Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 31, 2012


Author Kenan Malik slams Canada’s “illiberal” immigration policies (
A British author and broadcaster has claimed that Canada’s Conservative government has embarked on a “disastrous policy” by bringing in more temporary foreign workers to deal with labour-market demands. In a phone interview from his home in London, England, Kenan Malik told the Georgia Straight that this approach has created deep social, cultural, and political divisions and greater religious extremism in Germany, France, and other countries. “You have a whole group of workers who have few rights, no access to services, and no access to citizenship,” Malik said. “That can only create the kind of problems that we’ve had in Europe with the guest-worker system over here.” Malik will be in Vancouver on Sunday (June 3) to deliver a speech called “What’s Wrong with Multiculturalism? A European Perspective”. He told the Straight that when Turkish migrants began coming to Germany as guest workers in the 1950s and ’60s, they were “broadly secular”.

Western counterparts support Selinger on immigration (Winnipeg Free Press)
Premier Greg Selinger got some support from his western counterparts this week as his government fights to retain control over the management of immigrant settlement services. Western premiers and territorial leaders agreed Tuesday on several key points that Manitoba has been making with Ottawa on immigration in recent weeks. In a communique at the conclusion of their meeting in Edmonton, the leaders called for an increase in immigration levels and demanded a greater role for provinces and territories in immigrant selection. The western leaders also sought assurances that they be given a prominent role in managing successful, integrated settlement services.–155733105.html

An Experimental Investigation of Support for Visible Minority Candidates in Canada Need for Cognition and Social Desirability Bias – PDF (Randy Besco, Queens University)
So far, there is essentially no evidence for prejudice against visible minority candidates in Canada, yet there is clear evidence of the effects of prejudice and racism on electoral politics in the United States and Europe.
-Is there lower support for visible minority candidates?
-If so, what influences and mediates that effect?
-What role do partisan cues play?

Brampton man among Canada’s top immigrants (Brampton Guardian)
A Brampton businessman has made Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants list, an award presented annually by Canadian Immigrant magazine and the Royal Bank of Canada. Satish Thakkar, president of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, has made the list of new Canadians to land this year’s honour, which recognizes “people who have come to Canada and made a positive difference living here.”–brampton-man-among-canada-s-top-immigrants

A History that Shapes Our Present: The Japanese Canadian Internment (Shima Ghailan, Schema Magazine)
This is an important month. While I appreciate that Asian Heritage Month is about celebration, I think it’s essential that we acknowledge the unfortunate history that accompanies it as it continues to affect the fabric of our society and our narratives today. I often find myself conflicted over “(insert ethnic group) Months” as I always question the purpose of them. Is it entirely about celebrating the people, cultures and traditions, or is it partially an attempt to distract from the racist histories that continue to be part of our present? As this year marks the seventieth anniversary of the internment of Japanese Canadians, it’s only befitting that this Asian Heritage Month we remember this dark moment in our shared history. Seventy years ago, Japanese Canadians were physically removed from their homes, relocated to prison camps with extremely poor living conditions, and their belongings auctioned. When the WWII was over they were prevented from returning to British Columbia .

Changes to immigration policy criticized (Toby Gorman, Nanaimo Bulletin)
Immigrants new to Nanaimo looking for help with work permits, visas and other bureaucratic needs will no longer have access to personal assistance here as of Friday (June 1). Citizenship and Immigration Canada offices in Nanaimo, Kelowna and Victoria will close permanently, leaving immigrants with only a toll-free line or e-mail to Vancouver or Ottawa to rely upon for technical questions relating to their paperwork. That will take away much of the support immigrants rely on to complete important documents, said Hilde Schlosar, executive director of the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society. And with English as a second language for many using the service, the new system will become a source of delays and frustration. “No immigrants, no international students, no visa holder or applicant can go in and see a real person here anymore,” said Schlosar. “It also means that citizenship ceremonies, which are organized out of Victoria, now, for the whole province, have to be organized out of Vancouver.”

