Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 5, 2012


Politicians given a chance to see Toronto through Fresh Eyes (Royson James, Toronto Star)
For 100 metres along the square, huge eyes greet visitors from the massive windows of the councillor’s offices. There is the eye of Mark Mutaahi of Uganda, Haniely Pableo of the Philippines, Luis Flores from Mexico, John McLawrence from St. Lucia and both eyes of Juan Cardama of Venezuela taking up Mayor Rob Ford’s double windows over the main doors into city hall. The transparent photos have been applied to the windows, allowing the city councillors to figuratively see through the eyes of newcomers to the city as the politicians physically look out the window through the translucent images. Called Fresh Eyes, the exhibit evokes the value that new and diverse perspectives and ideas bring to council debate and the city’s decision-making. Toronto needs newcomers to fill jobs, bring new energy and innovation, pay taxes and prepare it for the future. The city’s motto is “Diversity our Strength.” But a look at the decision-makers on city council — very white, with few newcomers or recent immigrants — leads one to conclude that Toronto has a way to go before living out its ideals.–politicians-given-a-chance-to-see-toronto-through-fresh-eyes

My First Canada Day: Ivonne Serna (Huffington Post)
Why did you decide to come to Canada? For three reasons: 1. The great level of education that one can get here. The program that I’m currently studying at Ryerson is very unique and they have the latest technology like the 3D body scanner and really great professors. 2. Canada is a great place for improving my French skills, so necessary for the fashion industry, and 3. I would like to start a business here, and Canada is the perfect place for investing.

Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants Appeal Denied — Slaw (Yosie Saint-Cyr, Slaw)
On June 25th, 2012, the Federal Court of Appeal denied the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (CSIC) appeal of the decision by the Minister of Immigration to appoint the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC) as the Regulator of Immigration Consultants.

India Rainbow holds Open House (South Asian Generation Next)
On June 21st, India Rainbow Community Services of Peel held an ‘Open House’ to celebrate the opening of its ‘Services for New Immigrants’ location at 3038 Hurontario Street, Unit 1. The ribbon cutting ceremony was done jointly by chief guest Cliff Fast, Operations Manager, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Sam Malvea, President of India Rainbow. This additional site is a one-stop shop for providing settlement counselling, referrals, information and employment support to all walk-in clients. This location also serves as an employment resource centre to meet the employment needs of newcomers. Guests from networking agencies, funders and supporters of India Rainbow, including members of the Board of Directors were present. All guests, community members and clients got a tour of the facility and staff members were present to show them around and answer any questions. The event was to create awareness about our programs and services that are available free of charge to all newcomers.


Refugee health cuts sicken doctors (Ben Spurr, NOW Toronto)
Did the federal government have a last-minute change of heart on cutbacks to refugee health care? Not according to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who’s been under unusual pressure from protests by the country’s most prestigious medical orgs. In April, Kenney announced reforms to the Interim Federal Health Program that would have stripped refugees of coverage for all but essential medical treatment, a measure that he argued would prevent bogus claimants from abusing Canada’s health system and save the government $100 million over five years.

Refugee health-care cuts will impact hospitals: MP (Inside Toronto)
Even though he applauds the federal government’s “partial reversal” of its plan to cut health care coverage to refugees, Davenport MP Andrew Cash says the move will cost taxpayers more money in the long run. “For those coming into the country, who are not part of the government-approved refugee system, if you’re coming into the country in any other way, you’ll not be able to have access to the Interim Federal Health Benefit,” he said. “The government likes to brand itself as being fiscally prudent, but, they’re praying on the most vulnerable in our society.”–refugee-health-care-cuts-will-impact-hospitals-mp

FCJ Refugee Centre is hosting symbolic clinics for people who are affected by the refugee health cuts (FCJ Refugee Centre)
The first clinic for people who have been impacted by the recent health cuts was launched on June 30 at FCJ Refugee Centre. Loly Rico, co-director of the FCJ Refugee Centre announced that the symbolic clinic will be available once a month at the community Centre. The FCJ Refugee Centre worked together with doctors, the NDP MP Andrew Cash and MPP Jonah Schein (Davenport). The organizers and participants agreed to condemn the federal government`s decision to cut healthcare coverage for refugee claimants and look for another alternatives for refugees that are shocked by these changes. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenny, attempted to attribute these changes to the targeting fraudulent refugee claims and spending cuts. But the NDP rejects those arguments pointing out the cost of the benefits is approximately $660 per refugee claimant, whereas government spending on healthcare for the average Canadian surpasses $5,000 per person.

