Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 30, 2012


Diversity in Philanthropy and DiverseCity (South Asian Philanthropy)
Early summer brought some interesting news from the USA and Canada about diversity in the philanthropy and nonprofit sectors. First, in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), a recent study by a Carleton University professor for DiverseCity, a joint initiative of Maytree and the Civic Action Fund, found the rates of “visible minorities” to be dismally low on nonprofit boards. Two interesting points – (1) the number of South Asians, while still low, is actually at the high end among all communities of color (at 3.4% only). (2) The report recommends that Toronto-area nonprofits strive for at least 30% representation by visible minorities on their boards. I’m not sure I would recommend quotas like the 30% figure but I think it is important to recognize the importance of critical mass (versus tokenizing individual minority board members).

We make our own social programs (Globe and Mail)
It seems like everyone – politicians, the media, the police, amateur sociologists – has weighed in on the root causes of guns and gangs in the black community in recent days, but I have another perspective. I came from Jamaica to Toronto as a six-year-old in 1975 and grew up in some of the priority neighbourhoods now being discussed. Based on my experience, I’ve come to one conclusion: The old-school Jamaicans I knew growing up, as well as other immigrants of the late 1970s and early 1980s, bear little resemblance to the majority of new immigrants and even Canadian-born Jamaicans of today.

Post Immigration Syndrome (Tung Chan, Vancouver Sun)
A new term is now in vogue amongst new Canadians from China. It is called Post Immigration Syndrome (PIS). A friend who immigrated from Mainland China recently sent me an article about PIS. The article describes a woman’s condition after she immigrated to Vancouver. Because she has yet to adapt to the local environment, she is very critical of the culture and way of doing things here. In talking to her, the author of the article found that she is equally upset with the United States and European countries. She is even more negative about lives in China. At the end of the day, however, she choose to stay here in Vancouver. The author of the article described the lives of this type of new immigrants as “eats well all the time, lives well all the time but complaints all the time”. When faced with nothing meaningful to spend their time, these people choose to complaint about their situation to pass the time. The author encouraged new immigrants with PIS to try hard to get rid of such negative attitudes so that their mental heath would not suffer permanent damage. Such negative attitude will also become a barrier to integrating into the local community and to establishing a stable and healthy life here.

Immigration Canada’s bold new focus (Mississauga Business Times)
As the fog cleared, so ended the dreams of approximately 280,000 “skilled worker” immigrant hopefuls. This is close to the average yearly total of Permanent Residency newcomers admitted to Canada over the past few years. It was a bold step which aroused media, opinion columnists, lawyers and immigrant-help agencies across the country. But the headlines were larger in foreign countries everywhere, where applicants had been awaiting final approval from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for up to eight years. The decision was understandable from one vantage point: several industry sectors in Canada are “suffering” from acute skilled-labour shortages that have worsened due to antiquated and non-economically focused immigration policies.–immigration-canada-s-bold-new-focus

Would-be immigrants poised to hear about application backlog (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Dong Wang has waited almost six years for his immigration dream to be fulfilled. This week, he and 900 other applicants will find out from a Canadian court if their long wait has been in vain. The 33-year-old native of the Chinese city of Dalian applied to immigrate to Canada in 2006. He has been put through an emotional rollercoaster since he joined a lawsuit last November against Ottawa for warehousing backlogged immigration applications and failing to process them in a timely fashion. In February, Wang got a letter from Immigration saying his application had been assessed and he and his wife should prepare the necessary documents, take the English language test and get a medical exam.–would-be-immigrants-poised-to-hear-about-application-backlog

Judge allows child killer’s deportation (James Turner, Winnipeg Free Press)
Federal immigration officials made no mistakes in concluding a Liberian man who brutally beat a child to death in Manitoba poses a “grave” risk to the Canadian public, a federal court judge has ruled. Justice James O’Reilly’s decision in Beyan Dunoh Clarke’s troubling case essentially removes the major roadblock preventing border officials from deporting Clarke to his unfamiliar African homeland. The 29-year-old is currently in Stony Mountain Institution serving out a nine-year sentence for manslaughter handed to him in February 2008.

