Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 8, 2012


Should Canada screen immigrants based on language proficiency or country of origin? (Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail)
The unrelenting economic gloom in Europe inspired voters in both France and Greece to change governments this weekend. It’s also been compelling tens of thousands of the continent’s young people – for instance in Spain, where unemployment is above 50 per cent for those 25 and under, as well as in Greece, Portugal, Italy and Ireland – to consider emigrating to more prosperous shores. Meanwhile, Canada is in need of hundreds of thousands more immigrants in the next decade just to fill its labour-market needs, not to mention to counter its rapidly aging demographics. Should it take advantage of Europe’s plight and target those countries to find skilled and educated potential migrants?

Skilled worker plan seen as ‘critical’ (Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald)
A federal plan to speed access to skilled foreign workers will help Calgary’s labour-strapped housing industry cope, say builders after they heard further details. “If we’re looking back to 2007 when we had no option — we couldn’t find people — that’s when that foreign worker policy was important,” says Dave Hooge, president of Stepper Custom Homes. “Getting an understanding of that now before we get to that point again is critical.” Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney was recently in Calgary to further outline his plan to streamline applications, create a vetted pool of foreign workers for businesses to search from and introduce a skilled tradespeople immigration stream.

PM salutes role of immigrants in Canada’s economy (Inside Halton)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised the contributions of the immigrant community for contributing to Canada’s economic success in a speech to the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce Friday night. Speaking to a packed crowd of over 700 at the Burlington Convention Centre, Harper acknowledged the efforts of the more than 200,000 Canadians of Croatian descent at a dinner marking the 10th annual business awards for the organization.–pm-salutes-role-of-immigrants-in-canada-s-economy

Steps to create a more effective immigration system: Tim Rees (Tim Rees, Canadian Immigrant)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is to be congratulated for the urgency with which he is moving to transform the chaotic and dysfunctional nature of Canada’s current immigration system. However, abdicating the immigrant selection process to the private sector is not the solution nor is it the remedy to overcoming a sclerotic immigration bureaucracy. Reforming the whole continuum of Canada’s immigration and integration process needs to be undertaken and must involve many more partners. The following are some preliminary steps to strengthen a bottom-up, community-driven and owned process to create a more coherent, joined up and effective immigration system.

Rai urges Lebanese in Canada to apply for citizenship (Lebanese Daily Star)
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai urged the Lebanese in Canada Monday night to apply for Lebanese citizenship at the embassy. “You should hurry and register your children and marriages at Lebanese embassies and consulates in order to receive the nationality,” Rai said during his sermon at St. Charbel’s parish church in Ottawa. The mass was attended by Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenny along with several Canadian MPs and Lebanese expatriates.

Kenney Repeating Komagata Maru And Chinese Exclusion Act Of 1923, Say Punjab-Based Group Affected By His Decision To Scrap More Than 300,000 Applications (The Link)
“Hai, Hai Kenney, Down With Kenney”, were the slogans being shouted against Immigration Minister Jason Kenney by a large crowd in Punjab calling themselves ‘The Canadian Back Loggers Pre 2008 Association’, who said Kenney was repeating the history of ‘Komagata Maru’ and the ‘Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923’ Kenney introduced a proposal to retrospectively scrap all the immigration applications that were filed before 27th February 2008. “The history of ‘Komagata Maru’ and the ‘Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923’ is being repeated once again by the Canadian Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism,” the group said in a press release.

May Be Me (daily does of imagery)
May Be Me is an annual campaign to raise awareness and funds to prevent violence against diverse women and youth. Participants join by registering at; choosing how they will express themselves in purple on May Be Me Day (May 31); and connecting with friends, family and social media contacts to gather pledges.

