Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 24, 2012


Insight: Maytree and Metcalf Foundation Report on Immigrant Entrepreneurship (Marti Prosperity Institute)
Two recent reports by the Maytree Foundation in conjunction with the Metcalf Foundation and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation highlight the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and immigrant entrepreneurship in the Canadian economy. This insight will paint a picture of current trends and issues by combining the findings of Sarah Waylands report on immigrant self-employment and entrepreneurship in the GTA and ALLIESs report on global talent for SMEs. Full reports are available online: Immigrant Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship in the GTA and Global Talent for SMEs: Building Bridges and Making Connections. The Martin Prosperity Institute is releasing this Insight to facilitate the continual discussion regarding small business and immigrants, and as a summary of papers released by the Maytree and Metcalf Foundation.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenny responds (Welland Tribune)
Re: Minister destroying immigration and refugee system (Tribune, May 10, 2012) I would like to correct the completely false and outrageously irresponsible claims made by Francisco Rico-Martinez, as quoted in Maryanne Firths recent article. Mr. Rico-Martinez ridiculously says that our government is destroying Canadas immigration and refugee system. In fact, we are strengthening our system by cracking down on the abuse of Canadas generosity by human smugglers, bogus asylum claimants, fake immigration marriages, crooked immigration consultants and immigration queue-jumpers. At the same time, we are maintaining the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history while speeding up our system to better connect newcomers with jobs that are going unfilled in the Canadian economy.

A behind-the-scenes look at how we created our immigration interactive (Globe and Mail)
Telling the story of immigration in Canada requires a lot of faces, but also a lot of numbers. When it came time to tell the story online in our recent series, The Immigrant Answer, we knew we needed a clear, visual way of telling the story. The interactive, Rethinking immigration: The case for the 400,000 solution, acts as a single long-form multimedia infographic that you can read by simply scrolling (or swiping on a touch device) at your own pace. Scrolling is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of navigation.

Racial quotas for judges is a bad idea (Karen Selick, Troy Media)
Does Canada need a quota system to ensure racial diversity among the judiciary? The Globe and Mail has published no fewer than four articles in the past few weeks reporting and then rehashing the factoid that 98 of the most recent 100 federally appointed judges are white. Groups representing Asian lawyers, indigenous lawyers and black lawyers quickly took their cue and issued indignant statements. One group insisted that the demographics of the bench must be tracked and reported.

Immigration will continue to grow in importance (Ashley Fitzpatrick, The Telegram)
In an interview with The Telegram, Federal Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney responds to the question of how changes to Canadian immigration policy will be of benefit to Newfoundland and Labrador. Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is in St.?Johns today, spreading the word on the hows and whys of incoming changes to federal immigration regulations.

Needs Assessment Survey for Service Providers (Your Legal Rights)
For over 30 years, Springtide Resources has worked with diverse communities to develop educational materials, training opportunities, and resources for agencies working to support work related to violence against women. We are reaching out to you to seek your input to determine what types of training would enhance your work with immigrant, refugee, newcomer and non-status people by filling out this survey.

Diversity Summit aims for equal opportunity (Jordan Thompson, Fort McMurray Today)
The Sawridge Inn conference room was packed Wednesday afternoon as McMurrayites from all walks of life joined together to take part in the inaugural Diversity Summit, put on by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. A quick walk down any street in Fort McMurray is enough to see that the city brings together people from all over the world. But for immigrants moving here from another country, the transition can be particularly difficult. It was the municipalitys hope that the Diversity Summit would be a way to bring everyone together and shed light on the struggles newcomers face, and what can be done to solve those problems.

Immigration Policy Conference (CD Howe Institute)
The Haskayne School of Business and the C.D. Howe Institute are pleased to invite you to a private discussion on Canadas impending immigration challenges. Join top policy and private sector leaders in this closed forum to tackle obstacles facing immigration policymakers and ensure Canada stays on track to remain a player in an increasingly competitive international market.

Panel: Escalating migrant and refugee repression in Canada (
The panel of the May Day potluck, which has been celebrated in Guelph, Ontario for four years now, illuminates the experiences of working-class migrants and immigrants in relation to Canada’s continually failing immigration and labour legislation. Guest speakers at this year’s celebration include: Juan, Melissa Paciulan, Lizzie Neale and Teresa Edge.

Nannies waiting longer for open-work permits in Canada (Times of India)
Catalina Ferano longed for the day she would be free to go where she wants and do whatever job she chooses in Canada. So after the Filipina nanny fulfilled her two-year obligation as a live-in caregiver last July, she immediately applied for an open-work permit while her application for permanent residency was being processed. Now, nine months after submitting her application, Ferano’s open permit still hasn’t arrived.

