Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 11, 2012

Overqualified immigrants really are driving taxis in Canada (Globe and Mail)
Inventively titled Who Drives a Taxi in Canada, the study of 50,000 cab drivers concluded that half are immigrants. Two hundred are doctors or have PhDs, compared with just 55 of their Canadian-born counterparts. Twenty per cent have undergraduate university degrees or master’s, compared with 4 per cent of Canadian-born drivers. One of every three taxi drivers is born in India or Pakistan. They may be well qualified to navigate chaotic traffic, understand the mechanics of a meter and deal with unruly customers. But only 6 per cent of immigrant drivers listed as their field of study “personal, protective and transportation services.” Most had backgrounds in business, engineering and architecture and are clearly underemployed.
People with PhDs driving taxis (Kent Spencer, The Province)
Doctors, civil engineers and architects are driving cabs in Canada, and many of them are immigrants from India and Pakistan. Government data released Thursday shows thousands of university-educated newcomers drive taxis because they’re not able to find work in their chosen fields. Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland said the data con-firms a long-held belief that PhDs are driving cabs in Canada. “I am floored. The study con-firms what common sense told us,” Kurland said. The data came from 50,000 government tax records in 2006 that were analyzed for information about education, immigration and cab drivers.
Let the job market choose our immigrants (Herbert Grubel, Globe and Mail)
Reforms of the present immigrant selection policies are needed to prevent a growing future fiscal burden. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has begun this process. One of the most important changes is giving preference to applicants who have a pre-arranged employment contract for work in Canada. Patrick Grady and I recommended this change because it would relieve civil servants of the responsibility of selecting immigrants on the basis of information that by its very nature is imperfect and would allow employers to make the initial decision as to which applicants have the needed occupational and language skills to earn their pay and become economically successful Canadians. Limited experience with this prearranged job-offer criterion, which provincial governments have also embraced enthusiastically, shows much promise. It is time to use job offers as the main criterion for the admission of all skilled immigrants, who may be accompanied by their immediate family members.
The necessity of immigration reform in Canada (MP Phil McColeman, Brant News)
No matter how you view the issue of immigration in Canada, one fact is abundantly clear: when our government took office in 2006, Canada’s immigration system was broken. Today, our government is hard at work and well on track to build a fast and flexible immigration system that focuses on a fair and efficient process for legitimate applicants who play by the rules and seeks out people who have the skills and experience required to meet Canada’s economic needs.
This summer, newcomers discover Toronto by bike (Canada Newswire)
Newcomers are getting to know Toronto by bike this summer, with a program offered by CultureLink Settlement Services in partnership with Cycle Toronto. Bike Host matches new immigrants who are interested in cycling with experienced mentors who ride regularly. “We carefully select our mentors for their diverse and interesting professional experience, and strong communications skills,” says Fei Tang, manager of the Community Connections Mentorship Program.
Newcomers aim for coalition to address Sask. immigration changes (Emma Graney, Leader Post)
Changes to the provincial immigration program’s family category are hurting international newcomers to Regina, says the Pakistan Canada Cultural Association (PCCA). As such, the group will hold a town-hall meeting on Friday night to discuss the changes and create a future action plan. Saskatchewan has capped the number of family nominations that can be made at any one time and, says PCCA general secretary Syed Mozzam, introduced unrealistic conditions. Mozzam says that means those who deliberately moved to the province to help bring family members here under the program are now left hanging.
UPDATE: Federal immigration minister calls for probe of PNP (Teresa Wright, The Guardian)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is calling for his department officials to launch an investigation into concerns over P.E.I.’s Provincial Nominee Program after an article published in The Huffington Post this week showed immigrants used the program to buy their way into Canada. The report, written by journalism students at the University of King’s College, details how thousands of Chinese and Middle Eastern immigrants were nominated by P.E.I. for permanent residency in Canada through P.E.I.’s PNP in exchange for investments into local businesses. But it highlights the fact many of those immigrants had no active involvement in these companies and that most have left P.E.I. after securing their Canadian visas.