Redford to unveil cabinet Tuesday (Keith Gerein, Kelly Cryderman, Calgary Herald)
Some also sneered at Redford’s first cabinet picks last October, shortly after she won the Tory leadership race. She had just three women, three members under the age of 40, and one member of a visible minority. But unlike last fall, Redford’s cabinet choices today will set the tone for Alberta’s government not for months, but for the coming years. “She wants to assemble the best team possible for a solid four years,” said Griffiths, who also ran in the Tory leadership race against Redford. “It’s not to set up for another election or leadership race.”

Albertans are glad to shake outmoded racist stereotype (Gillian Steward, Toronto Star)
The sighs of relief sweeping Alberta are almost audible. It’s not that most Albertans are relieved that the Progressive Conservatives won the election, yet again. But rather that it is now abundantly clear that most Albertans are not racists and homophobes. Other Canadians likely feel they don’t need to prove this. But in Alberta we had a history that clung to us like an old, tattered sheet.–albertans-are-glad-to-shake-outmoded-racist-stereotype

Health Equity and Diversity Course (CAMH)
This Introductory Health Equity and Diversity course is part of a commitment to systems change in the area of health equity, diversity, access, and clinical cultural competence in the mental health and addictions field. This introductory course aims to enhance the capacity of service providers to provide equitable, inclusive and accountable mental health and addiction services.

First Markham Place is Markham’s “other” Chinese mall (BlogTO)
When people think about Asian/Chinese malls in the GTA, chances are the first place that comes to mind is Pacific Mall. This instant connection unfortunately overshadows the fact that there is another relatively large mall to the north (and west) called First Markham Place. Built in the late 1990’s, located in the main area of Markham, and boasting over 150 non-chain retail stores with 20-plus restaurants, this shopping centre is a favourite among locals who want to get their Asian fix but don’t want to travel to the much further (and much more chaotic-parking wise) Pacific Mall. An interesting aspect about the mall is its overall physical layout and location. First, it’s located adjacent to a big box mall known as the Woodside Centre, which houses a Home Depot, Kelsey’s, Chapters, and other Western merchants. With only a small local road separating the two shopping centre’s parking lots, this results in a literal East meets West scenario.

Japanese Canadian UBC Students Receive Honorary Degrees at Schema : more than ethnic (Kayo Homma-Komori, Schema Magazine)
It surprises me to find out how many Canadians are unaware or have little knowledge of the internment of Japanese Canadians during WWII. Sure, I may have a slight bias and know more about the internment than the average Canadian, given that both my grandparents were sent to internment camps, but my bias may surprise you. I grew up spending a lot of time with my grandma, visiting every Saturday evening for dinner. A visit to my grandma’s house was not complete without at least a few mentions of her memories before, during, or after the internment. In a way, I almost became de-sensitized to the internment, after hearing about it so many times. And my grandma’s experience didn’t help my understanding, as she was just a pre-teen at the time and perhaps didn’t fully understand the injustices being experienced by her and her family.

European-style right-wing extremism also exists in Canada (Andy Radia, Yahoo News)
Parties of the extreme right have recently made stunning inroads into mainstream European politics. Is a similar movement imminent in Canada? In Greece, the Golden Dawn Party, which has adopted the Nazi salute and a version of the swastika as their party’s emblem, won 19 seats in that country’s 300 seat Parliament. In France, the National Front, whose leader labelled Islamism “the totalitarianism of religion” claimed 17.9 per cent of votes in the first round of presidential voting two weeks ago. These aren’t your ‘Harperites,’ your Wildrose ‘bozos’ or even your Tea Party enthusiasts. These are emerging parties fueled by deteriorating economic circumstances that espouse anti-immigrant, anti-multicultural, anti-global rhetoric. Some of them are routinely labelled as “neo-Fascist.”

