Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 19, 2012


Change is the new normal in Canada’s immigration system – registration required (Sandra Lopes, Maytree)
Like it or not, Canada’s immigration system will be front and centre in the fall agenda. We are in the middle of one of the most transformative periods in Canada’s immigration history. The federal government is changing whom we select to immigrate, the supports newcomers have when they arrive, and how they can become citizens. However, it is unclear whether these changes will help to improve the immigration.

New Canada: land of immigrants with many families under the same roof (John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail)
Each new tranche of census data reinforces the reality of two Canadas: The old Canada is a land of the native-born, where the size of households is small and where children are fewer. The new Canada is a land of immigrants, where multiple families and generations are more likely to mingle beneath the same roof. Politicians and business leaders should take note.

Manitoba launches pre-arrival strategy for provincial nominees (HR Reporter)
Manitoba will have a new pre-arrival strategy to better help prepare provincial nominees for labour market integration before they arrive in the province, according to Premier Greg Selinger. Selinger made the announcement in Shanghai at a pre-arrival settlement orientation and labour market preparation session for provincial nominees destined for Manitoba. “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, he said.

Report: LIP-Municipal Interactions and CICs Strategic Interests – PDF (Meyer Burstein — Victoria Esses — Aurelie Lacassagne — John Nadeau, Welcoming Communities)
This report was commissioned from the Welcoming Communities Initiative (WCI) by the Integration Branch of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Its purpose is to examine and describe the evolving relationship between Local Immigration Partnerships and their municipal hosts. CIC also wanted to know what impact the involvement of municipalities was having on the Departments ability to achieve its strategic objectives. Rather than conducting a broad brush survey across all LIPs, the WCI adopted a case study approach. Four cities were chosen with a view to including Northern communities whose primary interest lay in economic development and population attraction, larger southern cites characterized by more complex and elaborate bureaucracies, and LIPs characterized by a wide variety of administrative arrangements, especially insofar as the LIP-municipal relationship was concerned. The four cities chosen according to these criteria were London, Ottawa, North Bay and Sudbury.

Venture capitalists take lead role in immigrant visas (Globe and Mail)
Venture capitalists are eager to become overseas scouts to lure potential technology stars to Canada as part of the federal governments plan to fast-track immigration of promising entrepreneurs. A statement from the immigration ministry last week said a Startup Visa program launching next year would set aside as many as 2,750 immigration places for innovators with investment backing from Canadian venture capitalists. But in an interview with The Globe and Mail, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cautioned that he doesnt want to he held to that number. I would be surprised if we get a few dozen entrants the first year, Mr. Kenney said. Were starting this as pilot program. But if it works and picks up momentum, I can easily see hundreds of immigrants a year coming through this program.

Group to screen Innocence of the Muslims film across Canada (Sun News Network)
A “grassroots Canadian organization” is hoping to arrange a screening of the controversial film about the Prophet Mohammed in cities across the country. Ron Banerjee of Canadian Hindu Advocacy said Canadians want to see Innocence of the Muslims. “It’s not a Hindu group,” Banerjee said in a telephone interview from Toronto. “It’s a regular Canadian grassroots organization.” Banerjee said his advocacy group which he claims has “several hundred members and supporters across Canada” has received several inquiries about screening the movie in Canadian cities.

Canadian Catholic school to open Muslim prayer room (
Mother Teresa Catholic secondary school, a high school in London, Ontario, Canada is about to open a Muslim prayer room, reports The Inquistr. 24 Hours Vancouver reports the Catholic secondary school with a student population of about 1,400 has about 25 Muslim students, who lobbied the school beginning last year for a place to pray. The prayer room will be located on the second floor, just steps away from the schools chapel, and is scheduled to open at the end of the month. “Theyre members of our school community. We want to ensure that all our students feel welcome, that they feel that they belong,” said Principal Ana Paula Fernandes.

