Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 14, 2012


Meet Your Neighbours (Cities of Migration)
What happens when you take a group of girls from different schools – one Muslim, one Roman Catholic and one secular – on a two-day trip to get to know one another? They talk. In 2007, 18 teenage girls from three different schools – one Islamic, one Roman Catholic and one secular – left the comforts of their familiar surroundings for a residential weekend away in Darwen, Lancashire, where they spent two days getting to know one another. The aim? To bring girls from different backgrounds together to to learn from each other, to engage with each other, to talk together about their different beliefs and cultural traditions; but most of all to discover the many things they had in common.

Government paid for media monitoring of immigration minister’s image (Globe and Mail)
The department of Citizenship and Immigration spent almost $750,000 monitoring ethnic media over the past three years, including assessments of election campaign events and “perceptions” of Minister Jason Kenney. A series of contracts from March 2009 through May 2012 cost taxpayers $745,050, according to documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information law. Those contracts state they were for work “monitoring key words and issues related to the department’s mandate.”

We need foreign workers, they need fair treatment (Tim Harper, Toronto Star)
The day Canadians decide en masse that they will relocate to northern Alberta or northern British Columbia to take available jobs, we can have a proper debate in this country over the need for the Temporary Foreign Worker program. Until that fanciful day arrives, let’s accept that this program fills a huge void in the Canadian labour market in 2012. There are two other more relevant questions to debate — why has this program been left open to such obvious abuse and why has its use accelerated so quickly under the Conservative government?–tim-harper-we-need-foreign-workers-they-need-fair-treatment

Protect foreign workers, and Canadians (Ottawa Citizen)
Six months ago, the federal government announced changes to the country’s Temporary Foreign Workers program that had potential implications for the future of both immigration and work in Canada. The changes would fast-track the program in some cases and allow employers to pay workers less than other Canadians. With that program now under review, it is difficult not to conclude that some of those implications weren’t fully considered before the policy changes were announced. It is always less costly, politically and financially, for governments to do their homework and fix unintended potential problems ahead of time, whether through a white paper process or consultations, than to reform policy, or live with flawed policy, after the fact. Still, the review of the rapidly growing program is welcome. The government should consider reforms — or at least enough resources — that make the program more difficult to abuse and better able to protect workers.

“I Am Here in Canada and I Am Treated like a Dog” (Syed Hussan, Huffington Post)
The Canada Border Services Agency just announced that it had deported 16,511 people in 2011-2012, dubbing it a “milestone year.” “It is really chilling,” said Mary Foster from Montreal’s People’s Commission which successfully advocated to have Adil Charkaoui’s security certificate struck down and get Abousfian Abdelrazik back in to Canada. “It’s the moral equivalent of a mob killing someone and then jumping on their bodies in triumph.” Deportation to death is not just an analogy. The case of Veronica Castro and Grise have made national headlines in the past years, women who were denied refugee status, were told that they were making up their refugee claims and deported. Both of them were murdered upon their return just as they feared.

Loss of immigration office hurting local economy, say officials (CBC)
The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and local Member of Parliament Glenn Thibeault are speaking out against the closure of the city’s Citizenship and Immigration Office. The loss of the office is putting a drain on the local economy by sending immigrants and their employers far out of their way to get services they used to get much closer to home, said Glenn Thibeault, the MP for Sudbury. In-person services are no longer available in Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie or Thunder Bay since those offices were closed down in April, following federal budget cuts. Papers must now be submitted online or in person in Toronto.

Minority lawyers can break through stereotypes and still remain true to themselves (Tiffany Wong, Slaw)
The 6th Annual Conference and Banquet of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (FACL) was held on November 10th, 2012 at the Toronto Board of Trade. Started in 2007, FACL and has grown from a small conference to a virtually sold out event of hundreds of lawyers, law students and allies from the Asian-Canadian legal community. This year’s keynote speaker was Don Liu, Senior Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Xerox Corporation, Recipient of the 2011 Trailblazer Award from the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), and one of only nine general counsel of a Fortune 500 company who is of Asian descent.

Immigration battle forces elderly friends to leave N.S. (CBC)
Two elderly women, one Canadian, the other American, are leaving for the United States on Wednesday with no place to go once they get there. Mildred Sanford, who grew up in Guysborough County, and her American friend of 30 years, Nancy Inferrera, said they refuse to be separated from one another. “She’s coming back with me because it wouldn’t be fair if I left her here, she couldn’t make it on her own,” said Inferrera.

Policy of immigration should be welcomed from a Canadian point of view (Matthew Fisher, Windsor Star)
I have had extensive experience of interacting with international students over the past 50 years and some, as Professor and Head of Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Windsor. I was an international student myself during my doctoral degree in England. The most common concern then was that the international students did not become permanent citizens because they returned home after studies. It is true even now. A policy of immigration to give them permanent resident status should be welcomed from a Canadian point of view. They have one or two professional degrees worth a knowledge capital of 16-17 years of education from childhood, worth over $400,000 for each student, by one estimate.