Immigrants could soon be left in limbo (
Immigrants to Canada who live in Nanaimo and hoping to become Canadian citizens this summer are in limbo because of restructuring at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. On June 1, the local offices of CIC Canada will be closed in Nanaimo, Prince George, Kelowna and Victoria as part of the budget restraints the federal government has implemented. “The only office that will be left open in the entire province is the one in Vancouver,” said Hilde Schlosser, the executive director of the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society.

Court rules against would-be immigrants (Metro News)
A federal court judge has quashed the hopes of hundreds of would-be immigrants seeking to force the government to review their files. Over 800 skilled workers have seen their applications languish in a massive backlog thats set to be eliminated by the federal budget bill. They are suing the government over the delay in processing their files and had sought an injunction that would force the immigration minister to keep their applications open while the case is before the courts.

Passport office denies Orillia man is Canadian (Peter Worthington, Toronto Sun)
Youre not going to believe this. I had difficulty accepting it, but its true: A child born to Canadian military family serving overseas can be Canadian but has no automatic right to a passport. Lawrence Connelly was born in Germany in 1967 when his father was a firefighter in the Air Force. His mother was Canadian, and Lawrence was issued a DND certificate of birth, showing him to be Canadian. All pretty routine.

Foreign-trained doctors get backing from medical group (CBC)
The president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association is defending foreign-trained doctors in the wake of comments made last week by a woman who alleges that a misdiagnosis led to her mother’s death. We have a very rigorous process of licensing through the Newfoundland and Labrador College of Physicians and Surgeons, NLMA president Dr. Sandra Luscombe said. I’ve certainly had many friends who have gone through that process and they would not consider it to be an easy process, which is a good thing. Luscombe says about 40 per cent of the doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador are foreign trained.

David Bezmozgis, Holocaust survivor win lit awards for debuts (Jessica Wong, CBC)
A book of poetry by an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor and first-time writer has won the 2012 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award. Singing from the Darktime: A Childhood Memoir in Poetry and Prose tells the story of S. Weilbach’s childhood on a dairy farm in Germany and her gradual ostracism by classmates and teachers as anti-Jewish laws were introduced.

Minister Kenney Announces Winner of 2012 Award for Multiculturalism (Marketwatch)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney today named Bridget Foster of St. John’s, Newfoundland, as the recipient of the 2012 Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism. “Bridget Foster has worked tirelessly for more than thirty years in St. John’s, building welcoming communities and successfully integrating newcomers to Newfoundland,” said Minister Kenney. “I am happy to announce her as the winner of this year’s Paul Yuzyk Award for Multiculturalism.”

Cricket All-Stars in Toronto build a following in Canada (TSN)
Canada is a hockey first country and probably always will be. While the nation has made notable strides in baseball, basketball, mix martial arts and other sports on an international stage, there are some sports where Canada’s progress has not been as noticeable, despite its many breakthroughs. Just over a week ago, an international exhibition cricket match was staged in downtown Toronto that pitted the World’s XI against the Asian XI. It was obvious from the fans in attendance that cricket in Toronto alone, has much more support then many would think. Each boundary, wicket and diving catch had fans raising signs and cheering with vuvuzelas to go along with various dances that reflect Canada’s diversity. The diversity of the jerseys were also quiet apparent, with fans sporting colours from Australia, South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India and of course Canada.

Immigration and Refugee Law (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 Immigration and Refugee Law.

40% below-age-one children from visible minorities by 2031 (South Asian Generation Next)
According to Statistics Canada, by 2031, nearly 40 per cent of children under the age of one in Canada will belong to a visible minority group. Only six years ago, this figure was 22 per cent. This trend reflects the one in the United States. Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau revealed a landmark demographic shift, reporting that for the first time more than half of children being born in the United States belonged to ethnic or racial minorities. Assessing similar trends in Canada, StatsCan projects that the visible minority population in this country will continue to increase by sustained immigration and slightly higher fertility rates in the next 15 years or so. The South Asian population would still be the largest visible minority group in 2031, and might more than double from roughly 1.3 million in 2006 to 4.1 million by then. The Chinese population is projected to grow from 1.3 million to 3 million, according to StatsCan estimations. For this study, the agency used the census metropolitan area of Toronto, which reaches from Oshawa in the east to Burlington in the west and Barrie in the north.