New Book Follows Immigrants Eventful Transition to Life in Canada (PR Web)
Author Nyaradzo (Jowa), in her book Transition from Africa to Diaspora, tells the story of a young woman who arrives in a foreign land. Helpful for those who have plans of migrating, this novel highlights the challenges and struggles of Chipo as an immigrant and how she, despite the odds, managed to overcome the obstacles that came her way.

Ideation Uncommittee #4: The ‘glocal’ workplace (Skills for Change)
With special guest speaker: Dr. Alex Jadad, 2012 Pioneers for Change Honouree Thanks to new social and mobile technology such as FaceTime, Skype and Google Talk, millions of people around the world today are now able to connect with others in ways never thought imaginable two decades ago (heck, even one decade ago!). New ways of being more effective change makers have arisen and we want to explore this together. What can this mean for you and your work? What are the possibilities and challenges that arise from an increasingly mobile workforce?

Does Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Have a White Saviour Complex? (Anthony Morgan, Huffington Post)
The suggestion that the Mayor harbours a white saviour complex came from none other than his brother when, during this radio segment, Doug boldly proclaimed, “There’s no one that helps black youth more than Rob Ford,” which he followed with, “These are kids who have nothing.” That’s right, Doug Ford actually said that the black youth whom Mayor Ford coaches have NOTHING, without Mayor Ford. Permit me to use my historical memory to translate Doug Ford’s words: “dem po’ black kids ain’t got a damn bit’a nuthin widdout dat gud suh and Massa, I means, Maya, Robs Fowd…” In political terms, Doug Ford is an extension of Rob Ford’s brain and vice versa (though Doug is arguably the more astute, if not, the more collected of the two) and so it’s not at all unreasonable to assume that at the moment Doug revealed the taint of his and his brother’s white saviourism, he was expressing exactly what was on Mayor Ford’s mind and drives the Mayor’s work with his football teams.

McCarthy first Canadian law firm to sign Catalyst Accord (Julius Melnitzer, Financial Post)
McCarthy Tétrault has become the first Canadian law firm to sign the Catalyst Accord, which aims to expands opportunities for women in business. The firm is partnering with Catalyst in calling on Canadian corporations to increase the overall proportion of FP500 board seats held by women to 25 percent by 2017.

Vital community services at risk unless COSTI gets serious about negotiating fair settlement, warns CUPE 2221 (CUPE)
Staff at COSTI Immigrant Services, members of Local 2221 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 2221), are warning that unless their employer gets serious about negotiating a fair collective agreement, communities across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) could be without the vital services the multicultural agency provides. Our members have been very clear that theyre prepared to do what it takes to bargain a collective agreement that is fair to all parties, but we cannot do this if COSTI continues to make unreasonable demands for concessions at the bargaining table, said Mahmoud Saddo, President of CUPE 2221.

N.S. grandmother jailed after racist attack in Canadas latest headscarf head-scratcher (Joe O’Connor, National Post)
The hijab, much like the turban once was, has somehow become a bogeyman in the reasonable accommodation debate. Little Muslim girls were banned from wearing them in soccer games in Quebec because of, ahem, safety concerns, a ludicrous rule the Quebec Soccer Federation finally, after five years on the books, abolished in July. Now this, in Nova Scotia, another head-scratcher over a headscarf, a simple piece of fabric, a religious costume no different than a cross dangling from a Christians neck but something that, in some narrow minds, looms as a suicide vest strapped about our national identity. And what is our identity anyway? Judge Scanlan addressed his own heritage, a mixed bag of French, Scotch, Irish and Native American blood. They all went to war with one another at one time or another, but I am Canadian, he writes. No better than Ms. Khan, no better than Ms. Feltmate.

Video: The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Doug Saunders: The Myth of the Muslim Tide
Author and journalist Doug Saunders says that despite what many believe, Muslim immigrants don’t pose a risk to Western values. He sits down with Steve Paikin.

