Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 17, 2012


Diversity in procurement makes business sense (Sandra Lopes, Maytree)
Many Canadian companies have come to recognize and embrace the benefits of diversity in their workforce and in their leadership. But how many have ethnic and racial diversity in their supply chains? Upcoming research by Dr. Paul D. Larson, CN Professor of SCM, for the DiverseCity Counts project explores this question. He will look at the supply chain policies and practices of large public, private and voluntary organizations in Toronto and Chicago, to explore whether, why and how organizations have embraced diversity in their purchasing and supply chain strategies, policies and practices. This is incredibly important research given that in Canada, one in six individuals are members of a visible minority group – and in Toronto, this ratio jumps to almost one in two.

Webinar Oct 31: Practice to Policy: Lessons from Local Leadership on Immigrant Integration (Cities of Migration)
Today’s cities are at the hub of an increasingly globalized economy. As the level of government closest to the people, municipalities are also well positioned to respond to their needs. Around the world, cities are developing policies and practices that accelerate the settlement and integration of immigrants, and engage local residents in building safe, healthy and prosperous communities. In this webinar, international policy experts analyze innovative local practices and discuss the role that municipal governments and other local actors can – and should – play in shaping immigration and integration policy.

Immigration minister to give criteria for denying entry to Canada (Laura Payton, CBC)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he’ll soon give Parliament more information about a proposed power for the minister to deny people from entering Canada even if they don’t have a serious criminal record. The power is included in Bill C-43, legislation that would give sweeping powers to the minister of immigration. MPs will vote Tuesday night on whether to send the bill to committee for study. The power, known as negative discretion, would allow the immigration minister to deny entry to Canada for a non-citizen who may promote hatred or violence. The minister can currently deny entry to a foreign national based on criminality or national security reasons.

Kenney seeks power to bar people from entering Canada for ‘public-policy considerations’ (Globe and Mail)
Anti-Muslim preacher Terry Jones’s attempt to get into Canada demonstrates the need for Ottawa to be given a broad new discretionary power to keep some people out of the country, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney argues. Mr. Jones, a publicity-seeking provocateur whose Koran-burning demonstrations have sparked violent protests in the Muslim world, was barred from entering Canada last Thursday.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney seeks to ‘strike the right balance’ in foreign criminals bill (Tobi Cohen, Calgary Herald)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney plans to seek advice from all parties on how to “strike the right balance” between barring foreigners whose views could inspire violence and those who simply espouse unpopular political opinions. Kenney promised to put forward a list of criteria aimed at clarifying a clause in Bill C-43, the government’s Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, that gives the minister the new power of “negative discretion.” It allows the minister to bar foreigners on the basis of “public policy considerations,” but the government has come under fire for failing to explain just what that means.

Kenney seeks checks on ministerial power being granted in new immigration law (Vancouver Sun)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he’ll seek limits on new powers that will allow him to prevent certain people from entering Canada. Kenney included the new ministerial authority — called “negative discretion” — in a piece of legislation expected to be studied by the Commons immigration committee this fall. The legislation, Bill C-43, would give the minister the power to bar people for what are described as “public policy considerations,” but that term isn’t defined in the bill. Kenney said he intends to put a set of criteria before the committee and ask MPs how best to apply the new power.

Immigration Minister Kenney defends law that gives him more power (Jessica Hume, Toronto Sun)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney defended a controversial law Tuesday that would give him extended powers to decide who can enter Canada. Under the current law, there are “very precise grounds for rendering a foreign national inadmissible to Canada,” Kenney said: criminality and national security. One section of his proposed Bill C43 – the Faster Removal of Criminals Act – gives the Minister further authority to deny entry to Canada on “public policy grounds.”

The hegemony of religious freedom (Globe and Mail)
It’s easy to assume that religious freedom is what keeps tyranny over women and minorities at bay. Presented as the alternative to such unappealing options, it’s not surprising that religious freedom has gathered the political momentum it now enjoys. Everyone is for it. But what are they for? What are these programs doing? Is the world created by religious freedom a place in which we want to live? Are other options for living peacefully with social and religious differences being pushed aside by this laser-like focus on religious freedom? Is there an alternative? These are important questions for Canada right now.