Language skills the target of Canadian citizenship reform (Robin Levinson, National Post)
People applying for Canadian citizenship must now provide objective evidence that they can not only read, but actually communicate in English or French. If they dont have a diploma from an English or French school, they will have to either pass a language test or take government-approved language classes. Proving your language skills comes at a high cost for the applicant. One of the only standardized English tests currently accepted by the government, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), costs between $265 and $285 to write.


Failing Canada’s Most Vulnerable (Danyaal Raza, The Mark)
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, has been a very busy man as of late. In less than five months, he has sought to redefine Canadas threshold for asylum seekers, and to tighten the handshake that welcomes them to their new home. For those in the medical community providing care for, and advocating on behalf of, refugee patients, these efforts have caused considerable consternation. After a closer inspection of Bill C-31 and the more recent overhaul of the Interim Federal Health Program, it is not a stretch to see why.

Health Impacts of Reduced Federal Health Services for Refugees (City of Toronto)
The Medical Officer of Health recommends that the Board of Health call on the federal government to reinstate the IFHP to maintain interim support for refugee and refugee claimant health care needs.

Refugee health-care cuts threaten everyones access (Carlos Osorio, Toronto Star)
The federal governments recent decision to scale back temporary health-care coverage for refugees and refugee claimants has been criticized on several grounds. Some argue that the policy change targets a particularly vulnerable population and is inhumane. Others suggest that health-care cuts will make refugees successful integration into Canadian society more difficult. Still others zero in on the governments claim that reducing health benefits will deter bogus refugee claimants, stressing that very few refugees indeed come to Canada for medical care. Less talked about is how the impending refugee health-care cuts could actually exert more pressure on provincial health systems, and therefore have potential ripple effects on all Canadians health-care access.–refugee-health-care-cuts-threaten-everyone-s-access

Canadian doctors, nurses join protest against cuts to refugee health plan (Toronto Star)
Opposition is growing against Ottawas planned cuts to refugee health-care coverage as eight national health organizations join a campaign demanding the government rescind its proposal. In an unprecedented move, professional bodies representing family doctors, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, optometrists and dentists sent a joint letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asking him to reconsider cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). The letter, dated May 18, follows protests across Canada this month by physicians concerned about the potential impact of the cuts to the health of refugees and Canadians.–canadian-doctors-nurses-join-protest-against-cuts-to-refugee-health-plan

The New Refugee Health Care Plan- Am I understanding it correctly? (Meena Roberts,
Starting July 1st, 2012, the Government plans to eliminate health care services to some refugee claimants and significantly reduce services to others. Refugee claimants will get basic health care in urgent/essential situations, i.e., if they are rushed to the hospital or if they have communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, which could pose a risk to Canadians. Refugees will no longer get supplemental care. So no dental care, no vision care, no lab tests, no medications, no vaccinations, no referrals, no specialists, no counselling. The Government expects to save taxpayers about $100 million over the next five years or an average of $20 million a year. There were ~34,000 new refugee claimants in 2009; about 22,000 in 2010 and ~ 25,000 in 2011. Thats an average of 27,000 refugee claimants per year who will get little health care, saving us ~ $740 per refugee per year.

Refugee health reforms assailed (CMAJ)
Moreover, the public is demanding such limitations, Kenney says. Weve received a lot of feedback from Canadians that they dont think we should be providing health benefits to asylum claimants that are better than Canadians get from provincial health insurance programs. Utter hogwash, counter angry physicians opposed to the restriction on services to those that are of an urgent or essential nature( Refugee claimants will also be denied medications and vaccines unless they pose a public health threat, while rejected claimants or people from nations on a Designated Countries of Origin (which do not normally produce refugees) will not receive any health care unless there is a public health threat (). Its inhumane,

The Roma and the immigration bill (Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star)
Gina Csanyi-Robah, a Roma, is safe. She cannot be kicked out of the country. Her health-care benefits will not be snatched away. She is not a refugee. She was born here. She grew up here. She went to university here. She teaches here. She is one of us. She is also the director of the Roma Cultural Centre, and recently she went to Ottawa and spoke to the Senate committee looking at this governments immigration bill. She spoke on behalf of the Roma refugees. And on behalf of us.–fiorito-the-roma-and-the-immigration-bill

Bill C-31 Re-Victimizing Women Refugees and their Children (Battered Womens Support Services)
Bill C-31, “The Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act,” seeks to implement a series of new changes to immigration policy and procedure that are going to severely impact refugees escaping from violence and persecution, particularly women, queer and trans-identified individuals, and their families. Under Bill C-31 impossible time frames will be imposed for refugees to have their claims assessed. Within 15 days of arrival asylum-seekers will be expected to arrange legal council, interpretive services, and present their personal experiences before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). “Lawyers who are willing to take aid for refugee claims are very few,” says Angela Marie MacDougall Executive Director of BWSS, “They will be incredibly overburdened.”

