Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 26, 2012


Premiers calling for more control over immigration (Jason Fekete, Vancouver Sun)
Canadas premiers are urging the federal government to give provinces more control over immigration a key component in driving provincial economies saying they want to become masters of our own destiny. Provincial and territorial leaders gathered in Halifax for a Council of the Federation meeting on the economy said Friday they want control over the number of immigrants they can receive, as well as the ability to design and implement settlement and integration programs so they can recruit the skilled workers needed to boost their economies. Effectively, premiers are calling on Ottawa to give them many of the same immigration powers already offered to Quebec.

Premiers call on Ottawa to grant them more control over immigration (Michael Tutton, Canadian Business)
The premiers are calling on Ottawa to give them more control over the number of immigrants they can recruit and the kinds of services they can provide to them. The provincial and territorial leaders concluded a meeting Friday on the economy in Halifax, where they said their governments and not Ottawa are best positioned to deliver settlement services and address their labour market needs through immigration. “In a nutshell, we want greater flexibility,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, attending his final gathering with his counterparts.–premiers-call-on-ottawa-to-grant-them-more-control-over-immigration

Andre Vashist mobilizing Scarborough, a labour of love (Alejandra Bravo, DiverseCity Toronto)
Andres dedication and enthusiasm for his community, and his role in trying to improve Scarborough, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, is inspiring: I dont take this opportunity for granted. Im very aware how important this work is for people in our community. The training residents are getting provides them with something that is a useful tool to help make their lives better. To be part of helping to lift up Scarborough in that way is amazing. Im doing my duty as a person who grew up in a place that I love. Many of these community members are new to the process of influencing government decision making. According to Andre, theyre excited by the possibilities that mobilizing community can bring: Every individual brings something different to the table. They might be curious about how things work. Or they have specific things that theyre really passionate about and they want to get mobilized and want to be around like minded people. There is a lot of interest and people want to know how to make change a reality.

Canadas new exiles (Audrey Macklin, Renu Mandhane, Ottawa Citizen)
At present, Canadian law effectively permits the automatic deportation of non-citizens convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment or more, with no consideration of the personal circumstances of the individual or compelling reasons not to deport. Under proposed legislation (Bill C-43), the government will reduce that interval to six months. To give one an idea of the kind of offences that can lead to six month sentences, consider that under the recent omnibus crime bill, possessing six marijuana plants now carries a mandatory minimum six month sentence. If Bill C-43 passes, it will not matter whether the individual arrived last year or 30 years ago, as an infant or as an adult, or whether the person ever set foot in their country of nationality six months and youre out. Canada should not be deporting long term permanent residents without independent consideration of not only the offence, but also to the individuals connection to Canada and the real impact of deportation.

Deporting permanent residents with criminal pasts (CBC The Current)
A new bill C-43 will make it easier for the government to deport permanent residents who commit crimes in Canada. Today, we look at Saeed Jama’s story. After serving two years in a Canadian prison for a drug-related crime, Saeed Jama is being deported to Somalia (a dangerous country he’s never been to) because he is a permanent resident in Canada and not a citizen.

Kidney donor denied a Canadian visa to help desperate Toronto relative (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Vilma Serrano has end-stage renal disease and needs a new kidney, but only Immigration Minister Jason Kenney can help. The 44-year-old Toronto woman has been on a wait list for a kidney transplant from a deceased donor since 2009, and was thrilled when a living donor, a relative by marriage in El Salvador, offered to donate one of his kidneys. Guillermo David Martell Novas, the brother of Serranos husbands sister-in-law, completed all preliminary medical tests and was deemed a viable donor, but hit a roadblock with Canadas immigration office. Twice, Novas, 38, who lives in El Salvador, applied for and was denied a visitors visa to come here for further tests and a possible transplant, once in October 2011 and again this past January.–kidney-donor-denied-a-canadian-visa-to-help-desperate-toronto-relative

New Canadians learn about financial planning (CBC)
New Canadians in Regina are learning how to better manage their money from a group of University of Regina business students. Most of the immigrants taking the classes at the Open Door Society are from Burma. They’re learning things like how to better save money and how to file their taxes.

First Nations bank fosters cross-cultural understanding (CBC)
A First Nations financial institution in Manitoba is promoting a diverse workforce that includes many employees who have come to Canada from other countries. Tribal Wi-Chi-Way-Win Capital Corp., which provides resources to First Nations entrepreneurs, had 13 employees in 2002, all aboriginal. Today it boasts 166 employees, about 40 per cent of whom are non-aboriginal. “You don’t combat exclusivity with more exclusivity,” Brenda Zurba, the corporation’s director of sales and marketing, said Friday. “If we’re going to contribute to this country then everybody in this organization is representative of the country.”

