Immigration & Diversity news headlines – August 3, 2012


Immigrants left to fend for themselves, P.E.I. MPs say (The Guardian)
Charlottetown MP?Sean Casey says he has seen a major increase in the number of people looking for help with their immigration and visas in his office over the last three months, following the closure of the Citizenship and Immigration Office in the city earlier this spring. “I recently spoke with the other MP offices and they are experiencing the same thing,” Casey said Thursday. The city office only has one half-time staff left who only deals with organizations’ funding agreements, not clients, said Casey.,-P.E.I.-MPs-say/1

No ideologues remain in the Conservative caucus (Chris Selley, National Post)
The most useful distinction between the Liberals of yore and the modern Conservatives is one of tone, not ideology. Take Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s cuts to refugee health care, for example. That’s something the Liberals probably wouldn’t have done, even if they thought it was a good idea. They were notoriously skittish on the refugee and immigration files. But when things got dire enough to necessitate action — closing the U.S. border to inbound refugee claimants; slapping a tourist visa on a friendly nation — they massaged facts and soft-pedalled their language in hopes of not offending immigrants or left-leaning voters. Mr. Kenney also massages facts, then shoots from the hip in hopes of appealing to all potential Conservative voters.

Harper says immigration minister not involved in Black’s visa (CTV)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his immigration minister played no role in granting Conrad Black a permit to live in Canada after the former media baron was released from a Florida jail. Harper says Jason Kenney took every step to ensure bureaucrats independently dealt with Black’s file, and that it’s not in the Conservative government’s interest to get involved in the case. He also called allegations against Kenney “spurious.”

Conrad Black visa lands Jason Kenney in legal flap (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
More than 80 lawyers have written an open letter to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney challenging his assertion that he was not involved with the decision to grant Conrad Black a permit to live in Canada after the former media mogul served jail time in the U.S. In an open letter to Kenney, the immigration lawyers say it is “not credible” that Black would have been granted a temporary resident permit “without any input” from Kenney himself. Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended Kenney calling the allegations against his cabinet minister “spurious” when questioned by reporters following an announcement on cleanup funding for Lake Winnipeg in Gimli, Man., on Thursday.

What’s the Kenney-TRP kerfuffle about? (rabble)
Recently there has been a flurry of words and tweets regarding the issuing of a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) to Conrad Black by the Minister for Deportations, Jason Kenney. Except when some lawyers said that Kenney was involved, his office went ahead and tried to get them disciplined. Now a bevy of lawyers have written an open letter saying that they don’t believe Kenney when he says he wasn’t involved, something the Globe and Mail is calling it an “uprising”. For those of you not following every twist and turn of Immigration, we thought it might be useful to explain what a TRP is. There are many reasons why a person can be considered inadmissible to Canada, criminal record, health issues, involvement in terrorist organizations, or just because they are poor. Usually these rules are used to keep out poor people, and people from the global south, not rich people like Conrad Black. However, the rules are very strict regarding criminality so for once a rich white man got kicked out of Canada.

Children have the right to go to school (CLEO)
The August back-to-school sales remind us that summer will soon come to an end. And while children in Ontario have the right to attend school even if they or their parents do not have immigration status in Canada, many students and parents do not know about this right. They may also be afraid to approach a school. This edition of On the Radar describes the laws that apply and suggests how community advocates can help.

Military missing employment equity recruiting targets (Kathleen Harris, CBC)
Two years after upping its targets for recruiting women, aboriginals and visible minorities, the Canadian Forces is falling far short of meeting its goals. According to statistics provided to CBC News Network’s Power & Politics by the Department of National Defence, women now make up less than 15 per cent of the military – well below the 25 per cent target and even behind its previous target that was based on 2001 census data. Visible minorities account for less than 5 per cent of the Canadian Forces – that’s less than half the goal of nearly 12 per cent, and aboriginals make up just over two per cent of the military, compared to the 3.4 per cent target. The employment equity recruiting goals aim to meet the targets by 2013.

Smashing the Stereotypes: Challenging Race and Gender in the Classroom (CCPA)
The summer 2012 issue of Our Schools / Our Selves, Smashing the Stereotypes: Challenging race and gender in the classroom, examines the ways in which stereotypes (such as racial and gender-based stereotypes) and unfounded negative perceptions limit debate and foster contempt, and how educators and academics are challenging these constraints.

B.C. soccer player helps Indian girls take aim at life goals (Elaine O’Connor, The Province)
Ishvarjot Kaur Jhaj knows how to shoot for a goal, in sports and in life. She has been playing soccer since she could walk, has competed on elite teams throughout school, and is now a premier women’s league player and coach. So when the 24-year-old New Westminster resident saw that girls just like her growing up in her parents’ home country of India were unable to achieve their own goals, she vowed to help them create a new game plan for their lives. The result is Shooting for Hope, a registered non-profit society that uses soccer camps in rural villages in Punjab, India to give girls opportunities to get active, gain self-esteem, and form strategies for success.

Newcomer Centre of Peel: Trying to Shape Future Leaders (Shivani Sharma, South Asian Generation Next)
Right now there is still that stigma of immigrant’s versus the local employees. Often the immigrants coming here have technical qualifications; they might have a master’s degree, PHD or might have a very high level experience in their home country. It is difficult to get a similar job in the initial years. Our biggest challenge as an organization is funding. Our employment program is definitely growing. When we started this program it was a very small. Initially it required promotion and now we have a waiting list as our classes are too full.

