Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 10, 2012


The Canadian Immigration Policy Needs An Overhaul (Evelina Silveira, Diversity at Work in London)
I completely understand what the Harper government is trying to do. Their goal is to bring the best and the brightest to Canada and crack down on people who want to exploit the system, or who will not want to acculturate. However, there are people right now who are being sent back who have been contributing here, who do speak the language and have come to see themselves as Canadians. In another example, a family is being deported that runs a successful small business? Small businesses are the backbone of our communities they were serving a niche market that was currently underserved. Why then do we want to send them back to face uncertainty when they have proven themselves to be worthy of staying? It is not like our borders are ripping through the seams and we are facing a population explosion!

The rifts Canadians cannot ignore (Raymond B. Blake, Leader Post)
Canada is one of the most diverse and regionalized countries in the world. For the past generation, we have been able to manage our diversity and regional discontent fairly well. The animosity against immigration and diversity has been muted across the country, except for some isolated outbursts against immigrants and newcomers, especially in Quebec. Canadians remain outwardly proud of the country’s diversity even if they secretly admit to pollsters that they believe that newcomers have to change and become more Canadian, whatever that might mean. There have also been moments of anger and dissension that pitted provincial premiers against the national government, as in the case of Saskatchewan and Newfoundland’s quarrel with Ottawa over equalization payments. They argued for more money, yet the only risk to the country during those spats was then-premier Danny Williams refusing to fly the Canadian flag in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Chinese immigrants story shows the price of admission has risen (Jan Wong, Chronicle Herald)
On the two-hour flight to Fredericton from Toronto last weekend, my seatmate was in a chatty mood. Whats the best university program for my daughter to get a good job? It was a quintessential Maritime question. Except my seatmate was a new immigrant from China and was speaking Mandarin. Her 15-year-old daughter, in neon-orange platform sandals and matching pedicure, sat across the aisle.

Canadians are tolerant… to a point (Allan Levine, Winnipeg Free Press)
Quebec Premier-elect Pauline Marois has vowed that the Parti Québécois will pass a “Charter of Secularism” that would bar any public employee from wearing a “conspicuous religious sign”– Jewish kippahs or skullcaps and Muslim headscarves, for instance. The one exception is the wearing of a crucifix since Christianity and crosses, such as the large one which hangs in the Quebec National Assembly, are ingrained symbols of Quebec’s history and culture. She would also prohibit non-French speakers, who currently do not reside in Quebec, from holding public office. Finally she intends to further limit the rights of anglophone parents and students. Pierre Trudeau was right: the xenophobic “distinct society” he warned about in the early 1990s has showed its true colours.

Jason Kenney expected to announce 2,900 being stripped of citizenship for fraud (Stewart Bell, Nation Post)
A widening federal crackdown has identified a record number of people suspected of acquiring their Canadian citizenship and immigration status through fraud, according to a government source. The number of newcomers under investigation for misrepresenting themselves in their dealings with Citizenship and Immigration Canada has ballooned to an historic 11,000 as a result of nation-wide enforcement.

Cultural literacy about more than language (Arlen Redekop, Vancouver Sun)
When Meagan Kim relocated from Singapore to Vancouver in 2009, she didn’t want to learn English so much as she wanted to learn Canadian culture. She figured it wouldn’t be too tricky: after all, she’d heard Vancouver was a multicultural place where people would gladly help dissect the “eh?” to “Zed” of Canadiana. Language was important, but for Kim, the social aspect of her new life was paramount. What she didn’t realize was how alienating suburbs like West Vancouver, full of wealthy Canadian families with their own social networks, can be to shy newcomers self-conscious about their halting English.

Canada Cuts Ties with Iran & Syria Despite Its Embarrassing Record on Defending Its Middle Eastern Immigrants (Huffington Post)
The Canadian government announced this weekend that it has cut ties with the governments of Iran and Syria — shutting down its embassy in Tehran and expelling diplomats from Canada. The reason? Human rights. Canada, citing its Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, says that it is taking these measures to make it easier for its Middle Eastern immigrants to take legal action against their homelands for violations of human rights. The Canadian government made no mention of the easiest and most harmless solution: changing Canadian laws to implement this highly important goal.

