Immigration & Diversity news headlines – September 26, 2012


Global cities tap Toronto for tips on good governance (DiverseCity Toronto)
On October 1-3, 2012, Maytree, along with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group, will be hosting delegates from 20 international cities who are coming to Toronto to learn more about the DiverseCity onBoard program and how to adapt it to their city context. The following cities will be represented: Auckland, Atlanta, Barcelona, Berlin, Birmingham, Boston, Calgary, Cologne, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Louisville, Montreal, Oakland, Ottawa, Stuttgart, Sydney, and Vienna.

It takes a city to integrate newcomers (Maytree)
As we welcome the world to Toronto next week for our DiverseCity onBoard Learning Exchange, we are also sharing Good Ideas in immigrant integration from around the world. Maytrees Cities of Migration staff are in Baltimore at the National Immigrant Integration Conference (NIIC). This year, they brought copies of our latest publication, Good Ideas from Successful Cities: Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration. Compiling nearly 40 international good practices from cities across Canada, the US, Europe and Australasia, Good Ideas showcases why municipal leadership on integration matters.

Intercultural Innovation Award (UNAOC)
The deadline for applications for the Intercultural Innovation Award is October 10th. The UNAOC and the BMW Group are looking for non-profit organizations that are successfully promoting intercultural understanding using new methods. Check the application guidelines here. Deadline for applications is October 10th.

Showing leadership on managing migration (Yonge Street)
In a Q&A with Time magazine, Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School and a professor of globalization and development at the University of Oxford, discusses how the global recession, high rates of unemployment in developed countries and a rising tide of xenophobia might tempt rich countries to shut the door on immigration. He gives Toronto as an example of why that would be a bad idea.”What’s the best way to prevent a backlash against migration?”

University of Toronto gets Canadas first full-time Muslim chaplain (Metro News)
Hes a 28-year-old almost lawyer, with a passion for photography and travelling. Not exactly the profile that comes to mind when you think of a Muslim chaplain. But Amjad Tarsin, recently hired to be the countrys first full-time Muslim chaplain at the University of Toronto is meant to be someone students can relate to. When I told my parents I was quitting law school to pursue chaplaincy, it was a really tense time, said Tarsin, who was born and raised in Ann Arbor, Mich. I had to sit down with them, and they said: What are you doing? You are ruining your life, he says, laughing. But to my parents credit, they were unexpectedly understanding.

Muslim Chaplain (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Piya Chattopadhyay spoke with Amjad Tarsin. He is the first-ever full-time Muslim chaplain at the University of Toronto.

Canadian university appoints first Muslim chaplain (Al Arabiya News)
28-year old Amjad Tarsin from Michigan, U.S., enjoys photography, traveling and chaplaincy, Canadians online news site, the Star reported. Recently hired by the University of Toronto, Canada, Tarsin aims to be someone students can relate to. While his ambition is seemingly selfless, his parents werent happy when he dropped out in the middle of pursuing a law degree to take a holier path, which began at the inter-religious Hartford Seminary in Connecticut.

Immigration system dysfunctional, inept (Casie Welch-Duyzer, Hamilton Spectator)
As a social worker who has worked with immigrant and refugee women for over a decade, I find it troublesome that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney would focus on bogus asylum claimants in an attempt to divert attention from the ongoing dysfunction and ineptitude of his ministry. All too many times I have witnessed women separated from their children for two or three years while struggling to deal with the aftermath of violence and abuse. I have seen women struggle to make a life for themselves here while dealing with the pain of missing years of their childrens lives and the worry that they will lose them for good before they can be reunited.–immigration-system-dysfunctional-inept

Border law will demand travel docs from Canadians: Documents (Carl Meyer, Embassy)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada plans to introduce new legal rules that would force Canadians and Americans to present authorized travel documents such as passports when entering Canada, according to departmental notes. Government documents obtained by Embassy under access to information legislation show the move, part of the perimeter security plan between Canada and the United States, will bring Canadian and American law closer. Under the US Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Canadians and others have had to pack official travel documents like passports since 2007 when they fly to the US, and since 2009 when driving or sailing there.

