Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 28, 2012


Collaboration: The Secret to Leveraging Multi-sport Games to Advance Diversity and Inclusion (Naki Osutei, DiverseCity Toronto)
For some, multi-sport games like the Olympic Games and Pan/Parapan Am Games are a costly celebration of athleticism underscored with messages of peace and unity. However, for a growing number of sport organizers, the Games can be a catalyst for social change and a driver of economic development. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is a good example for becoming just such a catalyst.

Canada: A country of multiculturalism, revelling in diversity (Jan Wong, Chronicle Herald)
Canada rightly flaunts our unique diversity, which we usually think of as ethnic multiculturalism. We forget that in our country of three coastlines and 4.5 time zones, we have intra-cultural diversity, too.

Kenney Gunning For Crooked Immigration Representatives With New Rules (R. Paul Dhillon, The Link)
Until recently, when Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) became aware of misconduct by an immigration representativeeither an immigration consultant, a lawyer, a paralegal or a notarythe Department did not have the authority to share this information with the appropriate governing body. Kenney, who has been on a tear with tough immigration law changes aimed at keeping prospective immigrants out and kicking out those here in conflict.

The Conservatives Anti-Asian Immigration Policies A Step Backwards! (Gabriel Yiu, The Link)
Whether its to raise the language requirement, to cancel 300,000 applications (most of which were from China and India), or to raise the requirement of sponsoring parent immigration ($40,000 per head plus life-time sponsorship), all the new measures have an adverse effect on Asian immigrants.

Cabinet shuffle deals out same old suits (Paul Sullivan, Metro News)
Check out the team photo. Even the ties are from the same end of the spectrum. The proverbial Martian Who Just Landed might be forgiven for thinking that in Saskatchewan, at least, they like to clone the government. This otherwise unexamined celebration of homogeneity in a land that now depends on diversity for its future makes you go Hmmm, especially if youre from anywhere in Asia, South America and Africa. And where do most of the immigrants come from these days? You guessed it. This is not so much colourblindness as an absence. Its hardly the premiers fault. As you go over the list of 58 democratically elected Saskatchewan MLAs, with the exception of a tiny cadre of aboriginal MLAs who were here first, the available gene pool was permanently established in 1958.

AZIZ KHAKI 1929-2012! Well Known South Asian Activist Dies Celebrating His Birthday (The Link)
And after 3 years in England, found themselves in Canada, drawn to it by its official policies of multiculturalism and bilingualism. In no time, Aziz was immersed in social justice work. First with the Pacific Interfaith Citizenship Association of BC, transforming it from a tea social to a genuine engagement of the diverse faith communities of BC. In 1982 he was asked to head up the Committee for Racial Justice, a human rights organization that was in the front for human rights and race relations in BC for many years. Aziz was for many one of the first public faces of Islam in Vancouver and the country. Respected by all the diverse Muslim communities in BC, Aziz vision of Islam was broad and inclusive. His many roles includes adviser to the BCMA, Vice President of the Council of Muslim Communities of Canada, Vice President of Canadian Muslim Federation. He was also one of the founders of the IDRF (international Development & Relief Foundation) (

Canadian Muslims go green (IRIB.IR)
Environment preservation has dominated the annual convention of a major Islamic group in Canada in an effort to raise environmental awareness in the Muslim community. This theme was chosen to provide an opportunity to reflect on the dramatic changes which took place at ISNA Canada, in Muslim countries and all over the world, Mohammed Bekkari, President of Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) Canada, told These changes reflect a new way of thinking and behaving.

Islam comes knocking in bid to promote harmony (Kingston Whig Standard)
Members of a Muslim youth group will knock on doors in Kingston on Wednesday as part of a campaign to promote religious harmony and understanding. Kingston will follow a stop in in Simcoe on Tuesday, where nearly a dozen members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association of Canada will rise at 3:45 a.m. and say a prayer for Simcoe before heading to the town. According to Rizwan Rabbani, executive director of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the youths will pray for the well-being of Simconians, the betterment of the town, and peace and harmony among religious faiths. The youths will also pray that everyone becomes a believer of their faith. While in Simcoe, the youths will hand out literature that seeks to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that have arisen around the Islamic faith in recent years. The Islamic holy book, the Koran, will be handed out free to anyone who wants one.

Why Atlantic Canada need not fear decline (John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail)
The good news for most parts of Canada is that our robust immigration levels and welcoming attitude toward both temporary and permanent foreign workers will mitigate the effects of a greying society. But little of this is any comfort to Atlantic Canadians. The chronically weak economy not only encourages the young to migrate west, it deters immigrants. A region lacking young people or immigrants lacks creativity, entrepreneurship, dynamism. And the Maritime provinces, notwithstanding business powerhouses like McCains and Sobeys, remain too rural, too small and too dependent.

