Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 23, 2012

IMMIGRATION AND DIVERSITY

The way immigration to Canada is changing (Canadian Immigrant)
Ratna Omidvar, president of Maytree, a private foundation that promotes equity and prosperity through its policy insights, grants and programs, cannot agree more with Panusa. “I do think the unintended outcome of these changes will be a shift back to traditional source countries like Australia, Britain, South Africa and the United States. What does this mean? The scope of multiculturalism will drop,” she says in a concerned tone. Omidvar says the future of Canada’s innovation and economic connection may be affected especially if interest among prospective immigrants from emerging economic superpowers like China, India and Brazil is lost. “Applications for immigration from India and China have dropped, and the Philippines will also drop.” But Kenney refutes this notion. “Asian countries — including India, China and the Philippines — remain Canada’s top source countries,” he notes. “By limiting the intake of new federal skilled worker applications as we have since 2008 [and eliminating the old backlog
completely more recently] … what is not changing is the number of immigrants accepted by Canada every year.”
http://canadianimmigrant.ca/immigrate/new-policies-could-change-the-demographics-of-canada

CBC Toronto Leads the Way in Diversity (CBC)
An aspect of CBC/Radio-Canada’s wide-ranging mandate is to reflect Canada and its regions, as well as its multicultural and multiracial make-up. Given that Toronto is not only the most multicultural city in Canada, but also considered to be one of the most diverse cities in the world, reaching and bringing together such a diverse audience is a complex, sophisticated challenge indeed. A little over 10 years ago, Susan Marjetti, managing director of CBC Toronto, along with her team, saw that diversity challenge as an opportunity to contribute to building a cohesive and inclusive society while raising CBC’s position in the local market.
http://public-value.cbc.radio-canada.ca/story/15/

Videos: Arrivals.ca
Arrivals.ca is the online home of an ongoing series of projects focused on celebrating the stories of new citizens and asking how we can better welcome newcomers. We are working towards a better representation of the voices of newcomers in the Canadian narrative and the value they bring to Canada as whole. Projects will be arts based and take different forms.
http://vimeo.com/user12327386

Understanding ‘Canadian Exceptionalism’ in Immigration and Pluralism Policy – PDF (Irene Bloemraad, Migration Policy Institute)
Canada is far more open to, and optimistic about, immigration than the United States and countries in Europe, despite having a greater proportion of immigrants in its population than other Western countries. A frequently cited reason for this Canadian exceptionalism is Canada’s selection of most immigrants through a points system that admits people based on skills thought to contribute to the economy. Economic selection and a geography that discourages illegal immigration are not the only factors explaining Canada’s unique experience, however. This report, part of a Transatlantic Council on Migration series on national identity, examines Canadian national identity, public opinion, immigration and immigrant integration policy, and multiculturalism.
http://www.migrationpolicy.org/pubs/CanadianExceptionalism.pdf

Liberating Temporariness: Imagining Alternatives to Permanence as a Pathway for Social Inclusion (CERIS)
In December 2010, The workshop ‘Liberating Temporariness: Imagining Alternatives to Permanence as a Pathway for Social Inclusion’ brought together a multidisciplinary group of senior and emerging scholars from North America, Europe, and Canada, to examine the intensifying problem of temporariness in the Global North. Temporariness is being institutionalized, as an acceptable, permanent, condition shaped by national and multilateral measures that secure national borders; legitimize temporary employment; and restrict access to citizenship rights. ‘Permanent temporariness’ affects the terms of inclusion for non-citizens, and, surprisingly, even some national citizens. The most frequently espoused strategy for contending with the effects of being temporary, permanent residence, does not address the growth in temporary status and its increasing institutionalization. The workshop: i) examined the ways in which temporariness is being made permanent through immigration, security, and labour market policies, as well as a restructured welfare state; ii) investigated alternative strategies for contending with the tensions between temporariness and permanence; and iii) articulated an interdisciplinary and collaborative research agenda. The workshop has been disseminated through presentations on the web, online working papers, an edited book, and a research proposal examining multiple dimensions of temporariness. With its web-based and print publications, the past workshop is contributing to timely theoretical, empirical and policy contributions to our understanding of the current global trend to entrench temporariness and redefine permanence.
http://www.ceris.metropolis.net/?p=4686

