Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 2, 2012


Cities of Migration Newsletter
In this issue:
Cities of Migration User Survey
Richard Barrero-Zapata: The Myth of Tolerance
Relying on Immigrant Networks: Business Network Aachen
Ziauddin Sardar: In Defense of Multiculturalism
The Mayor’s Office of New Bostonians
On the Trail of Good Ideas: Montreal to Barcelona
Learning Exchange: Immigrant Integration at School
Ideas on the Move: Peel Children’s Aid and Diversity onBoard
Good Ideas in the News

Changing the face of boards (Pamela Jeffery, Financial Post)
Why in 2012, is the federal government trying to nudge corporate Canada into changing the makeup of its boardrooms to include more women? The answer is simple: Inclusivity is good for business. Yet, while Canada enjoys an incredibly diverse, multicultural talent pool of men and women, nominating committees continue to seek out the usual candidates: Caucasian men. But the cost to opportunity of maintaining the status quo instead of seeking out the best and brightest in a much larger talent pool is too great. Recognizing this, the federal governments Economic Action Plan 2012 created an advisory council of leaders from the private and public sectors to promote the participation of women on corporate boards.

Chris Selleys Full Pundit: The Decline of Canadian Democracy, Part XXVI (Chris Selley, National Post)
As Postmedias Andrew Coyne says, there is no reason to believe that the government couldnt get changes to Old Age Security, the immigration system and environmental regulations through Parliament as separate bills. But there is something quite alarming about Parliament being obliged to rubber-stamp the governments whole legislative agenda at one go i.e., in Bill C-38, which Coyne describes as a sort of compulsory buffet. The problems with this approach are manifold, in Coynes view: it make[s] a mockery of the confidence convention, shielding bills that would otherwise be defeatable within a money bill, which is not; it makes it impossible to know what Parliament really intended by any of it, or what any individual MP thought of it; it utterly eviscerates the committee process, until now regarded as one of the last useful roles left to MPs; and ultimately, it extends Parliaments powerlessness in all directions: it has become, if you will, omnimpotent.

Global protests denounce Ottawas plan to wipe out immigration backlog (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Waving placards denouncing Ottawas plan to eliminate a lengthy immigration backlog, protesters in four foreign cities urged Canada not to repeat its discriminatory immigration past. In Hong Kong, organizers said about 80 affected immigration applicants many travelling from inner Mainland China staged a demonstration against the federal governments plan to return the applications of 280,000 people in the queue. Similar protests were held Monday in Leeds, England, and Karachi, Pakistan. In Indias Chandigarh, 200 people attended a rally and candle-light vigil, according to the Canadian Backloggers Pre-2008 Association.–global-protests-denounce-ottawa-s-plan-to-wipe-out-immigration-backlog

Canada’s Very Own Rush Limbaugh (Huffington Post)
“I’ve got a slogan for you,” one eager audience member asked into the microphone during the Q & A period. “Immigrate, fornicate, legislate, and dominate. How do we stop the cycle?” While the man’s statement may be jarring taken out of context, it was perfectly in tune with the atmosphere of the evening. In fact, by that point in the night hearing it barely got a rise out of me. Steyn’s lecture was ominously titled Head for the Hills: Why Everything in Your World is Doomed, and it was exactly as level headed as the title made it sound. Steyn spoke mainly about Islam in the western world. He talked about the perceived dangers of what he considers the ongoing process of the Islamification of the West, a process carried out through increased Islamic immigration, and correspondingly high birth rates among immigrant groups. He pointed out that France was well on its way to becoming a majority Muslim country, and that a similar fate was in store for the rest of the West if trends did not change.

The hate beneath the surface (Ruth Klein, JPost)
It is 30 years since the League for Human Rights of Bnai Brith Canada first started to document anti-Semitism through an annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. Coincidentally, this year also marks a seminal anniversary in Canadian jurisprudence: the 1982 enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, legislation that promised the constitutional entrenchment of freedom of religion. Although there have been important advances that make Canada one of the best places in the world for a Jewish community to enjoy that freedom, in terms of continued prejudice towards religious minorities, the attitudes of Canadians as they contemplate neighbors with different customs and traditions, have not undergone any radically transformative change.