Anglos ignored (Rino Granito, Calgary Herald)
I am a Quebecois second, but Canadian first. As always in Quebec, things are done the other way around. I have to admit my heart and home is Montreal. However, discrimination toward the Anglos is a fait accompli. Not only can we not decide how to educate our children, we cannot for the most part have medical care in English. While we love Quebec, we cannot tolerate any longer the constant hypocrisy from both Quebec and Canada. Quebec is the only democratic body that has legalized discrimination (Bill 101 and the notwithstanding clause). Canada should stop transfer payments and pandering to Quebec’s every whim.

What No Immigrant Will Ever Have (Huffington Post)
I have lived more than half of each of the past 12 years in Italy. I acquired a visa, permanent resident status, a house, a national health number, learned Italian, and got — after the considerable effort of a 25-hour course and an oral exam in Italian — a driver’s license. However, there is one thing I will never have no matter how long I live in Italy: an Italian childhood. I realize this every time I converse with Italian friends over dinner or spend a long evening with them. No matter how much vocabulary I know nor how much grammar I master, I sometimes hear only their words but fail to understand what they are talking about.

More than a century of diversity in Canada’s armed forces (Vancouver Sun)
The first Sikh immigrants to Canada in 1897 were British Army veterans. Ten Sikhs are known to have enlisted in the Canadian Forces during the First World War. Two died in action, three were wounded, and another died of his injuries after returning to Canada. Their stories were documented in David R. Gray’s 2008 film, Sikh-Canadian Heroes of the First World War.

Canadas anchor babies: Journey home is tough for children deported with their parents (Toronto Star)
Children born in Canada to non-status migrants are Canadian citizens by birth but that doesnt prevent their non-status parents, often failed refugee claimants, from being removed from the country. These parents are faced with a dilemma: Should they leave their children behind in state care, or uproot them for a life of destitution and/or danger in their home country? Some migrants hope their Canadian-born children who in the United States might be disparagingly referred to as anchor babies will find a brighter future and one day serve as a connection to help them legally return to Canada. While immigration and border officials consider the childs interests in deciding whether to let parents stay on humanitarian grounds, critics say such decisions are arbitrary.–canada-s-anchor-babies-journey-home-is-tough-for-children-deported-with-their-parents

Statement from Ministers Toews and Kenney regarding new arrests in Hamilton human trafficking case (Public Safety)
The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism today issued the following statement following an announcement by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that nine additional individuals were arrested as part of the RCMP-led Project “OPAPA” investigation into human trafficking. With these latest arrests, a total of 29 individuals have been arrested. “We congratulate the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on these important arrests. Human trafficking is a despicable crime that preys on the most vulnerable. The nine individuals recently arrested are believed to have played an important role in the largest human trafficking case in Canadian history.

Muslim panelists ‘not available,’ unredacted document says (Louise Elliott, CBC)
The Department of Foreign Affairs has released previously blacked-out information from a document about a closed-door consultation last fall about its yet-to-be-unveiled Office of Religious Freedom. The decision was made after CBC News complained about the redaction to Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault, who’s responsible for enforcing the Access to Information Act. Muslim panelists “not available,” unredacted document says The document showed scripted talking points for department officials about the controversial consultation in Ottawa last October.

Stephen Harpers five new senators reflect ethnic diversity (Jordan Press, Calgary Herald)
A former Progressive Conservative politician from New Brunswick, a citizenship judge who fled Vietnam and the first Filipino-Canadian elected in Canadas largest city are among the crop of new additions to the Senate with the latter two making history as the first from their ethnic groups to sit in the Red Chamber. The five vacancies filled Friday bolstered Tory ranks in the Senate, swelling the partys majority to 62 seats in the 105-seat chamber, and, the government argued, adding to support for its Senate reform agenda.

Hockey Canada aims to make minor hockey more accessible (Cam Charron, Yahoo! Sports)
“I think when a lot of families come to Canada, they’re not even sure what hockey is,” said Nicholson. This can be a challenge to recruit players and first-generation Canadians from ethnic backgrounds.” Immigration data from the 2011 census will be released mid-September. Unfamiliarity with the game, as well as language, were the highlighted challenges with recruitment in that area.

Immigrant children excel in school (Globe and Mail)
It turns out there is some truth to the notion that Canada is a land of opportunity. Children of the second generation the offspring of immigrants outperform other Canadian-born children in school. And the first generation does just as well as the native-born. Both of those accomplishments are pretty rare in the world. But because it is unseemly to gush about ourselves, well let the OECD study known as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which tests 15-year-olds in mostly affluent countries, do it for us.