Ontario Human Rights Review
On August 12, 2011, the Honourable Chris Bentley, Attorney General of Ontario, appointed Andrew Pinto to conduct a review of the Ontario Human Rights system as required under section 57 of the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Review is now preparing its Final Report for submission to the Attorney General of Ontario. The deadline for submissions to the Review is past. The Review has reviewed relevant human rights legislation, rules, policies, reports, studies and Tribunal decisions and met with key decision makers in the Ontario human rights system. Public consultations, a key part of the Review’s mandate, were held and the Review heard back from numerous individuals and organizations through public meetings, stakeholder sessions and written submissions. The Review held public meetings in London (Feb. 14), Ottawa (Feb. 16), Sudbury (Feb. 21), Toronto (Feb. 15 and 24), Windsor (Feb. 13) and Thunder Bay (April 4). Stakeholder sessions were held with groups representing many different perspectives including ethnocultural, labour, educational, legal, business and disability rights organizations. The Review received approximately 60 written submissions from individuals, businesses and organizations commenting on the human rights system.
http://www.ontariohumanrightsreview.org/human-rights

Video: Ontario’s struggling settlement agencies
An interview with OCASI ED Debbie Douglas.
http://www.peoplepowermedia.net/portfolio-post/ontarios-struggling-settlement-agencies/

Allegations of file sabotage by immigration lawyer, consultants (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Immigration officials are monitoring the issuing of visas and work permits to new immigrants following allegations that some files are being “sabotaged” by disgruntled workers at an Alberta processing centre. Workers at a Case Processing Centre in Vegreville, Alta., are being accused of “mishandling” files due to concerns they may be among 1,350 Canada Border Services Agency staffers cut when the axe falls on 5,000 civil service jobs in three years.
http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/22/allegations-of-file-sabotage-by-immigration-lawyer-consultants

Rob Ford wants Ottawa to use immigration laws against gun crimes (Toronto Star)
Mayor Rob Ford says he will ask the prime minister to look at using “immigration laws” to banish people convicted of gun crimes from Toronto. Ford first made the unusual banishment proposal in a CP24 interview on Wednesday afternoon. In that interview, he did not make it clear whether he was seeking legislative reform or merely asking convicts to voluntarily leave town.
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1228864–mayor-rob-ford-wants-ottawa-to-use-immigration-laws-against-convicted-gang-members

Ministers tout tough-on-crime agenda after Toronto shooting (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
And for Ford’s idea to ban gun convicts from living in Toronto, Nicholson told Lunn this is a matter for the courts. “If there are restrictions on a person who is out of jail those would be imposed by the courts,” Nicholson said. In an interview airing on CBC’s Power & Politics on Friday, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said “clearly the recent rash of gun crime in Toronto is connected to criminal gun activity, and we are aware that there have been foreign members, sometimes leading members of criminal gangs in Canada, able to re-commit offences while delaying their deportation.”
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/07/20/pol-jason-kenney-rob-nicholson-gun-crime.html

Jason Kenney responds to Rob Ford’s immigration statements following Scarborough shooting (Megan O’Toole, National Post)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney spoke with Newstalk 1010 Friday to address Mayor Rob Ford’s public musings about using federal legislation to keep anyone convicted of a gun crime out of Toronto. Angered by a series of fatal public shootings, including Monday’s mass shootout at a Scarborough block party, Mr. Ford said: “I don’t want them living in our city.” He also said he had called the Prime Minister’s Office to find out what the city’s options were in this regard. A transcript of Mr. Kenney’s responses to several related questions from Newstalk 1010 is below.
http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/20/jason-kenney-responds-to-rob-fords-immigration-statements-following-scarborough-shooting/

Outrage over Kenney’s tweet after shooting (Joan Bryden, Winnipeg Free Press)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is being blasted for stigmatizing Caribbean-Canadians after he linked recent gun violence in Toronto with “foreign gangsters.” Kenney took to Twitter to say he agrees with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who wants anyone convicted of gun crimes to be expelled from the city permanently. “I agree w/ Mayor Ford: foreign gangsters should be deported w/out delay,” Kenney tweeted late Thursday. “That’s why we’ve introduced Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act.” A spokeswoman for Kenney said the minister was not suggesting foreigners were responsible for Monday night’s shooting spree, the worst in Toronto’s history, in which two young people were killed and 23 wounded at a community barbecue.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/outrage-over-kenneys-tweet-after-shooting-163273246.html

Kenney blasted for linking Toronto gun violence to ‘foreign gangsters’ (City TV)
Kenney’s recently introduced bill would remove the right of foreigners convicted of serious crimes to appeal deportation orders. His tweet touting the bill was in response to Ford saying he wants to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss tougher gun and immigration laws in a bid to keep those convicted of gun crimes out of his city. Ford did not specifically blame the incident on foreigners and in a subsequent radio interview clarified: “I don’t care what country you’re from, I don’t care if you’re a Canadian citizen or not; all I’m saying is if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I want you out of this city.” Kenny noted that Canadian citizens, once released from prison, are entitled to live wherever they want under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Liberal MP John McKay, whose Scarborough riding was rocked by the shooting, said Kenney should have known better than to echo anything said by Ford, whom he accused of fanning “the flames of ignorance and prejudice.” “It’s classic dopey on dopey,” McKay said in an interview.
http://m.citynews.ca/news/216095/index.php

