Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 12, 2012


Immigration crackdown may fuel fraudsters (Byron Chu, 24 Hours Vancouver)
Ottawas move to revoke the citizenship of up to 3,100 people for fraudulent applications is a positive step, according to local immigration experts, but the crackdown may actually encourage more fraud if it diverts resources from legitimate applications. Integrity in the system does require some enforcement and double-checking, said Vancouver immigration lawyer Joshua Sohn, who also chairs the National Immigration Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

Canada too precious to let scammers win (The Province)
Canada is a country of immigrants. Even the First Peoples, DNA testing has shown, arrived here from Asia at some point in the distant past. Canadians are proud of how all that combined heritage defines our great nation. But while we welcome people from all over the world to join us and enjoy the fruits of Canadian citizenship, we have every right to expect people to follow the rules. Those who engage in fraud to obtain Canadian passports devalue our citizenship. So it is welcome news that Ottawa is going after scammers who cheated – faked lives in Canada – to become Canadians and will strip them of their citizenship.

Minister reprises get-tough message for Canadian immigration cheats (Steve Rennie, Calgary Herald)
The federal government reprised a familiar get-tough message for immigration cheats Monday, promising to revoke the status of more than 3,100 people it says abused the system in order to claim Canadian citizenship. Several thousand more are being investigated to determine if they obtained or are maintaining their permanent residence fraudulently, said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who was forced to admit only a handful of people have been dealt with so far. There are 3,139 Canadian citizens currently under investigation for residence fraud, but so far, only 19 of them have had their citizenship revoked. That’s because the process part of a long-term crackdown takes several years, Kenney said. Letters have been sent to 530 people informing them of the government’s intention to revoke their citizenship, he added.

Immigration Fraud (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Sam Benet, he is the President of “Canadians Against Immigration Fraud”, and with Jang Engineer. He is a former immigration consultant.

Get smart about immigration fraud (Julie Taub, Ottawa Citizen)
Kudos to Jason Kenney for his ongoing crackdown on the rampant fraud that permeates Canadas immigration and refugee system. Currently Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is investigating 3,100 suspected bogus Canadian citizens and 7,500 bogus permanent residents (PRs). However, based on my extensive experience as a senior immigration and refugee lawyer and former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board, I believe there are easily tenfold more cases of fraudulently obtained citizenship and retentions of PR status than are being investigated by CIC. Many of my clients have confirmed this over the past decade about their compatriot friends. There are thousands upon thousands of Canadian passport holders in the Gulf States, the Middle East, India and Hong Kong alone who have never lived in Canada.

Live and let live (
A reader wrote to the newspaper last week to express an opinion that we fear may be just the tip of a very large iceberg. The letter was critical of a recent gathering in Celebration Square, asking: Why do we have a MuslimFest without anyone protesting about the mixing of religion and state? The author of the letter objects to the inherent unfairness of public events that benefit followers of a particular religion who, mostly, are also members of a visible minority. Exclusivity is the linchpin of the moral argument. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander. Such special events specifically orchestrated by and for minority communities are a form of reverse racism, in other words. Its somewhat surprising how Mississaugans can still be so intolerant of their multicultural neighbours.–live-and-let-live

Canada designs new visa for immigrant entrepreneurs (Globe and Mail)
Canada plans to create a new class of visa it hopes will attract high-tech and other entrepreneurs to immigrate to the country to start new companies, officials said Tuesday. It has put a moratorium on issuing its existing entrepreneur visa, which only required an immigrant to hire one person for one year, and intends to initiate a visa that would be issued to people identified by venture capital funds as candidates to create startup firms in Canada. The venture funds would be required to invest in the startups. The startup visa is one of several changes being undertaken by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in what he says is an effort to make the immigration system more responsive to Canadas economic needs. Canada seeks young, ambitious, innovative immigrants who will contribute to Canadas job growth and further drive our economy, said Mr. Kenneys press secretary, Alexis Pavlich.

Canada plans new visa to lure high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs (Randall Palmer, Financial Post)
The startup visa is an initiative that the government of Canada is exploring to assist in transforming our immigration system into a fast, fair and flexible system that will meet the needs of our economy and help grow our country. Venture investment funds would choose entrepreneurs in whom they would invest, and the government would try to clear them for entry into Canada within weeks. The idea is to unite Canadian money and foreign brains.