Perspectives: the monthly newsletter of the HR Council of the Nonprofit Sector
In this issue:
Diversity 2.0
Increasing ethnic diversity in the nonprofit sector’s workforce
Video profiles
2011-2012 Annual Report
A British Columbia case study


Fatal Vaughan nightclub stabbing: Suspect helped Iraqi refugees move to Canada (Toronto Star)
An Iraqi-Canadian who helped fellow refugees find safety in Canada has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing of one of his own. Azize Sepan, 48, fled Iraq in 1985 as bombs exploded around him and thousands of people died in the Iran-Iraq War. He was a registered refugee, sponsored by the Canadian government. Since arriving in Canada, Sepan chose to help other Iraqis make similar transitions. He worked alongside World Vision, helping more than 100 Iraqis make the move. On Wednesday, police arrested Sepan in connection with the fatal stabbing of 29-year-old Evan Gorgees — a fellow Iraqi who moved to Canada two years ago.–fatal-vaughan-nightclub-stabbing-second-degree-murder-charge-laid

Liberals urge Tory MD to fight cuts to health care for refugees (Susana Mas, CBC)
Two Liberal MPs are calling on the only medical doctor in the Conservative caucus to oppose cuts to a program that provides health-care services to refugees, saying it is her “medical duty” to do so. In an open letter to Conservative MP Kellie Leitch, Liberal MPs Hedy Fry and Carolyn Bennett say the cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) will result in “many refugee claimants being denied life-saving medical treatment, including prescription drugs for illnesses like diabetes and epilepsy, and necessary mental health services.” Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended the changes saying, “We are ensuring that all necessary health services are provided to refugee claimants,” when questioned by reporters following an announcement on cleanup funding for Lake Winnipeg in Gimli, Man., on Thursday.

Liberal Physicians Call on Fellow Medical Doctor Conservative Kellie Leitch to Oppose Cuts to Refugee Health Care (Liberal Party)
Two Liberal MPs and physicians, Dr. Hedy Fry and Dr. Carolyn Bennett, today wrote an open letter to Dr. Kellie Leitch, the only medical doctor in the Conservative Party caucus, about her medical duty to oppose cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), a program that provides health care services to refugees. “Physicians have a special responsibility to protect health, provide care and prevent disease,” said Dr. Fry. “As the only doctor in the Conservative caucus, Dr. Leitch must speak out against cuts to the IFHP, which threaten the health and safety of the world’s most vulnerable. As an expert, she is obligated to be an authoritative voice for better care.”

128 failed asylum-seekers headed home under new voluntary return program (Toronto Star)
Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program, CBSA, asylum-seekers At least 128 failed refugee claimants have jumped at the chance to return home with a little help from the federal government. Since the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program was launched on June 29, the Canada Border Services Agency has interviewed 508 people, referred 294 to the International Organization for Migration, which administers the program abroad, and enrolled 128. Ten failed claimants have already left for their home countries.–128-failed-asylum-seekers-headed-home-under-new-voluntary-return-program

Connect Legal Newsletter
In this issue:
Connect Legal congratulates Board Chair Ratna Omidvar on recently becoming a member of the Order of Canada
Win Global Wins With Connect Legal
YMCA Recognizes Connect Legal
and more


A pause on skilled worker applications does not pause our work (Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
While we have some idea of what to look for, we do not yet know what these changes will look like. But we do know one thing for sure: this pause on applications does not mean a pause on our work. While we must wait to see what the changes to the selection system mean for future Canadians, we know that skilled immigrants are here, now, and they are ready to work. They come to Canada with education, training, and global work experience. They bring new ideas and innovation to our economy. Likewise, those who arrive under the new system will have to build their networks when they arrive, regardless of their younger age and higher language skills.

Help me help you help me: Networking tips for mentors (Tina Edan, Maytree)
Mentoring relationships can be rewarding. However, if you’re the kind of mentor who assumes that you need to have answers and solutions to any question, issue or need your mentee might have, a mentorship can also be intimidating. What if you were to approach your mentoring relationship as a dynamic connection and opportunity for both mentee and mentor learn and grow? What if you considered the experience as a networking opportunity for both of you? There are many resources, stories, tips and information focused on enhancing networking skills of mentees. Less common are those that include tips for mentors.

Speaking notes for the Honourable Diane Finley to announce the Working While on Claim pilot project (Gov of Canada News Centre)
After travelling to various parts of the country this summer, I am pleased to be here today to provide a further update on our improvements to the Employment Insurance program. Last year, nearly 250 000 jobs went unfilled. As I have stated many times this year, we believe the EI program must encourage and help unemployed Canadians to fill those available jobs as effectively as possible. At its core, the EI program is an insurance program intended to provide temporary financial assistance to unemployed Canadians—who have lost employment through no fault of their own—while they actively look for work or upgrade their skills. It’s not meant to replace wages for people who choose not to work. And it’s certainly not intended to discourage people from trying to get back into the job market. Under the current regulations, EI recipients who find part-time or occasional work have their benefits reduced dollar-for-dollar once they have earned the equivalent of 40 percent of their benefits. Financially, this leaves them not much better off than they were before.


Friday’s Headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, City Hall, Development, Underpass Park and Other News.


Social Finance: The Key to Innovation City (Tristina Sinopoli,
How do we create cities that are catalysts for growth and prosperity on the global scale? How do we overcome the complexities of urbanization to develop effective digital and transportation infrastructure? How do we create sustainable and resource-efficient metropolitan regions? The Innovation City held at MaRS Discovery District on July 18 and 19 brought together international leaders from the public and private sectors to address these questions and more. As the sessions progressed, a key impediment to capturing the innovative potential of cities emerged: funding.

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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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