Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 14, 2013


Lots of work to dispel local Muslim stereotypes (Omar Mouallem, Metro Edmonton)
Like many, I was shocked to learn last week that two girls, 14 and 18, were allegedly lured to separate Edmonton hotel rooms, locked in, beaten and raped repeatedly by johns. I was not, however, shocked to read the online discourse around the three suspects, Hamid Fazli Ghejlou, Shahin Ranjbar and Ali Saghafi. Bloggers tweaked the headlines as three “Muslim men” facing charges, while newspaper readers commented on the suspects’ unsurprising nationalities, colour and religion. This was never a story about race. Police and media have rightly focused on the tragedy that is human trafficking, a $32 billion a year industry with 2.5 million victims, according to the U.N., but when the story was handed to the public it became about race. Should it be?

Women in Canada at a Glance Statistical Highlights – Immigrant Women (Status of Women Canada)
Canada’s female population is increasingly diverse. In 2006, there were 3.2 million immigrant women, a fifth (20.3%) of the entire female population.
In 2009, 29% of immigrant women admitted as permanent residents were in the family class category, representing 59% of the category’s total. Another 39% of women were admitted as spouses or dependants in the economic class, accounting for 56% of those in that category. A further 19% were admitted as principal applicants in the economic class.

Women in Canada at a Glance Statistical Highlights – Visible Minority Women (Status of Women Canada)
In 2006, about 5.1 million individuals reported being members of a visible minority: 51% – or 2.6 million – were women. Visible minority women made up 16.4% of the total female population.
One in three visible minority women were born in Canada. In 2006, the majority of visible minority women (68%) had immigrated to Canada and about 29% had been born in this country.

6 ways to help immigrants and the entire state (Pramila Jayapal,
U.S. focus, but very applicable in Canada. Imagine that you have just arrived in your new country. It’s cold here and your feet break out in a rash because you are not used to wearing socks. Your training as a nurse does not get you a job, even though they need nurses here, because you don’t speak English and you need different credentials. You clean hotel rooms to pay the rent. You want to learn English but waiting lists are long, the programs are far from your house and working two jobs and taking care of your children gives you little time. You know if you are going to succeed here, you must learn English so you keep trying. At the end of the day, you are still grateful, because you have come from a place of war, where your children never had enough to eat. You have a lot to offer this new country and you will do what it takes to succeed here. You just need a little help to get there.

Employment rate for immigrants better in 2011 (Inayat Singh, Metronews)
Immigrants are seeing better employment prospects in Canada, but they still lag behind their Canadian-born counterparts because of a gap in local experience, experts say. Employment among immigrants between 25 and 54 years of age jumped 4.3 per cent in 2011, compared with the previous year, a new Statistics Canada report says. But total immigrant employment in that key age group was 75.6 per cent in 2011, well below the 82.9 per cent rate for Canadian-born workers.

Canadian newcomers face many barriers (Chronicle Herald)
Many newcomers can feel like strangers in a strange land when they initially settle in Canada. There may be a language barrier, housing and employment issues, inexperience with different customs and laws, discrimination, uncertainty about the integrity of the justice system and unfamiliarity with geographic regions and their climate. Immigrants are hardly alone when they arrive in Nova Scotia. There are sometimes relatives and friends here ready to lend a hand, and there are groups and government agencies dedicated to making the transition from emigre to permanent resident easier.

Pakistani immigrants make Dartmouth home sweet home (Chronicle Herald)
YEARS AGO, back in Pakistan’s central Punjab province, the Awan family considered their economic opportunities and assessed their chances for personal growth. It would be simplistic and untrue to say all roads led to Dartmouth, where their home is now and where the family of five is happily ensconced in the community. But theirs is an intriguing tale, a story of newcomers settling in a place far from their homeland in Asia and adjusting to major changes on a continent a world away.

