Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 28, 2012

IMMIGRATION AND DIVERSITY

Five myths about Canada’s immigration system (Alan Broadbent, Maytree)
Recent media reports have characterized Canada’s immigration system as “broken,” and so ridden with problems that the only solutions is a set of heroic measures, such as the current federal government changes, to set it on the right path. Even well-regarded columnists like John Ibbitson have swallowed the current government’s line that their renovation of the system is finally ending years of failure, abuse, and misdirection. This view is largely false, and is only held up by the constant perpetration of a set of myths. Here are five of them.
http://maytree.com/spotlight/five-myths-about-canadas-immigration-system.html

Canada drops in worldwide justice index (Toronto Star)
A new report from suggests immigrant and poor populations are being discriminated against in Canada because of a limited access to justice. Canada dropped since last year in six of the eight “Rule of Law” factors listed in the report from the World Justice Project. The report ranked Canada among 97 countries worldwide in categories including government power, corruption, order, fundamental rights, open government, enforcement, and civil and criminal justice.
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1294170–canada-drops-in-worldwide-justice-index

Immig-Rant (Nick Noorani)
New immigration opinion site by Nick Noorani.
http://www.immig-rant.com/

Supreme Court to Hear Appeal on Security Certificates (Tanner Oscapella, CCLA)
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal on how open Canada’s Security Certificate System should be to the public. A Security Certificate is a way for the government to arrest and possibly deport non-citizens that are perceived to be threats and/or have links with terrorist organizations. The Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), as well as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canadian Border Patrol Agency are often the primary suppliers of information in these cases. Because of this, the government argues that information used must be kept secret order to protect classified sources and ongoing operations. Essentially, this means that the defendant in such a case receives a summary of charges with no supporting evidence to the accusations presented.
http://www.ccla.org/rightswatch/2012/11/27/supreme-court-to-hear-appeal-on-security-certificates/

‘Respect for All!’ at Vancity and Q&A with Anita Braha (Safe Harbour blog)
Vancity has integrated the Safe Harbour commitments into its diversity strategy and is on track to having 100 per cent of its branch locations Safe Harbour certified. Vancity is dedicated to fostering an inclusive workplace and safe, welcoming community. Read responses to our Respect for All questions from Anita Braha, Director of Vancity Board of Directs, below.
http://safeharbourblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/respect-for-all-at-vancity-and-qa-with-anita-braha

Passages to Canada Workshop Encourages Haligonians to Share Stories of Diversity and Heritage (Historica-Dominion Institute)
Haligonians from diverse backgrounds shared their stories of Canadian identity at a workshop organized by The Historica-Dominion Institute’s Passages to Canada program at the HUB Halifax, featuring New Roots Radio’s Conrad Fox and Pier 21 Oral History Researcher, Kirin Brown, in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 and FUSION Halifax. Journalist Fox and researcher Brown shared their experiences of collecting immigration stories from across Canada. Workshop participants learned how to craft their own unique stories of heritage and diversity from professional story-crafting facilitators from Passages to Canada. Many of the participants will go on to share their stories with schools and community groups as volunteers of the Passages to Canada Speakers Bureau.
https://www.historica-dominion.ca/content/passages-canada-workshop-encourages-haligonians-share-stories-diversity-and-heritage

TV preview: Documentary follows immigrants into the wild (Jamie Hall, Edmonton Journal)
When Shamima Parvin moved to the Bangladesh capital of Dhaka to get her degree in pharmacy, she sometimes felt as though she was being swallowed whole by the big-city concrete that surrounded her. Now living in Edmonton with her husband Kazi Hossain, she still sees concrete when she looks out her window. But she also sees trees and hears birds. And she marvels at the endless Alberta sky. “You have all the facilities of the city, but in the meantime you can enjoy nature,” says Parvin. “It’s everywhere.” The couple is among several new Canadians featured in a documentary by Edmonton filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk, set to air on OMNI on Sunday, Dec. 2. Nature’s Invitation follows immigrants in Calgary and Edmonton as they explore Alberta’s wilderness through nature programs offered by Parks Canada and Alberta Parks.
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/travel/preview+Documentary+follows+immigrants+into+wild/7617091/story.html

Mayor welcomes immigrants to Chatham-Kent (Chatham Daily News)
Chatham-Kent is faced with a population crisis – declining numbers saddled with the same municipal financial burden, Mayor Randy Hope said Tuesday. The mayor emphasized, however, that Chatham-Kent is not the only rural municipality in southwestern Ontario being challenged to cope with its finances with fewer people to help pay the bills. Hope made the comments Monday morning at a conference at John D. Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham attended by more than 50 municipal workers from across southwestern Ontario. The conference will focus on newcomer portals over two days. Those in attendance will compare notes on ways to attract and retain newcomers.
http://www.chathamdailynews.ca/2012/11/27/mayor-welcomes-immigrants-to-chatham-kent

