diaspora Dialogues will be presenting the launch of TOK 7, the latest in a series of anthologies featuring some of Toronto’s newest writers and poets It launches tonight at the Gladstone Ballroom on Queen Street West. Metro Morning’s Aparita Bhandari spoke with writer Mia Hererra.

The World’s 26 Best Cities for Business, Life, and Innovation (Derek Thompson, The Atlantic)
New York City, Toronto and San Francisco were named the world’s most impressive metros in a new survey of the global capitals of finance, innovation and tourism. The report from PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Partnership for New York City graded 26 metro powerhouses from Stockholm to Santiago on business opportunities, culture, livability, and innovation.


Community Bonds and Social Enterprise: Where No One Loses (Tina Crouse,
There is an increasing interest in the use of community bonds to help nonprofits achieve their financial goals. Community bonds can be used to finance a range of projects, from program development to capital expansion projects where the ‘first-in’ dollars are hard to find. For people in the nonprofit sector, they are a form of investment that clearly shows what the investor is interested in – you. The history of community bonds shows they are not a recent invention, but rather one that is being used more broadly than before. Perhaps it is the donor fatigue that nonprofits are experiencing or just the fact that there is less ‘free money’ around for donations. Whatever the case, community bonds offer an alternative that moderate income donors favour and this has captured the attention of nonprofits and social enterprises looking for funds.

Government, Data and Engagement: Introducing Gov2.0 to Toronto (Fiona O’connor, Samara)
Next Wednesday, May 16, Samara’s Wayne Chu will be presenting at an event organized by CitizenBridge, a not-for-profit Democracy 2.0 online platform that facilitates a two-way conversation between constituents and their elected representatives.

BlackOutSpeakOut but first WhiteOut (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)
The green charitable funding battle has only just begun, with every sign that the activist community is set to treat it as a life-or-death conflict. Leading the green forces against the evil Harper regime is a new coalition cleverly named BlackOutSpeakOut. Backed by the Sierra Club, Environmental Defense, Greenpeace, the Suzuki Foundation, West Coast Environmental Law and others, BlackOutSpeakOut aims to block Ottawa’s planned changes to Canada’s environmental protection legislation. A parallel objective is to stop what it refers to as the government’s “attacks on environmental charities.” Since the Harper government clearly aims to adjust the balance of power in environmental regulation, we can certainly see their reasons for a new round of political activity. The effort is to be carried out by means as yet unknown, but darkly foreshadowed on their website. What is most striking, however, is the green movement’s rush to head off scrutiny of its charitable funding. Striking, but not surprising: Charities are where the money is that keeps green activism alive.

Asking some fair questions of Tides Canada (Gary Mason, Globe and Mail)
For more than a year now, officials from Public Works Canada have been frequent visitors to a blog being kept by North Vancouver researcher and writer Vivian Krause. It is her work that has ignited the federal Conservatives’ interest in the foreign funding of environmental groups in Canada. Ms. Krause was the first to raise concerns about the activities of a registered Canadian charity known as Tides Canada.


Level of Human Trafficking today vastly exceeds African slave trade (Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News)
Conservative MP Joy Smith told the May 5 Justice Summit her work in combatting human trafficking has brought her into places that have horrified her. “I’ve been in brothels,” she said, describing them as “awful places.” “But something comes over me,” she continued. “I have get those kids out of there.” Telling the audience her faith comes first, Smith said she brought nothing in terms of her skill set to the battle. A former high school teacher of math and science, she found herself with the justice portfolio when she first entered politics as a Manitoba MLA. “There’s only one thing that’s good about me,” she said. “It’s that I’m willing.”

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Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

Communications in social services/social change, immigration, diversity & inclusion in Toronto. Wannabe librarian, interested in nonprofit tech innovation.

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