Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 30, 2012


Webinar Jan 30: Levelling the Playing Field: Building Equality and Inclusion with Sport (Cities of Migration)
Join Cities of Migration for a 60 minute webinar to learn how two youth-focused programs in Greenwich (UK) and Montreal (Canada) are using the power of sport and games to cultivate cross-cultural understanding, more empathy, equality and fair play. Sport and recreational activities have enormous potential to build bridges between communities. Team sports, in particular, help develop social networks, forge friendships, and overcome differences by promoting mutual understanding.

Webinar on Immigration, Women, and Children (Settlement AtWork)
Recorded in April 2012, this webinar is Part II of a two-part review of issues related to immigration, women, and children. It discusses situations involving immigration and family issues that may arise for non-citizen women and their children. It looks at situations such as non-citizen women with Canadian-born children, and sponsorship when relationships break down. If you are not already familiar with basic concepts related to immigration status, review Immigration, Women, and Children: Part I Basic Concepts.

Canada Post Multilingual Holiday Program (Settlement.Org)
Your children can write a letter to Santa in any language they choose, even Braille, and Santa or Mrs. Claus will reply back in the same language. Make sure your children write as clear as possible and that they include the address where Santa can send his response. Oh, and don’t forget to put a stamp on the envelope!

Aurora educator recognized for helping newcomers (
It is not often easy to move from one country to another, especially if the destination is half the world away and a stark contrast to the culture you are used to. Melton Moyo has been helping fellow African immigrants in Canada for about a decade. From starting the Infundo Ephakemeyo scholarship fund to running a training course for African immigrants who want to teach in Canada, the St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School vice-principal works tirelessly to aid people in need.–aurora-educator-recognized-for-helping-newcomers

Babies born to moms from Philippines may be misclassified (CBC)
Babies born to mothers from the Philippines are more likely to be wrongly labeled as underweight compared with other babies, an Ontario study suggests. When newborns are deemed lower weight, they may be considered at higher risk of developmental issues and doctors may follow them more closely compared with heavier babies the same age.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada to Refund Fees for Canceled Federal Skilled Worker Applications (Catherine Longo, Blaney)
The Jobs, Growth and Long Term Prosperity Act (the Act), came into force on June 29, 2012. Pursuant to the Act, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) canceled the processing of Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) applications which were received before February 27, 2008, and for which there had been no decision by an immigration officer before March 29, 2012. We noted in our April 2012 issue that CIC would be engaging in a process of returning fees to applicants affected by the cancellations. CIC has now announced the process by which these fees will be returned. CIC estimates that it will be returning fees to 100,000 principal applicants on behalf of themselves, their spouses and dependants. FSW applicants who believe they may be affected by the cancellations are asked to confirm their contact information by completing and returning the Return of Processing Fee, Right of Permanent Residence Fee or Right of Landing Fee Form (IMM 5741) to CIC. Interest will not be paid on the returned fees.

Ontario Human Rights Commission to update its policy on creed and religious observances (Lauren Bride, First Reference Talks)
The Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a release recently to notify the public about an upcoming update to its policy on creed and accommodation of religious observances. The policy was created 15 years ago and is now due to be reviewed and amended to reflect the current demographics in Ontario. Public feedback is being collected to inform the new policy yes, this means you. Creed is defined by the Oxford Dictionary of Canadian English as a set of principles or opinions, especially as a philosophy of life (his creed is moderation in everything). It is related directly to credo, defined similarly as a set of principles held by a specific group, especially as a philosophy. In Christianity, the Creed was a brief statement of Christian philosophy, for example, the Nicene Creed, or the Apostles Creed. The term is understood in this context to mean the religious beliefs of any recognized religious group.

Faith in the public school system: Principles for reconciliation (Ontarion Human Rights Commission)
Freedom of religion includes both the right to manifest beliefs and practices and the right to be free from state coercion or constraint in matters of religion. This paper looks at the scope and interaction of these two aspects of freedom of religion in the context of religious accommodation issues in public schools. It considers the factors that may be relevant in addressing requests for accommodation in schools and how to address the difficult challenges of ensuring that accommodation of practices does not become and is not perceived as state endorsement or sanctioning of religion.

Indo-Canadian RCMP officer denies harassment allegations (South Asian Generation Next)
An Indo-Canadian RCMP officer who has been accused of harassing a fellow Mountie in British Columbia is denying the allegations, arguing the conduct complained of simply didnt occur. The civil lawsuit against Corp. Baldev (David) Singh Bamra was filed by Const. Karen Katz in January 2012 and is one of several sexual harassment suits filed by female officers against the RCMP.

