Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 15, 2012


A ‘Plan Sud’ for the Greater Montreal area is crucial to Quebec’s economic future (Canada Newswire)
Quebec needs to develop a “Plan Sud” that focuses on making Greater Montréal the economic hub it should be, according to a Conference Board of Canada publication issued to coincide with Les Rendez-vous IDU Québec, a conference from the Urban Development Institute of Quebec held today in Montréal. “Quebec has articulated an economic development strategy, Plan Nord, for its northern regions, which is appropriate given the strong demand and high prices for commodities,” said Mario Lefebvre, Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, and author of the publication. “But the time has also come for Quebec to adopt a ‘Plan Sud’ for the Greater Montréal area. The economies of Quebec and Canada will never realize their full potential if Montréal is floundering.”

Immigration Minister Sinks To A New Low (Amy Boughner, Care2)
Canadas Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, is having a banner year. After eliminating the backlog of immigration applications (and hurting thousands of people who had put years of their lives and quite a bit of money into trying to get into the country), the Minister has decided it is up to him to disclose the private information of refugee claimants. Montreal newspaper La Presse ran a story about two claimants who filed the same claim but got different results. Fernando Suarez-Garcia and his wife Johanna Martinez applied to come to Canada as refugees from Columbia. His claim was accepted, hers was not and she was told that she would have to leave the country with two of her daughters while her husband and their second two daughters would be allowed to stay. She has until June 27.

Immigration: agissement illégal de Jason Kenney? (Hugo Meunier, La Presse)
Le ministre canadien de l’Immigration, Jason Kenney, a dévoilé mardi des informations personnelles concernant une femme dont la demande d’asile a été rejetée et qui doit bientôt être expulsée du Canada. Ce geste inusité avait pour but de dénoncer un reportage de La Presse, à qui il reproche de manquer de transparence.
Canadian Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney announced Tuesday personal information about a woman whose application for asylum was rejected and soon to be deported from Canada. This unusual step was to denounce a report in La Presse , in which he criticized as lacking transparency.

People not consulted on immigration changes (Carolyn Bennett, MyTownCrier)
Last month, in the Globe and Mail series on immigration, Ratna Omidvar, president of the Maytree Foundation, wrote an opinion piece entitled Changes to immigration policy will affect nearly all aspects of Canadian life. In it, she explained: By seeking to eliminate the backlog we choose efficiency over fairness. By moving to super visas and away from permanent residence for our immigrants parents and grandparents, we choose transience over inclusion. When employers select workers who will become future citizens with little guidance, we choose head-hunting over nation-building. When we raise the bar on language, we choose homogeneity over diversity When the dust settles, where will Canada be?

Violence Against Women: An Exploration of the Physical and Mental Health Trends among Immigrant and RefugeeWomen in Canada (Wellesley Institute)
Violence against women is a serious health and social problem for women worldwide. Research has looked broadly at the physical and mental health consequences of violence but little attention has been focused on immigrant and refugee women. In partnership with Ryerson University we examined history of violence and presence of physical and mental health impairment prior to, during and post migration for 60 women participants from the Iranian and Sri Lankan Tamil immigrant and refugee communities in Toronto, Canada. Our survey results show that immigrant and refugee women experience various types of violence throughout their lifespan, with psychological abuse occurring most frequently in the past year. Our study shows that a substantial proportion of abused immigrant and refugee women in Canada may also experience physical and mental health impairment. Women in our sample reported higher rates of post-traumatic stress which may be due to current situations of abuse, leaving countries where civil war was the norm, or injustice during transit to Canada. Research and practice implications are provided in our research paper, available through open source at Nursing Research and Practice.

Muslim Chaplain (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jane Hawtin spoke with graduating psychology and philosophy student Ruqayyah Ahdab. She chairs the Muslim Chaplaincy Project at the University of Toronto.

Canadas first full-time Muslim chaplain being sought at University of Toronto (Metronews)
In Canada, Muslim chaplains have been utilized primarily in military and prison settings to help with issues of religious accommodation. Universities, including U of T, have been most often served by volunteer chaplains, often imams from the community struggling to juggle numerous commitments. But over the past five year, dozens of universities in the United States have hired Muslim chaplains to offer Muslim students support in the tension-filled aftermath of 9/11. Many universities found students were under an enormous amount of stress because of the negative media coverage around Muslims, said Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic studies and founder of the first Islamic Chaplaincy Program at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. The Muslim chaplains took a lot of pressure off the students and gave them crucial support they needed, and from that, the program really gained support across campuses.

