Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 2, 2013


Canada’s controversial 2012 changes to immigration and refugee system (Toronto Star)
Over the past year Ottawa has made some sweeping and controversial changes to the immigration, asylum and refugee system, and the rules involving Canadian citizenship. In doing so, the federal Conservative government has radically changed the landscape and made it much tougher for many to make Canada their home. Here is a primer on the most critical changes.–immigration-and-refugee-system-canada-made-controversial-changes-in-2012

News Release — New Federal Skilled Trades Immigration Program Receives Widespread Praise (CIC)
The Canadian Construction Association is especially pleased to hear today’s announcement that the new federal Skilled Trades Program to be launched on January 2nd, 2013. The introduction of a dedicated and streamlined program for skilled trades addresses many of the shortcomings in the current federal Skilled Worker Program. The new program ensures greater consideration is given to the needs of the industry when processing eligible immigrant applications.

New Federal Skilled Trades Stream to Begin Accepting Applications on January 2, 2013 (CIC)
To address Canada’s growing demand for skilled tradespersons, a new Federal Skilled Trades Program is being launched on January 2, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. “The new Skilled Trades Stream will help address serious labour shortages in some regions of the country, and support economic growth,” Minister Kenney said. “For too long, Canada’s immigration system has not been open to these in-demand skilled workers. These changes are long overdue and will help us move to a fast and flexible immigration system that works for Canada’s economy.”

Canadian Immigration Department Announces January 2 Launch of Canadian Experience Class (CICS)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced this month that the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), which is being revised with a shorter Canadian work experience requirement for eligibility, will be re-launched on January 2nd 2013. CIC is planning on admitting up to 10,000 permanent residents through the CEC program, which first began in 2008 as part of the federal government’s efforts to shift immigration selection to favour those with Canadian work experience.

Ottawa to play matchmaker for foreign workers (Globe and Mail)
The next step in the Harper government’s transformation of Canada’s immigration system will turn Ottawa into an online matchmaker, connecting would-be migrants with employers who want to hire them. In a year-end interview, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney described the coming Web-based “Expression of Interest” system – to be in place by 2014 – as the culmination of more than five years of reform. It will be an invitation-only route for economic immigrants where prospective arrivals advertise their skills and qualifications on a Canadian government database that will be perused by employers looking to hire more than just temporary workers.

Canada to re-open Federal Skilled Worker Program in May 2013 (Relocate Magazine)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the most commonly used Permanent Residency category for newcomers to Canada, will be reopened on 4 May 2013. The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. It measures applicants using a selection grid worth up to 100 points. The current pass mark is 67. Each applicant is awarded points for official language ability, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability (such as previous work experience or education acquired in Canada).

Dying to be Canadian: Postmedia immigration reporter Tobi Cohen’s most memorable story of the year (Tobi Cohen,
“Transformational change” is the buzzword Canada’s immigration minister has used to describe the dizzying string of policy reforms he has announced over the past year. From a total overhaul of the refugee process to the scrapping of backlogged skilled worker applications, Jason Kenney has kept reporters on their toes. But the immigration story I most enjoyed this past year was the heartwarming tale of two women granted citizenship in their dying days.

Canada makes the right moves on immigration (James Bissett, National Post)
Last month, new rules to deal with asylum seekers and human smugglers took effect in Canada. They represent a return to a time when common sense prevailed to prevent the abuse of our laws. Despite strong resistance by the opposition parties and the refugee lobby, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenny introduced legislation aimed at curbing abuse and introducing a faster and more equitable process for adjudicating asylum claims. The June 2010 Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the June 2012 Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, effectively created a new asylum policy for Canada.

Janice Charette: diversity is integral to Canada’s civil service (Guardian UK)
Canada’s associate secretary to the cabinet, Janice Charette, has emphasised the importance of having public bodies that are diverse and representational. As part of the Guardian’s global public leaders series, and in response to a speech in November by Peter Ong, head of the Singapore civil service, about his country’s civil service, Charette said diversity was a very big part of how her country thinks about recruitment and talent development for its public services. Charette said Canada’s dual-language status and the historical importance of immigration to the country mean an inclusive approach to running its public services is essential. “The ability to understand – whether it’s gender, whether it’s regional diversity, whether it’s diversity in terms of ethnic background – goes to the heart of understanding the changing nature of the country.”

