Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 18, 2012


Cities of Migration report shares good integration practice from across the world (BC Trust)
In its latest publication, Good Ideas from Successful Cities: Municipal Leadership on Immigrant Integration, Cities of Migration shares nearly 65 international good practices from cities across Europe, North America and Australasia. Successful integration of urban migrants is a pressing issue for all cities around the globe and it is at the city level where we find the political and community voices that embrace immigrants, knowing they bring strength, vitality and innovation. That’s why city governments play an essential role in the integration of newcomers.

Asian Canadian Wiki Hopes to Connect a National Community (Schema Magazine)
October 22nd will see the launch of the Asian Canadian Wiki website. The idea for the website was first expressed at the 2010 Asian Heritage Month symposium in Montreal and was spearheaded by Acces Asie artistic director Janet Lumb. Funded by a grant from the Canadian Council of the Arts the wiki was developed by a committee of volunteers and researches to create over 750 entries over the summer of 2012. Developed to showcase individuals, communities and achievements, the website is dedicated to promoting all things Asian Canadians. A scan of the website already shows a wide array of scientist, artists, community leaders, and yes, even online magazines.

Gold Mountain depicts a painful history (Alexander Varty, Straight)
Here on the West Coast, we should know the term Gold Mountain well. It’s what the residents of southern China once called our region—not always appropriately, as those who panned for nuggets in the Coast Range or laid railway track through the Rockies found out at such a high cost. But the phrase can also be understood as a larger metaphor. Seeking relief from cruel landlords, brutal rulers, and the crushing poverty of rural Guangzhou, millions of Chinese flooded to other locales, finding their own Gold Mountains around the globe.

Catholic school funding challenged in court (Globe and Mail)
Funding Catholic schools and not those of other faiths equates to giving them a privilege others don’t enjoy, Ontario government lawyers agreed Wednesday, but they said it’s still a constitutionally protected right. A Toronto woman is asking Ontario’s Superior Court to order the government to stop funding Catholic schools because as a taxpayer who does not share the church’s beliefs, she says it infringes her freedom of religion. But as the funding was guaranteed in 1867 in the Constitution, it is not subject to Charter challenges, court heard.

Minister Kenney Delivers Keynote Speech at BORDERPOL Conference (CIC)
Canada’s efforts to enhance the security and integrity of our immigration system were highlighted yesterday by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism in his speech at a major conference on border control in the United Kingdom (U.K.). “The first responsibility of the state is to protect the safety and security of its citizens,” Minister Kenney said during his keynote address. “By developing laws, policies, and practices that make our immigration system more secure, we believe we are helping to ensure continuing support for that system.”

Ottawa’s obsession with keeping George Galloway out of Canada (Thomas Walkom)
One thing about Stephen Harper’s Conservatives: They never give up. Two years ago, the government was chastised by a federal court judge after it tried to bar a pro-Palestinian British MP from entering Canada. Now it wants to change the law to ensure this never happens again. In his 2010 ruling, Justice Richard Mosley wrote that Ottawa provided no legal reason for keeping George Galloway out of Canada.–walkom-ottawa-s-obsession-with-keeping-george-galloway-out-of-canada

Exhibit shows how immigration shaped Vancouver (Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun)
Immigration has changed the face of Metro Vancouver over the past 40 years. It was in 1972 that the Canadian government began allowing people from non-European countries to settle here permanently in significant numbers. That transformation is the subject of a Museum of Vancouver exhibit, opening Thursday, called Untold Stories: History of Immigrants in Vancouver. The exhibit includes a video detailing the stories of six immigrants to B.C. from various parts of the world and an overview of the province’s immigration history presented on display panels.

Hudak Unveils Plan for New Canadians (South Asian Generation Next)
The PC Party believes that every new Canadian should have a chance to work andprosper in the province of Ontario. That’s Ontario’s tradition and that’s how Ontario was built, PC Leader Tim Hudak said. “For me, it’s about jobs,” Hudak said. “Prospective immigrants who want to start a business here or find a good job need to know we’re on their side. This means creating an environment that will put Ontario back to work. We can do this by investing in world-leading infrastructure like new subway lines for Toronto and reducing the absurd paperwork burden that ties up businesses,” Hudak added. Hudak said “we must attract skilled immigrants to our province again. This is how we set Ontario up for future economic success”. To help new Canadians build better lives for themselves in Ontario, An Agenda for Growth details a series of bold proposals including:

Toronto Raptor fans rejoice, Jonas Valanciunas is ready to win you over (Holly Mackenzie, Yahoo! Sports)
In addition to being happy with his teammates, Valanciunas is also thrilled to finally be in the NBA. “This is the best league in the world,” he said. “I think all basketball players want to play in this league, so me, too.” As for his new city, he’s a fan of the diversity, calling it a “great, great city.” Asked what he’d like Raptors fans to know about him he doesn’t hesitate in saying, “That I love the fans. I love the fans. I love the basketball fans. Back home I always was talking with fans. For me it’s not a problem to sign autographs or take a picture. For me that’s OK.”–nba.html

The challenges of integration and multiculturalism (The Suburban)
A sense of alienation has accompanied the challenges confronting immigrants coming to North America. European and Chinese immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries not only faced racism and discrimination when carrying out routine activities such as renting a house or booking a hotel room, but in many cases physical abuse. Pathetically, the so-called “true-blue old stock” boasting relatives who arrived at the beginnings of colonization took exception to people who looked and sounded different. Jews, Catholics, Greeks, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, and indeed Muslims bore the cruelty and disdain of their neighbours, because they dressed and looked different, belonged to other faiths, cooked strange foods such as pizza, souvlaki, curry and other such exotic dishes that are today a staple of North American cuisine. Lynchings, beatings and other abuses were the price some immigrants had to pay for the promise of a better life in the new world. They did not have the protection of laws or lobbies and their only asset was the ability to survive in a hostile environment.

Quebec’s language law to be extended to daycare (Montreal Gazette)
Immigrants to Quebec who want to send their children to daycare will soon have to find a French-language centre, says the province’s family minister. The measure will be part of legislation to be tabled this fall that is aimed at toughening Bill 101, Nicole Leger told The Canadian Press. “Bill 101 is going to be changed,” Leger said. “I will have plenty of support as family minister to make sure it also extends to daycares.”


CBSA report recommended tightening refugee rules (Louise Elliott, CBC)
A draft report by the Canadian Border Services Agency into criminal activity by Hungarian refugee claimants urges the federal government to reinstate a visa requirement on the country, something it has been reluctant to do in the face of ongoing EU trade negotiations. The final report by the CBSA changes tack: it urges the government to adopt stricter measures to stem the flow of what the border agency considers an “irregular” wave of illegitimate refugee claims.

Why are the Conservatives so proud of cuts to refugee health? (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
The problem is that this government gives a bit, but it takes a lot. For instance, the new law creates a two tier system. Would-be refugees from countries that the Minister of Immigration unilaterally designates as “safe” will not have access to the RAD, and will only be able to appeal to the Federal Court once they have returned to their countries of origin. And that’s only one of the tough measures the Government brought in to stem the flow of so-called “bogus refugees.” Outside the framework of Bill C-31, the Government announced last spring that it would, with nary a minute’s consultation, radically change the Interim Federal Health Program (IFH) for refugees.

Kelly Block’s Newsletter On Refugee Health Cuts Called ‘Offensive’ (VIDEO) (Huffington Post)
Tory MP Kelly Block faced a barrage of criticism from the NDP On Tuesday over an “offensive” newsletter celebrating cuts to refugee health care. The newsletter from the MP for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar in Saskatchewan touts the “ending of unfair benefits for refugee claimants.” “New arrivals to Canada have received dental and vision care paid by your tax dollars. They’ve had free prescriptions. Not anymore,” the newsletter reads.

Kelly Block’s message on refugees all too clear (Murray Mandryk,
Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar MP Kelly Block said her mailout aimed at refugees supposedly offered health-care benefits 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 more clear. Nor could it have been more irrelevant to the vast majority of Rosetown, Biggar or Saskatoon voters who would likely rate having to pay for refugees’ prescription drugs somewhere at the bottom of their list of pressing federal concerns.

Canada seeks terror-related deportation order for Sri Lankan refugee allegedly linked to Tamil Tigers (Stewart Bell, National Post)
Canadian immigration officials are trying to deport an alleged member of the World Tamil Movement, which the RCMP has labeled a “front organization” for Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers rebels. The Canada Border Services Agency said it had asked the Immigration and Refugee Board to issue a terrorism-related deportation order against the Sri Lankan refugee, who has lived in Canada for the past 15 years.

Longtime Tamil refugee facing deportation from Canada for allegedly raising funds for terrorist Tamil Tigers (Steve Mertl, Yahoo! news)
The bloody, decades-long ethnic war in Sri Lanka has been over for three years but its after-effects still ripple through the Tamil diaspora around the world, especially in Canada, a haven for thousands who fled the bitter conflict. The National Post reports the Canada Border Services Agency is asking the Immigration and Refugee Board to order the deportation of a Sri Lankan refugee who’s lived in Canada for 15 years on grounds he was a bag man for the terrorist Tamil Tigers.


