Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 29, 2012


A park could honour immigrants (Robert Vineberg, Winnipeg Free Press)
Mayor Sam Katz has suggested the parking lot opposite the Canadian Museum for Human Rights be used for a park in honour of Israel Asper. If this site is to become a park, I believe it should be dedicated to the countless immigrants who, since the Red River settlers two centuries ago, have built this city and this province. In the floor of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, under the central dome, is inscribed in Latin, “If ye seek his monument, look around you.” Thus St. Paul’s is the monument to its architect, Christopher Wren.

Kenney’s ‘hatchet-job’ (Glen Armstrong, Welland Tribune)
Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, did a hatchet-job on Francisco Rico-Martinez in your May 24 edition. In defending proposed changes to our immigration laws, our minister offers such pearls as, “… completely false and outrageously irresponsible claims …” and “… overheated, ideological rhetoric from special interest grroups …” This prompted me to dig into the background of Mr. Rico-Martinez, the object of Mr. Kenney’s venom. This man’s “special interest’ for many years has been to see justice done for immigrants. He is a humanitarian of wide renown. For Mr. Kenney to denigrate him so witheringly, so callously, tells me plenty about the minister. He, like many of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s appointees, subscribes to the policy which sees attack as an integral form of defence. Mr. Kenney does not explain how this “special interest” man is so wrong, so outrageous. He simply denigrates him. By so doing, he reveals his own prejudices and disregard for a man whose humanitarian efforts as a human rights lawyer should be praised rather than ridiculed.

Career, education and settlement fair returns (Times of India)
Each year, thousands of immigrants arrive in Canada with great aspirations for themselves and their families. Settling in a new country can be a daunting endeavor, but Canadian Immigrant has offered support and guidance for newcomers for several years now. Due to the huge success of last year’s Career, Education and Settlement Fair, we are pleased to announce its return this June at the International Centre. This year, recruiters, educational institutions and settlement agencies will come together to provide migrants with strategies to upgrade their skills and network. Once again, attendees can look forward to top-notch speakers giving employment tips and strategies for the job search.

Fitzroy Gordon beats all odds to launch G98.7 (Miho Takaya, Canadian Immigrant)
Little Fitzroy Gordon earned his first few dollars during his summer holidays when he was only nine years old — for helping his grandmother pull weeds at the Hope Botanical Gardens in Jamaica. While other kids his age would have spent the money on toys, he bought a pocket radio. He became attached to both the radio and his grandmother, and listened to the two keenly. “I grew up with my grandmother — my parents had migrated overseas and left me in the Caribbean,” remembers Gordon, now in his 50s. “And my grandmother always told me, ‘You never give up because you did not make it the first time. You just keep working hard until you are successful.’ That drive is in me until this day. I don’t give up at all.” He took his grandmother’s advice as gospel. If not, he would not be what he is today — founder, president, chief executive and station manager of G98.7, the most recent addition to Toronto’s FM radio signals.

Asian Heritage Month (CIC)
May is Asian Heritage Month. This acknowledges the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada. It also provides an opportunity for Canadians across the country to reflect on and celebrate the contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage to the growth and prosperity of Canada.

#CdnImm event #4 June 12 – Settlement & Housing (Settlement AtWork)
According to the research by Learning Enrichment Foundation and Fred Victor, “Among newcomers, homelessness occurs most often on the relative side of the spectrum and is almost entirely “hidden”. Newcomers tend to access informal networks before formal housing supports due to varying degrees of close community affiliation, shame at “being a burden on the system”, and the inaccessibility of housing supports. What is being done around the city to tackle this challenge? What is your input in improving accessibility of housing services for new Canadians? What services and resources are available and how to effectively use them? What can we learn from cross sector collaboration?

Diversity on bench ‘long way’ off (Kendyl Sebesta, Law Times)
Ontario still has “a long way to go” if it hopes to create a more culturally diverse bench in the next decade, says the head of the committee responsible for processing applications to the province’s judiciary.

