Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 16, 2012


Just-in-time immigration system imminent: lawyer (
Wait times for immigration are dropping dramatically, according to an analysis by leading Canadian immigration lawyer Richard Kurland who says Canada is now very close to a first-come-first-served, merit-based, just-in-time immigration system if not for the provincial nominee program. Hes urging Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and his provincial counterparts to agree to a cap on the number of applications the provinces approve each year when they meet in Toronto on Friday. That would ensure the federal government doesnt end up with a processing backlog since there is a limit to the number of individuals that are allowed into each province under this program.

Competing for skilled immigrants (Ottawa Citizen)
Canada, it turns out, might not be the centre of the universe when it comes to attracting foreign students and skilled immigrants. Its cold, for one, and, more importantly, the competition from other countries is becoming fierce. Canada can no longer count on choosing from qualified candidates lining up to get in, and that means it must work harder to attract both skilled immigrants and students. Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist for CIBC, put it this way recently: The truth of the situation is that theyre not lining up any more. We used to be able to select from a large pool of applicants, and now we need them to select us. If youre an engineer in China or Brazil, you have a good life. Why come and freeze in Canada, right? Its a lesson that the federal government must act on by doing a better job of attracting, and keeping them. Canada relies on international students and skilled immigrants and will do so increasingly in coming years.

Pan Am Games aim to strengthen Torontos social fabric (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
The Pan Am Games will be one of the biggest job-creation, infrastructure-building and local improvement projects in Torontos history. But TO2015 also gives the city a chance to build a new model for international sports events, one that brings in the people who are usually ignored, excluded or pushed out of sight. Ian Troop, chief executive officer, has made that his goal. Over a year ago, I proclaimed that diversity would be to Toronto 2015 what green was to Vancouver 2010 (the Winter Olympics), he reminded Torontonians this week. (These Games) have been conceived as an event that will bring our community together like never before.–pan-am-games-aim-to-strengthen-toronto-s-social-fabric

Do We Need “Binders Full of Women”? (Mary Taws, TVO The Agenda)
The morning after I produced a program on the U.S. presidential election results, I received a voicemail from a male viewer. Here’s some of what he had to say: While America has rejected the politics of old white men, they found a haven on The Agenda. I’m seeing the same old tired white men on your show. … Why are there no younger people or young people of colour? Why is it always old white guys and Janice Stein? I called him back later that morning and we had what I felt was a fruitful conversation about this issue. I told him I wasn’t entirely pleased with the optics of the program, either. Although the guests were qualified and had very interesting insights to share, it wasn’t ideal to have four white men discussing the GOP’s relationship with the Hispanic and African-American communities, or for that matter pontificating about why and how women vote.

Deported elderly woman allowed back in Canada (CBC)
An elderly American woman who crossed the border into the United States with her Canadian friend on Wednesday after an exhausting immigration battle will be allowed back in the country, CBC News has learned. Immigration lawyer Lee Cohen confirmed Nancy Inferrera, 73, will be allowed back into Canada on a three-year “‘temporary residence permit.”

Elderly American caregiver being deported has been granted temporary visa (Globe and Mail)
Mildred Sanford and Nancy Inferrera had spent only a single night in their Maine motel before getting the good news: Their immigration issue was resolved and they could re-cross the border and return to their Nova Scotia mobile home. The elderly women, who have little money and no car, left Canada after Ms. Inferrera, a 73-year-old American, was deported prompting a public outcry. She and her friend of three decades, Ms. Sanford, 83, are inseparable. In addition, Ms. Sanford suffers from a heart condition and dementia and Ms. Inferrera looks after her.

Toronto barber shop won’t cut women’s hair on religious grounds (Andrea Houston, Xtra!)
All she wanted was a haircut. But when Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop at Bay and Dundas streets, she was shocked to hear from the owner that no barber at the shop would cut a womans hair because it goes against their religious beliefs. McGregor has since filed a complaint about the June incident with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). The shop wasnt busy that d

Woman denied haircut goes to Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Toronto Star)
A request for a lunch-hour haircut has turned into a battle over human rights, pitting freedom of religion against a womans right not to be denied service based on her gender. Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay St. in June to get a haircut the businessman, short on the sides, tapered, trim the top. The shop, like many barbers in Toronto, doesnt do womens haircuts. But McGregor, 35, said she wanted a mens cut. Shop co-owner Omar Mahrouk told her his Muslim faith prohibits him from touching a woman who is not a member of his family. All the other barbers said the same thing.–woman-denied-haircut-goes-to-human-rights-tribunal-of-ontario

Toronto barbers become latest focus of human rights complaint debate (
The degree to which human rights commissions can actually force people to change is, itself, contentious and so very Canadian. The debate over the very value of human rights commissions in Canada ratcheted up in 2008 when commentators Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn were each subject to proceedings related to criticism of a religion Levant for publishing the Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammed, while Steyn for a feature about demographics in Macleans.