Police shooting thrusts Lethbridge’s Bhutanese community under spotlight (Stephane Massinon, Edmonton Journal)
Their homeland is a tiny, mountainous Buddhist kingdom that is mostly closed off to the world. Their adopted home is the open Canadian Prairies city of Lethbridge and the contrast between the two is startling. Yet despite the hardships, the journey to a new life in Canada is one many people hailing from Bhutan make every year. With 500 people and growing — in fact, 20 new refugees arrived this week — the southern Alberta city is the new home to one of the largest Bhutanese communities in the country.
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/alberta/Police+shooting+thrusts+Lethbridge+Bhutanese+community/6970967/story.html

Afghan interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi wins fight for visa to Canada (Toronto Star)
Battlefield interpreter Sayed Shah Sharifi’s long fight for protection from the insurgents he helped Canadians battle in Kandahar is almost over. Sharifi received a visa Friday and was told by the International Organization for Migration, which acts as a middleman for Canadian immigration in Kandahar, that he has a seat reserved on a flight to Canada later this month. He is waiting for details on his resettlement in Canada. “Hello sir hope every one is doing very well,” Sharifi wrote in a breathless email. It announced the long-awaited breakthrough to several Canadian veterans of the Afghan war, whom Sharifi served with in Kandahar, the Taliban’s power base.
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1229873–afghan-interpreter-sayed-shah-sharifi-wins-fight-for-visa-to-canada

Lack of diversity means our children are missing out (Dee-Ann Schwanke, St Albert Gazette)
Earlier this week I had an engaging conversation with the owner of a local business. He spoke about his previous employment as a tax auditor for the provincial government and the limitations he experienced as a visible minority. For 18 years he watched white people move up in seniority while he remained in his position without recognition or advancement. In 1993, he quietly left, and has since been serving the St. Albert community successfully for 19 years. Canada is recognized as one of the most multicultural countries in the world, yet in our corner of the country, we’re rather pale. The 2006 census showed that Alberta consists of 14 per cent visible minorities. Edmonton is at 17 per cent, with some neighbourhoods nearing 33 per cent. St. Albert, however, is at four per cent. Our isolation becomes apparent every time I visit the store or stroll the farmers’ market. I also see it when attending an event at one of St. Albert’s schools. As youth parade across the stage, the number of visible minorities is shockingly low. We are a remarkably homogeneous group – like a large batch of almond cookies.
http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/20120721/SAG0903/307219978/lack-of-diversity-means-our-children-are-missing-out

From Counting People to Making People Count – Markham, Ontario – September 20 and 21, 2012 (Diversity Intelligence)
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. It will provide an excellent opportunity for senior managers, line managers, human resource staff, and Diversity Officers to receive important training from experts in the field, learn from each other, and learn from organizations that have successfully implemented various diversity initiatives.
http://www.diversityintelligence.ca/conference.html

Corporate Boards Taking Steps To Promote Diversity (Business Review Canada)
Acknowledging the value that comes with a diverse board, a majority (75 percent) of corporate boards in the US are taking a broad range of actions to promote diversity in the boardroom from instituting diversity policies to asking executive recruiters to recommend diverse candidates. The insights were revealed in a survey of corporate directors undertaken by Corporate Board Member magazine and Spencer Stuart, one of the world’s leading executive search consulting firms with a strong commitment toward promoting diversity in the boardroom, having placed more than 550 female directors in the US. It appears that the basis for the directors’ actions is mostly self-driven. Only 11 percent of those surveyed reported having shareholders approach the company within the last three years about increasing race and/or gender diversity on the board.
http://www.businessreviewcanada.ca/press_releases/corporate-boards-taking-steps-to-promote-diversity

The Diversity Business Network creates opportunties for economic empowerment (Diversity Business Network)
At age 16, Courtney Betty decided that to bring positive change to his Toronto neighbourhood of St. Clair West, he would have to present a strong case for unity and collaboration to people from very different walks of life. The lessons that Betty learned as a member of the St. Clair Youth Council have become the pillars on which the successful lawyer has built his reputation as a champion of advancement and diversity. As founder of the Diversity Business Network (DBN), Betty now focuses on developing methods of increasing diversity in the supply chain and creating a framework to build capacity in diversity-owned businesses, allowing them to effectively compete in the global economy. Although as a Black Canadian, Betty does see the economically entrenched challenges that exist for members of Black communities, he believes that it is now time to place a greater importance on economic empowerment.
http://www.diversitybusinessnetwork.com/dcmain.aspx?p=0&i=1463&skin=104&tID=246

