Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 25, 2012


Ramesh Srinivasan: Diversity is a real strength for our region (DiverseCity Toronto)
Ramesh Srinivasan is a strong believer in the importance of leadership diversity on boards. He sees diversity as a true strength. Not taking advantage of the diversity that exists in our region would mean foregoing a competitive advantage. When DiverseCity onBoard approached Ramesh, a professor of Hospitality Management, School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto, about joining the board of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), he was reluctant at first.

New Canadians get lesson in Stampede culture (CBC)
A group of new Canadians got a chance to learn about Stampede culture Thursday night in Calgary. The event was put on by the Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council. The organization’s Marie-France Varin says Stampede is a great time to make friends and possibly find a job.

Greek misery could mean Canadian immigration gains (Matthew Fisher, Vancouver Sun)
It was never Greece’s intent, but it has inadvertently provided a generation of talented young Greeks with the means to escape from the country’s rapidly shrinking economy. Greece’s calamity may be Canada’s opportunity. Ottawa intends to take in 250,000 immigrants this year, with plans for a much stronger focus on those who speak English or French well and who have higher educations from recognized schools. In doing this, Canada is following the lead of Australia, which has been targeting similar people for several years.

Annual festival embraces diversity (The Record)
Food, dancing and crafts are what draw people out of the familiar to the K-W Multicultural Festival a place where every nationality and race is represented. This is the population of K-W, said Lucia Harrison, executive director of the multicultural centre. Twenty-three per cent of the regions population is immigrants. Weaving through the weekend festivals craft market brings our diversity to the forefront, as the smell of spices waft across Victoria Park.–annual-festival-embraces-diversity

Mobile immigrants test Canadian courts reach in divorce (Adrian Humphreys, National Post)
A high-stakes divorce between a wealthy businessman and his wife who immigrated from China to Canada as a couple but left most of their money abroad is raising questions about the power of Canadian courts over highly mobile and affluent immigrants. The acrimonious marital split has already brought accusations of parental child abduction, scuttled an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange, drawn evidence of $165.5 million in tax havens overseas and revealed the couples $3-million Toronto home has been only occasionally occupied. And now, the familys on-again, off-again residency in Canada has prompted a Family Court judge to ponder what power he has to settle the matter. The only connection to Ontario is an encumbered real property and a bank account. In contrast, the parties have three real properties in China and significant bank accounts, said Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter G. Jarvis.

Why so many Somali-Canadians who go west end up dead (Globe and Mail)
They are called the ciyaal baraf, or the children of the snow. The kids of a generation who fled blood-stained Somalia two decades ago. Their parents sought refuge across the world in a mass exodus from civil war. Many settled in Canada, mostly in Toronto, where they raised their children, often in poverty. And, as the children came of age and branched out across the country, a new kind of grief emerged. Since 2005, dozens of young men from Canadas Somali community have been killed, most of them casualties along a cocaine-dusted corridor between the housing projects of Toronto and the oil patch in Alberta. Most cases remain unsolved.

From Counting People to Making People Count (Diversity Intelligence)
Markham, Ontario September 20 and 21, 2012. Non-profit and public sector organizations face challenges as they try to comply with equity-related legislation, respond to the changing demographics, and create inclusive and effective organizations all within fiscal constraints. This conference will help further equity and inclusion practice for non-profit and public sector organizations.

Part One: The face of a community (with video) (Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun)
Everyone has a story, especially here. Vancouvers history is studded with characters and now, more than ever, it is a magnet for every kind of person from every part of the world. Yet as the city and surrounding communities have grown into Metro, theres a deep sense of isolation. People live in silos, separated by race, culture, language, income, age and even geography. We dont know each other. We dont speak to neighbours, strike up conversations on the bus and grocery checkout lines or make an effort to make newcomers feel welcome. Yet, there was an overwhelming yearning for connection and understanding among the nearly 3,900 people surveyed by the Vancouver Foundation. So, who are we, anyway?