Vancouver residents happy with city’s diversity: survey (Chad Skelton, Vancouver Sun)
An overwhelming majority of Vancouver residents think the city’s ethnic diversity makes it a better place to live, according to a new online survey. Recent census data shows a slim majority of City of Vancouver residents are now non-white and nearly half speak a mother tongue other than English. But that doesn’t seem to bother Vancouverites, according to an online survey conducted by the research firm PlaceSpeak.
http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Vancouver+residents+happy+with+city+diversity+survey/7603865/story.html

Corporate Canada speaks out: ‘I’m hesitant to say the word quota’ (Globe and Mail)
Leading corporate directors and business figures in Canada and beyond answer the question: Should there be quotas for women on boards of publicly traded companies?
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/management/board-games-2012/corporate-canada-speaks-out-im-hesitant-to-say-the-word-quota/article5618007/

Gender balance lags on Canadian boards (Pamela Jeffrey, Financial Post)
When it comes to gender diversity on corporate boards, Canada sits in the middle of the pack — 10th spot in 2011, down from sixth a year earlier — according to Governance Metrics International, a global corporate governance ratings agency that ranked 23 industrialized economies. This is hardly surprising given the success of Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden, which, in just two years, have increased the number of board seats held by women from 2.2 percentage points for the U.K. to 7.5 in France. Meanwhile, in Canada board seats held by women rose only 0.7 percentage points.
http://business.financialpost.com/2012/11/28/gender-balance-lags-on-canadian-boards/

REFUGEES

‘Bogus’ claims and ‘safe’ countries: When will Jason Kenney drop the other shoe? (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
We’re still waiting for the other shoe to drop on some of the federal government’s big priorities. Take Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s refugee reform Bill, C-31, which Parliament passed way back in June. C-31 gives the Minister of Immigration unilateral power to declare safe “Designated Countries of Origin.” Refugee claimants from those countries would have an extremely rapid hearing process, with no effective right to appeal and would be shipped home as soon as possible.
http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/karl-nerenberg/2012/11/bogus-claims-safe-countries-and-jason-kenneys-refugee-reforms

Cognitive dissonance and sunk cost: the psychology of seeking asylum (The Conversation)
With its revamped Pacific Solution, the Australian government has decided to make the choice to take a boat to Australia more horrendous in its implications, by increasing the likelihood of disasters at sea, and then punishing those who manage to survive the crossing. But nothing has been done on two critical fronts – addressing the conditions that create refugees; and providing alternatives that break the incentive cycle promoted by the government and opposition, and facilitated by the people smugglers. As the child of refugees who survived through the venal self-interest of people smugglers two generations ago, I am particularly aware of the contradictions involved. The application of some cognitive theory and economic choice theory may help understand what is really going on; and why government and opposition are playing a doomed game they cannot win.
http://theconversation.edu.au/cognitive-dissonance-and-sunk-cost-the-psychology-of-seeking-asylum-10994

Understanding Refugee Health Entitlements (CCR)
Since June 29, 2012, there have been significant cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program. The new entitlements are very complicated. In addition, provinces offer different levels of coverage for refugees, refugee claimants and others without permanent status. The following resources provide detailed information.
http://ccrweb.ca/en/ifh-practical

POVERTY / HEALTH / HOMELESSNESS / SOCIAL INCLUSION

Need for breakfast program soars (Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun)
This time last year, the Surrey school district had eight elementary schools using its Attendance Matters program, where the prospect of a free breakfast was a magnet to get some families to send their children to school every day. The program was partly funded last year by a $32,000 donation from The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund. This year, the need’s so great it has spread to 12 elementary schools and two high schools – and should be offered in 10 more schools, said assistant superintendent Pat Horstead. That’s 24 schools, so it seems redundant to ask if poverty is a growing problem in Surrey. But Horstead answered anyway. “Increasing? Absolutely.”
http://www.vancouversun.com/Need+breakfast+program+soars/7620114/story.html