Edmonton immigrants wait to become Canadian citizens (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
The lack of a citizenship judge in Edmonton has left hundreds of immigrants in Edmonton waiting to be sworn in as Canadian citizens. Edmonton and Northern Alberta has been without a citizenship judge since January. “I’m stuck in this loop,” said Amir Elnimir, who moved to Edmonton from Egypt eight years ago and has been waiting for two years to become a citizen. “I’m stuck there because they don’t have a judge.” A few citizenship ceremonies are being held in the Edmonton region if and when judges or other officials from elsewhere travel through.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/07/16/edmonton-citizenship-judge.html

Canada’s geographic quirks pose challenges for fasting Muslims (Globe and Mail)
When Amier Suliman first arrived in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in the summer of 1995, he was in for quite the surprise. “I didn’t know the sun was going to be out all the time,” said Mr. Suliman, a businessman and government contractor. “No one had told me this before I got there.” Mr. Suliman learned quickly, of course, that the sun wasn’t going to set for a very long time. And soon after his arrival in the Far North from Toronto, Ramadan began, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time when devout Muslims such as Mr. Suliman abstain from food, drink and other pleasures in daylight hours to commemorate the revelation of the Koran to Mohammed.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadas-geographic-quirks-pose-challenges-for-fasting-muslims/article4432058/

Strippers bounced at border (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
Ottawa has slammed the door shut on all foreign sex trade workers seeking work in Canada. Border services officers have been told to stop processing work permits as of July 14 in which women are destined for employers where “there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation.” “Strip clubs, escort services and massage parlours are considered business sectors where there are reasonable ground to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation,” according to a confidential July 13 bulletin from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) that was obtained by the Toronto Sun.
http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/21/strippers-bounced-at-border

Jacqueline Spence named new principal of Africentric elementary school (Toronto Star)
The Toronto District School Board has named veteran inner-city educator Jacqueline Spence, sister of director of education Chris Spence, as the new principal of its Africentric Alternative Elementary School. Jacqueline Spence will take the reins of a school that was controversial even before it opened three years ago. While enrolment has climbed and test scores are strong, parent discord plagued founding principal Thando Hyman, who left in June for another school, at her own request. The new leader will need “the hide of an elephant and the sensitivity of a tightrope walker to balance all the disparate views about the school,” noted Trustee Howard Kaplan.
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/education/article/1229832–jacqueline-spence-named-new-principal-of-africentric-elementary-school

Video: Students teach newcomers English, computer skills (City TV)
The Youth Empowering Parents program in Regent Park started two years ago and has grown to more than 150 adults and almost 75 high school students as their tutors.
http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/videos/214537

Toronto teacher denied Old Age Security pension needs proof of immigration (Toronto Star)
Elisabeth Horley McLeod has a Canadian passport and citizenship, and annual income tax returns to prove she is Canadian. She has lived and worked in this country for more than 60 years. But the retired Toronto school teacher, who turned 65 last year, was denied her Old Age Security when she applied for the government-funded pension. The reason: She couldn’t produce the landing papers to show the date she arrived from England with her family when she was four.
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1229211–toronto-teacher-denied-old-age-security-pension-needs-proof-of-immigration

BMO: “Halifax has growth in its sails” (SmartCity blog)
Population growth has slowed but continues to be above national averages. Buoyed by international immigration, Nova Scotia continues to add to its population, although outflows to Alberta and other provinces present a cause for concern, particularly if those outflows are in skilled labour. This brings us to the “what does this mean to me?” portion of this piece. First, BMO is urging Halifax businesses to get their share of capital available in the market to make the investments in people and equipment necessary to maximize growth. Furthermore, government programs are available to provide assistance in developing your workforce or for making capital investments.
http://smartcityblog.greaterhalifax.com/smartcity/2012/07/bmo-halifax-has-growth-in-its-sails.html

On new shores immigrant children conference, 2012 (immigrantchildren.ca)
The program for the 2012 On New Shores: Understanding Immigrant Children and Youth (ONS) conference is now available. The theme this year is Social Support and Capital: Happiness in Immigrant Families.
http://immigrantchildren.ca/2012/07/23/on-new-shores-immigrant-children-conference-2012/