The City of Surrey: “Banding Together Against Domestic Violence” or against Indian culture? (Sandhu Bhamra)
…the Canadian City of Surrey thinks it can tie violence against women to Indian culture. The City recently launched its second annual Rakhi project, “a Surrey Crime Reduction Strategy initiative designed to raise awareness about domestic violence”. I just found out about it, thanks to a photo, on my Facebook stream. Rakhi project to raise awareness about domestic violence? What a gross misrepresentation! The City of Surrey is basically saying that domestic violence is a problem within the Indian culture. I thought the problem with this depiction was limited to mainstream media, but a government body?

Feds come through with citizenship for a dying few (
Heavily sedated and barely conscious on her deathbed, Veronica Singh-Boles had little to gain from Canadian citizenship. Cervical cancer would claim her life long before she could ever obtain a Canadian passport, vote in an election or exercise her right to run for public office. But on June 28, with her husband Jim and seven-year-old daughter Leah by her side, the 31-year-old Guyanese native, whose life had been anything but easy, was granted this much sought after status during a private ceremony at a hospital in Milton, Ont.

Tough road for African immigrants, refugees in Winnipeg: report (Shane Gibson, Metro News)
Immigrants and refugees from often war-torn parts of Africa face an up hill battle after settling in Canada, and Winnipeg in particular, according to a report authored by a former child soldier from Southern Sudan now living in the city. The report, titled Integration and settlement: The experiences and expectations of African immigrants and refugees, was written by Reuben Garang, and it sheds light on some of the challenges facing Africans in Canada including poverty, excessive drinking, marital breakup and youth involvement in gangs. “Because I came here and I know people who came here from migrant communities… I see the challenges,” explained Garang, who is currently taking a master’s of development at the University of Winnipeg’s Global College, and spent three years working on the study. “It’s very complex, it’s more about reaching out to society and telling them that we’re struggling here.”

New Canadians Expo helps immigrants navigate Calgary life (Calgary Herald)
Dhamber Diyali still remembers what it felt like to arrive in a strange land, knowing he had the ability to build a new life for himself but feeling overwhelmed by the prospect. “In the beginning, it was very difficult for us,” says Diyali, who along with his family came to Calgary as a refugee from Bhutan in 2009. “Back home, it is very hot, and here it is very cold. We did not have a car, so all the time we had to wait for the bus. We didn’t have any jobs — it was difficult to find a job because we had language problems.”

Calgary expo welcomes new Canadians (CBC)
Call it a trade show with a difference, aimed not at businesses or consumers but newcomers to Canada. The New Canadian Expo — held Saturday at Genesis Centre for Community Wellness on Falconridge Boulevard and sponsored by the uTurn Project in partnership with the Calgary Police Service — was designed to introduce immigrants to the services available for them in Calgary. Its importance to the immigrant community can’t be overstated, Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Saturday.

Our City, Our World – Chinese Edition (Winnipeg Free Press)
A Winnipeg Free Press focus section.


Rise of ‘migrants’ signals new era

Hard-working Chinese immigrants, once banned, have risen to the highest echelons of Manitoba

Chinatown steeped in 130 years of history

In Friendly Manitoba, ‘you fit right in’

Passionate ambassadors

Schools attract them; opportunities keep them

Composer Ho’s trip to Taiwan shapes musical perspective Heartfelt journey

Why I protested the Bodies exhibit

History on a plate

Some of the faces of our Asian community

Faith thrives in Chinese community

Minister Kenney attends unveiling of Komagata Maru monument (Diversity Reporter)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney yesterday joined the Khalsa Diwan Society (KDS) in the unveiling of a public monument commemorating the Komagata Maru, a ship that arrived in Vancouver harbour in 1914 carrying 376 East Indian passengers. Most of the passengers were not allowed to land because the ship did not make a continuous journey to Canada, as was prescribed by Canadian immigration laws at the time. After almost two months in the harbour, the ship went to India where, in an altercation with British soldiers, approximately 20 passengers and a number of soldiers died.

