Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 26, 2012


Invitation to Attend Release of DiverseCity Counts Report on Procurement (Maytree)
Companies purchase raw materials, products and professional services from other, often smaller organizations. Including diversity in this supply chain can help organizations access new markets, enhance their reputation and improve the bottom line. But how many purchase goods or services from organizations led by visible minorities? And how does the GTA compare to a similar American urban area the region of Chicago? Join us to hear the answers to these questions at the release of DiverseCity Counts. We expect about 200 of the region’s top corporate, public and voluntary sector leaders to attend.

Conversations in Integration – October 2012 (Cities of Migration)
A monthly review of good ideas in immigrant integration in cities. Featured Stories:
Uniform, Transparent, Effective? Foreign Credentials in Germany
On the Trail of Good Ideas: Toronto to Stuttgart
Building a Movement of Diverse Decision-Makers Internationally

Kenney defends bid for power to block foreigners (Louise Elliott, CBC)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tried to convince a parliamentary committee Wednesday of the need for a new ministerial power that would allow him to bar certain people from coming to Canada for “public policy” reasons. The power is contained in the contentious new Bill C-43, dubbed the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which would also create stiffer terms for the deportation of non-citizens who commit crimes in Canada. The bill passed second reading and is now under study by the Commons immigration committee.

Filipino Canadians may have a showdown in Vancouver-Kensington (Carlito Pablo, Straight)
For the first time, residents of an electoral district will likely have a Filipino-Canadian representative in the legislative assembly, whether they vote B.C. Liberal or New Democrat. Gabby Kalaw, who was born in the Philippines and moved to Canada at the age of three, wants to run for the B.C. Liberal Party in Vancouver-Kensington.

Northern Ontario cities becoming less multilingual (CBC)
The proportion of non-official languages in the metropolitan regions of Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay has declined over the last five years, new census data shows unlike other urban centres in the country where language diversity is growing. English was identified as the mother tongue for 65.5 per cent of people in Sudbury and 85.7 per cent of people in Thunder Bay, Statistics Canada said Wednesday, as it released new information on languages from the 2011 census. French, Canadas other official language, was cited by 27.7 per cent of Sudbury residents and 2.5 per cent of Thunder Bay residents.

Immigration 101: Growing number of foreign students offers benefits and risks for schools and Canada (Matthew Fisher, Montreal Gazette)
Canada stands to benefit greatly from an immigration program that, since 2009, has been fast-tracking thousands of prospective residents who have done post-secondary studies in the country. But there are perils for Canadian academia and for the excellent reputation of Canadian educators if some students are only seeking to exploit the new rules to avoid the usual immigration checks and enter Canada through a back door, rather than to gain an education. The question arises because foreign students now have the right to work while studying in Canada and for as long as three years afterwards and, for the first time, they can apply for permanent residency from within Canada.

High school hosts citizenship ceremony (Tyler Kula, The Observer)
Laszlo Fodor already thought of himself as Canadian, but Thursday made it official. The 64-year-old Sarnia man was one of 22 new Canadians who received citizenship in front of students and dignitaries at St. Christopher high school. It was Sarnia’s second time hosting a citizenship ceremony this year after a decade-long lull. Laszlo was born in Hungary, raised in Australia, and came to Canada in 1965 at age 16. I’ve always considered myself Canadian after that, he said. It wasn’t until the last few years that I started thinking about it and made the decision at Christmas time to apply.

A plan to get strict on immigration (Ottawa Citizen)
Anyone promoting or glorifying terrorism, violence against a specific group, a senior member in the administration of a country sanctioned by Canada or even one of their relatives could soon be barred from entering the country. That is part of the proposal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney put before a parliamentary committee Wednesday for the government’s latest immigration reform. The guidelines, Kenney argued, would clarify what critics have charged is very general wording about new powers in the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act for the minister to bar foreigners from entering the country.

UBC conference highlights feminism in Sikhism (Carlito Pablo, Straight)
A conference at UBC this Saturday (October 27) seeks to highlight Sikhism as a feminist religion. Because women practising the faith are not always treated as equals by their male brethren in Punjabi communities in Canada and elsewhere, Sikhism is quite often seen as a patriarchal creed. Its a perception that Kirpa Kaura director with the Sikh Feminist Research Institute, which is organizing the conferencewants to correct. According to her, one of the first teachings of religion founder Guru Nanak was that men and women are equals.