REFUGEES

B.C. lawyer challenges refugee act (Katie Derosa, Times Colonist)
A Vancouver criminal lawyer representing one of the men accused of smuggling Tamil migrants aboard the Ocean Lady in 2009 plans to argue the charges are unconstitutional. Peter Edelmann said Section 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which criminalizes organizing, aiding or abetting undocumented persons to get into Canada, is so broad and vague it can apply to most legitimate refugees. “If you organize people arriving without proper documents, then you’re guilty under [Section] 117. So it would include any refugee family that arrives,” Edelmann said.
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/lawyer+challenges+refugee/6969634/story.html

B.C. lawyer to launch constitutional challenge against Tamil smuggling charges (Globe and Mail)
A lawyer representing one of the men accused of smuggling Tamil migrants into Canada says he plans to argue the charges his client faces are unconstitutional. Peter Edelmann says Section 117 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is so broad and vague it can apply to most legitimate refugees, including mothers. The section criminalizes organizing, aiding or abetting undocumented persons to get into Canada. The charges stem from 2009 when Canadian authorities intercepted a boatload of Tamil Migrants.
http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-lawyer-to-launch-constitutional-challenge-against-tamil-smuggling-charges/article4433411/

Refugee claimant cuts cost system (Hamilton Spectator)
Federal cuts that have left refugee claimants with little to no health coverage are expected to come at a high cost to Hamilton’s health system. Many area health care providers continue to care for refugee claimants at the expense of their bottom line since the cuts to the interim federal health program took effect June 30. “My background is to treat patients that need you regardless of whether they have funding or not,” said Dr. Allen Greenspoon, a family doctor at the Hamilton Community Health Centre on Victoria Avenue North. “My first and foremost commitment is to patients. We just see patients if they need our help.”
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/765306–cuts-to-refugee-claimant-care-costing-hamilton-s-health-system

Refugee costs strain church groups (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
When they got together nearly a decade ago to sponsor refugees, a group of Winnipeg churches didn’t expect it would take so long, they’d all arrive at once or that the federal government would cancel their medical benefits. Now the neighbourhood churches say they’re struggling to live up to their commitment as a surge of newcomers arrives. “It’s the looming costs of everything that escalate,” said retired United Church minister Ken Anstie with the Nassau Street Churches Refugee Committee. He’s scrambling to find housing for 10 Somalis who began arriving in November. The churches — Crescent Fort Rouge United, St. Luke’s Anglican, Holy Rosary Roman Catholic, Christian Science and Harrow United — have committed to helping them get settled and covering their living costs for one year.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/refugee-costs-strain-church-groups-163272596.html?device=mobile

Refugee health-care cuts raise concern (Jeff Bolichowski, St Catharines Standard)
Niagara Region is raising concerns that sick refugees might “fall through the cracks” due to tweaks to federal health funding. Regional council’s public health and community services committee heard Tuesday that changes to the Interim Federal Health Program saw funding to the province cut for refugee claimants’ primary health care. The concern is that that effectively downloads the cost of caring for them to the province and the Region.
http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2012/07/21/refugee-health-care-cuts-raise-concern

Canada should adopt policies to limit influx of refugees (Martin Collacott, Vancouver Sun)
The Sun editorial disagrees with the government’s decision to reduce supplementary health care benefits to refugee claimants in Canada. Whatever The Sun’s concerns in this regard, there is almost certainly widespread public support for this decision. Very few asylum seekers should be making claims in Canada in the first place. Other countries deal summarily, if at all, with the claims of nationals of democratic countries with good human rights records, countries that cannot on any reasonable grounds be accused of persecuting their citizens. Many other countries, moreover, do not consider claims from people who reached their territory via other safe countries, where they should have made their claims in the first place.
http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/Canada+should+adopt+policies+limit+influx+refugees/6956933/story.html

Q&A: Dr. Philip Berger (Aaron Wherry, Maclean’s
On Friday afternoon, I spoke over the phone with Dr. Philip Berger, one of the organizers behind Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, about the recent demonstrations by doctors against the Harper government’s changes to refugee health care. The following is a condensed transcript of that conversation.
http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/07/16/qa-dr-philip-berger/

‘Bogus refugee claimants receiving gold-plated health care benefits’ (Aaron Wherry, Maclean’s)
I asked Jason Kenney’s office if there was any response to my interview with Dr. Philip Berger. Mr. Kenney’s spokeswoman sent along the following statement. Canadians have been clear that they do not want illegal immigrants and bogus refugee claimants receiving gold-plated health care benefits that are better than those Canadian taxpayers receive. Our Government has listened and acted. We have taken steps to ensure that protected persons and asylum seekers from non-safe countries receive health care coverage that is on the same level as Canadian taxpayers receive through their provincial health coverage, no better. Bogus claimants from safe countries, and failed asylum seekers, will not receive access to health care coverage unless it is to protect public health and safety. Shamefully, the NDP and Liberals support bogus and rejected asylum seekers receiving gold-plated health care benefits. We disagree. Those who have been through our fair system and rejected should respect Canada’s laws and leave the country.
http://www2.macleans.ca/2012/07/16/bogus-refugee-claimants-receiving-gold-plated-health-care-benefits/