Somali community recruited (Toronto Police Services)
The Service has stepped up its efforts to increase its Somali representation in uniform. The Services recruitment staff and Const. Marc Rainford of the Divisional Policing Support Unit recently collaborated with the Somalia Youth Association of Toronto to stage an information session at the Toronto Public Library on Albion Rd. About 30 members from the Somali community attended the information session, designed to give potential applicants knowledge about the job as well as how to apply.

Ontario’s Newcomer Champions To Be Recognized (Ontario Gov News)
Michael Chan, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will present the 2012 Ontario Newcomer Champion Awards to outstanding community leaders who have made a difference in their communities. The Newcomer Champion Awards ceremony will be streamed live at


Wall wants talks on refugee health issue (CTV Saskatoon)
Premier Brad Wall says he wants to speak with the prime minister about Ottawa’s refusal to provide chemotherapy to a man who is claiming refugee status. The man arrived in Saskatoon several months ago after fleeing a Middle Eastern country where he says he was persecuted for being Christian. Saskatchewan has picked up the tab for the man’s treatment. But Wall says he’d like to discuss compensation with Stephen Harper.

Brad Wall waiting for answer on immigration numbers (Newstalk 650)
The discussion included the importance of immigration, which Wall called one of the barriers for growth in Saskatchewan. Wall said the premiers made the case to federal government of raising the cap for the Immigrant Nominee Program. “Here’s a no-cost way for the federal government to help continue growth in the country,” Wall said, adding that the provinces have offered to pay administration costs that possibly result from increasing the immigration cap from 4,000 to 6,000 people. Wall has asked federal immigration minister Jason Kenney for that increase, but hasn’t yet heard if it will be happening.

Denying health care for refugees gives Canada a black eye (Editorial, Toronto Star)
The stories are heartbreaking and decidedly un-Canadian if you believe in our countrys tradition of giving medical care to refugees. Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews has already criticized Immigration Canada for new rules that deny refugees medical care. And last week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (no softie on social issues) slammed the federal government for refusing to pay for chemotherapy for a Middle East refugee. Now, the Stars Nicholas Keung has uncovered another distressing, but different, example of Immigration Canadas hard-line tactics, a decision that could deny a Toronto woman with renal failure a second chance at life. Her relative in El Salvador is offering a kidney and would travel here for the surgery but the federal department wont issue a visa, claiming he might refuse to leave.–denying-health-care-for-refugees-gives-canada-a-black-eye

Kenney dropped the ball Immigration Ministry needs to clarify its health coverage (Matt Gurney, National Post)
Lifes often in the details. But when it comes to how the average Canadian would define basic medical care, its a safe bet that life-saving cancer treatments would fit the bill. Someone who might disagree: Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. It was, after all, Mr. Kenney who assured Canadians last spring that, under reforms enacted by his government, while refugees in Canada would no longer receive extended health-care services on the governments dime, theyd still get comprehensive, first rate basic care. And it is also his government that denied chemotherapy to a man who claimed refugee status on grounds of religious persecution.

Ottawa looks to private sector to help fulfill refugee pledge (CTV)
The federal government is seeking to offload some of its international promises to refugees onto the private sector. They’re asking community groups to sponsor 1,000 of the refugees the Canadian government has told the United Nations it will resettle over the next three years. But at the same time, they are restricting the groups’ ability to sponsor refugees themselves by placing caps on private applications. The decisions are raising concerns from not-for-profit groups that they are being forced to carry out the Immigration department’s objectives instead of their own.

Ugandan anti-gay bill could be law by next week (Andrea Houston, Xtra!)
Despite an international outcry, Ugandan parliamentarians are poised to pass a new anti-gay law — dubbed the “Kill the Gays” bill. Ugandan refugees in Canada say the legislation will be a ‘disaster’ for gay Ugandans. With the passage of the bill, the central African country will step up persecution of LGBT people, says Brenda, a refugee from Uganda who attended an emergency meeting of Pride Uganda this week at the 519 Church Street Community Centre in Toronto. The group gathered to decide how Canada should best respond to the controversial legislation. In order to protect them, Xtra has concealed the identity of the members of Pride Uganda, a Toronto-based group of LGBT refugees and their allies.