Bosnia’s hijab-wearing mayor (Aida Cerkez, Ottawa Citizen)
When Amra Babic walks down the streets of the central Bosnian town of Visoko wearing her Muslim head scarf, men sitting in outdoor cafés instantly rise from their chairs, fix their clothes and put out their cigarettes. The respect is only natural: Babic is their new mayor.

Statement Minister Kenney issues statement to recognize Eid-al-Adha (CIC)
Today at sundown marks the beginning of Eid-al-Adha, one of the most important holidays for Muslims around the world. Also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice or Greater Eid, Eid-al-Adha is one of two Eids in the Islamic calendar. It follows Eid-al-Fitr, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, which follows the Month of Ramadan. Eid-al-Adha marks the conclusion of the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca. Every year, millions of Muslims from around the world gather in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. All able-bodied Muslims who can afford to do so are expected to perform the pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

Alexander served to make things better (Perrin Beatty, Ottawa Citizen)
Raised in a broken family on the edge of poverty, he defied the odds to get through university and become a lawyer, to be chosen as a candidate and then to become Canadas first black MP, first black cabinet minister and first black lieutenant-governor. His election, more than a century after the countrys creation, meant Canadian politics was finally starting to reflect the changes transforming Canadian society. Lincoln Alexander loved politics, both for the sport of it and for how it could make things better for ordinary people. He was more interested in whether a policy worked than in ideology. The moderate and modern conservatism he represented was an important part of the PC partys comeback from its long slide after John Diefenbakers defeat.

Cabbagetown community embraces its diversity in wake of brutal stabbing (Toronto Star)
Over the past decade, Cabbagetown has been one of the fastest growing areas in Toronto from 10,610 residents in 2001 to 12,060 in 2011 exceeding the citys average growth rate by more than 8 percentage points, according to the most recent data from the City of Toronto and 2011 census. By 2006 numbers, most residents are working age, between 25 and 64, with fewer children than city average. But the number of families is steadily growing. The income bracket continues to expand as well, with families and professionals who pull in more than $100,000 the largest and fastest growing demographic. At the same time, the number of low-income families also increased between 2001 and 2006, with 39 per cent of individuals and 16 per cent of families falling into that category. There is a mix of rental apartments and family homes, to which immigrants mostly from East Asia and Europe moved before 1991, and young families are now starting to pour into.–cabbagetown-community-embraces-its-diversity-in-wake-of-brutal-stabbing

Toronto stabbing victim was ‘strict boss’ who dreamed of bringing her kids to Canada (Globe and Mail)
The cleaning staff at the Delta Chelsea Hotel on Torontos Gerrard Street usually work alone, dividing up different sections of the hotel among themselves. Last night, they worked in pairs, afraid to be alone after the violent stabbing death of their colleague and supervisor, Nighisti Semret. Ms. Semret, 55, was stabbed to death on her way home from work Tuesday morning in a laneway between Bleecker Street and Ontario Street, north of Carlton Street. She was walking home after her night shift just before 7 a.m. Her attacker does not appear to have stolen anything from her, there is no other evident motive, and police are speculating she was attacked by a random stranger who is familiar with the Cabbagetown area.

Eritrean Community Mourning (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the stabbing death of Nighisti Semret earlier this week, with Berhane Kidane. He is a youth mentor at St. Michael’s Eritrean Church.

Richmond, Surrey ESL programs swell with Canadian-born children (Janet Steffenhagen, Vancouver Sun)
Richmond schools have had vast experience over many years teaching English as a second language (ESL) to immigrant children. But recently educators have faced a new challenge: Canadian-born children entering kindergarten with inadequate English skills because they speak a different language at home, said district curriculum coordinator Diane Tijman. Many are the offspring of former ESL students who moved to Richmond from Hong Kong in the 1990s amid uncertainty over the transfer of authority from Great Britain to China.

French taking root among immigrants: Jedwab (Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette)
“Montréal et Laval de moins en moins français.” Newspaper headlines Thursday proclaimed what language activists in Quebec had long predicted: the 2011 census shows French is losing ground in Quebec’s biggest city. But what the latest census figures really show is the opposite: that French is taking root among immigrants, according to Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies.

