Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 23, 2012


Changing the face of Canada’s corporate boards (Pamela Jeffery, Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC))
With a large number of directors retiring over the next five years, now is the time for action. In order to speed up the process, the Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) has launched Diversity 50, Canada’s first-ever national database of women and visible minority candidates. Our goal is to uncover what has been, at least in the eyes of corporate Canada, a hidden talent pool. The Council will identify 50 candidates to help directors and search firms broaden the pool by introducing them to fresh faces. More perspectives lead to better decisions. Study after study shows this to be true. Diversity 50 will be a direct link to the diverse voices FP 500 companies need in their boardrooms to better reflect their customers, employees, communities and drive results.

The Order of Canada: stories behind the people (Maytree blog)
At a recent Canadian Club event Rex Murphy delved into the stories of three oustanding Canadians – Ratna Omidvar, Bruce Kuwabara and Charles Pachter. You can watch video of the entire event.

Immigrants aren’t the only ones with responsibilities (Gillian Hewitt Smith, Globe and Mail)
As The Globe and Mail concludes its series The Immigrant Answer, it should be congratulated for tackling a subject vital to Canada’s long-term health and prosperity. Strong and sound immigration policy and settlement practices are in Canadians’ collective best interest; a national conversation to identify and explain the key issues and debates about the choices being made to evolve immigration policies is essential. The series falls short, however, in two key areas: failing to look at immigrants as more than economic engines, and forgetting that all Canadians have a role to play in the success of our extraordinary nation. Ultimately, we must address the question of Canadian citizenship, its value and meaning.

P.E.I.’s PNP a “serious failure,” says Kenney (Teresa Wright, The Guardian)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had some harsh words about the Ghiz government’s management of the Provincial Nominee Program Tuesday, calling it a ‘serious failure.’ Kenney was in Charlottetown Tuesday to hold roundtable meetings with businesses to discuss economic development and immigration issues, but sat down with The Guardian to discuss the controversial PNP.,-says-Kenney/1

Jason Kenney Endorses Changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (CCLA)
Federal Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, has endorsed the Saskatchewan government’s recent controversial changes to the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP)’s family referral category. Under the changes, immigrants in Saskatchewan can nominate only family members who have pre-arranged “high skill job offers.” The changes also impose a limit on how many family members a household can nominate – instead of nominating several family members at once, immigrants will be restricted to one nomination at a time, until the nominated family member has held a job in Saskatchewan for at least six months.

More immigrants wanted in rural Canada (Scott Stanfield, Comox Valley Record)
A small percentage of immigrants settle in rural areas of Canada. Most wind up in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, says Rachel Blaney, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre. The organization, which serves the Comox Valley and Campbell River, hopes to increase the number coming to the Comox Valley. “A broader spectrum of people are coming to Canada,” Blaney said in a presentation to the regional district committee of the whole. While senior levels of government are actively attracting immigrants, Blaney is concerned about expectations regarding our native tongues.

Goodale: Closing Regina immigration office “foolish” (Jeff Mackey, MetroNews)
Wascana Member of Parliament Ralph Goodale has raised concerns over the planned elimination of the Regina immigration office. The office is closing due to federal government cuts to Immigration Canada. This will leave the province with just one immigration office, located in Saskatoon. While a few of the Regina office’s 10 employees will be transferred to Saskatoon, all other positions will be eliminated.

Open Call for Revamped 2012 Mentoring Program (Diaspora Dialogues)
Diaspora Dialogues is excited to announce a revamping of its mentoring programs into one comprehensive program to focus on the creation of long-form manuscripts. This new program will offer emerging writers greater in-depth opportunity to hone their craft and ready a book-length project for publication. Our “Writer’s Residencies” will provide each writer with a specialized professional development program, as well as targeted introductions to agents and/or publishers. DD is inviting submissions of original full-length novels or collections of short stories up to 85,000 words or 300 double-spaced pages; or full-length poetry manuscripts of up to 25 poems (no more than 50 pages maximum) from emerging writers.

Giving and volunteering among Canada’s immigrants (Derrick Thomas, Statistics Canada)
This article examines donating and volunteering among immigrants in Canada: their reasons for doing so or not, the amounts of money and time they give, and the types of organizations which benefit from their largesse. This information may be valuable to charitable and non-profit organizations that are attempting to reach out to immigrant and cultural minorities and to appeal to them in a culturally sensitive way.

Religious schools and tolerance (Mehdi Rizvi, Straight Goods)
Recently, news surfaced about an objectionable anti-Jewish text taught in the East End Madrassah, a Toronto Islamic Sunday school. Such stories about educational institutions seem to be popping up more often these days. South of the border, as part of a course about Islam, an instructor at the US military Joint Forces Staff College told his class that “They [Muslims] hate everything you stand for and will never coexist with you, unless you submit.” And the New York Police Department screened “Third Jihad,” an Islamophobic movie, as a training exercise for 1500 officers and staff.

