Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 14, 2012

Ratna Omidvar reflects on changes to Canadas immigration law (RCI)
The Links Rashi Khilnani chats with Ratna Omidvar, president of the private Maytree Foundation, on the latest immigration policy announcements.

Video: TiE Institute Commencement – Ratna Omidvar, Maytree Foundation
May 3, 2012 – keynote address

Everyone counts or no one counts: CBCs Susan Marjetti recognized for diversifying the media (Tina Edan, DiverseCity Toronto)
Congratulations to CBCs Managing Director Susan Marjetti who received the 2012 Outstanding Leadership Achievement Award at the Innoversity Creative Summit for her vision in transforming the face of the CBC to be more reflective of its audiences diversity. The transformation of CBC Radios Metro Morning began in 2001 when Susan asked the audience and her own staff if the show reflected the fact that Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. The answer was a resounding no. Since then, Susan has been committed to developing and implementing a diversity strategy that has made CBC an example for other institutions. The success of her vision and leadership is in the numbers: CBCs Metro Morning has been the number one morning radio program in Toronto 43 times. She has also made CBC News: Toronto the first anchor team of colour on a flagship newscast in a major Canadian market.

Making sausages on the Hill: The case of Bill C-31 (Peter Showler, Embassy)
In this case, we are talking about the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, which is made up of MPs in a carefully calibrated balance based on party representation. The job of the committee is to add and take away ingredientsa little of this, a little of thatto produce the final dish that will be the most palatable to Parliament and the Canadian public. Here is where the sausage analogy comes in. Most of us do not want to spend much time in the back kitchen where the spices are added to raw meatbut we should. We are the ones who will be eating those sausages. And we have a role to play, some members of the public, as expert witnesses. We may offer recommendations to the committee in the form of written briefs and oral testimony.


Is Canadas brand strong enough to attract the immigrants it wants? (Globe and Mail)
For the past four months, she has worked as a research intern in Vancouver, beefing up her language skills and earning a gleaming reference from her employer. But will she be back? Upon graduation, Ms. Cruz will decide between Mexico’s two northern neighbours. The United States feels like a land of opportunity, she concedes, a place with better job prospects and bigger salaries. But Canada feels more like home: The people are very nice, open and willing to help you. They don’t care where I come from. They also need her. The challenges presented by Canada’s aging population, low birth rate and growing labour shortages make a strong case for a significant boost in immigration. But the country also should pay particular attention to those it would like to come.

For many Indians, the land of opportunity is the land they’re going back to (Stephanie Nolan, Globe and Mail)
After 11 years in Canada, Praveen Rao had it pretty good. He owned a house in Mississauga, a snazzy car and a motorbike that he took on weekend road trips. He liked his job as an investment manager for a big bank and he liked the work-hard (but not too hard), play-hard culture that prevailed in his wide circle of friends. It was just the life his parents had envisioned when they sent him from India to university in Canada, with the hope he would get a job offer and be able to immigrate afterward. You could totally say I was living the dream, Mr. Rao says with a rueful laugh. Then late last year, he went rather dramatically off the script for the immigrant dream: He sold the bike, sold the car, rented out the house and moved back to India.

What is your vision for a culturally diverse and integratedcommunity? (Greater Halifax Partnership)
The Community Integration Network (CIN), an informal network of Nova Scotia stakeholders and organizations, believe that it is at the community level where creative solutions to these questions can be found and where new questions can emerge. On May 12, the Community Integration Network will hold a Community Diversity and Integration Symposium at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21. Unlike traditional symposiums which highlight guest speakers and experts, the forum will be informal with an emphasis on sharing knowledge and experiences. Participants will choose what they want to discuss and how they want to express it.

Why some Chinese immigrants feel they cant make money in Canada (Mark Mackinnon, Globe and Mail)
For young and well-educated Chinese like Emily Gao, the lure of immigrating to Canada is obvious: Clean air, public health care and a strong education system are all draws compared with living in a country that lacks them. Add the large Chinese communities that already exist in places such as Vancouver and Toronto, plus relatively cheap real estate (compared with prices in some Chinese cities), and you have something close to a dream destination. Whats not so clear is that skilled young workers like her would be better off economically if they make the leap.