Refugee health reversal demonstrates Conservatives sometimes back down (Charlie Smith,, Straight)
A physicians’ group is saying that Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has not proceeded with one of his controversial changes concerning refugees’ health. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care has revealed that the federal department’s website was altered on June 30. Now, the site says that government-assisted refugees are eligible for supplemental health coverage. However, self-selecting refugee claimants who arrive on Canadian soil and file their own applications will not have their health care covered by the interim federal health program.


Canada offers failed refugee claimants $2,000 to go home (Toronto Star)
It’s akin to a bribe, but few will admit to calling it that. Ottawa is offering as much as $2,000 and a one-way plane ticket to any refugee claimant denied asylum who will voluntarily go home. The pilot program was up and running this week in Greater Toronto so the expected number of takers isn’t yet known, but it has created a buzz among lawyers and refugee groups. “It’s a win-win situation,” said Peter Showler, a law professor at the University of Ottawa.–canada-offers-failed-refugee-claimants-2-000-to-go-home

Annual Report 2011 (FCJ Refugee Centre)
Take a look at our Annual Report 2011.

From drugs to immigrants: smuggling has always been with us (
For some illegal immigrants, the possibility of arrest and imprisonment was the least of their worries. International borders are, it seems, an invitation to smugglers. You know, build it and they will come. Certainly the international waters between Victoria and Washington State, primarily those of the Gulf and San Juan islands, have been the arenas of illicit activities almost from the start. Today, it’s narcotics and, sometimes, illegal immigrants. Unlike the latter, the narcotics flow both ways, B.C. “bud” going south, cocaine coming north, often as contra. Back then, it was narcotics from the Orient in the form of opium, then Chinese immigrants using B.C. as a doorway to the U.S., then the rumrunning of the 1920s. As current news accounts remind us from time to time, this war between smugglers and law enforcement agencies, Canadian and American, goes on


Why universal childcare is essential for a more equal Canada (Martha Friendly, Child Care Canada)
If anything positive has emerged from Canada’s growing inequality, it is that a conversation about “the Canada we want” has begun, as pundits and ordinary Canadians have begun to make the connections between health and wealth, public services and social justice, economics and democracy, taxes, inequality and social programs. Over the past year, public forums, blogs, conferences, and the media have explored these issues that came to full public attention when the Occupy Movement shone a spotlight on inequality. As this debate has gained strength, the idea that a national childcare program is a key piece of a more equal Canada has become part of the discourse.

2012 Business Plan Competition (Settlement AtWork)
$100,000 in seed funding is available to the winners of the Toronto Enterprise Fund’s 2012 Business Plan Competition for social enterprises that provide transitional or permanent employment for people who are marginalized.

U of T studies urban inequality (Inside Toronto)
With the rift between the city’s well-to-do and its lower-income neighbourhoods growing, the University of Toronto is launching a seven-year study designed to look at neighbourhood inequality. Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the study will look at whether Toronto is symptomatic of Canada as a whole and examine causes, effects and possible solutions to the trend. “Urban inequality has been well-studied in the U.S. and Europe, but for the most part, Canada has been left out of this research,” said Prof. David Hulchanski, principal investigator of the Neighbourhood Change Research Partnership.–u-of-t-studies-urban-inequality

“Addressing Urban Injustice: The Growing Gap and What to do about it” (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
On a panel Wednesday night at Innis College, academic luminaries such as UBC’s David Ley, CCPA economist Armine Yalnizyan and architect Ken Greenberg were given a few minutes each to address social and spatial segregation in cities. The speed at which they whipped through their presentations made for some Tweet-able moment. (“I’m not against mixed-income communities; it’s just how we get there,” said University of Illinois Professor Janet Smith at a session earlier in the day.) David Ley described the process of gentrification within Vancouver and found that while the socio-spatial trends are not as sharp as in Toronto, the racialization of low-income tracts will mirrors Toronto’s own growing pattern of segregation.