Slaying of Tamil-Canadian underscores enduring ethnic violence in Sri Lanka (Colin Freeze And Stephanie Nolen, Globe and Mail)
Andrew Mahendrarajah Antonipillai believed he was protected. Family and friends tried to warn him of the danger he faced returning to his native Sri Lanka. But Mr. Antonipillai, a man his Montreal neighbours knew as ready to help anyone in need, shrugged them off, saying his Canadian citizenship would keep him safe. “They can’t do anything to me,” he told friends who cautioned him about his planned travels earlier this year. But in the end, Mr. Antonipillai’s passport proved no shield when he ran into trouble in a former Tamil Tiger enclave in northern Sri Lanka two weeks ago. The Tamil-Canadian was brutally slain in still-unexplained circumstances. His mutilated body was flown home and buried in Montreal on Saturday.

Event May 30: John Amaechi (Canadian Club of Toronto)
Please join us on May 30th when the Canadian Club of Toronto and TO2015, the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee, welcome John Amaechi, OBE. Multi-sport Games are recognizing their role as a platform for social change and as a driver for economic development.

Stats Canada: Vancouver first again in reported gaybashings (Jeremy Hainsworth, Xtra!)
Vancouver remained Canada’s capital for reported gaybashings in 2010, despite an overall 18 percent drop in hate crimes in Canada’s biggest cities and a drop in gaybashings of 5.6 percent, new Statistics Canada numbers show. While Toronto had more individual gaybashings than Vancouver – 35 compared to 30 – the percentage of gaybashings out of the total number of hate crimes in Vancouver was 26 percent of 117 crimes compared to 11.6 percent of 302 in Toronto. “Any hate crime is disturbing,” says Vancouver West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, “but to see statistics [like
that] is really disturbing.” In other parts of Canada, Ottawa had 15 gaybashings, Montreal 13, Edmonton seven, Quebec City five, Calgary five, Hamilton four and Winnipeg one. Overall, Canadian police services reported 1,401 hate crimes in 2010, or a rate of 4.1 hate crimes per 100,000 population, Statistics Canada reported. There were 1,482 in 2009 and 1,036 in 2008. “Consistent with findings from past years, three motivations accounted for most hate crime: race or ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation” the report by Cara Dowden and Shannon Brennan states. “The highest rates of hate crime were among youth and young adults as both victims and accused persons. Crimes based on sexual orientation accounted for 15.5 percent of reported crimes motivated by hate.

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Mom can’t leave Canada with children — or stay either (Kathy Tomlinson, CBC News)
An American mother with five Canadian children who lives in B.C. is shedding light on an immigration dilemma she says leaves her family at risk and dependent on charity. “It’s a heartbreaking scenario — to watch your children when they are going to school and they are hungry,” said Heidi Roggero. Roggero is the ex-spouse of a Canadian — with no legal status in Canada — who can’t go back to the U.S. unless she abandons or kidnaps her children.


Refugee Healthcare Cuts (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jill Dempsey spoke with Dr. Meb Rashid. He is medical director of the Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital.

Misleading argument about refugees and immigration (Ron Cannan, Kelowna Cap News)
One of the myths that continually swirl around the Internet is that it is more advantageous to be a refugee than a pensioner in Canada because the monthly entitlement for single refugees under the Refugee Assistance Program is $1,890. This information is incorrect. Citizenship and Immigration Canada does not provide financial assistance to refugee claimants who enter Canada seeking protection. Financial assistance under the RAP is limited to a small number of government-assisted refugees who enter Canada as permanent residents and are not entitled to income support under provincial social assistance programs. For these individuals, a one-time start-up amount of $1,830 is allowed, followed by a monthly allowance for no more than one year, or until he or she becomes self-sufficient, whichever comes first. Misinformation about refugees and new immigrants also states that these individuals can qualify for OAS with as little as two years residency.

Dear Minister (McMaster Global Health Commons)
Below is a letter from a group of national associations representing a variety of health care professions who object to Minister Kenney’s propsed cuts to supplemental health benefits for refugee claimants under the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), effective June 30, 2012.

Iraqi refugees in Syria pin hopes on video conferencing (Maureen Brosnahan, CBC)
The federal government will try to use video conferencing technology to process the visa applications of hundreds of Iraqi refugees destined for Canada who are now stranded in Syria. The refugees, about 700 of whom are destined to come to the Toronto and southern Ontario area, have been accepted by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. Canada had also identified them as a priority group in need of protection.


