Immigration & Diversity news headlines – November 8, 2012


An immigration strategy launches a leadership campaign (Martin Regg Cohn, Toronto Star)
Immigration Minister Charles Sousa unveiled his ambitious plan and his personal ambitions Monday at a photo-op in an Etobicoke tire shop (thats what modern, media-savvy politicians apparently do). Like the setting, the strategy looks contrived. And it comes late in the day: By Friday, Sousa will have quit cabinet (as required) to launch his campaign for the Liberal leadership, which is set for Saturday. All of which makes Mondays photo-op look like a soft launch for his weekend leadership kick-off. As he moves on to bigger and better things, Sousa has bequeathed us a document that is aspirational, at times confrontational, but not especially practical.–cohn-an-immigration-strategy-launches-a-leadership-campaign

It can be done here, too — but when? (Wab Kinew, Winnipeg Free Press)
How long until we see Canada’s “Obama”? “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.” Barack Obama spoke those words in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, before a crowd of thousands in Chicago, shortly after he was re-elected as president of the United States of America.—-but-when-177816151.html

Diversity still elusive in Canadian boardrooms (Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew, Toronto Star)
There are more women at the boardroom table of Canadas largest companies, but there are fewer visible minorities and persons with disabilities, according to the latest annual survey the Canadian Board Diversity Council. The third annual report, released Thursday, found that women now hold 14.4 per cent of all board seats at Canadas 500 largest organizations. The number of seats held by aboriginal peoples is also up to 1.1 per cent since the councils first study in 2010.–diversity-still-elusive-in-canadian-boardrooms

The Business Case for Nonprofit Board Diversity (Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly)
A recent article in Crains Chicago Business takes up the issue of the lack of diversity on local nonprofit boards. The article is based largely on a look at high-profile cultural boards in the area but it clearly calls out the sector as a whole on the issue, as it should. It cites a number of dynamics that may be leading to boards being primarily populated by white men. These include the fact that so many nonprofits are looking to recruiting board members from the C-suites of major corporations in hopes that it will draw money and influence. Chicago United, which works to improve race relations and to offer more job opportunities for people of color, has examined the areas 50 largest companies for their diversity and president Gloria Castillo remarks that at the current rate of promotion, minorities will reach parity in 89 years. She goes on to state, If youre looking at C-suite executives in Chicago . . . 75 percent are Caucasian. Many organizations look at the recruitment of big name board members as part of a solid fundraising strategy but it is not a good strategy in all types of organizations, as is exhibited in the research detailed in David Renzs NPQ article Do Big Names Draw Big Bucks? In fact, this strategy at times has a reverse correlation to budget growth.

Diversity: Our Competitive Advantage at Home & Abroad (hireimmigrants)
Transcript of a conversation at the Ascend Canada Fall Conference 2012 with Ed Clark, Group President and CEO, TD Bank Group, who spoke to an audience of 400 business professionals about his career, leadership style and the importance of diversity at TD.

Canadas missing daughters (Murtaza Haider,
It is taking place even in Canada. Parents are aborting female fetuses because they prefer sons instead. The practice, however, is more pronounced amongst immigrant parents from India. Female feticide has been known to exist in India for decades. The 2011 Indian Census revealed that only 914 female births were recorded for every 1000 male births because parents would often terminate pregnancies when the fetus was a female. Immigrants from India, however, have brought along the practice to Canada.

Meeting benefits expectations of new Canadians (Benefits Canada)
Statistics Canada reports that the Canadian population is expected to grow 0.7% in each of the next two years and 82% percent of that growth is expected to come from immigration. By 2025, 100% of the growth in the labour market is expected to be satisfied by new immigrants to Canada. Clearly, the face of the Canadian labour force is changing and your benefits program should be changing with it. As your organization works to help new immigrants integrate into your workplace, consideration needs to be taken on how your benefits offering is viewed by this new employee group. In addition to a comprehensive communications strategy that addresses language and comprehension challenges, there are several other items that need to be kept in mind when introducing new employeeswho are also new to Canadato your benefits program.

Feds face $1.5M in legal costs for abandoning woman in Kenya (Tobi Cohen, Calgary Herald)
The federal government has spent more than $1.5 million in legal costs defending itself against a lawsuit filed in 2009 by a Toronto mother who was stranded in Kenya for nearly three months because immigration officials thought she was an impostor. Suaad Hagi Mohamud was visiting her mother and husband when she was stopped from boarding her flight home because she didnt look like the woman in her four-year-old passport photo.

