Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 11, 2012


Canada, U.S. joining forces on refugees, immigration data sharing: documents (Jim Bronskill, Vancouver Sun)
Canada and the United States plan to join forces in order to better deal with “irregular flows” of refugees that turn up in North America or migrate within the continent, newly declassified documents show. By 2014, the two countries will also begin routinely sharing biometric information about travellers, such as fingerprints. And Canada is laying the groundwork for legislative and regulatory changes that will require all travellers — including Canadian and U.S. citizens — to present a secure document such as a passport or enhanced driver’s licence when entering Canada.

An immigrant’s story (Christine Van Reeuwyk, Saanich News)
One Saanich woman is telling the tale of her parents, forced to live apart for 25 years because of Canada’s immigration laws. “It needs to be told, it’s not frivolous, but I’ve also injected some human stories, that project the humanity,” said May Wong. “I didn’t intend it to be a book that condemns, but a book that shows what it was like for people, individuals.” A Cowherd in Paradise is the moving tale of her parents – father Wong Guey Dang (1902-1983) and mother Jiang Tew Thloo (1911-2002). It tells the intimate family tale of her parents’ challenging marriage, years of separation because of Canada’s immigration laws and the ultimate Canadian reunion.

Jason Kenney petition thanking Jason Kenney raises eyebrows on Twitter (James Wood, National Post)
Kenney’s spokeswoman, Alexis Pavlich, said in an email statement the petition had been online for weeks and had been signed by “thousands of Canadians.” She said the petition was “to support the government in its efforts to make sure that bogus asylum claimants are not receiving better health care than Canadian seniors.” Kenney has been at the centre of controversy and protest over the cuts to the health program, which provides temporary health benefits to refugees until they qualify for provincial and territorial coverage.

‘Don’t interfere’: Ottawa warns Iranian embassy over alleged recruitment of expats in Canada (Kathryn Blaze Carlson, National Post)
Canada’s Foreign Affairs department issued a warning Tuesday to Iranian diplomats who are allegedly using their Ottawa embassy to recruit Iranian-Canadians to serve the Islamic Republic’s interests. “Iranian-Canadians have rejected the oppressive Iranian regime and have chosen to come to Canada to build better lives,” a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said in a statement to the National Post. “The Iranian Embassy should not interfere in their choices. Canadian security organizations will act to prevent threats and intimidation of Canadians.”

Immigration sets justice against humanity (Elizabeth James, NS News)
As spurious as the minister’s correspondence may be, and though I remain unconvinced that C-43 is a wise plan, he does have one thing right: Our immigration system is overdue for substantive change. As with other incendiary social topics – abortion rights and assisted suicide being two – any mention of curtailing the right to land and remain on Canadian soil is guaranteed to raise strident voices on all sides of the discussion. And rightly so: The problem is a complex one with no easy answers. Ever since Canada introduced the first Immigration Act in 1869 – to deal “primarily with preventing diseases from entering Canada and ensuring the safety of passengers on board immigrant ships” – our country has struggled to find the right balance between humanitarian concerns and its national interests.

Prepare for Canada
Destination Canada Information Inc.’s “Prepare for Canada” program helps prospective immigrants to prepare for success in Canada by delivering quality seminars and information focusing on job preparedness and settlement first steps, operating overseas and in-Canada through online and in-person activities.


Doctors protest refugee health care cuts at Pan Am Games announcement (Don Peat, Toronto Sun)
A group of angry doctors are writing their own prescription for protest. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care injected themselves into Tuesday’s Pan Am Games announcement in Nathan Phillips Square to protest federal cuts to refugee health care. Wearing white lab coats, several doctors approached the stage and heckled federal Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal as he stepped up to the podium.