CERIS looks at a busy year ahead (CERIS)
Starting off as a project, CERIS The Ontario Metropolis Centre has established itself as the network on research about immigration and settlement in Ontario. Over the last decade and a half, we as a group of community organisation members, policy officials, researchers and students have produced new and relevant knowledge on the lives of newcomers to Canada and the policies that affect them. In the process, we have fostered innovative research collaborations and helped build capacity among all partners. We have then gone on further to put this knowledge into action through mobilising our research and network to influence policy and practice, and challenge public perceptions on issues related to immigrants, refugees, temporary migrants, and racialised minorities in Canada. Across thematic domains that include housing, health, welcoming communities, labour markets, justice, and integration, knowledge produced by CERIS affiliates is now available in various open access formats and platforms.


Ontario lawyers stop taking refugee clients on legal aid (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Some Ontario lawyers have stopped accepting refugee clients on legal aid fearing they wont get paid under new cutbacks that took effect Thursday. Under the old payment scheme by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO), lawyers were paid for the work they did preparing refugees appeals at the federal court and drafting opinion letters for the clients legal aid application, even if LAO ended up rejecting the request. Lawyers were allowed to bill up to four hours at about $110 an hour for researching a clients case and drafting the opinion letter, an analysis of the refugees case. However, under the new system, LAO wont reimburse the legal service already invested if it disapproves the legal aid at the end, either because the client earns more than $12,000 a year or the case is deemed unlikely to succeed.–ontario-lawyers-stop-taking-refugee-clients-on-legal-aid#.UEshoyJZ_jc.twitter

Legal Aid for Refugee Claimants in Canada (Refugee Research Net)
A report drafted by the Refugee Forum under the direction of Peter Showler in conjunction with the University of Ottawa Refugee Assistance Project which operates on a grant provided by the Law Foundation of Ontario. The principal researcher and drafter was Alexandra Belluz. Provincial legal Aid tariffs were researched by Greg Erauw. This is an interim report documenting legal aid assistance available to refugee claimants in each province for legal representation at the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the Federal Court, humanitarian permanent residence applications and removal proceedings. The information was compiled in June, 2012 prior to the passage of Bill C-31, the Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act (PCISA).

‘We Refuse To Cooperate’ campaign Hamilton
September 29, 2012, 1pm-4pm
Bayfront Park, near the gazebo
Hamiltonians for Migrant Health calls on healthcare providers, community members, and allies to join the nation-wide ‘We Refuse To Cooperate’ campaign in solidarity with the Health Justice Collective of Montreal. We urge you to demonstrate your support for refugee health care in Canada by joining the campaign. On June 30th, government cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) took effect, leaving some refugee groups in Canada with limited to no access to health care. These changes are inhumane and threaten the health and dignity of migrant communities. Healthcare providers and community members across Canada have voiced their concern over the health and socioeconomic impact of these policy changes. An unprecedented mobilization took place in the lead-up to the June 18th National Day of Action Against Cuts to the IFH, which included demonstrations in over a dozen cities.

True To Their Oath (Melanie Spence, Ryerson Free Press)
Nights are busy at the Scarborough Volunteer Clinic for Medically Uninsured Immigrants and Refugees. Weve had a crazy time, says clinic director and family physician Dr. Paul Caulford. Our numbers are growing dramatically. Caulford opened the Scarborough free clinic in May 2000 in response to the large number of immigrants and refugees living and working in the area without access to public health care. As a result of new cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFH) Canadas health insurance program for refugees refugees are visiting the clinic in record numbers and are in dire straits, Caulford explained. Its almost like they are being bullied.

Gypsy group fueling crime in Toronto, critics say (Sun News)
The Canadian Border Services Agency is asleep at the wheel allowing more than 400 alleged Roma gypsies – many of whom have extensive criminal records – into the country and specifically the GTA, critics say. This week, the Durham Regional Police Service confirmed they had arrested 34 people and laid 263 charges in the largest investigation of its kind in the region.

Liberal MP: Let’s talk about gypsies (Kevin Connor, Toronto Sun)
Police busted one Roma fraud cell, but they say there are a least six others stealing millions from stores and vulnerable people. When a person comes to Canada and claims refugee status they are detained and their history is checked out. Something went wrong here. It concerns me that large numbers are getting through the border, said Liberal immigration critic, MP Kevin Lamoureux. We need to speed up the process so we can get rid of those abusing the system. We need more resources in place so our borders can be looked after. The CBSA is trying to help clean up the mess.

