Immigration & Diversity news headlines – October 3, 2012


Ontario immigration strategy calls for more power to pick newcomers (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Ontario needs to attract at least 135,000 newcomers a year, raise the ratio of skilled workers and take charge of immigrant selection to keep its economic engine running beyond 2014, says a government-appointed panel. The findings of the expert panel will be presented to provincial Immigration Minister Charles Sousa on Wednesday, seven months after it was appointed to tackle declining immigration to the province, skill shortages and the falling economic performance of newcomers.–ontario-immigration-strategy-calls-for-more-power-to-pick-newcomers

Breaking Down Employment Barriers for New Canadians (CBC Here and Now)
Finding work in their profession is one of the barriers new Canadians face when it comes to getting settled here. It’s a point the Toronto Community Foundation made in their annual Vital Signs Report. Laura heard how one Mississauga company is breaking down those barriers. Vidhya Kumar is the regional human resources specialist for the Maxxam Analytics in Mississauga. She joined us.

Immigrant entrepreneurs honoured (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Five local business people have been honoured at City Hall in the first Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards. The awards were presented at the first Ottawa Immigrant Forum, presented by the Ottawa Local Immigrant Partnership, a collection of local agencies, government and services working to improve the integration of immigrants. OLIP reported on some of its work from its first year of activities, and presented speakers addressing immigration and innovation, the arts and the public sphere.

German, Canadian groups plan public screenings of ‘Innocence of Muslims’ (Olga Khazan, Washington Post)
A Toronto Hindu group has also said it has the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ and plans to screen the video in order to bring awareness to negative portrayals of Hindus in the media. “We’ve been laughed at, mocked, denigrated and ignored,” said Ron Banerjee, the Canadian Hindu Advocacy’s director, in the Toronto Star. “Oh, but the Islamic community. We must be very sensitive and tolerant all the time.”

Hamilton lags on immigration and inequity (Hamilton Spectator)
On immigration, Hamilton’s numbers are going the wrong way. We increasingly need immigrants to grow and sustain population and fill growing gaps in the labour market. But the number of new immigrants to Hamilton decreased significantly last year, and it remains very difficult for immigrants to find suitable employment. So they leave, take jobs that don’t optimize their contribution or are unemployed. Good work is being done on the ground in this area, often by stakeholder members of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council. And the federal government is implementing new measures to increase the availability of temporary workers and link immigration more directly to labour market needs. Ontario releases key immigration recommendations this week — whether they are helpful remains to be seen. The bottom line is Hamilton is competing with all other Canadian cities for skilled immigrants. We need to be more assertive or run the risk of falling further behind.–hamilton-lags-on-immigration-and-inequity

Is the Nation of Immigrants Becoming a Nation of Emigrants? (Nick Schulz, The American Magazine)
Canada: The Canadian government assigns applicants number grades based on key factors such as age, education, and work experience. The Canadian immigration ministry can base immigration decisions on economic development goals without requiring legislative change, giving it unprecedented flexibility from year to year on targeting skillsets in immigrants. Foreign undergraduate and graduate degree holders can, upon getting their diplomas, get a work permit for up to three years without having secured a job in advance. To retain students in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] fields, Canada allows PhDs in those disciplines to apply for permanent residency while they are still enrolled in school. And like Germany and Chile, Canada offers visas to entrepreneurs with a viable business plan even in the absence of funding.

Share Thanksgiving (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Parker Mitchell. He is one of the organisers behind the local group ”Share Thanks giving” , it aims to bring new Canadians and “old-timers” together this Thanksgiving.

Racism, Present: Holy Chuck Burger (Lisa Charleyboy, Ethnic Aisle)
This invisibility often means that immigrants who come to Canada have little education about the history or current reality of Indigenous people whose land they are settling on. Outside of Canada, the North American “Indian” is usually known by tired stereotypes—like the Noble Savage, Pocahontas, or the Drunken, Dirty Half-breed. For those who don’t know, the “Drunken, Dirty Half-breed” was, until last August, the name of a hamburger at Holy Chuck Burger, near Yonge and St. Clair. Also on the menu was a burger named the “Half-Breed,” and both had been menu staples since 2011.

Racism, Present: Temporary Workers (Kelli Korducki, Ethnic Aisle)
For years, the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change has called for reforms of Canada’s temporary worker programs. We talked to Chris Ramsaroop from the Alliance about the challenges faced by migrant workers in Ontario today, and what activists think needs to be changed.

