Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 12, 2012


Immigration marriage fraud crackdown raising concerns about domestic abuse (Tobi Cohen,
A new policy aimed at cracking down on marriage fraud in the immigration system is poised to take effect by early fall, Postmedia News has learned and despite an attempt to alter the plan in the wake of widespread criticism, many concerns persist. The plan to create a two-year conditional permanent resident status for sponsored spouses and partners has faced considerable criticism, particularly over its potential impact on victims of domestic abuse, according to government records obtained by Postmedia News through access to information. The proposal requires couples to “live together” in a “legitimate relationship” for at least two years or risk having the sponsored individual’s permanent residency revoked, which could lead to deportation or even criminal charges.

Curb appeal for the Pier (Chronicle Herald)
Early in the 1900s, immigrants from Ukraine, Poland, Italy, Jamaica and countries around the world were attracted to the jobs at the steel plant and many settled in Whitney Pier. Those immigrants brought with them different foods, cultures and traditions that served to liven up the community. Its probably the only spot in Cape Breton where a surname starting with Mac is not expected. Instead, names like Sophocleous, Tynski and Violande were more the norm. Its a place where people of different backgrounds came together and we all got along people in the Pier always got along with each other, MacLeod said.

Int’l Youth Exchange seeks diverse Host Families (Sept-Dec) (Ottawa Start)
Canada World Youth, is back again this year in Ottawa, running a youth exchange between Kenya and Canada. We are seeking 9 host families to host 2 participants each + 1 family to host 1 Kenyan supervisor Compensation is provided. Details below. Canada World Youth is an internationally celebrated youth organization, funded primarily by CIDA, that runs cutting edge youth exchanges in Canada and abroad. Our mission is to increase the ability of all people, and especially youth, to participate actively in the development of just, harmonious, and sustainable societies.

Iranian-Canadians fume as TD closes accounts (CBC)
Several Iranian-Canadians are crying foul after the TD Bank abruptly closed their accounts with little explanation other than to say it had to comply with federal economic sanctions against Iran. TD began sending letters to some of its clients in May informing them it would no longer be offering them banking services so as to abide with changes made last November to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations, which prohibit banks from providing financial services that benefit Iran or anyone in Iran.

In the Field (OCASI)
Message from the Executive Director
OCASI Member Feature
Accessibility Project Milestone
OCASI Responds!
OCASI’s Positive Spaces Initiative profiled as a CIC Best Practice!
Sector Happenings

OCASI Presentation on Service Coordination (OCASI)
Presentation by Debbie Douglas – OCASI Executive Director, at the North Etobicoke Local Immigration Partnership Summit held on Tuesday June 28, 2011 at the Woodbine Convention Centre in Rexdale (Toronto, ON).

Mounties instructed to avoid ‘inflammatory’ Islamist terms (Daniel Proussalidis, Londong Free Press)
There is new trouble for the RCMP over a manual that tries to wash out terms like “Islamist” and “jihad” from officers’ mouths when they talk about terrorism. “Distorted and inflammatory linkages between Islam and terrorism can serve to convince Muslims — both in the West and in the larger Islamic world — that the West is, in fact, their enemy,” the manual says. That doesn’t impress anti-terror expert David Harris, of Insignis Strategic Research.

Can women change the face of North American mosques? (Daood Hamdani, The American Muslim)
The North American mosque is evolving and redefining its purpose and practices. A recently-released report by a group of mainly Muslim organisations, The American Mosque 2011, provides the first factual glimpse into changes in North American mosques. Initially serving primarily as a place to perform religious rituals, mosques are developing into community building institutions. Mosques have established programs geared towards youth, take part in volunteer and community service activities, and mosque leaders have made strides in interfaith outreach. Despite these developments, mosques still struggle with fully embracing one-half of their own community: women. There is historical precedent for womens full inclusion in mosque life, however. Early Muslim settlers in the United States and Canada were quick to establish roots in their adopted homelands. They found opportunity for a new beginning a privilege and responsibility possible for few generations and set up accepting and inclusive religious institutions.

Minister Kenney issues statement condemning the vandalism at Bramptons Khalsa Community School (CIC)
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement condemning the recent act of vandalism against the Khalsa Community School in Brampton.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cries out for thanks (Heather Mallick, Toronto Star)
Thank you, Jason! Jason, thank you! That sentence works both ways, like a reversible raincoat. Its twice the coat and twice the thanking. Your website provides a petition in which we the undersigned thank you, Jason Kenney, for your efforts to streamline benefits afforded to refugees (sic) claimants. This is unconscionable. Why does this fine man have to thank himself? Isnt that our job and why werent we doing it? If alert Star reporter Joanna Smith had not drawn my attention to this, you, Jason, would have gone underpraised. Oh, people complain about being underpaid, understaffed, underfunded or underendowed. But underthanked? Thats a new one, and not before time.–immigration-minister-jason-kenney-cries-out-for-thanks


Immigration reforms will affect global reputation for compassion: senator (Cape Breton Post)
The Interim Federal Health Program provided temporary health-care coverage to eligible protected persons, refugee claimants and others who do not qualify for provincial or territorial health care plans. However, this all came to an end as of June 30. Reforms announced by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney will end the coverage of the supplemental health-care benefits. The new rules allow medication and immunization to be provided only when there is a risk to public health or safety or if it is of an urgent nature. All others will be denied care. A person with asthma would not receive medication, but in a crisis situation would be treated at the emergency department and then released with no medication, only to have to return to emergency later.