N.S. newcomers stuck (Chronicle Herald)
Nova Scotia desperately needs more immigrants, but it will have to go along with Ottawa’s vision of immigration to get them. The Nova Scotia government has been lobbying the federal Conservatives to let them bring in more people through its provincial nominee program, but so far the feds have said no. Now, the province is slowly changing its system in the hopes of being granted more immigrants. The Nova Scotia nominee program allows the province to bring in new workers to fill jobs without having to go through the federal immigration system, where wait times are often longer. But the province was late to the game. Its nominee program is capped at about 500 people per year.

Ontario MPP pushes for 5 per cent fee cap on overseas money transfers (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Since arriving in Canada in 1995, Rohan Jagroo has religiously wired money to support his disabled sister and needy friends in Trinidad. For each $100 he sends monthly at his local Money Mart through Western Union, 10 per cent goes to administrative fees — amounting to more than $2,000 in the last 17 years. The Toronto cabinetmaker hopes a new private member’s bill to be introduced Thursday will put a stop to what critics call corporate “gouging” on migrant workers and immigrants, who count on remittance services to wire money to their loved ones overseas. The bill, drafted by NDP MPP Jagmeet Singh (Bramalea-Gore-Malton) would cap the rates in Ontario to no more than 5 per cent of the money transferred.–ontario-mpp-pushes-for-5-per-cent-fee-cap-on-overseas-money-transfers

Live chat on ethnic enclaves in Metro Vancouver (CBC)
CBC Radio One’s On The Coast hosted a forum on ethnic enclaves in Metro Vancouver. Read the archive/transcript.
Are ethnic enclaves in Metro Vancouver good or bad for the community?
To what extent does a geographic concentration of one cultural group promote segregation?
What are we doing in Vancouver to encourage integration and belonging?

Underrepresented (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about women in politics with Hamutal Dotan. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Torontoist.

Role Model (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about coming out of the closet, with former NBA player, John Amaechi. He is now a psychologist and a diversity consultant to the London Olympics. Later this morning he will speak to the Canadian Club at the Fairmont Royal York, and this evening, he will give the keynote speech at the first-ever LGBTQ Youth Suicide Prevention Summit .

Malcolm Gladwell, Hometown Boy, Makes Good (Patrick Metzger, Torontoist)
Like his writing, Gladwell’s conversation is fluid, funny, and wide-ranging. Monday’s event was sponsored by Jamaica 50—an organization that is orchestrating local celebrations of the fiftieth anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain—and so a lot of the discussion centred on Gladwell’s Jamaican/African heritage. On the topic of 18th-century race relations, he noted that unlike in the United States, in Jamaica, people of mixed-race origin were, at the time, accepted in society. This, in his view, was principally because “there was a shortage of white people. When you have a shortage of white people, the bar for whiteness gets lowered.” Of his possibly formative years in Toronto, Gladwell had little to say except to say that he never encountered racism here, and that Trinity College was fantastically diverse when he went there in the ’80’s.

Minister MacKay Congratulates Commodore Hans Jung Named One of “Top 25 Canadian Immigrants” (Marketwatch)
On May 29, 2012, Commodore Hans Jung, Canadian Forces Surgeon General, was recognized among the “Top 25 Canadian Immigrants.” The people’s choice award, rewarded on an annual basis by Canadian Immigrant magazine, recognizes and celebrates the stories and achievements of outstanding Canadian immigrants who have had a positive impact on the country and who serve as an inspiration for all newcomers to Canada.

Partnership aims to attract immigrants to smaller communities (London Community News)
A new community-university research partnership founded by a Western University professor will work towards finding homes for immigrants in smaller communities across Canada. The Pathways to Prosperity Partnership will bring together researchers, community partners and government departments from coast to coast to improve policies and practices that help attract, settle and integrate newcomers in communities across the country. The project will focus on medium-sized and small cities and towns. It was announced Monday (May 28) the partnership is receiving a $2.5 million grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to support the project.

