Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 4, 2012


Call for Proposals: Newcomer Settlement Program, 2013-15 delivery of settlement services (Settlement AtWork)
The Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI) is releasing a Call for Proposals (CFP) for delivery of the Newcomer Settlement Program (NSP) across Ontario beginning April 2013 to 2015. The goal of the program is to support the successful settlement and integration of newcomers to Ontario. The program is delivered by a province-wide network of non-profit agencies that assist newcomers in settling and integrating into communities across Ontario The NSP funding application and guidelines for delivery of settlement services are now available on the Grants Ontario portal.

First black judge named to Ontario Court of Appeal (Jake Edmiston, National Post)
Justice Michael Tulloch will join the Ontario Court of Appeal in the latest appointment to the province’s highest court — yet another accolade for the judicial wunderkind. While friends and colleagues don’t expect this to be the last stop in his career, they’re not worried about seeing less of him. “He’s a big-time judge, but he never misses community fundraisers,” said Toronto Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly, who has known the judge since the 1990s when he was a street-level officer and Judge Tulloch was a Crown attorney.

All aboard! VIA Rail Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship collaborate to help Canada’s newest citizens explore our country (Digital Journal)
VIA Rail Canada and the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) have collaborated to provide new Canadian citizens, who are members of the ICC’s Cultural Access Pass (CAP) program, with a one-time, exclusive travel offer: a 50 per cent discount on the lowest available fare, any class, one way or round trip, no blackout periods, for CAP members and up to four of their children under the age of 18. The Cultural Access Pass program fosters inclusion, introducing our country’s newest citizens to Canadian culture and experiences by providing them (and their children) a year of free access to more than 1,000 Canadian attractions from museums and historic sites to national and provincial parks (even offering access to volunteer and employment resources). With an average of almost 100 registrations per day, more than 50,000 new citizens have become Cultural Access Pass members.

More Pinoy immigrants to Canada seen in 2013 (
It will be a fruitful year for Filipinos, who want to migrate to Canada, in 2013. A Cebu-based visa consultancy firm official gave this assessment after the Canadian government decided to add around 100 new categories to the existing 29 categroies of preferred professionals qualified to apply for immigrant visas to Canada. Nina Mabatid, Pinoy Care Visa Center chief executive officer, said the Canadian government had put on hold the processing of immigrant visa applications until December to update its system for the added categories. “That addition should allow more opportunities for Filipinos to move to Canada,” said Mabatid.

DMS is Canada’s leading multicultural marketing, advertising and consulting agency (Diversity Marketing Services Inc.)
Our core competencies, combined with our Media Partner Network of hundreds of print, radio, television and online properties, provide our clients with a national reach of over 4.5 million unique Canadian households. DMS acts as a conduit for companies who wish to reach Canada’s New Mainstream® and ethno-cultural communities – a reach that is both authentic and relevant: this is our philosophy behind multicultural outreach…something many call ‘ethnic marketing.’ But, relating what we do simply to ethnicity drastically limits the opportunity for success.


Protests against refugee health cuts part of an ‘increasing frustration’ with feds: CMA chief (Chris Plecash, Hill Times)
Physicians, who have interrupted a number of ministers’ press conferences in recent days, are vowing to continue to confront Conservative MPs and Cabinet members on the impacts of cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program for refugees, and Canadian Medical Association President John Haggie says the recent public protests are part of an increasing frustration with federal disengagement on health care. “We’re not going to keep quiet about it,” Dr. Haggie said of the IFHP changes. “It’s a matter of human compassion and suffering for a group of people who arrive with the clothes they stand in, regarding this as a safe place. If we’re going to take refugees, we have a responsibility to look after them. You can’t just cut them loose.”

Slight reversal in federal refugee health cuts ‘too little too late,’ say doctors (David P. Ball, The Tyee)
Doctors and health care workers across the country today said a slight reversal in cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) — only for refugees the government itself sponsored — is “too little and too late.” The IFHP cuts enacted on Canada Day revoked health coverage of thousands of asylum-seekers, including critical medications, eye care and coverage for illnesses not deemed a “public safety risk,” as Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) declared that refugees should not get supplemental coverage unavailable to Canadians such as dental work and mobility aids.