Ontario amends Human Rights Code to extend protections to transgender people (Keith Leslie, Montreal Gazette)
Ontarios Human Rights Code was updated Wednesday for the first time since the 1980s to extend protections to transgender people, something Manitoba was expected to do Thursday. Members of all three parties in Ontarios legislature voted to amend the code to add the terms gender identity and gender expression to prevent discrimination against transgender people. It was the first change to the code since it was amended to add the words sexual orientation to protect gays and lesbians.

KW Immigrant Support Group Open Doors (Exchange Morning Post)
In collaboration with K-W Multicultural Centre and K-W Counselling Services, a new counselling service for immigrants and refugees opened yesterday serving the Region of Waterloo and Wellington Area. KW Immigrant Support (KWisupport) is an independent team of registered social workers committed to providing multilingual & culturally sensitive counselling services to immigrants and refugees, where the primary consideration is given to the worldviews of culturally diverse individuals and families.

Immigration and Refugee Services Suddenly Shut Down (Adam Pez, The Tyee)
The federal government shut down front desks and eliminated walk-in services in immigration and refugee offices across the country last week — a move that has left refugee claimants and advocates bewildered. For many landed refugees and immigrants in Vancouver, their first notice of the service reductions came in the form of a yellow, laminated sign taped to the doors of the remaining Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) offices (see photo at top of story). The sign tells claimants to visit the CIC’s website or call its automated help line to schedule an appointment.

Funding for immigrants helps the community (Walter Cordery, The Daily News)
Ottawa’s decision to eliminate local citizenship services must be explained. Because of budget cuts, Nanaimo will no longer hold citizenship ceremonies for new Canadians and they will be forced to go to other communities to become Canadian citizens. This is a mind-boggling decision that will hinder the opportunity for friends and family members to attend the celebration. Hilde Schlosar, executive director of Nanaimo’s Immigrant Welcome Centre, told me this decision is not only unwise but unjust. I agree with her.

International celebration returns for Canada Day (Brendan Wedley, Peterborough Examiner)
International cuisine, performances from bands such as Clan Hannigan, African dances and a wide variety of activities for children will be among the attractions at the Multicultural Canada Day Festival at Del Crary Park July 1. There will be 20 international food vendors, craft tables, multicultural performances on the stage and dancers performing traditional dances from Mexico, Africa and Sri Lanka, said Anne Elliott, the community coordinator with New Canadians Centre Peterborough. We really have a taste of the whole world brought to us in Peterborough to celebrate multiculturalism, the rich diversity in our community which makes Peterborough such a special place to be, she said. There really is something for the whole family.

Europe’s Racism Problem (Adrienne Clarkson, The Mark)
Former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, an immigrant to Canada who went on to become the countrys head of state, discusses the integration issues immigrant communities are facing in Europe, and what Europeans might learn from Canada.


No real refuge in Canada for some refugees (Philip Berger, Bernie Farber And Clayton Ruby, Globe and Mail)
Most recently, with the passage of refugee and immigration Bill C-31, alongside suggested cuts to refugees’ health care, the federal government is creating what it calls designated countries, or DCOs, that it considers safe. Refugees from DCOs will now have only a short time to prepare for their hearings, and will effectively lose their right of appeal. Additionally, refugees will have no access to primary or emergency health care, even in the case of pregnancy or heart attack. While refugee claimants from DCOs are singled out for particularly alarming treatment under the new federal rules, the changes will harm all those claiming refugee status. Claimants will lose access to life-saving drugs, such as insulin, and to preventive care. Physicians across the country warn that these changes will result in severe illness and death. While DCOs have yet to be named, Hungary will assuredly be on the list. If these policy changes come into effect, Roma refugee claimants will lose access to health care on June 30. We are also likely to see many more deportations of Roma back to Hungary.

Treat refugees with care (Mahli Brindamour, Ryan Meili, The Starphoenix)
Her family was poor in Colombia and is even poorer in Canada, where the cost of living is higher. As refugee claimants, they are able to afford Mariana’s asthma medications because they are covered through the interim federal health program. But as of June 30, health coverage will be greatly decreased for protected persons (government-assisted, convention or resettled refugees, refugee claimants who have been accepted, and those who have received a positive pre-removal risk assessment) or refugee claimants on whom a decision has not yet been made and those who are not from designated countries of origin (those considered safe by the minister). This last category of people will receive basic coverage for urgent matters only, or for issues that are considered a threat to public health. It will not include prescribed medications. These benefits will disappear entirely for refugee claimants from DCOs and for rejected refugee claimants. They will not receive any coverage for health care at all – not even for medical emergencies. This is a profoundly unfair way to treat vulnerable refugees who’ve fled their homelands, often in urgency and with few possessions.