Immigrants experience Canadian culture at the good ole’ hockey game (Your Ottawa Region)
A group of new Canadians got a chilly reception in Perth last week, but then, that was the point. With squeals of delighted fright, with red jerseys and wobbly knees abounding, as parents proudly watched from the bench of the Perth Blue Wings at the arena on Friday, Jan. 4, New Canadians took to the ice with great anticipation. The newcomers were skating around as part of the “Share the Puck” program, “to help newcomers become involved in the wider community,” said Anneke Van Nooten, events coordinator for the community connections program with the Catholic Centre for Immigrants (CCI) in Ottawa.–immigrants-experience-canadian-culture-at-the-good-ole-hockey-game

Hockey’s changing face: Immigrants, women swell ranks of adults lacing up for the first time (National Post)
Garfield Richards stands behind the glass, waiting and watching. He is about to participate in the most Canadian of rituals: a game of hockey. There were no farm ponds or backyard rinks in Jamaica, where he grew up. But that will not stop the father of two hockey-loving children, ages 4 and 8, from trying his hand at his adopted country’s national obsession. “I can’t play with them because they’re better than me,” says Mr. Richards, waiting for his turn at Moss Park Arena in downtown Toronto. “I think that would impress them if I could do the hockey stuff. “If your kids were playing Halo, you’d be playing Halo. It’s best to be doing what they’re doing.”

More changes coming to Canada’s immigration landscape (Kristen Shane)
Editor’s Note from Roma Solidarity News: Here is a link to a comprehensive but concise overview of Jason Kenney’s changes to Canada’s immigration system. To read the entire article without a paid subscription to Embassy magazine, sign up for a free trial subscription. Excerpts: “Ms. Alboim said the changes would make it more difficult for people to qualify for permanent entry, stay in Canada, and become citizens. While there’s a tightening of entry of permanent residents, she said there is a loosening of entry as a temporary foreign worker… “It increases the precarious status of folks. And we’re moving more towards a short-term, just-in-time human resource policy, rather than a longer-term nation-building policy,” said Ms. Alboim, who is also an adjunct professor with Queen’s University’s School of Policy Studies… And she said Mr. Kenney’s focus on enforcement, which he says is to ensure the integrity of the immigration system, assumes bad intentions on the part of refugee claimants from so-called safe countries or sponsored spouses, for instance. ”

Visitors and Students to Canada From India Booming According to Immigration Department (CICS News)
The number of visitor visas the Canadian government issues in India’s Punjab region has increased by 300 percent from 2005 levels according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). CIC says that approximately 17,608 visitor visas were issued in 2012 by its Chandigarh office, which serves the Punjab region. The growth in the number of Indian visitors to Canada has corresponded with the rapid growth of India’s economy and the emergence of an increasingly sizeable Indian middle class with the disposable income to travel abroad.

Ezra Levant: Love him or hate him, he keeps winning (Jonathon Gatehouse, Maclean’s)
Ezra Levant is retelling his favourite story: the one where he’s the hero. However, the hour-long monologue about the plucky kid from Alberta who dares to speak truth to power is really more of a dramatic performance. Pacing the stage of a community theatre north of Toronto, the 40-year-old broadcaster, author and columnist darts and cringes, waving his arms and pulling faces as he unspools a tale of fascist clerics, zombie bureaucrats and holy free-speech warriors. Levant’s version of his battle with the Alberta Human Rights Commission over his 2006 decision to publish controversial drawings of the Prophet Muhammad in his now-defunct Western Standard magazine is epic stuff, filled with references to his “ordeal,” “interrogation” and “900-day trial.” And more than enough broadsides to satisfy an audience of 200 who have paid $25 per grey head to hear the closest thing that Canada has to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh lecture on “Political correctness and the rise of Islamism.”

Canadian Newcomer Magazine – blog posts Dec/Jan
Taking a step BACK before stepping UP
When I first started Canadian Newcomer in 2004, reliable information for new immigrants was hard to find.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada has come up with a new plan that is intended to address the shortcomings of the old one.
Lots of Festive Season events across Canada!

