Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 8, 2012


Canada was my bungee jump: Hari Kumar, writer and professional (Bhaswati Ghosh, South Asian Generation Next)
Hari Kumar is the kind of success story every new Canadian aspires to be. But what makes his case truly interesting and even inspirational is the fact that unlike many new immigrants, he didnt come to Canada for a better future. On the contrary, he had everything going for him when he decided to make the move to the country of maple leaves and icy winters. Following a degree in Electrical Engineering from India, his home country, he worked in Iraq and Singapore. Generation Next recently spoke to this successful professional who is also an accomplished writer.

Immigrants will play a vital role (Bill Holdom,
Two Nanaimo Daily News themes this past week – the aging of Nanaimo’s population and the need for immigrants – struck me as two sides of the same demographic coin. To put it bluntly, we need young immigrants to care for the elderly. This point hit home recently when my brothers and I had to decide how our 94-year-old mother should be cared for after a “heart episode” and a stay in hospital. Although the staff stabilized her condition, she was clearly too weak to resume her previous semi-independent lifestyle in her own home. So we were faced with the choices familiar to many families. Public care facility? A long waiting list. Private facility? Very expensive. Take her in to one of our residences? None of us had the skills to provide the care she needed. Mom herself just wanted to go home. So we focused on in-home care.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Canada’s Pioneers for Change (TVO The Agenda)
They are five pioneers. Five individuals who came to Canada and have changed it for the better. The Agenda examines the immigrant experiences of survival, belonging, adaptation, acceptance and connectedness.

Komagata Maru: A need for closure (South Asian Generation Next)
Quite understandably, the incident remains a sensitive issue for the South Asian community in Canada. There have been demands of a formal apology from the Government of Canada, and two motions for the sameone in 2007 and the other on May 18 this year, the NDP introduced motions, calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to deliver an apology over the incident in the House of Commons. Both times, nothing came out of the motions, and the government hasnt issued a formal apology. This has hurt the sentiments of a lot of South Asians, who feel the government hasnt done justice to the community, even though it delivered a formal apology to Chinese-Canadians over the head tax issue.

Justice and an apology continues to sail away from KomagataMaru (Rupinder Kaur, South Asian Generation Next)
The story of the KomagataMaru is not new in fact, on May 23, 2012, marked the 98th anniversary. Growing up in a small Canadian city, my parents did everything they could to keep my siblings and I connected to our language, faith, culture and history. And bedtime was a chance to hear stories. Sometimes the stories had a happy ending sometimes they didnt.

How much bigger should this country really get? (Herbert Grubel, National Post)
Importantly, the Globe is either wrong or mute on the economic issues of increased immigration. The suggestion that a larger population would lower the cost of serving a larger set of consumers ignores the fact that economies of scale are less important than in the past because they can be achieved in todays world of free trade and low transportation by serving global consumer markets. The claim that doubling immigration levels would increase total national income fails to take into account that it would also lower living standards as measured by average after tax incomes and that it would make the income distribution less equal and retard the growth of income per capita. The average immigrant who arrived in Canada since 1985 imposes an annual fiscal burden on taxpayers of $6,000, for a total of $25-billion annually when all recent immigrants are taken into account. This is the result of these immigrants having low average incomes and paying correspondingly low taxes while they are entitled to all the benefits offered by Canadas welfare state. There is no chance to find double the current number of immigrants with better or even the same economic prospects as recent immigrants. Therefore, the Globes proposal would substantially increase the fiscal burden on Canadian taxpayers.

Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) Offers Workshops on Fundamentals of Effective Board Development (Settlement AtWork)
Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) is provides capacity-building programs for new and emerging ethno-cultural organizations in Hamilton. These include organizations in the informal sector, such as faith based groups. According to a recent HCCI report, these organizations are key players in the settlement of newcomers yet are often under-resourced to perform this role effectively. This new series, Fundamentals of Effective Board Development is designed to enhance the leadership in governance of grass roots organizations and to strengthen the engagement and involvement of the diverse communities in decision making processes across the city. See the attached image for more information.