Video: The Agenda with Steve Paikin: The Western Rise of Hate
How is it that Anders Breivik, mass murderer of 69 young people could exist in a seemingly tolerant Scandinavian country like Norway? Or that anti-Semitism can be alive, well and expressed through violence in Germany and France? Or that a Sikh temple service in Wisconsin could be so violently disrupted on a quiet Sunday morning by a white supremacist with a semiautomatic handgun? What drives ethnic hatred and why do history’s lessons not seem to resonate?

Video: The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Patrick Martin: Muslim Anger and Anti-Americanism
An anti-Islamic film is inciting mass protests against American interests in parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Is this reigniting old grievances against the United States or the beginning of a new form of anti-Americanism? The Agenda examines what the growing unrest means.


Ottawa Citizen writer wins reporting award for series on immigrant health (Trevor Pritchard, OpenFile)
Last year, Ottawa Citizen senior reporter Louisa Taylor embarked on a major investigation into why immigrants to Canada gradually become less healthy the longer they live in their new country. It was a project that took Taylor around the globe, and now she’s been rewarded for her efforts, winning a major journalism prize from the Canadian Medical Association. Taylor’s series, “Unhealthy welcome: Why Canada is hazardous to their health,” took home the prize for Excellence in Health Reporting (print, mid-size market) at the 2012 Media Awards for Health.

Citizen, Postmedia reporters honoured (Michelle Zilio, Ottawa Citizen)
Taylor won the award for Excellence in Health Reporting (print, mid-size market) for her series, Unhealthy welcome: Why Canada is hazardous to their health. The series, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, examined the healthy immigrant effect. The phenomenon finds that while newcomers to a country initially appear healthier than the native population, their health status generally declines with time.

CMA Announces Recipients of 2012 Media Awards for Health Reporting – PDF (Canadian Medical Association)
The CMA Media Awards honour outstanding Canadian journalism that enhances understanding of health, the health care system and the role of health professionals. Independent panels of individuals with backgrounds in journalism, medicine and health care evaluated the entries, selecting winners in 11 categories from among close to 100 submissions. Reflecting current trends in health care and health coverage, four new categories were added this year: digital media, emerging health issues and multicultural and international health reporting.
Excellence in Health Reporting Print (Mid-size market)
Louisa Taylor
Ottawa Citizen Unhealthy welcome: Why Canada is hazardous to their health
Special mention
Carol Off, Jeff Douglas, Kevin Robertson, David McDougall
CBC Radio, As it Happens Refugee health changes
Special mention
Jennifer Tryon
Global National News Refugee health cuts
Excellence in Multicultural Health Reporting Print and broadcast
Sudha Krishnan
OMNI Television Diabetes Fighting a leading killer in the South Asian community

Refugees take protest downtown (Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now)
Roma-Hungarian refugee families from Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam gathered for a rally Tuesday outside of the federal immigration offices on Georgia Street in Vancouver. “Roma people, Roma families have a big fear to go back to Hungary. Their life is in great danger there,” said Florian Botos, a Burnaby resident who’s helping organize the rally. At press time, Botos was expecting 50 or 60 people, mostly Roma refugee families from Hungary. According to Botos, Roma people in Hungary face widespread discrimination and attacks from neo-Nazis, some of which have resulted in death. The families are planning a peaceful protest, said Botos.

Dont deport war resister Kimberly Rivera (Globe and Mail)
When the United States and Britain made the case in 2003 for the invasion of Iraq, it was on the basis of a lie. We were told that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, and that these weapons posed an imminent threat to humanity. For the millions around the world who took part in peaceful protests opposing the war, there was certainly profound skepticism about the deeply flawed evidence presented to support the illegal invasion. But those who were called to fight this war believed what their leaders had told them. The reason we know this is because U.S. soldiers such as Kimberly Rivera, through her own experience in Iraq, came to the conclusion that the invasion had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, the presence of U.S. forces only created immense misery for civilians and soldiers alike.

Prominent Canadians to Jason Kenney: Let Iraq War resister Kimberly Rivera stay in Canada (rabble)
With less than two days left before Kimberly Rivera and her family, including two Canadian children, must leave Canada or be deported, supporters of the US Iraq War resister are calling on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to stop delaying and make a decision on the Rivera familys three-year-old application to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds (H&C). As of Tuesday morning, nearly 19,000 people had signed a petition urging Minister Kenney to grant the Rivera family’s H&C application.

