Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 18, 2012


Muslim prayer room opens in Catholic high school (Edmonton Sun)
Mother Teresa Catholic secondary school is turning a second-floor office into an Islamic prayer room — the first high school in the city, private or public, to do so. Carpet will soon cover the tile flooring, speakers will be installed and prayer mats purchased to provide the school’s Muslim students, estimated at around two dozen, with a quiet and private place to pray. The idea has been in the works since the end of the last school year after a group of Muslim students lobbied administration to create the space.

News Release — Reducing Backlogs to Achieve a Fast and Flexible Immigration System (CIC)
The Government of Canada welcomed the findings of a report on immigration backlogs by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration and tabled its response in Parliament today. “I think we can all agree that backlogs are unfair to applicants, harmful to Canada’s ability to attract the best and brightest from around the world, and hold back economic and job growth,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. “I thank the Standing Committee members for their hard work in compiling their report.”

Census tracks ‘new’ families (Misty Harris, Ottawa Citizen)
They say nobody ever really knows their neighbours, but next week’s national Census release will allow Canadians a long look over the fence. And given first-ever data on every-thing from growth in same-sex marriages to stepfamilies and foster children, don’t expect to meet the Cleavers. The Sept. 19 report from Statistics Canada will reflect the extent to which “family” now carries almost as many definitions as there are people, with new figures expected on: couples without kids, blended families, “skip-generation” parenting, same-sex unions, 20-somethings who have re-turned to the nest, single parents, and just about every con-figuration in between.

Ontario school board overrun by language police (Michael Zwaagstra, Troy Media)
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time we call a spade a spade. English-speaking Canadians must learn to speak inclusively. Whether you are a long-time resident or a recent immigrant, choose your words more carefully. After all, we should make sure that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists all feel equally included in our society. Inclusivity begins at home when mothers and fathers model appropriate language for their kids. Gratefully, I’m not an employee of the Durham (Ontario) District School Board. If I were, what I just wrote could get me in serious trouble with their language police. In fact, I violated their Guidelines for Inclusive Language more than a dozen times in my first paragraph. That could be enough to classify me as a level 1 cultural destroyer on their cultural proficiency continuum.

Diabetes in Toronto: immigrants in ‘less walkable’ areas at high risk (Toronto Star)
New immigrants in Toronto’s low-income neighbourhoods are 50 per cent more likely to develop diabetes than long-term residents in areas that are more walking- and cycling-friendly, says a new study. For recent newcomers, environment is a crucial factor in accelerating the risk of obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, says the study by St. Michael’s Hospital endocrinologist and researcher Dr. Gillian Booth, published in the Diabetes Journal on Monday. Least walkable neighbourhoods are often newly developed areas characterized by urban sprawl and heavy reliance on cars.–diabetes-in-toronto-immigrants-in-less-walkable-areas-at-high-risk

New rules ‘make it harder’ for older Britons to settle in Canada (Charlotte Santry, Telegraph UK)
Plans to shake up Canada’s immigration system could make it tougher for experienced British professionals in their late 30s and 40s to settle there. Applicants to the federal skilled worker scheme – the most common route to permanent residency – are currently prioritised in the points-based system if they are aged up to 49. But under new immigration rules due to come into place next year, this is dropping to 35. Points will be deducted for each year that an applicant’s age exceeds 35. Canadian immigration lawyer Michael Niren, managing partner at Niren and Associates, said the “aggressive” change to the age rules would lead to “a lot of disappointed potential applicants”. “There are a lot of UK individuals over the age of 35, with many skills, who will be shut out,” he said.

New Federal Skilled Worker Program Prepares Immigrants to Succeed (CICSNews)
When the Federal Skilled Worker Class (FSWC) reopens, it will include a number of important changes. The changes to the program are scheduled to come into force on January 1st, 2013. They were created so that immigrants who gain Permanent Residency through the FSWC will be better prepared to find work and settle into Canadian society. In this article, CIC News explores the logic behind the new changes, as well as how the FSWC will help immigrants come to Canada with brighter futures than ever before.