Racism, Present: Toronto’s White Lie (Navneet Alang, Ethnic Aisle)
Ask any Torontonian what they love about the city and what they say will almost always involve the word “multicultural”. But in reality, the area of city that houses most of its media, cultural institutions and wealth is dominated by whites. Public discussion of Toronto—like, say, Christopher Hume’s “Ten Reasons to be Optimistic about Toronto”—mostly speaks of the city centre and the arts and restaurant scene within it. Though it runs deeply counter to our sense of what this city stands for, it’s underpinned by a stark fact: Toronto’s city centre is 82% white.

Racism, Present: Housing, by the Numbers (Sam Tecle, Ethnic Aisle)
59 Per cent of Toronto’s poor families who were considered ethno-racial minorities in 2007

AFP launches initiative to strengthen diversity and philanthropy in nonprofit sector (CharityVillage)
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) launched a new program in training and development on diversity and inclusion issues. From Diversity to Inclusion in Philanthropy: An Action Plan for Ontario’s Charitable and Not-for-Profit Sector is a three-year project focused on understanding the giving traditions and interests of a wide range of communities in Ontario. The project will offer in-depth inclusion-oriented education, training and networking activities for Ontario-based non-profit leaders, fundraisers, volunteers and donors. One of the goals to mobilize giving amongst a number of ethno-cultural and immigrant groups, Indigenous peoples, women, youth, individuals with disabilities, Francophone-Ontarians and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered populations. This project is supported by Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration and funds will be used to help with the organization of a series of one-day conferences and the development of an online philanthropy and inclusion “toolkit” for fundraisers and donors.

Mosque Threats Panic Canada Muslims (OnIslam)
A series of threats against mosques in the Canadian city of Charlottetown is creating panic among the Muslim community. “We feel we are being targeted,” Zain Esseghaier, a spokesman for the Muslim community in Charlottetown, told The Globe and Mail. “The mosque is being targeted and it’s really upset people.”

Statement — Minister Kenney issues statement condemning vandalism of Prince Edward Island’s first mosque (CIC)
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, issued the following statement to condemn the acts of vandalism against Prince Edward Island’s first mosque.

Bacon strewn at B.C. mosque prompts hate crime probe (CBC)
The RCMP is investigating the possibility of a hate crime after several piles of bacon were found outside a mosque in Port Coquitlam, B.C. Police say it’s the second such act of vandalism and mischief at the Islamic Society of British Columbia mosque and Islamic Centre in the last 18 months. Muslims consider pork impure. Society president Saad Bahr said Tuesday it’s clear the action was intended to offend, but his group would welcome the opportunity to speak to those responsible and have them learn about Muslim beliefs.

Same feeling, several thousand miles away from home (Mahmood Saberisenior, Gulf News)
Reading about the new Canadian immigration rules reminded me of the time I was a new emigrant and someone “fresh off the boat”. Four months after I had applied at the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, I got a note saying that I was selected to “land” in Canada and that took my wife and myself by surprise as we were not ready to leave that soon. We were under the impression that it would take at least a year for our papers to be processed. It was lightning fast compared to the time people were stuck in a limbo in the recent past. It is reported that some applicants have been waiting for more than five years as Canadian Immigration officers were swamped by the large numbers wanting to get in.

There is unity in diversity – and a cool flag (6 photos) (Connie Carello, Soo Today)
For Dave Mornix (shown), a graphic designer originally from Trinidad, the event was an opportunity to express the meaning of the word unity. His unique design of the Canadian flag housing several other flags from representing countries voiced an impacting statement, “There is unity in diversity – We are in this together.” Nicole Burkhart, a representative for the arts council of Sault Ste. Marie described the event, “It is an opportunity for people to celebrate their culture through food and discussion.”

Civic engagement : Muslim women recognised for contributions to Canada (Global Arab Network)
This week, a young Muslim woman will give a keynote address on integration with Canadian society to a large gathering in Toronto. In mid-October, Muslim women will recognise their peers who have made a difference with contributions to civic engagement in Canada. And later this year, a Muslim woman will be honoured by the Canadian government for championing women’s rights and promoting interfaith dialogue.

New Trudeau Foundation Fellow – Catherine Dauvergne
Catherine Dauvergne is currently completing a research project investigating the failure of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect non-citizens.