HR North: Connecting SMEs to skilled immigrant talent in Northeastern Ontario (Bonnie Mah, Maytree)
This report (funded by ALLIES, a joint project of Maytree and the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation) provides support for the development of a “one-stop” HR Support Centre for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in four regions across northeastern Ontario. This proposed support centre is the second component of the ongoing HR North project. The first component, an online database and matching tool, is currently being developed in partnership with Skills International with funding from Industry Canada.

Program hopes to help young immigrants find – and keep – their jobs (Alejandra Salcedo, MetroNews)
A program being offered at the Immigrant Centre hopes to help new immigrants settle in the city and find – and keep – their jobs. The Workplace Entry Program (WEP) offers newcomers the opportunity to learn more about Canada’s labour environment. The program is open to new immigrants between 18-30 years old, who have some English language skills. According to Margaret Ko, EAL Coordinator Teacher of WEP, said the aim “is educate young newcomers about pre-employability skills so that they become successful in finding and keeping their jobs.”

Foreign workers lodge more complaints against Denny’s (News 1130)
Temporary foreign workers are making new allegations against Denny’s Restaurants. The popular chain is already the subject of a $10-million class action lawsuit. Lawyer Christopher Foy of Kestrel Workplace Legal Counsel claims Denny’s management is telling workers if they drop out of the lawsuit, they will be assured backing in their applications to stay in Canada. “And if they do not opt out, they will not get support in terms of documents needed for residency in Canada,” says Foy. He alleges management has also misrepresented the amount of money workers would be entitled to if they do win their lawsuit, and accuses the company of telling employees their reputations would be damaged by continuing their involvement in the court case.–foreign-workers-lodge-more-complaints-against-denny-s

Denny’s pressing foreign workers to drop class-action suit: waitress (Globe and Mail)
In the latest skirmish of a running battle, lawyers representing temporary foreign workers at the Denny’s Restaurant group say the company has been using threats and intimidation in an attempt to get employees to back out of a $10-million lawsuit against the chain. Employees have been warned that the company will not back their bids for permanent residency if workers take part in the lawsuit, the lawyers and court documents allege. In a June 13 affidavit, Denny’s waitress Charo Salazar says a manager told her Denny’s would not support her application for permanent residency status if she took part in the class action, but “if I was going to opt-out [of the lawsuit] Denny’s will guarantee, 100 per cent, support for me with all the documents I need for residency in Canada,” Ms. Salazar says in the affidavit.

UFCW Canada Local 1518 continues strong support for diverse workplaces (UFCW)
As a pioneer in work related to diversity and inclusion in the union movement, UFCW Canada Local 1518 demonstrated its support at the 17th Annual DIVERSEcity awards in Surrey, British Columbia. A number of staff and members, including Local 1518 President Ivan Limpright and UFCW Canada National Office General Counsel Naveen Mehta, attended the popular event in an effort to support those who support diverse communities.

Government of Canada takes action to protect temporary foreign workers (Gov of Canada News)
The Government of Canada is taking action to protect vulnerable foreign workers from the risk of abuse and exploitation in sex trade related businesses. Significant new measures were announced today by the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. “Our government is committed to protecting all workers from abuse, exploitation and demeaning work,” said Minister Finley. “Through collaborative partnerships and preventative action, these new measures will further strengthen Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which was launched in early June.”;jsessionid=ac1b105430d7a54de6ee12b94a198479c0624b2f6335.e34Rc3iMbx8Oai0Tbx0SaxmNah50?crtr.sj1D=&crtr.mnthndVl=1&mthd=advSrch&crtr.dpt1D=420&nid=684419&crtr.lc1D=&crtr.tp1D=1&crtr.yrStrtVl=2008&

No more foreign workers for employers linked to sex trade: immigration minister (Bill Graveland, Winnipeg Free Press)
The federal government is no longer allowing employers linked to the sex trade to hire strippers, escorts and massage parlour workers from outside the country. “Frankly this should have been done a long time ago,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday. “Why would we grant visas to girls that we have a strong suspicion are going to end up under the thumb of a criminal gang being exploited and trafficked? We’re not going after the women — we’re protecting them from what they might not know will happen to them when they get to Canada.”

