Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 12, 2012


When was the last time you thought about what it means to be Canadian? (Gillian Hewitt Smith, Institute for Canadian Citizenship)
October is a particularly striking month in Canada. The air turns cool and crisp, and our green landscapes deepen with vibrant colour. You can’t help but feel Canadian. Sure, there are many other occasions when we feel Canadian – celebrating Canada Day or cheering on our athletes during the Olympics – but allow me to ask: when was the last time you actually thought about what it means to be Canadian, what it means to be a citizen of this country?

CERIS launches new blog to discuss hot topics (CERIS)
On October 11, CERIS launched a new blog with the goal of bringing together research, policy, and community practice to share knowledge and points of view on issues that matter to immigrants, refugees, temporary migrants, and all those interested in immigration issues in Canada and abroad. The blog, initiated by CERIS York Director Luin Goldring, will serve as space for presenting and discussing themes that are current in the research field, policy arena, communities of practice, and the media.

Whitehorse fields diverse slate of council candidates (CBC)
“It’s great that there are representatives from all walks of life,” said Yvonne Clark, president of the Canadian Filipino Association of Yukon. Among the people who will be on the Whitehorse municipal ballot this time are people from various communities including a Filipino Canadian, Indo-Canadians, Francophones and First Nations candidates.

New language rules for Canadian citizenship applicants announced (Henry J. Chang, First Reference Talks)
On September 28, 2012, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism announced that citizenship applicants will now be required to provide up-front objective evidence of their language ability at the time of their citizenship application. The effective date of this change is November 1, 2012.

How to Organize a #CdnImm Event (Settlement AtWork)
Have you attended a #CdnImm event? Are you interested in organizing one? These events are a great way to share knowledge on settlement topics and collaborate across the sector. Visit the Settlement At Work wiki page for a step-by-step explanation of how to hold your own event. Staff at OCASI are available to assist.

Controversial Greek nationalist party opens Montreal chapter (CBC)
A Greek right-wing nationalist party, which won 18 seats in the country’s recent election, has opened a branch in Montreal. The party’s anti-immigrant stance is considered racist by many in the international community, a hardline position that is also supported by the Montreal chapter.

Muslim immigration weakens Canada’s liberalism : political scientist (Ottawa Citizen)
When Salim Mansur, a political scientist at the University of Western Ontario, asked me to provide a promotion blurb for his 2011 book Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism, I was only too happy to oblige. Here’s what I wrote: “In an age of ideological conformity such as ours, it takes courage to speak against the prevailing orthodoxy. This is a courageous book. Professor Mansur exposes how multiculturalism corrodes the values and traditions that sustain Canada as a liberal democratic order. The result is a book to galvanize Canadians against the apostles of extremist progressivism.”

Government of Canada Supports Cultural Diversity Awareness in Cold Lake (Gov of Canada News)
Families and youth from different cultural backgrounds moving into new communities will benefit from a new initiative, sparked by a partnership between the Government of Canada and the City of Cold Lake. Brian Storseth, Member of Parliament for Westlock—St.Paul, made the announcement today on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.;jsessionid=ac1b105330d7251aeefbf7734299b8b08e653691e260.e38RbhaLb3qNe3qPay0?mthd=tp&

2nd-gen immigrants pull ahead in US, Canada, Australia (Michael Kennedy,
In a new study published by the journal Social Science Research, sociology professor Jeffrey G. Reitz and PhD candidate Naoko Hawkins from the University of Toronto and Heather Zhang from McGill University examined survey and census data to compare the achievements of immigrants and their offspring. “From a Canadian perspective, the findings are a welcome indication that the children of immigrants are doing well,” says Reitz. “However, those who have attributed such success to distinctive Canadian integration policies such as multiculturalism will find their views refuted by the fact that similar success is experienced by the children of similar immigrants in the United States and Australia.”