Canadian Leaders recognize contributions of Muslims (IQRA)
Muslims are making vital contributions to Canada, according to Dalton McGuinty, the Premier of Ontario, in his message to the Muslim community at the beginning of Ramadan. “The Muslim Canadian community is an integral part of our rich cultural tapestry,” said Premier McGuinty. “This important event on the Islamic calendar is an ideal opportunity to recognize the many vital contributions of Muslim Canadians to enriching our society on many levels.” Ontario is Canada’s most populous province and the majority of Canadian Muslims live there, with the largest groups settled in and around the Greater Toronto Area.

Fisher steps down after raising profile of Hamilton Jewish community (Hamilton Spectator)
A passionate voice for Israel who helped raise the profile of the Hamilton Jewish community over the past decade is stepping out of the spotlight. Gerry Fisher, 63, is leaving his job as executive director of the 5,000-member United Jewish Federation of Hamilton on Tuesday due to health reasons. He started Aug. 9, 2001, shortly before Hamilton’s diverse communities came together over the arson at the Hindu Samaj Temple, which occurred after the 9/11 attacks. The federation was not invited to the initial meeting and Fisher recalled visiting former mayor Bob Wade’s office and asking why they were left out. He believed it was just an oversight, but found out “nobody in Hamilton City Hall had ever heard of the Hamilton Jewish Federation.”–fisher-steps-down-after-raising-profile-of-hamilton-jewish-community

Don’t blame immigrants for actions of few (Balwant Sanghera, The Province)
Killing innocent people by twisted minds is an abhorrent crime. It is even more disturbing when it happens in a country like Canada. The latest shooting tragedy in the Scarborough area of Toronto has brought this issue to the fore-front again. Unfortunately, some public officials in responsible positions have laid the blame for this tragic event on immigrants. Any such crime committed by individual(s), whether they have been in Canada for generations or have just come off the plane, must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. To make it an immigrant or non-immigrant issue is totally uncalled for.

Immigration wheels turning after office closed, files moved (Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist)
Files of Vancouver Islanders applying to become Canadian citizens and permanent residents have been shipped to Vancouver after the closing of Citizenship and Immigration offices here in June. An initial review of those files has started, spokesman Remi Lariviere said Friday in an email. Would-be Canadians told the Times Colonist this week that the uncertainty, delays and lack of communication from Citizenship and Immigration Canada – since it closed 19 regional offices across Canada on June 1 – has greatly disrupted their lives. A Victoria office with nine staff, and a Nanaimo office with two staff were included in the shutdown.

OAS benefits denied: Immigrants told to produce residency proofs (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
After 40 years as a registered nurse, Yvonne Gardner never thought she’d have to beg to get her federal pension benefits. For 14 months, the Toronto retiree has been struggling to prove to Service Canada that she’s eligible for the $500 monthly Old Age Security (OAS) pension. In the latest twist, she was asked for copies of plane tickets for all of her travels in and out of Canada since moving here from England in 1975 — a mission impossible — as proof she has lived here the minimum 10 years required to qualify. Deprived of the pension she was counting on, Gardner, a native of Suffolk, England, is 10 months behind in rent on her one-bedroom downtown apartment and faces eviction. She’s not alone in these struggles.–oas-benefits-denied-immigrants-told-to-produce-residency-proofs


Health-care cuts start to sting (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
An expectant mom is feeling the fallout from federal funding cuts to refugee health care that took effect June 28 and the “covert” changes made since, says a Winnipeg doctor. The woman with complications in the late stages of pregnancy is scared to get prenatal care because she’s a refugee claimant, has been told it’s no longer covered and she can’t afford it, said Dr. Mike Dillon. “Her support community is concerned it’s going from bad to worse for her,” said Dillon. The woman is from a war-torn country and has a serious underlying health problem that’s not getting treated, he said. She’s had to go to the emergency room once already, he said.

Former army officer fights to stay in Canada (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
A former high-ranking intelligence officer in the Philippines army is fighting to stay in Canada claiming he will be killed by a terror group if sent back home. Ernie Villegas Lumocso was a former sergeant and team leader in the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAP), who arrived here to study English in 2007 as part of military training program. He is accused of taking part in crimes against humanity.