Jaffa Road creates music that reflects diversity of Toronto (InsideToronto)
With a Juno nomination for their debut album, the members of downtown Toronto-based band, Jaffa Road, are hoping their second release will help propel them to greater heights. Jaffa Road was conceived by bandleader Aaron Lightstone, who decided to create a group with disparate elements after a number of visits to Israel. “I was traveling frequently to the Middle East and, like Canada, it’s a country of immigrants,” he said. “There’s a lively world music, world fusion scene there and I thought it would be great to start something like that back here.”’s%20on/article/1361431–jaffa-road-creates-music-that-reflects-diversity-of-toronto

Kim Thúy (Rosanne Abdulla, Congress 2012)
You dont need to have read Kim Thúys book in order to appreciate the enthusiasm and inspiring spirit that she brought to her presentation A long journey which took place on Saturday, May 26th from 9:30 to 10:30 AM. Having the pleasure of kicking off the Big Thinking Speaker Series for Congress 2012, Thúy began by assuring us that even if you are small, you can think big. Incorporating humorous anecdotes to support her story, Thúy told us about her personal experience as a young refugee, having left Vietnam to arrive in Quebec with her family at the age 10. Immediately, her perseverance shone through. As she presented memories from her life (which were often quite unpleasant), an immense strength appeared in Thúy. She spoke to us about her current difficulties with French and English (even though, in my opinion, she has mastered both languages), the many jobs that she has had, the grotesque conditions that existed in the refugee camps and the cultural shock that her family experienced when arriving here (they expected to be living in an igloo!). But, the real inspiration for the day came from the fact that she never once complained, merely stating again and again that she feels very blessed.

Canadian Consulates will Not Return Files, for Now: Transcend Consultants (PR Web)
According to Transcend, Canadas Immigration Department has directed its visa officers to continue processing Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) Applications in the backlog, and not return those to the Applicants. There has been some confusion surrounding the implementation of the return policy. Following the introduction of Budget 2012 in Canada’s parliament, the changes and their effect on backlog applications for immigration in Canada have been discussed extensively.

The Jews of Manitoba, or ‘The centre of its own Diaspora’ (Allan Levine, Winnipeg Free Press)
For years, outsiders had viewed the members of the province’s Jewish community as Hebrews. In reality, by 1920, the Jews were representative of all classes and ideological orientations. Many were religious, others less so. There were Zionists who campaigned for a Jewish homeland in Palestine; socialists who fought for the rights of the workers, and liberals who advocated Jewish assimilation into Canadian society. Each segment (and some, such as the socialists and Zionists, which were internally divided) had its own associations, mutual aid societies, schools, synagogues and political clubs.

Safety and a new start (Martin Cash, Winnipeg Free Press)
YANIV and Dina Birenboim had a lot going for them when they lived in a small town in northern Israel that was closer to both Beirut and Damascus than it was to Tel Aviv. Yaniv is a software developer and worked for the global information technology company BMC Software. Dina has a degree in biotechnology and has studied extensively in alternative medicine. The young couple had started a business manufacturing their own line of natural, organic skin-care products. They both had family close by, professional success and a growing business in Israel. But the one thing they didnt feel they had was a safe and secure life for their son. So they walked away from it all… and moved to Winnipeg.–and-a-new-start-154490635.html

Our City, Our World – Middle East edition (Winnipeg Free Press)

Faces of our Middle Eastern community

Big culture on the prairie

After fundamentalist thugs broke his wrist for performing banned music, he knew he had to leave

Lebanese roots in Canada deep

Iraq had too much past, too little present

‘Our golden chance’

Seeds of the future

Warm-up for the Jewish Olympics

Our City, Our World – United Kingdom edition (Winnipeg Free Press)
Manitoba’s history is built on a foundation provided by settlers from the U.K., who came here seeking better lives.

John Baird: Religious freedom is fundamental to battle for human rights (National Post)
Foreign affairs minister John Baird was the keynote speaker Thursday in Washington at an event honouring religious freedom, forcefully defending his governments strong support of Israel while promoting its plans for an Office of Religious Freedom.

Immigration protest defies law (Sue Montgomery,
They didnt give their itinerary, they were definitely more than 50 and many wore masks. But Montreal police let the festive group marching Saturday against the federal governments sweeping law to change the countrys immigration system weave through streets around Jean Talon St. unhindered, then left them to enjoy their late picnic lunch in Park Extension. The multicultural group waved banners, banged on pots and pans, and shouted slogans in French, English and Spanish against Bill C-31, which has come to be known as the Refugee Exclusion Act by critics.