Apologies (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about cultural appropriation with our pop culture critic, Jesse Wente.

Gender diversity on Canada’s corporate boards a tale of two sectors (

Boardroom gender diversity in Canada needs improvement in all sectors, though the financial services sector is outpacing the mining and energy industries, reports the Canadian Board Diversity Council.

Diwali An Opportunity To Celebrate Our Diversity (Lucy Miller, Huffington Post)
There are so many things that I love about Calgary but right now I am really thinking about the beauty of its diversity. Close to 25% of Calgary’s population was born outside of Canada. This came to mind because I have been looking for a sari to wear to United Way’s Diwali celebration this week and I thought how wonderful it is that we are such a microcosm of the world. Here we are living in harmony and thriving as one of the most successful cities in the world. Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” is a time-honoured Indian cultural festival. It is a tradition that conveys a universal message of hope and peace that transcends all borders and faiths. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring community together and to celebrate our diversity. It’s one example of the many cultural celebrations available to Calgarians throughout the year and I am always thrilled when I participate, because I come away with such a feeling of pride and hope for our future.

Attorney General’s report on the Ontario Human Rights Review, 2012 (Lauren Bride, First Reference Talks)
The Attorney General of Ontario released a report last week on the Ontario Human Rights Review for 2012. While both the Attorney General and the Ontario Human Rights Commission both function within the greater Ontario government, this review was created independently of government agency, with the aim to examine how the current system performs toward the highest goals to maintain justice, transparency, timeliness, and works against systemic discrimination. The Tribunal, the Commission, and the newly-created Human Rights Legal Support Centre make up a functioning triumvirate for legislative Human Rights in Ontario. In 2008, a widespread re-organization of the legislative bodies took place to improve the efficiency of the system.

The exclusion of the Charter and Human Rights in the new Alberta Education Act (CBC The Current)
Alberta is poised to wipe all references to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and provincial Human Rights out of its Education act, after pressure from home-schooling advocates. Opposition politicians say the Redford government is pandering, civil libertarians worry the government is lowering human rights protections and a national school board association is pleased they got a compromise.

MAIP Addresses Lack of Diversity in Advertising (Grace Austin, Diversity Journal)
Slowly but surely, diversity in advertising is improving, says Nancy Hill, president-CEO of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s). This is due in large part to the mentoring and recruitment work of her organization and others like it. The 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) is one of the oldest of its kind in the country. Since 1973, the MAIP has helped jumpstart the careers of more than 2,000 African American, Asian American, Latinos, Native American, multiracial, and multiethnic aspiring advertising professionals.


Tamil refugee claimants fear torture if deported (CBC)
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews had doubts all the passengers on the cargo ship Sun Sea were legitimate refugees. Almost 500 men, women and children from Sri Lanka paid thousands of dollars for a three month voyage. Ottawa suspected many were members of the Tamil Tigers, the armed independence organization Canada labels a terrorist group. So far 20 refugee claims have been approved and another 35 rejected. Two people have been removed from Canada…one to Sri Lanka and one to India.

World Community of Resettled Refugees (WCRR) (UNHCR)
The main goal of this community is to help build a cohesive group of people who have gone through the difficulties of refugee life and have started a new life in a new land, to share the challenges and successes of resettlement and to recognize opportunities for the future.


Nov 15: The Janeiro Donelson Perez Lecture on Inequality (U of T School of Public Policy and Governance)
In discussing inequality, John Stapleton will review taxes anddeficit and the difficult policy frame of inequality. He will askwhether the pay scale solution to inequality is a trap, andventure that inequality is a consequence of policy-making.Moving forward, he will offer a new recipe for inequality.

Stagnant economy may mean more cuts to come (Behind the Numbers)
The federal government released its annual fall update on the country’s finances today. Despite the upbeat messaging around the “Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections” there are concerning underlying trends with the country and its finances. For regular Canadians, there is no explosive growth expected in the job market to make up for the crash after the 2008-2009 recession. There has been no revision to the unemployment rate projections for next year which remain at 7.2%, slightly below the current rate of 7.4%.


Immigrant Employment Council of BC Accepting Applications for New Employer Innovation Fund (IECBC)
IEC-BC is now accepting applications until Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 5 pm for the Employer Innovation Fund (EIF), a new funding initiative that will assist BC employers, business associations and industry and sectoral organizations to attract, hire and retain skilled new immigrants. Funded by the Government of Canada and Province of BC, EIF funded projects will be province-wide, with a priority on some of the key sectors highlighted in the BC Jobs Plan.

Half of owners of small-, medium-sized business to retire in next decade (Ross Marowits, Ottawa Citizen)
“A lot of the younger people don’t want to work like their parents worked to build these business. They want flex time, they want to enjoy life. They don’t believe in selling their souls to this. They are very short-term sighted.” So a large potential source of buyers are immigrants. But, he said the federal government changed its investor immigration program to remove the ability of wealthy people to buy businesses in exchange for residency. Merrick said that’s a mistake. Canada should instead make a concerted effort to welcome business people willing to buy and operate Canadian businesses.