Providing a ‘Pathway’ for immigrants (UWO)
In 2001, more than three quarters of immigrants to Canada settled in one of only three cities: Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal. A decade later, an ever-increasing number of newcomers are finding homes in smaller communities across the country. Now, a new community-university research partnership will help facilitate this transition. Awarded $2.5 million over seven years by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Pathways to Prosperity Partnership will bring together researchers, government departments, and community partners from coast to coast to improve policies and practices that help attract, settle and integrate newcomers in communities across Canada – particularly in medium-sized and small cities and towns.

Canada Has Spoken: Top 25 Immigrants of 2012 (Marketwire)
Hip-hop artist K’naan, Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, Olympic wrestling legend Daniel Igali and many other community leaders from across Canada are among the winners of the fourth annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrants awards presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by RBC. This national people’s choice award celebrates the untold and inspiring stories and achievements of newcomers to Canada. More than 28,000 Canadians voted online for their top choices, the largest number since the awards program began in 2009. The award recipients will be honoured at ceremonies in Toronto on May 29 and in Vancouver on June 5.


Toronto Board of Health sees the real cost of cutting refugee health benefits (Wellesley Institute)
The Board of Health accepted the Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation to ask the federal government reinstate the IFHB and asked the Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care to take an advocacy position on this issue. Many medical and community groups have expressed their outrage about the changes to the IFHB. Prominent medical groups across Canada – including the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Canadian Nurses Association – have written to Minister Kenney to express their extreme concern about his decision, and on Monday, June 18 Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care are organizing a day of action.

Urgent: Reject Dangerous Cuts to Refugee Health Care (Registered Nurses Association Ontario)
On April 25, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney, announced cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), which provides temporary health care coverage to refugee applicants who do not qualify for territorial or provincial health care plans. The changes, to go into effect on June 30, 2012, and will apply to all current beneficiaries as well as new applicants. The proposed changes will threaten the lives and well-being of people who have already experienced trauma and hardship prior to their arrival in Canada. Toronto Public Health has compiled the evidence; reduced federal health services for individuals’ results in negative health impacts. Speak out.

Contribute to the CCR Youth Network Music Video! (CCR)
This spring, members of the CCR Youth Network are collaborating from coast to coast to create a national music video. Emerging artist and youth worker Saa Andrew is coordinating the project, in collaboration with the Multicultural Association of Fredericton and Battle of the Arts NB Our objective: We want to encourage youth to get involved in their communities and in our coalition to promote refugee and immigrant youth rights in Canada.

World Refugee Day (PovNet)
Jun 20 2012 – 11:00am – 4:00pm, Vancouver. What: FREE EVENT FOR ALL AGES! What Would You Do? Would you risk your life and those of your family to stay in a conflict zone? Or flee and risk rape or torture? Would you pay a human smuggler to deliver you to safety? How would you know when it’s safe to ask for help and whom to trust?


Oldlantic Canada and the aboriginal tsunami: What surprises to expect from census data on age and gender (Tristin Hopper, National Post)
On Tuesday, Statistics Canada will release its nationwide figures on age and gender, the long-awaited “second tranche” of the 2011 census. Overall, there will be few surprises: Canadians are getting older and the country’s male/female ratio, as always, will be roughly 50/50. Buried within the data, however, one can expect to find historic milestones, surprising disparities and severe implications for the future. The Post’s Tristin Hopper previews the likely highlights.

Income Security (Bill Bell)
To the extent that career developers help people to find suitable jobs we are enhancing the world’s economic efficiency by introducing resources sooner. Many of the world’s countries also have employment insurance systems that are intended not only to prevent wasteful individual financial difficulties, or actual hardship, but also to afford time for people to again find suitable jobs that optimise their contributions to the economy, as reflected in their incomes. There is one other system of measures that a country can provide to stabilise its work force that we seldom hear about. I refer to the one that provides for employment protection. According to the OECD1 Canada has some of the slenderest measures for the protection of employment in the world. Of those countries listed to the left only the United States provides less protection.