Some refugees will keep health care benefits (The Record)
Government-sponsored refugees will not lose their health care benefits, says a spokesperson for federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. It was never the intention of the federal government to impact the benefits received by government-sponsored refugees who had been living in United Nations camps, Alexis Pavlich wrote in an email. Kenney was not available for an interview. Pavlich said government-sponsored refugees will continue to receive comprehensive health care coverage and they will not lose coverage for drugs they need. The supplemental health care benefits they receive are only two per cent of the overall spending of the Interim Federal Health Program, she added.–some-refugees-will-keep-health-care-benefits


Global smuggling probe delivers heavy blow to snakehead ring (Globe and Mail)
Working with Canadian and Australian officials, Taiwanese authorities say they have dismantled the largest human smuggling operation between Asia, Australia and North America. The ring managed to smuggle more than 100 illegal migrants from China to Canada and Australia on at least 50 occasions, Taiwans National Immigration Agency said in a communiqué released on Wednesday. Each of those 50 successful smuggling trips involved one to four migrants from the Peoples Republic of China, who flew to Australia or Canada from Taiwans Taoyuan International Airport using doctored Taiwanese passports, the NIA said. Since November, 2010, holders of Taiwanese passports no longer need a visa to visit Canada. One factor Immigration Canada cited in 2010 for waiving the visa requirement was the very low number of asylum claims from Taiwan nationals.

Refugee-opoly (Peter Worthington, Toronto Sun)
Talk of a kindly government towards people it wants to be rid of! The federal government has introduced a plan whereby up to $2,000 and a free one-way air ticket will be provided to refugees who volunteer to return to their country of origin. Roughly 15% of about 100,000 refugee applicants are annually rejected, and if select individuals among this 15% agree to be sent back without going through the appeal process, they may get up to $2,000 each and free transportation. Even if this may save the state money, it is still remarkably generous.

Immigration officer shoots down residency claimant for failing to prove hes gay (
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 hell 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 Ogunrindes 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.

Notes detail Canada-U.S. plan to track refugees, travellers (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
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. The initiatives are described in Citizenship and Immigration briefing notes that flesh out the Canada-U.S. security agreement announced late last year.

Special Issue: Technologys Role in the Refugee Experience (Refugee, York University)
The aims of this proposed special edition are to: examine the role of technology in the lives of asylum seekers and refugees, explore how the fields of refugee studies and technology studies intersect in the study of technology use by refugees, present a range of responses to this cross-disciplinary topic from different voices and sectors. The questions to which the edition seeks to respond include: How does technology assist refugees in sustaining connections with their family members and communities? How are technologies used in countries of origin, during forced migration and settlement? What benefits do people enjoy from these technologies and how do they cope with the limitations of those technologies? How are relationships of power surrounding these technologies negotiated? What, if any, virtual communities are created around these technologies?


Canadas economy: eight reasons to curb your enthusiasm from David Olive (David Olive, Toronto Star)
With a boastfulness that seemed unbecoming of a PM under siege from outside critics, Stephen Harper told hundreds of party faithful at his annual Calgary barbecue Saturday that, To succeed, what the rest of the world must become in the future is what Canada is today. Im guessing that was another Tory swipe at outsiders whove been faulting us pretty much across the board of late. In recent weeks, United Nations agencies have called us out for a level of poverty in Canada that is unbecoming of an affluent country; for the continuing disgrace of abysmal aboriginal peoples living conditions; for Ottawas sanguine regard of Canada as a haven for war criminals on the lam; and for a new Quebec law, hastily endorsed by the federal Tories, that restricts protests amid the tuition dispute in that province.–canada-s-economy-eight-reasons-to-curb-your-enthusiasm-from-david-olive


New bridging program for internationally educated engineers announced by UofT (Canadian Immigrant)
The University of Toronto has announced a new program for internationally educated engineers. The bridging program aims to specifically help engineers trained in the Civil, Mechanical and Electrical domains get a foothold in the Canadian job market. The program will also aid candidates in gaining a P.Eng license and will assist suitable candidates by engaging them in a one year part-time program for professional development.

Centre for Employment Excellence (BC Ministry of Social Development)
A new Centre for Employment Excellence is being established to support the employment services sector, including employers and service providers, with the goal of improving employment outcomes for all unemployed job seekers in the province. The Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) and their partner The Training Group at Douglas College have been selected to create the new Centre for Employment Excellence through an open and transparent procurement process.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on OneCity, Transit, Ford, TDSB and Other News.

Exporting attitude: Toronto gets a taste of brotherly love (Yonge Street)
Next week 100 delegates from Philadelphia will arrive in Toronto to steal some of our ideas, looting the brains of our brightest and best. The Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange (GPLEX), a project of the Greater Philadelphia Economy League, is an exploration of Toronto as an international centre and global hotspot. Over three days, delegates, themselves some of Philly’s most high-powered leaders, will tour uniquely Toronto innovation hubs like the MaRS Discovery District, Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, Regent Park and the waterfront, as well as listen to presentation by Toronto movers and shakers.

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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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