Minister’s e-mail concerns gay Iranian-Canadians (Jessica Hume, Toronto Sun)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is denying his office breached privacy laws when it emailed LGBT members of the Iranian-Canadian community last Friday. Concerns were raised by some members of that community when they received a letter illuminating them to the ministry’s pride at “[increasing] the resettlement of gay refugees living abroad as part of our refugee programs.” Many who received the letter were unsure how Kenney knew their sexual orientation and email addresses and said they had never contacted his office directly. A spokesman for Kenney’s office said when they receive online petitions, the names and contact information is included in those documents.

Muslim Protests For Blasphemy Laws Reach Canada – Michael Coren Interviews Protestors (Eric Allen Ball,
Michael Coren attended a blasphemy protest in at the American consulate in Toronto over the weekend where blatant disregard for Canadian freedoms was displayed by those who attended. The government is appalled by calls from protesters to kill the man allegedly behind the “Innocence of Muslims” film. More than 2,000 people attended a weekend demonstration outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto. Many held signs with peaceful messages, such as “I love Jesus because I’m a Muslim.” Others, however, were captured on camera calling for the death of Nakoula Basseley Nakoula – the man thought to be behind the video that has sparked outrage and often violent protests in more than 25 countries.

30 Terms Canadian Mixed Folks Should Know (and everybody else too) (Mixed Me)
If youve been following my posts for a while now, you probably already know that I was raised as one of the only people of colour (POC) in my rural Ontario village, which stunk. To this day, one of my biggest contention points about my upbringing was my lack of vocabulary around racialization so that I could better protect, articulate & defend myself. Without going into great detail about the history of colonization and oppression in Canada, I would like to point out that it is not a coincidence that many POC (including mixed and other marginalized people) do not have access to the vocabulary that helps to insulate ourselves against these forces. To be frank, knowledge is power, and the powerful arent about to spread the word that their socially constructed privilege results in our oppression. For this reason, I thought it might be useful to put together a sassy glossary for my Mixed in Canada fam who may also be having trouble articulating their experiences of racialization.

Immigration reform group is not about race (Martin Collacott, Vancouver Sun)
Re: Canada hasn’t left undesirable days behind, Sept. 22 In her article, Eva Sajoo claims I made statements implying Canada should restrict the immigration of people from certain countries – “the non-white ones” – because they are more likely to commit crimes. This is completely untrue. I said we needed to research the immigration backgrounds of serious criminals and gang members as well as their immigrant parents to find out if certain immigration and refugee programs are more likely to result in problematic outcomes.

Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney wants MPs to decide when human life begins (Heather Mallick, Toronto Star)
What would I do without Jason Kenney? Hes not the gift that keeps on giving, hes the gift that keeps forcing itself on you. Hes like your mother who sends you clippings she thinks might interest you, which coincidentally are always ways to change your life in ways that have been anathema since you burst out of rural Saskatchewan to make the big city your home. But youre polite because you know she wants the best for you. Calgary Southeasts Kenney, the minister for citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism thats three wisdoms doesnt want the best for us. He is Stephen Harpers bullhorn. He wants to bully us into obedience, to be more like him because the man clearly thinks hes fabulous. I wrote before with great joy about Kenneys request on his website that visitors sign a petition thanking him for his fine work because he was persistently underthanked.–citizenship-minister-jason-kenney-wants-mps-to-decide-when-human-life-begins#.UGJplzEdJo0.twitter