Most Hepatitis B carriers aren’t being treated, survey finds (Erin Ellis, Calgary Herald)
Hepatitis B is more common among immigrants from Asia because the virus that causes it is often passed from mother to child at birth and remains undetected for years with few symptoms. S.U.C.C.E.S.S wants to increase awareness in order to prevent suffering and higher health care cost. Treatment with a newer range of medications, for instance, can often prevent hepatitis B from progressing to liver cancer, experts say. There are about 60,000 cases of chronic hepatitis B in Metro Vancouver with about 1,300 new cases reported in 2009. It’s expected that hepatitis B will be eradicated in Canada once everyone is reached through school immunization programs. Similar immunization projects are underway throughout Asia, but are not as widespread. About 15 per cent of Asian immigrants to Canada are infected with the virus compared to one per cent of Canadians.

Three Myths Of Immigration (Kenan Malik)
I am giving the Milton K Wong Lecture in Vancouver in June. Entitled ‘What’s Wrong with Multiculturalism? A European Perspective’, it will try to explain to a Canadian audience, for whom multiculturalism has a very different meaning than it does to a European one, the contours of the European debate, as well as my disagreements with both sides. In particular I want to show why both multiculturalists and many of their critics (particularly their rightwing critics) buy into the same set of myths about the history of immigration into Europe, these three in particular:
1 ‘European nations used to be homogenous but have become plural because of mass immigration’
2 ‘Contemporary immigration is different to previous waves, so much so that social structures need fundamental reorganization to accommodate it’
3 ‘ European nations have adopted multicultural policies because minorities have demanded them’

Law in Action Within Schools
LAWS (Law in Action Within Schools) is a partnership between the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and the Toronto District School Board that was launched in 2005. LAWS’ goals are to help young people learn about the law and justice system and support them to succeed in school and to access and succeed at post-secondary education. Each year, LAWS serves over 360 grade 10, 11, and 12 students attending inner-city high schools. LAWS has three program streams:
Core LAWS Program
LAWS Newcomer Youth Program
LAWS Aboriginal Youth Program

Canada’s Selective Immigration Strategy: an Evolution (Part 1/6) (Rachel Decoste)
Canadians from coast to coast have expressed concern about the pending drastic changes to the rules surrounding immigration buried in the 400-page omnibus bill. As the House of Commons debates the voluminous bill, little time is devoted to dissecting the hundreds of policy changes. Those Canadians who study history regard the new rules with a different lens — a return to tactics of yesteryear, of which few are proud today. Let us take a stroll through Canadian immigration memory lane.


BLOG: Ten Reasons why the Refugee Health Care Cuts Are a Bad Idea (Naheed Dosani,
Recently, Minister Kenney has proposed drastic changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), the very program that allowed us to provide Su-Yun with her prenatal care. This program provides healthcare services for refugees who have been accepted by Canada through refugee camps, as well as those who arrive at our doors for asylum, like Su-Yun and her husband. These cuts would deny all refugees and refugee claimants access to essential medicines. It would also deny regular healthcare services to refugee claimants deemed to come from ‘safe countries’, a questionable classification given the unique situation of each refugee claimant. Understandably, healthcare providers and the public have been outraged over these cuts by staging demonstrations across the country and even a public letter signed by major health provider organizations such as the Canadian Medical Association. Here, we seek to systematically highlight ten reasons why the proposed cuts to the IFHP are a poor policy decision.

Action on refugee health (AOHC)
AOHC urges it members to act on this pressing issue – and to spread the word as you can. Time is of the essence The federal government is planning to strip refugees of temporary health care coverage effective July 1, 2012. The Canadian government is planning on making significant cuts to the Interim Federal Health program (IFHP), which will result in many refugees in Canada losing access to primary health care services and medications to treat their illnesses. Once these cuts take effect, refugees will only be covered for health care if it is urgent or essential or is a threat to public health or safety. This decision is bad health policy. Refugees will not get the care they need and are likely to become seriously ill, ending up in hospital beds or emergency departments.