Mixed race: Fastest growing demographic in Canada (Sam Cooper, Montreal Gazette)
The medical process is harrowing enough for any child. But with a Filipino and Caucasian background, doctors could not find Lourdess a bone marrow match, after several worldwide searches. As a child of mixed race – the fastest growing demographic in Canada, and especially B.C. – she is representative of a demographic group that is disadvantaged, in terms of medical blood work. Simply put, as interracial marriages increase, the supply of mixed-race blood, which must be gathered from adult donors, is lagging far behind the demand from a growing pool of mixed-race children. Every ethnicity has inherited genetic markers, so finding a blood cell match among your own ethnicity provides the best chance.

Kenney is right to speed up deportations (Globe and Mail)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has made a convincing case for a new law allowing the swift deportation of convicted criminals. The infamous example of Clinton Gayle underscores the need for such legislation. A Jamaican citizen who was convicted in Canada of multiple criminal offences, Mr. Gayle was able to remain in the country long after a 1991 deportation order, because of the immigration appeals process. In 1996, he shot two Toronto police officers, killing one of them.

Corrupt immigration manager convicted of fraud (Andrew Seymour, Ottawa Citizen)
Evidence that a former immigration manager accepted cash and gifts in exchange for preferential treatment was absolutely overwhelming, a judge concluded Friday, after finding the woman guilty of more than two dozen fraud and breach of trust charges. I am persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that Diane Serré acted with the intention to use her public office for a purpose other than the public good; namely, for a purpose that was dishonest, partial and corrupt, Ontario Superior Court Justice Catherine Aitken wrote in an 86-page written decision that found Serré accepted money from friend Issam Dakik in exchange for her help processing 10 immigration files.

Immigration changes heading in opposite directions in Canada and the USA (
However, the new legislation could also make it more difficult for those individuals to claim refugee status or immigrate all together. The government is proposing centralizing power to the offices of the ministers. There is something unsettlingly statist giving a government such powers; especially from a government that has had succeeded in invading the lives of ordinary citizens more than other Canadian government before it. It is actions such as this that are leading to a breaking down of the Canadian reputation on the international scale. While the Obama Administration is taking the United States down a road of opening up a boarder and easing the invasion of government to the immigration process, the Harper Government is doing the exact opposite; making sure that its reach extends further and further into the lives of ordinary Canadians.

Why Jason Kenney getting an award for ‘diversity’ only reinforces discrimination (David Heap, rabble)
It is time more Canadians demanded the JNF’s charitable status be revoked – in the name of diversity (and international law), while we work to reverse the damage done to vulnerable migrants by Kenney and other Conservatives. We may not get any awards for “diversity,” but we will be helping build a more just world for all.

CBC Thunder Bay lauded for diversity project (CBC)
CBC Thunder Bay has won an award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association. Common Ground Cafe, a CBC radio and social media project, has been recognized for exploring the issue of diversity. The CBC’s Jody Porter led the project, and accepted the Adrienne Clarkson Award in Toronto last night. “Thanks to everyone who came out to the initial dinner parties and who continues this challenging, important conversation,” Porter wrote on the project’s Facebook page.

Kenney Seeking To Become God Immigration Minister (The Link)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who is known to his critics as Minister of Deportation, is seeking to become God minister with the proposed sweeping changes in a new immigration bill that would give Kenney new powers, including the ability to deny entry to visitors for public policy reasons and to override the rules to let otherwise inadmissible people come to Canada. Kenney tabled legislation in the House Wednesday that would make it easier for the government to deport refugees, permanent residents and visitors for serious criminality, crimes where the punishment is six months or more in jail. Kenney is selling the bill based on the changes proposed to allow automatic deportation for any non-Canadian sentenced to more than six months in jail.