Phone service gives Toronto newcomers access to 24/7 medical translation (Yonge Street)
Immigrants comprise 41 per cent of Toronto’s population. More than 170 languages and dialects are spoken in the GTA and more than 400,000 people have limited English ability. And yet, until recently, many new Torontonians were unable to get language support in one of the areas they need it most—the doctor’s office. That’s why the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), an organization funded by the Ontario government to support local health services, recently launched Language Services Toronto, a real-time phone interpretation service that offers translation into 170 language 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Illuminate Canada Comments On Canada’s Surprisingly Unwelcoming New Immigration Policies (San Francisco Gate)
Right now Canada is motivated to accept as many new immigrants as possible, as many regions throughout the country are facing labour shortages and other challenges that could be helped by the presence of immigrants. At the same time, Immigration Canada has just issued a set of updates to their immigration policies that could make things more difficult for would-be immigrants to successfully settle in. Illuminate Canada, a kind of help centre for prospective immigrants, comments.

Citizenship Ceremony in Cooksville (CBC Metro Morning)
On Thursday, October 18th, Metro Morning will enjoy the hospitality of TL Kennedy Secondary School, where we will meet recent immigrants who are about to be sworn in as new Canadians. Thanks to Rosemary Stiglic and the staff of TL Kennedy Secondary for welcoming us to Cooksville!

Building Community, Breaking down Barriers (Safe Harbour blog)
Whether it is through simple words or big actions, there are a variety of ways that you can take a stand against discrimination and support diversity in your own capacity as an individual, organization, or business community. Stereotypes and biases can build barriers and get in the way of open and accepting interpersonal interactions and relationships. Challenging our own assumptions, and encouraging others to do the same, can help to dismantle these barriers and open the lines of communication, compassion, and understanding across differences of culture, age, language, gender, ability, race, or economic status.

Canadian Conservatives advise British Tories on how to win ethnic votes (Globe and Mail)
Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been giving tips to David Cameron’s British Tories on how to win ethnic votes. Mr. Kenney, the architect of the ethnic-vote strategy that helped Stephen Harper’s Conservatives expand their political base in Canada, said Mr. Cameron’s strategists asked to meet him to hear his electoral advice. He said he met with members of the British PM’s staff and British Conservative Party strategists at 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the prime minister, on Monday.

Casal to celebrate diversity of Toronto legal community (South Asian Focus)
The Canadian Association of South Asian Lawyers (Casal) is co-organizing a Diversity Soiree Thursday, Nov 29, 5.30-7.30pm, at the Toronto Lawyers Association Lounge (second floor, 361 University Avenue), to celebrate the diversity of the Toronto legal community. This wine and cheese get-together will provide an opportunity for members of Toronto’s diverse legal community to come together to exchange ideas and socialize in a collegial atmosphere.

Scouts Canada and UPS Partner to Promote Diversity (Canada Newswire)
Scouts Canada and UPS are teaming up to promote diversity across Canada. With the help of a $50,000 grant care of The UPS Foundation, Scouts Canada will be able to enhance and increase its diversity training and workshops for volunteers and deliver programming to youth in diverse neighbourhoods and First Nations communities. The grant will also help subsidize the cost of its programs for new Canadians and disadvantaged families so that more children and youth have access to Scouts Canada programs.

New Layton chair announced (Jordanna Tennebaum, The Eye Opener)
Sept. 20 marked the inaugural launch of the Jack Layton lecture series at Ryerson and while the event commemorated the life of the politician, activist and humanitarian, it effectively breathed new life into his legacy via Professor Myer Siemiatycki’s appointment of the newly founded Jack Layton Chair. Siemiatycki and Layton share similiar socially progressive ideals. They both served on the faculty boards of Ryerson University’s department of politics and public administration, championing ambitious policies and causes.


