Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 19, 2012


News Release — Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments Envision Canada’s Future Immigration System (CIC)
Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) immigration ministers pledged today to create a fast and flexible immigration system designed to advance Canada’s economic growth and competitiveness, and respond to regional labour market needs. Following a two-day meeting, FPT Ministers committed to work together to develop and implement an Expression of Interest (EOI) model for Canada, similar to a model currently in place in New Zealand and Australia. EOI will help transform Canada’s immigration system into one that is more responsive to labour market demand, by providing opportunities for FPT governments and employers to access a pool of skilled workers.

Ottawa to create skilled immigrant pool, provinces would select applicants based on labour needs (Toronto Star)
Ottawa has reached a consensus with the provinces to establish a pool of skilled-worker candidates by the end of 2014 that will allow employers to cherry-pick potential immigrants to fill regional labour shortages. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced Friday he is committed to working with his provincial counterparts to implement the Expression of Interest (EOI) system, whereby employers could screen and assess a pool of applicants for immigration consideration. “We’ve had very fruitful discussions about the future of immigration in Canada,” Kenney said after the annual federal-provincial immigration conference in Toronto.–ottawa-to-create-skilled-immigrant-pool-provinces-would-select-applicants-based-on-labour-needs

Ontario puts Ottawa ‘on notice’ it seeks more immigrants (Globe and Mail)
Ontario tried to assert its place in Confederation at a meeting of immigration ministers Friday, flexing its muscles as provinces jockeyed for more immigrants under Canada’s new selection system. Ontario Immigration Minister Michael Chan said he wants to “put the federal government on notice” that Canada’s largest province by population will demand a fair allocation under the new Expression of Interest system to be established over the next two years.

We still need foreign workers, so let’s fix the system we have (Tim Harper, Chronicle Herald)
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?

Canada not first choice (Leader Post)
Canada, it turns out, might not be the centre of the universe when it comes to attracting foreign students and skilled immigrants. It’s cold, for one, and, more importantly, the competition from other countries is becoming fierce. Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist for CIBC, puts it this way: “The truth of the situation is that they’re 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 you’re an engineer in China or Brazil, you have a good life. Why come and freeze in Canada, right?” Canada relies on international students and skilled immigrants and will do so increasingly.

Entangled in a Web of Exploitation and Solidarity (Migration Health)
Entangled in a Web of Exploitation and Solidarity is an e-book of research findings written for a general audience which takes a social determinants of health approach to explore the interconnectedness of undocumented workers’ experiences of work and health to political, socio-economic, local, and global trends. Drawing from the journeys of 20 Latin American undocumented workers performing a range of jobs in the Greater Toronto Area, the authors propose that the experiences of undocumented workers in Can­ada are embedded in a complex web of simultaneously op­pressive and supportive structures. Several international and national players are intertwined in this web which ultimately functions to create a flexible and cheap workforce for Canadian businesses and constrains workers’ physical, economic and personal mobility once in Canada, with severe consequences for their health. This central concept is explored in the e-book through four interrelated chapters and an interactive gallery of body-mapped stories. The e-book concludes with key messages to promote social dialogue that moves beyond moral arguments regarding “deserving and undeserving migrants” to engage with discussions about decent work and health for all.

Ultimate Vocabulary Cheers Libraries Which Extend Their Hands to ESL Learners (
Ultimate Vocabulary™ stated today its endorsement of library initiatives that practically facilitate ESL learners’ efforts. The introduction of ESL book clubs, just like the one introduced by the Guelph Public Library in Ontario, Canada, is a welcomed and much-needed initiative; contributing greatly to the integration of non-native citizens of English speaking countries, Ultimate Vocabulary™ announced. Book clubs exclusively aimed at ESL learners constitute an effective and low-cost method of helping the assimilation of newcomers in their new country of residence. “Such socially-oriented library involvement is saluted and further encouraged,” Marc Slater, managing director of Ultimate Vocabulary stated today. “The Guelph library is a strong example of the multifaceted benefits of ESL book clubs,” Slater noted. Book club sessions facilitate and encourage ESL learning as these sessions are carried out in relaxed, non-intimidating contexts. This positive result has been announced by various other libraries that generously help ESL learners, like West Vancouver Memorial Library and Vaughan Public Libraries, also in Canada.