CFP: Encounters in Canada: Contrasting Indigenous and Immigrant Perspectives (Centre for Refugee Studies, York U)
This conference aims to fill this gap in knowledge and will bring together leaders from government and the judiciary, legal scholars, academics and practitioners to formulate practical solutions. The primary objective is to build bridges cultural, political, intellectual and social connections between those who share the lands of what is now Canada. The underlying rationale of the conference stems from the fact that Canada is now shared by Indigenous peoples, descendants of early settlers and more recent immigrant and refugee communities. These communities encounter Canada in very different ways based on racial identity, ancestral heritage, cultural background, community belonging, language and spiritual practice. Bridging the chasm that exists between Indigenous peoples and all newcomers, whether early or contemporary immigrants or refugees, is urgently needed in order to end discrimination and achieve equitable quality of life for all who live in this country. To this end, the objective is to understand how Indigenous peoples and various immigrant groups experience their lives in Canada. How are the challenges they face different? Are there shared goals and experiences upon which to build future alliances to achieve improved quality of life in Canada?

Sports day offers multicultural flair (Daniel Punch, The Observer)
Simone Santos might bring a trick or two she learned Tuesday back to the gymnastics gym. The 11-year-old Ecole Les Rapides student spends much of her free time practicing graceful floor routines, but she looked right at home mixing it up on the rugby pitch. Its all about teamwork, so I really like that, said Santos, taking a break from a rugby scrimmage. Santos was one of 350 elementary school students who came to Canatara Park for the Sports Day in Canada Multicultural Elementary Games.

Walkable neighbourhoods tied to lower diabetes risk (Kerry Grens, Vancouver Sun)
People living in communities that lend themselves to walking had a significantly lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those living in the least walkable neighbourhoods in a large new study from Canada. “If you have fewer opportunities for physical activity in your daily life, then you may gain more weight…and you’re also more likely to develop diabetes,” said Dr. Gillian Booth, the lead author and a researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

K’naan offers glimpse into his childhood in first kids’ book `When I Get Older’ (Lauren La Rose, Calgary Herald)
As a newcomer to Canada, K’naan was able to find a source of both solace and expression through music. The launch of his first-ever children’s book represents a full-circle moment of sorts for the award-winning rapper, as he fuses literature, art and music to share his childhood story of the immigrant experience. While the Somali-Canadian poet and MC initially planned and still hopes to pen a memoir for adults, “When I Get Older: The Story Behind ‘Wavin’ Flag”’ (Tundra Books) documents a pivotal period of K’naan’s life geared towards a younger audience.

K’naan’s book When I Get Older shares life story for kids (CBC)
As a newcomer to Canada, K’naan was able to find a source of both solace and expression through music. The launch of his first-ever children’s book represents a full-circle moment of sorts for the award-winning rapper, as he fuses literature, art and music to share his childhood story of the immigrant experience.

29th Apprehension of “Wanted by the CBSA” Individual (Marketwire)
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) today announced the apprehension of Durvent Dave Jack, who was added to the “Wanted by the CBSA” list on August 23, 2012. Jack was arrested on September 22 in Toronto by the Immigration Task Force, a joint forces operations team made up of officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the CBSA, following a CBSA investigation by inland enforcement officers based in Kingston. Jack is inadmissible to Canada for having been convicted in Canada of possessing a controlled substance for the purposes of trafficking. He is currently being held at the Toronto West Detention Centre.

Jason Kenney’s gay email (Justin Ling, Extra!)
Has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney been emailing you? Maybe its because youre gay. The minister sent out an email on Sept 24 lauding the governments efforts to protect and promote queer rights abroad. It highlights the emphasis . . . on gay and lesbian refugee protection, which is without precedent in Canadas immigration history. The Ottawa Citizens Glen McGregor broke the story, complete with reaction over the “creepy” letter. Many were left scratching their heads, wondering how the ministry got a list of emails for queer Canadians. (This journalist didnt receive one.)

