Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 28, 2012


Diversity counts (Mehdi Rizvi, South Asian Generation Next)
Maytree foundation and Civic Action recently released the fifth report in the DiverseCity Counts series. The series features research by Dr. Chris Fredette, an Assistant Professor with the Sprott School of Business in the area of management and strategy. He holds a PhD in Organizational Studies from York University’s Schulich School of Business. These researchers used three surveys of board chairs and executive directors to develop detailed analysis of diversity in the boards of non-profit sector organizations. They say that the focus on governance and leadership diversity is both timely and increasingly instrumental to the success, legitimacy, and viability of non-profit and public organizations. Dr.Fredette says that greater leadership diversity among senior executives and boards of directors can help non-profit organizations meet challenges such as funding and fiscal instability, limited access to highly skilled human capital, and the changing demographics of the communities and constituents that these organizations and agencies have pledged to serve. Of the total 4254 board members in the study, only 15.59 percent are visible minorities. This compares with 40 percent of visible minorities in the GTA’s population. However, 77.9 percent of organizations have at least one visible minority on their boards, suggesting majority of boards are making some some progress on diversifying their leadership.

Survey Says Edmontonians Believe a Diverse City is a Better City (City of Edmonton)
Edmontonians believe their city is a better place to live because of the diversity of people who call Edmonton home, according to a survey commissioned by Racism Free Edmonton a collaborative group of organizations committed to speaking out against racism and engaging the community in discussing the topic. Of those surveyed, 76% believe that diversity makes Edmonton a better place to live, but many feel that certain citizens face discrimination based on their age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability. Racism Free Edmonton will use the data in its work speaking out against discrimination.

Rexdale hub a beacon for area hurt by poverty and crime (Toronto Star)
The reason Filippi is so excited is because the new hub will provide everything from primary health care to employment services, immigrant assistance, legal advice and employment counselling under one roof. It’s the first time all these services have been located in one spot. Until now, Rexdale residents seeking assistance were forced to walk or travel by bus or car to a variety of agencies scattered widely across the area. “I call it a shopping mall for services,” says Lisa Kostakis, program director at Albion Neighbourhood Services, the lead agency at the Rexdale hub, which opened its doors several weeks ago. If successful, the Rexdale hub could serve as a model for similar projects in struggling neighbourhoods in communities across Ontario.–rexdale-hub-a-beacon-for-area-hurt-by-poverty-and-crime

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney besieged by critics during BC visit (David P. Ball, The Tyee)
By the time Jason Kenney began his speech yesterday morning in Surrey, the Citizenship and Immigration minister had been confronted at least four times during his short B.C. visit — lambasted by critics he retorted were “extremists” and “anarchists.” At a private fundraiser at the swanky Joe Fortes restaurant Monday, activists ambushed Kenney as he arrived, unguarded, on foot. Visibly flustered, Kenney fled into an alley until his bodyguards arrived to escort him through the kitchen entrance. Inside, The Tyee observed as a second group — seated at a table upstairs — launched a salvo of heckling about the impacts of recent cuts to refugee medical coverage before being ejected.

Immigrant and refugee activists to protest Kenney in Vancouver (Canadian Immigrant)
Immigrant and refugee rights activists with No One Is Illegal and the Latin American Coalition for the Rights of Migrants are protesting Minister Jason Kenney at his breakfast event with the Surrey Board of Trade. This protest is in response to the Minister’s recent changes in immigration and refugee policy.

Celebrating diversity through dialogue and culture: Raheel Raza (Bhaswati Ghosh, South Asian Generation Next)
It is impossible to define Raheel Raza as anything particular. She is an author, a journalist, a public speaker, a filmmaker, a diversity consultant and an interfaith advocate. For the more than the two decades she has been living in Canada, she has been a champion of peaceful coexistence among the diverse communities of this country. In a presentation to Members of Parliament and international diplomats at the House of Commons, Raza received a standing ovation for her speech called “Celebrating our Differences”. Generation Next recently spoke to this versatile creative activist.