Toews ignores facts, evidence (Star Phoenix)
The changing demographics of the jails is as significant as the growth in Canada’s prisons, and the harm that will be caused by increased double-bunking, reduced programming and overcrowding. Mr. Sapers reports that: “Visible minorities, aboriginal people and women are entering federal penitentiaries in greater numbers than ever before.” Former Saskatchewan justice minister Don Morgan’s insistence that he and his provincial counterparts actually pushed for these measures is a chilling reminder of how quickly one can become so immersed in emotional and ideological positions that one loses sight of the end result. But it’s not just the fiscal lunacy of the government’s policies that should have Canadians concerned, particularly in places such as Saskatchewan where those policies have a disproportionate impact on our neighbours, particularly First Nations. Women, First Nations and visible minorities are the very people Saskatchewan needs to build its future. Without adequate help, such individuals are much more prone to self-destructive behaviour in prison.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Somali-Canadian Killings (TVO The Agenda)
Dozens of young Somali-Canadian men have fallen victim to gun violence in Ontario and Alberta, victims of the same violence their families came to Canada to escape. The Agenda examines why.

Somali immigrants in heating oil crunch (CBC)
A Charlottetown church is trying to raise money for a family from Somalia hit with a large heating oil bill. Ubah Ali, a single mother of seven children, was on a budget payment program with her heating oil company last year. But the budget estimate fell short, and Ali found herself facing a $1,400 bill she couldn’t afford to pay this summer.

Nenshi says cities need more inclusion for immigrants (660News)
Mayor Naheed Nenshi wants Canadian cities to start thinking about how to better welcome newcomers to Canada. In an address at Memorial University in St. John’s, Calgary’s Mayor commented on the idea of a secularism charter in Quebec, saying it is social suicide.–nenshi-says-cities-need-more-inclusion-for-immigrants

Canada announces new immigration restrictions for newlyweds (Hamilton Spectator)
Some newlyweds now face a new rule the government says is designed to combat marriage fraud. The regulation applies to Canadians or permanent residents who bring their spouse to Canada from overseas. Theyll now have to live together in what the government calls a legitimate relationship for two years or the sponsored spouse could lose permanent resident status.–canada-announces-new-immigration-restrictions-for-newlyweds

The benefits and risks of foreign students (Matthew Fisher, Ottawa Citizen)
Canada stands to benefit greatly from an immigration program that, since 2009, has been fast-tracking thousands of prospective residents who have done post-secondary studies in the country. But there are perils for Canadian academia and for the excellent reputation of Canadian educators if some students are only seeking to exploit the new rules to avoid the usual immigration checks and enter Canada through a back door, rather than to gain an education.


CCR Auction Fall 2012 (CCR)
The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) will be hosting a silent auction during the Fall 2012 Consultation. The auction will start online. Please feel free to browse some of the items on this site.

September 2012 Annual General Meeting and National Conference Webcast (Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers)
We are pleased to offer the September 2012 Annual General Meeting and National Conference webcast to everyone. Please note that in the future webcasts will only be offered to those who have paid for the conference.

Alleged human smuggling ring brought Romanians to Canada via Mexico, police say (Stewart Bell, National Post)
Canadian authorities are claiming to have uncovered a human smuggling ring that has brought hundreds of Romanian refugee claimants to the Toronto area through Mexico, the National Post has learned. The smugglers are charging between $10,000 and $30,000 for passage to Canada along a route that runs from Mexico to Texas to greater Toronto, according to sources who did not want to be identified. Those using the pipeline are said to be arriving in Canada indebted to the smugglers and are made to repay them by applying for welfare benefits and engaging in low-level organized crime, the sources said.

Illegal migrants breaching Quebec-Vermont border crossing (Globe and Mail)
The Quebec-Vermont border is the scene of growing chaos as illegal migrants hop over unguarded entry points or drive through guarded crossings on the outbound lanes, zipping by helpless Canadian border officials. The goal of the migrants, many of whom come from Roma communities in Europe, is to make their refugee claims from inside Canada, officials say. If captured at the border, they risk being returned to the United States on the basis of a bilateral agreement. There have already been 260 illegal entries and subsequent refugee claims at the Stanstead border station in Quebec this year, Canadian officials say. Law enforcement authorities are concerned because the number is on the rise.

Learning the hard way: the fight for female education in the developing world (UNA UK)
If women are not given the slightest education, there is no light, says Mama Hawa, who became a refugee herself in the early 1990s, fleeing first to Kenya, then Canada. How can you be empowered if you are not educated? Yes, you have a mind, you can talk, you can see what is wrong, what is right, but not really at the level where you can demand your rights. For many girls in the developing world, the right to education is still a battleground. But thanks to the courage and visionary work of people like Malala Yousafzai and Mama Hawa, the next generation does not have far to look for inspiration.

