Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 25, 2012


DiverseCity School4Civics, the story so far (Alejandra Bravo, DiverseCity Toronto)
School4Civics (part of the DiverseCity project) provided more than three years of political training for diverse, emerging leaders in the Greater Toronto Area. What has our impact been?

Semana Intercultural: Valladolid’s Week of Sharing Ideas and Cultures (Cities of Migration)
It may seem odd that a Spanish city would celebrate the bicentennial of the independence of Latin American countries from Spain, but in 2010, the city of Valladolid made it an integral part of its VIIth Semana Intercultural. Incorporating its colonial history into the celebrations of local immigrant groups from Argentina,Bolivia,Colombia, and Ecuador was another way the city’s annual intercultural event goes beyond a festival of ethnic songs and dances.

Everyday Policing for Equality (Cities of Migration)
The Leicestershire Constabulary Diversity Unit was established to coordinate existing programs and actively promote all aspects of diversity in the force as a strategy to improve community cohesion and protect minorities by reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. Today Leicestershire Constabulary is widely recognized as a leader in the field of diversity and good community relations, and is at the forefront of recruiting officers and staff to reflect the diverse ethnic make-up of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. Approximately 40% of Leicester’s population has an ethnic minority background and the city is projected to become Britain’s first plural city, where no ethnic group will form a majority, within the next ten years.

Ousting 3,000 immigrants will strain Federal Court: law prof (Graham Lanktree, Metro News)
New national immigration laws strain the Federal Court and raise specters to scare the public into accepting draconian legislation, said an Ottawa law professor Monday. “Mr. Kenney’s recent reference that there are 11,000 more fraudulent immigrants in Canada is a boogeyman to scare the public and introduce draconian legislation,” said Peter Showler, Director of the Refugee Forum, at the University of Ottawa’s Human Rights Research and Education Centre. “He has had parliament grant far broader power to the government than necessary.”

Minister Kenney Supports the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (Marketwire)
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today urged Members of Parliament to support the legislation to expedite the removal of foreign criminals from Canada and to enhance the safety and security of Canadians. “We have introduced a law that will stop foreign criminals relying on endless appeals in order to delay their removal from Canada during which time they continue to terrorize innocent Canadians, we believe all parliamentarians should support this law,” said Minister Kenney. “Canadians are generous and welcoming people, but they have no tolerance for criminals and fraudsters abusing our generosity.”

Lucene Charles case is sign of overall immigration department dysfunction (Scott Gardner, Hamilton Spectator)
Lucene Charles’ protracted battle to stay in Canada is an example of how the country’s dysfunctional and backlogged immigration system is in drastic need of reform, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. Kenney was in Hamilton yesterday meeting with The Spectator’s editorial board to outline his government’s plans to overhaul immigration procedures and more sternly and quickly deal with cheaters and phony claims.–lucene-charles-case-is-sign-of-overall-immigration-department-dysfunction

Immigration reform one piece of jobs puzzle (Hamilton Spectator)
There is no simple solution to our country’s perplexing problem — thousands of Canadians are unemployed or underemployed, yet thousands of jobs in a range of sectors are unfilled. Experts agree this contradictory situation will get worse as a third of Canada’s workers retire over the next five years. And it was clear at the weekend Canadian Chamber of Commerce annual meeting in Hamilton that there is no single action or program that will solve these issues that threaten the robustness — now and in future — of our national economy.–immigration-reform-one-piece-of-jobs-puzzle

Innocence of Muslims Fury Arrives in Toronto (Kyle Bachan, Torontoist)
Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. gathering was starkly different from the images that had come out of, say, Australia. The advertisements promised peaceful protesting. Quite frankly, there aren’t many who can deliver on that promise better than Canadians. The consulate building itself was blocked off by police officers and horses, which meant that the crowd of roughly 2,000 was left to occupy the corner of University Avenue and Armoury Street (elsewhere, a lone anti-protest protester wandered from corner). The event mainly consisted of a variety of speakers. Most spoke in favour of freedom of religion, and against the U.S., for its “increasing spread of anti-muslim messages.” According to Syed Rizvi, one of the protest’s organizers, the core message was that “freedom of speech is not a license for hatred, bigotry, and Islamophobia—or, for that matter, anti-Semitism, or any other insulting or disparaging remarks against any group of people.”

Pastor wants anti-Islam flim screened (Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun)
A Florida pastor once fined for burning the Qur’an says he has yet to see a controversial anti-Islam film he’d like screened next month in Toronto. The film, The Innocence of Muslims, has sparked international outrage and a series of deadly protests that have killed more than 30 people around the world. But Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Fla., said even thought he has not yet seen the film, he his currently trying to obtain a copy.


From communist Hungary to Canada: the best decision I ever made (Judy Altman, Montreal Gazette)
I was a refugee who escaped from Hungary during the revolution in 1956. Under the communist regime, nobody could leave Hungary, not even to visit other communist countries. I had never seen a passport in my life — they didn’t exist. As teenagers, we all dreamt of travelling and seeing what the rest of the world was like. Every day during the revolution, I heard that some of my friends had already left, and I spent sleepless nights trying to make up my mind whether to leave. My problem was that I doubted I would ever speak any language as well as I spoke Hungarian, and language — the ability to express myself well — was very important to me.

Jason Kenney’s office mined web petition to target message to gay Canadians (Glen Mcgregor, National Post)
For many who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney about gay refugees on Friday, the message raised one important question: How did he know I’m gay? The bulk email sent from Kenney’s MP’s office to thousands was titled “LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Refugees in Iran” and began with the salutation, “Friend.” It proceeded to trumpet steps taken by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Conservative government to protect the rights of gay and lesbian refugees, especially those coming from Iran.