An open letter to Jason Kenney: We are not fooled by unsolicited, self-congratulatory pinkwashing (rabble)
Your most recent campaign is a poor attempt at “pinkwashing” the Conserative government’s obvious desire to encourage war with Iran (as evidenced by the recent closing of the Canadian embassy in Iran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from Canada.) By inflating and exaggerating claims about your government’s concern for LGBT rights, it seems that your office is attempting to instrumentally highlight the homophobia faced by LGBT people in Iran in order to generate, ahead of any declaration of war, a negative shift in public opinion surrounding Iran. This is a crudely transparent move to target mostly radical activists, queer-identified people, and people of colour who have opposed your government’s policies in the past. What this campaign signifies is a temporary and instrumental invitation to LGBT people and refugees to join in the nationalist sentiments of a government that is in need of a wide support base for its hawkish foreign policies.

Myrta Rivera cared deeply about her community (The Record)
It was her empathetic nature that drew her to work with immigrants and be their voice. Born in Puerto Rico, she knew what it was like to speak English differently than those born in Canada. She understood the plight of immigrants coming to a new homeland and put herself in their shoes. She was a firm believer in giving immigrants a chance, said Lucia Harrison, executive director of the Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre, who worked with Rivera for 20-plus years.–myrta-rivera-cared-deeply-about-her-community

Opinion: Stop calling criticism of Islam Islamophobia (Jackson Doughart and Faisal Saeed al-Mutar, National Post)
In the opinion of some scholars, journalists, and activists, the nature of European and North American reaction to Islam is an example of prejudice, falling suitably under the umbrella of what they call Islamophobia. In our estimation, however, the use of this term, and its cognates Islamophobic and Islamophobe, is not only misapplied, as in the case of the Dutch dissidents Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but altogether inappropriate and deserving of repudiation.


Hating the Jew, hating the gypsy (Bernie M. Farber, et al., National Post)
These are Jews, a culture synonymous with swindlers. The phrase Jew and cheater have been so interchangeable historically that they have entered the English language as a verb. He jewed me! Well the Jews have jewed us too. And [Jews] come here [to Canada] to jew us again, to rob us blind, as they have done in Europe for centuries. These words are shocking and offensive, arent they? And yet, last week, this contemptible screed was uttered and aired by a national broadcaster in Canada, with just one difference from the language cited above: Instead of Jews, the broadcast was describing gypsies an obsolete term for the European people known as Roma.

Roma rally participant pleased (Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now)
A group of Roma-Hungarian refugee families descended on the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada office in Vancouver last Tuesday for a rally and managed to have their case heard by one insider. “We had roughly around 40 people,” said Florian Botos, a Burnaby resident and Roma-Hungarian who’s lived in Canada for years. “We came out as families, small kids were there.” The rally was mostly Roma-Hungarian families from Burnaby, New Westminster and Coquitlam, but ACORN, a community activist group, helped them organize the protest.

Coquitlam Roma family faces deportation (Brent Richter, The Now News)
Canada’s Hungarian Roma community is on edge as changes in federal laws may make it much harder for them to successfully claim refugee status in Canada. With the passage of Bill C-31 in the spring, the government is set to produce a list of countries thought to be safe and unlikely to produce refugees. Refugee applications from those countries will be processed more quickly, but there will be no opportunity for rejected claimants to appeal. The changes were designed to weed out bogus refugee claims. But if Immigration Minister Jason Kenney adds Hungary to its list of so-called safe countries, as activists fear he will, it could mean deportation for local Romas, who face rampant discrimination in Hungary.

Visa imposition worries refugee advocates (Kristen Shane, Embassy)
Some people who work with refugees say the governments recent decision to impose visas on citizens of five countries could end up hurting legitimate refugees for whom the move could mean less access to seek refuge. One of the affected countries has also expressed disappointment and dismay in Canadas decision. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced on Sept. 11 that Canada would require visas from citizens travelling to Canada from three southern African countries (Botswana, Namibia, and Swaziland) and two Caribbean countries (Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).

Clarifying Roma refugee issue (Shayna Plaut, PhD candidate and Liu scholar, UBC, Burnaby Now)
Thank you for your article. As I am sure you are aware, there were many public education events that took place in Vancouver (as well as many other cities in Canada) when the new refugee bill, Bill C-31 was introduced and debated winter/spring 2012. It is good that you are continuing to cover the issue even after the bill was unfortunately turned into law. Your piece helps shed light on the fact that although many of the Roma who are claiming refugee status come from what may be seen as a “safe country,” one must question, safe for whom? People do not flee their country because they find it safe. Your last sentence, however, is a bit troubling without proper context.