Current Ola! (Citizens for Public Justice)
AGM 2012
Federal Budget Update
Canadian churches and the moral responsibility to address global warming
Letter to Alberta Premier Alison Redford
Communications position
Book Launch
Web Features
Prayer in Celebration of Justice in the World

Bridging Minds: An Anti Stigma Campaign (MPath)
The frustration, fear, and potentially overwhelming chaos associated with mental illness is, at best, difficult to envision and understand. Making matters worse, there is often discrimination against people with mental illness, both in their personal relationships and in the society which surrounds them. ‘Bridging Minds’ is a multimedia anti-stigma campaign for mental illness. Focusing on three important classifications of mental illness – Schizophrenia, Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder – we hope to debunk some of the myths around mental illness. Bridging Minds also features a documentary short, framing our narrative anti-stigma approach. The installation and documentary project was last featured at an interactive event on February 6th, 2012 at Ryerson’s Oakham House. You can catch the next event at Mount Sinai Hospital May 30th, 2012. Get informed, and join us on our anti-stigma campaign for mental health and awareness.

Gay-straight alliance (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with John Del Grande. He is a Toronto Catholic District School Board trustee.

The Catholic church versus the Catholic premier (Martin Regg Cohn, Toronto Star)
The Catholic church has seen the devil, and it is a form of diversity known as gay-straight alliances. GSAs are small groups of high school kids — typically a bunch of straight girls and cool gay boys who oppose the bullying of other gay kids (who aren’t always so popular and sometimes kill themselves). Not a big deal, you might think — the GSAs, I mean. And quite a big deal, you might say — the suicides. Yet the church cannot countenance this social innovation. It sees GSAs as a cancer on its catechism, to be rooted out before the movement metastasizes. Hence the remarkable open letter issued Monday by Ontario’s Catholic bishops accusing the provincial government of launching a virtual Holy War — or at least a politico-religious one — by requiring schools to back student requests for a GSA.–cohn-the-catholic-church-versus-the-catholic-premier


EI proposals initiate a race to the bottom for workers (Harald Bauder (Director, RCIS), Toronto Star)
Finley’s proposal would not create new jobs for the unemployed, but would rather replace foreign workers with EI recipients. As immigration minister from 2007 to 2008, Finley allowed the temporary foreign workforce in Canada to swell from 255,000 in 2006 to 362,000 in 2008. Why is she now pitting this foreign workforce against unemployed Canadians? To make sense of this apparent contradiction, one must realize that both the planned EI reforms and the temporary foreign workers program are part of a wider strategy of lowering the bar on minimal working conditions. Both policies seek to add a segment to the bottom of the labour market, below normal wage and labour standards. In fact, the foreign workers program has been very effective in establishing wage and labour standards below those of what Canadians would accept. This program has established a double standard, according to which foreign workers are more vulnerable and exploitable than Canadian workers. Now Finley asks Canadians to lower their standards to the same level. Canadians who are unwilling to accept the same working conditions kept artificially low by the foreign workers program will lose their EI entitlements.–ei-proposals-initiate-a-race-to-the-bottom-for-workers

How far can an employer go in imposing appearance-based requirements? (Alison J. Bird, First Reference Talks)
In the employment setting, there is a constant tension between an employer’s desire to control its image and employees’ rights to be free from discrimination and to freely express themselves. While it is generally accepted that an employer may impose appearance-based requirements if it establishes a legitimate business reason for the rule, it seems hard to believe that an employer could justify refusing to hire a person based on their physical appearance. However, in two recent decisions, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal found that race and age can in fact be bona fide occupational requirements.

Sourcing and Recruiting Immigrant Talent (
An interactive workshop in Vancouver on June 14 will help HR professionals and hiring managers better tap into immigrant talent. Register by June 7.