Skills for Change and CIBC Announce Pioneers for Change, a Gala Event Honouring Extraordinary Canadian Immigrants (Canada Newswire)
Skills for Change, a not-for-profit agency specializing in employment success for internationally educated professionals, and CIBC are proud to introduce Pioneers for Change, an evening of five short films that will be shot through the eyes of prominent Canadians who have championed immigration issues and played a role in furthering Canada’s economic prosperity. “Film is the perfect medium to tell the stories of the latest generation of Canadian newcomers, giving a face to the people building our future,” says Cheryl May, Executive Director of Skills for Change. “Our country’s history is all about the struggles and successes of immigrants, and that continues today.”

Conrad Black to return to Canada (Global TV)
Federal politicians were battling it out over the future of disgraced media baron Conrad Black, after news on Tuesday that he was returning to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada authorized a one-year temporary resident permit for Black, according to Canadian media reports. The federal government is not denying the reports, and it confirmed CIC reached a decision about the case. Black has been serving a federal sentence in an American penitentiary and is set to be released this month. Immigration minister Jason Kenney said he could not comment on the case citing privacy laws, but he did explain the process he set up to deal with an eventual request from Black.

Harper government has had a good first year (Globe and Mail editorial)
It has been a year since the Conservatives won a majority government, a year in which there have been plenty of ups and downs, the latter including the robo-calls controversy and the Auditor-Generals scathing report of mismanagement and a lack of accountability on the F-35 purchase. But on most of the issues that matter, on the economy, on reining in public spending, on addressing the long-term structural challenges of Old Age Security, on immigration and on the sustainability of health-care funding, the government headed by Stephen Harper got it right… On immigration, the government has an energetic willingness to fix long-standing problems in this politically sensitive portfolio, and address the crucial issue of newcomers un- and under-employment. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is altering the immigrant selection process, to focus more on younger immigrants with better language skills who have prearranged employment. Mr. Kenney is also redesigning the investor immigrant program, and changing the way foreign credentials are assessed. These measures will allow newcomers to gain employment more quickly, and ensure that Canada remains an attractive destination for the worlds most innovative and entrepreneurial people.

How Stephen Harper is remaking the Canadian myth (John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail)
On the first anniversary of Stephen Harpers majority government, much attention has focused on tax and spending cuts, the law-and-order agenda, the Prime Ministers promotion of free trade and the increasing estrangement of Quebec. But the Conservatives are also bent on transforming the idea of Canada, by changing the national myth. Many of this countrys most cherished symbols and values the flag, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, peacekeeping, public health care, multiculturalism are the product of Liberal policies. The Harper government seeks to supplement, or even supplant, those symbols with new ones, and old ones revived. These new symbols are rooted in a robust, even aggressive nationalism that celebrates the armed forces, the monarchy, sports, the North and a once overshadowed Conservative prime minister.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada office relocation (CIC)
CIC Niagara Falls and the Backlog Reduction Office (BRO) Niagara Falls have moved to a new office at 4318 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, Ontario. The offices are moving to a new location because the current lease expires on April 30, 2012. The new office has been completely renovated to meet the needs of CIC clients and will improve the delivery of services to Niagara Region and parts of Haldimand County.

Immigrant lied about criminal past (James Turner, Winnipeg Sun)
He came to Canada for love. But far from finding matrimonial bliss, Hipolito Rincon Ramos today finds himself facing virtually certain deportation because of his lies. The 53-year-old Dominican Republic man pleaded guilty in a Winnipeg court this week and was sentenced to nine months in jail after admitting he misrepresented himself to immigration officials when applying to become a Canadian permanent resident. Hes been in custody since his arrest last September. Judge Careena Roller credited him for seven months of time served, meaning he has two months left to spend in provincial jail.