Bilingualism deserves more recognition, appreciation in Canada (Globe and Mail)
Im often asked if multiculturalism and bilingualism can co-exist. My default answer is Why not? Pourquoi pas? Multiculturalism does not exist in a vacuum in Canada. It is built on a pre-existing bilingual framework that still frames the content of the Canadian character. Most Europeans who arrived in the peak years of immigration to Canada had the notion of preserving their mother tongue quickly drummed out of them by social pressure and the school system. They were forced, in other words, into a unilingual understanding of what it meant to be a Canadian.

Year of change for group that aids newcomers to Wheat City (Leslie Alle, Westman Immigrant Services, Brandon Sun)
On Friday, Westman Immigrant Services (WIS) had its annual general meeting. It is a great time to look back at all that had been accomplished. All program areas submitted reports on activities throughout the past year. I would like to share some excerpt from these reports to highlight what has been accomplished. In this column, I will focus on some special events and community involvement and the English language program and next month, I will write about the activities in the integration program, the Brandon Community Language Centre and the employment program. This year has been a year of change. We have moved to a new location, undergone an organization change in staff structuring, seen a shift in the newcomer population to Brandon and have adapted to working as a whole unit, instead of two individual programs.—-year-of-change-for-group-that-aids-newcomers-to-wheat-city-160097835.html

Horror to hope, to home (Bill Redekop, Winnipeg Free Press)
A 1933-45 European exhibit makes sense because the release of so much new information on Eastern Europe has resulted in historians’ complete “reconceptualization” of that period, said Shkandrij. A Holodomor-to-Holocaust exhibit would include all Eastern and Western Europe, a complete picture of the madness of that time. This article is not a debate on that issue. But perhaps the Canadian Museum for Human Rights should not be too quick to dismiss the Ukrainian position. This isn’t the first time the Ukrainian community has thrust itself into the public eye with an unwelcome message. When the federal government set up its Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in the 1960s, one panel member, Jaroslav Rudnyckyj, of Winnipeg’s Ukrainian community, issued a minority report. What about the rest of us? Rudnyckyj asked. Canada was multicultural, not bicultural, he argued. His report started the ball rolling for Canada’s policy on multiculturalism. Then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau acknowledged as much when he announced the country’s first multicultural policy at a Ukrainian event in Winnipeg. We probably don’t realize how influential Ukrainian Canadians have been in Manitoba and Canada.


Chopping health coverage for refugees is a false saving (Editorial, Toronto Star)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has never made any secret of the purpose of his sweeping reforms to Canadas Refugee Protection Act. He is determined to deter bogus refugees. This is a legitimate objective. In recent years, wave after wave of migrants who face little danger have tried to get into Canada by claiming a well-founded fear of persecution. The most recent surge was Roma migrants from Hungary and the Czech Republic. Before that it was asylum seekers from Mexico. But one of the provisions of Bill C-31, which takes effect on June 30, is needlessly punitive. Kenney is poised to cut health services to resettled refugees and asylum seekers.–chopping-health-coverage-for-refugees-is-a-false-saving

Refugee health cuts are short-sighted (Metronews)
There is little doubt the federal government believes the majority of Canadians are more concerned with the price of gas than the plight of refugees coming to this country. In fact, the Conservatives are probably correct in thinking that most Canadians believe less money spent on refugees will mean more money the federal government can spend on their personal demands. It’s understandable. When times are tough, many people get scared and worry about their ability to take care of themselves and their families. And it’s also understandable that after years of being told stories about immigrants and refugees ripping off the system, they may have a jaundiced view of immigration. In fact, the spectre of refugees losing access to our medical system will probably not incite most Canadians to write to their MP in support of the refugees.