Somali Humanitarian Wins Prestigious Nansen Refugee Award (VOANews)
UNHCR Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Hawa Aden Mohamed takes every girl who knocks on her door, every woman who is seeking shelter and gives her a new start in life. She said Mama Hawa, as she is called, helps the most vulnerable members of Somali society. She turns no one away. What people and the Committee found very remarkable… she was living in safety in Canada. She chose to return to her country,” said Fleming. “This is an area that is dangerous. Galkayo was a very dangerous place. It is insecure. It is violent. She chose to return and to help people, in particular women and girls displaced within their own country, probably much more vulnerable than people who manage to cross international borders and are being helped in the refugee camps of UNHCR.

Failed Hungarian asylum seekers top users of program that offers free flights home (
Little more than two months into a federal government pilot project that promises free flights home to some failed asylum claimants rather than prolong the appeal process, the numbers indicate many of the 91 individuals returned so far were sent to Hungary. The situation is raising concerns in the Roma community. According to the Canada Border Services Agency, Hungarians the bulk of whom are said to be Roma are the top users of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Pilot Program which kicked off in the Greater Toronto Area on June 29.


Food-bank usage soars, study shows (Globe and Mail)
The recession never ended for many families in Canadas largest city, particularly immigrants. Food banks in the Greater Toronto Area tallied more than 1.12 million visits in the year to March, the second-highest level on record, an annual study to be released Wednesday shows. Food-bank usage a key indicator of poverty is now 18 per cent above prerecession levels. The growth reflects a number of economic shifts, from difficulties newcomers face in landing jobs that match their skills, to rapidly rising costs for food, energy and rent. Skilled newcomers who were highly educated, theyre having trouble getting credentials recognized, and the work that they are finding is part-time or seasonal. Its not enough to pay the bills, pay rent and put food on the table, says Richard Matern, acting director of research at the Daily Bread Food Bank, which is publishing the paper.

To end poverty, guarantee everyone in Canada $20,000 a year. But are you willing to trust the poor? (Globe and Mail)
Nicole Gray, a 24-year-old single mother living in Victoria, feels like a “beggar” every time she has to go into a government office and ask for help to pay her bills. She has finished her diploma to be an office medical assistant despite having gotten pregnant as a teenager. But job losses and the difficulty of raising her son, now 7, on her own have made her income unpredictable. Meanwhile, she says, the system is suspicious of every request and doubts every word.

Would new riding boundaries give McGuinty his majority? (Patrick Cain)
We had the chance last week to map the poll-level results from the 2011 Ontario election against the proposed new electoral boundaries published at the end of August. (Ontario mostly uses federal boundaries for provincial elections). The result was that population growth in the 905 tended to favour the provincial Liberals, at least enough to tip the balance in a notional Legislature using the new boundaries to a small two-seat majority, as opposed to the so-near-but-yet-so-far one-seat minority in the actually existing Legislature.

Omnibus “Budget” Bill (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Armine Yalnizyan. She is our business commentator on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


2011-2012 TRIEC Annual Report released (TRIEC)
In the 2011-2012 TRIEC Annual Report, we take a closer look at how TRIEC has partnered with multiple stakeholders over the past year to make connections and build pathways to better integrate skilled immigrants into the Greater Toronto Region labour market. Through these collaborative efforts, employers and immigrants are working to find common solutions to their respective challenges and affect real change in the labour market and in the workplace.

$1.75-million employer fund to attract and integrate skilled immigrants (IECBC)
The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) will design, implement and manage a new initiative that will support B.C. employers, industry and business associations in developing initiatives and resources that address challenges in hiring, integrating and retaining new immigrants, announced Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell today. Our government recognizes the key role of employers and the need for employer-focused and employer-developed resources to effectively attract, assess, integrate and retain immigrants in B.C. workplaces, said Bell. Employers have unique insights and understanding of the challenges in hiring, retaining and integrating newcomers into their workplaces. Engaging employers in the development of targeted initiatives, resources and tools will ensure their effectiveness in addressing immigrant employment and labour market challenges.