Amnesty International Report 2012 (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
Amnesty International released its flagship annual report today, a survey of the state of human rights in 155 countries and territories. In addition to country profiles, the report provides a global update, regional overviews, and facts and figures. Full-text downloads in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish are available.


CCPA National Update (CCPA)
our latest study reveals that Mexico is the only part of North America where the middle class has been gaining from growth;
our brief to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food analyzes the impact of the 2012 federal budget on food insecurity in Canada;
we’ve lifted the fog on public service job losses; and
a round-up of the latest commentary and blog posts from Behind the Numbers.

Province releasing poverty reduction strategy (Ryan Ross, The Guardian)
Islanders living in poverty will soon know how the government plans to help them after Community Services Minister Valerie Docherty announced the government will release its poverty reduction strategy next week. She made the announcement during Wednesdays question period after Tignish-Palmer Road MLA Hal Perry asked about what he called a broken promise by the Liberals who had yet to release a strategy. In an interview, Docherty said she couldnt release any details about the strategy yet, but it will involve several departments, which meant it took longer to develop. And while the initial strategy will cover a three-year period, it will be an ongoing process to continuously make improvements, she said.

Views of Canadians on Harper’s Long-term Priorities (Nanos Survey May 2012) (Nik Nanos)
In the latest Nanos Research survey, Canadians were asked to choose which of five long-term policy priorities listed on the Prime Ministers official website was the most important to them. he strengthening of Canadas economic union appears to be important for more Canadians compared to 2011. This policy priority witnessed a 14 point increase from the 2011 wave of tracking in the number of people who said it was their most important long-term priority. Conversely, cracking down on gun, gang and drug crime (23.4%) witnessed a 10 point decline in terms of the number of people who cited it as their most important long-term priority (33.4%). Asserting Canadas sovereignty in the Arctic (4.1%) and rebuilding the Canadian Armed Forces (3.7%) continue to be lower when presented as choices from among the five long-term priorities.

Pairs cross-Canada walk aims to raise political awareness of aboriginal issues (Bryce Forbes, Calgary Herald)
Joined by a friend, Ashley Battle, they are walking from Vancouver to Ottawa to raise awareness, called a March_4_Justice. The basis of their walk stemmed from a Jan. 24 meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo. There was a lot of anticipation built up for that meeting and a lot of aboriginal people, including myself, thought there is going to be a lot of resolutions regarding our issues, but that wasnt the case, said Baskatawang. Instead, they decided they are only going to release a progress report one year from that day. Not nearly enough, he says

The Canadian Health Care Debate: A Survey and Assessment of Key Studies (Conference Board of Canada)
A review of the 18 major Canadian studies on how to reform health care identifies 432 recommendations that fall into seven broad themeswith more than half dealing with system management processes, and funding and financing.

Reframing the Health Care Debate (Trish Hennessy, Behind the Numbers)
Discussions about how to frame social issues in Canada are often left to communications professionals, but so many times its the people on the front lines of public service who have a lot to contribute to this endeavour. Take Saskatoon physician Ryan Meili. He has cleverly woven his front-line experiences as a family doctor into a book, A Healthy Society, that attempts to change the conversation about public health care in Canada. Heres my interview with Ryan about his book and his re-frame.

Response to federal comments on food security (Canada Without Poverty)
In the wind-up to the tour by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, the federal government made a number of comments publicly and in parliament on poverty and food insecurity in Canada that Canada Without Poverty has responded to. Two letters were sent on May 22 that we have posted here: one to Minister Jason Kenney, and the other to Prime Minister Harper. Poverty is affecting over three million Canadians, and the majority of those individuals and families are food insecure. Hunger is serious issue in Canada and the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur has helped to highlight the urgency needed to address the problem. Canada Without Poverty is concerned that the federal government has ignored this message.

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.


Video: Facing Underemployment (Banafsheh Hosseini)
Facing Underemployment: Promoting Mental Health of Newcomers in Canad

Report calls on federal government to increase skilled immigrant workers (IECBC)
On Tuesday, May 22, the British Columbia Immigrant Task Force (ITF) released its final report stating that B.C. still needs a greater number of skilled immigrants to offset the growing skills and labour shortage in the province. The report, released by the Minister of State for Multiculturalism, John Yap, announced that the Province is being constrained by the federal government in its efforts to attract the skilled immigrants needed to support economic growth. B.C. employers are becoming increasingly dependant on this talent pool to fill critical skills gaps in their workforces.