Centre offers comfort for new Canadians (CTV Calgary)
We often hear about the difficulties new Canadians have adjusting to their new country but the Centre for Newcomers is trying to change that with a unique program that helps immigrant children adjust to their new lives. Colour Our World Childrens Settlement helps kids under 12 to learn more about their new country and to feel at home in Canada.

School a mosaic of multiculturalism (Marie-France Coallier, Montreal Gazette)
The pupils standing at the ready to escort visitors around École de la Mosaïque in Côte-Saint-Luc were the living embodiment of their multilingual and multicultural school. Their name tags announced that they were among the 92 per cent of Mosaïques pupils who were born outside Canada. As francophone families move off-island, the Parti Québécois government keeps worrying out loud about how to integrate immigrant children into Quebec culture when there are virtually no native-born French-speakers in Montreals schools. École de la Mosaïques foreign-born pupils are anything but worried. Theyre pleased with how well they speak French. Its easy, they say proudly.

Diwali special feature (The Province)
“Diwali is a holiday that celebrates the victory of light over darkness … good over evil, of prosperity over poverty,” said Devine. “Diwali celebrates the universal light that exists in everyone. “We don’t just mean lighting things up, we also just mean illuminating our community and our audience about what Diwali stands for.” “Focusing on cultural fusion” means the celebrations extend beyond the local South Asian community – it’s open for everyone.

The silence is deafening (Chronicle Herald)
THE OFFICE of African Nova Scotian Affairs has been strangely quiet in the midst of calls for a public inquiry into allegations of abuse at the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children, says a leading member of a group of former residents. The silence is deafening, said Tony Smith, one of the original claimants of abuse at the home. Smith said the group that called for a government-run inquiry into how decades of alleged physical, sexual and psychological abuse were allowed to continue at the mostly black orphanage is disheartened the office hasnt lent a supportive voice.

Special to the Star: W5s Victor Malarek on abuse scandal at N.S. Home for Colored Children (Victor Malarek , Toronto Star)
On a windswept hillside on the outskirts of Halifax stands what many call the house of horrors. Opened in 1921, it is the original site of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children. It was supposed to be a symbol of caring and protection for orphaned and abandoned black children. It has instead become what many allege is ground zero of a devastating abuse scandal spanning several decades.–special-to-the-star-w5-s-victor-malarek-on-abuse-scandal-at-n-s-home-for-colored-children


25 Years of FMR (Forced Migration Review)
Another milestone to report today, this time for the 25th anniversary of the Forced Migration Review (FMR). The editors have chosen to celebrate by building up a special collection of articles that “consider where we are now in relation to many of the themes covered by FMR. We are inviting a selection of former guest editors, authors and donors to write on developments, lessons, challenges, gaps and their thoughts about the future for displaced people and our sector.”

Community Supper in solidarity with immigrants and refugees with the Figueroa family as special guests (No One is Illegal, Vancouver)
The situation of the Figueroa family is part of a frightening anti-refugee trend in Canada that includes increasing deportations, mandatory detentions including for some children, fatal cuts to refugee health care, a two tier refugee system with discrimination based on nationality, and so-called safe country lists making it harder for queer refugees. The condition for immigrants is also rapidly deteriorating with a moratorium on parent and grandparent sponsorships, heightened anti-terror and security measures, the unilateral cancellation of 300,000 immigration applications, stripping thousands of citizens of their citizenship, implementation of a niqab ban at citizenship ceremonies, slashing the quota for live-in caregivers to become permanent residents by almost 50 percent, conditional permanent residence for spouses that places women at increased risk for spousal and partner abuse, and over $50 million in cuts to immigrant services.


Hamilton covers provincial welfare cuts for six months (Hamilton Spectator)
Hamilton city councillors have come up with a temporary compromise to help ease millions of provincial cuts to anti-poverty programs. Councillors voted unanimously Wednesday to foot the bill for two support programs for people receiving social assistance during the first six months of 2013. The first initiative discretionary benefits provides funerals, glasses, dental care, prosthetics, cribs and baby supplies. The second program is the Community Start Up and Maintenance Benefit, a program that helps people avoid homelessness. The province put a cap on both of these programs this year, leaving the city with the decision to either pay $8 million in 2013 to continue providing the services or leave vulnerable Hamiltonians without these supports.–hamilton-covers-provincial-welfare-cuts-for-six-months