Report: Waiting for a Wife: Transnational Marriages and the Social Dimensions of Refugee ‘Integration’ – PDF (Metropolis BC)
While much research addresses the economic dimensions of refugee integration, few researchers explore the social. This paper addresses the gap, examining the social dimensions of refugee belonging and integration through the case of Acehnese refugees resettled in Vancouver between 2004 and 2006. We report findings based on research conducted a few years after resettlement. Findings suggest that more consideration should be given to policies designed to enhance social integration among refugees.

Complicity, Exclusion, And The “unworthy” In Refugee Law (Refugee Research Net)
When is an applicant for refugee status “ unworthy” of asylum? It used to be thought this question was tolerably clear. But in the current febrile atmosphere of post-9/11, where an avalanche of new international instruments have been drawn up in the “War on Terror” to tackle “ terrorism” , it is anything but clear. Traditionally understood concepts of crimes against peace, war crimes, or crimes against humanity are also in a state of flux.

Somali woman helping rape victims wins U.N. award (Reuters)
Hawa Aden Mohamed won the United Nations refugee agency’s Nansen Refugee Award on Tuesday for her work in helping thousands of Somali women and girls, many of them rape victims, start new lives in their battered homeland. Mohamed, 63, is a former Somali refugee who returned from safety in Canada to her war-torn country in 1995, launching an education program in Puntland to shelter and train Somalis who have fled war, famine and violence, it said. “When Hawa Aden Mohamed rescues a displaced girl, a life is turned around,” U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said in a statement.


Voter equality for a healthy democracy (Alan Broadbent, Maytree)
One measure of the health of democracy is if voters have equality of voice. If each riding in a country has about the same number of voters, then the Parliament or legislature will represent people in all parts of the country equally. At present, Canada is not very healthy in this regard. For some justifiable historic reasons, some parts of the country have a much stronger voice in the federal Parliament. For example Prince Edward Island has four seats in Ottawa’s Parliament, despite its small population, giving it about 35,000 voters per riding. The ideal average riding size is currently 110,000 voters per riding, but PEI’s arrangement was made at the time they entered Confederation. Other ridings, mostly on the edges of Toronto and Vancouver have almost 200,000 voters.

The challenge of designing electoral constituencies in Canada (Peter Loewen, ipolitics)
Canada is a diverse and difficult to govern country. Not only is Canada very large, but it is also scattered into many different communities, some geographic and some cultural. As a consequence, Canadians see themselves not only as individual residents of some city or town, but also as members of various communities. When drawing constituency boundaries, the challenge comes not only in ensuring reasonable population equality, but also providing these other communities to which we belong what the Supreme Court has called “effective representation.” And it must be done in a way that ensures that citizens are well-served by their representatives. By our lights, then, the challenge of designing electoral constituencies is threefold. First, there should be reasonable equality between constituency populations. Of course, mobility means that populations will never perfectly match, but there should be some effort towards parity.

Who are the students identified as having special education needs in the TDSB? (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
Are boys,Black students or students from low-income families more likely to be identified as Special Needs in the Toronto District School Board? Are children from more privileged backgrounds likely to be identified as Gifted? A new research report from the board confirms what parents have often worried about. This latest release confirms the racial and socio-economic backgrounds of its students are reflected in who is identified as Special Needs. The report is drawn from a longitudinal study of the TDSB students who were in Grade 9, over 18,000 of them in 2006. It follows this cohort of students through each grade. (By now 79% of the studied students have graduated.)

How Would MPs Improve Parliament? Five Ideas (Kendall Anderson, Samara Canada)
Parliament resumes this week, and MPs have returned from their 308 ridings rested, connected with their constituents and ready … for another round of political gamesmanship. We here at Samara thought it was a good time to revisit some of the ideas for Parliamentary reform put forward by those who’ve survived politics on the front lines: the Members of Parliament themselves. Samara has interviewed 79 former MPs, including backbenchers, cabinet ministers and party leaders, asking them what worked, what didn’t and what could be improved in the way our political system operates.