United Church one of first to embrace diversity (EMC Arnprior)
The United Church is indeed one of the first to have started talking about and to embrace diversity. “We were one of the first denominations to ordain women and we entered into the conversation of sexuality in the 1970s,” says Wardell. “In 1988, we decided being gay or lesbian was not a barrier to ordination,” he said. The United Church of Canada was active in the campaign that led to legal recognition of same-sex marriages in our country and now allows individual congregations to decide whether or not to perform these marriages. The United Church is providing the venue for Dragon’s Breath, the dramatic performance that will open and close the July 6-7 Diversity Festival.

Iran’s “Fifth Column” Targets Canadian Schoolchildren (Huffington Post)
Since at least the mid-1990s, when alleged Saudi Al Khobar Towers bombing conspirator Hani al-Sayegh reached Canada, it has been clear that Iran’s Hezbollah terror organization is operating here. Hezbollah has conducted targeting reconnaissance in Canada and its operatives have flown its flag in increasingly muscular demonstrations in major Canadian cities. With growing consternation, many Iranian expatriates in Canada have warned about this threat and of Iranian diplomats’ scheming in this country. And these expatriates have expressed related — and increasing — concerns about what they view as Iran’s expanding “Fifth Column” in Canada.

Broken and Obsolete (Fareed Zakaria, Time)
Would you have guessed that Canada and Australia both have a higher percentage of foreign-born citizens than the U.S.? In fact, in this respect, America–which once led the world–increasingly looks like many other Western countries. France, Germany and the U.K. have only slightly fewer foreign-born residents than America (as a percentage of the population). And some of these countries have managed to take in immigrants mostly based on their skills, giving a big boost to their economies. Canadian immigration policy is now centered on recruiting talented immigrants with abilities the country needs. Those individuals can apply for work visas themselves; they don’t even need to have an employer. The Canadian government awards points toward the visa, with extra points for science education, technical skills and work experience. The results of the system are evident in Vancouver, where American high-technology companies like Microsoft have large research laboratories and offices. The people working in these offices are almost all foreign graduates of American universities who could not get work visas in the U.S. They moved a few hours north to Vancouver, where they live in a city much like those on the American West Coast. Except, of course, that they will pay taxes, file patents, make inventions and hire people in Canada.,9171,2116713,00.html

Rotarys Adventures in Citizenship an education on being Canadian (Mike Carson, Journal Pioneer)
The Adventures in Citizenship Program is a program put on by the Rotary Club of Ottawa. Rotary clubs from around the country send one or two members to this national conference. Zach Muttart, a graduating senior from Kinkora Regional High School, recently returned from participating in this program and spoke to Summerside Rotarians about the experience. The purpose of this conference is so young Canadians can figure out what it means to them to be a Canadian citizen, Muttart said. At the same time, we, as Canadians, learn about what makes Canada, Canada. Essentially, how the political system operates, the national treasures that we have and it gives us a real sense of pride being a Canadian citizen. One thing that stands out through the conference is the diversity of the Canadian population.

Welcome, prospective Canadians, to your citizenship test! (Pete McMartin, Vancouver Sun)
Quick, Canada: Who was Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine? Prospective immigrants who took this countrys new citizenship test … have met at least one key criteria for being Canadian: Theyve echoed complaints from native-born citizens that questions requiring them to memorize specific names and dates from Canadas early history seem picky and pointless. Page B3, The Sun, June 6. On behalf of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, let me say, prospective citizens, welcome!

MPs vote to drop some hate-speech sections of Human Rights Act (Jason Fekete,
The federal Conservatives voted late Wednesday to repeal controversial sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act banning hate speech on the Internet, backing a bill they say promotes freedom of expression and would have the courts play a larger role in handling hate-crime cases. In a free vote of 153 to 136, the Tory caucus supported a private member’s bill from Alberta Conservative MP Brian Storseth that would scrap Section 13 of the human rights code, which deals with complaints regarding “the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet.”


Roma activist wins Diamond Jubilee medal (Tobi Cohen,
One of the few voices in Canada railing against a Conservative crackdown on Roma asylum seekers is among 60,000 Canadians to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Recognized for her service to her community, Roma Community Centre executive director Gina Csanyi-Robah couldnt help but take a shot at the government in a statement Thursday.

Cuts to Refugee Health Program Put Children and Youth at Risk (Health Care Global)
The Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) is advocating against proposed changes to the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program, which provides temporary health benefits to refugees and claimants on landing in Canada. “The new restrictions on what services are covered will leave some of Canada’s most vulnerable children and youth without access to primary and preventative health care,” said Dr. Charles Hui, co-author of the CPS position and a paediatric infectious diseases specialist in Ottawa. “We’re imploring the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to revoke the proposed changes.”