Immigration minister gets cold welcome in London (Mila Petkovic, Metro News)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney caught cold shoulders Sunday from some Londoners opposed to changing immigration laws. Kenney was at the London Convention Centre to accept an award for tolerance and diversity from the Jewish National Fund of Canada. But those opposed to federal Bill C-31 and the now-approved omnibus budget bill, say Kenney represents anything but promoting diversity. Bill C-31, being considered in the Senate, would make it harder for refugees and their families to claim asylum, opponents say. The budget legislation contains language making it OK for employers to pay migrant workers up to 15 per cent less than average wages, they argue. Imagine working for less money, but you have to pay for the same basic needs as everyone else, said Alicia Samuel, 28, an immigrant and one of the protesters. An ordinary Canadian would be outraged.

By Taking Away Refugee Benefits, Canada Is Taking Away Its Traditions (Samuel Getachew, Huffington Post)
While Canada is failing its signatory reputation to the world, it is wonderful to know that great citizens among us, such as Abai, are living the Canadian ideal of our past. This is a tradition which was earned with hard work and dedication in pursuit of a better world on behalf of Canadians. If we, as a nation, fail to protect that reputation, the magic of the great compassionate Canadian citizenship can be lost. The tradition that we all hold dear, that even once earned us the Nobel Peace Prize might forever be compromised.

A new low for refugees in Canada (Paul Caulford,medical director, The Volunteer Clinic for Medically Uninsured Immigrants and Refugees, Toronto, Toronto Star)
On June 30, an already bad situation for refugees in Canada will get much worse. Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will end life-saving health-care benefits for Canada’s refugees. Making matters worse for vulnerable refugees fleeing for their safety is hardly what Canadian governments are elected to do. Passing regressive and life-harming legislation that hurts the most vulnerable has thousands of Canadian health-care workers physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, dentists, midwives and others up in arms in our streets across Canada, demonstrating. Kenney will take matters to a new low, cutting health care at the doorstep and arbitrarily detaining many who seek safety here. In what can only be described as thinly veiled mean-spiritedness, he smugly proclaimed I don’t like being taken for a sucker, when describing the rationale for his new legislation. Really? How paranoid.–a-new-low-for-refugees-in-canada

Refugee health cuts put lives at risk, doctor says (Gemma Karstenssmith, Edmonton Journal)
An Edmonton doctor says people will die if planned cuts to refugee health benefits go ahead. “It would be hard to imagine how that wouldn’t happen,” said Dr. Stan Houston, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of Alberta. The Interim Federal Health Program, which provides temporary health insurance to refugee applicants who aren’t eligible for provincial or territorial coverage, will be pared back, starting June 30.

Refugee health cuts protest cuts off Oliver announcement (Chris Hall, CBC)
An announcement by Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver was interrupted Friday by a doctor and a med student protesting the government’s cuts to a refugee health program. Oliver was at the Toronto General Hospital Friday morning to announce federal funding for medical isotopes research. As he started his remarks, Dr. Chris Keefer, a family medicine doctor who works at the Brampton Civic Hospital, interrupted him to take issue with the Harper government’s cuts to the interim federal health program, which pays for supplementary health benefits when refugees first arrive in Canada.

Video: Dr. Chris Keefer interrupts Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver (Straight)
Dr. Chris Keefer accuses Joe Oliver of eliminating treatments for people with diabetes and pregnant women.

Refugee changes pressure religious groups in Canada (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The federal government is bringing in many dramatic changes to laws covering refugees, who account for one-16th of Canadas newcomers. Although many reforms are aimed at discouraging bogus claimants, one change targets a 20-per-cent hike in privately sponsored refugees. This federal move, in effect, puts more onus on the countrys mosques, Asian temples and Jewish synagogues to join Christian churches which have been at the forefront of the countrys refugee programs to do more for those escaping war, ecological devastation and state persecution.