Refugee health cuts ‘clarified,’ not reversed, Kenney says (Meagan Fitzpatrick, CBC)
A group of doctors calling on the federal government to reverse its changes to health coverage for refugees says Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has backed down on one of the reforms, but they vow to keep fighting until all of the old rules are reinstated. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care says Kenney’s department changed its website on Friday — a day before the cuts to refugee health coverage went into effect — to indicate that it would still provide supplemental health coverage to one group of claimants, government-assisted refugees. Kenney’s office, however, denies that the department made a last-minute change to its plans to cut some of the benefits under the interim federal health program (IFHP).

Canada Severely Curtails Refugee Health Care (Inter Press Service)
As major cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) came into effect across Canada last week, medical professionals say both refugees and the Canadian healthcare system as a whole will pay a heavy price. “(This is a) government document that we can read that explicitly says we are denying patients with chronic conditions and acute illnesses medications and in many cases, any treatment at all. (It’s) unheard of,” said Dr. Philip Berger, chief of family medicine at St-Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and a member of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, a grassroots group of healthcare professionals that has come out against the cuts. “It’s one of those rare, exceptional circumstances in life where there is no room for compromise. Doctors cannot distinguish (between) patients who need healthcare on the basis of their refugee category,” Berger told IPS.

Feds forced to amend refugee health coverage changes (Hamilton Spectator)
The Conservatives were forced to amend their policy on cutting off benefits for refugee claimants just 48 hours before it came into effect. A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday the end of extended health benefits for refugee claimants was never meant to apply to government-assisted refugees. The policy — which strips refugee claimants of access to pharmaceutical, dental and vision coverage and limits other forms of coverage — had been announced in April.–feds-forced-to-amend-refugee-health-coverage-changes

Kenney ‘clarifies’ wording on refugee health cuts; opponents claim partial victory (Blair Gable, Ottawa Citizen)
Federal immigration minister Jason Kenney says his government hasn’t changed its mind on health benefits for refugees, it has simply clarified the wording of the new policy. Still, doctors and refugee groups say they have won a partial victory in their effort to roll back cuts to the Interim Federal Health Plan, and will continue to fight for more. “I’ve always said resettled refugees would continue to receive comprehensive health benefits,” Kenney told the Citizen Tuesday. “It was never our intention to eliminate certain drug coverage … When we realized that the initial policy wording from about a month ago led to some ambiguity, we immediately decided to modify the language to make it clear that our intention has been to provide for the same kind of drug coverage for resettled refugees as they would receive in UN camps.”

3rd Annual ISIS Awards at AGM (ISIS)
Last Thursday, June 21, at St. Mary’s Boat Club, ISIS held it’s Annual General Meeting which included the presentation of the 3rd Annual ISIS Awards! The ISIS Awards recognize an individual, a community group, and business/employer, who have demonstrated exceptional and innovative efforts in welcoming immigrants to Nova Scotia and in assisting them to successfully integrate into the community.

Tories re-write prescription for refugee health (Daniel Proussalidis, Toronto Sun)
The Conservatives admit they goofed while trying to take super-charged health care coverage away from asylum seekers, and won’t reduce benefits for about 7,000 government-sponsored refugees after all. “The original criteria did not make this intention clear which is why the language of the policy has been modified,” said Alexis Pavlich, spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in an email Tuesday. In April, the Tories announced that on Saturday they would “end the coverage of supplemental health-care benefits” for “all current beneficiaries” as well as future refugee claimants.

Doctors protest cuts to refugee health care (Peter Criscione, Brampton Guardian)
In April, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney (pictured here addressing local voters in the last federal election) announced reforms to the Interim Federal Health Program, which provides temporary health benefits to refugees until they qualify for provincial and territorial coverage. Many medical professionals have spoken out against the reforms which kicked in July 1.–they-are-actually-a-very-vulnerable-population

Conservatives backtrack on health care cuts for some refugees (Globe and Mail)
Doctors say the federal Conservative government’s decision to backtrack on cuts to health benefits for some refugees and not others is proof that the rationale for the move does not hold water. After defending the plan to eliminate supplemental benefits such as payments for prescription drugs, vision care and dental coverage for refugees who do not qualify for provincial plans, the federal immigration department quietly rescinded the cuts last Friday afternoon – but only for refugees who are brought here by the government through the Resettlement Assistance Program and those who are victims of human smuggling and have received a temporary resident permit.


Backgrounder — Summary of Changes to Canada’s Refugee System (CIC)
Below is a summary of the changes to Canada’s refugee system following passage of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act in June 2010 and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act in June 2012.