Home and Community Care in Canada: An Economic Footprint (Conference Board of Canada)
This report estimates the economic footprint of home and community care in Canada, highlighting the implications of caregiving employees for businesses, and shedding light on the potential spending implications of shifting some care from institutions to homes.

Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2010 (Statistics Canada)
According to police-reported data, about 99,000 Canadians were victims of family violence in 2010. Of these, almost 50% were committed by their spouse. An additional 17% were committed by a parent, 14% by an extended family member, 11% by a sibling and 9% by a child, usually a grown child. Unlike other forms of violent crime, the risk of becoming a victim of family violence was more than twice as high for females as for males. The main factor behind this increased risk was related to the higher representation of women as victims of spousal violence. In 2010, women aged 15 and older accounted for 81% of all victims of police-reported spousal violence.

Rich-poor gap could spark financial crisis in Canada: Report (
Canada’s income inequality has reached a level not seen since the 1920s, says the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. (Shutterstock) The gap between the rich and the poor in Canada is getting wider and could eventually lead to an economic collapse, according to a new report by a left-wing think-tank. Income for middle-class Canadians has remained stagnate since the 1980s, while the income of the richest 1% has increased dramatically, according to Dalhousie economist Lars Osberg. As a result, Canada’s income inequality has reached a level not seen since the 1920s, says Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

15 ways to use a 450-page federal budget bill (Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC)
The Conservatives’ spring budget made headlines two months ago with plans to save billions by cutting public sector jobs, speed up major industrial projects by streamlining environmental reviews and kill the penny. But details of those and many other changes are still trickling out as Parliament picks apart the legislation meant to implement the budget’s promises.

Women Centred Housing (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jill Dempsey spoke with the CEO of YWCA Toronto , Heather McGregor, and with Annalee Hopkins. She is a tenant of the Elm Centre, a new YWCA residence in downtown Toronto. Later this morning, CBC Toronto’s Anne Marie Mediwake will host the official opening of the Elm Centre, and the public can visit the building from noon until 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Income inequality explained – Part 7 (Troy Media)
The next two topics in our series introduce the dynamic nature of labour markets and society into the mix of factors that need to be considered when thinking about income inequality. An often implied but almost never discussed dimension of inequality is that people are stationary over time. In other words, it is often inferred that those in low income or experiencing poverty today are also those in low income or poverty tomorrow. Thankfully, the opposite is true. Canada and most industrialized countries enjoy fair degrees of income mobility, which means the incomes earned by individuals and households change from year-to-year. The following section explains the conceptual dimensions of mobility as well as some of the available data for Canada.

It Takes a Village (Tamarack Institute)
When it comes to your health, your friends and neighbors may play a bigger role than your family. A new study involving identical twins found that the siblings with tight-knit social circles were healthier than their counterparts who didn’t feel as connected to their communities, despite their very similar DNA and upbringing. Previous studies have found that people with strong relationships within their communities tend to have fewer ills, but it’s been unclear how much of a role a person’s “good” genes and childhood experiences played in their robustness. The new study removed those factors from the equation by using nearly 1,000 U.S. twin pairs who were raised in the same household. The research found that siblings with a deeper sense of belonging to a trusted community were more likely to report being in excellent or good health than their twin who didn’t feel a deep social connection.

How can we improve EI? (Callie Sanderson,
While the Harper government’s recent announcement to reform the federal Employment Insurance program (EI) is still unclear, it seems that irrespective of fiscal and social beliefs, the structure of our EI system can, and should be, improved. On Tuesday, May 22nd for our 16th panel discussion on Canadian public policy challenges, iPolitics heard suggestions from economic and policy experts on what should be done to restructure EI from policy to practice. We dug a little deeper into how the existing EI program currently operates, obstacles to be overcome, and highlighted key areas that need to be reformed moving forward.

Open North on increasing citizen engagement through technology (James McKinney and Jonathan Brun, Samara Canada)
We believe that the internet has the potential to transform democratic engagement. Around the world, we have begun to see this potential realize itself, whether it’s helping citizens send over 100,000 access to information requests (UK), ask questions – and get over 100,000 answers – from their representatives (Germany) or track political activity in their nation’s capital (US).


B.C. needs more skilled immigrants now (BC Immigration Task Force)
The Immigration Task Force (ITF) released their final report today confirming that B.C. will need more skilled immigrants to fill labour and skills shortages throughout the province, announced Minister of State for Multiculturalism and ITF Chair John Yap at an event held today at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver. The Immigration Task Force was appointed by Premier Christy Clark on Dec. 8, 2011, to review key government programs to increase the number of skilled immigrants and investors in British Columbia. The report was compiled after the ITF conducted eight regional consultations involving a broad range of stakeholders and industry experts. The task force also reviewed and included comments and suggestions submitted by the public through the ITF website.