Apply for the 2012 Lilian To Scholarship for Immigrants at Ashton College (Canadian Immigrant)
Ashton College is currently accepting applications for the 2012 Lilian To Scholarship for Immigrants, co-sponsored by magazine. The deadline is just two months away The scholarship was established in 2005 in honour of the late Lilian To, a longtime advocate for immigrants in British Columbia. Eligible newcomers are offered the Lilian To Scholarships every year, valued at $30,000 in total. This covers the winners tuition at Ashton College, for a full-time or part-time program. Immigrants who landed in Canada in 2007 or later are eligible to apply. Along with a completed application form, applicants to the 2012 Lilian To Scholarship must submit a 500-word essay as well as their most recent resumé.

NDP’s Melnick takes heat on immigration emails (CBC)
Manitoba Immigration Minister Christine Melnick says Christine Melnick says she doesn’t monitor her department’s emails. Manitoba’s immigration minister is still unable to say whether bureaucrats received a controversial email that invited people to leave work to attend a legislature debate. Christine Melnick says she doesn’t continually monitor her department’s emails. Melnick has been under fire since April 19th when hundreds of people filled the legislature’s public galleries to watch her lead a debate over federal changes to immigration programs. The day before, Melnick’s assistant deputy minister sent out emails suggesting that people take time off work to watch the debate. The emails were aimed at non-profit, government-funded agencies that provide immigration services.

Multiculturalism may not work in Holland but it does in Canada (Bill Tierney, Montreal Gazette)
And Holland is also the country in which there doesn’t seem to be the Quebec problem of English threatening to engulf the Dutch language. Ex-Montreal councillor Jeremy Searle reported recently in a funny op-ed piece that the Dutch only use English at their international airport, Schiphol. Not a penny wasted on Dutch signs. Jeremy was hard-pressed to find anyone who’d speak Dutch to him. But the multiculturalism argument is more focused on Muslims. It runs like this: multiculturalism has failed. Six per cent of Holland’s population is now Muslim and it is not integrating into Dutch society. Dutch multiculturalism has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society.

Sign of the times: some railway workers were more equal than others (T.W. Paterson,
In that pre-First World War age when Great Britain was at the peak of its glory, when the Cowichan Valley was very much a community of retired British military officers, civil servants and younger immigrants, the editor’s following sentiments, as offensive as they are to us today, would have been those of many of his readers. In short, the established Valley community. Hence the blatant bias against those of Canada’s immigrants who were not fair complexioned nor from Commonwealth nations: “A very great number of the men employed on this work are foreigners who can speak little, if any English. Many of them are of a rather low caste of human being. But for all this they are human [my italics-TW], they have wives and relatives to whom they are dear. If we allow these people to come into our country we must be prepared to treat them as we would our own people[!] It is not right that we should allow them to come here and work in the development of the country and in times of misfortune or accident wash our hands of their affairs. Some scheme of registration and identification must be devised whereby the relatives or near friends may be advised in case of death or accident.

Asian Heritage Month (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Toronto comedian and film maker, Franco Nguyen. He recently visited Vietnam for the first time, with his mother, to discover his cultural heritage.

Lakshmi: A Hindu Goddess Reinterpreted (CBC Metro Morning)
This week, South Asian leaders gather in Markham to discuss family violence in their communities – violence aimed mostly at women. Mary Wiens goes beyond the headlines to explore the story of Lakshmi, the most important female goddess in the vast pantheon of Hindu deities.

Newcomers list advice as key ingredient in establishing their financial life in Canada: RBC (Canada Newswire)
Most newcomers to Canada (79 per cent) feel it’s important to start building credit history quickly and three-in-four (75 per cent) believe that expert advice is important when it comes to lending or borrowing money, according to an RBC poll. “Building a new life in a new country is no small feat. Newcomers are faced with a myriad of tasks and decisions to ensure their future success,” said Paul Sy, director, Multicultural Markets, RBC. “Among these are important financial decisions and professional advice can be critical to overcoming obstacles and challenges in this area. That’s why speaking to a financial advisor, someone who understands the challenges and can provide solutions, is integral to helping newcomers build their lives in Canada.”