Years of hardship, hopelessness force refugees to take chances (Katie Derosa,
When two migrant ships carrying 568 Tamils arrived off Victorias shores, the federal government cracked down, bringing in a tough refugee law that will throw boat people into mandatory detention in provincial jails. The plan is modelled on the one used by Australia a system that studies say has cost huge amounts of money and has failed. Times Colonist reporter Katie DeRosa, funded by the inaugural the R. James Travers Foreign Corresponding fellowship, travelled to Australia and Southeast Asia to examine the system and what it could mean for Canada and Canadian taxpayers.


Five recommendations to move us toward voter equality (Maytree blog)
Every ten years (after each full census) federal boundaries commissions redraw the electoral districts to reflect changes in the population. In practice, the goal is that all electoral districts should all have about the same number of voters. A nationwide public hearing process looking at the redrawn electoral districts recently concluded. On November 15th, the Mowat Centre presented its formal submission to the Boundaries Commission for Ontario. The submission, authored by Michael Pal and Melissa Molson, argues that although the proposed map moves somewhat closer to the principle of voter equality, it stands in contrast to the proposed maps in comparable provinces, which took the principle of voter equality more seriously than the Ontario Commission.

Canada’s ‘poor’ are getting steadily richer (Charles Lammam, Niels Veldhuis, Winnipeg Free Press)
It’s hard to blame Canadians for believing the great myth of income stagnation, given the continuous stream of reports pointing to the low growth in average incomes over the past several decades. Thankfully, the story of stagnating incomes in Canada is a fictional tale. The reality is that most Canadians, including those initially among the lowest income earners, have experienced marked increases in their income over the past two decades. Using Statistics Canada’s longitudinal administrative databank, a new study, Measuring Income Mobility in Canada, tracks a sample of a million Canadians to see how their incomes change over time. The results are jaw-dropping.

A dark spin on child poverty (Chris Selley, National Post)
Did you hear the bad news about poverty this week? One in seven children [are] still living in poverty, the Toronto Star reported, based on Campaign 2000s latest report. Twenty-three years after the House of Commons unanimously voted to work together to eliminate child poverty the crisis is worse, the press release lamented. And the opposition parties in Ottawa jumped dutifully aboard. The New Democrats condemned the zero progress [made] on the governments 23-year-old pledge to eradicate child poverty, and warned that poverty levels in Canada will continue to increase if Campaign 2000s recommendations notably combining the various child tax credits into one were not implemented. Child and family poverty worsens under Harper Conservatives, crowed the Liberals release. Sadly no, wait, happily most of that is garbage.

Local residents protest cuts to social services (Linda Givetash, Record)
Marching through the downtown streets, local residents expressed their concern over provincial cuts to resources for the needy. The local organization Poverty Makes Us Sick began the rally in front of Kitchener City Hall Saturday afternoon in hopes of saving the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit.–local-residents-protest-cuts-to-social-services

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Latest Media and Policy News – November 23 (Jennefer Laidley, Income Security Advocacy Centre)
2. 2013-2014 Budget – Government of Québec – November 20
3. Debate in the National Post : Rags-To-Riches or Permanent Underclass? – Nov. 20, 22
4. 2012 Report Card on Child Poverty in Canada (Campaign 2000) – November 21
5. 2012 Provincial Child Poverty Report Cards (British Columbia – Alberta – New Brunswick) – November 2012
6. Assessing the Benefits of Community Human Services (Caledon Institute of Social Policy) – November 2012
7. Latest Media and Policy News (Jennefer Laidley, Income Security Advocacy Centre) – November 21
8. Income gap, poverty should be election issues, says Senator Eggleton (Hamilton Spectator) – November 20
9. A Shrinking Universe: How Concentrated Corporate Power is Shaping Income Inequality in Canada (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – November 16
10. The Harper Governments New Math [on job
creation] (Angella MacEwen in Progressive Economics Forum) – November 15
11. Panel debate on politics and poverty reduction (TVOntario) – November 15
12. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]
13. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Five Reasons Why Income Security Should Remain A Priority (Pedro Barata, United Way Toronto)
The ink was barely dry on Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh’s Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario final report when the inevitable questions about political priorities began emerging: what kind of attention can social assistance really muster in the context of ongoing debates on jobs, the economy, deficits, party leadership, and election scuttlebutt? As much as possible is the answer that the commission has convincingly offered in its case for welfare reform. In fact, to decouple social assistance reform from our political, economic, and fiscal challenges is to miss the whole point of the discussion. Scratch beneath the surface of this oft-forgotten and ignored area of social policy, and a surprising number of dots begin to connect in a wide range of areas that should matter to every Ontarian. Here are five reasons why income security reform should be top of mind for the province.