Komal Rizvi’s success story (Azfar Amin, South Asian Generation Next)
Where it takes years to make a place in Canada Komal Rizvi did it in just 8 months. We have seen her paintings exhibited at the Burr House Crafts Gallery fromApril 27-May28th 2012 and we have evenread her interviews in different news papers,let’s find out more about her.

Feds putting freeze on skilled worker, immigrant investor programs (Tobi Cohen, The Province)
The government is expected to issue a moratorium on new immigration applications under the popular Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Immigrant Investor Program, Postmedia News has learned. Both programs were set to reopen to new applicants on July 1, but efforts are underway to revamp the programs by the end of the year. The government doesn’t want to process new applications until it’s dealt with the existing backlogs and put in place a “just-in-time” economic immigration system, probably by January.

Why I Love Canada: An Immigrant’s Perspective (Samuel Getachew, Huffington Post)
Canada Day is a time to celebrate a great Canadian citizenship. For immigrants such as myself, it gives us a rare chance to celebrate great milestones. For instance, Jemy Joseph has only been in Canada just over a decade but she has achieved more than her share. Currently a medical student at the University of Ottawa and an MSc student at the University of Toronto, Joseph is on an ambitious mission for herself and her adopted country. She is passionate about many things including her medical school career as well as the issue of bullying.

Religious tolerance not an option in Canada (South Asian Generation Next)
Not too long ago came the news that a Muslim Sunday school in the GTA was propagating anti-Jewish messages through its website. Jewish groups expressed shock and reservations over the curriculum on the Madrassah’s website that called ancient Jews “treacherous” and “crafty” and accused them of “conspiring to kill the Prophet Muhammad.”Following this, the Toronto Public Board barred the school from using a Scarborough school for holding weekend classes until investigations were wrapped up. The Madrassah or school under scrutiny wasted no time in issuing an apology. In a press release, the school wished to, “unreservedly apologize to the Jewish community for the unintentional offence that the item has caused.”

Few visible minorities among Canadian judges, study finds (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Visible minorities are grossly underrepresented in Canada’s judiciary, especially among federal court judges, apparently a result of a “less transparent” appointment process, says a new study. People of colour made up only 2.3 per cent of the 221 federal judges sampled in the study by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, which focuses on research and strategies on diversity in the workplace. By comparison, the demographic group represented 10.9 per cent of a sample of 138 provincial judges in Ontario, where 15 per cent of practising lawyers are visible minorities.–few-visible-minorities-among-canadian-judges

Removing non-Canadian criminals fair policy (R. Reis Pagtakhan, Winnipeg Free Press)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has introduced a proposed new law that will make it easier for the government to remove certain non-Canadian criminals from Canada. While some of the other parts in this proposed law may need to be changed, the part that eliminates the ability of certain convicted criminals to appeal their removal from Canada is fair. Under the current law, a Canadian permanent resident who is convicted of a crime and is sentenced to less than two years of prison can appeal an order removing him or her from Canada. This appeal is made to the Immigration Appeal Division where the convicted criminal can argue why he or she should be given a second chance to remain in Canada.

Get rid of foreign crooks (Times Colonist)
In the category of “why didn’t anyone think of this before,” comes new legislation introduced last week to quickly deport foreigners who commit crimes. Duh. Under the proposed law, foreign citizens sentenced to six months or more will have their access to the Immigration and Refugee Board’s appeal division curtailed. Currently, anyone who is not a Canadian citizen and is sentenced to less than two years in prison can appeal the automatic deportation order that comes with a jail term. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says many courts have sentenced foreign criminals to two years less a day explicitly to allow them access to multiple appeals, effectively delaying their deportation from Canada.

Pace of change in consumer trends is staggering, conference told (Hamilton Spectator)
“If you’re trying to sell yesterday’s products to yesterday’s consumers in yesterday’s ways, you’re going to fail,” he said. “Everything is changing and the pace of that change is accelerating every day.” Graham, keynote speaker at the university’s Innovation Showcase, said the need for changes in a basic business such as selling food is being driven by many social factors: by 2030 a full 25 per cent of Canada’s population will be over age 65; 67 per cent of the country’s population growth now is because of immigration; by 2030 a full 30 per cent of the population will be visible minorities; 63 per cent of Canadian households now hold only one or two people rather than the families of earlier generations. Those social trends have translated into a consumer demand for ready-to-eat food that, at the same time, has to be healthier than the TV dinners of the past and still be affordable in an age when income growth lags well behind the rise in prices.–pace-of-change-in-consumer-trends-is-staggering-conference-told

Video: Belinda Stronach on the most Canadian trait (Globe and Mail)
For Canada Day, The Globe asked notable Canadians to share what makes them proud to be Canadian. Belinda Stronach, President and CEO of The Stronach Group, explains how embracing diversity makes Canada special.