The Subhuman Immigrants (A Canada Immigrant blog)
Immigrant workers will be paid 15% less than average Canadian wage, your Conservative Governments new rules are here! You have to hand it to our esteemed conservative MP Mr Jason Kenney and those who are enjoying the party in Ottawa. I mean, he is almost single-handedly leading a devout, medieval-era crusade to rid Canada of the scum and heretics (those foreign-looking dirty buggers called Immigrants) that his pure Canadian constituents in Alberta have elected (and appointed) him to do.

Immigrants are people, not just figures says young Canadian photographer (Gerard Keledjian, The Immigrant)
Brett Gundlock didnt know anything about immigration. He had not lived the immigrant experience himself nor did know anyone who had. His limited views on the subject came from what he had heard during his occasional chats with cab drivers and by listening to their stories. But after working on a photo series about Neo-Nazi skinheads in Canada, the young Canadian photographer had some questions. For three years, he had listened to their extremist ideas about immigration and now he had a desire to learn more about it.

Region needs people, session told (Chronicle Herald)
Innovative programs are one way businesses can attract top-flight talent from across Canada and the rest of the world to the Maritime region. That was one of several ideas that were hashed out at an economic workshop that was part of the second 4Front Atlantic conference, held at the World Trade and Convention Centre in Halifax on Friday. After the morning panel discussion, conference attendees participated in four breakout sessions that focused on the main themes of the conference: innovation, going global, access to capital, and talent.

40 new Canadians welcomed at Burlington ceremony (Inside Halton)
Forty people walked into Burlington City Hall Friday morning representing 21 separate countries and walked out several hours later as new citizens of one nation: Canada. The moving ceremony, officiated by Citizenship Court judge Frank Hayden, featured speeches from a number of local reps including Mayor Rick Goldring, Burlington MPP Jane McKenna and, in his last official duty before his retirement June 1, Halton Chief of Police Gary Crowell. People from the Philippines, China, Jamaica, India, Argentina, Bulgaria, Afghanistan and the United States were among those who took the Oath of Citizenship and received their certificates in council chambers at City Hall.–40-new-canadians-welcomed-at-burlington-ceremony

The Best Pakistani Restaurants in Toronto (BlogTO)
The best Pakistani restaurants in Toronto are well-known to Canada’s growing Pakistani population, but their culinary offerings often play second-fiddle to marquee fare such as Thai, Italian, French or Japanese. You can’t be the crown jewel of multiculturalism and not have Pakistani restaurants dotting your street, through, and in many neighbourhoods in and around Toronto, Pakistani ex-pats have set up shop to serve biryani, qorma, daal, chana masala, and the other staples of the South Asian diet, saving you the plane trip to Karachi. The Pakistani community, which grows alongside other South Asian populations, exists in several locations in and around the city. Thorncliffe Park and neighbouring Flemingdon Park are great areas to seek out Pakistani food, as is Little India on Gerrard Street, along with the suburbs like Mississauga and Scarborough.

Ontario gives OK to gay-straight alliances (Globe and Mail)
Ontario is proposing to allow all schools with anti-homophobia clubs to choose to be called gay-straight alliances. Education Minister Laurel Broten announced the change in the Liberal governments new anti-bullying legislation Friday. The proposed Accepting Schools Act had previously allowed school principals to veto names for student clubs. Broten says the move is about protecting and empowering students.

Today is the 98th anniversary of the Komagata Maru. (Justice for migrant workers)
A new website launched recently that you might be interested in: Background from site: More than just an isolated incident, The Komagata Maru story reflects a deliberate, exclusionary policy of the Canadian government to keep out ethnicities with whom it deemed unfit to enter. These justifications were couched in racist and ethnocentric views of progress, civilization, and suitability which all buttressed the view that Canada should remain a White Mans Country.

Speaking notes for The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism – Address to the Empire Club (CIC)
What I have been particularly excited about lately and certainly happy to talk about at all of my cross-country stops is that I believe we have arrived at a point of transformational change to our immigration system. The changes we are planning are long-needed and part of our commitment to ensure the immigration system is managed so as to maximize the benefits to Canada, as well as to new Canadians. We will do so while sustaining our commitment to family reunification and refugee protection. In particular, we are maintaining one of the worlds largest refugee resettlement programs from overseas at a time when other countries are reducing theirs.