Young girl could have died under new health benefits for refugees: doctor says (Inside Toronto)
A four-and-a-half-year-old girl living in Parkdale and seeking asylum from persecution in her country of origin, brings to light the deadly affects changes to the federal interim health care benefits, says downtown west end Dr. Anna Banerji. Banerji is a specialist in children’s infectious diseases and works with refugees at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s hospitals. Recently, she and her colleagues treated the young girl who arrived at the emergency room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the downtown west end. The girl almost died of meningitis, but Banerji said they were able to diagnose and treat the child.–young-girl-could-have-died-under-new-health-benefits-for-refugees-doctor-says

Detaining refugees can cause harm (Chronicle Herald)
Doctors are sounding more alarms about changes to Canada’s refugee system. An opinion piece in the Canadian Medical Association Journal says a new law could pose a serious danger to the mental health of refugees. Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, includes provisions that allow the immediate detention of refugee claimants designated as part of irregular arrivals.


Immigration officer shoots down residency claimant for failing to prove he’s gay (Douglas Quan,
He provided a letter from a Toronto community centre attesting to his participation in a “Coming Out Being Out” meeting, as well as a letter from a man who said the two were in a relationship. Still, a senior immigration officer determined that Francis Ojo Ogunrinde — who is seeking residency in Canada on the grounds that he’ll be persecuted in his native Nigeria for his sexual orientation — failed to provide sufficient evidence that he is gay. But now a federal judge has found that the officer erred by failing to consider the “complete picture before her,” and ordered that Ogunrinde’s claim get a second look in a case that raises questions about the extent to which immigration officers should be probing the bedroom activities of claimants.

Sharing the honour (Chronicle Journal)
Every refugee is unique and every refugee’s story is different. But what all refugees share is a need for someone who will listen to their story and offer a hand of support. Elizabeth McWeeny of Thunder Bay has heard many refugee stories and has devoted her life to helping those seeking protection in Canada. As a result of her work advocating human rights for refugees, McWeeny has been named to the Order of Canada. The former president of the Canadian Council for Refugees and the past co-ordinator for the Refugee Sponsorship Program of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Thunder Bay, McWeeny has built upon a family tradition of helping refugees, her father having advocated on behalf of refugees as well. “It’s certainly shaped my life deeply,” McWeeny said in an interview with The Chronicle-Journal.

Will Alabama follow Canada’s immigration lead? They have already (Video) (Paul Hamaker,
The Canadian government’s proposed Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, may be Alabama’s next move in the continuing game of immigration politics. Bill C-31, which targets refugee claimants, children under age 16 will be separated from their parents or held informally in a detention center with their mothers. Family reunification for recognized refugees will be delayed until five years and detention reviews will not occur for six months after the initial two-week review. In Canada over the past five years, more than 650 children have been imprisoned under current immigration laws.


7-year study examines inequality in Canada’s major cities (Yonge Street)
Thanks to a $2.5-million grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), a group of Canadian researchers will dedicate the next seven years to studying income inequality and social polarization in the country’s major cities.
The principal investigator of the project, University of Toronto professor David Hulchanski, garnered national media in 2007 after publishing a report which used 30 years of census tract data to build a detailed picture of neighbourhood change in Toronto. That report, The Three Cities Within Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto Neighbourhoods, 1970-2000, revealed an increasingly stark divide between Toronto’s wealthiest and most impoverished neighbourhoods.

Tackling the income gap in Canadian cities (Toronto Star)
What’s common for all three cities, however, is that the middle class is shrinking, notes University of Toronto researcher David Hulchanski, whose ground-breaking The Three Cities Within Toronto report in 2007 was the first to map Statistics Canada Census income data over time by neighbourhood. The new Montreal and Vancouver research, presented at U of T last week and not yet published, is part of a seven-year study of neighbourhood inequality in six Canadian cities that Hulchanski hopes will help explain why this is happening and what measures can halt or at least ease the 35-year-trend. Calgary, Winnipeg, Halifax and the Greater Toronto Area are the other Canadian cities that will be examined in the study.–tackling-the-income-gap-in-canadian-cities

The Death of Evidence or 2 + 2 = 5 (Behind the Numbers)
They filed down busy Wellington Street to Parliament Hill in the noon sunshine. More than a thousand people, many carrying signs and wearing white lab coats, escorted a black coffin and the Grim Reaper to mark the Death of Evidence. This was not your average Ottawa demonstration. Organized by scientists and groups like the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the rally was attended by researchers, graduate students, doctors, lawyers and many people who wanted to speak out against the “new Iron Curtain being drawn between science and society.”