Feds won’t OK foreign temps working as strippers (Kristy Kirkup, Toronto Sun)
The Adult Entertainment Association of Canada slammed the government for moving to ban temporary foreign workers from baring all. Canada will no longer process temporary foreign worker applications for those who wish to work at strip clubs, massage parlours or as escorts, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Wednesday. But Tim Lambrinos, president of the AEAC, said stripping doesn’t belong in that list. “These women are entertainers. They’re performers,” he said.

Exotic dancers, sex industry targeted in new immigration rules (Jordan Press, Vancouver Sun)
Canadian employers will be blocked from hiring temporary foreign workers in sex trade-related jobs under new rules announced by the Harper government Wednesday. The changes are intended to prevent temporary foreign workers from taking employment as exotic dancers, with erotic massage parlours or escort services, or in any other field deemed “degrading” by the government. While anti-human trafficking groups praised the move, the government also was criticized for going after an easy target and stoking societal stigmas about exotic dancers, rather than making policy based on empirical evidence.

Immigration changes should help curb human trafficking (Michele Mandel, Toronto Sun)
When Timea Nagy answered an ad in a Budapest newspaper, she thought she was coming to Toronto to work as a nanny for the summer. Instead, when the 19-year-old was picked up by three burly men awaiting her at Pearson Airport, she was told she now owed $3,000 for her travel expenses and would have to pay them back by working as a stripper and sex worker. “I freaked out. I wanted to go home,” she recalled. But that wasn’t an option. The men told her that if she didn’t pay off her debt to them, they’d kill her family back in Hungary.

Migrant Worker Community celebrates announcement that injured migrant will receive medical surgery (Justice for Migrant Workers)
Eloid Drummond the Jamaican migrant worker who was injured in a cycling accident will finally receive surgery to heal his dislocated shoulder. Drummond’s case received widespread attention as it highlighted the barriers faced by migrant workers to access health care while in Canada. Eloid was employed under the auspices of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (CSAWP) a Federal program that brings migrant workers from the Caribbean and Mexico to work on farms across Canada. The CSAWP program is an employer driven program where migrant workers are tied to an employer and have no access to social or labour mobility rights while in Canada.


Thursday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on TTC, Plastic Bags, City Hall and Other News.

The Missing Half of OneCity (Steve Munro)
Last week brought the excitement of the OneCity network announcement, followed by mildly supportive words from Queen’s Park and its agency Metrolinx, followed in turn by rather stronger provincial denunciation of a City that can’t make up its mind on transit. Queen’s Park can hardly talk about consistency given their happiness to leap into bed with Rob Ford’s subway plan until Council gently reminded their provincial cousins that the Mayor had not bothered to ask for Council’s approval. Meanwhile, delivery dates for provincial “commitments” drift off into the 2020s with the flimsiest of excuses about the limitations of an overheated construction market. This is the same provincial government who talks about the power and capabilities of international companies just itching to work in the Toronto market.

Three words to keep in mind as “OneCity” proposal considered (CivicAction)
CivicAction Chair John Tory and CEO Mitzie Hunter today welcomed the addition of the OneCity proposal to the Toronto region’s transportation discussion. “We need to give top priority to making it easier to move people and goods around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA),” said Hunter. “OneCity is commendable for its broadening out of transit options to include more transit overall and more subways, and for its realism in addressing the need for new, sustainable sources of money that are dedicated to making our transportation system better,” said Hunter.


TD Charitable Foundation to Award $2.5 Million in Grants to Non-Profits Focusing on Transitional Housing and Homeless Shelter Projects (Imagine Canada)
The TD Charitable Foundation, funded by TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, today announced it will award $2.5 million in grants in 2012 to support transitional housing and homeless shelter projects and initiatives through its seventh annual “Housing for Everyone” grant competition.

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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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