Refugee reform bill sparks grassroots protests across GTA (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
As busy commuters and shoppers hurried past the Dufferin Mall in the west end last Friday, a hardy group braved brisk winds to hoist a banner in the park across the street: Stop Bill C-31. That marked the start of what Francisco Rico-Martinez, his wife Loly Rico and other refugee advocates vow will be a 31-week vigil to mourn the end of Canadas humanitarian tradition of welcoming asylum seekers in need of protection. It is just one of a string of grassroots protests being mounted in the GTA. Times are changing, said Rico-Martinez, who fled political persecution in El Salvador 22 years ago for the welcoming arms of Toronto, where the couple helped set up a refugee shelter.–refugee-reform-bill-sparks-grassroots-protests-across-gta

Country of Origin Information (Forced Migration Awareness)
Events, opportunities and relevant new publications.

Hill Dispatches: Cutting jobs, sacrificing fish and jailing refugees (Karl Nerenberg,
From time to time Hill Dispatches will scan the horizon to see what is happening and what is coming. As the Conservatives try to re-make Canada in their own image, many individual pieces form the big, and sometimes quite scary, picture… Refugees under attack… Montreal lawyer Mitchell Goldberg, speaking for the Quebec Bar Association, told the Committee that these incarceration provisions are certainly contrary to international law and probably contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights as well But Conservative Members on the Committee did not seem impressed.

Canada and Refugee Resettlement Conference – June 20-22 (Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia and The Centre for Refugee Studies at York University)
This conference intends to bring together approximately 300 academics, policy analysts, policy makers and service delivery practitioners to discuss innovation and best methods and approaches for what will be an on-going need in the 21st Century. The conference will also look at the impact of the Federal Bill C-11 recently completed. The conference is national in scope but it is intended to also look at successful practices from the international community.

CARFMS12: Restructuring Refuge And Settlement: Responding To The Global Dynamics Of Displacement (York U)
The 2012 CARFMS Conference will bring together researchers, policymakers, displaced persons and advocates from diverse disciplinary and regional backgrounds to discuss the issue of restructuring refuge and settlement with a view to better understanding how migration policies, processes and structures responds to the global dynamics of displacement. We invite participants from a wide range of perspectives to explore the practical, experiential, policy-oriented, legal and theoretical questions raised by refuge and settlement at the local, national, regional and international levels.

Two more refugee claimants from MV Sun Sea ordered deported to Sri Lanka (Stewart Bell, National Post)
Deportation orders have been issued against two more of the 492 Sri Lankan refugee claimants who arrived off the B.C. coast in 2010 aboard the smuggling ship MV Sun Sea. In separate decisions, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ordered the expulsion of both men, ruling one had engaged in people smuggling and the other had been a member of a Tamil rebel group. The cases bring to 19 the number of Sun Sea migrants who have been issued deportation orders to date. All have been declared inadmissible to Canada due to their involvement in terrorism and crime.


Video: The link between your health and your wealth (Globe and Mail)
Recent reports demonstrate that theres a definitive link between health and wealth. A new study suggests wealth plays a significant role in health outcomes including premature death.

Health Promotion Headlines, Do great local minds think alike? Comparing perceptions of the social determinants of health between non-profit and governmental actors in two Canadian cities (Patricia A. Collins, Health Education Research)
Cities are important sites for intervention on social determinants of health (SDOH); yet, little is known about how influential local actors, namely workers in municipal governments (GOVs) and community-based organizations (CBOs), perceive the SDOH. Capturing and comparing perceptions between these groups are important for assessing how SDOH discourse has permeated local actors thinkinga meaningful endeavour as local-level health equity action often invokes inter-institutional partnerships. This paper compares SDOH perceptions between CBO workers in Hamilton, Ontario, with politicians and senior-level staff in GOVs in Vancouver, British Columbia, based on two studies with surveys containing identical questions on SDOH perceptions. Overall, there was high comparability between the groups in their relative ratings of the SDOH. Both groups assigned high levels of influence and priority to healthy lifestyles and clean air and water and lower levels to strong community and income. Given the importance of a shared vision in collaborative enterprises, the comparability of perceptions between the groups found here holds promise for the prospect of inter-institutional partnerships. However, the low rating assigned to more structural health determinants suggests that more work is needed from researchers and advocates to effectively advance a health equity agenda at the local level in Canada.