Feds set sights on failed refugee claimants (Sun News)
Ottawa is targeting for deportation upwards of 2,000 failed refugee claimants who’ve gone underground across the country, immigration documents show. Some $11 million has been earmarked to fund the chase for 400 failed claimants in Quebec alone and 1,600 from other provinces, according to a 2012-2013 Planned Removals of Failed Refugee Claimants document.

The Latest News On Bill C-31 (Refugee Lawyers Group)
Summary of news over the past months.

Building board diversity (Alta.Board Development Program)


MentorNet (CSIH)
MentorNet is a new national program that aims to connect students and young professionals (SYPs) interested in global health with individuals experienced in the field. MentorNet intends to serve as a vehicle for enhancing SYPs? knowledge, interest, and capacity to contribute to this rapidly expanding field.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Retirement income for Canadians with low incomes (John Stapleton) – September 2012
2. Where do YOU draw the line? New website on sexual violence (Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes and the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres) – September 2012
3. Latest Media and Policy News: 6 September 2012 (Income Security Advocacy Centre – ISAC)
4. Les élections générales du 4 septembre 2012 au Québec / The 2012 Québec election took place on September 4 (2012).
5. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Labour Force Survey, August 2012 – September 7
— Labour productivity, hourly compensation and unit labour cost, second quarter 2012 – September 7
6. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Robin Hood corporate taxation? Good idea. (Stephen Kimber, Atlantic Business Magazine)
Whenever someone suggests corporations and the richest Canadians should pay their fair share of taxes or at least something approximating the level they paid back in the post-war decades when rising prosperity was lifting all boats the reflexive response is: “Oh, no, we couldn’t do that. They’d just move somewhere else.” Impose taxes on carbon emissions in order to help scrub our screwed-up environment? But what about China? India? We couldn’t compete if our businesses had to actually pay for the environmental messes they create. Protect the jobs of Canadian workers from sweatshops and cheap offshore competitors? But who would make our iPads if we did that? Maintain social services, education, health care, pensions? Sorry, but those horses left their barns long ago… So what can supposedly sovereign nations do when individual governments seem powerless in the face of rampant globalization and footloose capital? Well, they could get together to create an international public counter-balance to out-of-whack corporate power and at the least begin to mitigate some of the worst effects of unfettered globalization. Agreeing to a locally adopted, globally implemented financial transactions tax would be a smart start. The idea popularly known as the Robin Hood tax originated with Nobel prize-winning economist James Tobin, who pitched a variation of the tax following the 1990s Asian financial crisis. Not surprisingly, his proposal has only gained traction in the wake of the 2008 global meltdown.

Political polls you get what you pay for (Warren Kinsella, Toronto Sun)
A joke. Thats what media political polls have become in this country. And, if the news media continue to trumpet the results of polls, they risk becoming a joke, too. By the time you read this, the pollsters will have hit the TV panels, trying to fool everyone into thinking that they didnt really get the stunning Quebec election results wrong. But they did, and dramatically so. And theyre doing it all the time now.–you-get-what-you-pay-for

Erasing inequality in Hamilton schools (Hamilton Spectator)
But as Malloy knows, the issue is complex. And the solution will require more than enhancing funding or shuffling staff. If the answers were simple, we would simply do what was needed and our kids would be successful, he says. The answers aren’t simple and there are a lot of factors involved. There’s no single reason for the gap between high- and low-achieving schools. New Canadians still developing important English-language skills can skew the results, for instance. Class size or the proportion of students with special needs can also affect performance on standardized tests. There are also challenges such as poverty that are to some degree outside of the educators’ influence or control, notes Malloy.–erasing-inequality

Poverty report raises red flags for Durham groups (
Durham’s social justice advocates are raising the alarm in the wake of a new report that says Ontario is leading Canada in poverty rates and dead last when it comes to spending on social programs.–poverty-report-raises-red-flags-for-durham-groups


Great Mentors Get Out of the Office (Bill Russell, Nancy Altobello, Harvard Business Review)
Getting comfortable with difference: Today’s managers can expect to be part of diverse teams, so they need to be inclusive and to find ways to get the best from every team member. Mentoring is a great way to learn those cross-cultural skills. Since matching young people with mentors of the same race and ethnicity alone is less effective than matching them based on shared interests and goals, mentors are often paired with kids from social and economic cultures different from their own. At Ernst & Young, we find that after spending time with a diverse population of students in inner-city schools, many College MAP volunteers find that they are able to interact more confidently with people from all walks of life.