Red tape causing difficulties for Iraqi refugees (CBC)
Three Island parishes trying to bring Iraqi refugee families to P.E.I. are facing uncertainty as political red tape continues to delay the process. Nearly a decade ago, facing religious persecution in Iraq, the three catholic families and thousands of others fled to refugee camps in Syria a country now engulfed in its own civil war.

Health agencies aim to help Roma (Helen Branswell, Metro News)
The Roma are an insular community, rendered fearful of authority after centuries of discrimination and persecution. In Canada, many are unable to communicate with outsiders without an interpreter. That language barrier places serious strictures on their ability to avail themselves of medical care. For these and other reasons, meeting this communitys health needs is an extraordinarily challenging undertaking, experts suggest. And its one at which some feel they are currently failing.


Three cheers for the Bailão report (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
It was a big job, but somebody had to do it. That somebody was Councillor Ana Bailão, who stepped forward last spring to help Toronto Community Housing find money to repair its 58,500 homes without losing 619 of Torontos most integrated and versatile social housing units. On September 17th, Councillor Bailao and the Special Housing Working Group announced Putting People First: their recommendations for transforming TCHC. The report is going to the Executive Committee on October 9th, and then on to City Council. Lets look at three reasons to cheer it on its way.

Three Cheers for the Fraser Institute! (Behind the Numbers)
Yes, its true that that higher income individuals and families may pay an implicitly higher amount for these public services through progressive taxes (when they pay them) but overall costs are much lower, so we all or at least 90% of us are much better off. We could reduce the overall implicit costs of health care for families in Canada if we changed the tax system so businesses paid a higher share of tax revenues but organizations such as the Fraser Institute continue to push hard in the opposite direction lobbying heavily for cuts to business taxes and shifting taxes onto households. Good work over there! Yet another enlightening report from the Fraser Institute. (With adversaries like these.)

Lower response rates threaten census data in some places (Kady O’Malley)
The response rate to Statistics Canada’s replacement for the cancelled long-form census varies wildly from community to community, information released Monday shows. New data on the agency’s website about the contentious national household survey show that the final response rate across the country was 68.6 per cent down slightly from an estimate made public earlier this month. But almost 12 per cent of communities had response rates that fall below the optimal 50 per cent level. Most of those communities with low response rates are small, prompting questions about how reliable the final results will be at a local level.

Latest Media and Policy News: 26 Sept 2012 (ISAC)
News related to poverty and policy in Ontario and across Canada.


Its Time for Nonprofits to Strengthen Their Workforce Hire Immigrants! (Maytree)
The report, Opportunity Knocks! How Nonprofit Employers Build a Workforce that Includes New Canadians (PDF), describes the demographic challenges that affect the nonprofit labour force, reasons organizations need to take action, and provides five areas of focus for employers (note: the report refers to ethnic diversity, encompassing visible minority and under-represented immigrant communities).

Video: HIO Support to Employers (hire immigrants ottawa)
Employers obviously want access to the very best talent available, and immigrants are a significant source of talent. But employers can also face challenges with the recruitment and integration of skilled immigrants into the workplace. Learn from Ottawa businesses that are enhancing their ability to access the talents of skilled immigrants by taking advantage of the resources available at Hire Immigrants Ottawa.