Conservative strength in Ontario is more than skin-deep (Michael Den Tandt,
Indeed, when Liberal leadership front runner Justin Trudeau and his people talk about what went awry for them after 2004, they tend to mention having lost touch with “rural Canada” and “New Canadians.” That’s code for Ontarians living outside the GTA, and the immigrant communities in the suburbs of the GTA. Neither NDP leader Tom Mulcair nor Trudeau can hope to dislodge Prime Minister Stephen Harper without adding Tim Hortons nation to Starbucks Nation. The nexus will be communities such as Brampton, Barrie, Oakville, Orangeville, Oshawa and Whitby, and points further north, east, west and southwest. Two issues have, until now, driven these populations’ federal voting choices: In the suburbs, tax policy; in rural Ontario, tax policy and the long-gun registry. Tax cuts can in theory be introduced by anyone, and the gun registry is now history. Based on the ruthless application of “What have you done for me lately?” Ontario beyond Toronto should be fertile territory for the opposition parties in three years’ time. Especially since, by then, the Harper Conservatives will have been in power nine years. Harper is not particularly liked now. He will be less liked then.

In the Field Newsletter Volume 4 (OCASI)
Debbie’s observations on advocacy and the role of service organizations.
OCASI Member Feature Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office
OCASI Happenings

Some Myths About Equality in Canada (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
Misinformation about Canada’s evolving demographics is all too common in the national media and it usually goes unchallenged.

Culture clash: Jury hears Afghan immigrant’s panicked 911 call after stabbin (Toronto Star)
A dramatic 911 tape of a panicked Afghan immigrant saying someone killed his wife — but refusing to admit he was the stabber — was played for a jury Tuesday. “My wife has been murdered,” Peer Khairi told the emergency operator early on the afternoon of March 18, 2008, as a Hindi interpreter translated from another phone. The call was played at Khairi’s murder trial, where a clash of cultures is the dominant theme.–culture-clash-jury-hears-afghan-immigrant-s-panicked-911-call-after-stabbing

Rob Ford’s Diversity Distraction (Desmond Cole)
Since 2006, it’s been City of Toronto policy that all advertised civic appointments—both paid jobs and hundreds of volunteer opportunities—make a direct appeal for applications from “women, youth, First Nations, people with disabilities and racialized communities.” In late September, a damning report by the City’s ombudsman, Fiona Crean (who is, in fact, a woman), revealed that Mayor Rob Ford’s staff tried to delete a line about that diversity policy from recruitment ads during a round of appointments in spring 2011. The revelation of Mayor Ford’s interference was another troubling window into his administration’s dismissive approach to inclusion and diversity. It also shed more light on Ford’s bizarre political posturing: even as he trumpets his private commitment to charity for marginalized people, the mayor reassures his base that public, systemic change is out of the question.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act targets Permanent Residents (MP Karygiannis, South Asian Generation Next)
Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration has expressed his disappointment on the delay of passing the Bill C-43, Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act. . In a statement, he said “I am disappointed, but not surprised, to see the NDP and Liberals once again put the interests of criminals ahead of the rights of victims and law-abiding Canadians.” “When it comes to the faster removal of dangerous foreign criminals, I would hope the NDP and Liberals would join us in putting the safety and security of Canadians first. I urge the NDP and Liberals to listen to Canadians, support this bill, and help ensure its timely passage,” Parliamentary Secretary Leung further said.

South Asians in Mainstream TV (South Asian Generation Next)
Have you been watching mainstream programs lately? If you do, you would have noticed that there are quite a few shows featuring South Asians on mainstream TV these days. One of the episodes of ‘My House, Your Money’ features MitulKadakia, who we know from ShiamakDavar International. However, many of Food Network’s programs feature South Asian particularly Indian cuisine and/or spices. ‘Top Chef Masters’ was won by Chef Floyd Cardoz. Chef Fatima Ali won ‘Chopped.’ Iron Chef America featured quite a few Indian descent chefs as well as food and spices. A few South Asians participated in ‘Recipe to Riches’ last season. In this season of ‘Recipe to Riches,’ Ricky Matharu will be dazzling the audience with his fusion food, butter chicken lasagna. He is hoping to win $250,000 plus having his butter chicken lasagnabecome a President’s Choice product.

Canadian Immigration Minister on Irish TV on Expansion of Working Holiday Program (Canadian Immigration Newsletter)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney appeared on Ireland’s Late Late Show last Friday to discuss the coming expansion of the International Experience Canada program for Irish citizens, through which the number of working holiday visas available will be increased to 10,000 per year.