B.C. suspends visa program after suspicious surge in applications (Globe and Mail)
Six months after the B.C. government called for more authority to boost its intake of skilled immigrants, officials have suspended a program that fast-tracked visas for business investors following a suspicious surge in applications. British Columbia’s provincial nominee program saw an “extraordinary” increase in the number of business applicants for a category that promised a speedy visa in exchange for a $125,000 bond. The spike came after the federal government placed a moratorium on its own investor and entrepreneur visa programs.

Permanent residence fast track suspended over low success rate, Pat Bell says (Jonathan Fowlie, Vancouver Sun)
Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell confirmed Friday that his government suspended a program that fast tracks permanent residence applications for business immigrants over concerns about the success rate of those applying. “We were uncomfortable with the results that were being achieved,” Bell told reporters Friday.

To love one’s country (Janice Kennedy, Ottawa Citizen)
What ever happened to loyalty? War memorials have been vandalized before, but this one felt like a particularly vicious slap in the Canadian face. In Toronto, shortly after Remembrance Day ceremonies, goons defaced a monument with the scrawled prediction that Canada will burn, “praise Allah” — the un-God-like irony likely unintentional. The confused mind, trying to picture the kind of person who could be so offensive, judges by appearances and infers the obvious: ignorant local youth, seductive Islamic extremism, a socio-cultural problem for law-abiding Muslim communities the world over (communities that have so far been spectacularly ineffectual in resolving it, though that’s a discussion for another day).

Where did Afghan-Canadian loyalties lie on Remembrance Day? (Tahir Aslam Gora, New Canadian Media)
“Canada will burn, praise Allah,” someone wrote on the walls of the Victory Peace memorial in Toronto. We do know for sure that two Afghan-Canadian ladies, Suraia Sahar and Laila Rashidie, were holding a banner in the anti-war protest outside the Remembrance Day ceremony which took place at an Old City Hall last Sunday morning. The banner both ladies were holding reads “We Remember Operation Medusa. 512 Afghans Killed by Canadian Military.” They were showing the same banner on their Facebook page as well. Both ladies were participating in the anti-war protest, chanting during the two minutes of silence. Later, they were seen in a scuffle that broke out amongst the protesters and anti-protesters.

Immigration Minister Kenney Accused Of Abusing Taxpayer Dollars To Get Ethnic Votes (The Link)
Liberal Citizenship and Immigration critic Kevin Lamoureux said Conservative Minister Jason Kenney’s use of public funds for ethno-cultural media monitoring is blatent misuse of government resources. “Jason Kenney seems unable to resist abusing Canadians’ tax dollars. First there was his blatant misuse of government letterhead and resources to solicit $200,000 for an advertising blitz in ‘very ethnic’ ridings. Then, Minister Kenney billed Canadians for $37,000 in limo rides around Toronto and Vancouver – double the bill incurred by disgraced former Conservative Minister Bev Oda.

Professor debunks myths surrounding Muslim family law (Tom Sandborn, Vancouver Sun)
In 2003, when a small organization, the Toronto-based Islamic Institute for Civil Justice (IICJ), applied for standing under the Arbitration Act of Ontario to provide officially recognized family arbitration services to the local Sunni Muslim community, it set off a firestorm of angry debate. While the application itself was a modest request to have official recognition under Ontario law of voluntary arbitrations on family matters that were already offered to the province’s Sunni Muslims by the IICJ and by some local imams, particularly around marriage and divorce, public response was swift and intense. This was true despite the fact that similar standing had long been enjoyed by similar organizations within Jewish and Ismaili communities in Ontario.

Issues raised by ethnic press essential reading for government, Kenney says (Global Saskatoon)
Scanning summaries of stories in the ethnic press is the most important reading he does, the immigration minister said Friday. But Jason Kenney says he’s too busy during an election campaign to follow the clips. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that Kenney’s department spent close to $750,000 over three years keeping tabs on ethnic media sources.