Feds want to create list of low-refugee countries in effort to cut down on Roma applications (Toronto Sun)
After years of being on the receiving end of roughly 98% of European Roma refugee claims, Canada has changed the rules to drastically cut down the number of claimants from this community. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says Canada should not have to deal with what is essentially a European problem and that immigrants wanting to relocate here to “take advantage of our generosity” will have a much harder time doing so.

MP’s message only too clear (Murray Mandryk, Star Phonenix)
Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar MP Kelly Block says her recent mail-out taking aim at refugees supposedly being offered health-care benefits that other Canadians don’t receive “could have been clearer.” One begs to differ. The message behind Block’s mail-out, headlined Ending Unfair Benefits for Refugee Claimants, could not have been clearer. Nor could it have been more irrelevant to the vast majority of voters in her constituency, who would rate having to pay for refugees’ prescription drugs somewhere at the bottom of their list of pressing federal concerns.

MP Kelly Block sends flyer criticizing refugees’ access to healthcare (Jason Warick,
A mail-out from a Saskatoon MP condemning “unfair” health benefits for Canadian refugee claimants has angered many of her constituents, who call the document misleading and “racist.” Block said in an interview Saturday that the mail-out “wasn’t meant to be divisive,” but others disagree. “It’s very disappointing,” said Dr. Mahli Brin-damour, who received the mail-out late last week at her home from Saskatoon Rosetown Biggar MP Kelly Block.

Mexican Asylum-Seekers Take Human Rights Demands to Ottawa (Media Co-op)
Over 200 refugees, migrant workers, activists, and supporters rallied at Parliament Hill on Oct. 2 to demand regularization for Mexican asylum-seekers ahead of Ottawa’s implementation of Bill C-31, “An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Balanced Refugee Reform Act, the Marine Transportation Security Act and the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Act.” Regularization would give asylum-seekers similar access to public services that permanent residents receive, such as health care and education for their children. “Regularization means that all people already here [could access] every single human right that we all should have, and that we don’t have,” explained Romina Hernandaz, a Montreal-based activist with Mexicanos Unidos por la regularizacion (MUR).


Welfare paid to licensed cab drivers, audit finds (Globe and Mail)
More than 750 licensed taxi drivers in Toronto received welfare payments over two years, according to an audit requested by a councillor who fears some cabbies are “playing the system.” City Auditor-General Jeff Griffiths found that 1,539 Ontario Works recipients who reported earning no income for all or part of 2010 and 2011 had municipal business licences at the same time.

Right-to-Work: The (Ayn?) Rand Formula (Behind the Numbers)
But for those just a wee bit uncomfortable with the challenges to social hierarchy that over the past few decades have been enshrined in legislation (like the Rand Formula), a return to an “I know my place” earnestness and other “please-sir-may-I-have-some-more” displays of gratitude from desperate workers must seem almost charmingly retro…in a “fetch me my pipe and slippers” kind of way. Enter Right-to-Work legislation, which makes it illegal for unions to require workers—each of whom benefits from the collective agreement the union negotiated—to pay dues, directly targeting the financial sustainability of unions and their ability to support workers in demanding and exercising their democratic and human rights in and out of the workplace.

Five tests for the review of social assistance in Ontario (25 in 5)
The Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario will issue its final report and recommendations next week. How will we tell if the report passes the test? How will we know if the recommendations will resolve the problems in the social assistance system? A number of groups and organizations have created Five Tests for others across Ontario to use to assess the success of the Commission’s report.

CASSA’s 2nd Annual Health Equity Conference (CASSA)
Conference objectives
to bring together academics, health and social service providers,community members and funders to share and exchange knowledge regarding the challenges that exist in addressing the access of services and treatment of South Asian youth facing mental health issues
to increase awareness of the salient issues affecting the health of the South Asian community
to address health issues affecting South Asian communities through a health equity and social determinants of health lens

Investing in the people others ignore (Globe and Mail)
It started with a contest. In 2001, Bill Young had 20 years experience in business and a windfall to invest. He wanted to fund a social enterprise, a start-up that would turn a profit, but also create quality employment opportunities for people who face barriers getting into the work force, including aboriginal people, single parents, new Canadians or people with disabilities. He set up a new non-profit, Social Capital Partners. But he was looking for ideas, so he launched a national competition to find a grassroots initiative to fund.