Bill 78 uniting diverse comnmunities (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
When Will Prosper looks at the sea of faces demonstrating in Quebecs 103-day-old student strike, he is struck by the rarity of people of colour. Montreals visible minorities are under-represented in the student protest, says Prosper, a community activist in multicultural Montreal North and spokesperson for Montreal-Nord Republik. Prospers community coalition is actively involved in the strike. But he feels disappointed that students from cultural minorities are not playing a more prominent role. They are not very much in the forefront, said Prosper, a filmmaker, broadcaster and former police officer of Haitian and Québécois parentage. Its difficult to see oneself in it.

Canadian Immigrants and Asylum Seekers Speak Out (Pacific Press)
Speakers will also highlight access to housing, health, and education, as part of a larger Solidarity City campaign which aims at building networks of solidarity and support and a movement that works toward making Montreal a liveable place for everyone, regardless of immigration status. As happens every year, the organizers of the Status for All march encourage all participants to wear masks in solidarity with thousands of people who live without status in Montreal, who cannot march with us tomorrow, and whose survival depend on remaining invisible and on the margins of society. Migrant justice groups maintain this important tradition knowing full well that in doing so we are in defiance of recently passed municipal bylaws and Law 78. We consider these austerity measures to be unconstitutional and illegitimate. We maintain the right to protest freely and spontaneously, and will not be sharing the route of our march with the police. The family-friendly march will wind its way from Jean-Talon metro to ParcExtension, ending with a picnic.

Multicultural leader and member of Global’s diversity committee dies (Global TV BC)
When Aziz Khaki entered a room, it didn’t matter if there were five or 1,000 people present: He was always the centre of attention. The outspoken social justice advocate commanded an audience wherever he went, and regardless of whether people agreed with him, he was always heard. “It really didn’t matter who was in the room with him,” said Raza Mirani, who knew Khaki through the Pakistan-Canada Association. “If he had some-thing to say, he would say it. He was very blunt and very to the point, but because of who he was, and how involved he was, he was always treated with the utmost respect.” Born Abdulaziz Khaki but known to everyone as Aziz, the activist and Muslim-Canadian leader died in Vancouver on Tuesday at the age of 83 while celebrating his birthday with his wife, Gulbanu.

Laws will decide Khadr’s return: Kenney (Toronto Sun)
A decision on convicted terrorist Omar Khadr’s return to Canada will be based on the justice system and not politics, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Kenney was responding Friday to a recent poll that found more than half of Canadians don’t back Khadr’s transfer from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to a Canadian jail. When the numbers were broken down by political party, it revealed 68% of Conservative supporters were concerned by Toronto-born Khadr’s eventual return. Kenney noted the decision is now in the hands of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and will be considered based on “the law and precedent.” “These issues are considered on a legal not a political basis,” Kenney said.

Consulate in Buffalo to be shuttered after visa rules changed (Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail)
Canadas big consulate in Buffalo will be shut down as the Harper government has decided it can be sacrificed to cost cuts now that its no longer a hotspot for processing visas. For decades, foreigners living in Canada have trooped to the upstate New York consulate to renew visas because of rules that they had to apply from outside Canada. But now that those rules have been scrapped, the consulate is going, too. Ottawa has already announced that it will close four other consulates, in Philadelphia, Phoenix, Raleigh, and Anchorage, because of budget cuts. Now Buffalo, a large diplomatic mission with about 75 employees, will be the fifth. Most of those employees, about 45, work in processing visas, often renewals, and many of those are U.S. citizens hired locally. They are set to be laid off after the closure is officially announced Tuesday.

List of Canadians invested with the Order of Canada (CTV)
Pierre Nepveu, C.M. Montréal, Quebec Pierre Nepveu is a leading figure in Quebec literary circles. Poet, novelist and essayist, he has published works that have garnered awards and been translated into different languages. His essays on contemporary Québécois poetry are today considered classics. Former professor and researcher at the Université de Montréal, he is one of the first to explore contributions made by immigrants to French-language Canadian literature, and has been recognized as an outstanding teacher.

Iranian-Canadians cry foul at protest over visa rules (
Immigration minister Jason Kenney has promised a town hall meeting in Richmond Hill this summer to discuss concerns among Iranian-Canadians over the closure of the embassys visa section in Tehran. Iranian-Canadians, who spoke with Mr. Kenney outside the Sheraton Parkway North Hotel in Richmond Hill last night, say the recent closure is hurting their families and not the intended target, the Iranian regime. Mr. Kenney was taking part in a Conservative party dinner with Richmond Hill MP Costas Menagakis while members of the Iranian community quietly demonstrated outside, waving flags and placards reading Closure of the visa section is hurting 120,000 Iranian-Canadians and Punish the government, not the people of Iran.–iranian-canadians-cry-foul-at-protest-over-visa-rules

“Desirable Difficulty” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about Jamaica with author Malcolm Gladwell . Tonight, as part of the Jamaica 50 celebrations, he will speak with CBC Radio’s Eleanor Wachtel at the Toronto Reference Library.