Cultural Accommodation (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the case of the Muslim barber and the woman whose hair he refused to cut for religious reasons, with Samira Kanji. She is President of the Noor Cultural Centre in Toronto.

“No Right Is Absolute” (CBC Metro Morning)
A Toronto woman claims she was denied a men’s style-haircut because the barber said that cutting a woman’s hair, other than that of a family member, was against his Muslim faith. Matt Galloway spoke with the Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Barbara Hall.

History a mystery to many Canadians (Calgary Sun)
Last year, federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney introduced a new citizenship guide. In order to be granted citizenship, applicants must now demonstrate sufficient knowledge of essential Canadian history. The guide devotes 10 pages to a chronological overview of key events in our history. Any applicant who does not master these facts cannot pass the citizenship test. Since we expect new citizens to be familiar with Canadian history, it makes sense to apply the same standard to those who grow up in this country. This is why most people expect schools to ensure students learn the key events in Canadian history.

Afghan-Canadians tell the real story behind Remembrance Day protest (Laila Rashidie, rabble)
On November 11, 2012 we attended the Remembrance Day ceremony at Old City Hall in Toronto as an Afghan anti-war presence. Some sections of the conservative media have inaccurately portrayed our identity, action and purpose. We are Afghan-Canadian women peace activists with a voice that can stand for itself. We have a message which cannot be silenced by such tactics to censor and demonize us. In 2001 we watched the invasion of our home country, Afghanistan. Fast forward 11 years later: Afghanistan is still occupied, and every year on Remembrance Day we are reminded of it. It has become painfully obvious that Remembrance Day is used as a war propaganda tool. If one is going to take offense to our presence, direct your misguided anger at those responsible for why we are taking offense.

The luxury of not caring about race (Jon Crowley)
A thing I often feel the need to explain, is that being a minority is to be inherently politicized. By this I mean, my opinions and actions and words, dont get interpreted solely as themselves, but as ideas or concepts expressed by someone who is black, and of mixed race. Sometimes this is obvious: when I talk about racism, Im definitely talking as a black man. Other times, its less direct: when I speak about education, about corporate environments, etc, Im someone of a specific background, specific considerations. Even if my point has nothing to do with my race, the two intertwine.

Why I’m ignoring my thick skin (Jon Crowley)
Ive been a lot more focused on, and sensitive about, issues of race and discrimination lately. A few times, people have essentially suggested that I need to develop a thicker skin. They may have misunderstood why Im speaking out about these things. Im past the point in my life where I get hurt, or saddened, or mentally harmed by racism. Its been many years since my response has been anything but mild disappointment, a head shake, maybe mild disbelief. But Im getting older. And I see my nieces, nephews, and cousins growing up. I see them learning what it means, in our society, to be a visible minority, or a woman, or both. Im an adult. I can let it roll off my back. But these kids, other kids, hell, my future kids? They wont be able to, not right away. I know what that learning curve feels like. Its not fair to ask kids to suffer through that, and spend the years learning to rebuild a sense of self that isnt warped by it.

Immigration and Refugee Law (Your Legal Rights)
The following email bulletin provides you with the latest news, legal information resources, common questions and training webinars from Your Legal Rights on Immigration and Refugee Law.

Obamas election shows how diversity can provide an edge (Globe and Mail)
For America, 2012 will go down in history as the year of the Latinos, the blacks, the women and the gays. That rainbow coalition won President Barack Obama his second term. This triumph of the outsiders is partly due to Americas changing demographics. And it is not just the United States that is becoming more diverse. Canada is, too, as is much of Europe. That is why it is worth thinking hard about how to make diverse teams effective, and how people who straddle two cultural worlds can succeed. Three academics, appropriately enough a diverse group based in Asia and America, have been doing some provocative research that suggests that our ability to comfortably integrate our different identities or not is the key.