Health care for Canada’s medically uninsured immigrants and refugees. Whose problem is it? (Paul Caulford, Canadian Family Physician)
In 1999, community health workers informed us that large numbers of immigrants and refugees lived and often worked in our Scarborough, Ont, community while being denied access to publicly funded health care. Our inquiries uncovered empirical evidence that Scarborough’s uninsured experienced health care access inequities, health disparities, financial hardships, and delayed acculturation. Scarborough’s only community health centre (CHC) reported a waiting list of 3000 uninsured newcomers seeking access to health care. In May 2000, an interprofessional team of primary care providers and community workers responded by establishing 2 community-based, volunteer-run health clinics in Scarborough to provide free front-line health care to this vulnerable group. We have since recorded more than 20 000 patient visits.
http://www.cfp.ca/content/58/7/725.full

Actions to address the impact of cuts to refugee health benefits (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
As we have previously blogged, the federal government recently cut health benefits for many refugees. In The Real Cost of Cutting Refugee Health Benefits, the Wellesley Institute argued that these cuts would have an unfair and inequitable impact on some of the most vulnerable people in Canada. It is totally predictable that the costs for providing health care to refugees will be passed to the Provinces and Territories and care will be more expensive than it would be as preventable conditions deteriorate as is provided in urgent or emergency circumstances. To address this, the Wellesley Institute, a member of the Hospital Collaborative on Marginalized and Vulnerable Populations, and other physicians providing care to refugees recently met to provide input to senior LHIN and Ministry of Health and Long Term Care officials about the impacts of cuts to refugee health benefits and options to mitigate the avoidable negative health outcomes at a local and provincial level. We concluded that actions should take place at the health care provider, LHIN, and provincial level.
http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/news/actions-to-address-the-impact-of-cuts-to-refugee-health-benefits

POVERTY / HEALTH / HOMELESSNESS / SOCIAL INCLUSION

Social Innovation Partnerships Grants for Ontario-Based NGOs (Karin Kronstal, Community Data Program
The Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) will give $50,000 to 5-6 projects for the Social Innovation Partnership Grant in Poverty Alleviation.
http://communitydata-donneescommunautaires.ca/node/7635

EMPLOYMENT & WORKERS

Are You Capitalizing on Migrant Labour? (hireimmigrants.ca)
According to the latest data from Statistics Canada, by 2031 some 80 per cent of the countries’ population growth will come from immigration. Currently in Toronto, almost 20 per cent of the workforce is comprised of migrants – finding a skilled worker in that talent pool can give companies a boost to accessing international markets or specific local groups. Peter Paul, project leader of ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies), says the conversation around hiring immigrants needs to move discussions of demographics. “It’s not just big companies like banks,” Paul said. “For small and medium companies hiring immigrants can give access to important groups in the community.”
http://www.hireimmigrants.ca/resources-tools/news/are-you-capitalizing-on-migrant-labour/

Coaching Connects Immigrants to IT Jobs and Closes Skills Gap (hireimmigrants.ca)
Canada is falling behind in the technology sector because the demand for information technology professionals is outpacing supply. The problem is two-fold, according to John Pickett, Principal and Chief Information Officer and Community Advocate at the IT Media Group. First, there are not enough people going into IT programs in Canadian schools, and second, those who are don’t have the skills required for the jobs that exist, he says. “It makes a big difference to a company’s ability to compete and to Canada’s ability to compete,” he says. The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) estimates that by 2016 about 106,000 ICT jobs will need to be filled in both traditional and emerging ICT industries — an annual hiring rate of nearly 17,000.
http://www.hireimmigrants.ca/2012/07/23/coaching-connects-immigrants-to-it-jobs-and-closes-skills-gap/

Report: Transitioning Temporary Foreign Workers to Permanent Residents: A Case for Better Foreign Credential Recognition – PDF (Sophia J. Lowe, CERIS)
Over the last ten years, there have been substantial changes in Canada’s immigration policies. One of the biggest changes has been the increased admission of temporary foreign workers (TFWs). This shift was made in response to the apparent inability of immigrants arriving through Canada’s Federal Skilled Workers Program to quickly meet labour market needs (Picot and Hou 2009; Picot and Sweetman, 2005; Reitz, 2007). TFWs provide readily available labour for Canadian employers, and many TFWs find satisfactory jobs and working conditions, and gain access to pathways to permanent residence while residing in Canada. However, the 50,000+ TFWs (about 28% of all TFWs) employed in low-skill jobs (CIC, 2010) 1 not only put up with difficult working conditions, but face insurmountable barriers to permanent residence.
http://www.ceris.metropolis.net/wp-content/uploads/pdf/research_publication/working_papers/wp91.pdf