Kenney defends $750K ethnic media monitoring bill (
Ethnic media monitoring is a window into the problems and concerns of minority communities and boosting the budget for such activity has allowed the government to address things like the Chinese head tax, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Friday. He made the comments days after coming under fire for spending $750,000 over three years to monitor the ethnic press. Kenney said boosting the budget was a conscious decision made soon after the Conservatives formed government in 2006.


Toronto refugee conference to take the next step forward (Michael Swan, Catholic Register)
Three years ago Catholic commitment to refugees took a major step forward with a national conference of Catholic refugee offices. It’s time to take another step forward, Office for Refugees Archdiocese of Toronto director Martin Mark said. ORAT will host a four-day national gathering of refugee ministries at the Toronto Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel Dec. 3 to 6. Mark predicts more than double the 70 delegates to the last refugee conference in 2010 will attend “With One Voice — We Are the Hope.”

Risking all to escape: One woman’s story (Katie Derosa, Edmonton Journal)
Nirangela and her husband knew when they boarded the MV Sun Sea, along with 490 other men, women and children, that they were in for a long and dangerous journey to Canada. The Tamil couple had waited anxiously for seven months in a muggy apartment building in the Silom district in Bangkok, hiding from the authorities to avoid being arrested as illegal immigrants. Finally, they were taken by bus to the port city of Songkhla, where they crowded onto the rusty cargo ship and watched the land disappear behind them, hoping the next solid ground they touched would be in Canada.

Mandatory detention for refugee claimants has already proved to be a failure, critics say (Katie Derosa, Vancouver Sun)
It took two migrant ships and 568 Tamil asylum seekers arriving in B.C. to tip Canada’s refugee policy hard to the right. Hours after the arrival of the second ship, the Sun Sea, in August of 2010, public safety minister Vic Toews said the federal government “must ensure that our refugee system is not hijacked by criminals or terrorists.” Almost 500 men, women and children had been packed into the barely seaworthy 60-metre cargo ship. They had spent 12 weeks crowded together, seasick and surviving on limited rations of food and water. One person died during the trip.

Special human smuggling series: The seven days of stories guide (Vancouver Sun)

Taking a harder line on refugees (Katie Derosa, Vancouver Sun)
While Australia and Canada share many similarities, geography sets them apart when it comes to attracting migrant ships. Canada was faced with two boat arrivals in two years – a total of 568 people. Australia, just 360 kilometres south of Indonesia, saw 1,798 people arrive by boat in July of this year alone. “Four hundred and ninety-two people came aboard the MV Sun Sea, but it was treated as a national crisis,” said Vancouver refugee lawyer Douglas Cannon. “In fact, it’s one week’s worth of refugee claimants to this country. One week’s worth.”

Canadian efforts to resettle Iraqi refugees hampered by Syrian violence (
The worsening security situation in Syria is adversely impacting Canada’s plan to resettle some 20,000 Iraqi refugees by 2013. Between 2009 when Canada made the commitment to June of this year, about 13,665 Iraqi refugees — many of whom are now living in Syria — were resettled in Canada, according to figures obtained by Postmedia News from Citizenship and Immigration. During the first six months of this year, Canada resettled about 1,065 Iraqi refugees, about half as many as were resettled during the same period last year and around 700 fewer than each of the previous two years.


Using Research and Evidence to Influence Public Policy (CSO and Public Policy Influence)
Research is one form of information or evidence that influences public policy decisions, along with books, media, anecdotes, experience and propaganda (Lomas, Shields and Evans). John Stapleton, at SPT’s Policy Roundtable suggests research can play a helpful “brokerage” role in bridging different narratives. At the same time, policy decisions are often slow and policymakers are influenced by a variety of other factors such as “ideology, value judgments, financial stringency, economic theory, political expediency and intellectual fashion” (Black cites work by Davis P. and Howden-Chapman P.).