Charge senior citizen immigrants health care: Lawyer (Daniel Proussalidis, Toronto Sun)
Kurland said he favours having senior citizen immigrants pay as much as $150,000 up front to help defray health care costs, with provinces deciding if they want to accept seniors who can’t afford to pay anything. He said potential sponsors of parents and grandparents he’s spoken with say they’d be willing to pay up. “There’s no expectation of entitlement today,” Kurland said.

New immigration rules slammed (CBC)
Anger and frustration were evident at a meeting Friday night in Regina where members of the local Pakistani community voiced their unhappiness with changes to a Saskatchewan immigration program. The province announced changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program on May 2. Among other things, the changes put a limit on how many additional family members may apply to immigrate until the original family has settled. The people at the Regina meeting said the changes came without warning, catching some families who had already been making plans off guard.

New Canadian citizens discuss integration, community (Sam Cooper, The Province)
On Saturday in Vancouver 40 people from 31 countries became new Canadians. At a ceremony in Robson Square, they embraced the rights and responsibilities inherent in Canadian citizenship big values and little things that add up to a high quality of life in a moving celebration of freedom, tolerance, and opportunity. While singing the national anthem for the first time as Canadians, some were for the first time savouring gifts that most people born in Canada take for granted: freedom of religion; open government; the right to vote; protection of diversity; equality between men and women. Before the ceremony, the Canadian citizens-to-be took part in roundtable discussions facilitated by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship.

Overlooked document may hold key for Lost Canadians’ citizenship (Randy Boswell,
The British-born, “illegitimate” daughter of a Canadian soldier from the Second World War and his British war-bride-to-be, Jackie Scott has been battling for years – right up to the Federal Court of Canada – to secure Canadian citizenship that she and other so-called “Lost Canadians” have been denied because of a wrinkle in 1940s citizenship rules. Now, the 66-year-old B.C. woman and others fighting to win Canadian passports are celebrating the discovery of a long-overlooked document Ê- spied recently on a reel of microfilm at Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa – that they’re calling a game-changer for some of the country’s last Lost Canadians, which is also the name of their lobby group.

Leap in Faith video celebrates diversity of religious beliefs (Brenda Suderman, Winnipeg Free Press)
As hundreds of Sikhs parade singing down Memorial Boulevard, a few women glance at the older woman filming nearby. Wearing a brightly coloured sari and holding a video camera, Manju Lodha was as much a curiosity to them as the Sikh ceremony of Nagar Kirtan was to her. “They were wondering what is going on,” the Winnipeg artist, poet and filmmaker recalls of her experience recording last fall’s public event in downtown Winnipeg. “They knew me, but they were wondering what I was up to.” They need not wonder any more. That parade of Sikhs is now part of a 38-minute documentary about eight faith traditions Lodha made with fellow artist and creative partner Ray Dirks, curator of the Mennonite Heritage Centre Gallery.

Parents, staff divided over diversity film at N.S. school (Sympatico news)
The video takes a modern look at how today’s families deal with issues such as same-sex relationships, divorce, adoption and substance abuse. “Kids need to be educated, learn about families with difference and learn to accept all those differences,” says Family Diversity Committee member Fran Steer, who recommended the video. The film was supposed to be featured as part of the school’s first ever Family Diversity Week but it was pulled after the principal and other staff screened it, deeming aspects of the film not appropriate to show at an assembly for all grades.

Paternity test throws doubt into highly-publicized marriage fraud deportation (Shelley Page, Ottawa Citizen)
It was the most highly-publicized case of marriage fraud in recent memory: a Canadian woman abandoned by her Guinean husband only a month after he arrived in this country, the revelation that he had previously fathered a child in Africa, and his subsequent deportation for not declaring the existence of a dependent. But paternity tests may now show that the so-called fraudster was in fact not the childs father and that the alleged cad may have been exiled from his new life without good reason.