Star columnist Carol Goar honoured by human rights advocacy group (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Veteran Star columnist Carol Goar has been honoured with the Ashok Chandwani Media Award for raising public awareness of human rights issues through her writing and reporting. Goar, a journalist for more than 35 years, has been the paper’s national affairs columnist, Washington bureau chief and editorial page editor. She writes three times a week on social justice issues faced by racial minorities, the poor, homeless, young people, and individuals with disabilities.–star-columnist-carol-goar-honoured-by-human-rights#.UHYxCveE9hI.twitter

Most came to Canada as immigrants (Xavier Kataquapit, Toronto Star)
I don’t understand why so many people get upset about immigrants coming to this country. Of course you have to remember I have a special view considering my people are the original inhabitants of this land, so everybody else who came after us I view as immigrants. The Europeans were the first big wave of immigrants to land on the shores of the Americas for all the same old reasons such as the quest for wealth, resources and domination.

Honour killings are dishonourable (Tarek Fatah, Toronto Sun)
Most of us know about the tragic “honour” killing of the three Shafia sisters and their stepmother, Rona Amir Mohammad. The four died at the hands of their family because they committed the “crime” of embracing Canada’s freedoms. Now we have news of another possible honour killing by another Muslim father, who allegedly became outraged at his wife and daughters for dishonouring him and his religious and cultural beliefs.

Nature’s Invitation: Wilderness explored through Canadian immigrants’ eyes in new doc (Toronto Star)
Yu’s adventure in Canada’s wilderness and that of other newcomers are captured in Edmonton-based journalist Brandy Yanchyk’s new documentary, Nature’s Invitation, which will be broadcast on OMNI TV (Ontario) at 9 p.m. Sunday. With funding from OMNI, Yanchyk and her crew spent the summer of 2011 filming newcomers participating in Parks Canada’s outdoor wilderness programs that aim to encourage Canadians to experience the outdoors and have a connection to nature.–nature-s-invitation-wilderness-explored-through-canadian-immigrants-eyes-in-new-doc


How Europe’s Roma problem became ours (Chris Selley, National Post)
On Tuesday, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tweeted a photo from Miskolc, Hungary, where he was meeting with Roma leaders on the huge numbers of their constituents (once described as “Gypsies”) launching refugee claims — almost all of which are abandoned or unsuccessful — in Canada. It was not your typical happy government photo-op. One fellow seems to be gesticulating angrily toward Mr. Kenney; another seems to be glowering at the camera. Nobody looks even slightly comfortable, and that’s not surprising. Canada is a rare sanctuary for the Roma. Mr. Kenney is basically telling them to stay home and deal with an often horrible situation.

Canadian Council for Refugees Fall Consultation (Toronto LIP)
Register now for the CCR Fall Consultation, Toronto, 29 November – 1 December 2012 *Please distribute widely* Canadian Council for Refugees Fall Consultation 29 November – 1 December 2012, Toronto 012 has been a year of big changes for refugees, immigrants and those people that work with them. Policymakers have had their say, but what is happening to refugee and immigrant families because of these new government policies? Find out about these changes and what they mean for refugee and immigrant families. Come to the Consultation and have your say in how, together, we can ensure a fair and honourable future for newcomers in our communities.

Canada rejects roma activist’s refugee claim (Gary Dimmock, The Province)
A Roma political activist and his family, long targets of reported neo-Nazi attacks in Hungary, have b e e n d e n i e d refugee status in Canada after an Immigration and Refugee Board member ruled that they have no legitimate fear of persecution in their homeland. Gyula Kanto, a Roma civil-rights leader, appealed the ruling, but in a Sept. 5 decision signed in Ottawa, the Federal Court of Canada backed the board’s refusal, even though it noted that a board member was wrong in his assessment of state protection.

Canada denies another gay refugee claimant (Xtra!)
Augustas Dennie used to be a dancer. Now, he has trouble speaking. Dennie says he was the victim of a brutal gaybashing in his native St Vincent and the Grenadines. It left him helpless, unable to work and scarred. He fled to Canada in 2010, seeking safety from his attackers — who he says have threatened to finish the job. Yet government officials here are looking to deport Dennie because they do not believe he is gay – an increasingly common story in the Conservative government’s immigration regime.

Federal Court overturns ‘erroneous’ IRB decision denying Ottawa man’s asylum claim (Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen)
For the second time, a Federal Court judge has overturned a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board denying an Ottawa refugee claimant asylum. In a decision dated Oct. 1, Justice Mary Gleason ruled that the reasoning in the decision of the IRB member who turned Gabino Zacarias down last year was “so erroneous that it must be set aside.”

