Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 18, 2013


Fewer immigrants becoming citizens (Daniel Proussalidis, Brantford Expositor)
Internal Citizenship and Immigration documents obtained through an access to information request show only 2.9% of immigrants who gained permanent residency in Canada in 2008 had actually become citizens by the time they were generally eligible to apply in 2012. That’s a massive drop from 2005, when 76% of those who’d arrived in Canada four years earlier had become citizens.

Border agency charges seven in alleged ‘marriage of convenience’ scheme in Toronto (Globe and Mail)
Canada Border Services Agency has charged seven people in the Toronto area in connection with an investigation into what it calls a “marriage of convenience” scheme. The agency says the accused acted as go-betweens who arranged for Canadian citizens to marry and sponsor Chinese nationals. (Globe and Mail)

Supreme Court case: Do non-citizen offenders deserve lighter sentences? (Toronto Star)
The Supreme Court of Canada will be asked Friday to decide if courts should take into account an offender’s immigration status when handing out a sentence. Currently, permanent residents convicted of a crime and jailed for two years or more lose their immigrant status and face removals from Canada with no access to appeal. Although prosecutors and defence lawyers often bring up the issue at sentencing, courts are not obliged to take it into consideration. On Friday the Supreme Court will look at the case of Hoang Anh Pham, whose two-year jail sentence was upheld by the Alberta Court of Appeal, despite the Crown’s consent to reduce the time in light of the Toronto man’s immigrant status.–supreme-court-case-do-non-citizen-offenders-deserve-lighter-sentences

Ottawa’s immigration backlog wipeout illegal, lawyers argue before Federal Court (Toronto Star)
The Federal Court has been asked to strike down legislation passed by the Conservative government last year to wipe out immigration backlogs because it breaches the Charter of Rights and the rule of law. Lawyers representing 1,000 people affected by the move to toss out nearly 98,000 immigration applications allege that the Tory government had discriminated based on the national origins of the applicants. While Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has the power to set priorities and policies, he must apply the rules equally, consistently and fairly, argued lawyers for the litigants, some of whom had waited in the immigrant queue for as long as eight years.–ottawa-s-immigration-backlog-wipeout-illegal-lawyers-argue-before-federal-court

Canada casts too wide a net on complicity in crimes against humanity, Supreme Court told (Olesia Plokhii,
A slew of high profile international rights organizations today told Canada’s highest court that the current framework to determine whether a refugee seeker is guilty of the crimes of its government is too broad and should be narrowed to prevent excluding legitimate refugees from shelter here. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Amnesty International, along with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and others, argued that the Supreme Court should overturn the decision to deny a Congolese man refugee status in Canada because he was too far removed from the crimes of his government and should never have been deemed a criminal.

Racialized Space, Colonial Legislation, & Idle No More (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
As the Idle No More movement picks up steam, it’s important to examine the media coverage these protests receive. Both the coverage of big media outlets, producing tentative, barebones accounts of the movement’s strategies and activities from a conspicuously ‘outsider’s’ perspective, and the ongoing commentary dismissing and stereotyping protesters necessitate a deeper, Canada-wide understanding of the conditions underpinning these protests. These conditions are rooted in our violent colonial history, which influences everything from our urban infrastructure to our changing immigration policy.

We Are Jose: Vancouver (Media Coop)
On 16 January 2013, a dozen people gathered outside the Citizenship and Immigration offices at 300 West Georgia St. in Vancouver to protest the ongoing process of deportation of Jose Figueroa. The action was one of several nationwide demonstrations along the lines of We Are Jose, in solidarity with the Salvadoran immigrant and his family.

Salvadoran father’s deportation protested at nationwide rallies (Globe and Mail)
Nearly two years after the federal government ordered the deportation of a Salvadoran father who lives in Langley for his past political ties, Canadians rallied across the country to demand a reversal of the order. Dozens of supporters joined Jose Figueroa and his family on Wednesday outside the office of his local MP, Mark Warawa, in Langley. Members of We Are Jose, a citizens group established two years ago to draw attention to Mr. Figueroa’s plight, organized a similar rally outside the Citizenship and Immigration offices in downtown Vancouver. Rallies took place in Toronto and Ottawa as well.

Indian family wins right to stay in Canada (Globe and Mail)
The Ghotra-Singh family came to Canada to escape violence following an unfavourable marriage in India. They have won a stay of deportation.