The multicultural arts scene reflects the diversity of Waterloo Region (The Record)
Multicultural arts and culture rejuvenates Waterloo Region. Over the years, artists have come from across the globe to reside in our communities to spread their knowledge, culture and arts. A good example is Isabel Cisterna, a popular artist from Chile and a local community leader. You may not be aware of the challenges these individuals face to get their talent noticed or to compete for funding to grow. Waterloo Region is one of the fastest growing and most diverse communities outside of Toronto. Arts and culture brings added life and fresh value to the community. From the outside, many wont notice the preparation and determination that goes into cultural events. It takes a lot of work, and a lot of hurdling barriers, to get an event up and running.–the-multicultural-arts-scene-reflects-the-diversity-of-waterloo-region

New moderate Muslim group aims anti-extremism message at youth (Kathryn Blaze Carlson, National Post)
A Muslim Canadian activist has founded a new group that will promote moderate Islam, saying there are too few progressive Muslim voices countering extremism in Canada. Raheel Raza, the Pakistan-born author of Their Jihad, Not My Jihad: A Muslim Canadian Woman Speaks Out, was once a member of the progressive Muslim Canadian Congress, but this month is formally launching Muslims Facing Tomorrow. The National Posts Kathryn Blaze Carlson spoke with Ms. Raza to find out why.

Stock letter asks school to warn when sensitive subjects arise (Toronto Star)
A number of conservative Christian and Muslim parents unusual political allies suddenly are asking schools across the GTA to notify them when their childs class will discuss topics ranging from homosexuality and birth control to wizardry, evolution and environmental worship, so they can withhold their child from classes that contradict their religious beliefs. They are giving schools the same five-page Traditional Values Letter used by a Greek Orthodox father who has sued the Hamilton school board for refusing to warn him when his childrens teachers plan to talk about family, marriage or human sexuality. Hamilton dentist Dr. Steve Tourloukis said Monday he only wants those issues taught to his Grade 1 daughter and Grade 4 son from a Christian perspective.–stock-letter-asks-school-to-warn-when-sensitive-subjects-arise

The fall plenary: Conservatives and bishops convene (Joe Gunn, Prairie Messenger)
In a move that has no precedent in recent memory, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) has invited a federal cabinet minister to address their Plenary Assembly this autumn. Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has accepted the invitation. Minister Kenney will speak sometime during the Sept. 24 – 28 plenary, to be held in St. Adèle, Que. The CCCB has stated that the event will be private and off-the-record.

Kenney vs. the Catholic bishops, part II (Jim Creskey, Embassy)
The ongoing saga of the sometimes-strained relationship between the Harper government and Canada’s Catholic bishops is about to enter a new phase at the end of this month. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, himself a Catholic, took on the bishops last year when he lashed back at their criticisms of his refugee policies. The bishops, along with Protestant and Muslim religious leaders, had written to Mr. Kenney: “References by representatives of your government to ‘bogus’ refugee claimants undermine Canada’s obligations to refugee protection and question the credibility of refugees fleeing persecution and seeking to have their rights recognized…They also foster hostility towards refugees and fuel xenophobia in general.”

Parole denied to LaSalle man serving 5-year term for defrauding immigrants (Paul Cherry, Montreal Gazette)
A man serving a five-year prison term for defrauding several immigrants while pretending to act as their consultant has been denied parole. One might assume Yafim Goikhberg, 47, of LaSalle, was turned down because he has another case pending in which 149 new charges have been brought against him. But what was of even more concern to the Parole Board of Canada was that Goikhberg plans to work with immigrants again in the near future.

PQ leader asks Canadians to tone down the rhetoric about his party being racist (Alexandre Thériault-Marois, Montreal Gazette)
In the days after our Quebec general election, a Calgary Herald columnist wrote in her newspaper (Sept. 7, Are one-third of Quebec voters bigots?): Whats most surprising about Quebecs provincial election result Tuesday night isnt just how well Jean Charests scandal-plagued Liberal Party did or that most Quebecers reject a separatist agenda. Its that fully 31.94 per cent of Quebec voters have no problem supporting the bigoted and racist agenda of the winning Parti Québécois. This is just one example of a plethora of comments published in English-Canadian newspapers and blogs during and after the election campaign that made reference to alleged racism of PQ candidates, volunteers and voters. Are these accusations founded, and can they be considered as fair and therefore necessary commentary?

Family now free to travel after document glitch (CBC)
A Thunder Bay man’s bureaucratic nightmare is over after finally being issued a critical citizenship document he required to travel to India. Since the closure of the city’s Citizenship and Immigration office, Dharmender Dhankhar had been calling the organization’s helpline for weeks, without success. But after CBC aired his story the government finally offered to help him. Dhankhar said he is grateful, but noted the system has to change. [This is] definitely not the way it should be, he said.