Kenney’s “creepy” LGBT email (Glen Mcgregor, Ottawa Citizen)
Today I wrote about gay and lesbian people who received an email from Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. They are baffled about how they got on Kenney’s email list. One found it “creepy” that he appeared to know she is queer.

Jason Kenney, Is Canada Standing Up for Transgender Refugees, Too? (Updated) (Jillian Page, Montreal Gazette)
While the title of the email is LGBT Refugees in Iran, it is very clear in the minister’s email that he is talking about gay and lesbian people. The word “transgender” is not mentioned. The minister says this, according to Glen’s blog, where you can read the full text of the email: “We are proud of the emphasis our Conservative Government has placed on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canada’s immigration history.” I have to ask: why aren’t “transgender” people being mentioned? Are they being welcomed as refugees, too? Or just gays and lesbians? Is Canada standing up for transgender people, too? Or not? And does the minister, who mentions “sexual orientation” in his email, know the diffence between sexual orientation (gays, lesbians, and bisexuals) and gender identity (transgender people) — asked respectfully, because a lot of people don’t know the difference?

Government email to gay community causes privacy concerns (CBC)
Some members of the gay and lesbian community are raising concerns about privacy issues after they were sent an email from the office of the immigration minister that extols the government’s handling of cases of lesbian and gay refugees from Iran. Many of the people who received the email, sent from Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office, are asking how Kenney and his government know their sexual orientation. “I just thought, my god, this is complete propaganda, how did he get my email? What the heck is going on here?” said Datejie Green, from Toronto.

Helping refugees transition (The Record)
Faced with a multitude of challenges in starting a life in a new country, many refugees moving into the region find their first source of support at a house by Victoria Park. Reception House of Waterloo Region, located at 101 David St., helps 280 refugees each year transition into a new life in a Canadian urban setting. During their stay of up to 15 days, clients receive help in finding affordable accommodations, health care and community services such as English as a second language programming.–helping-refugees-transition

Refugee Health Bibliography (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
A service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants; provided by Elisa Mason


The Role of Medical Officers of Health in Addressing Health Inequities (Monika Dutt, HealthyDebate)
The goal of the public health system in Canada is to improve the health of communities, whether that is locally, provincially, nationally, and/or globally. Historically, most significant improvements in health occurred in the realm of public health, including preventing infectious diseases and improving water quality. These areas are still vital – we don’t typically worry about our children dying from measles because of the ongoing work of public health – but those activities need to be situated in a context of what we have learned about the health of our communities.

News on social assistance expected… Watch this space! (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
We have received word that the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario will be reporting to the government next week. The Wellesley Institute, in partnership with leading health organizations in Toronto, engaged with the Commission throughout its process to ensure that opportunities for good health were included as a cornerstone of the social assistance system.


What you can learn from inclusive companies (Robyn Lawlor, recent volunteer at Maytree)
While all of these programs can be effective in helping skilled immigrants integrate into the workforce, it’s important to choose the programs that work best for your company. As with all human resources programs, choose initiatives that complement your company’s long-term goals to improve the chance of success. Also, you need to ensure you have the time and money to invest in the programs’ implementation and maintenance. Below are some examples of companies that have implemented some of these practices. Visit for more detailed success stories about companies creating and implementing practices to best recruit, retain and integrate skilled immigrants.

More Canadians creating their own jobs (Julian Beltrame, Metro News)
Economist Benjamin Tal, who authored the paper released Tuesday, said several factors appear to be driving the trend. Those factors include: the aging population — the over 50 crowd represents 30 per cent of all the new start-ups; technology like the Internet that makes the process easier; outsourcing by corporations to small firms; and the continued influx of immigrants, who represent a sizable section of the self-starters. “I would say these trends are irreversible,” he said. “The trend suggests the growth in self-employment will be faster in the next decade than any other decade.”

Opinion: Not in Quebec’s interests to take back EI (Michael Mendelson, Montreal Gazette)
In 1940, the provinces — including Quebec — agreed to a constitutional amendment putting unemployment insurance into Ottawa’s jurisdiction. Now Pauline Marois, Quebec’s premier-elect, wants to take what is now called employment insurance back from the federal government. Ottawa should respond in the same spirit of pragmatic federalism as prevailed in 1940. If Premier Marois places a resolution before the National Assembly seeking a provincially run EI program, and if the resolution passes, the rest of Canada should agree to this request. But in Quebec’s self-interest, the legislature should turn down the premier.

Analysis of Saskatchewan’s Renewal of Labour Legislation (CCPA)
Unions in a Democratic Society: A Response to the Consultation Paper on the Renewal of Labour Legislation in Saskatchewan, a new CCPA report by Christopher Schenk, critically reviews the contemplated changes to labour legislation proposed by the Saskatchewan government in their Consultation Paper on the Renewal of Labour Legislation in Saskatchewan. Despite claims by the government that the proposed changes merely seek to “modernize” labour legislation in the province, this report illustrates how the proposed changes will have the perverse effect of lowering wages, undermining workplace democracy and contributing to worsening inequality in Saskatchewan.


Tuesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Ford in Ford, City Hall, Margaret Wente and Other News.


A conversation with Cathy Hawara – Director General of the Charities Directorate (Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf, Charity Village)
CharityVillage interviewed Hawara in September on a number of topics of interest to the Canadian charitable sector. Below she gives readers some insight into how her office views its relationship with the charitable sector and what some of the priorities for her are going forward.

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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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