Protesters target Harper’s refugee health cuts (Sue Montgomery, Montreal Gazette)
Medical associations across the country have planned a national day of action Monday to shine the spotlight on the Conservative governments quiet cutting of refugee health-care coverage a program that costs each Canadian about $3 per year. Psychologist David Woodbury, who has lent a compassionate ear for years to refugees to Canada who are isolated, vulnerable and emotionally fragile, says the news has filled his clients with hopelessness. Im losing sleep because Im having to tell people we have to end our therapeutic relationship or they might have to find a little money because I cant see 20 people for nothing, he said.

Checking-In: Bill C-31, Mario Gutierrez and grades (CBC The Current)
With all the Parliament Hill focus on Bill C-38, less attention was given to the passage of Bill C-31, also known as the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the Roma people appear to be high on the list of those making what he calls bogus refugee claims – and were part of the motivation behind the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act. Under that act, which cleared the house of commons earlier this week, Kenney will be able to create a list of “safe” democratic countries that are unlikely to produce refugees – making it much harder for someone from one of those countries to gain asylum.

Join the National Day of Action for Refugee Health Care on June 18 (NUPGE)
Health care professionals across the country will be staging a National Day of Action for Refugee Health Care on Monday, June 18 against the Conservative government’s cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). As Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney recently announced, as of June 30, refugees in Canada will be cut off access to treatment for chronic diseases including hypertension, angina, diabetes, high cholesterol and lung disease.

Health care cuts impact vulnerable refugees (Aaron Epp, Christian Week)
The federal government’s plan to reduce health-care coverage for refugees will make it more difficult for Christian organizations who sponsor newcomers to Canada. In an effort to reduce overall spending, the federal government is drastically reducing the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), with the changes going into effect on June 30. In the past, the IHFP has provided refugees with prescription medication and basic dental care and vision care during their first year in Canada. The IFHP assisted them with valuable care not covered by provincial plans.

Human smuggling operation busted (Jessica Murphy, Toronto Sun)
Almost 150 Sri Lankans hoping to come to Canada were deported back to their home country from West Africa following an aborted human smuggling operation. According to Sri Lankan news reports, the migrants were sent packing Thursday after gathering in Benin through various routes with plans of coming to Canada. “This proves what we’ve said all along – that thugs and criminals continue to target Canada,” said Alexis Pavlich, a spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Bill C-31, currently before the Senate, aims to crack down on human smuggling operations targeting Canada as a destination country by upping fines and penalties and mandatory minimum sentences for convicted smugglers.


Launch of the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus (Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
Last evening marked the launch of the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus. Senator Art Eggleton hosted a reception on Parliament Hill to make the announcement. The newly-formed Caucus will include Senators and Members of Parliament from all political parties. While the terms of reference of this Anti-Poverty Caucus are not yet set, the scope of the work potentially could be very broad. It might consider certain groups, such as aboriginal Canadians who experience disproportionately high rates of poverty and whose living conditions in many parts of the country are nothing short of shameful.

Event June 20: Making it Work? The New EI Rules and What They Mean for Workers, Businesses, and Ontario (Mowat Centre and the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto)
The federal government has recently made changes to the Employment Insurance program. Join us for a morning panel discussion on what these changes mean. How will the changes impact workers and businesses in Ontario and across the country? Do they address the programs well-known shortcomings? What are the next steps for Employment Insurance reform? On June 20th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, the Mowat Centre will host a free public panel discussion in the Al Green Theatre at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre to address these questions. Join panelists Arthur Sweetman, Catherine Swift, and Armine Yalnizyan as they consider recent changes to Employment Insurance and take questions on their meaning and importance. The conversation will be moderated by the Mowat Centres Director, Matthew Mendelsohn.

Health Reform Through an Equity Lens: Access to High Quality Rehabilitation (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
The Wellesley Institute works to identify how to embed equity in health system priorities, drivers, planning and service delivery to ensure that all have equitable access to high quality health care. We and the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation (CWGHR) have been working together. We both see access to high-quality rehabilitation as one of the crucial issues of health care reform in the coming period.