From My Perspective as a White Male (Robert V. Jewell, Diversity Journal)
In the legal field, we have seen the willingness to look at business problems from different perspectives lead to creative solutions that in turn produce business opportunities. As managing partner, I try to maximize the benefits of the intellectual curiosity of individual lawyers by fostering an environment that values collaboration. Thus, we call upon lawyers with diverse backgrounds, talents, and perspectives to collaborate as a team and explore the boundaries of their thinking to reach a solution. This is both why and how I became engaged in diversity and inclusion strategy. Yes, from a social science point of view, it may be the “right” thing to do, but from the broader and more compelling business perspective, embracing diversity and inclusion as core values means driving innovative business results. By focusing on the business advantages of diversity and collaboration, I was able to engage my partners, many of whom are also white males. Once my partners understood that the implementation of diversity and inclusion strategies could contribute to our overall success, i.e., the business imperative, we were able to move full speed ahead. In fact, the firm’s strategic plan incorporates key elements of diversity and inclusion, as does the firm’s vision: “Andrews Kurth will be a nationally prominent law firm with market leading practices and international reach. We will . . . promote our culture of collaboration, diversity and inclusion, personal commitment, and professionalism.”


Protecting Roma refugees: a unique perspective (Gina Csanyi-Robah, CJ News)
On Sept. 25, 2006, seven days after arriving as an intern at the European Roma Rights Centre in Budapest, Hungary, I was given an opportunity to attend a roundtable discussion at the Central European University hosted by the Canadian government and the former Canadian ambassador to Hungary, Robert Hage. The purpose was to assess the social situation for Roma in Hungary. Prior to attending the meeting, I was informed that it was in fact an inquiry into whether Canada could again remove its travel visa restriction for Hungarians. Within an hour of being in the university in downtown Budapest, surrounded by Canadian government representatives, Hungarian academics, representatives of various human rights and social justice NGOs, and a scattering of Roma intellectuals and activists, I realized that I was in a very unique position. I was the sole Canadian-born, Hungarian Roma in the room.

Frustration mounts in refugee waiting game (Michael Swan, Catholic Register)
The 166 Toronto-area parishes with active refugee committees could open a new, more hopeful chapter on up to 700 refugee stories in 2013. While 700 arrivals is technically feasible, the Office of Refugees Archdiocese of Toronto believes it’s probably more realistic to think in terms of about 400 refugees landing at Pearson International Airport in 2013. Still, it’s a big increase over the 150 welcomed in 2012. The Office of Refugees has more than 2,500 refugees in its files with sponsors waiting, 75 per cent of them from the Middle East. The massive refugee crisis triggered by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 opened up a new era in Catholic refugee sponsorship as parishes reached out to rescue Iraqi Christians who had been expelled from homes, neighbourhoods and villages where they had lived for centuries.

Video: Judge casts aside smuggling law for Tamils (CTV)


Respect costs nothing (Nikki Skuce, rabble)
Every time I read the comments section related to a story on First Nations activism, I am saddened by the depth and popularity of racism in Canada. This has been evident from the First Nations activism against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project, and from the current Idle No More national movement demanding the government respect this country’s original peoples. From some of my fellow Canadians, you would think that First Nations are free-loading, tax exempt Indians who can be bought as long as the money’s right, and should just pick up and move if the housing ain’t right. If they’re too Indian, they should join us in the 21st Century; if they ride pick-ups and snowmobiles, they shouldn’t be allowed to voice any opposition to fossil fuel projects.

The Revolt of 2012: A Conversation with Rick Salutin (Academy of the Impossible)
Rick Salutin will be the first guest in our Impossible Ideas series on January 5 with a conversation focused on the return of social movements and the means by which their message is spread. With the worldwide political disruptions of the past 12 months being constantly compared to the events of four or more decades earlier, Salutin will share his critical view on the emergence of new social movements and how they compare to decades past.