Foreign nanny shortage could open door to European-style child-care program (Tobi Cohen, Vancouver Sun)
Worried the government’s once popular foreign live-in caregiver program is becoming a dismal failure, nanny matchmaker agencies are beginning to tune in to the possibilities of “au pairing”— a European child-care model in which young travellers billet with families while taking care of their children. It’s thought to be a low-cost, low-risk alternative for Canadian parents struggling to meet their child-care needs. This weekend, some 20 matchmaker groups are expected to gather in Toronto for a workshop hosted by the International Au Pair Association, aimed at building an au pair placement program in Canada — something already popular in Europe and the United States. Association of Caregiver and Nanny Agencies Canada president Manuela Gruber Hersch is helping co-ordinate the event.

Infographic: Poverty in Canada (TVO)
Poverty is not only found it in the developing world; it affects over three million Canadians, including 600,000 children. This infographic explores which groups are most likely to live in poverty in our country, how Canada ranks internationally, and more.

Thriving People, Thriving Places (Civic Action)
The event creates a space for a diverse set of individuals and organizations to meet, make new connections, and develop a shared understanding of affordability in the Toronto region. is a partnership between Toronto Community Housing and CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN). The agenda will focus on:
The importance of housing in creating strong, healthy communities
Different options for delivering affordable housing
Creative solutions for maintaining buildings

Anti-poverty town hall blasts provincial cuts to social services (Chloe Fedio, Ottawa Citizen)
Homeless and unable to save up for first and last month’s rent on his meagre Ontario Disability Support Program cheque, Matt has been couch-surfing for nearly three months to stay off Ottawa’s streets. He knows there’s a program called the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit, an emergency fund that acts as a lifeline for those on the verge of homelessness. But he also knows the provincial government has it slated for elimination at the end of 2012. Instead, 50 per cent of the funding for that program will go directly to municipalities for housing and homelessness programs — a move critics said will ultimately put more people out on the streets as the reduced funds support a larger pool of people in need.


‘Stuffing the pipeline’ can be a disadvantage to minorities (Globe and Mail)
While their purpose was to foster a sense of social cohesion among juniors of the same race or gender, instead, many left the firm, fearing that the competition reduced their chances for promotion. Essentially, the idea of being compared with people from your own peer group when being evaluated for promotion, rather than your personal attributes, was turning off young professionals. Executives ought to reconsider the practice of “stuffing the pipeline,” suggested the study’s authors. Otherwise, they are in danger of losing talent at a time when “there’s no ambiguity about the fact that the war for talent is going to intensify,” said Raj Krishnamoorthy, senior risk services partner at Deloitte. “Programs have to be well designed,” said Wendy Cukier, who spearheads annual studies on gender and visible minority inclusion in management for Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute.

You Got Chocolate on my Peanut Butter! (ERIEC)
At ERIEC, we love to arrange for people in similar professions to have peanut butter and chocolate-like collisions that produce “sweet” results. We call it “Speed Career Networking”! For details about how these events work, check out our previous blog on this topic. I have been overwhelmingly inspired by the two catalytic events of this kind ERIEC has hosted in the past month, one for Accounting professionals and the other for Engineers. You simply can’t beat the “sweet results” that are inevitably expressed in the reactions and evaluations of the participants.


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Councillor Ana Baillao, City Hall and Other News.

Community Use of Space Survey 2012 (Social Planning Toronto)
Everywhere we look we see the encroachments on the hard work that we have done over the last decade to help improve community access to space. We are disturbed to hear new stories about fee increases and public buildings that are erecting barriers to access. At the same time we are inundated with concerns around violence, obesity rates and mental health. How do we unite these conversations and get key decision-makers on board to protect and properly fund access to public space – so essential to the offering of community programming?


The skinny on SoJo: An online platform to help you convert ideas for social good into action (Charity Village)
Within five minutes of talking to Kanika Gupta, it’s clear that the twenty something is a serious wunderkind. She first got involved in community activism at 14, and by 20, had founded her own successful nonprofit, Nukoko, which promotes access to education for girls in West Africa. And yet, despite Gupta’s exceptional competence and enthusiasm, where social change-making is concerned, she places a strong premium on embracing imperfection as an inevitability of the journey. “You’re never going to get it right the first time; change is a process. Often, in starting something, you have more questions than answers, and a lot of fear and uncertainty….[t]he sooner you can calm those fears and get comfortable sharing ideas, the sooner you allow others to grow with you.”

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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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