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. [Guaranteed Annual Income] Any reform to help Canada’s poor will probably be incremental and piecemeal (Andrew Coyne in the Ottawa Citizen) – November 16
2. [Ontario] The Real Cost Of Cutting the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (Wellesley Institute) – November 14
3. Canadian Child Care Federation Launches New Website – November 14
4. Harper Government touts progress on new pension plan and fiscal literacy (Finance Canada) – November 14
5. Harper Launches Major First Nations Termination Plan (Intercontinental Cry) – November 9
6. A social policy framework for Alberta: Fairness and justice for all (Alberta College of Social Workers and Parkland Institute) – November 1
7. Health Council of Canada launches new Health Innovation Portal – November 1
8. Updated Legal Guides : Welfare (Ontario Works) Law and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Law (Simon Shields, LLB,
9. Fewer Unemployed Eligible for Benefits (Angella MacEwen in Progressive Economics Forum) – November 5
10. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]
11. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Expanding Toronto’s Priority Centres Means Better Health (Wellesley Institute)
The City’s Community Recreation and Development Committee’s endorsement of a plan to expand the number of priority centres is great news for Torontonians. Currently only nine of the 13 priority neighbourhoods have priority centres. Increasing inequality, growing numbers of low-income families, and a greater concentration of poverty in the inner suburbs has increased the need for priority centres. Priority centres can function as critical anchors within communities. Recreation services and programs help to strengthen connections within neighbourhoods.

Why the one per cent has it all (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
These are not good times. The young graduate with no work in sight. The old fear retirement because their pensions and savings (if they existed in the first place) are no longer sufficient. The notion of the disappearing middle class is so commonplace that mainstream politicians — from Barack Obama on down — routinely talk of it. Yet there is plenty of wealth around. Most of us don’t own much of this wealth. But if we’re willing to borrow to the hilt and max out our credit cards, we are allowed — briefly — to take part in the great barbeque.–walkom-why-the-one-per-cent-has-it-all-and-we-don-t

The problem isn’t giving people money when they don’t work … it’s taking it away when they do (Andrew Coyne, National Post)
For much of the past two years, much of the media has been obsessed with a tiny number of very rich people — “the 1%.” Rather less coverage has been devoted to the far greater numbers of the very poor: the bottom 10%. This suggests a certain loss of perspective. Surely if there is a problem that merits our concern, it is not that we have too many rich people, but too many poor. On the other hand, everything’s relative. Maybe there is less talk about poverty nowadays because, in Canada at least, there is less of it about. And indeed that’s true: though it has gone all but unreported, the proportion of the population on low income has fallen sharply over the last decade. By the most common measure, Statistics Canada’s Low-Income Cutoff, it has fallen from 15.2% in 1996 to 9.0% in 2010 — the lowest level in nearly four decades.

A More Open Ontario Key to Bolstering Economic Potential (Conference Board of Canada)
Ontario was on the front line of the 2008-09 financial crisis and recession. The made-in-the-USA meltdown battered an Ontario economy that is deeply linked to the United States market, dependent on large manufacturing firms and the auto sector. After an impressive initial rebound from the recession, Ontario has slipped back into tepid growth of around 2 per cent annually, and its longer-term growth prospects don’t look much better than that. If Ontario’s growth potential is to rise above 1.9 per cent annually, as forecasted by , the province’s—and for that matter, Canada’s—mediocre performance on productivity growth and innovation must be improved.

The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Politics Around Poverty (TVO)
Why are people still impoverished in today’s Canada? As part of tvo’s “Why Poverty?” coverage, The Agenda examines what stands between poverty and its solution.


A Three Steps Process to Stop the “Canadian Experience” BS (The Zieglers)
A few days ago I received an email from a reader. It was not very different to many emails I receive daily from readers around the world. He shared with me his expectations with Canada, what he came looking for and what he is finding now. Sadly, expectations and reality in this case are very different. And I dare to say it may not be completely his fault. Today I want to share with you (once more) how you can overcome the most used excuse by local employers then they do not know how to justify their decision of not hiring you. What I was good for at home, it’s not good for Canada?