Video: Is It Time for Canada to Rethink Its Immigration Policies? (David Berner)
David Berner interviews Martin Collacott about Canada’s current immigration policies.

Bollywood, burlesque, drag queens and Star Wars: Wasnt that a party! (Monica Zurowski, Calgary Herald)
As most Calgarians are well aware, our citys cultural scene rocks. But for those few folks who may have still had a few questions about the Calgary culture, any doubts were easily laid to rest Friday night. In fact, those doubts were stomped on, danced upon and whipped into reality, by a vibrant array of entertainment at Sweet City Celebration. The event was part of a public kick-off, celebrating the fact that Calgary was named a cultural capital in Canada (April 2012 to March 2013.)

E-newsletter (CIC)
Get the latest updates on Citizenship and Immigration Canadas programs and services, including feature stories about citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. A new edition each season released four times per year.


Immigration Minister Jason Kenney makes welcome changes to refugee bill (Toronto Star)
Its rare and refreshing to see a member of Stephen Harpers cabinet offer to amend a punitive piece of legislation. We have listened to parliamentarians on Bill C-31 (which overhauls Canadas refugee system) and as a result we have a stronger bill, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told fellow MPs. The government is open to reasonable suggestions. The changes he is proposing wont satisfy refugee advocates, human rights activists or the opposition parties. But they would alleviate one of the harshest provisions of the legislation.–immigration-minister-jason-kenney-makes-welcome-changes-to-refugee-bill

Ottawa Doctors to Harper Government: Dont Cut Refugee Health Care! (Centretown Community Health Centre)
Physicians in major urban centers across Canada are calling on the federal government to preserve critical health care services currently provided to refugees through the Interim Federal Health Program. Doctors and other health professionals at Ottawas Community Health Centres are standing in support of their colleagues in opposition to proposed program cuts. On April 25, 2012, federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced alarming changes to the Interim Federal Health Program, which provides temporary health coverage to refugee applicants without provincial or territorial health insurance. These cuts would prevent thousands of refugees from accessing much-needed basic health care when they arrive in Canada, a move that is unethical and economically misguided, according to doctors across the country.!.aspx

Ottawa doctors decry cuts to refugee health benefits (Global Toronto)
Dozens of doctors wearing white coats descended on Parliament Hill on Friday to protest cuts to federal health-care benefits for some of their most vulnerable patients refugees. As part of sweeping set of reforms to Canadas refugee system, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently announced he would eliminate coverage of supplemental health benefits like vision care, dental work and drug costs for refugees. Using words like insane, disgusting and mean-spirited, doctors and community health workers stood on the lawn of Parliament and warned the cuts would hurt refugees, compromise public health and increase health-care costs.

Refugees to suffer from federal cuts, say MDs (CBC)
Some Newfoundland and Labrador doctors are protesting imminent cuts to federal health care funding for refugees. In the past, the government paid for basic medical care for refugees for one year after their arrival in Canada under the Interim Federal Health Program but in last month’s budget the federal government announced that will change. Ottawa will pay for medications for illnesses that are believed to be dangerous to the public, such as tuberculosis, but won’t pay for drugs for conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. Dr. Pauline Duke, a family doctor in St. John’s, said some of society’s most vulnerable people will be harmed by the change.

Stop cuts to refugee health (Jesse Mclaren,
Today doctors across the country took action against proposed cuts to refugee health. There were occupations of Tory offices in Winnipeg and Toronto, a rally in Ottawa and press conferences in other cities. On April 25, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced drastic cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program. These cuts, which are scheduled to take effect on June 30, are cruel, costly and a threat to public health.