Foreign workers just one answer (Neil Kaarsemaker, acting vice-president, Alberta division, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, Edmonton)
As Canada’s largest trade and industry association, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters applauds the much-needed expansion to the temporary foreign workers program. This important decision addresses the growing shortage of skilled workers in key sectors of Alberta’s economy. It is a welcomed step to institute a fast, flexible and responsive immigration system to meet Canada’s urgent economic demands. But the solutions to Alberta’s long-term workforce needs are complex. We will not bridge the gap through immigration alone.
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Foreign+workers+just+answer/6969476/story.html

Migrant workers deserve to be treated with fairness and equity (Toronto Star)
The parking lot near St. Michael’s Church in Leamington is full but not with cars — with bicycles — the only mode of transportation most temporary foreign workers can afford. Many have ridden 30 minutes, one-way, to attend mass and socialize with their fellow workers. Others have arrived on buses. It is the only chance they have to see each other all week. This day is special. The workers have gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Agricultural Migrant Workers Support Centre. But the celebration is overshadowed by concerns with changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP) that were announced by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) at the end of April — the changes were part of the recently passed federal budget.
http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1227938–migrant-workers-deserve-to-be-treated-with-fairness-and-equity

Let’s examine the dark, difficult world of migrant workers (Luisa D’amato, Guelph Mercury)
A few years ago, I interviewed a migrant worker, just before he was sent back to Guatemala. He spoke no English, so an interpreter helped us communicate. He owned a small farm, but left his family to come here. His only hope for an education for his children at home lay in a minimum-wage job on a mushroom farm in Ontario, a job Canadians didn’t want. Even through his bitter disappointment, this man maintained his dignity. His face was tender when he spoke of his children. He had hoped to bring thousands of dollars home to his family. But after working the better part of a year, he only had about $300 to bring home. He had not counted on the high cost of living in Kitchener, where he shared an apartment with other migrant workers, or the expense of transportation to his job, or the deductions from his cheque for programs like Canada Pension that he could not use.
http://www.guelphmercury.com/living/article/765314–let-s-examine-the-dark-difficult-world-of-migrant-workers

Video: Migrants’ Lives (CBC)
The CBC’s Kim Brunhuber looks at the lives of migrant workers living in Canada.
http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/ID/2256843805/

Cuts to the workplace equity program means more inequality for Canadians (NUPGE)
Employment inequality likely to increase due to reduced monitoring resources of government department. Ottawa (20 July 2012) – According to the six public sector unions operating under the umbrella of the Professionals Serving Canadians, the federal government’s Workplace Equity Program will be facing increased difficulty due to diminished resources. The program monitors private sector employers to see if they respect the legislation on employment equity. The program itself will not be cut, but at least 18 of its 35 employees will be affected. The cuts compromise important monitoring of private sector legislation concerning employment equality and means that private sector employers who do not follow the legislation will not be monitored as frequently. Without a check and balance, workers may face more difficulty in having their rights respected.
http://www.nupge.ca/content/5153/cuts-workplace-equity-program-means-more-inequality-canadians

Roundtable Discussion Paper #1 – Pathways to Permanent Residence: The Impact of Changes to Immigration Policies and Categories on Immigrant Service Providers – PDF (TIEDI)
The purpose of this roundtable discussion was to solicit feedback from immigrant service providers on the effects of changing immigration patterns on their clients’ needs and their organizations’ capacity to meet those needs.
http://www.yorku.ca/tiedi/doc/Roundtable1d.pdf

6 reasons workplace diversity is failing (Nonprofit Times)
Everyone who is in favor of diversity, stand up and give yourself a pat on the back. Now, those of you who have encountered some kind of difficulty in embracing diversity, sit back down. Both of you who are still standing can relax, now, because it’s possible you weren’t paying attention in the first place. As high-minded as diversity is, it does come with its own problems, as highlighted by Martin N. Davidson in his book “The End of Diversity As We Know It.” Davidson, who has served as diversity officer at the University of Virginia and has consulted on the issue with many companies, maintains that diversity is a good idea but that current approaches to it are failing.
http://www.thenonprofittimes.com/article/detail/6-reasons-workplace-diversity-is-failing-4710