Farm labourers discouraged from raising concerns: advocate (Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun)
Temporary workers from Mexico who come to work in B.C.’s agriculture industry put their future employment at risk by raising concerns about living or working conditions, according to a Fraser Valley labour advocate. Those who do complain about problems such as overcrowded, unsanitary housing, verbal abuse or not being paid according to their contract are usually not invited back by their employers the following year, said Lucy Luna, Abbotsford coordinator for the Agriculture Workers’ Alliance. This is a problem, she said, because enforcement of the law is entirely complaint-driven and workers effectively forfeit their jobs by complaining.

Foreign workers pour in despite persistent youth unemployment (Craig Mcinnes, Vancouver Sun)
For more than a decade, young Canadians have been told they were born into a golden age. They have been told that they are part of a future in which there won’t be enough Canadians to fill all the jobs the Canadian economy will produce. They’ve been told that employers will be lining up to offer them work, that they can write their own tickets to success. That’s still the forecast, but the reality for young Canadians has been vastly different. Unemployment among 15-24-year-olds, after dipping into single digits before the market crash, has rebounded to the same range it was a decade ago, about twice that of older Canadians.

Temporary foreign workers: Filling labour gap or depressing wages? (Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun)
News that a consortium of mostly Chinese companies will seek permission to use exclusively Chinese labour for underground work in four proposed B.C. coal mines has blown the lid off a simmering debate over the dramatic increase in the use of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program. The Harper government, which only last spring announced measures to boost the already record-high use of TFWs, has announced a program review in light of the public backlash and court challenges over the Chinese mine plan.

Protect all workers in Canada (Vancouver Sun)
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.

Some Canadian businesses rely heavily on (permanent) temporary foreign workers (
News that a consortium of mostly Chinese companies will seek permission to use exclusively Chinese labour for underground work in four proposed B.C. coal mines has blown the lid off a simmering debate over the dramatic increase in the use of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program. The Harper government, which only last spring announced measures to boost the already record-high use of TFWs, has announced a program review in light of the public backlash and court challenges over the Chinese mine plan.

An army of (permanent) temporary foreign workers in Canada (Peter O’neil, Tara Carman, Vancouver Sun)
News that a consortium of mostly Chinese companies will seek permission to use exclusively Chinese labour for underground work in four proposed B.C. coal mines has blown the lid off a simmering debate over the dramatic increase in the use of Canada’s temporary foreign worker program. The Harper government, which only last spring announced measures to boost the already record-high use of TFWs, has announced a program review in light of the public backlash and court challenges over the Chinese mine plan.


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


Free management consulting available for Ontario nonprofits (CharityVillage)
Endeavour Volunteer Consulting for Non-profits has recruited and managed more than 300 volunteers to provide management advice to more than 50 nonprofit organizations in Ontario over the past five years. Key services include strategic, business, and marketing plan, communication and outreach campaigns, volunteer management and others. They are currently accepting applications from interested nonprofits with a deadline of January 11th, 2013. For more information, including eligibility requirements, visit:

Social Impact Bonds as a Catalyst for Change (And Not a Step Towards Privatization) (Mark Hlady,
Non-profit organizations, governments, and investors are excited about the potential for social impact bonds (SIBs) to help address some of our most complex and pressing social challenges (e.g., homelessness, childhood wellbeing, healthcare, etc.). SIBs have the potential to catalyze a shift in social sector care from remedies to prevention – taking action on the phrase, “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. A SIB motivates new investment in prevention by demonstrating the link between social benefits and positive economic results – thereby allowing preventive programs to operate that otherwise may not.

Cultivating philanthropy in local women (Hamilton Spectator)
This week, on National Philanthropy Day, Hamilton Community Foundation launched a new initiative called Women 4 Change. Founded by a group of 10 local women, Women 4 Change’s mission is “inspiring and enabling women of Hamilton to become leaders in philanthropy, improving the lives of women and girls in our community through collective giving.” It has been inspiring to listen to the voices around the table as this initiative has taken shape. The women vary in age, life experience, and the part of our city they call home, but they all share an aspiration, passion and compelling sense of urgency to see improved opportunities and outcomes for girls and women in Hamilton.–cultivating-philanthropy-in-local-women

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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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