Conservative Tim Hudak pushes plan for poverty, not prosperity (Toronto Star)
It’s official. Reduced public services and cheap labour are the cornerstones of Ontario Conservatives’ latest economic scheme, as outlined in their recent white paper on “flexible labour markets.” For Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, “prosperity” means turning Ontario into a low-wage, regulation-free haven where corporations rake in profit at the expense of Ontario workers, communities and the environment. Gone, scoffs Hudak, are the days when an ordinary person could imagine a lifetime of work, with a modicum of job security, that paid enough to enjoy a few niceties in life, perhaps even the occasional vacation.–conservative-tim-hudak-pushes-plan-for-poverty-not-prosperity

What the New EI Rules Mean (Mowat)
The federal government is making changes to the Employment Insurance system. This policy brief explains what they mean. This report takes stock of the recent changes to EI and provides in-depth analysis of what they mean for Canadians. Our conclusion is that the package of reforms does very little to address the structural problems with the system. Despite the fact that the reforms have raised concerns in Atlantic Canada, rural Canada, and seasonal industries, the reforms are likely to have a disproportionately negative impact on young, urban, and immigrant workers and businesses in Ontario and the Western provinces.

Video: The New Employment Insurance Rules (CPAC)
On June 20, 2012 the School of Public Policy & Governance at the University of Toronto hosted a panel discussion on the recent changes made to the Employment Insurance program. Panelists Arthur Sweetman (McMaster University), Catherine Swift (Canadian Federation of Independent Business), and Armine Yalnizyan (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ) discussed the next steps for EI reform.

EI changes to hit new workers in big cities hardest, study says (Metro News)
People new to the workforce living in cities like Toronto and Vancouver are most likely to have to take a job they don’t want under changes to the country’s employment insurance program, a report released Tuesday says. A policy brief by the University of Toronto’s Mowat Centre says it’s “misleading” that much of the public debate around EI reform has focused on the negative impact the changes could have in rural and Atlantic Canada, where many industries rely on seasonal workers. There aren’t enough jobs in rural Canada for many people to be forced to take a job they don’t like under the new rules, the brief says.


NEW WAC Factsheet: “Court or the Ministry of Labour” (Workers’ Action Centre)
WAC’s latest factsheet in the Know Your Rights series – Court or the Ministry of Labour – provides a basic overview of these options, the pros and cons for workers to consider, and contact information to learn more. This factsheet will soon be available in Tamil, Spanish and Simplified Chinese.

Aging workforce an economic tsunami-in-waiting (Glen Hodgson, Vancouver Sun)
What policy options are available for adapting the labour force to aging demographics? There are essentially three. Immigration policy can be re-energized, both by raising the annual level of immigration and refocusing on the needs of the economy and of employers — as we proposed in our briefing Canada’s Future Labour Market: Immigrants to the Rescue? in the July 2010 edition of Policy Options. Those changes have begun, but an immigration strategy that is even more activist will be needed, ideally with the federal government, the provinces, employers and professional associations (which evaluate credentials) working together in an integrated way.

Call to Nominate Outstanding IENs for the CARE Centre Joan Lesmond Award (CARE)
Nominations are now open until August 17, 2012 for the annual CARE Centre Joan Lesmond IEN of the Year Award. The award was established in 2011, CARE Centre’s 10th anniversary year, to honour the late Dr. Joan Lesmond, a nursing leader who championed access to the nursing profession, and to celebrate CARE Centre’s member nurses for their success in Canada. Nomination kits and more information is available at


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on OneCity, TTC, Rob Ford, City Hall and Other News.


The School for Social Entrepreneurs – Ontario Launches in Regent Park (Allison Langille,
The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) began in the UK where it was founded in 1997 by Michael Young, a distinguished and passionate serial social entrepreneur. It was established to address inequality and social exclusion by supporting social entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to create sustainable solutions to poverty, social injustice, and environmental stress.
Through the use of action-based programs focused on personal and organizational development, students of SSE learn to establish, scale, and sustain social ventures. “I don’t believe that entrepreneurship can be taught,” said Wilson in his keynote address last Thursday. “Students only apply to the school because they have an existing idea that could create social change.”

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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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