The Real Cost of Cutting Refugee Health Benefits (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Recently, Canadas Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announced changes to the Interim Federal Health Benefit, which provides basic health insurance for refugees. The changes, which come in the context of the government creating categories of preferred and non-preferred refugees, will substantially reduce and in some cases completely eliminate access to health care for refugees. Refugees are amongst the most vulnerable people in Canada, and any reduction in access to essential health care services will have significant negative health implications. The Wellesley Institute has prepared a Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) of the proposed changes to the Interim Federal Health Benefit. HEIA is a tool used to analyze a new program or policys potential impact on health disparities and/or on health disadvantaged populations.

A health threat to vulnerable refugees (David Ponka, Ottawa Citizen)
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) was established in 1957 to provide temporary coverage of medical costs for refugee claimants without financial means while they await qualification for coverage. With the new budget, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the IFHP will make sweeping cuts to funding which presently supplements health services such as: medications, dentistry, vision care and mobility devices, but also certain medical consultations and procedures that all Canadians, except refugees, receive coverage for. As physicians who took an oath to provide care, and as an organization that has a strong mission to care for our most vulnerable, including refugees, we cannot stand by and let this happen. We hope the minister will reconsider his decision.

Federal medical cuts for refugees more costly in long run (Michael Swan, Catholic Register)
Agnes Raduly discovered she was diabetic after she arrived in Canada five months ago. Shes one of thousands of Roma from Hungary and the Czech Republic in Canada claiming refugee status, living on less than $1,000 a month, struggling with a new language and a vastly foreign culture. In mid-May she got a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada telling her that her medication for diabetes wont be covered by the federal governments health plan starting July 1. The two pills in the morning and two in the evening are more than she can possibly afford, she said. It will be very bad. I dont know how I can solve it, said Raduly, staring at the floor. Margit Balogh got the same letter.

Refugee health care facing cutbacks (Eva Ferguson, Calgary Herald)
But Fariborz Birjandian, executive director of CCIS, along with other experts who work with refugees, are fearful that health care for newcomers will be scaled back under a series of changes to the Interim Federal Health Program. Under the new plan, set to take effect June 30, certain categories of refugee claimants will receive only urgent and essential care or care that is needed to protect public health. As well, supplemental dental, vision and prescription benefits will no longer be provided to refugee claimants. These changes are not reasonable, Birjandian says.

May 26: Letters to the editor (Jason Kenney, Globe and Mail)
Re: Why Cutting Health Care for Asylum Seekers Makes No Sense (May 15): As André Picard notes, the current Interim Federal Health Program dates from 1957. Since then, as our health care and immigration systems have changed, the IFHP has come to provide expansive medical coverage, including more generous supplemental benefits than many Canadians receive. That is why we have looked at the different categories of eligible recipients and made a decision consistent with our humanitarian tradition as to what care is necessary and appropriate for each group.

Sport discovered at refugee camp growing in province (Sean Trembath, Star Phoenix)
This Saturday, he and many of his community were at the Saskatoon Christian School for the 2012 Saskatchewan Provincial Sepak Takraw Championships. Teams in four age and gender divisions competed for the provincial title, and to qualify for the upcoming national tournament, which will take place in Regina July 21 and 22. The sport is very exciting to watch. In the senior men’s division, players were performing extremely acrobatic kicks, occasionally even flipping to perform the foot-driven equivalent of a volleyball smash. Rick Engel founded Sepak Takraw Saskatchewan in 2009. He first saw the sport while travelling around Southeast Asia during breaks he got between teaching English classes in China. After coming back to Canada, he taught English at the Open Door Society in Regina. During one of his classes, he heard some of his students talking about Sepak Takraw.

The Blue Key Campaign (UNHCR)
In December 2011, UNHCR will commemorate 60 years of working to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and internally displaced people. Our goal is for 6,000 U.S. residents – thoughtful, caring people like you to get a Blue Key. By doing so, youll tell the millions of refugees worldwide that theyre not invisible, and our staff that their live-saving work does not go unnoticed. If youd like to do more to support our cause, wed love to have you.

Where being gay is a death sentence (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
The president of Iran once infamously said there are no homosexuals in his country. The truth is, anyone outed as gay in the Islamic theocracy might end up dead as a result. Or as a refugee in Winnipeg, if they’re lucky — like 27-year-old Hamed, who arrived in March. He was sponsored by a Group of Five connected to the Rainbow Resource Centre in Winnipeg. “I can’t imagine what would’ve happened to me,” said the young man, who spent 17 months in Turkey waiting to come to Canada after he was outed.