Toronto rabbis urge PM not to cut refugees’ health care (Canadian Jewish News)
The Toronto Board of Rabbis has sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper imploring him to stop modifications to the country’s refugee health-care benefits in order to save lives. Changes to the Interim Federal Health Program, scheduled to take effect on June 30, mean the government would no longer provide supplemental health care to certain refugees during the year after they arrive in Canada, the board said.

Study to target refugee health cuts (Chronicle Herald)
Health-care providers across the country are starting a research project to monitor what they say will be the adverse effects of federal government cuts to health-care benefits for refugees. As of this weekend, the government will no longer cover the cost of extended benefits such as medication and vision care for refugee claimants. And for some claimants, the only access to health care they’ll have at all is if they pose a danger to public health.

Doctors vow to track impact of refugee health cuts (Tom Parry, CBC)
Doctors who work with refugees say they’ll track how federal cuts to health care are harming or even killing their patients, people they describe as among the weakest in Canadian society. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care says it will monitor and publicly report on the consequences of the cuts that go into effect on June 30 under the government’s Interim Federal Health Program.

Feds face court action over refugee health benefit trim (Jessica Murphy, Peterborough Examiner)
Two Winnipeg-based refugee sponsor groups are going to court in a bid to short-circuit the federal government’s plans to trim refugee health benefits. The Anglican diocese of Rupert’s Land and Hospitality House Refugee Ministry are accusing the feds of breaching an agreement to cover the supplemental health coverage of the refugees they privately sponsor. Private sponsors sign contracts with Ottawa agreeing to fund housing, clothing and food for refugees – but until now, taxpayers ate the costs of the extra health benefits through a special federal plan that included coverage like eye and dental care and discretionary medication. But now the costs that go above basic health care will be downloaded onto the private sponsors.

Students send 59 cents to Harper, ask others to do same for refugee health (Winnipeg Free Press)
A group of university students in Winnipeg is sending 59 cents to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and wants other Canadians to do likewise. The students at the Canadian School of Peacebuilding at the Canadian Mennonite University say that’s all it would cost every Canadian a year to restore health-care benefits to refugees. Starting Saturday, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will stop paying for supplemental health benefits for refugees during their first year here. The cuts prompted health-care professionals to rally across Canada, including in Winnipeg at The Forks on June 18.

Doctors make last appeal against refugee health benefit cuts (Jessica Murphy, Toronto Sun)
Activist doctors raised the spectre of people dying in the streets in a last-ditch attempt to get the federal government to reverse a planned rollback of refugee health benefits. “People will die because of limited access to medical care,” Ottawa-based Dr. Mark Tyndall said Wednesday during a news conference on Parliament Hill.

Cutting refugee health-care coverage sparks local concerns (Ian Martens, Lethbridge Herald)
Planned cuts for health coverage could put refugees’ lives at risk in Lethbridge. That’s the warning from immigrant and refugee workers here, but the nation’s minister of immigration is not heeding it. After living in refugee camps for 20 years or more, Lethbridge settlement officers point out, many refugees arrive with physical or mental health issues. Sarah Amies says if some are cut off their medications for diabetes, severe asthma or heart conditions, the results could be fatal.