Group to put up posters in Scarborough warning of Omar Khadr’s return (Inside Toronto)
A group claiming to be “Canada’s only Hindu voice” says it will post messages in central Scarborough every week to warn residents Omar Khadr could return home soon. “Will this convicted Islamic terrorist be your neighbour?” reads the headline of posters printed by the Canadian Hindu Advocacy which show Khadr’s face beside the burning Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. “His Islamic terrorist-backing family lives in this neighbourhood, and he will live here and spread his fundamentalist Muslim poison,” it says, also naming “radical mosques” and “hateful imams” as possible threats to the area. In an interview, Ron Banerjee, the group’s director, was asked this week whether he thought the posters would frighten people in Scarborough or lead to confrontations between Muslims and other residents. “We want people to be frightened. Frightened people are vigilant” and can spot any potential terrorist activities, he said.–group-to-put-up-posters-in-scarborough-warning-of-omar-khadr-s-return
Humber to host inaugural Rogers Punjabi International Film Festival (South Asian Generation Next)
Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning is partnering with the first-ever Rogers Punjabi International Film Festival (PIFF). The college will host screenings of a variety of feature films and short films and documentaries at its North campus on May 19 and 20, 2012. A series of speaking panels and workshops will also be held. PIFF will feature a lineup of international feature films, short films and documentaries from around the world on themes of Punjabi culture and identity. Overall, PIFF will include gala events, film parties, concerts, workshops, seminars and other activities as it celebrates South Asian Heritage Month and the Punjabi community in the GTA at institutions such as Humber College.
Tracing and celebrating Irish ancestry easier than ever (Shelagh Mcnally,
Being Irish has always been a source of pride for its people, and with the Irish diaspora estimated at 70 million people worldwide (more than 13 times the population of the country itself), many are happy to boast at least a drop of Celtic blood running through their veins. Even so diverse a group as Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, Che Guevara, Georgia O’Keefe, Jean Charest, Jimi Hendrix, Lucille Ball, Mariah Carey and Johnny Rotten all have one thing in common – an Irish ancestor.
Visa woes frustrate slain woman’s kin (Dale Carruthers, London Free Press)
As the one-year anniversary of Londoner Patricia Pacheco-Hernandez’s death approaches, her sister in Colombia says the Canadian government won’t allow her to visit her sister’s grave and children here. Piedad Pacheco-Hernandez says won’t have closure until she visits her sister’s grave in London, but she can’t get the travel documents needed to come to Canada. Patricia Pacheco-Hernandez, 41, was found dead in the basement of her south London home May 18, 2011.
Human Rights (Your Legal Rights)
The following email bulletin provides you with the latest news, legal information resources, common questions and training webinars from Your Legal Rights on Human Rights.
Videos: 2012 LIP Conference (Welcoming Communities Initiative)
The 2012 Local Immigration Partnerships Conference, held in February 2012 in Toronto, was co-sponsored by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Ontario Region and the Welcoming Communities Initiative. It was attended by over 225 delegates.
Not all hearts and flowers: Two immigrants, two experiences (Chronicle Herald)
Seeing the Island with her own eyes confirmed what she had read on the Internet about P.E.I.’s clean air and friendly people. Yue decided this would be her new home, at least for a little while. A representative of an intermediary firm on P.E.I. gave her a pile of documents to sign in English — she didn’t understand them very well. Yue didn’t even know the name of the business she was investing in. She doesn’t have copies of any documents she signed. All Yue has for a record of this visit is the representative’s gold, laminated business card. Alan Preston owns a small flower shop in downtown Charlottetown called Hearts and Flowers. Preston was looking to improve his business but didn’t really have the funds. Then he heard about P.E.I.’s nominee program. Preston said the application process was a breeze. He dealt with Canadian International Capital Inc., one of the intermediaries in the immigrant partner program. Officials there told him he was eligible to receive one investment unit for $30,000. “They took a look at my financial statements and we did, together, a letter of intent of what the money was going to be used for.” Preston said he didn’t know who his immigrant investor was. He was told she wouldn’t actually play an active role in his company. Preston got a notice saying she had been accepted for immigration, but he never knew if she ever arrived in P.E.I. Preston never expected to hear from her and he wasn’t interested in having another investor become personally involved with the shop.