Iraqi refugees bound for Canada stuck in Syria (Maureen Brosnahan, CBC)
Reem Hameed desperately scours the internet each day for news about her sister and other Iraqi refugees who have been accepted to come to Canada but who are now trapped by the conflict in Syria. Hameed, who lives in Richmond Hill, Ont., is among hundreds of private sponsors, including church and community groups, who have agreed to support refugees from Iraq. But hundreds of the refugees, including Hameed’s sister, Lula, and her two sons, are now caught in the growing violence in Syria. Hameed says the danger grows every day. Last month, two large explosions damaged her sister’s home. The explosion also hit a bus that Lula’s son normally takes to school.

Deportees remain in church sanctuary (Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier)
The Canada Border Services Agency continues to monitor two men residing in East Side churches after both were ordered deported from Canada in 2009. But the agency has no plans to arrest and remove them from the country. Mikhail Lennikov, a former KGB agent, and Rodney Watson, a U.S. Iraq War veteran, are two of only three people living in a place of worship in Canada to avoid arrest from authorities; the third is Tigist Damte, a failed refugee claimant from Ethiopia residing in Ontario. Lennikov lives at the First Lutheran Church at 41st and Wales and Watson at the First United Church on East Hastings, near Main.

Language Matters (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
A selection of resources related to language use and importance of language when writing about/describing asymlum seeker issues.

Refugees and migrants struggle to obtain health care in Europe (CMAJ)
It seems Canada is not alone in limiting hospital, physician and other medical services provided to refugee claimants. The recent restriction on services to those that are of an urgent or essential nature (, which included a prohibition on the provision of health care to rejected refugee claimants and people from nations on a Designated Countries of Origin list (predominantly European nations which do not normally produce refugees) unless there is a public health threat () is viewed as inhumane by a cadre of Canadian physicians ( But if a new report from Médecins du monde Doctors of the World in Europe is any indication, it also appears to becoming a norm in many developed nations.


Poverty Report (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Armine Yalnizyan. She is Senior Economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and our business commentator on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Latest Media and Policy News: 8 June 2012 (ISAC)
Roundup of local, provincial and national media coverage related to poverty, politics and income security.

For the health of all, Ontario needs to reverse its cuts to housing investments (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)

For the health of all Ontarians, the provincial government needs to maintain critical investments in affordable housing. That is the key message delivered by the Wellesley Institute in our written submission to the Ontario Legislatures Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs during its hearings on the provincial budget. The Wellesley Institutes submission focuses on eroding provincial affordable housing investments, and the inequitable impact of this policy decision on the housing and health of low, moderate and middle-income Ontarians. The Wellesley Institute also added its support to critical revenue measures necessary to ensure a healthy and fair provincial budget, including the decision to freeze further reductions in taxes on profitable corporations and a return to a more equitable and fair tax rate for the highest income residents of Ontario.

Long-form census remains hot topic for Canadian researchers (Rosanna Tamburri, University Affairs)
On the same day that national media were parsing newly released data from the 2011 census, a panel of researchers at this years Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences renewed their call for a return of the mandatory long-form census. Why do we still need a census? Let me count the ways, said Susan McDaniel, Canada Research Chair in Global Population and Life Course and a sociology professor at the University of Lethbridge. Dr. McDaniel called into question the data collected from the 2011 voluntary household survey because of the surveys low response rate.

Building an ideal democracy (Samara)
In recent weeks protests in Quebec and other parts of the country have brought these and similar questions to the fore of public debate. While some argue that analyses of the events have focused too narrowly on Canadians regional and partisan differences, the protests have signaled a broader debate on how we define democracy and our role within it. Last week Samara set out to debate some of these questions with a small group of our volunteers. Instead of pots and pans, we armed seven people from various personal and professional backgrounds, all of whom were previously unknown to each other, with Legoyes, Legoand tasked them with working together to construct a model of their ideal democracy.