CBC Reports: Canadian Consulate In Buffalo Closing, Jobs Cut (
The Harper government is closing the Canadian consulate in Buffalo only 18 months after spending more than $1.5 million on renovations and signing a 10-year lease that is almost certain to stick taxpayers with millions in rent for empty offices, CBC News has learned. Foreign Affairs is expected to announce the closure, which will affect about 75 employees, sometime next week. One official estimates that abandoning the consulate’s two floors in Buffalo’s tallest downtown office tower will leave Canadian taxpayers on the hook for about $8 million in rent (that includes the renovation costs) between now and the end of the lease in 2020.

Area leaders on every level to fight decision to close Canadian consulate (
Buffalo business and political leaders vowed Friday to fight the Canadian government’s plan to close its consulate in the city, which provides immigration help to citizens and trade tips that local business leaders view as crucial to companies looking to do business north of the border. While Canadian officials offered no official comment, a source within the government confirmed that the facility, which employs about 75, will close. Further details are expected to be announced next week. Within hours of news reports disclosing the closure, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership had fired off a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that he reconsider the move, while members of Congress also vowed to fight the closing.

AJC Claims Anyuak Refugees Face Unlawful Return to Ethiopia (ANYVAK Media)
An organization calling itself Anuak Justice Council AJC headed by Mr. Ochalla Abulla, as Chairman and based in Canada has issued a statement a copy of which The Citizen has access to claims that the Ethiopian authorities were trying to return seventeen Anuak who are refugee from the Ethiopia side of the tribe from a camp called Alari Refugee Camp in Pochalla County inside South Sudan back to Ethiopia. The organization further claims that if returned these refugees are likely to face imprisonment, torture and their safety cannot be guaranteed in the hands of the authorities there. The document says returning refugee will be a violation of international law.


Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. 46th Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association (CEA) + Progressive Economics Forum (PEF)
2. Release of The Fiscal Monitor – March 2012 (Finance Canada) – May 25
3. Behind the Numbers [blog] (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – May 2012
4. Harper Government toughens up Employment Insurance rules, freezes expenditure data – May 24
5. Poverty Amongst Plenty : Waiting for the Yukon Government to Adopt a Poverty Reduction Strategy (by Nick Falvo, in The Homeless Hub) – May 24
6. SPAR ( Social Policy Analysis & Research) Monitor : May 23 (City of Toronto)
7 . Governments of Canada and Ontario Celebrate New Affordable Housing – May 22
8. The Three Amigos: How Income Inequality in Mexico is different than Canada and the U.S. (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – May 18
9. Clearing Away the Fog: Government Estimates of Job Losses (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – May 16
10. Ten Points Everyone Should Know About the Quebec Student Movement (The Media Co-op) – May 16
11. Brief Presented to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – May 7
12. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics
— Pension plans in Canada, as of January 1, 2011 – May 25
— Canadian Economic Observer, May 2012 – May 25
— Employment Insurance, March 2012 – May 24
— Study: Youth neither enrolled in school nor employed, 2011 – May 23
— Leading indicators, April 2012 – May 23
— Job vacancies, three-month average ending in February 2012 – May 23
— Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile, 2010 – May 22
13. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Canada’s Income Inequality: What Is It, And How Bad? (Jeff Fraser, Huffington Post)
In the past year the Occupy movement and its rallying cry of we are the 99 per cent brought into the limelight the growing gap between the richest and poorest in the United States and the world. In December, columnist Charles M. Blow wrote in the New York Times that income inequality could be the new global warming. Over the last 30 years, the distance between the richest and poorest Canadians has widened considerably. Using different income definitions will slightly change who belongs to Canadas one per cent and 99 per cent, but the basic story stays the same across a wide breadth of statistics: the richest Canadians make disproportionately more than the poorest, and, more importantly, in the last three decades income for the richest Canadians has increased far faster than it has for the poorest.

Canada Income Inequality: An Infographic (Jeff Fraser, Huffington Post)
Statistics suggest that income inequality is growing rapidly in Canada — twice as fast as in the United States. Here’s an infographic to help you understand how large the problem is.


Immigrant Integration Survey (Burnaby Board of Trade)
Short, 5 question survey for local employers.

British Columbia needs more skilled immigrants now (Diversity Reporter)
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.

EI changes and migrant worker wage cut push workers into low-wage jobs (Workers’ Action Centre)
In a Toronto Star article released today, Zelda, a Workers Action Centre member speaks out on the proposed changes to Employment Insurance (EI). The changespart of the Conservative governments vast omnibus billwould require workers to accept work that pays up to 70 per cent less, to move in search of work, and to take available jobs outside their own occupation. Supposedly, workers are refusing decent work because they’d prefer to be on EI. But as Zelda says, No companies are hiring people full-time now because they dont want to pay for the benefits.