Police investigating Islamic school over curriculum comparing Jews to Nazis (National Post)
Police are investigating a complaint about a Toronto Muslim school whose curriculum tells boys to exercise so they are “ready for jihad,” refers to “treacherous Jews” and contrasts Islam with “the Jews and the Nazis.” “Yes, I can confirm for you that a complaint has been made and our Hate Crimes Unit is investigating,” Acting Sergeant Rebecca Boyd, a York Region Police spokeswoman, told the National Post on Monday. “However, they are in the early stages of the investigation,” she added. The complaint was made by the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which found the material on the website of the East End Madrassah.

Jonathan Kay: The problem with calling the Koran ‘anti-Semitic’ (Jonathan Kay, National Post)
In 2008, I warned Canadian Muslims that bringing human-rights complaints against Mark Steyn and other critics of militant Islam was a mistake: It was only a matter of time till the human-rights watchdogs come after the mullahs themselves. “Like the Bible, Muslim scripture contains a lot of material that, by modern standards, would be considered sexist, homophobic or even anti-Semitic,” I wrote. “One statement attributed to Muhammad, for instance, declares that ‘Judgment day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims will kill the Jews’ … The prospect of a human rights tribunal telling you which Suras and Hadiths you are and aren’t allowed to preach in your mosques may sound ridiculous. But it’s not.”

Cities and Growth: Moving to Toronto – Income Gains Associated with Large Metropolitan Labour Markets (Statistics Canada)
The research literature has established that earnings are significantly higher in large metropolitan areas than in other urban and rural locations (Glaeser and Maré 2001; Combes et al. 2008; Yankow 2006; Beckstead et al. 2010), a finding that holds across nations and over time. For example, in Canada, earnings in large metropolitan areas are more than 25% higher than in many rural locations (Beckstead et al. 2010). Higher earnings in large cities reflect higher productivity resulting from more productive firms and/or the better matching between worker skills and job tasks, and the mix of skills and abilities (Combes et al. 2008; Yankow 2006; Beckstead et al. 2010). Education, especially postsecondary education, appears to account for a large portion of urban-rural wage differences, with large urban areas having a much higher share of degree-holders (Beckstead et al. 2010). This is attributable to the output of local educational institutions, internal migration of individuals with high levels of human capital, and immigration (Brown, Newbold and Beckstead 2010). The relative advantage of cities rests both on their capacity to educate and attract and retain highly skilled workers and on their ability to facilitate the productivity-enhancing interaction of workers and firms.

What is the purpose of your trip? (Lawyers Weekly)
Why the crankiness? Immigration officers seem to be torn between security and facilitation. No immigration officer wants to admit a terrorist, and they are erring more frequently by saying no than in the past. Secondly, immigration offices are often understaffed. Officers are overworked and frequently have insufficient guidance, particularly on the U.S. side. Immigration officers have a “keepers of the gate” mentality on both sides of the border, including when it comes to employment: “Why can’t an American do this job?” they might ask. (Or, on the other side, a Canadian?) This question is inappropriate in the context of the North American free-trade agreement, which exempts labor market considerations. Especially when the economy is weak, there’s a reluctance to admit people perceived, rightly or wrongly, as negatively affecting the economy.


Cuts to refugee health insurance dangerous, inhumane, doctors say (National Post)
Looming cuts to refugee health benefits are inhumane, unethical and won’t save the government money, say some Ottawa doctors. A program providing temporary health insurance to refugee applicants who aren’t eligible for provincial or territorial coverage will be pared back starting June 30, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney announced last month. The Interim Federal Health Program will no longer include vision, dental or supplemental health benefits for current and future asylum seekers. Most pharmaceutical benefits will also dry up.

Refugees use Facebook to keep scattered families connected (Christian Science Monitor)
Granddaughter Mona Maarouf, 26, still considers Shaab home, even though she has spent her life in Sidon, has never visited her ancestral village and maybe never will. She knew she had relatives there but knew nothing about them. Then she joined Facebook. Now she tracks who has died in the village, and her cousins in Israel weigh in on her marriage prospects. “I didn’t think anyone knew anything about me,” she says. “Then I saw that they knew everything.”