A pediatrician speaks out: Refugee health cuts put children’s lives at risk (Samir Shaheen-hussain, rabble)
As a pediatrician, I’ve been asked to speak about the specific impacts the cuts to the IFHP will have on children and on public health. What we’ve already learnt about the proposed cuts to the IFHP apply equally to children as they do to adults. So, what does this mean, tangibly, for children and their families? Let me give a few examples. If a young child from Haiti is diagnosed with sickle cell disease, she won’t have health care coverage for her medical appointments. Meanwhile, her daily medications – including daily antibiotics that are imperative to prevent severe and life-threatening infections that kids with sickle cell disease are at risk for – will not be covered. Why? Medical appointments won’t be covered because this child is a “failed refugee claimant” who can’t be deported back to Haiti because of a moratorium on deportations to Haiti due to the conditions there. Medications won’t be covered because sickle cell disease is not deemed to be a communicable disease.


Poverty protesters angered by shelter closure (Don Peat, Toronto Sun)
Poverty protesters and union leaders blasted left-leaning councillors Tuesday during a debate over the fate of the slated-to-be-closed Schoolhouse Shelter. In the end, the community development and recreation committee decided not to stop the closure of the “wet” shelter. However, councillors voted to ensure “no action be taken to close the shelter” until city officials report in November on a better option to help those battling addiction and homelessness.

Driving Health Equity into Action: Lessons from Europe (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
While high-level commitment to health equity is increasingly widespread and Ontario’s Excellent Care For All Act enshrines equity and population health as key principles of a high quality system, embedding equity into policy and service delivery is a continuing challenge. Luckily a wide range of policy and program planning tools and frameworks are being developed that can help drive equity into practice.


Good Jobs for All Coalition launch new campaign to fight changes to EI and Temporary Foreign Worker program (John Bonnar, rabble)
Listen to interviews with Deena Ladd, Executive Director, Workers Action Centre, Preethy Sivakumar, Coordinator, Good Jobs for All, Justine Lilley, Coordinator, Honeywell/CAW Action Centre and Chris Ramsaroop, Organizer, Justicia for Migrant Workers.

Bridge programs helping skilled immigrants find jobs in their profession (Graham Lanktree, Metro News)
Immigrants with skilled professions who came to Canada used to make due finding a job in their field on their own, but Ontario is making it easier with a new $57 million investment in programs to help them out. “I had my own company back in Iran,” said Abbas Mokabbery, an IT professional who came to Canada in 2008. “You grow your roots little by little, but coming to Canada was like moving that tree from one garden to a different land.” One thing that struck him on arriving, he said, was how different the work environment is. “People are very serious about their work. Some people are not so serious about their work in Iran.” To help himself adjust, Mokabbery enrolled in an Ontario bridge program with the Information and Communications Technology Council where he could get work experience in his field of geomatics gathering and analyzing geographic information.

Encouraging Continuous Improvement (Office of Fairness Commissioner)
The Fairness Commissioner wants to make sure that regulatory bodies continue to improve the way they register people who apply for professional licences in Ontario. To do this, the commissioner and her staff assess the registration (licensing) practices of each one. They note successes and make practical recommendations for change. See the summaries of assessment reports below.


Is TCHC selling the wrong houses? (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
Should Toronto Community Housing be slapping “For Sale” signs in front of the 56 houses that City Council approved for sale last March? They have the power to do so, now that Ontario’s Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing Kathleen Wynne has given her consent. But before they do, I hope they will take a sober second look at the houses on their “for sale” list. TCHC has never made that list public. But just looking at the vacant TCHC homes in my neighbourhood shows that it’s an eclectic bunch.


Social Entrepreneurs (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Marwa El Dardiry. She is one of the first applicants to the School for Social Entrepreneurs, which has its ribbon-cutting this afternoon at Regent Park.

Moving forward on nonprofit labour force issues (Tanara Pickard, Charity Village)
“Cracking the nut from different angles.” Those are the words Michelle Gauthier, vice-president, public policy and community engagement with Imagine Canada, used when asked what actions have taken place as a result of the HR priority area discussions at the National Summit for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector that took place in November 2011. The main goal identified by summit participants as captured in the National Summit Report released February 2012, is to ensure that organizations have access to quality HR information and support for the implementation of effective HR management policies and practices. To this end, Gauthier stated that there are activities moving forward at the national level as well as in regions and communities across Canada, however one was top of mind for many.

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Student graduation rates in @TDSB showing improvement across the board, by @diane_dyson #inclusion #diversity #Toronto Canada Income Inequality: StatsCan...