Immigration & Diversity news headlines – August 22, 2012


Canadas new immigration rules put premium on young people (Globe and Mail)
Independent research supports the governments claims that younger immigrants perform better financially, but some say there shouldnt be hard and fast rules. The next Frank Stronach could be 38 years old, and then what do we do? said Ratna Omidvar, president of the immigration-focused Maytree Foundation and board chair of the Toronto Region Immigrant and Employment Council. I think a little less rigidity would be preferable. On language, the new rules will give significantly more points to applicants who have strong language skills in either English or French, but points for speaking both official languages will be cut in half from eight to four. Some immigration experts say this could, at least temporarily, have the effect of curbing immigration from regions with relatively poor average English or French skills like China and South Asia.? A spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney rejected such theories as innapropriate.

How we can grow our own (not so) exotic ingredients right here in the GTA (Yonge Street)
There’s no more direct gateway into an unfamiliar culture than an invitation to taste its food. With its sidewalk grocers’ stands loaded with produce from around the world, Toronto extends countless invitations to taste the unknown. What are those brown, barrel-shaped tubers? How would I cook “desi kerala”? How hot are those tiny multicoloured peppers? In Kensington Market, on Gerrard East, along Spadina and Bloor West and Eglintonin fact, in every neighbourhood with a concentration of residents who’ve arrived in recent decades from some other countryshopkeepers have reassembled the essential foodstuffs of the expats’ national cuisines. Much of this produced has travelled thousands of miles from other countries. But for some vegetables, that long commute to our tables may be about to change, thanks to a brilliantly simple partnership between Ontario farmers and food scientists.

Canada Border Services closes inquiry into troubled P.E.I. immigration program (Ottawa Citizen)
There is insufficient evidence to lay charges following an investigation into Prince Edward Island’s troubled immigration nominee program, the Canada Border Services Agency said Tuesday. The agency said it has concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to support charges under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act after an investigator’s report was completed last November. Last September, the federal Immigration Department referred allegations that the immigration program was marred by bribery to the agency and the RCMP. The agency said it now considers the matter closed.

Chinese continue to seek residency overseas (Cheng Guangjin, China Daily)
Despite tightening immigration rules in many destinations popular with Chinese immigrants, the number of applicants who have growing wealth and a desire to live elsewhere continues to rise. This year it has become even more difficult for many Chinese citizens to realize their immigration dreams, as most of their favorite destinations are adjusting immigration rules with higher qualification requirements and fewer openings. Canada announced in late June that it would temporarily suspend new applications to the Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Immigrant Investor Program, effective on July 1. The government is expected to accept applications again in January. Meanwhile, Quebec, a province of eastern Canada, has limited the maximum number of investor applications between March 21, 2012, and March 31, 2013, to 2,700.

French fluency a prerequisite to public office under PQ government (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
A Parti Québécois government would make anglophones and immigrants ineligible to run for public office unless they spoke French, leader Pauline Marois told reporters Tuesday. This is what we call the right of eligibility, and it seems to be that out of respect for our language, which is the official language of Quebec, it is normal that someone who wants to represent citizens should speak this language, Marois said during a press conference at a provincial nurses federation. Marois brushed off questions about details of the proposed law, such as whether would-be candidates would have to take a written test, an oral one, or both. The restriction would apply both to provincial candidates and people running for municipal councils, she said.

John A. Macdonald wanted an Aryan Canada (Tim Stanley, Ottawa Citizen)
In 1885, John A. Macdonald told the House of Commons that, if the Chinese were not excluded from Canada, the Aryan character of the future of British America should be destroyed This was the precise moment in the histories of Canada and the British Dominions when Macdonald personally introduced race as a defining legal principle of the state. He did this not just in any piece of legislation, but in the Electoral Franchise Act, an act that defined the federal polity of adult male property holders and that he called my greatest achievement.

The dark days of intolerance are not quite behind us (Bernie Farber, Ottawa Citizen)
Its the 21st century. How far have we come in respecting the diversity of a modern pluralistic Canada? Many would argue not far at all. Last week, we saw the beginnings of an uproar over the Bank of Canada producing a $100 bill with the image of an Asian woman looking through a microscope. Focus groups heavily criticized the design. Thus when Asian immigration and the incalculable good it has done for this country is at an all time high, the Bank of Canada seemed to acquiesce to racist attitudes and decided to forgo the design. Also last week, the largest Protestant denomination in the country, the United Church of Canada, at their General Assembly passed a resolution waffling on the proposition that Israel is a Jewish state. Essentially this denies Jews self-determination to the exclusion of any other nation on Earth.