City votes for temporary poverty relief (Hamilton Spectator)
Hamilton city councillors have come up with a temporary compromise to help ease millions of dollars in provincial cuts to anti-poverty programs. Councillors voted unanimously Wednesday to pay $3.35 million for two support programs for vulnerable Hamiltonians during the first six months of 2013. The city hopes to convince the province to reabsorb those programs for the second half of the year.–city-votes-for-temporary-poverty-relief

Symposium looks at Canadian democracy (
A symposium on the state of Canadian democracy is being held Nov. 24 at the Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga on South Service Rd. The day-long event is being hosted by Oakville-based Reclaim Our Democratic Canada, a non-partisan social action group.–symposium-looks-at-canadian-democracy


The Power of Relationships (Paul Kent, Greater Halifax Partnership)
I am a strong believer in the power of relationships. I regularly find myself out of the office meeting with people in our community. These connections often lead to business opportunities, partnerships and most importantly long-standing relationships. Halifaxs ability to grow is dependent on attracting and retaining talent. Our city attracts thousands of students and immigrants each year which is a real competitive advantage. Where we fall short is on retention. Although Nova Scotia attracts more international students than any other Atlantic province, fewer choose to stay here. For newcomers and new graduates who have few connections in Halifax, its challenging to build a professional network, enter the job market, and settle successfully in our community. Maintaining their interest in this city means reaching out to them, connecting with them, and showing them what Halifax has to offer.

Canadian HR Reporter: Do you do this? HR leaders share best practices in immigrant integration (TRIEC)
Human resources leaders recognize the potential that skilled immigrants offer, such as fuelling innovation, linking to increasingly diverse domestic customers and maximizing global business opportunities in international markets. As a long-time media partner of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC)s Immigrant Success (IS) Awards,Canadian HR Reporter presents the Individual Achievement Award every year and has recognized five leaders who have successfully leveraged immigrant talent.

diversity Conference: Immigrant Women and the Workplace (Settlement AtWork)
This conference will explore the unique contributions of immigrant women, and the shift in gender balance and its resulting changing dynamics in boardrooms and in the workplace. Speakers: Marina Nemat, Richard E. Venn, Michael Bach, Matt Peterson, Martha Fell, Chris Davies, Winnie Ng, Brent Chamberlain, Sebastian Goupil, and Debbie Douglas.

Unions want to oust foreign coal workers (Dene Moore,
Two labour unions want a federal court to overturn temporary work permits issued to Chinese workers at a coal mine in northern British Columbia, arguing that there are unemployed Canadians who could fill the jobs. Permits have been granted under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program to 200 Chinese workers to conduct preliminary work at HD Mining International Ltd.’s Murray River mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C. The company has said it was not able to find workers in Canada with the specialized skills necessary. “Poppycock,” said Lee Loftus, president of the B.C. Building Trades union.


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Mr Christie’s Bakery, Mayor Rob Ford, Plastic Bag Ban and Other News.

Cities change, governments job is to manage it (Globe and Mail)
Dont let the condos eat my job! That is the catchy slogan the labour movement has adopted to fight what it sees as a rising threat to the citys manufacturing base from the condo boom. It cites two examples. In the first, the owners of the Christie cookie plant in south Etobicoke have announced plans to shut down the facility, which provides jobs for more than 550 people. John Cartwright, president of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council, calls it the act of a ruthless profiteer. He told a news conference on Wednesday that if the land at Park Lawn Road and Lake Shore Boulevard is turned over to condos, making the owners a windfall of millions of dollars on the back of workers, the whole neighbourhood, indeed the whole city, will suffer.

Great Canadian Infrastructure Challenge (Federation of Canadian Municipalities)
Welcome to The Great Canadian Infrastructure Challenge, a campaign created by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The aim of the campaign is to encourage Canadians to tell the federal government that infrastructure matters!


Thoughts on advocacy and the role of service organizations (Debbie Douglas, CERIS blog)
This discussion was not new. It is ongoing in our sector and certainly at OCASI where the tension between government funding and policy/advocacy imperatives is ever present. Maybe what were different this time were the international audience and the fact that we had spent hours talking about how to bring about systemic change on a politically sensitive and potentially polarizing issue. Yet an agency that was working to operationalize exactly what was being discussed couldnt name the work they were doing. Couldnt claim and celebrate the victories they had had without reframing it. Without presenting the change and difference they are making as a service response (which it is on one hand) as opposed to the systemic change which it is and that has come about because of the advocacy they have inspired and at times led.

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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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