Canadian Sikh Association Gala celebrates Human Rights (South Asian Generation Next)
Over 600 people attended Sunday nights gala celebrating Human Rights, Equity and Race Relations at Chandni Banquet hall in Brampton. Barbara Hall, Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission gave the key note address and spoke eloquently about the need of community involvement. When a community stands up for equity issues, it benefits everyone, no matter the race or religion. We need to work and cross cultural lines to ensure that human rights isnt simply a tag line but a reality for all Canadians. said Chair of the Canadian Sikh Association (CSA), Baljit Singh Ghuman.

The Problem With Multiculturalism David Solway,
Most conservative observers are of the opinion that multiculturalism as it has been understood and practiced is nothing short of a social and economic disaster. And it must be said they are largely, if not entirely, correct. The multicultural project in its contemporary form suffers from two grievous flaws: the filter is too wide, allowing into the country unskilled people who are poorly equipped to participate in a modern, technologically oriented economy and who consequently become a financial burden to the nation, disproportionately swelling the welfare rolls; and, no less critical, many of these immigrant groups import the hatreds, prejudices and conflicts of their countries of origin, sequester themselves with official approval into closed or aggressive enclaves, and often cause violence and disruption in the public life of their new home. (Rape and grooming statistics compiled in the U.K. give a dataset that leaves in no doubt the ethnic make-up of the great majority of offenders.)

Canadian Deportation Policies Need More Nuance (CCLA)
Less than two weeks ago, Canada ordered Saed Jama deported to Somalia. He had been convicted of trafficking crack and possessing stolen goods. Last march, in a similar story, the government also ordered Jama Warsame deported to Somalia for criminal acts. This is standard practice. Non-citizens who are convicted and sentenced to over two years in prison are deported to their home country. The one problem for both Saed and Jama is that they have never ever stepped foot in Somalia. They were born to Somali refugees in Saudi Arabia before making their way to Canada. Their parents have not been able to achieve citizenship for either of them. There are a number of security and human rights concerns with shipping two youths back to a dangerous, partially terrorist-controlled country with no support or local language knowledge.


Making Canadas Asylum System Faster and Fairer New Asylum System Comes into Force December 15, 2012 (CIC)
Canadas new asylum system, which was included in the Protecting Canadas Immigration System Act, will come into force on December 15, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Our changes will make Canadas asylum system faster and fairer, said Minister Kenney. For too long, Canadas generous asylum system has been vulnerable to abuse. Under the new asylum system, genuine refugees fleeing persecution will receive protection more quickly. At the same time, bogus asylum claimants and those who abuse our generous system at great expense to taxpayers, will be removed much faster.

Legitimate refugees to be processed faster: Kenney (St Catharines Standard)
The government says it’s set to begin fast-tracking the removal of bogus asylum seekers and speed up the process to approve legitimate applicants. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the regulations contained in the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA) will come into force Dec. 15. “Our changes will make Canada’s asylum system faster and fairer,” Kenney said at a news conference. “For too long, Canada’s generous asylum system has been vulnerable to abuse.” Under the changes, asylum claimants will receive a hearing within 60 days after their claim is referred to the Immigration Refugee Board, compared to the average of nearly two years it takes now. Most failed applicants from countries known for refugees will be able to appeal IRB decisions at the newly created Refugee Appeal Division.

Dealing with the impacts of refugee health cuts (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
The health impacts of the federal governments decision to cut health benefits to many refugees are becoming increasingly apparent. In our analysis, conducted prior to the cuts being implemented, we found that the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program would result in the severe reduction or elimination of health care services for refugees who are in less-preferred categories. We found that women and children would be at particular risk as their access to medical support if they suffer physical or emotional abuse will be eliminated. Finally, we argued that the prevalence of chronic conditions, such as mental health issues, would increase amongst vulnerable populations as a result of this policy change.

Canadian Medical Students Publish Book Advocating for Immigrant and Refugee Health (Canada Newswire)
The Canadian Federation of Medical Students/Fédération des étudiants et des étudiantes en médicine du Canada (CFMS/FEMC) announced the publication of a new book on Thursday, November 29th, 2012 – 12 Stories. Narratives From New Canadians, highlighting the importance of supporting new immigrant and refugee health within Canada. The book shares the real-life health care experiences of those who have recently come to Canada, comparing them to experiences in their previous countries, and discussing the challenges of re-settling.