Extremist hate, ‘respectable’ bigotry and the endemic exploitation of migrant workers in Canada (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
Immigration is a big priority area for the current Conservative government, almost as much as it was for Laurier’s government in the heyday of westward expansion. And Harper’s Clifford Sifton might just be Jason Kenney. Sifton was Laurier’s Interior Minister and he worked hard to populate the West with settlers from Great Britain and the United States and with stolid and solid peasants from the Ukrainian and Russian steppes. He was less enthusiastic about “undesirables” such as Jews and blacks. Hardly a day goes by without the current immigration minister at least trying to make news, whether it is about removing citizens who never really lived in Canada, taking on fraudulent immigration consultants, encouraging the “Canadian experience” class of immigrants, or — of course — denouncing all of those “bogus refugees” from sweet and mild democracies such as Hungary.

New report by Metcalf Foundation sheds light on migrant workers legislation in Canada (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
Yesterday, the Metcalf Foundation released an insightful report on the legislation governing migrant workers in Canada. The reports starting point is that legal regulation of work can either create conditions of decent work and security or conditions of insecurity and exploitation. The reports author, Fay Faraday, breaks the labour migration cycle into 6 steps from recruitment through to repatriation or permanent residence. She clearly demonstrates how Canadian and Ontario legislation results in systemic exploitation and rights violations at each stage of the process, from exorbitant fees required by recruiters to unpaid wages and hazardous working conditions to barriers to permanent status. She also outlines a series of recommendations that will build effective protections, from more proactive enforcement to workers of all skill levels being able to apply to immigrate permanently to Canada.

Immigration laws feed exploitation of workers: report (Jennifer Brown, Canadian Lawyer)
A report released yesterday says federal and provincial laws are failing to protect the increasing number of migrant workers being brought into Canada to do work that is in fact not as temporary as many people think. Authored by Osgoode Hall Law School professor Fay Faraday, Made in Canada: How the Law Constructs Migrant Workers Insecurity examines the problems with the current migrant worker systems in place across Canada and makes 22 recommendations as to how it can be fixed. The main recommendation of the report is that Canadian immigration policy must be reframed to ensure workers of all skill levels can apply to immigrate to Canada with permanent resident status.


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

Sept 18 – Ottawa – Big Thinking with Ken Coates (Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Science)
Inclusive Innovation: what is the role of rural and remote regions in the knowledge economy? Governments the world over have launched ambitious national innovation strategies, designed to use scientific and technological developments to produce economic growth and address social challenges. Canada has been one of the most aggressive on this front, supporting a wide range of measures designed to promote commercialization and job creation. Globally, these policies have strengthened urban economies, but have had much smaller impacts on rural and remote regions. In Canada, northern, rural and Aboriginal communities have yet to feel the full benefit of scientific and technological initiatives. Our innovation outputs as a whole continue to lag internationally. How do we address this innovation deficit, while also encouraging creative regional development? Join Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, as he explores how Canada can increase innovative outputs while also ensuring that innovation culture permeates the country as a whole. Sharing his expertise in regional development and community collaboration, Dr. Coates will delve into how Canada can build internationally competitive cities as well as small towns and remote regions that actively share in the many benefits of emerging innovation.


Coming Soon, A New Narrative! (Marnie Grona, Imagine Canada)
Our sector has a remarkable story to tell. In addition to contributing to the fabric of society we are a significant economic force and our organizations have played a pivotal role in building and defining our nation. The sector reflects Canadians values and helps to implement shared visions. Yet we have not always been successful in sharing this story with Canadians. As part of the next stage in our National Engagement Strategy, Imagine Canada is working with a broad group of organizations to create a new narrative for the charitable and nonprofit sector, and about the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the sector as a whole. We are seeking a better way of talking with Canadians about the role and contribution of our sector.

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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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