Aging population set to sideswipe Canada’s small businesses (Globe and Mail)
At least one study, published earlier this year, proposed tapping into one available pool of labour for the country’s small and medium-sized businesses: immigrants. “Skilled immigrants can boost innovation in small businesses by bringing new perspectives, speaking international languages, providing insight into the diverse domestic markets and by helping SMEs do business in the global marketplace,” said a Maytree report in April.

Sense and Sensitivity (Global Learning)
In the last month, I have received a multitude of calls from both existing and potential new clients, asking for Global Learning’s guidance when it comes to workplace sensitivity. Workplace sensitivity is the physical, cultural and emotional awareness of people in a shared workspace.

Staying Underground (CBC Metro Morning)
Metro Morning’s Morgan Passi sat down with Hector and Griselda Cisneros, to find out what it is like to disappear, as undocumented workers.

Majority Rules: Christmas in the Workplace (Diversity and Inclusion at work)
Have you checked out the stats lately? Statistics Canada 2005 Census on Religion shows that at least 21 out of 29 million Canadians self-identify as Christians. And in “Faith on the Move“, Independent Panel Forum on Religious Life, reports that 6 out of the 10 immigrants that are coming to Canada self-identify as Christians. So who are we kidding when we try to rid the workplace of the word “Christmas” and Christmas decorations? And who are we exactly trying to appease when we call it “Xmas”? With these types of statistics who are we trying to include or exclude? When over half of the Canadian population identifies itself as Christian why are we having debates as to whether you can sing religious Christmas carols in a public school? To make it even more confusing, how many atheists out there celebrate Christmas on some level? Why are we afraid to call the staff party that happens in November or December a Christmas party? After, all that is what it is, isn’t it?

Workshop in Toronto: The Impact of Precarious Legal Status on Immigrants’ Economic Outcomes (Justicia for Immigrant Workers)
The authors will present their recent IRPP study,The Impact of Precarious Legal Status on Immigrants’ Economic Outcomes. Monica Boyd (University of Toronto) and Debbie Douglas(Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants) will be the commentators. The presentation and commentaries will be followed by a discussion period. The workshop will be moderated by Leslie Seidle (Research Director, Diversity,
Immigration and Integration, IRPP).

New Study Shows Engaging White Men is Key to Improving Workplace Culture (Diversity Journal)
Can diversity and inclusion education really help make white male-dominated corporate cultures more inclusive? Critics have cast doubt on whether such programs are effective. But a new Catalyst study indicates that diversity and inclusion education can have a measurable impact on workplace attitudes, behavior, and culture. Catalyst surveyed people managers—mostly white men—from the North American sales division of Rockwell Automation, a global engineering company based in Milwaukee. These managers participated in leadership development programs created by White Men as Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP). Rockwell’s top leadership believed that these programs would engage white men as advocates and leaders of the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts, ultimately helping them become more effective managers overall.

4 ways newcomers can use LinkedIn for their job search (ERIEC The Wave)
We at ERIEC thought this was a great intro to LinkedIn for those who may not have created a profile yet. So we borrowed it from the online Canadian Immigrant Magazine. Check it out! And don’t forget to check out the rest of the magazine- it’s a good read!


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


RBC ignites Canadian impact investing market with $1 million gift (Gord Nixon,
The famous Stanford marshmallow experiment tested the ability of children to defer the immediate enjoyment of a treat for two treats 15 minutes later. Some children would immediately eat their marshmallow as soon as they were alone with it, but a third of the children held out long enough to get two marshmallows. I’m reminded of this experiment four times a year. Company behaviour and market reaction are significantly affected by short-term, quarterly performance. There are simply too many financial, social and economic issues in the world today that need longer-term thinking and patient solutions.

Webinar Nov 30 – Political Activities and the Charitable Sector: An Overview by Imagine Canada (Imagine Canada)
Political activity by charitable and nonprofit organizations has been a hot topic over the past year with conflicting claims as to how much political activity can and should be undertaken by the charitable sector. Environmental organizations and environmental funders have been on the receiving end of many of the barbs from media and politicians. For some organizations, the result has been an “advocacy chill”, with some groups and some funders considering opting out of political activities in the short-term or all together. This would be a very unfortunate step, given the important public policy contributions that environmental and other organizations have made and continue to make. Getting a clear understanding of the regulations around political activity, as well as the implications of the recent changes to CRA reporting requirements, is essential as we move forward to build an environmentally sound and sustainable Canada.

Mennonites brought to heel by fed bullies (Warren Kinsella, Toronto Sun)
Governments defeat themselves. Ultimately, they do themselves more damage than do their opponents. Then they start to lose their hold on power. Take a little-noticed controversy in the past week, involving the Conservative government and the Mennonite Church. It was another example, however small, of the Stephen Harper regime arguably losing its mind, and inarguably losing its grip. In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s triumphant victory, the contretemps was easy to miss. But it was important, and worth noting.

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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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