Integrating Skilled Immigrants Starts with a Vision and a Group of Champions (hireimmigrants)
When trying to recruit and integrate skilled immigrants into the workplace, the most important first step is to gather a group of champions who are passionate about the issue, says Denyce Diakun, Director of Workforce and Personal Development at Algonquin College, which won a 2012 Employer Excellence Award from Hire Immigrants Ottawa and the Employer Council of Champions. Employers also need to identify the business case for creating a diverse and inclusive environment, connect to local resources and develop a vision of what it means to be inclusive, she says.

Immigrants and the Toronto Food Services and Accomodation Services Sectors (TIEDI)
What role do immigrant workers play in the employment structure of Torontos food services and accommodation services sectors?

Catherine Swift steps down as CFIB president (Globe and Mail)
If Canadians dont want to get their hands dirty, they should open more doors to immigrants who are willing to do the work, says the new president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Theres been a slide in the work ethic and weve got to start emphasizing the importance of work, said Dan Kelly, who is taking over Canadas largest small-business advocacy group from Catherine Swift, who held the job for 17 years. While he plans to continue Ms. Swifts efforts to bend the ears of politicians and bankers about the need to slash red tape and reduce taxes and fees for small and medium-sized businesses, he sees the need to make expansion of the temporary and foreign worker immigration program a high priority for the organization.


Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford, Far Enough Farm, Casinos, Bikes, Transportation, Plastic Bags and Other News.

Video: FCM President Berry Vrbanovic’s Rant
What cities need.

Pride funding safe for 2012 (Derek Flack, BlotTO)
Pride funding is safe for another year. Although Councillor James Pasternak hinted that he’d submit a motion to make festival funding contingent upon the non-participation of activist group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA), council came to a compromise that preserves support of the parade and condemns the use of the term “Israeli Apartheid.” This is the second year in a row that Pride funding has been drawn into question on account QuAIA’s potential participation. Last year, the group ultimately agreed not to participate so as to avoid jeopardizing the parade and affiliated events. This year, however, the group has announced its intentions to march.


Public may be best tool against human trafficking (Thane Burnett, Toronto Sun)
As Canada announces a co-ordinated plan to confront human trafficking, the RCMP says the biggest deterrent against modern slavery may be your own eyes. On Wednesday, the Canadian government — led by Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews — committed $25-million over four years to a national strategy to deal with the thousands of people who are trafficked in criminal labour conditions and sexual enslavement annually in this country. Of the $7.5 million set aside this year, an estimated $5 million will be used for work on the problem overseas and to create a new integrated human trafficking police squad. That’s a good thing and builds on work already started, says the RCMP’s human trafficking national co-ordination centre, a stakeholder that will also share in that $5 million allotment

Ottawa plan to combat human trafficking hits home in booming Alberta (Jason Van Rassel, Calgary Herald)
The federal government’s new plan to combat human trafficking recognizes Alberta’s particular vulnerability to cases involving forced labour, a coalition of local organizations said. Human trafficking is most often seen as targeting women forced into the sex trade, but a Calgary-based researcher said cases in this province have frequently involved adults of both genders coerced into other types of work.

Feds: Trafficking ring busted smuggling kids over U.S.-Canadian border (Levi Pulkkinen, Seattle PI)
Federal investigators have cracked a human trafficking ring thought to have smuggled dozens of illegal immigrants including children traveling alone over the Canadian border. Having indicted 16 suspects in recent months, federal prosecutors in Seattle contend the loosely knit group brought more than 70 people into the United States from India, Pakistan and South Korea. Once inside the country, they were driven or flown to at least six states, including Illinois, Texas, New York and Massachusetts. The operation broken up by an informant and ultimately infiltrated by an undercover federal agent was apparently lucrative for its leaders. A SeaTac hotel owner who moved and housed the smuggling ring’s customers was paid $1,000 a head just for a ride south from the U.S. side of the border.

Customs and Immigration Union Raise Questions for Minister Toews on Announced Anti Human Trafficking Initiative (Marketwire)
The National President of the Customs and Immigration Union which represents front line border services and inland immigration enforcement officers has raised pointed questions for the Minister of Public Safety following yesterday’s announcement of a new initiative to combat human trafficking. “Like all Canadians, the CIU and its members fully support targeted new initiatives to fight the scourge of human trafficking and clearly the Government recognizes that CBSA officers must have a central role in this new campaign. How is it then that this same Minister that announces this new initiative only weeks ago approved a cut in the front line capacity to deliver it?”

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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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