Is It Punitive? (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the new Employment Insurance rules, with MP Kellie Leitch. She is parliamentary secretary to Human Resources Minister Diane Finley. Then Matt spoke with Matthew Mendohlson. He is director of the Mowatt Centre.

Dont mess with Atlantic Canada (Peter Mckenna, Ottawa Citizen)
Am I missing something or has the Harper government placed Atlantic Canada in its cross-hairs? With proposed changes to several key areas of public policy, its hard not to think that this region is being singled out for special punishment. For instance, possible changes to the owner-operator and fleet separation provisions of the fishery are certain to put fishers in Atlantic Canada in a precarious position most likely seeing their boats and gear eventually bought up by companies and individuals with deeper pockets. Perhaps the deepest cut of all comes in the form of the newly released adjustments to the Employment Insurance (EI) program, which will surely penalize numerous seasonal workers in this region by trimming benefits to repeat users, imposing stricter rules for eligibility, and by altering the suitable employment requirements.

Workers, business groups give mixed reviews to Ottawa’s Employment Insurance crackdown (Rebecca Plenty, Calgary Herald)
Alberta business groups embraced the federal government’s changes to EI, announced by Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, suggesting tougher conditions for receiving benefits will encourage skilled unemployed people to move west and help relieve a labour crunch otherwise being addressed by an influx of temporary foreign workers. However, labour groups panned the changes across the country, suggesting the Harper government is pursuing a low-wage strategy that gives the corporate world the upper hand. Opposition critics said the federal Conservatives are scapegoating victims of tough economic times, while political leaders from the most EI-dependent provinces in Atlantic Canada said the Tories are marginalizing seasonal workers.

June 14 – Sourcing and Recruiting Immigrant Talent (BC Human Resources Management Association)
The 2012 HR Trends Survey indicates that 48% of organizations will seek to grow their workforces in 2012 – where will all of that talent come from? While organizations may understand the benefits of building a diverse workforce, tapping into the immigrant talent market and effectively assessing foreign credentials and experience can be a challenge. This interactive workshop is intended to provide you with access to resources and skill building that will support your organization to overcome these barriers. Real world examples and case studies from the BC market will support you to understand how to overcome common challenges and find the strategies that will work for your organization. Participants will leave with a new set of tools and list of helpful resources.

Group helps newcomers establish biz links (Katrina Geenevasen, Kingston this week)
A new group in Kingston will provide an opportunity for immigrant entrepreneurs and business people to meet, network and share their experiences and insights. The Kingston Immigration Partnership Business Network will meet once a month. Its a question of creating new jobs, said Scott Clerk, program manager for Immigration and Settlement programs at Kingston Community Health Centres. A lot of immigrants in Canada, specifically Kingston, come with high levels of education and experience, but sometimes they are not finding the right job fit or the right work in their field, so entrepreneurship becomes an option.

Two quite different problems (Doug Skeates, Orangeville Citizen)
What industry faces is distinctly at odds with what concerns society, both impacting on Canadas future wellbeing. Both require a considerably increased working population, essential for building renewed prosperity. Industry badly needs more skilled labour to increase profitability while society needs more jobs to build up employment levels and an increased tax base. These are not necessarily the same people. Despite large numbers of unemployed workers, companies appear unable to find sufficient trained people for existing openings. A Globe and Mail article May 5th highlighted the lack of skilled workers, projecting even greater shortages in the future. The author claimed that industry needs an additional million immigrants over the next 10 years to fill existing vacancies. Where are they needed? Our current economic base, especially the Golden Horseshoe, is not the answer. Do we really need that many more people in an already crowded southern fringe devoted to manufacturing?


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Mayor Ford, Transportation, Bikes, Bag Tax, Rouge National Park and Other News.

U.S.-based consultant knocks urban intensification (The Record)
An American urban policy guru has slammed plans by cities like Kitchener and Waterloo to engage in urban intensification, saying their goals of lower automobile use and more sustainable communities are hopeless outcomes. He argues that attempts by city planners to use zoning laws to promote apartment construction instead of home building, as well as expanding public transit, will keep residents from living the way he says they want to. The automobile-oriented, suburban lifestyle that is the norm across the nation is an offence to much of the urban planning profession, Wendell Cox wrote in a piece entitled Mobility and Prosperity in the City of the Future.–u-s-based-consultant-knocks-urban-intensification

Women Transforming Cities
Women and girls make up half the population of Canadian cities. In Canada, however, only 21 per cent of elected municipal officials are women. Girls are not typically engaged in decision making that affects their lives in cities. Engaging women and girls in municipal decision-making, policy making, urban planning and budgeting can transform cities to be more equitable, inclusive and democratic for all residents. In some cities, women set up organizations and council advisory committees to change these statistics by addressing equality, equity and diversity. We want to build on that work.