Private prison firms look to cash in on Canada asylum crackdown (Guardian UK)
Dramatic changes to Canada’s immigration laws expected to come into effect in December will mean that asylum seekers face more restrictions and have less time to make a claim. Advocates fear this will lead to more detentions and further opportunities for private prison operators to cash in. Immigration detention is a growth industry around the world, and some of the biggest private security and prison firms are the beneficiaries. In Canada, increased government use of by immigration detention has refugee lawyers and advocates worried, particularly after the passage of the tough new immigration laws in June.


Elder Abuse (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Dr. Kieran Murphy. He is a professor of radiology at University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital here in Toronto.

Building a healthier and more equitable Toronto: Two practical guides (Wellesley Institute)
Two powerful new reports from Torontos Centre for Urban Growth and Renewal set out practical strategies for building a healthier and more equitable Toronto. Toward Healthy Apartment Neighbourhoods: A Healthy Toronto by Design Report focuses on Torontos tower neighbourhoods high-rise and high-density communities scattered throughout the city (and the Greater Toronto Area) and offers a range of pragmatic options to help these neighbourhoods emerge as vibrant and healthy places. Not only would the physical infrastructure of the neighbourhood be improved, but the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who call these areas home. In addition, new commercial and community focal points would add jobs, services and economic activity. Strong Neighbourhoods and Complete Communities: A New Approach to Zoning for Apartment Neighbourhoods begins by documenting the policy and process barriers that that prevent neighbourhood investment, local economic development, and community initiatives. It then offers a framework for a new approach to zoning in apartment neighbourhoods that will enable positive neighbourhood change.

2013 Toronto Budget Continues Erosion Of Services (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
If the City of Toronto 2013 recommended operating budget is approved it will result in continued erosion of city services. At a time of economic uncertainty and increased inequality, the recommended total spending increase is less than a half of one percent. With combined inflation and population growth increasing by about 3 percent, this would mean further cuts in real, per capita services. However, the proposed erosion of city services was not spread evenly across all areas. Proposed reductions in Citizen Services A are 3.1 percent. These include soft services such as shelter, support and housing and childrens services. While spending is held steady on Citizen Services B those that are considered hard services, like transportation services and municipal licensing and standards.

Webinar on the Human Rights Code and Rental Housing (Settlement AtWork)
This recorded webinar focuses on how Ontarios Human Rights Code applies to rental housing and how to identify and challenge discrimination. It looks at the discriminatory barriers in housing experienced by recent immigrants and refugees, what rental criteria are and are not permitted under the Code, and what steps can be taken to promote the housing rights of newcomers to Canada. This is one of three webinars created for community workers who provide housing assistance to recent immigrants and refugees.


By mentoring newcomers, leaders prepare for Torontos diverse workplace (TRIEC)
Today, the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) is recognizing outstanding corporate leaders and individual volunteers at The Mentoring Partnership annual recognition reception hosted at KPMG. TRIEC is celebrating TD Bank Group, a founding employer partner of The Mentoring Partnership, and its employees for mentoring 1,000 skilled immigrants. The Mentoring Partnership has made over 7,000 mentoring matches and has proven to be a successful strategy to help skilled immigrants find meaningful employment, says Margaret Eaton, Executive Director, TRIEC. TD is a corporate leader in mentoring skilled immigrants and using that experience to build the cultural competency of its employees and strengthen the inclusiveness of the workplace.

Why Canadas labour mismatch is getting worse (Globe and Mail)
Delving deeper, he looked at 25 occupations with both rapid increases in wages and low or falling unemployment rates areas that are showing clear signs of a tight labour market. He found the largest skill shortages were in health occupations, the mining industry, advanced manufacturing and business services. Together, these occupations comprise a fifth of total employment in Canada. Therefore, one-fifth of the Canadian labour market is currently showing signs of skilled labour shortage, he said. Government efforts to bring in more skilled immigrants and boost apprenticeship programs are welcome; however, they wont be enough to fill these gaps, he said.