Why Working in the BRIC Nations Requires Keen Diversity Skills (April Klimley, Diversity Journal)
In today’s interconnected world, global teams are becoming the norm—not the exception. As Thomas Friedman pointed out in The World is Flat, technology has eliminated geographic barriers, opened up economic opportunity, and shifted power and resources. And it has also heightened the need for certain diversity skills, since today so many employees work in multicultural teams in different time zones scattered around the globe.
http://www.diversityjournal.com/9631-why-working-in-the-bric-nations-requires-keen-diversity-skills/

CITY OF TORONTO / CITIES / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford, Development and Other News.
http://spacingtoronto.ca/2012/07/23/mondays-headlines-245/

Soundbites e-Bulletin : July 18, 2012 (Social Planning Toronto)
This issue:
Register for SPT’s July Research & Policy Forum: “Austerity or Ideology? Discussing the Impacts of Recent Federal and Provincial Cuts to Research”
Toronto District School Board Budget Games
Update on City Charges to Charities for Solid Waste Collection
Worth Repeating: Statistics Canada cuts compromise the tools used to understand the state
http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=a8f54eab94acd8c455bb09550&id=33cee0695b

“If we don’t invest now, in so-called priority neighbourhoods, we will all pay more in the long run” (Dan Hill, Globe and Mail)
So what do we do about all this violence? As I write these words, I feel as saddened and burned out by the week, and its subsequent reportage, as any other Torontonian. Do we round up the gang-bangers and send them away forever? Boot them out of our precious city? Certainly, this kind of political talk plays into people’s feelings of helplessness and anger. And in a world where people are hungry for quick fixes and sound bites, for instant gratification, there’s no patience for the long, slow rebuilding process: implementing after-school programs, hiring more community workers to act as mentors, adding more job training programs in marginalized areas. However, if we don’t invest now, in so-called priority neighbourhoods, with music classes, athletic facilities, and skills training and mentoring, we will all pay more in the long run. My son tells me, “Dad, you should be giving back more to your community.”
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/if-we-dont-invest-now-in-so-called-priority-neighbourhoods-we-will-all-pay-more-in-the-long-run/article4431971/?page=1

SOCIAL INNOVATION / NONPROFITS

Introduction to Sustainability and Funding Diversification (OCASI)
OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants is pleased to invite you to a (6) six-part live webinar series entitled: Income Diversification, Sustainability and Social Enterprise. The Income Diversification, Sustainability and Social Enterprise webinar series is part of OCASI’s OrgWise – Organizational Standards Initiative Project. This innovative project is aimed at building organizational capacity and developing organizational infrastructure within the immigrant and refugee-serving sector. The four key areas are Operations, Governance and Leadership, Human Resources, and Community-based Approach. In these changing times, the OCASI membership has identified income diversification, sustainability and social enterprise as top priorities.
http://www.settlementatwork.org/_event_/95916

Social Finance Week: Social Finance 101 (Charity Village)
Most of us do-gooders have heard of social finance, an approach to managing money that gives back to society or the environment while still producing a financial return. We hear about social enterprises harnessing finance this way, but charities and nonprofits are often confused about what’s available to them and how to take advantage of these alternative funding options. According to Joanna Reynolds, program manager at MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, it’s crucial that sector organizations get involved.
https://charityvillage.com/Content.aspx?topic=Social_Finance_101

Announcing Canada’s first Social Finance Awards (Benjamin Carr, Socialfinance.ca)
Trailblazers within the field of social finance are the types of leaders who challenge the status quo. By proposing new models, solutions and frameworks, they fundamentally alter the way we perceive and interact with the world. From Picasso to Rosa Parks, such personalities are found in a wide array of contexts, and are often revered for having single handedly revolutionized their field. The ideal of an omnipotent figure grabs attention because it is simple and easy. However, in a complex and interdependent 21st century, solutions to social and environmental problems rarely are. Time and time again, we are learning that silver bullets rarely have the durability or breadth to address the scope of systematic challenges we are dealing with.
http://socialfinance.ca/blog/post/announcing-canadas-first-social-finance-awards

Activity Report – PDF (HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector)
Building on the 2008 Labour Force Study, this year included several significant achievements in the development and dissemination of various forms of labour market information, information that improves understanding of the nonprofit labour force through evidence-based research and intelligence gathering.
http://www.hrcouncil.ca/documents/2011-2012_activityreport.pdf

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marco

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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RT @j4mw: Let’s examine the dark, difficult world of migrant workers http://t.co/iUw7cOMT #cdnimm #cdnpoli RT @mathewi: thanks to @ProducerMatthew for...

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