Alleged gunman arrived as a refugee (Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun)
An accused gunman charged with firing a weapon at a Scarborough barbeque where two people were killed and 23 others wounded arrived in Canada as a refugee from Somalia seeking a better life, border officials say. But the 19-year-old allegedly “fell in with the wrong crowd” after obtaining Canadian citizenship, officers of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said. The officers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said since he has been granted Canadian citizenship, it would be nearly impossible to deport him in the event of a conviction. Nahom Tsegazab, 19, of Toronto, has been charged with the reckless discharge of a firearm. He is expected back in court this week and is the only suspect charged in the July 16 mass shooting.

Canada deaf to message of Congo genocide, say refugees (Graham Lanktree, Metro News)
The deaths of more than 5.4 million Congolese people should sway the federal government from attending the Francophonie in Kinshasa this October, said Canadian Congolese refugees on Friday. “By going, it’s giving the government there an endorsement,” said Jean-Claude Ilunga, who came to Canada from the war-torn nation 11 years ago. “We are very, very peaceful people. Why doesn’t Canada hear our message?” Late last year, Congolese President Joseph Kabila was sworn in after reports of widespread electoral fraud and a crackdown on his political opponents. Kabila came to power in 2001 after the assassination of his father, who was infamous for using child soldiers on the road to seizing power in the capital Kinshasa.

Syrian refugees seek Canadian asylum, support (Lee Berthiaume, Winnipeg Free Press)
An increasing number of Syrian asylum seekers have been fleeing to Canada to escape the civil war that continues to cut a bloody swath across their homeland. At the same time, Syrian-Canadians are asking the federal government to open the doors to friends and relatives facing what they say is extreme risk of torture or death at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Figures obtained by Postmedia News show the number of Syrians claiming refugee status after arriving in Canada grew sharply in the past nine months. From October to June, the Immigration and Refugee Board received 213 claims for refugee status from Syrian nationals inside Canada, and 320 since protests against Assad’s rule began in January 2011. This compares to 127 in of 2010, 84 in 2009, and 70 in 2008.


Health care, jobs top concerns for Canadians: poll (Teresa Smith, Montreal Gazette)
Health care and unemployment continue to top the list of issues Canadians deem worrisome but, according to a monthly poll, priorities vary widely when broken down by region. Every month, the pollsters ask 1,000 people across the country via an online panel “which three of the following topics do you find the most worrying about Canada?” The options include health care, taxes, crime, poverty/inequality, immigration control, unemployment/jobs, corruption, education, environment and moral decline. While most people, regardless of region, said health care and unemployment/jobs were their top concerns, further down the list, provincial differences become clear.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Release of the Fiscal Monitor for April/May 2012 (Finance Canada) – July 27
2. Latest Media and Policy News (Income Security Advocacy Centre) – July 26
3. Annual Council of the Federation Meeting in Halifax, July 25-27, 2012
4. Selected recent releases from the Wellesley Institute:
— Three reasons why cutting the Hardship Fund is unfair and inequitable
— Actions to address the impact of cuts to refugee health benefits
— Refugees are feeling the real cost of cuts to health benefits
— Reforming social assistance in Ontario: progress so far and an update
— Why Toronto’s rich and poor are hospitalized for different reasons, and what we can do about this
5. Gilles’ Research Tip : How to Find Information on this Site
6. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics
— Payroll employment, earnings and hours, May 2012 – July 26
— Study: Suicide rates, an overview, 1950 to 2009 – July 25
— Leading causes of death, 2009 – July 25
— Police-reported crime statistics, 2011 – July 24
7. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Toronto housing wait list hits new record, underlining folly of selling off TCHC homes (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
Toronto’s affordable housing wait list set a new record in June of 2012 – hitting an all-time high of 85,578 households. The wait list, which measures the number of households (not individuals) who apply for affordable housing, has set a new record every month since the recession of 2008. The huge demand for a affordable homes underlines the serious equity, health and social concerns about plans by Toronto Community Housing Corporation for an unprecedented sell-off of 619 single family homes.