May 16: The Order of Canada: Stories behind the people A conversation with Rex Murphy (Canadian Club)
Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. In celebration of their achievements and contributions to our nation, we invite you join one of Canada’s most respected opinion leaders, Rex Murphy, as he delves into the stories of three oustanding Canadians – Ratna Omidvar, Bruce Kuwabara and Charles Pachter.
Kenney’s Reforms: A Mixed Bag (Stewart Sharma Harsanyi Immigration Blog)
Too often immigration reform becomes a divisive, partisan issue. I’ve been a critic of Jason Kenney’s policies in the past. However, there is little doubt in my mind that there is a basis for Kenney’s desire to reform the immigration and refugee system in Canada.That being said, he has displayed an disconcerting proclivity to disrespect due process.
Minister ‘destroying immigration and refugee system’ (Maryanne Firth, The Tribune)
Changes are coming to Canada’s immigration policies. To help local agencies better understand what those changes will mean for their clients, Francisco Rico-Martinez held a presentation at Employment Solutions in Welland on Wednesday. Included were representatives from Welland Heritage Council and Multicultural Centre, Fort Erie Multicultural Centre, the Multicultural Network of Niagara Falls and Niagara Folk Arts Council. Rico-Martinez is co-director of FCJ Refugee Centre, which strives to meet the diverse needs of uprooted people, particularly refugee claimants and people without status.
Doctors demand changes to proposed refugee health policy (Maureen Brosnahan, CBC News)
Doctors across Canada are outraged that the federal government plans to eliminate health care services for some refugees and limit the care provided to others. Many are now talking about taking action to protest against the move. The plan, introduced by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, means refugees fleeing unsafe countries would only be entitled to “urgent or essential services.” Some refugees would be denied all care. The move is scheduled to take effect at the end of next month. “This is a dramatic change,” says Dr. Meb Rashid, director of The Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.
Child refugees require more care from us (Mahli Brindamour, Star Phoenix)
Dr. Brindamour is co-chair of the immigration and refugee health committee at the University of Saskatchewan’s college of medicine. She collaborated with four other pediatric residents in writing this viewpoint. As future Canadian pediatricians, we have at heart the health of all children. Consequently, we are very concerned about the Conservative government’s Bill C-31 (which amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act), and the effect it may have on the health of the vulnerable population for whom we care. We understand and approve that the purpose of the bill is to contribute to stopping human smuggling. However, unintended consequence could be severe and lifelong harm done to infants, children and adolescents who may have already experienced substantial trauma.
Harper cuts to refugee health care violation of medical ethics (National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE))
A growing number of physicians and the Canadian Health Coalition (CHC), of which the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is an active member, has denounced the cuts recently announced to refugee health services by Minister Jason Kenney because they put vulnerable people at risk. As of June 30, refugees in Canada will be cut off access to treatment for chronic diseases including hypertension, angina, diabetes, high cholesterol and lung disease. No other Canadians are denied these treatments. Dr. Mark Tyndall, Head of Infectious Diseases at the Ottawa Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa said that “this new refugee health care policy violates my ethical obligations as a physician. It is unethical and a disgrace to Canadian society. The Minister’s claim that this ‘ensures fairness, and protects public health and safety’ is Orwellian.”
Ethiopian refugee from Surrey reunites with daughter after four years (Matt Law, Surrey Now)
Three years and 11 months had passed since Zeynab Mahamed last saw her four-year-old daughter Nesteha. “When I was here [in Canada], everything was dark for me because I know that my baby was behind me. Sometimes I was even thinking how can I go back to my baby,” Mahamed said through a translator. The decision to leave Nesteha in Kenya had torn Mahamed apart, but in late March 2012, she started to put the shattered pieces of her life back together.