This too will pass ? Spring 2012 refugee legislation and beyond. (Thomas C. Clark)
In his keynote address at the May 2012 meeting of the CARFMS in Toronto, Lorne Waldman reviewed the history of refugee law from the first 1976 legislation. He saw it as a series of ups and downs. He noted that from the beginning those working with refugees had pointed out why the legislation would not work. Each time they were ignored. Each time they were proven correct. The 2012 legislation is no different. The timelines for the legal processes are not viable. The denials of appeal are not legal. This too will pass he said referring to the current legislative proposals. He felt the courts would push back. I see the history more as a general swing away from the universal rights the Supreme Court proclaimed for refugee claimants in the 1985 Singh et al v Canada decision. Some groups of non citizens may benefit from a few ups, but more and more groups of non-citizens and refugee claimants get more downs. Although court action is crucial and can change the scene in the longer term, I am less optimistic than Lorne Waldman about the willingness of the courts to uphold refugee rights in a general Canadian social context which does not value human rights and which regards refugees as a problem. It will take progressive international human rights case law on equal treatment and due process before our courts budge on these underlying issues. And I worry about what governments can do to refugees while the courts get around to responding to a few individuals who eventually get before them. It takes time for international bodies and the national courts to adjust the law. However, I agree with Lorne that we can take hope that, at least eventually, this too will pass- as will this government.

State-of-art Vancouver refugee centre coming amid dramatic changes (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The agony and desperate hopes of the worlds refugees will be in the spotlight this week in Metro Vancouver. Today, a B.C. non-profit organization will mark World Refugee Day by unveiling plans for a state-of-the-art centre for people escaping war, famine, ecological devastation and persecution. The Immigration Services Society of B.C. which has been hosting refugees for four decades at its cramped facilities at 530 Drake St. will reveal architectural plans for its much bigger Welcome House Centre at 10th Avenue and Victoria Drive.

Manitoba diocese takes federal government to court over refugee health changes (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
The Anglican Diocese and a refugee sponsorship group in Winnipeg are taking the federal government to court over its plan to strip new refugees of medical benefits such as prescription medicine and prosthetics. Churches dont often take governments, or anyone else for that matter, to court, Bishop Donald Phillips with the Diocese of Ruperts Land told the Winnipeg Free Press. What prompted the legal action was Citizenship and Immigration Canadas decision to no longer provide supplemental health care to refugees during their first year in Canada, starting June 30.


Statistics Canada cuts long data short: another longitudinal survey is cancelled (Miles Corak)
The Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics died this morning. The notice was given quietly by Statistics Canada: This is the last release of longitudinal data from the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics. Effective with next years release of 2011 data, only cross-sectional estimates will be available. A short, simple, and slightly obtuse, statement of a profound change for the user community and Canadians in general.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Ontario Budget 2012 Committee Hearings (June 6 to 12, 2012 – Toronto) : Transcripts
2. Social Assistance Recipients in Ontario – (analysis by John Stapleton) – June 19
3. Parliamentarians Want Action on Poverty (Huffington Post Canada) – June 22
4. Loss of emergency housing benefit will increase homelessness in Ontario, activists say (Toronto Star) – June 22
5. SPAR (Social Policy Analysis & Research) Monitor bulletin #83 (City of Toronto Social Policy Analysis & Research) – June 22
6. Harper Government takes further action to strengthen Canada’s housing market (Finance Canada) – June 21
7. National Aboriginal Day : June 21 – Share in the Celebration!
8. [British Columbia] June 2012 E-Newsletter ( BC Poverty Reduction Coalition)
9. Poverty Progress Profiles (Canada Without Poverty) – May 2012
10. From Citizens for Public Justice:
— Proposed Employment Insurance reforms miss the mark – June 19
— Income Security System Failing Working Age Adults – May 16
11. Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity Act PASSED by the House of Commons (Finance Canada) – June 18
12. R.I.P. StatCan Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (Miles Corak and Andrew Jackson) – June 18
13. [Ontario] Social Assistance Update – June 2012 (Your Legal Rights) – June 13
14. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics
— Consumer Price Index, May 2012 – June 22
— Study: The evolution of wealth over the life cycle, 1977 to 2005 – June 22
— Employment Insurance, April 2012 – June 21
— Study: Economic downturn and educational attainment, 2008 to 2011 – June 21
— Canada’s population estimates, first quarter 2012 – June 21
— Job vacancies, three-month average ending in March 2012 – June 20
— Study: Impact of widowhood and divorce on income replacement among seniors, 1983 to 2007 – June 20
— Health Reports, June 2012 – June 20
— Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011 – June 19
— Income of Canadians, 2010 – June 18
— Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) – 2010 Survey Overview + Electronic Data Dictionary – June 18
15. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Poor plan for poverty reduction (Sid Frankel, Winnipeg Free Press)
The first three years of Manitoba’s All Aboard poverty-reduction strategy ended in May 2012. Statistics Canada this week released data that demonstrate its failings. In May 2009, then-finance minister Greg Selinger and then-family services minister Gord Mackintosh announced the three-year poverty-reduction strategy with great fanfare. While the government claimed to make $212 million in new investments, Selinger claimed “Everything we do as a government, from budgeting to social policy decisions, is weighed for its ability to reduce poverty and increase the inclusion of low-income Manitobans in all aspects of community life.” The Doer and Selinger governments have refused to set targets for poverty reduction and have not even declared what measures they will use to evaluate it. Statistics Canada, however, this week released Incomes in Canada 2010, which contains the data needed to evaluate the first 19 months of All Aboard.