Up in Arms: Doctors protest for Refugee health care (Global TV)
They are unlikely protesters – doctors – unaccustomed to yelling slogans. They say it’s the biggest, political action in Canadian medical history – and they’re up in arms for what they say is a case of pure government bullying of the most vulnerable people in Canada…the refugees seeking asylum here. Carolyn Jarvis reports.


Broadbent think-tank wants more ‘wealth redistribution’ to battle inequality (Kristy Kirkup, Ottawa Sun)
A left-wing think-tank led by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent says greater “wealth redistribution” is needed to battle income inequality in Canada. The Broadbent Institute says the growing gap between the rich and the poor became the “defining political issue of our time” after the Occupy movement swept across North America last fall.

It’s time to build dignity into Ontario social assistance (Toronto Star)
For nearly two decades, Ontario has seen the continuous erosion of social assistance benefits and a system focused on surveillance and punishment rather than dignity and support. Our province’s social assistance system fails to provide an economic safety net. It also fails to provide opportunities for all Ontarians to contribute to the long-term prosperity of our province. People on social assistance are poor. Very poor. Worse yet, the very system that’s supposed to help them get back on their feet actually traps them in a cycle of poverty. This has devastating impacts on individuals and families, especially when people are already vulnerable or marginalized — like immigrants, women, single mothers, people with disabilities, and people from racialized communities (aboriginal or First Peoples as well as peoples of colour).–it-s-time-to-build-dignity-into-ontario-social-assistance


Foreign recruitment will help diversity, employers told (CBC)
The Association for New Canadians is bringing the message of diversity to employers in the face of an inevitable worker shortage in Newfoundland and Labrador. Predictions state that thousands of jobs in the province will go empty because there won’t be enough workers to fill the spots. Experts say the only way to fill this need is to bring in more immigrants and temporary foreign workers.

Immigration could help solve labour shortage (Ashley Fitzpatrick, Daily Business Buzz)
“Immigration is going to, I think, I predict, continue to grow in importance in Atlantic Canada, including Newfoundland, because of the skill shortages, because of the aging of the population,” he said. “We don’t really have much choice but to try to address that partly through immigration.” Bringing in new workers from other jurisdictions is not a new idea. As The Telegram reported in September, temporary foreign workers have been gaining ground with local employers finding themselves facing immediate shortages.

Temporary foreign worker laws in Canada (CBC)
Canadians are encouraged to think of the country as a land of immigrants. But that view may need some fine tuning. Because last year, Canada allowed in more temporary foreign workers than economic immigrants. It’s a significant shift in immigration policy. And some fear the consequences will be dramatic. Critics say these so called “temporary” workers are becoming a permanent part of the workforce. And, according to a new study, many such workers are vulnerable to abuse by their employers because Canada’s laws offer them so little protection.

Baffling plea agreement does nothing to help exploited Polish workers (Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal)
It was an illegal scheme, a headline-making immigration fraud that raised public awareness about the plight of temporary foreign workers in Alberta. The victims were three dozen welders from Poland, lured here in 2005 and 2006 by ads in Polish newspapers. They believed they were here on legitimate work visas, to work for Kihew Energy Services, owned by Rev. John Lipinski, a Ukrainian Orthodox priest, and his partner Calvin Steinhauer. But the workers actually arrived on student visas, procured by Paul Myshaniuk, then general manager of the business unit at Lakeland College’s Strathcona County campus. Kihew paid Lakeland $215,000 — creating the false impression the welders were students.

Canada: Immigrants being killed on the job (Mohamed Elmasry)
Vernon Edwards, Director of Occupational Health and Safety at the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), said immigrant workers are often vulnerable because they don’t know their health and safety rights – including the right to refuse unsafe work – and they don’t know the law forbids employers from retaliating against workers who exercise their rights. “They’re (immigrant workers) often put in harm’s way by unscrupulous employers. It happens often in the construction industry. In the case of the gas station attendant, he may have had the cost of stolen gas deducted from his pay cheque. We find this practice is widespread, although it’s totally illegal, so much so that we’ve set up a bad gas hotline.”

Irish immigration focus of presentation (EMC Smiths Falls)
We have all heard about Irish workers dying during the building of the Rideau Canal from explosions and malaria. We have also heard many stories about the Irish potato famine and the great number of Irish immigrants that came to Canada to start a new life. The Rideau Canal was built between 1826 and 1832 and the potato famine started in 1845. On Wednesday Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Portland Community Hall, well-known local historian, Mr. Neil Patterson will be giving a presentation on how these events have impacted our community.