North America is safe from Sharia (Jonathan Kay, National Post)
American anti-shariah activists also are heavily influenced by scare stories from Europe, where Muslims are a much larger share of the population. And it must be granted that some neighborhoods in France, England, the low countries and Scandinavia truly have fallen under the intimidation of Muslim conservatives. But the facts in the United States and Canada tell another story: Muslims constitute a small percentage of the North American population, and their influence in Washington and Ottawa is tiny, even compared to that miniscule population share especially when one considers the massive countervailing influence, in both Canada and the United States, of the pro-Israel lobby. The idea that North America is home to a secret fifth column of militant Muslims is belied by the terrorism statistics: In the last decade, the total number of innocents killed on North American soil by Islamist terrorists amounts to about two per year about as many people, in total for the whole decade, as were killed in the recent mass murders in Aurora, Col. and Milwaukee.

Redesign of $100 bill was a mistake (Martin Van, Richmond Review)
The Bank of Canada’s decision to remove the South Asian features of a woman depicted working behind a microscope in the new $100 Canadian bill is akin to erasing the contributions South Asians have made to Canadian history. “How can they wilfully erase any people of colour,” said Chinese-Canadian community activist Bill Chu, founder of Canadians for Reconciliation, a group that demanded government “officially acknowledge” the histories and contributions of Chinese and First Nations in B.C. “I think it rings the death knell for multiculturalism,” Chu said. “I suppose it’s a reminder for all good Canadians to reflect on where we are as a country and where are we going with this.”


Ottawa cuts to refugee health care almost costs man his vision (Toronto Star)
Daniel Garcia Rodriguez would have permanently lost his vision from a chronic retinal detachment if it wasnt for a Toronto surgeon who defied Ottawas order not to operate on the Aurora mans eye. Garcia Rodriguez was almost certain to go blind, after Ottawa terminated the interim federal health coverage of the Colombian refugee and many others like him as of June 30. Repeated pleas by Dr. David Wong, an eye surgeon at St. Michaels Hospital, for an exemption for Garcia Rodriguez had fallen on deaf ears at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. On Monday, out of desperation to save the mans deteriorating vision, Wong went ahead with the surgery. The bulk of the $10,000 cost will be absorbed by his own practice and the fiscally-strapped hospital.–ottawa-cuts-to-refugee-health-care-almost-costs-man-his-vision

Health Care Coverage Table for Refugee Claimants and Refugees in Ontario (Health4All)
See the attachment below for a table developed by Canadian Clinicians for Refugee Care, a coalition of clinicians, researchers and community health workers, providing information about health care coverage for refugee claimants and refugees. This information is provided for health care practitioners. The table applies specifically to Ontario, as there are certain differences between provinces. Although all information has been carefully checked by experts in refugee law and health policy, they cannot guarantee accuracy or completeness.

Refugee Health Cuts Flowchart for Frontline Workers in Ontario (Health4All)
Please see the attachment below created by the No IFH Cuts Coalition to be circulated to frontline workers dealing with the refugee health cuts to help clarify the cuts. The flowchart is also developed to help people advocate for those affected. It will be updated once the Designated Countries of Origin list is announced.

Notification for Community Organizations on Changes to Application for Permanent Residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds (Settlement AtWork)
Currently, a Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application is the most common way that clients who are unsuccessful with their refugee claim get to stay permanently in Canada. This information sheet explains some of the changes that will take place to the H&C application with the passing of Bill C-31.

Changes to the Interim Federal Health Coverage Program (PDF) (Settlement AtWork)
This information sheet explains some of the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) affecting refugee claimants, individuals granted refugee or protected person status but not yet on OHIP, and individuals denied refugee status.