Roma advocate says ‘Gypsy fiction’ being fanned by Kenney’s refugee bill (680 News)
An advocate for Roma refugee claimants says “Gypsy fiction” is fanning the same kind of discrimination in Canada that her ancestors have faced for centuries in Europe. Gina Csany-Robah, the executive director of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto — the only one of its kind in Canada — gave an impassioned critique of proposed Conservative changes to the refugee system. “It is very important to be able to depict what is the Gypsy fiction from the Roma reality,” Csany-Robah told a parliamentary committee while denouncing Conservative efforts to address “bogus” refugee claims.–roma-face-apartheid-like-conditions-in-parts-of-europe-committee-told
Walkerton Wake-up Will Budget Cuts Put Public Safety at Risk? (Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
In August 2000, I wrote a commentary called The Lessons of Walkerton Run Deep. Almost 12 years later, it is troubling to think that we may be forgetting the stark lessons of the past. The commentary was written after the deaths of several citizens in the town of Walkerton who were infected with e-coli from poorly-monitored local water supply. Are we heading into the same rough waters? Recent cuts announced in Budget 2012 will slash the capacity of many federal departments, including the agency responsible for assuring the quality of Canada’s food supply, to protect public health and safety. The following excerpts restate the Walkerton wake-up. The lessons of Walkerton come at an immeasurable price. They show what can happen when we downplay or neglect the importance of public infrastructure that protects our health and safety.
Wellesley Institute May 2012 Research & Policy Updates (Wellesley Institute)
In this issue:
Report: Community Health Centres of Greater Toronto Health Equity Plan
Event: A Healthy Society: In Conversation with Ryan Meili
Presentations: Health Reforms Won’t Work Without Building Equity In
Presentations: Advancing Health, Health Equity and Opportunities for Children in Tough Times
Video: Austerity is bad for our health: Gender and distributional impacts of the Drummond recommendations
Wellesley Institute joins in welcoming Prince Charles to Toronto
New TCHC task force off to flying start!
Youth work to end poverty (Ronald Zajac, Recorder)
Walking to city hall with anti-poverty signs and banners once a year, and getting drivers to “honk to end poverty” is fine and good, but what have these kids done to actually fight poverty? Plenty, it turns out. Students from St. Mary Catholic High School held their annual Walk Against Poverty Wednesday afternoon, converging on city hall with students from Brockville’s Catholic elementary schools. In all, about 500 students took part in the walk, with the St. Mary kids walking with a police escort from the school to the Victoria Building.
Make your voice heard on reducing poverty, hunger, here and abroad (The Record)
Have you noticed that a loaf of bread costs more than it used to? You’re not alone. Food prices have climbed quickly and they peaked last year when the cost of meat rose by nine per cent, potatoes by 20 per cent, and lettuce by 60 per cent. They have stayed high. Canadians were not the only ones stung by high prices though. The cost of food has jumped worldwide, up to an astonishing 80 per cent. Although most of us can be thankful we have been spared from the worst by the strong loonie, and by local competition between retailers and big box stores, not all of us have fared so well. About 850,000 Canadians turn to food banks each month to put food on the table. More than 26,000 of those live in Waterloo Region alone.–make-your-voice-heard-on-reducing-poverty-hunger-here-and-abroad
Super ministry responsible for all social programs (Karen Kleiss, Calgary Herald)
Tuesday’s cabinet shuffle marked another major shakeup in the delivery of services for vulnerable Albertans. Human Services has now become a super-ministry responsible for every major social program, including those for unemployed, disabled and homeless Albertans, as well as children in care. A new associate minister in the department will focus specifically on services for people with disabilities. The Seniors ministry has been dismantled, and services for older Albertans will now be provided by the Department of Health, under the auspices of an associate minister. The changes mark another step in Premier Alison Redford’s plan to remake Alberta’s social safety net.
Region’s Subsidized Housing Wait List Now Stands At 11 Years (South Asian Generation Next)
In a recent report presented to Regional Council, the current centralized wait list numbers for subsidized housing in the Region of Peel stands at 12,853 households. Depending on building choice, size, availability of unit and status, current wait times are at 6-11 years for families; 9 years for singles; 5-7 years for seniors; and 1-3 years for victims of family violence. Recent efforts to streamline administrative processes internally account for the 16 per cent decline in the wait list (from 15,341 in 2010). Applicants are now required to confirm their interest annually for subsidized housing; some have experienced a change in their status, while others may have found alternate housing arrangements and have moved off the wait list. In 2011, 848 households on the wait list were placed in subsidized housing units.