Physicians occupied MPs office over cuts to refugee health care (Toronto Star)
Toronto physicians briefly occupied Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s Toronto constituency office Friday to protest the Conservative government’s changes in health care coverage for refugee claimants. A group of physicians briefly occupied a Conservative MPs office Friday, demanding Ottawa rescind its planned cuts to refugees health-care coverage. Outside the office of Joe Oliver, the Tories highest ranking member in the GTA, doctors from all disciplines echoed concerns that the denial of health-care access would increase health costs and jeopardize public health.–physicians-occupied-mp-s-office-over-cuts-to-refugee-health-care

Canadian doctors occupy government offices over healthcare cuts (Paul Harris, Guardian UK)
A group of doctors on Friday briefly occupied an office belonging to a senior Canadian government minister to protest against planned government cuts to health services offered to refugees. In Toronto, about 80 doctors staged a demonstration at the office of Conservative government cabinet minister Joe Oliver. Oliver was not there at the time, and the group left after half an hour after police arrived, before continuing the protest on the street.

Refugees Are People Too (Jennifer Hyndman, Huffington Post)
Bill C-31’s immigration detention measures will be expensive. The Auditor General has noted that the costs of implementing Bill C-31’s detention proposals will run at least $70,000 per detainee. For a government that aims to cut costs, this is a step in the opposite direction. For-profit detention and incarceration in the US, UK, and Australia is big business, but the government pays the bills. The projected monetary cost does not take into account the emotional and social costs to the detainees, their families, and the wider communities. Moreover, many scientific studies have concluded that immigration detention is harmful to the mental and physical health of detainees, and that every day in detention leads to further deterioration.

An attack on vulnerable refugees (Mark Tyndall, Ottawa Citizen)
Since the federal budget was announced in March, Canadians have been inundated with funding cut announcements. On cue, Citizenship and Immigration Canada released a sweeping restructuring of the health benefits provided to refugees under the Interim Federal Health Program. Beginning July 1, health coverage will only be provided for urgent health services (i.e. heart attacks), or for conditions deemed to pose a risk to public safety (i.e. tuberculosis). Thats it. No primary care, no treatment of chronic illnesses and, essentially, no medications. We are being told that these changes are needed to save taxpayers money and to discourage bogus refugee claimants from coming to Canada, neither of which is true. As an added bonus, the ministers press release said that these changes would ensure fairness and protect public health and safety. This statement is not only false, but the changes actually also create inequity and pose a serious threat to public health in Canada.

Kenney listens to his critics (Ottawa Citizen)
Its strange to praise a cabinet minister for making changes to a bill in response to the concerns of committee witnesses and his fellow parliamentarians. After all, thats one of the things Parliament is for. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has announced several changes to Bill C-31, the Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act. Originally, the bill would have allowed Canada to detain refugees without review for up to a year if they came here as part of a designated irregular arrival, such as a smuggling ship. Among other amendments, Kenney has agreed to shorten that detention period to 14 days. That long detention period never made much sense, and the change is a good one.

Refugees struggle to find affordable housing (Tara Carman, Vancouve Sun)
A study by immigration think-tank Metropolis B.C., citing Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation figures from 2006, found that 44 per cent of recent immigrant households in Metro Vancouver spent more than 30 per cent of their before-tax income to pay the median market rent in their area. Immigrants who enter the country through the economic or family class streams tend to fare better in this regard than either government-sponsored refugees such as Hazrat, who are fleeing persecution and granted permanent residence before they arrive, or refugee claimants, who have asked to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds. The latter two categories struggle because they tend to arrive with little and have less in the way of education and family support, the report noted.


Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Rethinking the food bank : Its no longer just about handing out food to the hungry (Toronto Star) – May 11
2. Alberta:
— Alberta’s social programs face sweeping review – May 11
— Super ministry responsible for all Alberta social programs – May 10
3. [City of Toronto] SPARmonitor : May 9, 2012 (Social Policy, Analysis and Research – City of Toronto)
4. Federal budget 2012: Systemic underfunding for Aboriginal peoples (Canadian Union of Public Employees) – May 8
5. Federal Budget 2012: Womens rights suffer significant setbacks under Harper majority (Canadian Union of Public Employees) – May 8
6. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Labour Force Survey, April 2012 – May 11
— 2011 Census of Agriculture – May 10
7. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Webinar June 12: Social Diversity, Discrimination, and Health – Culture, Ethnicity and Resilience (OHPE)
On June 12, 2012, Dr. Samuel Noh, SAMI co-PI and mentor and the Head of the Culture, Community and Health Studies program at the University of Toronto will present “Social Diversity, Discrimination, and Health: Culture, Ethnicity and Resilience”. Research on immigrant health demonstrates that over years of residence in Canada and across generations, immigrants gradually give away their health advantage, and in some ethnic groups, second and third generation immigrants show clearly inferior health status compared to native-born population samples. This webinar will report results from a program of research in discrimination and health to show how personal experiences of social exclusion or discrimination is linked to mental health problems.

Webinar May 15: Colour Coded Health Care – The Impact of Race and Racism on Canadians’ Health (OHPE)
On May 15, 2012, Dr. Sheryl Nestel will present “Colour Coded Health Care: The Impact of Race and Racism on Canadians’ Health”. This presentation is based on Dr. Nestel’s recently completed literature review surveying the research on mortality and morbidity by racialized groups in Canada, it will review the evidence of bias, discrimination and stereotyping in health care delivery.

Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin, 11 May 2012 – OHPE Bulletin 753, Volume 2012, No. 753
Events, announcements and job postings.

Leading authority on poverty stopping in Welland (Joe Barkovich, The Tribune)
When it comes to poverty issues, few voices get as much attention as those at ISARC. The acronym is easier to commit to memory than the words for which it stands. They are: Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition. Thats a mouthful. It was one of the first on the anti-poverty bandwagon, one that started picking up steam in the mid-1990s after the Mike Harris cuts to social assistance and other clawbacks that caused more woe to those who live on the margins and beyond.

Income inequality explained Part 3 (Troy Media)
The difference between poverty and income equality may seem self-evident, but all too often groups advocating for solutions to income inequality either conflate the two concepts or treat them as synonymous. Traditionally, poverty refers to a level of income at which basic necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter are unattainable or difficult to secure. This type of material poverty has also been referred to as absolute poverty. Income inequality is a concept distinct from poverty. It refers simply to the ratio of one groups income compared to another groups income. Income inequality is sometimes referred to as relative poverty.

McGuinty does not have no choice (Hamilton Spectator)
When everything seems impossible, nothing is possible — and, well, that’s just never the case. Politicians and pundits of all stripes are insisting that austerity and restraint must dictate our political decisions. But tough times do not allow for resignation; rather, tough times require us to be more thoughtful about our choices and creative in our solutions. Politics, of course, is all about choices. The choices may be harder to make in this climate, but make no mistake: There are choices to be made.–mcguinty-does-not-have-no-choice

When everything seems impossible, nothing is possible — and, well, that’s just never the case. Politicians and pundits of all stripes are insisting that austerity and restraint must dictate our political decisions. But tough times do not allow for resignation; rather, tough times require us to be more thoughtful about our choices and creative in our solutions. Politics, of course, is all about choices. The choices may be harder to make in this climate, but make no mistake: There are choices to be made.–mcguinty-does-not-have-no-choice


Why Steamwhistle Looked Beyond Canadian Experience and Hired New Immigrants (
Human resources manager Lorna Willner made a decision to be open-minded to new Canadians from around the world with little or no domestic experience when recruiting. She says the fresh perspectives and new techniques are a reflection of Canadas diversity.

Op Ed: Federal policy puts Canada on path to two-tier workforce (Janet Bagnall, Edmonton Journal)
Barely two months after a British Columbia Supreme Court judge certified a $10-million class-action lawsuit on behalf of more than 70 temporary foreign workers alleging flagrant violations of pay and working conditions, the Conservative government told Canadian employers that they can start paying short-term foreign workers 15 per cent less than they pay Canadian workers. If the federal government felt any qualms about giving employers carte blanche to create a two-tier workforce, it wasn’t obvious. Its attitude: Canada is facing a labour shortage. This is a way to fix it.