The deficit deceit and the scare tactic of austerity: We are being lied to (Hamilton Spectator)
In 2010, the word was austerity. By then, two years after the recession had started, governments in Europe and North America had probably used the word thousands of times, likely in the same sentence as deficit. Deficit didn’t make the list so more people must be aware of its definition as, “an excess of expenditure over revenue.” The message we keep hearing in mainstream media, planted by governments in power and the corporate heads who support and direct them, is that due to an excess of expenditure in the past we now have a deficit that is so big we must move to an economy of austerity and cut back the public services we offer through wage freezes, layoffs and service reduction. As a province, Ontario came on a little later in the austerity game but, like most converts, they’re better at practising this religion than those born into it.–the-deficit-deceit-and-the-scare-tactic-of-austerity-we-are-being-lied-to

Top 10 Countries (2013 Index of Economic Freedom)
Economist Adam Smith formed this theory in his influential work, The Wealth of Nations, in 1776. In 2013, his theory is measured – and proven – in the Index of Economic Freedom, an annual guide published by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, Washington’s No. 1 think tank. For over a decade, The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, Washington’s preeminent think tank, have tracked the march of economic freedom around the world with the influential Index of Economic Freedom. Since 1995, the Index has brought Smith’s theories about liberty, prosperity and economic freedom to life by creating 10 benchmarks that gauge the economic success of 185 countries around the world. With its user-friendly format, readers can see how 18th century theories on prosperity and economic freedom are realities in the 21st century. The Index covers 10 freedoms – from property rights to entrepreneurship – in 185 countries. Canada is 6th.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter ( Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Executive pay in Canada: Overcompensating? (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – January 3
2. The Long Shadow of Assimilation : Hennessy’s Index (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – January 3
3. Top 10 reasons to be worried about Social Impact Bonds (National Union of Public and General Employees) – January 2
4. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Maintenance Enforcement Survey: Child and spousal support, 2011/2012 – January 10
— Population estimates by census subdivision – January 9
— Financial information of universities and colleges, 2010/2011 – January 8
— School board revenues and expenditures, 2010 – January 8
5. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit


‘Long-term, institutional change’ needed to get foreign-trained workers jobs (Metro News)
Omkalthoum Khalafalla took a trip from her home in Breslau to Kitchener City Hall Thursday, hoping an audience with Ontario’s Fairness Commissioner would relieve some of her frustration. Khalafalla, who moved to Canada from Sudan in 1998, wanted to ask the provincial advocate for foreign-trained workers why her British-educated husband, holder of a master’s degree in economics, has spent the better part of 15 years looking for work in his field. “Up until now he’s never held a job in Canada,” Khalafalla told Jean Augustine, a former Liberal member of Parliament charged with the task of advising 40 of Ontario’s professional regulatory bodies on how to accept more workers with foreign credentials.

Canadian unions’ chauvinist campaign against “temporary foreign worker” expansion (World Socialist)
A union-instigated law suit challenging a federal government decision allowing a mining company to import two hundred Chinese workers has brought renewed attention on Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Canada has a long history of importing workers from abroad to perform heavy, undesirable work at depressed wages, then expelling them when they are no longer needed. This reactionary practice continues under Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

YorkU event with Justicia for Migrant Workers (Justice for Migrant Workers)
Migration control has been crucial in creating modern nation states and racialized forms of citizenship. This holds true also for Canadian migration policy, which has played an important role in dispossessing indigenous peoples and racializing class relations. This workshop will discuss the work of artists, activists and researchers in engaging with the realities that confront temporary and undocumented migrant workers while supporting ongoing struggles for indigenous sovereignty in Canada.


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on TDSB, Casino Consultation, Teacher’s Strike, Photo Radar and Other News.

January 11 – This Tuesday, January 15 – Let’s Pack Council Chambers! (Social Planning Toronto)
City Council starts its final vote on the 2013 City Budget on Tuesday, January 15th. Please come out to show your support for vital public and community services. It is important that City Council knows people care about this budget and how it will affect our communities. Let’s fill council chambers! The Council meeting starts at 9:30 am until 8:00 pm at City Hall, Council Chambers, 100 Queen Street West. Come any time during the day or in the evening to show your support.


What Nonprofits Can Learn from Public Radio about Storytelling (Will Coley, NTEN)
If nonprofits want to learn how to create content that both engages audiences and creates devoted supporters, we need look no further than the gold standard offered each day by public radio. Think about it: Radio producers can create stories that keep us in the car for “driveway moments” even when we’ve reached home, just so we can hear the ending. Public radio has created legions of devotees who give money for something they can already get for free. At the same time, we’re in the middle of a renaissance of digital audio online and via mobile technology.

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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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