Cuts to Refugee Health Care Hurt the Most Vulnerable (Blogging for Equality)
Parliament Hill was the site this week of yet another rally by health care workers to protest cuts made by the Conservative government to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). The spark for this most recent protest was a political flyer sent out by Conservative MP Kelly Block praising recent Conservative cuts to refugee health benefits. Block suggests in her mailout that taxpayers should no longer pay for health care for refugees when such services are not available to Canadians.


Poverty pockets growing in suburbs (Toronto Star)
Behind the sprawling subdivisions and glossy condo towers being built in the GTA are the people who go unnoticed: The homeowner working two jobs to pay his mortgage, the single mother living in a basement apartment or the newcomer sharing a home with another family or two But policy makers and charitable organizations stress that because the problem is invisible, doesnt mean it is non-existent. In fact, it not only exists but in some cases Markham-Unionville, Mississauga-Cooksville and Bramalea-Gore-Malton poverty rates and child poverty rates are higher than the provincial average.–poverty-pockets-growing-in-suburbs


HR professionals and new immigrants get first chance to test-drive the TRIEC Campus (TRIEC)
Yesterday, TRIEC in partnership with the Toronto Board of Trade presented the TRIEC Campus Roadshow to a group of local and internationally trained human resources professionals, giving them the opportunity to be among the first users to try the new online learning website. With over 50% of Toronto residents born abroad, its important for both new and established Canadians to have the skills to work effectively in a multi-cultural workplace, says Joan Atlin, interim Executive Director at TRIEC. The TRIEC Campus provides the tools, in an easy and accessible format, to help all Toronto residents develop those skills.

Cross-Cultural Competency Training for Employers (Settlement AtWork)
Hire Immigrants Ottawa is hosting complimentary cross-cultural competency training sessions for employers, managers and human resources staff. Participants will gain skills, tools and strategies to help them adapt their workplace for a diverse employee base.

The Limits of Demography (Behind the Numbers)
Here is a piece I wrote for todays Globe Economy Lab re the Department of Finance report on the costs of an aging society. The key point is that the mainstream doom and gloom projections of the costs of falling labour force growth ignore the positive impacts which can be expected as and when we get to a situation of tight labour markets. If we actually get to a low unemployment rate because of fewer labour force new entrants, participation rates of older age groups will rise and we can confidently expect labour productivity growth to increase. Sure, there will be additional social program costs as the population ages, but demographic gloom and doom is overdone by the Harper government to justify cuts today to deal with exaggerated fiscal problems tomorrow.

Canada seeking to attract more IT professionals (
The Canadian IT sector is thriving. Montreal is a global centre for video game companies for example. Last year (2011) alone, the sector grew by 21% creating 8,000 new jobs. However, the Information Technology Association of Canada has warned that Canada must attract the best global talent in order to thrive. In a recent report, it said ‘For knowledge-based industries, access to a rich and diverse talent pool is as vital as a sustainable supply of trees is to forestry. Finding these people is a growing and chronic challenge due to the coming demographic crunch and an increasing labour market imbalance. Our industry currently runs at virtually full employment and [we expect] that we will be dealing with 106,000 unfilled jobs over the next four years.’


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Mississauga, Cabbagetown Stabbing, City Hall, TTC and Other News.

Friday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Mayor Rob Ford, TTC, Casino and Other News.

Mayors secret list of appointees comes to light (Globe and Mail)
A key piece of evidence has surfaced linking Mayor Rob Fords office to efforts to influence the appointment of the members to five civic agencies, including the police board, backing up the findings of a recent controversial report by the citys ombudsman. The report, which was at the centre of an acrimonious day-long debate at council earlier this month, concluded that the mayors staff interfered in the civic appointments process. That finding, and the motives of the ombudsman herself, were attacked by several of the mayors allies, including Councillor Doug Ford who said it was based on hearsay evidence.

TEDx Toronto conference tomorrow (Friday Oct 26) including talk by our Shawn Micallef (Spacing Toronto)
Tomorrow is the TEDx Toronto conference at the Sony Centre. The theme is alchemy and the speakers include a Barenaked Lady, a solar car guy, the founders of Slutwalk, Susur Lee, founder of Citizen Lab, and our own editor/writer, Shawn Micallef. While the event itself is sold out you can watch online here starting at 9AM all day till the conference wraps at 5PM (go here for for rest of the lineup) or go to one of the viewing parties around the city (including the CSI Annex where the Spacing offices are).

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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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