Reducing Labour Market Inequality in Canada, Three Steps at a Time (Sheila Block, Broadbent Institute)
The Broadbent Institute paper provides an overview of the complex range of causes of Canadas increased income inequality. They range from changes in how economic activity is organized and located internationally to domestic policy decisions. Some, like changes in patterns of international trade and production or technological change, can make the problem seem very large and intractable. That is why it is particularly important to identify those government policies that have contributed to increased inequality. These policies that concentrated wealth and power in the hands of the few to the detriment of the many were not inevitable. The politicians who implemented them made choices, and those choices can be reversed. Reversing these policy decisions is an important step to addressing inequality in Canada.

Caledon’s Provincial/Territorial Policy Updates, October 2012 – PDF (Caledon Institute)
The Caledon Institute of Social Policy ( regularly scans provincial and territorial government websites in order to follow policy developments related to our core work and interests. These include: Disability, Education, Health, Housing, Income Security, Poverty Reduction, Recreation, Seniors and Youth. This tracking is intended to inform our analysis of policy trends.


Insight: Equitable Returns? (Martin Prosperity Institute)
Previous Martin Prosperity Institute Insights have discussed the relationship between levels of educational attainment and wage. Also analyzed was the relation between the returns on education for men compared to women. The Martin Prosperity Institute has further analyzed the relationship between educational attainment levels in Canada, across a few different subgroups; women, immigrants and visible minorities, in this white paper, Canadas Increasing Human Capital: Equitable Returns? by Kevin Stolarick. This Insight will look at the changing relationships in educational attainment and real wages for immigrants and visible minorities across the Canadian workforce, over time. It was found that while these subgroups have some of the highest shares of their population holding a university degree, their wages have consistently stayed below the Canadian average. In fact, in many cases, for people within these subgroups the economic returns for their further educational attainment are lower on average than the rest of Canada.

Making bad buildings better (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
I called it a beacon. A reader called it the light at the end of the tunnel. We were both talking about New York Citys fabulous Prince George building an old-world jewel housing 208 formerly homeless men and women and another 208 low-wage earners. Could we create a similar success story for Toronto Community Housings most problematic buildings? We must! TCHC has more than a dozen high need buildings, that are failing the people who live in them.


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

Social Planning Toronto and the East Scarborough Storefront invite you to our Action on Poverty Community Forum (Social Planning Toronto)
Join the conversation to increase public awareness and build momentum in addressing poverty in your community! Speakers include:
Mike Creek Director of Strategic Initiatives, Working for Change
John Stapleton Social Policy Analyst and Metcalf Innovations Fellow
December 6th, 2012


Social Impact Bonds – Approach With Caution (Part One) (Steffen Kramer,
Recently a flurry of media (see the New York Times, National Post and Huffington Post, for example) has touted Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) as an innovative way of unlocking new, private sources of finance for effective social programs at no risk to government. While this description may hold true, SIBs are not a panacea: there are shortcomings to the SIB model that will limit its effectiveness to specific situations. The basic concept of an SIB is that a service provider, usually an NGO, will raise money from private investors in order to fund a social programlets call it the SIB programthat will result in measurable positive outcomes. If the SIB program is effective it will change the behavior of the people it is servingthey will eat healthier, stay out of trouble, etc. This will reduce the future costs of government social servicesemergency rooms, police etc.

Assessing the Benefits of Community Human Services (Anne Makhoul and Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
This literature review was undertaken on behalf of the Community Human Services Network of Alberta. The Network is composed of representatives of 20 networks and coalitions representing nonprofit human services in Alberta. The report presents a summary of the benefits literature in eight areas of human service. It places special emphasis on early childhood development and care, and crime prevention – the two domains with the most wide-ranging and robust evidence base.

Ontario Becomes Latest Province to Launch Open Data Portal (Taryn McMillan, Techvibes)
Ontario residents are getting a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the place they call home. This month, Ontario became the latest province to launch an open data portal. Currently, the database contains 63 files on various topics, including roadwork, geology, and tourism in the province. The online portal is easy to use and files can be downloaded directly from the website onto a PC. Ontarios open data portal was first announced by MPP Glen Murray in 2011. Updates to the project are ongoing and users are invited to submit suggestions via Twitter or email.

Charity Fraud (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with forensic accountant Edward Nagel.

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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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