OP-ED: Why affordable housing is a key human right (Kenneth Hale, Yonge Street)
Four courageous Canadians and a small but powerful grassroots human rights group have taken a groundbreaking step in the fight for decent, affordable housing in this province. They have applied to the Superior Court of Ontario for a declaration that the Governments of Canada and Ontario are violating their rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by failing to address the problems of homelessness and inadequate housing. They have asked the court to order the governments to develop and implement effective strategies to reduce and eliminate these problems in consultation with groups affected by them. The four applicantsa single mother, an injured worker with disabled children, a homeless cancer survivor and a widow who had to give up care of her children have all faced enormous difficulties in their lives. These difficulties have been made much worse by the lack of suitable housing that they can afford. Supported by the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation, they want to hold their governments accountable for the public policy failures that have caused this harm and to require governments to take steps to prevent future harm.

National pharamcare plan overdue (Toronto Star)
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with the health and immigration ministers, tried to justify cutting refugee health coverage in Canada, they argued it was about fairness. Providing prescription drug coverage to refugees was unfair, they claimed, because other Canadians do not have such coverage. They were at least partially right. As a country, we provide universal access to medically necessary hospital care, diagnostic tests and physician services based solely on need. Its a point of national pride. But Canadian medicare as it is affectionately known ends as soon as a patient is given a prescription to fill. Provincial drug plans cover only limited populations, such as seniors or social assistance recipients, or limited costs (such as costs exceeding catastrophic deductibles). Private drug insurance is a perk not easily obtained by Canadians who are retired, self-employed or employees of small companies.–national-pharamcare-plan-overdue


Scarborough Hospital responds to the community needs (TRIEC)
Recently, the Scarborough Hospital (TSH) came up with a way to better serve its community while also providing an opportunity for newly arrived internationally trained professionals. The hospital works with a diverse and dynamic Toronto East community: half the population of Scarborough are immigrants. TSH brainstormed different options to communicate health prevention information to its patients and their families before they visit the hospital. The Centre was also created as a way to bridge the gap between health care and local community services. In May 2012, the hospital launched the Global Community Resource Centre a volunteer based multilingual one-stop information centre that provides free material on health prevention and community services on the phone, face-to-face, and through workshops.

How Taking a Human Rights Approach Can Enhance Diversity (Conference Board of Canada)
This e-Presentation covers the fundamentals of the Human Rights Maturity Modela tool to help your organization create a culture that respects human rights and embraces diversity. As such, the Maturity Model serves as a roadmap for change to improve your organizations human rights practices. People often think human rights have only legal implications. This session will provide you with a unique opportunity to see and appreciate human rights from a different angle. You will see how the Maturity Model can benefit your organization by measuring success and identifying challenges. Ultimately, the Maturity Model can help your organization create a more inclusive and respectful workplace.

Toward Inclusion: The Ontario Public Service Inclusion Lens (Conference Board of Canada)
The OPS Inclusion Lens provides a framework that supports broad and inclusive thinking in the development and review of policies, programs, legislation, and services. It moves beyond traditional policy development and training approaches. In this e-Presentation, Shamira discusses the development of the Inclusion Lens. She shows how the tool encourages staff to think about the potential diversity and inclusion impacts of government initiatives by asking a series of open-ended questions embedded into an existing business/policy cycle. Resources within the tool will be highlighted, as well as the tools adaptability to different business lines and jurisdictions.

Whose Job is Diversity Anyway? Transforming Diversity Through Co-Accountability (Conference Board of Canada)
The co-accountability model is a new way to look at diversity. It is based on the belief that, to succeed, any inclusion initiative must actively involve people inside and outside the organization, and share accountability across the organization. In this e-Presentation, James introduces the model in a lively discussion that demonstrates how this novel approach helps organizations move away from an us and them approach to diversity, to how we can work together to create change.

diversity 2012: Immigrant Women and the Workplace (Skills for Change)
For nearly one year, the Innovation Office has been refining the Immigrant Women in Leadership initiative to improve the participation and success of immigrant women in their workplaces and communities. Our research has produced not only profound results but real-life stories of challenges and triumphs unique to the journeys of immigrant women. We believe these stories need to be shared.


Wednesday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Ford, Police and Other News.

Creating library space that adds to the community and respects it (TPL)
Every day, thousands of people use Toronto Public Library branches to read, study, collaborate, borrow books, use the computer, attend a program or meeting and more. There is great demand for public space. The variety of use and space needs in library branches is ever increasing. How can the library respond and provide spaces in branches that meet the wide range of customer needs and inspire people of all ages across the city?

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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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