Jobs: Ontario Left Behind (Behind the Numbers)
Statistics Canada reported today that April was another good month for the labour market. The Canadian economy added 58,200 jobs, most of which were full-time and all of which were paid positions rather than reported self-employment. Paradoxically, official unemployment increased as more Canadians entered the labour market. This development provides an important reminder that unemployment is actually even worse than the official tally of 1.4 million.

Small businesses can score big with Pan Am Games (Caitlin Crawshaw, Globe and Mail)
To increase chances of being noticed, companies should be very clear about the nature of their business and services, so they aren’t overlooked, Ms. Anderson says. And when companies register on the site, they have an opportunity to declare their diversity. Companies owned by first nation, visual minorities, women, and those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities will be given priority in the selection process, she says. To encourage these companies to apply, Toronto 2015 has created a supplier diversity advisory council. Its a fragmented market out there and we really wanted to have a vehicle to extend these opportunities into these communities, she says. The organization hasnt set any targets, in terms of the percentage of diverse companies theyll work with, but about one-third of suppliers so far awarded fall into this category.

Sask Chamber of Commerce policies to smooth process for skilled immigrants (Newstalk 650)
McLellan said immigration of skilled workers is front of mind for most business people in Saskatchewan. Having LMO processing back in Saskatchewan would be more convenient and more approachable for those workers, he said. There are individuals, both businesses as well as immigrants, who need to have access to those people and now with it being so far away theres time zone issues as well theres telecommunications issues of connecting with them, said McLellan. He said the SCC wants to use its influence to try to make the process as slick as possible while maintaining necessary safe guards. He said they are very confident that the LMO processing could come back to Saskatchewan.


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

Service Changes Effective June 18, 2012 (Steve Munro)
The TTC will implement many service changes on June 18, 2012 mostly for seasonal changes in demand. The lions share of these are service cuts, with a few increases. These are detailed on the first six pages of the document linked below.

David Millers New Mandate (Todd Aalgaard, Torontoist)
A private citizen once more, working with the World Bank, New York University, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Miller has taken this idea beyond Torontos boundaries. Today, he occupies his days thinking about the role cities play in mitigating climate change. Cities, he says, are where the majority of the worlds population is concentrated in the 21st century, and where most of its emissions are generated. As nodes of the world, so to speak, the key to reversing an unfolding global catastrophe is within cities purview.


CHNET-Works! Fireside Chat May 25: Measuring the Effectiveness of Partnerships (OHPE)
Working in partnerships has become the norm in health promotion however do we really know if we are working effectively and making a difference? What tools should we use? What are the benefits of building evaluation into our planning cycles and how can the results be used to strengthen our partnerships and our impact? This fireside chat will answer these questions and more by reviewing key approaches to evaluating health promotion partnerships and describing existing tools that can be used to gather information on partnership functioning.

SiG Presents at ALIA (J.W. McConnell Family Foundation)
Social Innovation Generation (SiG) team members Vickie Cammack, Tim Draimin, Al Etmanski, and Cheryl Rose will present How the World is Changed: Seeing and Shifting Patterns in Systems at the Authentic Leadership in Action (ALIA) Summer Institute in Halifax from June 18-22.

We Will Not Be Silenced (David Suzuki, The Mark)
Canada would be a different place without our 80,000 registered charities dedicated to everything from health to economic policy to the environment. We’d be much poorer without the two million employees and millions of volunteers who devote their time to causes that strengthen our nation. Recent efforts by the federal government and its backers in media and industry front groups like Ethical Oil to demonize and silence legitimate organizations ignore the important role charities play in Canada. That’s why environmental and other organizations are joining with Canadians from all walks of life for Black Out Speak Out, launched on May 7 with ads in The Globe and Mail, La Presse, and Ottawa’s Hill Times, and culminating in a website blackout on June 4.


Human Trafficking Forum: Resource Material (FCJ Refugee Centre)
A list of resource materials related to the recent forum.

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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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