Hamilton turns up nose to food voucher project (Hamilton Spectator)
A proposed $20-voucher system that would have provided people living in poverty with fresh fruit and vegetables at area farmers’ markets was rejected by the city’s Board of Health. In a 9-4 vote, politicians identified potential problems with the five-month pilot program expected to cost about $625,000, including making sure people buy food with the voucher rather than non-food items such as cigarettes.–hamilton-turns-up-nose-to-food-voucher-project


Government of Canada Progress Report 2011 on Foreign Credential Recognition (Betty Cho, IECBC)
This fourth annual report highlights progress made by Citizenship and Immigrantion Canada (CIC), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Service Canada, and Health Canada to reduce the barriers to foreign credential recognition for internationally trained individuals. CIC and partner departments work in collaboration with the provinces, territories and key stakeholders to develop tools, processes and initiatives aimed at helping integrate newcomers into the labour market at a level commensurate with their education, skills and experience.

Critics warn Bill C-38 could force unemployed into jobs they don’t want (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
While critics of the Harper government’s omnibus budget implementation bill rail against the legislation’s alleged attacks on environmental reviews, they might also want to pay attention to the parts of the bill that deal with employment insurance. According to an article in the Globe and Mail, Bill C-38 would remove provisions of the Employment Insurance Act that allow EI recipients to turn down an available job if it is not in the claimant’s usual occupation, is at a lower rate of pay or involves “conditions less favourable than those … recognized by good employers.” In other words, once the bill passes, cabinet (in theory) will have the power to deny EI to an unemployed scientist for refusing to dig ditches or pick fruit.

Australia trolling for Canadian skills (Jameson Berkow, Ottawa Citizen)
Control over scarce resources has spawned more than a few wars throughout history and the fight for skilled labour is simply the latest. This weekend, dozens of Australian companies will be taking part in a Calgary jobs expo to woo Canadian-trained scientists and engineers to relocate Down Under. The expo, which will move on to Vancouver and Edmonton next week, comes as Canada’s resource sector is struggling to keep skilled workers.


Tuesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Ford, City Hall, Transit, Development & Real Estate and Other News.

Video: Kat Cizek – The search for the urban species (TEDxStouffville)
Kat Cizek shares humorous and beautiful stories about her film documentary work in search of the urban species.

City Council (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about what’s next on the agenda for the city, with Hamutal Dotan. She is editor-in-chief of the Torontoist.


Event: Community Bonds (ONN)
Two years ago, we had the outlandish idea that we could raise $2 Million toward the purchase and renovation of a 36,000 sq ft building, jam pack that space with world-changing people and projects, all while providing our investors with a triple-bottom-line return – in the span of a whirlwind 8 months. Well, we did it! And now we want to help others do the same. Join Tonya Surman, Executive Director of the Centre for Social Innovation, on this half-day investigation of what we did, how we did it, and how you can too. Gain insight into your organization’s financing challenges, determine whether community bonds are the right fit for you, learn how to launch your own community bond offering, and, of course, how to turn your supporters into investors. All attendees will receive a copy of the Do-It-Yourself Guide to Community Bonds.


Human trafficking growing in Peel (Ibad Mukhtar,
Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel announced today steps to combat the growing problem of human trafficking. At the event are, from left, Credit Valley and Trillium Health Centre Hospital Peel Committee on Sexual Assault Coordinator Monica Riutort, Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel lawyer and vice-chair Navi Singh, Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel board chair Heather Couper and Peel Regional Police Det. David van Allen. More than half of the human trafficking cases in Canada have occurred in either Mississauga or Brampton, a news conference this morning at the Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centre of Peel revealed as the agency announced steps to combat the growing problem. Peel Regional Police Det. David van Allen said of the 60 human trafficking cases that have been reported in Canada, 31 have been Peel police investigations.–i-d-like-to-see-the-mayor-sitting-at-that-table

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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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