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

Model-T Ford breaks down (Economist)
ON NOVEMBER 26th an Ontario Superior Court judge ended the short, chaotic reign of Rob Ford (pictured) as mayor of Canadas largest city, finding him guilty of a conflict of interest and ordering him to leave office within 14 days. Mr Ford blamed it on his opponents: the left-wing wants me out of here and theyll do anything in their power to achieve that. That message resonates with his supporters, known as Ford Nation, who helped their man win an election in October 2010 on a platform of less government, lower taxes and an end to the gravy train in municipal politics.

Getting Past Zero: Maintaining City Services And Balancing Torontos Budget (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
It has been a week of high political drama with attendant political uncertainty and instability. It is the kind of week where its easy for other issues to get lost. But one that cannot get lost is the city budget that will be introduced today. Whatever the results of the court proceedings, and the political processes, the budget will have a longer-term impact on all of us and on our city. The Wellesley Institute has been turning its attention to the 2013 budget for a number of months and today we are releasing a new report that shows what it will cost to maintain city services and how to pay for it. Modest tax increases can prevent further cuts and preserve the services that Torontonians rely on.

CivicAction Celebrates Ten Years, Calls for Stronger Cross-Sectoral, Cross-Regional Collaboration to Accelerate Prosperity (CivicAction)
Leaders from across the Toronto region met today to mark a decade of driving collaborative solutions that have shaped our communities, strengthened our environment, and bolstered our economy. The Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance today commemorated ten years of convening city-builders to take action, while kick-starting a new decade of driving change. The organization announced 10 Faces of CivicAction to celebrate people who have been leaders among leaders, and to symbolize the spirit and initiative the region needs to prosper and thrive. More than 150 rising and established leaders from the business, public, labour, academic, and not-for-profit sector joined CivicAction Chair John Tory and CEO Mitzie Hunter at a breakfast event. Also in attendance were the DiverseCity Fellows, rising city-builders who were selected to be part of CivicAction’s leadership accelerator program, one of its hallmark initiatives.

Big cuts planned for Toronto housing funding (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
The City of Torontos Shelter, Support and Housing is set to take a massive $128 million cut in housing and homelessness investments in the draft 2013 budget down from $793 million in 2012 to $665 million in the coming year. The 2012 budget had, in turn, a $137 million cut from its approved budget of $993 million in 2011. That adds up to a 16% cut in this year and a 33 percent cut over two years (a loss of $328 million).


Predicting the social profit financial crisis (The Record)
The social profit non-profit/charitable sector in Canada is heading toward a social profit financial crisis. The Great Recession left more people out of work, facing poverty, and in need of food and shelter. The middle class is squeezed, and more families are seeking support and protection. The social profit sector is a large part of our communitys safety net. Local employment agencies are busy as ever, shelters are often operating at or above capacity, while Food Banks Canada recently reported a 31 per cent rise in food bank use following the recession.–predicting-the-social-profit-financial-crisis

Ontario examines ways to loosen crowdfunding rules (Globe and Mail)
The Ontario government is examining ways to loosen the rules that restrict crowdfunding, a popular method of online fundraising for startups, The Globe has learned. Premier Dalton McGuinty has championed the possibilities crowdfunding offers, according to a source close to Mr. McGuinty, who recently noted the Ontario Securities Commission is contemplating a crowdfunding exemption to the Securities Act.

Influential Canadian Millennials: Generation Y’s Leaders, Game-Changers And Inspirational Figures (Huffington Post)
They’re entrepreneurs, philanthropists, sports stars, role models and more. Last week, The Huffington Post Canada launched its in-depth look at the Millennial Generation in our Asking Y series. Today, we highlight some of bright lights from that generation. These are just a few of the Canadians under 30 who are already making a difference in their communities. A few of them are household names, but most of them aren’t, yet. But they are all driving change in Canada in their various passions, and inspiring others by their example.

Social Impact Bonds Can’t Replace Fairer Taxes (
Proponents of SIBs assert that many private investors will be willing to accept a slightly lower rate of return than can be had elsewhere, in exchange for achieving social benefits as a result of their investment. As well, governments will ultimately realize savings from this approach. They can transfer the risk of new initiatives to private sector investors. And profits paid out to successful projects can be more than made up by the savings to the government realized through reduced incarceration rates or hospital visits. Critics of SIBs caution that new problems may be created as a result of mixing the profit motive and strict pay-for-performance metrics with social-improvement objectives. Investors may be drawn to work only with those clients who are most likely to demonstrate the desired outcomes. As well, project timelines that ensure a reasonable return on investment may limit longer-term efforts to create lasting change.

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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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