Canadian gov’t urged to recognize academic credentials of Pinoy workers (Pia Lee-brago,
The Philippines has urged the Canadian government to recognize academic credentials earned in the country to allow increased employment of Filipinos in Canada. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario recently conveyed this message to Canadas Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, MP Jason Kenney, during their meeting at Canadas Parliament Hill. Canada is facing a looming shortage in its labor force. A million jobs could be unfilled across Canada in sectors such as mining, oil, and health care by 2021. Degrees earned in some foreign countries, including the Philippines, are downgraded when assessed in Canada, due to differences in curricula and required number of years.

Communities across Ontario calling for decent work (Workers’ Action Centre)
Workers need good jobs and basic protection at work to address growing poverty said participants at a poverty symposium organized by the Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumphries this week. Participants talked about how plant closures are leading to growing numbers of unemployed workers in their communities. Part-time and precarious work is growing and is pushing workers into poverty. Local community members, politicians and community agencies want to find strategies to build good jobs. WAC Coordinator, Deena Ladd, spoke about building the Stop Wage Theft campaign across the province as a critical step to address the deteriorating working conditions many communities are facing.

Immigration Scam Promised Nepalese High-Paying Jobs In Albertas Oilpatch (The Link)
A Canadian man from Nepal says more than 100 people from the Asian country have been financially ruined in a scheme that promised them high-paying jobs in the Alberta oilpatch. Bradley Jacobson and Kendall Schmidt have appeared in a Winnipeg court charged with various offences under the Criminal Code and Refugee Protection Act. Jacobson was a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council. Yadu Pandey is a Nepalese-Canadian trying to help people back home look for temporary work in Canada. He says the fraud has ruined 111 people in Nepal who paid $1,300 for jobs in the Alberta oilsands.


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Pride, Neighbourhoods, Development, Downsview Park, Bicycles, Transit and Other News.


Video: Social Impact Bonds – Cutting a Long Story Short (Nabeel Ahmed, SocialFinance)
This last week, the New York Times published a feature on social impact bonds by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tina Rosenberg in the Fixes blog. Social Finance UK, who have helped propagate the approach around the world and developed the first pilot, hosted a conference this week in Bristol, where ‘over 300 delegates explored what social investment could do for their communities’. And on, just yesterday, Becky Slater published an excellent post looking at the concept of pay-for-success financing that underlies the social impact bond model. Often, however, there is still a great deal of confusion about what social impact bonds are. One could view many videos of the concept being explained, or flip through the Frequently Asked Questions that we’ve compiled. Or you could also check out this great little video produced by McKinsey & Company (thanks to Joyce for sharing this).

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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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