B.C. constrained by Ottawa in search for skilled workers: report (Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun)
B.C. is being constrained by the federal government in its efforts to attract the number of immigrants it needs to support economic growth in the face of a looming labour shortage, a new report finds. The province’s share of economic immigrants, determined by the federal government, has shrunk in recent years, even as B.C. plays an increasingly important role in driving national growth, said the report, prepared by the province’s immigration task force and released on Tuesday. The report calls on the federal government to immediately increase economic immigration levels to British Columbia. Such a move would be supported by employers and other stakeholders throughout the province, the authors argued.

B.C. in need of skilled immigrant workers (Energy City)
The announcement was made by Minister of State fir Multiculturalism and ITF Chair John Yap, at an event held at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver. The report mentioned above was compiled after the ITF conducted eight regional consultations involving a wide range of stakeholders and industry experts, as well as comments and suggestions submitted by the general public.

Foreign workers not cheaper, construction union rep says (Chronicle Herald)
Bringing in foreign workers would not solve the shortage of skilled labour in the local construction industry, a Halifax-area union representative says. Peter Greer, a business representative for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, which has 1,200 members, said he found it “somewhat repugnant” that a Halifax developer suggested last week that he might bring in workers from South America to ease the crunch caused by the labour shortage. Besim Halef of Banc Properties Ltd. told The Chronicle Herald that the city’s construction boom is forcing labour costs so high that he’s contemplating bringing in builders from Chile.

Changes to foreign worker program angers labour (Canadian Oh)
Proposed changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) fast-tracking applications for these workers and allowing employers to pay 15 per cent lower wages in certain circumstances is raising the ire of unions and labour groups in the country. Under the federal government’s Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (A-LMO) Initiative, effective immediately, employers in all provinces except Quebec hiring TFWs in higher skilled positions such as management, professional and technical occupations will be offered flexibility to base wages paid to TFWs on what they pay Canadian and permanent resident employees. The changes have been included in Bill C-38, an omnibus bill making its way through Parliament.

Call for Action against migrant worker wage cuts! (Justice for Migrant Workers)
The Conservative government has given employers in Canada freer rein to exploit migrants. Employers can now pay migrant workers 15% below the average wage. This is an outrage! To discriminate on wages simply on the basis of nationality is unfair. Considering that most migrant workers are people of colour, this wage cut is simply racist. The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, a community-labour alliance of over 40 organizations, will be demonstrating at MP Joe Oliver (Cabinet Minister for Toronto)’s office on May 24th.

Media Advisory/Interview and Photo Opportunities : BMO and ACCES Employment Encourage Leading Businesses to Open Their Doors to New Canadians in Search for Talented, Skilled Employees (Marketwatch)
Businesses need to combat higher levels of immigrant unemployment and wage gaps with better strategies to increase their integration into the Canadian workforce, according to BMO Financial Group. BMO will join ACCES Employment and other leading GTA employers in a mass ‘Speed Mentoring’ initiative at Hart House, the University of Toronto, on May 29. Immigrants bring increased levels of innovation and productivity to the Canadian companies that employ them, yet despite impressive credentials and relevant experience, newcomers to Canada continue to experience significantly higher unemployment rates than Canadian-born residents. Sponsored by BMO Financial Group, ACCES Employment’s “2012 Speed Mentoring Marathon” will offer approximately 100 new Canadians a unique opportunity to build their professional network in a series of rapid-fire interviews and mentoring sessions with prospective employers. In the six years since the program began, ACCES Speed Mentoring has assisted over 1,800 job seekers expand their professional networks.


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Gardiner Expressway, Getting Around, City Hall, Pride, Scotiabank, Road Hockey and Other News.

My City Lives: David Miller on Redefining Citizenship (Spacing Toronto)
The most recent TedxToronto featured a wide range of speakers discussing topics pertaining to “redefining.” Among the speakers was David Miller who had an inspiring speech on redefining citizenship. Miller focused his speech on how the citizens within Toronto can commit to making the kind of city they believe in and how together we can redefine the government to meet those needs.

Going Multi-Modal in the “Texas of the North” (Project For Public)
Red Deer, Alberta, is a small city about halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. Once a sleepy agricultural outpost that provided a convenient stopover for travelers moving between the territory’s two larger cities, Red Deer has experienced substantial growth over the past three decades due to the growth of the oil industry, booming from 30,000 residents in 1975 to just over 90,000 in 2012. As might be expected given that time frame, virtually all of the new growth has taken the form of auto-oriented sprawl. Today, the City Council is seeking to change that, and have developed a new civic vision that is outlined in the Strategic Direction 2012 – 2014 report. This vision included the creation of an Integrated Movement Study (IMS).

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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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