Time for Ontario to go public with child care (Policy Alternatives)
The Ontario government is in a consultation phase over how to modernize the province’s child care system. Child care expert Martha Friendly and CCPA Ontario Director Trish Hennessy have co-authored a primer on child care in Ontario, making the case for the government to take leadership and commit to public, non-profit, affordable, regulated child care.

Western study looks at earning inequalities (University of Western Ontario)
One year ago today, the Occupy Wall Street movement pushed earnings inequality to the forefront of global politics. With the protest still roaring, most studies suggest that earnings inequality is far greater in North America than in Europe, but is this really the case? According to new research from Western’s CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity, the answer depends on how earnings inequality is defined and the measures used to explore it.


Looking for leaders: Nominations open for TRIEC’s 7th Annual Immigrant Success Awards (Canada Newswire)
The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) is pleased to announce the call for entries for the 7th Annual Immigrant Success (IS) Awards, sponsored by RBC. Each year, TRIEC presents the IS Awards to recognize innovation and leadership in integrating skilled immigrants into the Greater Toronto Region labour market. If you or your organization deserve to be recognized but aren’t yet among our alumni – don’t miss your chance this year. Employers and individuals are invited to apply or submit a nomination by Thursday, November 15, 2012 at

Webinar Sept 26: Building an Effective Group Mentoring Program for Newcomer Professionals (ALLIES)
Thinking of starting a mentoring program at your organization? Need a time-saving mentoring model to adopt? Group mentoring is an innovative program that matches 3-5 skilled immigrants (mentees) with a Canadian professional (mentor) working in their field. This webinar will walk you through the nuts and bolts of how a occupation-specific group mentoring model works and how it has benefited both mentees and mentors. We will also direct you to resources that will assist in developing your own group mentoring program.

Part Of A System (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Fay Faraday. She is a lawyer and the author of “Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity”. It is published by the Metcalf Foundation.

Ontario Migrant Workers Face Systemic Exploitation, Metcalf Foundation Study Says (Huffington Post)
They pick our fruit, care for our children and wash dishes in our restaurants. But without an adequate legal framework in place to protect their rights, a new study warns, the growing number of lower-skilled migrant workers employed in Ontario face systemic exploitation and “permanent insecurity.” Released Monday by the Toronto-based Metcalf Foundation, the report examines the laws surrounding the recruitment and employment of lower-skilled migrant workers in Canada’s most populous province to show how they are particularly vulnerable to abuse and confront “tremendous barriers” to claiming the rights they do have. It also outlines a series of concrete recommendations geared at enhancing the protections for the workers.

Canada’s laws fuel migrant worker exploitation: Report (HR Reporter)
Canada’s reliance on low-wage migrant workers with temporary immigration status is growing but our laws make them vulnerable to abuse, according to a report published by the Metcalf Foundation. The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has more than tripled in the past decade, but they are frequently underpaid, overworked and denied basic rights such as decent housing, and health and safety, according to Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers’ Insecurity.

Migrant Farm Workers – Health, Sexual health and HIV/AIDS (ACAS Toronto)
If you didn’t know, ACAS has been teaming up with the AIDS Committee of Windsor, AIDS Niagara, Thai Society of Ontario, and Justicia for Migrant Workers on the Asian Migrant Farm Workers’ Health Promotion Project. Started in 2009, the time-limited project is tasked with HIV/STI/Hep C prevention education and outreach with Asian migrant farm workers in Ontario. To date, we’ve produced a few resources you should check out.

#CdnImm Event – Internationally Trained Professionals & Employment (Settlement AtWork)
Date: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: 7th floor, G. Raymond Chang School, Ryerson University, 297 Victoria Street, Toronto
Greater Toronto Area
Event topic: Connecting Internationally Trained Professionals and Newcomers with Successful Employment in the Competitive Local Labour Market – Leveraging Employment Support Services for newcomer clients: Practices & Insights.