Come and see for yourself (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
Think of it as a blog in 3-D. This Sunday, May 6th I will be leading A Fresh Look at Social Housing a tour that literally walks through 30 years of housing policy and speaks to the hot issues facing Torontos social housing today. The tour starts at 2pm at 1555 Queen Street East, just west of Coxwell, and ends at Project Amik around 4 pm. The tour is one of almost 500 Janes Walks held world-wide to commemorate the life and work of Jane Jacobs.

Cutting OAS will hurt poor seniors the most (Scott Brison, Agora Cosmopolitan)
Last months federal budget made it official: the government is raising the age for Old Age Security (OAS) from 65 to 67. Any Canadian born after March 31, 1958 must wait up to two years longer before receiving their OAS pension. What will these cuts mean for Canada? Lets consider who depends on OAS. Today, four out of every ten Canadians who receive OAS are living on less than $20,000 per year. Single women are more likely to rely on OAS as their main source of income. Rural communities, with their older populations, are also more likely to be hurt by cuts to OAS.

Ontarios taxing march to socialism (Neil Reynolds, Globe and Mail)
Churchill said socialism was the equal sharing of misery. If so, Ontario has moved a bit closer to egalitarian hardship with its ideological tax increase on people it supposes to be rich: people with taxable incomes of $500,000. And closer to socialism, too. By the Liberal governments own reckoning, the tax increase will move $470-million a year from the private sector to the public sector, a significant incremental expansion of the state; further, it will remain as long as the province runs a budget deficit which is to say forever.

Income Inequality: Oversimplifying a complicated issue (Jason Clemens, Troy Media)
Writer H.L. Mencken noted that there is always an easy solution to every human problem that is neat, plausible, and wrong. There may be no greater contemporary illustration of Menckens warning than the debates surrounding inequality. People on both sides of the political/ideological spectrum repeatedly get this issue wrong, which risks solutions that could make matters worse. Lets begin with those who consider themselves more conservative or libertarian. Their overwhelming response is to deny or ignore inequality as an issue. Their operative assumption is that much of the inequality observed is temporary and, at its root, a function of economic success. They are certainly correct on the former but view inequality too narrowly on the latter.


TRIEC Leadership Update (TRIEC)
It is with mixed emotions that I announce the pending departure of Elizabeth McIsaac, Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). Elizabeth has accepted a new role as Executive Researcher (Not-for-profit Sector) at the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto. Her last day at TRIEC will be May 11, 2012.

Fostering a culture of inclusion (Manjit Singh, Financial Post)
People from around the world come to Canada in search of a better life. That is the case for my family, which emigrated from India when I was five. I know first hand the feelings of fear, uncertainty and hope people have when they arrive. Helping immigrants adapt to their new country and find work is increasingly becoming important with immigrants now accounting for one in five Canadians, a recent TD Economics report shows. And by 2055, Statistics Canada projects immigration will account for 90% of the countrys population growth. For businesses, these numbers mean an evolving customer base, which may require new ways of thinking about services, products and marketing. It also means the workforce will largely consist of people who were educated elsewhere and bring different reference points and new ideas to the table. The potential for innovation by leveraging this diversity of thought and experience is enormous. However, there are also significant cultural and language barriers for new immigrants to overcome.

How Canada is attracting skilled workers (Globe and Mail)
Contests, Job fairs, Professional Inmigrants website, Promoting Canada’s potential.