Talk to your doctor in 170 languages: GTA launches 24/7 medical interpreter service (Toronto Star)
Hospitals and clinics used to provide interpretation services in a piecemeal way. Some bought telephone interpretation services, paying rates ranging from $1.70 to $8 per minute. The LHIN is now coordinating bulk purchasing, giving 19 GTA hospitals and 14 community agencies access to 24-hour interpretation services in 170 languages, including aboriginal languages, at $1.44 or less a minute, depending on monthly usage. Studies have shown patients with difficulty communicating in English tend to stay in hospital longer, visit emergency rooms more often, have avoidable health complications, and are more likely to be readmitted after a hospital stay.–talk-to-your-doctor-in-170-languages-gta-launches-24-7-medical-interpreter-service


Jason Kenney defends gay refugee email (Andrea Houston, Xtra!)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is on the defensive, telling Xtra he is surprised by the angry reaction to the email he sent out Sept 24 touting the government’s plan to protect the rights of gay and lesbian refugees. The email, sent to thousands of gay and lesbian Canadians, was titled “LGBT Refugees in Iran,” and began with the salutation, “Friend.” That’s because, he maintains, those who received the email had once signed a petition about gay refugees that generated an automated response to his office. He also suspects some recipients of his email had previously contacted his office. Kenney rejects comments from some who said his email was “creepy,” because it appeared to target gay and lesbian people.

Talking points: Asylum seekers ‘don’t get cash, houses, gifts’ (Herald Sun)
NEARLY a decade of viral emails claiming refugees get taxpayer-funded cash, houses and other gifts denied to Australian citizens has been debunked by an independent study.

Mexicans ask Canada to let them stay (Associate Press)
Around 60 Mexicans marched on Canada’s parliament on Tuesday to request amnesty for thousands of failed asylum seekers whose lives they say would be at risk if they are deported to Mexico. “We want Ottawa to let us stay,” said Alejandro Gomez, who fled violence tied to narcotics trafficking in Mexico and claimed refugee status in Canada.


City will try a different tack with province (Hamilton Spectator)
It looks as if Hamilton’s looming war with the McGuinty government has ended before it began. The city is still planning a day of lobbying at Queen’s Park to protest provincial cuts to homelessness programs. But rather than banging pots and stomping feet, the municipality intends to take a non-partisan approach, stressing reason, sound fiscal planning and the human impact of the coming cuts. Given Hamilton’s present sad-sacky standing with the governing Liberals, the change in tactics is probably wise, at least for the time being.–dreschel-city-will-try-a-different-tack-with-province


Nominations open for Immigrant Success Awards (Yonge Street)
The City of Toronto’s motto is “Diversity our Strength,” but when it comes to integrating skilled immigrants into the workforce, it’s not always put into practice. The Toronto Immigrant Employment Data Initiative has found that education achieved abroad is discounted in the Canadian labour market by a factor of 30 per cent and work experience by factor of 70 per cent.
In an effort to spread awareness of the benefits of hiring skilled immigrants, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) is once again accepting nomination for its Immigrant Success (IS) Awards. Sponsored by RBC and supported by media partners Canadian HR Reporter, CBC Toronto and the Toronto Star, the IS Awards are presented annually to organizations in the Greater Toronto Region that have shown leadership in integrating skilled immigrants into their workforces.

Migrant workers who survived deadly crash want to stay in Canada (CTV)
Two migrant workers from Peru who survived a crash that killed 11 of their co-workers want to remain in Canada. Juan Ariza and Javier Abelardo Alba-Medina were the lone survivors of a horrific crash in Hampstead, Ont., that killed 10 migrant workers and the driver of the van on Feb. 6. According to police, the van drove through a stop sign and smashed into a truck. The accident is one of Ontario’s deadliest collisions.


Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Jarvis Bike Lanes, TTC Metropasses, Toronto Zoo, Enwave Energy and Other News.

Spreading the wealth: What the Vital Signs report reveals about Toronto’s economic success story (Yonge Street)
The glass towers on the skyline and impressive rankings on liveability indexes don’t tell the whole story. This year’s Vital Signs report from the Toronto Community Foundation looks for the sources of our successes and the solutions to our struggles in detailed data about how we live now. The 239-page analysis of the health of the economy, people, neighbourhoods and culture of Canada’s largest city, released October 2, aims to find the reality behind the buzz. Money doesn’t buy health, happiness or public safety—or maybe it does. Economics are certainly the easiest way to calculate the success of a city and they run all the way through this year’s Vital Signs.

“Not Too Bad” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the Vital Signs report, with Rahul Bhardwaj. He is president and CEO of the Toronto Community Foundation.


Ontario Nonprofit Network Conference: Policy to Practice, September 27, 2012 (Stephanie McAllister, Framework)
Last Thursday, I attended the Ontario Nonprofit Network’s annual conference hosted at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. This year’s theme was “Policy to Practice”, and encompassed a wide range of workshop topics from “Funding Reform on the Ground” to “Policy 101: I’m Busy! Why Should I Care?”. The challenge of reconciling government policies and guidelines with the reality of day-to-day operations was at the core of all of these discussions.

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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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