Video: Peter Paul – 2012 LIPs Conference (Welcoming Communities Initiative)
Peter discusses how LIPs and IECs can work together.
Bridging the gap for internationally qualified architects (Sydney Helland, Career Edge)
JVS Toronto has leveraged the power of partnerships through its new program that aims to help internationally qualified professionals integrate into Canada’s architectural workforce. Immigrant Professionals Leveraging Architectural Knowledge for New Opportunities (I-PLAN) is a bridging program that addresses key barriers faced by internationally trained architects, including lack of Canadian experience and the lack of sector specific job search support and advice.
Canadian farmers have never been older: census data (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
Universities and colleges have been trying to attract young people to the sector by, in part, trying to lure more immigrants, women and city dwellers into the field. “The concern is that farmers are aging, and for the sector and for the economy generally, where are we going to find young farmers to fill the role of those folks who are leaving the business?” said Brian Kaliel, Edmonton-based partner in Canadian law firm Miller Thomson’s agriculture and food production group, who has scrutinized the sector for the past 40 years.
Private Partners Join Federal Internship for Newcomers Program (Marketwatch)
The Government of Canada is expanding its internship program for newcomers to include private sector companies, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. CGI Group Inc., a leading provider of information technology and business process services, and CIBC, a leading Canadian-based financial institution, will partner with CIC to hire newcomers through the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program.
Denny’s temporary foreign workers employment standards class action suit gets certified (First Reference Talks)
The British Columbia Supreme Court just certified a class action where the plaintiffs (a group of foreign workers) allege that the employer failed to provide them with the amount of work promised, overtime pay and reimbursements for travel expenses and recruitment fees contrary to the Employment Standards Act. Also, the employees argued the employer breached the contract and its fiduciary duty, and was unjustly enriched for having the workers work without being paid. To top it off, they argued all of these alleged breaches were systemic because there were no practices in place to ensure the employees were properly compensated.
Janet Bagnall: Short-term labour fix, or exploitation? (Janet Bagnall, Montreal Gazette)
But groups that work with temporary foreign workers, especially workers at the low-money, low-skill end of the scale, fear that Canada has shifted from being a land that welcomes immigrants as equals to a nation that rents its workers from among the world’s poor and sends them home when we’re done with them. Unlike immigrants, temporary foreign workers, especially low-skill workers, have no hope of permanent residency in Canada. They usually cannot bring family members with them. And they have less protection against workplace abuses than do Canadian workers. In February, Quebec’s Human Rights Commission ruled that temporary foreign workers in the province are discriminated against: they are not covered by the labour-standards law or worker health and safety provisions, and consequently have little redress against abuse. The more than 70 workers in British Columbia’s class-action suit allege that the owners of Denny’s restaurants failed to pay them full weekly wages and overtime pay as contracted and also did not reimburse them travel, recruitment and processing fees as promised.
Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Ford, City Hall, Transit, Real Estate & Development and Other News.
Which charities get the most foreign cash? Not those on Tory hit list (Globe and Mail)
The Conservatives have taken some Canadian environmental charities to task for accepting money from wealthy foreign donors to finance their campaigns against oil and gas projects. But tax returns filed to the Canada Revenue Agency show most of the foreign money that fills the coffers of domestic charities does not go to the environmental groups now in Tory crosshairs.
Wealthy foundations wary of Harper’s crackdown on charities (Globe and Mail)
The organization that speaks for foundations bearing illustrious Canadian names like Asper, Bronfman, McCain and Bombardier says it’s worried about the Conservative government’s recent attacks on figures in the charitable sector. Philanthropic Foundations Canada has been trying to keep its members informed about changes in the federal budget that touch on charities, but fears a chill descending on the sector. The Conservatives have accused some environmental foundations of laundering money for American bodies in the United States that are critical of Canadian resource projects.
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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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Videos from the 2012 Local #Immigration Partnerships (LIPs) conference now available #cdnimm RT @hjarche: How to set up and...