Wellesley Institute June 2012 Research & Policy Updates (Wellesley Institute)
The Real Cost of Cutting Refugee Health Benefits
Bill 77 – Fairness for Employees Act
Violence Against Women
Ryan Meili in Conversation with Bob Gardner
Effective, Just and Humane
Dont wait for facts and evidence! Ontario hits reverse and okays quick sell-off of scarce affordable homes


Opportunities Ontario offers permanent residence to international students with a job offer (Henry J. Chang, First Reference Talks)
Opportunities Ontario, Ontarios provincial nominee program, has further expanded its International Student Category to include international students who have a job offer from an employer located in Ontario. The International Student with a Job Offer Stream is different from the PhD Graduate Stream and Masters Graduate Stream because it includes international students who are:
Graduating from two-year undergraduate diploma/degree programs; or
Graduating from one year post-graduate degree/certificate programs, even if they are not considered Masters-level programs.

10 Ways to Diversify Your Workforce (Diversity Executive)

In health care, a diverse staff can provide great value in meeting the needs of patients from a wide range of cultures a lesson that carries over to other industries. An immense challenge lies before the nations health care sector: diversifying its workforce. A 2012 study by executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, Diversity as a Business Builder in Healthcare, found that diversity is lacking in health care leadership. This is unfortunate because industry leaders surveyed in the study believe diversity in the workplace improves patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes. This impact on the customer likely has similar effects in other industries.

New Essential Skills Ontario website (Settlement AtWork)
The Ontario Literacy Coalition announces a new strategy, website and brand, including a new name: Essential Skills Ontario, expanding the reach of the organization to better address all the literacy and essential skills adults need to thrive in a rapidly-changing world.


Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on On the Street, TTC, Fort York, City Hall, Waterfrong, Harbourfront and Other News.


Mississauga woman charged with human trafficking (CP24)
A 21-year-old Mississauga woman has been arrested and charged in connection with a human trafficking investigation. York Regional Police laid the charges Thursday after a woman came forward with allegations that she had been forced into prostitution. “York Region police were contacted because the incidents occurred in York region,” Const. Blair McQuillan told CP24. He said he couldn’t disclose if the victim lives in the area. The complainant, a 26-year-old woman, told police on Tuesday she met a man through an online chat site and was eventually forced into work as a prostitute and exotic dancer from September to November of 2009.

Hunt on for teen who lured girls to prostitution (The Province)
Ottawa police are still on the hunt for a teenage girl who allegedly lured other young girls over the Internet and then forced them into prostitution in what investigators call a stunning cautionary tale about the perils of social media. Two 15-year-old girls are already in custody, charged with luring girls – one as young as 13 – through social networking sites, then turning them over for prostitution with adult males. One of the accused was in court Tuesday, the other is due in court today. The third suspect, 17, is still at large.

Fringe 2012: Alberta groups play explores human trafficking (Pat Donnelly, Montreal Gazette)
She Has a Name is a play about human trafficking. Even its promotional material is disturbing, referring to Montreal as Canadas port city for sex slaves trafficked from and through Europe. Yes, it happens here, in Montreal. People whose existence has been reduced to a number are exploited in the sex trade across Canada as well as in faraway places. And Albertas Burnt Thicket theatre company thinks we should care. Which is why they are bringing She Has a Name to the Montreal Fringe Festival this weekend.

Underage girl distraught during escort visit to home, man alleges (Meghan Hurley, Ottawa Citizen)
As the first of three teen girls accused of forcing other teens into prostitution made an appearance at an Ottawa court, a middle-aged man told the Citizen Wednesday that an underaged victim was delivered to his door. Donald Derouchie, 51, said a girl in a tiny pink dress and heavy makeup who appeared to be a minor was brought to his home by two other young females. He said she walked a few steps in before bursting into tears and telling him she had been forced to come. He said he helped her by giving her a change of clothes and sending her home in a cab he paid for. What led to that day in his apartment began seven months earlier, Derouchie said, when he met a young woman on Craigslist. He had recently met her in person for the first time when she came to his home to listen to music and eat pizza, he said.

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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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Your morning #Immigration & #Diversity news headlines – June 13, 2012 #inclusion #cdnimm #refugees #refugeehealth RT @nicknoorani: “@GerardKeledjian: @nicknoorani:...