Businesses strained by lack of trained workers: Province (24 Hours Vancouver)
An immigration task force appointed last December by Premier Christy Clark heard loud and clear from employers in regional consultations that if more skilled immigrants arent immediately attracted to our province, businesses may have to close or relocate, resulting in fewer jobs and opportunities for British Columbians.

Nearly one million young Canadians not at school or work, StatsCan says. (Toronto Star)
Nearly a million young Canadians are out of work and more than half arent even looking for a job, according to the first-ever study of its kind by Statistics Canada. They represent roughly 13 per cent of all young people between the ages of 15 and 29, the federal agency said. And while thats high compared to Canadas overall jobless rate, which stood at 7.2 per cent in April, among Canadas G7 peers only Germany is in better shape with a youth unemployment rate of 11.6 per cent, the study noted.–nearly-one-million-young-canadians-not-at-school-or-work-statscan-says

Access to Professions and Trades Guide Redesign (Settlement AtWork)
You can use the guide to start working toward your career goals. You will learn about international qualifications, how to contact licensing or regulatory bodies and the education and training options available to you. The guide also has information about the Canadian labour market and the workplace culture in Canada. You may benefit too from resources and tips on preparing a Canadian-style résumé and cover letter, professional networking and much more. The Access to Professions and Trades Guide was prepared in partnership with Findhelp Information Services with funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Ministry of Labour Podcasts (Settlement AtWork)
The Ministry of Labour has developed a series of biweekly podcasts. The latest podcast talks about the responsibilities of employing a domestic worker. The podcasts cover a wide variety of topics, including deductions from wages, filing an employment standards claim, how the Ministry of Labour investigates incidents, heat stress and more. To download the podcasts on Employment Standards and Health and Safety,visit the ministrys podcast archive page.

We shouldnt drain Atlantic Canadas labour force (Globe and Mail)
There is some concern in Atlantic Canada that the federal governments proposed reforms to the Employment Insurance program are meant to stimulate more outward migration of workers from that region to western Canada. This notion was reinforced by a recent story that uncovered a study commissioned by the federal government meant to determine what would motivate people to move out of their communities to take jobs elsewhere in Canada.


Thursday’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.


An apologetic politician? (Brenda Herchmer, Welland Tribune)
Over the years, government has played a significant role in not only supporting the voluntary sector to provides services for children, youth and families who are vulnerable, but also in reducing the gaps between rich and poor with programs such as public pensions and employment insurance. But, as Alan Broadbent, chair of the Maytree Foundation and the Caledon Institute of Social Policy, recently pointed out in an address to the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, in recent years weve seen pressures to roll back some of those gains so, many of us have a sense that the world is changing, and particularly that our former consensus that government was there to protect us is eroding. Anyone, anywhere in Canada who works or volunteers for a non-profit organization would agree it is getting more and more challenging to sustain their work.

Shelleys Blog: What is the New Normal? (Shelley Zuckerman, North York Community House)
Regardless of what government is or will be in power or how well the economy turns around, there have been just too many changes in our society in the past few years that will make it impossible for us to go back to the old days- even if the old days were only a few years ago. In subsequent blogs Ill go into more detail about some of these changes and the impact on nonprofits. However, the many demographic, economic, political and technological changes are and will be fundamentally changing what a nonprofit looks like, how it functions, how its funded and what it should do. We in the sector may not like many of the changes and the implications for our sector, we may even feel that it goes against some of our most basic values but we must face these issues.

Safer and Vital Communities Grant (Settlement AtWork)
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services invites community groups to apply for the Safer and Vital Communities Grant for the 2012/13 fiscal year.

CharityVillage Live: Black Out Speak Out (Lee Rose, Charity Village)
A couple of weeks ago a coalition of environmental groups including Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund and the David Suzuki Foundation launched the Black Out, Speak Out campaign to protest what they call the federal government’s “war” against the environment. For the next few weeks they’ll be taking out newspaper ads in a bid to draw attention to proposed changes to environmental law contained in the government’s latest budget implementation bill. According to the group, the changes will “weaken environmental rules and silence the voices of those who seek to defend them.” The campaign will culminate in a far-reaching blackout of their websites on June 4, a symbolic objection to the government’s alleged efforts to silence them.

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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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