Operational Bulletin 436 – July 3, 2012 Assisted Voluntary Return & Reintegration Pilot Program (CIC)
The purpose of this Operational Bulletin is to provide all officers involved in the intake of a refugee claim, or the removal of a foreign national from Canada; specifically Border Services Officers (BSO) and Inland Enforcement Officers (IEO) in the Greater Toronto Area Region (GTAR), with guidance on changes associated with the implementation and launch of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) pilot program.

Board of Rabbis slams Harper government over Bill C-31 (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
It is rather late in the day, but some prominent members of Canada’s Jewish community are now vigorously protesting the government’s refugee reform bill, C-31 – just as it has passed both the House and the Senate! On Wednesday, the Toronto Board of Rabbis released a letter it sent to the Prime Minister, in which the Rabbis say they are “deeply concerned about proposed changes to the law that will affect refugees.” The letter enumerates many dangers the Rabbis see in the Bill, but places great emphasis on the safe designated country of origin provision.

Private refugees sponsorships could tank in face of federal cuts (Global News)
Over the past 15 years, Arnold Nickel has helped his Saskatoon church welcome dozens of refugees into the relative safety of Canadian society. Propelled by their own roots as refugees, members of Nutana Park Mennonite Church privately sponsor refugees from around the world at an average cost of $10,000 per adult. But the retired doctor is concerned his congregation might not be able to afford to help in the future, now that Ottawa has axed its support to help foot the medical bills for privately-sponsored refugees. “We will certainly have to be more selective and make fewer sponsorships because we have a limited amount of resources,” Nickel said.


Provincial/Territorial Policy Monitor June 2012 – PDF (Caledon Institute)
The Caledon Institute of Social Policy ( regularly scans provincial
and territorial government websites in order to follow policy developments related to our
core work and interests. These include: Disability, Education, Health, Housing, Income
Security, Poverty Reduction, Recreation, Seniors and Youth. This tracking is intended to
inform our analysis of policy trends.

Reporting back from the “Action on Poverty” Ward Profile Release Event (Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto (SPT) released its “Action on Poverty” Profiles for each of the City of Toronto’s 44 wards on June 7th. These profiles represent a joint effort on the part of the Alliance for a Poverty-Free Toronto (APT) and SPT to raise awareness about poverty and the conditions that contribute to its growth.

An Update from The West Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (Social Planning Toronto)
The West Coalition on Housing and Homelessness (WCOHH) is a group of agencies and individuals who are concerned about safe, affordable and adequate housing for all. WCOHH is working together to address the issues related to the availability of housing; the costs to have a home (apartment or house) and accessibility of reasonably priced housing for all groups in West Toronto.

The Death of Evidence
The ‘Death of Evidence’ rally will take place on July 10 to coincide with a large scientific conference taking place in Ottawa. The demonstration will entail a funeral procession from the Ottawa Convention Centre commencing at 12 noon, followed by a rally at Parliament Hill.

Latest Media and Policy News: 3 July 2012 (Income Security Advocacy Centre)
News headlines focused on poverty, policy around the province, nationally and internationally.


New program offers immigrants a foothold in the job market (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
Ottawa promised relief, but could not deliver. The provinces took a run at the problem, but they were stymied. Various non-profit groups have tried with limited success. This summer the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI), the nucleus of Toronto’s growing social enterprise sector, is reaching out to unemployed immigrants who have qualifications but can’t get them recognized and need Canadian experience but can’t get a break. It isn’t able to offer them full-time paying work. But it can offer them experience, exposure to a network of 300 open-minded entrepreneurs with connections and a Canadian milieu in which to use their skills while adjusting to a new business environment.–new-program-offers-immigrant-a-foothold-in-the-job-market

Mentorship Programs Build Bridges for Talented Immigrants (IECBC)
Read the story from Vancouver Foundation Magazine’s spring 2012 issue on how federal employee and mentor Patrick Tobin gave mentee Kassie Sambaraju the confidence and support to negotiate Canada’s professional networks through the Immigrant Employment Council’s mentoring program. The program connects employers and immigrant serving agencies to match skilled newcomers with mentors who are Canadian-born and currently employed.


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, Pan Am Games, City Hall and Other News.


Biennial Report – 2012 – 2011 – Redefining our Place – PDF (Metcalf Foundation)

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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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