Wellesley Institute October 2012 Research & Policy Updates
Reducing Childhood Obesity in Ontario Through A Health Equity Lens
Exercising Good Policy: Increasing Access to Recreation in Toronto’s 2013 Budget
Toronto Community Housing
The Social Assistance Review in Ontario
Wellesley Urban Health Model Online
Here At Home, In search of the Real Cost of Homelessness


Think Outside the Box to Find Immigrant Talent (
Your recruitment needs to be inclusive and broad to reach the widest range of talent – including skilled immigrants. Are you branching out creatively to reach a diverse pool of candidates? In this video, the second in a series, leading employers talk about recruiting immigrant talent. Learn how companies such as Pitney Bowes and Questrade find skilled immigrant talent to improve their companies bottom line.

Chinese workers being imported (Daphne Bramham, Vancouver Sun)
There is something deeply unsettling about the news that Chinese workers on temporary permits will be coming to British Columbia to work in a northeastern coal mine. Canadian history is one part of the reason; Canada’s future is the other. In the mid-19th century, Chinese workers were recruited to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. They weren’t allowed to bring their wives or children with them. They had none of the rights of other Canadians. And they had to pay for the privilege of coming to do dangerous work for very low wages.

Alberta firm guilty of human trafficking (Richard Gilbert, Journal of Commerce)
An Alberta company owned by a Ukrainian Orthodox priest has been convicted of human trafficking and smuggling in provincial court for importing Polish foreign workers under false pretenses and skimming their wages. “We congratulate the RCMP on this important conviction,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews in a joint statement. An Alberta company owned by a Ukrainian Orthodox priest has been convicted of human trafficking and smuggling in provincial court for importing Polish foreign workers under false pretenses and skimming their wages. “We congratulate the RCMP on this important conviction,” said Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney and Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews in a joint statement.

Crisis meeting held for laid-off XL Foods workers (CBC)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s press secretary told CBC News that all displaced temporary foreign workers in Brooks will be allowed to stay in Canada and either return to work at the meat processing plant or will be allowed to get a new job. “We are concerned about all workers at XL Foods Inc. and about food safety. Our thoughts are with the workers and the community affected,” said Alexis Pavlich. “Temporary foreign workers are only allowed to work in Canada if there are no Canadians willing or able to do a job.

We Approach Diversity the Wrong Way (Liz Ryan, Harvard Business Review)
I was giving a morning keynote at a diversity conference when I asked the organizer what the rest of the day’s sessions would be. “In the morning we have concurrent groups focusing on women, Baby Boomers, and the GLBTQ population,” she said. “In the afternoon we have sessions on Asians, African-Americans, and the physically challenged.” While I maintained a frozen smile and looked at her soberly, my brain was screaming, “Still? In 2012?” Is dicing the workforce into pre-set categories going to encourage working together? If we go that route, we’ll have to expand our diversity conferences by several days as we add sessions that address the unique needs of gay Asian people, physically challenged African-American workers, and, lest anyone be forgotten, the grievously under-served gay boomer Pacific Islander demographic.


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

CivicAction asks Toronto what it would do with an extra 32 minutes a day (Yonge Street)
What would you do with an extra 32 minutes-a-day? That’s the question CivicAction’s Regional Transportation Champions Council is asking Torontonians in their newest initiative to get the city talking about transit. The “32 minutes” comes from the estimated average time daily that commuters in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area will save if the Metrolinx transportation plan is funded and built in the next 25 years.


December 31, 2012, AODA: Accessibility reporting deadline fast approaching (Yosie Saint-Cyr, First Reference Talks)
Ontario’s Accessibility Standard for Customer Service came into effect on January 1, 2012 for all businesses and not-for-profits in the province with more than one employee. If you have more than 20 employees, you must file an online report by December 31, 2012 to demonstrate to the government that you have achieved accessibility under the Customer Service Standard. The government requires you to use the Accessibility Compliance Reporting tool to file your report online. The reporting tool is on ServiceOntario’s ONe-Source for Business website.

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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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