Nurses call on federal government to scrap cuts to health-care coverage for refugees (Digital Journal)
Ontario nurses are adding their voices to a growing list of health-care professionals who want the federal government to drop controversial changes that will limit health-care coverage for refugee claimants. Members of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) issued an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week, concerned that changes to the Interim Federal Health Program will threaten the lives and well-being of people who have already experienced trauma and hardship even before they arrived in Canada.

Refugees will die if health care cuts go ahead Ontario nurses say (Toronto Star)
Ontario nurses are urging the Harper government to scrap its plans to reduce health care coverage for refugee claimants or face the fact people will die. Ottawa announced in April it will strip thousands of refugees of health-care coverage starting in July unless their conditions pose a threat to public health. “Ontario’s nurses, like health-care professionals from across the country, are gravely concerned that these dangerous changes will threaten the lives and well-being of people who have already experienced trauma and hardship before they arrived in Canada,” Doris Grinspun, chief executive officer of Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario, said in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.–refugees-will-die-if-health-care-cuts-go-ahead-ontario-nurses-say

Hard-working mom show how to help, with furniture (Your Ottawa Region)
Helping with furniture Nathalie Maione and her organization were recently recognized by the United Way with a Belonging to the Community Award. submitted photo Seven years ago, Nathalie Maione had an idea to help refugees who had recently arrived in Ottawa acquire furniture for their new homes. On May 17, the United Way recognized her brainchild, Helping With Furniture, by making the organization the latest recipient of the Belonging To The Community Award as part of its annual Community Builders awards gala. In those seven years, Maione, with the help of her family, friends and more than 80 dedicated volunteers, have put in about 150 hours a week driving across the city to make a difference for nearly 700 families. The organization began in 2005 when Maione joined her church’s outreach group to help refugee families. Armed with a white Ford van, the mother of six offered to help deliver furniture for a family of four who had just moved to Ottawa from Mexico.–hard-working-mom-show-how-to-help-with-furniture


“Canadian Inequality: Recent Development and Policy Options” (Miles Corak)
While inequality in Canada has increased over the course of the last three decades, the tax and transfer system can significantly reduce disparities in market incomes. But the political will to use the tax system may be limited, and public policy needs to address underlying labour market developments if it is to pursue an agenda of greater equality. This is one of the major themes arising from a recently released discussion paper by a group of labour economists from the University of British Columbia: Nicole Fortin, David Green, Thomas Lemieux, Kevin Milligan, and Craig Riddell.

Growing health inequalities are ‘public health emergency’ warns Sir Michael Marmot (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
The growing gap in health between rich and poor in Canada and around the world is a “public health emergency,” warned global health equity expert Sir Michael Marmot in a major address in Toronto on May 29. Sir Michael was head of the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health and was introduced by Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown as a “heath equity rockstar.” Sir Michael was invited to deliver the keynote at Toronto Public Health’s annual lecture named for the city’s pioneering Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Charles Hastings, who led many public health advances – from affordable housing to pasteurization of milk – in Toronto in the years before and after the First World War.

Canada urged to do more about child poverty (Chronicle Herald)
Canadians should be doing much more for children growing up in poverty, according to a new UNICEF report that finds Canada lags many other advanced countries. The report by the United Nations child advocacy agency ranks Canada 18th out of 35 industrialized countries when child-poverty rates are compared with overall poverty rates. In addition, Canada is in the bottom third — at 13.3 per cent — when it comes to the percentage of kids in poverty — a slight improvement over the past five years. “The face of poverty in Canada is a child’s face,” UNICEF Canada’s executive director David Morley said Tuesday. “This is unacceptable.”

Ryan Meili uses powerful storytelling to bring SDoH to the policy table (Wellesley Institute)
Ryan Meili uses powerful personal stories to argue that we must better address the social determinants of health (SDOH)on the political agenda for a truly healthy society. Yesterday, the Wellesley Institute hosted Meili in a casual forum to discuss what kind of policy changes we need to see to be able to have the kinds of changes happen that will positively impact people’s lives.