New pre-arrival immigration services for provincial nominees (
Premier Greg Selinger has announced a new pre-arrival strategy to better help prepare provincial nominees for labour-market integration before they arrive in Manitoba. Selinger made the announcement here today at a pre-arrival settlement orientation and labour-market preparation session for provincial nominees destined to Manitoba. “Already a leader in attracting and integrating provincial nominees, our government has been working to help provincial nominees arriving in Manitoba succeed and build a life there,” said Selinger. “As part of this plan, Manitoba is pioneering the development of a series of pre-arrival initiatives that will assist provincial nominees to begin their employment and settlement planning prior to their arrival in Manitoba.”

Bring Workers to Canada Faster with an Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (CICSNews)
Earlier this year, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) introduced a new program that will significantly reduce waiting times for Canadian employers looking to hire Temporary Foreign Workers. This program, called the Accelerated Labour Market Opinion (ALMO), allows employers to receive a positive Labour Market Opinion for their foreign worker(s) within 10 business days of submitting an application. This ALMO option greatly shortens the waiting period for a Labour Market Opinion (LMO), thus allowing employers to bring much-needed workers to Canada more quickly and efficiently.


Tuesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Crime, Housing, Health and Other News.

City of Toronto Seniors Strategy (City of Toronto)
Over the next decade, the number of seniors living in Toronto will increase dramatically. It is important that we prepare for this demographic shift so that the City remains a safe, navigable, affordable, accessible and enjoyable city for everyone. Based on a recommendation by Councillor Josh Matlow, Council directed City Staff to develop a strategic plan for seniors in consultation with key partners. A Senior Strategy Subcommittee of Community Development and Recreation Committee, Chaired by Councillor Matlow and including Councillors Janet Davis and Kristyn Wong-Tam, was established to provide advice and input to the development of the plan. Other key partners include the Toronto Seniors Forum, community organizations, business, academia and school boards


New website –
The Community Bond is an innovation in social finance that allows a nonprofit or charity to leverage its community of supporters to pursue its mission, build its resiliency, and create more vibrant communities. On this site you can learn about how the Centre for Social Innovation raised $2 million toward the purchase and renovation of a 36,000 square foot building in a whirlwind eight months, find out if Community Bonds could work for your organization, purchase the do-it-yourself guide book and templates, interact with other social innovators, find community investment opportunities, and more.

Evaluating Social Innovation (Tanya Beer, FSG)
The philanthropic sector has been experimenting with innovative grantmaking in the hopes of triggering significant and sustainable change. FSG’s latest research report, collaboratively written with the Center for Evaluation Innovation, challenges grantmakers to explore the use of Developmental Evaluation when evaluating complex, dynamic, and emergent initiatives. The Knight Foundation is an example of an organization which is embracing this approach as described in their blog post.

Collective Impact Colloquium (Manitoba Federation of Non-profit Organizations)
What will happen to Manitoba’s human services non-profit sector workforce in the future? As non-profit leaders, we wonder about this through the lens of our own workplaces; however, demographic shifts and labour market changes in Manitoba will impact us all across our sector. Our first “Collective Impact Colloquium” will be a gathering that brings together human services non-profit opinion leaders to create a deeper and shared understanding of the key drivers impacting the communities and clients we work with as well as our own organizations and workforce. As a large “industrial” sector and as organizations we face human resource challenge in recruitment, retention, staffing, compensation, benefits, policy and skills development. This learning event will assist us to explore how our workforce and our workplace practices need to change to best serve our communities given future challenges and opportunities.

Using a networked approach to build nonprofit boards: LinkedIn Board Connect launches (CharityVillage)
Featuring the latest in nonprofit news, jobs, information, tools and resources, CharityVillage is Canada’s leading online community for nonprofit and like-minded professionals – connecting them to ideas, opportunities and each other.

BC Ideas: Investing in Solutions for Stronger Communities (Sonia Bianchi,
Social innovation is alive and thriving in BC! With inspiration at every turn, the province is teeming with interesting ideas about how to strengthen communities. BC Ideas asked people to submit their ideas for addressing social, environmental, and health issues. With more than 25 partners and more than $275,000 dollars to invest in solutions, this online competition and collaborative community is uniquely poised to impact BC in new and innovative ways.

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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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