Tighter timelines for refugee claims come with a $34 million price tag (Global News)
Tighter timelines for refugee claims brought in as part of the Harper governments controversial new refugee laws could cost up to $1 million in computer updates alone. The Immigration and Refugee Board is looking for two consultants to help them update its case management, case tracking and hearing schedule systems, according to a notice of proposed procurement posted on a government contracting website last week. The work is valued between $500,000 and $1 million and is part of $34 million in funding the board was given to implement Bill C-31, which became law this past spring.

Ezra Levant openly promotes hatred against Roma people in Canada (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
The Harper government has ended diplomatic relations with the Ahmadinejad regime in Iran. Whatever the motives for or merits of that decision, it is true that the Ahmadinejad regime is a well-known abuser of human rights. It resorts to the death penalty with an alacrity that rivals that of Texas. A Canadian photojournalist was killed in Iranian custody in 2003, and the government is currently holding two Canadians on death row. Meanwhile, Sun TV’s Ezra Levant has adopted the hateful anti-“Gypsy” rhetoric of the Hungarian extreme right party Jobbik.

Ezra Levant In More Hate Speech Trouble (Big City Lib)
Gina Csanyi-Robah of the Roma Community Center writes:
As a result of Levant’s hate speech targeting our community, the RCC has been in contact with the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and is currently writing formal complaints to the Canadian Broadcasting Standards Council, the Canadian Media Association, the Canadian Ethnic media Association, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

CCR webinars (CCR)
Webinars are interactive presentations that you join online and by phone. CCR webinars include encore presentations from popular Consultation sessions, as well as other topics of interest to refugee and newcomer advocates.


Health Equity Impact Assessment as a Policy Tool (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
The Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) and the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy publish a Public Policy and Health Newsletter. As with previous issues, the current newsletter provides a great deal of information on health impact assessment, including the just completed international conference on HIA. It also links to a Health Council of Canada blog calling for more use of HIAs as a collaborative tool to help integrate policy development across government departments.

Senator takes on poverty and income inequality in Canada (RCI)
When Canadian Senator Art Eggleton released a committee report on poverty he hoped the federal government would react. When it didn’t, he went directly to Canadians to talk about poverty. When that didn’t work, he started talking about inequality in Canada. The report “In From the Margins: A Call to Action on Poverty, Housing and Homelessness” was released in December of 2009, by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology which was chaired by Senator Eggleton.


Building workplaces inclusive of skilled immigrants just got easier (TRIEC)
Today, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) launched the TRIEC Campus at their annual Council meeting of business and community leaders. The Campus is a new online learning hub offering complimentary, self-paced resources designed to increase the effectiveness of leaders and employees in todays culturally diverse workplace. With over 50% of Toronto residents born abroad, the benefits that a culturally diverse workplace inclusive of skilled immigrants brings in terms of innovation and access to markets are clear, said Joan Atlin, interim Executive Director at TRIEC. The TRIEC Campus provides the tools and resources employers need to make their diversity goals a reality.

Migrant worker killed in eastern Ontario farm accident (CBC)
The Agriculture Workers Alliance said the death of a migrant worker in an incident on an eastern Ontario farm on Monday is the 13th in the province this year. The Ministry of Labour is investigating the death of the 38-year-old Mexican worker who was fatally injured at an orchard operation in Prince Edward County.

Webinar Sept 19: Intersections of Labour Exploitation: Human trafficking and migrant workers (CCR)
Between 2007 and 2011, temporary foreign workers accounted for almost one in three new jobs created in Canada. Yet components of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program give opportunity for labour exploitation with strong indicators of human trafficking. Traffickers use these components – these federal policies – to control workers, to exploit their labour, and prevent them from accessing assistance. In this webinar, Cathy Kolar and Shelley Gilbert will explore these policies and discuss advocacy strategies to assist survivors of forced labour in Canada.

Hiring Skilled Immigrants A Sound Business Decision (hireimmigrants)
Large corporations like KPMG, CIBC and Pitney Bowes get it. Smaller companies like Questrade, Advanced Precision and XEA get it. For them, skilled immigrants:
Boost innovation
Help connect with global markets
Address a talent shortage
Are you ready to make a great business decision?


Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Ford, Schools, Bikes, Casinos and Other News.

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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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