Good business: why just being good is not enough (The Guardian)
In business, being perceived as good as a decent business and neighbour is important. The idea of success is increasingly determined by more than profitability. Yet for a business to enter the realm of social value and obtain institutional status while maintaining profitability, it needs to communicate the social purpose at the heart of its brand effectively. In the struggle to be good and profitable, the connecting variable is effective brand communication.

Workshop to focus on diversity competence (Fond du Lac Reporter)
The four higher education institutions of Fond du Lac County Marian University, Moraine Park Technical College, Ripon College and the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac are hosting a diversity workshop. Bridging the Gap: Skills to Increase Your Diversity Competence, a free workshop with national speaker Dr. Maura Cullen, will be held 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the cyber cafe at Moraine Park Technical College.


Imagine a City (United Way Toronto)
Welcome to Imagine a City. Each week from September 6 through the end of December, a guest blogger from the community will be featured. Each one will talk about what they imagine for Toronto and how they are working to make that city a reality. Just some of the topics that will be discussed include the importance of role models for youth, why targeted programs for women are essential to their health and wellbeing and how tower neighbourhood renewal will change the face of Toronto. Leave a comment. Spread the word. Join the conversation.

Our cities will define our future (Jennifer Keesmat, Globe and Mail)
While some may argue that the issues Toronto faces as a city are insurmountable, and therefore planning is an impossible task, I believe this is the best possible moment, both locally and nationally, to engage in city building and taking ownership of our shared future. This is the moment because most Canadians now live in urban places. The absence of national strategies related to the development of transit infrastructure and affordable housing affects us all. Canadians are shortchanged by the lack of national policy, investment and leadership that could address these oversights.


How a new research hub will revitalize the voluntary sector (Maytree)
What are the key issues facing the vitality of the voluntary sector in Canada? If asked you would undoubtedly have strong opinions. If you asked others, youd get a diversity of opinions, insights and ideas. If you were looking for evidence-based research to help your answer, you could probably rhyme off a few think-tanks, academics and websites where you know you could find some of that information. But youd likely find as much diversity there as you did when you asked your peers. Could you find the definitive source? Or are we missing something? Enter the Mowat Centres Not-for-profit Research Hub.

For the public good: The pros and cons of going pro bono (CharityVillage)
In the ever-constrained nonprofit vernacular, there is perhaps no finer word than free. Or is there? A popular feature of the sector for years, pro bono services seem to be growing in popularity, as individual suppliers and established consultancies make free a regular part of their repertoire. Its an evolution seemingly met with open arms and diminished pocketbooks. CharityVillage wanted to explore this thing called pro bono: how it works, its benefits, challenges and the cost, if any of free.

6 Great Facts About What Google Grants Can Do For Your Charity (Karen Luttrell)
Google Grants is a beneficial program that gives eligible charities up to $10,000 worth of free online advertising every month on a recurring basis without a fixed end date. Here are 6 great facts about Google Grants that all charities should hear before applying for a Google Grant.

Open source is not limited to software (Ravindra Maurya,
After spending time with the open source model and exploring its possibilities, I feel there is a need to restate the definition of the model. People often confuse open source with just software or with source code. Defining open source as only software fails to capture its full and true meaning. Open source is not limited to software technology, it is a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration, and it applies equally to all fields.

Lies, Damned Lies, and Open Data (David Eaves, Slate)
Governments are releasing more information than ever. But now we have to face new kinds of political debates.

Canadians Consuming More Digital Media but Not at the Expense of Traditional Media (Louis Rheaume, Techvibes)
According to a new report by the CRTC, the proliferation of new platforms like tablets and smartphones is stimulating the consumption of media without hurting traditional media. Thus, Canadians are consuming more online television, more internet radio, more newswhile at the same time consuming more traditional TV and radio.

Proposed AODA Built Environment Standard for public spaces released for public consultation and review (First Reference Talks)
The AODA Built Environment Standard (the Standard) for public spaces has been released by the Ontario Government for public review and consultation. Human resources professionals will likely be asked to take the lead on compliance in their workplaces. Although the standard is still in draft form, it is expected that much of this now thoroughly-reviewed draft will survive to the final version.

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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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