UBC study asks: Who makes up Canada’s one per cent? (Michael Aynsley, Openfile Vancouver)
The study (which can be found here) highlights four selected occupations that make up a large chunk of the one per cent pie:
Other management: 19.1%
Senior management: 14.1%
Professionals in health: 11.6%
Professionals in business and finance: 7.1%

Chat session on age and sex data, 2011 Census (Statistics Canada)
Monday, June 4, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT This chat session is about the current age and sex structure of Canada’s population.
Monday, June 4, 2012, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT This chat session is about the current age and sex structure of Canada’s population.


Mexico wants to expand temporary workers in face of Canadian EI changes (Mike Blanchfield, Canadian Business)
Mexico wants to increase its foreign workforce in Canada, despite the Conservative government’s new employment insurance rules that aim to fill vacant jobs with unemployed Canadians instead. Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa touted the expansion of the temporary workers programs “to sectors other than agriculture” during a visit to Ottawa on Wednesday. Canadian companies hire thousands of foreign workers each year to fill jobs that citizens here won’t do. Seasonal workers from Mexico have provided labour to the Canadian agricultural sector since the mid-1970s.–mexico-wants-to-expand-temporary-workers-in-face-of-canadian-ei-changes

Four Seasons Hotel workers grieve severance pay (Toronto Star)
Although the banquet servers’ grievance involves a few relatively well-paid hospitality workers, Ryerson University labour expert Winnie Ng says it is a sign of larger trouble brewing in the city’s service sector, especially for older immigrant workers. “Many of these immigrants came here during the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and managed to make good middle-class lives working in the hospitality sector,” she says. “But with the recession and competition from new non-union luxury hotels opening in the city, there is a downward pressure on wages and many long-time workers are being cast aside,” she says.–four-seasons-hotel-workers-grieve-severance-pay

A flood of new immigrants – but continued shortages of skilled labour – Part 2 (Canadian Sailings)
Canada struggles to shape an immigration policy that brings in the right people for the right jobs – at the right time.

Embracing the concept of an inclusive workplace – 3 tips for employers (Sydney Helland, Career Edge)
Accessible job applications: Rather than accepting pen and paper job application forms, digital alternatives can be much more accessible to people with visual impairments or whose disability may limit their ability to use a pen or pencil.
Create an environment for interview success: Interviews can be intimidating, especially for candidates that are also managing a disability. Providing interview questions in advance can support candidates in communicating their abilities, qualifications, and accomplishments.
Focus on abilities: Be realistic in understanding if accommodations are required to support an employee’s abilities.

Canadian Immigration Lawyer David H. Davis Welcomes New Immigration Legislation to Help Companies Hiring Foreign Workers (Digital Journal)
According to Statistics Canada, by 2031 80% of population growth in the country will come directly from immigration. And according to new legislation, companies looking at hiring foreign workers in Canada could soon find that being approved for a Canadian work visa is faster and easier than ever. Canadian immigration lawyer David Davis says this is welcome news. Davis Immigration Law has over twenty years of Canadian immigration law experience and has helped Canadian businesses employ foreign workers since 1989.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, Ford, Casinos and Other News.


Making Microfinance Work in Canada (Allison Langille,
The global microfinance sector has had no shortage of international attention over the last two years – much of it due to the widely-publicized crisis that struck India in late 2010. It was shortly after this crisis turned the Indian microfinance sector upside down that I began a year-long fellowship with a small microfinance institution (MFI) in Calcutta. It was an experience that could branch into many other posts, but at the core, it gave me the opportunity to see microfinance in action. Without fail every time I would venture into the field to meet with clients and branch staff to understand exactly how microfinance was working, I would get asked, almost cheekily, by the MFI staff: “Well, what does microfinance look like in Canada?” Frankly, I was never able to respond.

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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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