$5.5 Million Saved for Employment Standards (Workers’ Action Centre)
Three months of intense pressure from WAC members and our allies have resulted in a huge win for Ontario workers! The Dalton McGuinty government has pledged to restore $5.5 million in planned cuts to employment standards enforcementand to bring us to the table to figure out the most effective way to use these funds to better enforce employment standards and prevent wage theft.

The many faces of innovation need diversity at work (Connor Livingston,
The days of middle-aged caucasian males running American businesses are behind us. Today, it takes talent from around the world of every race, gender, and ethnic group to propel a company to the next level… In this infographic by SocialCast, they make a case for diversity in the workforce as well as the use of social collaboration tools to push businesses forward. As with any change, there are barriers, but a well-run company can overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of a strategy based on inclusion rather than the old ways of thinking.


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

Meet our new publisher: Ritu Bhardwaj (Yonge Street)
For those who occasionally take a peek at website About pages, you’ll notice something new on ours today. Ritu Bhardwaj has joined the Yonge Street team as publisher, to help grow relationships for Yonge Street. Bhardwaj is a keener with business and community experience that makes her a perfect fit for Yonge Street. She’s held marketing positions at several organizations that have been involved in art, design, fashion and education. As executive director of The Arts Scholarship Fund, she is responsible for a charitable organization providing arts scholarships for children and youth to further develop their artistic talents. In a volunteer capacity, she’s been involved with The Royal Ontario Museum, The United Way of Greater Toronto, the United Way of York Region and the TDSB, as well as being a founding board member of the Creative Preschool.

Toronto’s City Builder Book Club focuses on Jane Jacobs’ master work (Yonge Street)
Toronto’s City Builder Book Cluba book club that turns reading about city-building into an act of city-building itselfhas wrapped up the reading of its first book.
The book club, a joint venture between the Centre for City Ecology and Creative Urban Projects (CUP), brings together readers from within and beyond Toronto who have a keen interest in city-building and want to participate in larger conversation on iconic city-focused texts. The goal of the project, according the website is “to facilitate a deeper understanding of how cities work by hosting a guided reading and discussion of books that have developed and challenged our ideas on this topic.” The club officially launched in February; its inaugural book, not surprisingly, was Jane Jacobs The Death and Life of Great American Cities.


The Philanthropist Vol 24, No3
Accountable Reporting for Nonprofit Organizations – Rayna Shienfield
The Importance of Taking Risk in Philanthropy – Arti Freeman, Violetta Ilkiw
Nonprofit Risk Management – Mary Mancuso
Risk Issues and Social Enterprise in Canada – Susan Manwaring, Andrew Valentine
National Summit Report – Michelle Gauthier

Modernising Charity Law: Recent Developments and Future Directions (Adam Aptowitzer, The Philanthropist)
Those of us who work in the area of charity law in Canada understand that the foundation of our work is the 1601 preamble to the Statute of Charitable Uses. But some forget that this same preamble has served as the fountainhead of charity law in essentially all of the Commonwealth countries. And so it should not be surprising that some of the problems Canada is struggling with today have been encountered in other jurisdictions. Nor should it be surprising that some of the solutions suggested here have been examined or tried in other Commonwealth countries.

Transparency Among Canadian Charities (David Lasby, Cathy Barr, The Philanthropist)
R e s earch commi s s ioned by The Muttart Foundation ind icate s that Canadians have high expectations regarding the transparency of charities. For example, in three surveys conducted between 2004 and 2008, between 95% and 99% of Canadians said it was either very important or somewhat important for charities to provide information on their impact, programs and services, how they use donations, and fundraising costs (Ipsos Reid Public Affairs, 2008). However, only between 26% and 51% of Canadians thought that charities were doing a good or excellent job of providing these various types of information. The perception correct or not that charities are not as transparent as they should be has negative consequences for both individual charities and the sector as a whole. For individual charities, the impact may be seen in reduced donations and volunteer rates. For the sector as a whole, it can be seen in efforts such as Bill C-470 to impose greater legal restrictions on charities.

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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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