Job seekers warned of scam in Canada (Vito Barcelo, Manila Standard Today)
The Department of Labor and Employment on Monday warned of a scam victimizing job seekers bound for Canada, . Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz cited a report of the Department of Foreign Affairs, which highlighted the website scam operations of unscrupulous individuals or groups. These unscruplous people would charge fees in exchange for high paying yet non-existent jobs in Canada, Baldoz said. Baldoz said the that fraudulent website operators used the Canada woodmark or Citizenship and Immigration Canada logo without permission.

Work-Life Asia: Finding the Right Fit (Laura Sabattini, Catalyst)
In today’s guest-post on CanCon and Catalyzing, Catalyst’s , PhD, Senior Director, Research, expands on the critical importance of effective localized approaches to work-life in corporate Asia. While this research is of obvious interest to Canadian companies that are active in Asia, are there some lessons here for Canadian business? Could tailored work-life balance programs be part of more innovation in Canadian businesses?


Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Air Canada, RBC Tower, Rob Ford, City Hall, Gardiner and Other News.

Toronto: An incomplete index of interactive maps on the internet (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
Graphic representation of data is one of the best ways the internet has changed the way we access information. Geographic information specialists, like the amazing and proliferative Patrick Cain, are now welcoming non-experts into the fold (with Google maps and open source programs), and a wonderful range of maps about our city has emerged. Most are point-level data, the locations of places. Some are more complex. A few are quite strange. But they’re worth a wander – feel free to share ones you’ve found!

Conference July 18-19: The Innovation City (MaRS)
We are living through the greatest wave of urbanization in history. Our cities — as epicenters for human and financial capital—are key to defining the century ahead. The decisions and partnerships we make today—to build advanced infrastructure, digital networks, research universities, livable neighborhoods and cultural institutions —are critical to shaping this urban century. I invite you to take part in The Innovation City. A gathering of business and government leaders, as well as urban visionaries and thought leaders, from Canada and abroad. Let’s make our cities powerful catalysts for innovation, economic growth and collaboration to build a sustainable future on our soon-to-be nine-billion-person planet.

Is Vancouver’s goal of urban density just plain dense? (Pete Mcmartin, Vancouver Sun)
What if everything we’ve believed about the benefits of urban density is wrong? What if restricting car traffic in favour of public transit hurts a city rather than helps it? Here in Vancouver, the benefits of densification and transit are planning gospel. They’re the twin pillars of the Greenest City. Wendell Cox begs to differ. Cox, a U.S. public policy consultant, and a thinker who most urban planners would consider the devil incarnate, argues that densification has hurt the quality of life in Canada’s major cities, not helped it. And that includes Vancouver. Cox makes his case in Mobility and Prosperity in the City of the Future, a paper just released by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa.


Video: Five Good Ideas about Policy (Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
The purpose of policy work is to improve the quality of life for all citizens. As part of that overall goal, it seeks to reduce poverty and inequality, and to promote the inclusion of individuals who typically are underrepresented in the social, cultural, political and economic life of a community – and of a nation. Policy work generally seeks to shift the way in which resources and opportunities are distributed in a society. This change could involve, for example, the provision of higher benefits or the reduction of income taxes. Policy work may also enable access to opportunities, notably advanced education or paid employment. It may build capabilities, such as literacy or skills development, to promote self-sufficiency in the long term. All policy work shares a common goal: to effect change deemed to be in the public interest. But policy efforts can also affect the people who do this work. Each attempt at reform comes with lessons that can be applied not only to future policy initiatives but also as helpful direction for the non-profit world.

Good Ideas for Making Policy Succeed (Andrea Zeelie, HC Link)
Last Thursday, I joined roughly 200 policy wonks during a “lunch and learn” event with the Maytree Foundation’s Five Good Ideas series. For each session, Maytree invites a different expert to share five practical ideas, and to discuss how these thoughts can be put into action. Sherri Torjman, vice-president of the Caledon Institute, presented the final session in the current series. Sherri, drawing on her background in poverty eradication and disability issues, shared that the purpose of policy work is to improve the quality of life for all citizens. Policy work aims to effect change, in the public interest. Policy work promotes the inclusion of those who are under-represented in a community.

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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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