CCLA objects to Bill C-43 as violating basic principles of justice and fundamental rights (CCLA)
CCLA made written submissions to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration concerning Bill C-43. The bill would, in CCLAs view, violate fundamental principles of justice and the constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of citizens and non-citizens alike. Thus, for example, the bill would facilitate the removal of people from Canada with no appeal and no humanitarian relief, even if the person is a permanent resident with a family who has been here for decades, even since childhood. The bill would also grant the Minister discretion to keep non-citizens out of Canada, with no statutory limits on the Ministers discretion. These and other concerning changes would violate the rule of law, due process, and the presumption of innocence; curtail the Charter rights of citizens and non-citizens; concentrate certain discretionary powers in the hands of the Minister; and remove key judicial oversight and appeal mechanisms all with no demonstrable gains for Canadas safety or security.

Romney Blames the Money and the Ethnic Vote (Jonathan Mcleod,
It appears Mitt Romney has had his own Money and ethnic votes moment, via the LA Times: Obama, Romney argued, had been very generous to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. He cited as motivating factors to young voters the administrations plan for partial forgiveness of college loan interest and the extension of health coverage for students on their parents insurance plans well into their 20s. Free contraception coverage under Obamas healthcare plan, he added, gave an extra incentive to college-age women to back the president.

Finding unity in diversity (Northumberland Today)
Canada and the rest of the world have become a multicultural society. Unity in Diversity is celebrated in many communities across the globe during the second week of November. The Unity in Diversity concept is a way of expressing the principle of the oneness of humanity. Unity in diversity stands in contrast to uniformity. The very diversity of the human race is, in fact, a means for creating a world based on unity rather than uniformity. It is not by the suppression of differences that we will arrive at unity, but rather by an increased awareness of and respect for the unique values of each separate culture, and indeed, of each individual. It is not diversity itself which is the cause of conflict, but rather our bias attitude toward it. Our intolerance and misconceptions of others also contributes toward it.

New helpline for Muslim women may be Canadas first (Toronto Star)
Months before the Muslim womens helpline was launched, the phone at the Mississauga-based Womens Resource Centre started ringing. Sabah Kazmi had just taken over as program director of the new centre, where she had intended to launch educational programs and empowerment seminars for women. Instead, she was answering phone calls from women across the GTA simply looking to talk.–new-helpline-for-muslim-women-may-be-canada-s-first

Immigrant communities embrace bilingualism, survey finds (Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen)
Immigrant communities appear to be buying into the idea of Canadas linguistic duality, according to a new poll. The national survey of 2,200 Canadians, conducted last week by Leger Marketing, found that people whose mother tongue is neither English nor French strongly support official bilingualism and its perceived benefits. In fact, their appreciation exceeds that of English Canadians and rivals that of francophones.

Policy-making and politicking meet in Tories’ heavy monitoring of ethnic media (Bruce Cheadle, Stephanie Levitz, Ottawa Citizen)
The federal government’s intense and expensive scrutiny of Canada’s ethnic media may be prompting cries of partisanship from opposition critics, but it could just be a happy confluence of good governance and good politics. Thousands of pages of documents obtained by The Canadian Press under access to information laws reveal that the Citizenship and Immigration Department spent nearly $750,000 over three years monitoring and analyzing ethnic media sources at home and abroad.

Court seeks answers to hiring of Chinese workers (Wendy Stueck, Globe and Mail)
A court case that got under way on Wednesday is expected to shed light on how a Canadian company obtained work permits for about 200 Chinese workers for a B.C. coal mine. The federal government has already said it is not satisfied with the process that gave a green light to bring the workers to B.C., and has promised to review the program through which they were hired.


Social workers condemn cuts to low-income housing fund (Samantha Halyk, Centretown News)
An Ontario government decision to cut an important housing benefit is raising concerns among local social support agencies. Earlier this year, it was announced that the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit is scheduled to end in January 2013. Community Start-Up is an absolutely essential fund for all people on (social) assistance to access housing and to make sure the housing is safe and affordable, says Carrie Lynn Poole-Cotnam, chair of Social Services Workers Co-ordinating Committee, which represents more than 30,000 social service workers in Ontario.