Upskilling, immigration, education should be priorities to confront skills shortage (HR Reporter)
When it comes to confronting Canadas skills and labour shortages, there are four key priorities, according to a Canadian Chamber of Commerce report. Upskilling, immigration, education and Aboriginal Peoples should be the focus, said Canada’s Skills Crisis: What We Heard, based on roundtable discussions in 14 locations across the country as part of a Top 10 Barriers to Canadian Competitiveness initiative. 2012 has been the tipping point for Canadian business confronting skills and labour shortages, according to the organization, and a crisis that had been hidden by the recession is now fully apparen

Submission on Immigration by Office of the Fairness Commissioner (Settlement AtWork)
The Office of the Fairness Commissioner has provided comments to the Government of Canada on the subject of immigration. The Offices comments relate to proposals which could impact the efforts of Ontarios regulatory bodies to:
Streamline registration practices;
Eliminate unnecessary registration requirements; and
Lower registration costs to applicants.

Exploitation of seasonal migrant workers feared by unions (Globe and Mail)
Like Mr. Guadalupe, thousands of migrant workers come to work in B.C. each year, drawn by steady employment and wages that are difficult to find in their home countries. Since Canadas Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program was expanded to B.C. in 2004, vineyard, greenhouse and orchard operators have embraced the program, hiring anywhere from half a dozen to more than 200 workers each year to plant, pick and process their crops. Migrant workers also come to the province through other programs. The influx has added an undercurrent of tension to a sector already grappling with economic and social change. That tension can be seen on the labour front, where unions have attempted to organize B.C. farm workers, so far with limited success. Last year, Local 1518 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union filed a complaint with the BC Labour Relations Board, alleging that the Mexican government and its Vancouver consulate had blacklisted Mexican workers for union activities.

Something awful this way comes (Hans Rollmann, The Indpendent)
Last summer I wrote an article about the use of Temporary Foreign Workers in this province, as part of a wider series on the changing labour market in Newfoundland and Labrador. As a province with a history of continuing underemployment, and the only province in Canada without any significant use of the federal temporary foreign worker program (which is used to import cheap temporary foreign labour instead of creating quality local jobs), all indications pointed to the danger that in a booming economy some local employers would take the cheapskate option: opt for boosting their corporate profits through use of temporary foreign workers instead of supporting their communities by creating decent quality jobs for locals.

Keen & green: How an innovative mentoring program connects new Canadians with environmental jobs (Yonge Street)
It’s, as Alanis Morissette might put it, so ironic. On the one hand, we’re frequently hearing tales of foreign-trained medical doctors and architects driving cabs and flipping burgers because their professional experience from another country isn’t getting them hired here. Meanwhile, many employers are crying out for qualified candidates. While sectors like health, oil and mining come immediately to mind as professional-starved, a unique program is aiming at tackling the disconnect between new Canadians and the environmental management sector. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is primarily an environmental agency that supports a healthy built and natural landscape in the Toronto area. But for the past few years, they’ve also been helping match highly skilled professionals trained in other countries with positions relating to the environment through their M2P program, which stands for Mentoring to Placement for Environmental Professionals.

Law Commission of Ontario makes important recommendations to improve employment standards (Workers’ Action Centre)
WAC has released a policy brief in response to The Law Commission of Ontarios Interim Report on Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work. We encourage our community allies and supporters to provide feedback to the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) by their deadline of October 1, 2012. The LCOs Interim Report on Vulnerable Workers confirms that work today has become less secure, lower paid, has fewer benefits, if any, and provides little protection against workplace abuses and injury. The report also demonstrates that it is women, immigrants and racialized workers that are most in precarious work.


Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Ford in Toronto Zoo, TTC, Bike Lanes, Plastic Bags.


Charities Should Resist Drinking the ‘Kool-Aid of Business Superiority (Phil Buchanan,
Many nonprofit leaders, donors, policy makers, and others are increasingly looking, starry-eyed, to business and markets to solve social problems. But in so doing, they run the risk of dismissing the importance of nonprofitsand diminishing the value of organizations that seek to make a difference without the potential conflicts that come with the profit motive. The problem is widespread, and the rhetoric seems to be everywhere, from the trade press to the mainstream

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

RIP Myrta Rivera. Boss. Mentor. Friend. #fuckcancer RT @AmberCadabra: The web amplifies humans, for better and worse. MT @nilofer:...