Social Planning Torontos New Initiative in Scarborough (Social Planning Toronto)
Reporting Back from SPT’s April Research and Policy Forum On April 16, 2012 Social Planning Toronto hosted a research and policy forum: Corporate Partnerships with Schools around the World: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, featuring students from York Universitys public policy stream, who have been investigating the impact of corporate partnerships as they play out here in Toronto, the GTA, Ontario, Canada and around the world. In the spring of 2010 the Ministry of Education first announced that it would be conducting a review of its policies on Fees for Learning Materials and Activities, Fundraising and Corporate Partnerships. While the draft guidelines on fees and fundraising were circulated for public consultation and have been finalized, the draft guideline for corporate partnerships has yet to be made public, despite indication from the Ministry of Education that these would be released for consultation in fall 2011.

Social Planning Torontos New Initiative in Scarborough (Israt Ahmed, Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto had been working on the concept of Local Planning Board to promote community participation in neighbourhood planning and development. There is a growing recognition that resident engagement in citys planning process has remained reactive and unequal. The Citys planning can be improved significantly when residents are able to connect their community vision with the official plan through a participatory engagement process. The current planning structure in Scarborough does not require any meaningful participation at the community level although Torontos Official Plan calls for residents to be active participants in the planning of their neighbourhood. While planning issues are becoming increasingly complex, physical planning is consistently isolated from its social context, and it is becoming more difficult for residents to engage with their government on planning issues. There is a need to address this disconnect by incorporating social and physical planning issues in a localized participatory framework. Community Planning Boards are an opportunity to do that, while treating residents as innovative actors in the planning of their neighbourhoods.

Help us trash the new Charity Garbage Fees! (Social Planning Toronto)
City Council has made a decision that will hurt Toronto residents and taxpayers in two ways. Starting July 1st, the City will begin charging a fee to over 1,000 charities to collect their garbage, a charge that food banks, shelters, places of worship and other organizations who serve our most vulnerable citizens have sensibly been exempt from until now. The unintended consequences of this decision will cost taxpayers in two ways: To feed, employ, and support people living in poverty at no charge to the City, many of these organizations rely on donations. But not all of the donated clothing, articles or food is usable. After sorting and using what can be recycled, the rest goes in the garbage. As a result, social enterprises like Goodwill, YWCA, and charity thrift shops will be faced with heavy new costs in the thousands of dollars for many enough to shut some down and push the people they employ onto the Citys welfare rolls.


Charities need more than money to thrive: COMMUNITY CHAMPION (Alan Atkins, The Barrie Examiner)
Carrie Theissler says if more people got involved volunteering time and skills, awareness would skyrocket.

Fraser Institute co-founder confirms ‘years and years’ of U.S. oil billionaires’ funding (David P. Ball, Vancouver Observer)
Amidst revelations that the Fraser Institute accepted at least $500,000 from the Koch family between 2007 and 2010, the institute’s co-founder acknowledged that the US oil billionaires have a long history of donating to the think tank. Two foundations under the Koch family’s auspices the Charles G. Koch and the Claude R. Lambe Foundations gave the Fraser Institute large grants to conduct international work, its former executive director Michael Walker told the Vancouver Observer. I know the grant from the Koch Foundation is for our international work, but I can’t tell you which of the projects that it’s funding, Walker, who co-founded the institute in 1974 and remains a Senior Fellow, told the Vancouver Observer. Before the Koch Foundation, we used to get funding from Koch Industries, when they had extensive holdings in Canada.

Bill C-38 protest has 13,000 websites going dark across Canada this June (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
When it comes to politics, Canadians are generally an apathetic bunch. Often, a controversy will brew and within a week or two we forget about it and move on. It appears Bill C-38 is one issue we’re not willing to let go. Saturday is the one month anniversary of the introduction of the so-called omnibus budget bill, a 425-page bill that amends 60 different acts, repeals a half dozen others and adds three more. Opposition parties have repeatedly said that the bill is too big and includes changes that ought to be broken off and presented as separate legislation. But the Conservatives are forging ahead with it as-is.

Aga Khan Walk (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Fiaz Basaria. He is convener of the Aga Khan Foundation’s annual World Partnership Walk . The walk and takes place this Sunday, starting and finishing at Metro Hall.

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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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RT @rkeil: That guy must have a really good union! Such gravy! Mayor Rob Ford has deeply cut his workload:...