Webinar: Canadas Changing Immigration Policies What Employers Need to Know (hireimmigrants)
On Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 12:00 PM EST, join us for a free webinar to learn more about the changes to Canadas immigration system and how they may affect your companys human resources strategy. The webinar will feature Naomi Alboim, Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor, School of Policy Studies, Queens University and Kirk Dudtschak, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Human Resources, RBC Royal Bank.

Mentor to Mentor Lunch and Learn (ISISNS)
On October 23, ISIS Professional Mentorship Program brought together 18 mentors from various sectors to discuss mentorship and diversity. Billy-Jo McInnis, mentorship champion from TD Canada Trust, generously shared his experience with the group. Six of his mentees have been successful in finding employment he credits the Mentorship Program for its professionalism during the matching process, and for meeting the needs of those looking for mentors/mentees in the banking world.

City of Toronto leads the way with mentoring recruitment program (Canada Newswire)
Members of the Toronto Public Service and Toronto residents were recognized this evening for their participation in the City of Toronto’s annual Profession to Profession Mentoring Immigrants Program. “With Toronto being one of the most diverse cities in the world, it is important that we continue to provide accessible and equitable programs and services to Toronto residents,” said Councillor Ana Bailão (Ward 18 Davenport). By providing a valuable mentorship experience to highly educated newcomers, we are breaking down barriers that skilled immigrants face and are helping to build an inclusive society.”

Diversity in the workplace workshop set for Nov. 22 (Courier-Islander)
With the increasing number of newcomers settling in Campbell River, a community forum to review current strategies around welcoming diversity at the workplace will take place on Nov. 22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Robron Centre Library. The forum will lead frontline workers in the community to identify barriers and create strategies to cope with the increasingly diversify in the Campbell River area. According to the latest census report released in October, German, Vietnamese and Dutch are the top three non-English mother tongue languages in Campbell River.

B.C. suspends fast-track applications (Jaonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun)
The B.C. Liberal government abruptly announced Thursday the immediate suspension of a program that fast tracks permanent residence applications for immigrants who are establishing a business in British Columbia. In a news release, government said it will review the fast-track program “in order to ensure the program is working effectively to support job creation and economic development in B.C.,” but gave no explicit reasoning for the move.

Its Talent, Not Canadian Work Experience, That Counts (hireimmigrants)
Ottawa-based Pythian has built a strong reputation by focusing on securing the best global talent available and sharing their experiences with other Ottawa employers to foster diversity and inclusion.

IEC-BC exhibiting at 2012 Top Employer Summit in Vancouver, November 19 and 20 (IECBC)
Visit IEC-BCs exhibit at the Top Employer Summit, where world-class speakers and the winners of Canadas Top 100 Employers competition will gather at the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver on November 19 and 20. IEC-BC will participate as an exhibitor in conjunction with Summit event partner ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies). ALLIES supports local efforts in Canadian cities to successfully adapt and implement programs that further the suitable employment of skilled immigrants. For more information on the Top Employer Summit, go to


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

Canadian cities spending $12 billion on infrastructure, pledge to match new federal funding (15/11/2012) (FCM)
Today, the mayors of Canada’s biggest cities pledge to match new Federal government funding dollar for dollar to rebuild and improve our cities over the next 20 years. We urge the Federal government to match our commitment with new funding to support and rebuild Canada’s cities – from public transit to our roads and bridges, from water pipes to sewer systems. The Federal government demonstrated important leadership by strategically investing in Canadian cities through successful programs such as the Gas Tax Fund, the Building Canada Fund and the Economic Action Plan stimulus funding. These investments have been crucial for addressing the growing economic challenges facing our nation, and keeping Canada competitive through a global recession. But much of the funding expires by 2014.


Ashoka Canada Annual Report 2011-12
Like the oak tree, Ashokas growth can be seen in its cross-section. As the rings of an oak treerecord its growth, Ashokas beginnings have formed the core of what followed, with each year ex-panding on the impact of the year before it. Here we share with you our top 10 accomplishmentsover our 10 years of growth in Canada.

National Philanthropy Day® Official Website (AFPNet)
Great News! (November 5, 2012) Parliament has approved a new bill that will make Canada the first country in the world to honour the work of charities, donors, volunteers, corporations and foundations by permanently recognizing November 15th as National Philanthropy Day.

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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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