Lack of diversity leaves lasting impression (Barbara Yaffe, Vancouver Sun)
Ethnic diversity is as much a part of Vancouver’s urban landscape as the North Shore Mountains and the waters of the Fraser. But then, Vancouver is hardly unique in this regard. Multiculturalism is the new norm for cities across the West. Which is why a brief visit several weeks ago to Copenhagen came as a shock.

What ‘diversity,’ Justin? You won’t see it in the Liberal leadership race (Lorrie Goldstein, Ottawa Sun)
Justin Trudeau kicked off his Liberal leadership campaign with a tribute to Canada’s “diversity” as first among “the values that define and unite us” as a nation. Despite predictable praise for the speech from Liberals looking for a shortcut back to power, it’s ironic that, even assuming there is a genuine Liberal leadership race and not just a Trudeau coronation, it will once again be fought primarily among white males.

Study finds an unjustified bias against accents (Janet Bagnall, Montreal Gazette)
People who speak a second language with an accent, even a faint one, can find themselves frozen out of the job market, shunted out of immigration queues and unfairly marked on school exams. This bias against accents is not only unfair it is also unjustified, a new study shows. Having an accent, even a fairly strong one, does not have to impede comprehensibility. A rich vocabulary and a good grasp of grammar are far more important in making someone comprehensible than an accentless grasp of the second language.

Catalyst Canada to Confer Special Recognition for Board Diversity to Intact’s Claude Dussault at The 2012 Catalyst Canada Honours (Catalyst)
Catalyst Canada announced today that it will honour Claude Dussault, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intact Financial Corporation, with Special Recognition – Board Diversity Champion for his work advancing women to board leadership. For the first time, Catalyst includes this special recognition in its The Catalyst Canada Honours celebration to underscore the significant role of corporate boards in achieving gender diversity in business leadership.

What Not to Say to Your CEO About Diversity (
More than 50 percent of the benchmarking debriefs we do each year are with CEOs and executive teams of the 80 companies that are our clients. We also have published 12 one-on-one interviews with CEOs in DiversityInc this year and have had 15 CEOs speak at our events. Having observed what gets CEOs fired up about diversity—and how they hold their executives accountable for sustainable results—we’ve put together a primer for you on what NOT to say to your CEO about diversity and inclusion.

Canada’s demographics will shape construction: expert (Kelly Lapointe,
Canada’s changing demographics will continue to shape the context for the construction industry in terms of labour and the projects. “Future changes will be much more significant than the changes we’ve seen historically,” said Ryan Berlin, economy and housing market analyst at Urban Futures, speaking at the recent 27th annual CanaData Construction Industry Forecasts Conference.–canadarsquos-demographics-will-shape-construction-expert

Ontario needs a minimum wage workers can live on (Workers’ Action Centre)
A fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work; that’s what Ontario workers need. The minimum wage—the lowest legal rate of pay—is supposed to ensure that when you work, you earn enough to live on. And yet, in Ontario, workers are struggling to get by, often working two or three low-paying jobs.


Friday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, E-bikes, City, Casino and Other News.

Neighbourhood centres: From the history of social justice among settlement houses to community hubs’ modern place-based approach (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
Each of these neighbourhood centres cluster in the centre of city, reflecting the downtown area’s history as a place where new immigrants and low-income lived. As demographics have shifted and need has spread, other neighbourhood centres – and community hubs – have emerged across the city. Over these decades, these centres opened their doors, drawing on a model from 19th century Great Britain called a Settlement House. More than charitable service organizations that focus on individual needs, settlement houses emerged from wider ideals of social justice. Settlement referred not to, in the modern sense, of working with immigrants, but rather to a call to university-educated young people to settle in poor neighbourhoods, bring their talents to bear on local problems.


The Ontario Social Economy Roundtable Meets: Part I (Lina Bowden,
When the Ontario Social Economy Roundtable (OSER) first came into being a few years ago with the help of the Ontario Nonprofit Network, it was to dream about the creation of a trust that would loan money to nonprofits and social enterprises. Today, the Community Forward Fund does just that. Having gathered experts from community finance groups, co-operatives and other individuals working in the social economy, the collective recognized the power of collaborating in provincial policy issues.

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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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