Inequality’s a problem for Canada, too (Ed Broadbent, Globe and Mail)
I don’t know whether it’s smugness or indifference, but we Canadians can be a self-deluding lot. Growing inequality, portrayed recently in The Economist as a global scourge, when viewed from Canada, seems to be a problem only for others. After all, it was other countries’ banks that crashed in 2008. It’s in southern Europe that tens of thousands are taking to the streets. And it was in France and the United States that recent elections were fought over the fact that those who created the mess, the top 1 per cent, are still getting big bonuses and low tax rates. Well, guess what? Canada is not doing better. From 1982 until 2004, almost all growth in family income went to the top 20 per cent, with much of that going to the top 1 per cent, while the bottom 60 per cent saw no growth at all. The increase in inequality in Canada since the mid-1990s has been the fourth highest in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. I don’t know whether it’s smugness or indifference, but we Canadians can be a self-deluding lot. Growing inequality, portrayed recently in The Economist as a global scourge, when viewed from Canada, seems to be a problem only for others. After all, it was other countries’ banks that crashed in 2008. It’s in southern Europe that tens of thousands are taking to the streets. And it was in France and the United States that recent elections were fought over the fact that those who created the mess, the top 1 per cent, are still getting big bonuses and low tax rates. Well, guess what? Canada is not doing better. From 1982 until 2004, almost all growth in family income went to the top 20 per cent, with much of that going to the top 1 per cent, while the bottom 60 per cent saw no growth at all. The increase in inequality in Canada since the mid-1990s has been the fourth highest in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/try-it-now/?articleId=5743181

Why are poor people poor? (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
This week I am guest blogging for United Way Toronto’s Imagine a City campaign. I wanted, in my post The answer to poverty isn’t simple, to challenge some of the stereotypes we have about poor people. The solution to poverty is not, I argue, as easy as the catcall, “Get a job!” implies. To do this, I draw on Philosophy professor Charles Karelis who has written about the cumulative impacts of poverty and who illustrates why what appears to be an irrational choice can be quite appropriate given the number of challenges those in poverty face. Other, more “scientific” research has emerged to support Karelis’ argument.
http://belongingcommunity.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/why-are-poor-people-poor/

No easy answers in social cost of Brantford casino (Samantha Craggs, CBC)
Both Jones and Blackey have anecdotal stories of people who use the casino and can’t afford it. “The casino draws on the money of people on disability or pensions,” Blackey said. “I know of people who go in there with a desire to get out of debt and get more in debt.” These stories are anecdotal. But when it comes to the social impact of the casino in Brantford, much of the evidence is anecdotal. The number of the clients served through the St. Leonard’s Community Services gambling responsibility program shows a small upward trend. There were 64 in 2011, 65 in 2010 and 24 in 2009. From April to September this year, there were 39. But that doesn’t include all of the telephone, face-to-face and indirect consultations, including with gamblers who have other addictions, said Jyoti Kapur, director of clinical services. And some of them struggle other facets of gambling, such as online gaming.
http://www.cbc.ca/hamilton/news/story/2012/11/27/hamilton-casino-social-cost.html

CITY OF TORONTO / CITIES / CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford, City Hall and Other News.
http://spacingtoronto.ca/2012/11/28/wednesdays-headlines-274/

SPT Budget Watch is Back, Budget Launch on Thursday (Social Planning Toronto)
It’s that time of the year again! The City of Toronto launches its 2013 staff-recommended operating and capital budgets this Thursday, November 29 at 12:45 p.m. at City Hall, Committee Room 1. Social Planning Toronto will be providing regular updates and analysis on the budget.
http://www.socialplanningtoronto.org/news/spt-budget-watch-is-back/

SOCIAL INNOVATION / NONPROFITS

Community social services a good investment (Michelle Fortin, Times Colonist)
The latest report from children and youth representative Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is aptly titled “Trauma, Turmoil and Tragedy.” It’s a sad review of the lives of 89 children who harmed themselves or committed suicide, and the supports they received from the Ministry of Children and Family Development. It’s important to learn from these cases. But wouldn’t it make more sense to invest in keeping children from ending up in such desperate situations, in providing com-munity supports to help parents cope with their problems, so they could in turn raise their children successfully, and in addressing problems before they spiral out of control? That’s what we do in the community social services sector.
http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Community+social+services+good+investment/7620462/story.html

Trauma, Turmoil and Tragedy: Understanding the Needs of Children and Youth at Risk of Suicide and Self-Harm (PDF): http://www.rcybc.ca/Images/PDFs/Reports/RCY_SSH_Report-FINAL.pdf

Not ‘Business as Usual’ (Aaron Good, Sector in Conversation)
Aaron Good explains why the widespread adoption of social innovation is an urgent priority and how Innoweave offers up a new set of real tools.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/114661062/Not-Business-As-Usual

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marco

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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