Comment on BC Supreme Court ruling striking down smuggling law (CCR)
The Canadian Council for Refugees welcomes the recent decision by the BC Supreme Court striking down a section of the immigration legislation, on the grounds that it criminalizes humanitarian acts to protect refugees. The section has been a grave concern to refugee workers in Canada, particularly since charges were laid five years ago against Janet Hinshaw-Thomas, a representative of a refugee support organization in the US. Although the charges against her were eventually dropped, people across Canada who work with refugees felt intimidated, because they knew that the law was so broad that it criminalized many activities to assist refugees.

New immigrant detention policy tough on asylum seekers (Efrat Arbel, Peter Showler, Vancouver Sun)
With reports that Canada incarcerated 289 migrant children in detention facilities last year, Canada’s increasingly questionable policy of detaining refugee claimants, including children, is again in the spotlight. In response to media comments that refugee children languish in detention, Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews and Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney explain that the practice of detaining refugee claimants and refused claimants is not new in Canada.

Helping refugees flee persecution should not be illegal (Editorial, Vancouver Sun)
Consequently, the charges against Hinshaw-Thomas were stayed, but no regulatory or legislative changes were adopted. And that means the law remains overly broad in that humanitarian aid workers — or family members of refugee-seekers — could still face criminal charges if they help refugee-seekers to come to Canada. So it should come as no surprise that B.C. Supreme Court Justice Arne Silverman on Monday declared Section 117 of the IRPA unconstitutional and therefore of no force and effect. Specifically, Silverman held that Section 117’s overbreadth violated people’s Section 7 Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.


Cross-Cultural Competency Training for Employers (
Hire Immigrants Ottawa is offering complimentary cross-cultural competency training sessions for employers, managers and human resources staff. You’ll gain skills, tools and strategies to help you adapt your workplace for a diverse employee base.

Webinar on Changes to Canada’s Economic #Immigration Programs: Implications for Employers (ICTC)
Canada’s immigration system is rapidly changing as new policies aim to create a program that is more responsive to labour market needs and more supportive of economic growth. Canada is facing a supply shortage of ICT workers. We estimate that an additional 106,000 core ICT positions will need to be filled in Canada by 2016. Without the necessary talent, Canadian firms will be at a competitive disadvantage in a fast-paced global, digital economy. Stakeholders including large, medium and small employers across the country, as well as government, have identified the critical need to recruit internationally educated professionals to keep pace.


Newsstand: January 18, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
If you haven’t already broken your New Year’s resolution, today is the last day to do so with a full refund. After this you’ll just get store credit. In the news: convenient marriage charges, ex-budget chief gives his demands for a return, Toronto gets the bill for legal costs in a case Toronto won, free Leafs tickets, and Councillor De Baeremaeker thinks it is time to build subways, again.

Casinos equal poor health for the GTA (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
A new Wellesley Institute health equity impact assessment – The Real Cost of Casinos – shows that building a casino in Toronto will contribute to poor health in our city. Almost 560,000 Ontarians can be defined as problem gamblers and experience tells us that building new casinos increases problem gambling and leads to poorer health for our communities. But these problems can be avoided by rejecting a casino for Toronto. In our analysis we found that rates of problem gambling in Ontario are high. Up to 4.7 percent of the population can be defined as problem gamblers and problem gambling rates tend to increase after casinos are built in communities. Rates of pathological gambling in Niagara Falls increased from 2.5 percent to 4.4 percent in the one-year period after the first casino opened.

Underlying Losses Frame 2013 City Budget (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
This year’s budget ended as it began – difficult to define and understand. It provided the Mayor and his allies with an opportunity to claim victory for their austerity agenda. It provided some important wins, which once again demonstrated the importance and impact of community organizing. In comparison to the process and proposals in the 2012 Budget, it provided a veneer of increased cooperation, compromise and shared understanding of what the City needs.


Pathways to Policy Change (Mark Cabaj, Tamarack)
The idea of “policy change” pops up regularly nowadays in conversations where people are doing whatever they can to dramatically strengthen their communities. They share a sense that public policies – e.g. income security policy for seniors, policies designed to manage the pace of oil sands development, regulations that determine what drugs are covered (or not) by public health plans – can yield the deep, broad and durable results people desire. Yet for all the increased focus on changing public policies, many advocates are unclear about precisely how to go about it. In her resource, Pathways for Change, Sharon Stochowiak helps de-mystify the policy change process by laying out six common theories or pathways for policy change.

OCASI School of Social Justice (Settlement AtWork)
OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants is proud to announce the launch of our School of Social Justice (SSJ) in the Spring of 2013. We are now accepting applications until February 8, 2013.

The #cdnfp Twitterati: Thinkers and Doers (Open Canada)
The #cdnfp Twitterati: Individuals driving the foreign affairs discussion in Canada.

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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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