13,000 Jamaicans to work in Canada, US this year (Stabroek News)
Minister of Labour and Social Security Derrick Kellier says over 13,000 workers will be participating in the Canadian and United States overseas employment programme this year. Kellier, who was making his contribution to the 2012/2013 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House yesterday, reported that the programme continues to grow with the number of skilled workers travelling to Canada trending upwards.

Calgary oil patch keen to get laid-off Irish workers from Saskatchewan (CBC)
A group of skilled workers from Ireland who were unexpectedly laid-off from jobs lined up for them in Saskatchewan have caught the attention of a Calgary-based oilfield contractor. About 20 pipefitters arrived in Saskatchewan in recent months to work on the expansion of a potash mine. Project delays, however, meant the workers will not be needed again until January, 2013.

Diversity & Inclusion Professionals: How do you use social media? (Todd Nilson, Social Syntax)
Patrick Maher is the president of nAblement, a sibling company that is part of SPR. nAblement helps companies become more diverse and inclusive in their hiring practices and places technology professionals who happen to have a disability in meaningful careers.

Report will delve into extent of skilled worker shortage (Heidi Ulrichsen, Northern Life)
Besides the fact that the country’s birth rate is low, and there’s just less workers to go around, young people aren’t being encouraged to go into the skilled trades, Caverson said. “There’s a mindset that university is the way if you’re a young person,” she said. Women, immigrants and Aboriginal people are also underrepresented in the mining industry, she said. “It’s still not considered by many women as the appropriate area to go into,” Caverson said. “We’re trying to encourage young women to get into the trades as well. We also know there’s an under-representation in the Aboriginal community. In Canada, the Aboriginal community is the fastest-growing population. So it’s an important group to bring on board. “There are some efforts by different groups to start training some of the Aboriginal youth on mining issues and different kinds of skilled trades.”

United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. Elects First Woman to Board (Diversity Executive)
In a male-dominated moving industry, history was made April 18 at the annual General Meeting of United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. in Naples, Fla., when its shareholders elected the first woman to its board of directors, Valerie Dussault. Dussault is president of Demenagement Ste-Foy Moving Inc., a family-owned and operated business in Quebec City, Quebec, and a member of United Van Lines (Canada) Ltd. since 1970. “It is an honor and a privilege to be elected by fellow shareholders,” she said. “I look forward to making a contribution to the board on behalf of the strong moving companies in the United Van Lines network.”


Monday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Council, TTC, Development, TCHC and Other News.

The City’s Hardship Fund – Threatened, Saved, Lost, Saved? (Social Planning Toronto)
If you’ve been following Toronto news recently, you’ll know there’s been great confusion about the status of the City’s Hardship Fund. Here’s a summary of what’s happening and where we’re at, and how you can take action to support the Hardship Fund. What is the Hardship Fund? The City of Toronto’s Hardship Fund offsets the medical costs for over 1,500 of the poorest residents in Toronto. The City of Toronto pays for 100% of the fund. In the City’s own words, the Hardship Fund “serves primarily poor seniors who face potentially life threatening situations if they cannot obtain needed medical items.” It costs the average property taxpayer about 60 cents on their annual tax bill. The Hardship Fund budget is just over $1 million.


Newsletter : Metcalf Foundation Newsletter – July 2012 (Metcalf Foundation)
What role can Foundations place in advancing tough policy issues? This is the key theme explored in a recent article published in the Canadian Review of Social Policy entitled, Foundations for Social Change: Reflections on Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. Metcalf Foundation’s Colette Murphy and Pedro Barata (formerly with the Atkinson Foundation) co-authored the article that highlights their experiences and lessons learned about complex change-making practices.

2012 Community Data Canada Roundtable Roundup (Karin Kronstal, Community Data)
On June 20th, community data users and providers from across Canada came together for the third annual Community Data Canada Roundtable. A free, fully-bilingual event, the 2012 Roundtable was the first to be held as both a face-to-face meeting and a virtual event. More than 200 persons joined the sessions from locales across the country to enjoy a variety of presentations on the topic of “Putting Data to Work: Tools and Strategies for Using Community Data.”

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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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