Canada’s Senate grows more diverse with first members of Filipino and Vietnamese heritage (Toronto Star)
A banker with a university degree from the Philippines, Tobias Enverga moved to Toronto in 1981 and started at the bottom, in the Bank of Montreal’s mailroom. Enverga describes himself as just an ordinary guy, who had never been an active Conservative party member or campaign fundraiser. That’s why he was shocked to get a call from the Prime Minister’s Office this fall about his appointment to the Senate as the first Canadian senator of Filipino heritage — a symbol of the growing clout of the Filipino community, Canada’s top immigrant source country over the past two years. “I was so surpri–canada-s-senate-grows-more-diverse-with-first-members-of-filipino-and-vietnamese-heritage

Changes would strengthen Canada’s International Student Program (Beacon News)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has proposed new measures to prevent fraud in the International Student Program. “Attracting the best and brightest young minds from around the world is key to the continued success of Canada’s economy and long-term prosperity,” says Kenney. “But there are too many stories of international students who pay a lot of money and leave their families back home to study in Canada, only to find out they have been misled.”

2012: new diversity and conflict marks religion (
The growth of religiously unaffiliated people is far from a US phenomenon. In Canada, according to another Pew report, they represent 23.7 percent of the population. The recently released annual British Population Survey found that 27,9 percent of the population of England and Wales had no religious affiliation in 2011. “Spiritual but not religious” may describe part of this population, while atheism and agnosticism would reflect a smaller segment. Still, according to Pew, out of a world population of 6.9 billion in 2010, 5.8 billion had a religious affiliation: the unaffiliated are found primarily in Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America.

‘A N*gger in Net’: Racism at the World Juniors (Rachel Decoste, Huffinton Post)
Reminiscent of the now-famous scene in Tarantino’s epic film Django Unchained where the main character causes a cluster of rubber-necking when seen riding a horse into town, the sight of Team Canada’s goalie’s skin colour was met with laughter, bemusement, confusion and contempt from Canada and abroad.

Diversity Marketing as Strategy: What new Canadians… (Bernice Cheung, StarBusinessClub)
Last time, we talked about why New Canadians will be the growth engine for Canadian businesses. Citizenship and Immigration Canada indicated this will likely continue, with a special focus on economic immigrants who pass education, language and experience criteria. As business owners, which segment of the ethnic market should you focus on? Where will you invest your marketing dollars? Though there are many ways to segment this population, let’s start off with a simple way to examine this group – Tenure and ethnicity.

Five Human Rights Day Resolutions (Nathalie Des Rosiers, CCLA)
At times, there is a sense that the human rights discourse is fatigued, out of fashion, yesterday’s speech. The Charter is presented as an impediment to effective policing and warrants are described a hassle, too much of a bureaucratic demand. Tonight, I want to reflect on how to position human rights demands in this environment. As Human Rights Day is the day when we reflect on where we are and what are our commitments for the year to come (a New Year’s Day for Human Rights Defenders), I want to share with you my Five Human Rights Day Resolutions.

Poll: Minister Jason Kenney is actively overhauling Canada’s immigration system. What do you think is the greatest problem regarding immigration? (#FAQMP)

Immigration consultant guilty on 54 counts (Paul Delean, Montreal Gazette)
An immigration consultant whose Tunisian clients usually listed him or his cousin as Quebec friends in their applications for permanent residence has been convicted on 54 counts of providing false information to immigration authorities. Evidence presented in Quebec Court this month showed that between 2004 and 2006, when most of the applications were filed, consultant Tarek Harhira did not even reside in the province, although he was listed with a Quebec address on the forms. And his cousin Hichem Harhira, cited as a Quebec friend by 21 applicants, didn’t actually know any of them or reside at the address cited, court was told.

Proposed Changes to the Program for Foreign Students in Canada (Settlement AtWork)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is proposing regulatory changes to limit permits to students who attend schools designated by the provinces and territories.
Under the proposed amendments, CIC will work with provinces and territories – which are constitutionally responsible for education – to develop a framework to identify educational institutions who have the right to host students foreigners. In cases where a school is not designated, it could continue to offer programs of study for a period of six months or less to foreigners who are to Canada with regular visitor visas. Visitors who wish to enroll in short-term need not, at present, study permit and this situation will not change.

Mentorship program matches black kids with role models (
United Way of Peel Region’s Black Community Advisory Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel are working together to help young people succeed. A new mentorship program will match black children and youth from Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon with adults “that look like them … to build a healthier, more integrated and vibrant black community in Peel,” said Black Community Advisory Council chair Sophia Brown Ramsay. It’s an important initiative in a region where blacks made up 8.3 per cent of the population in 2006 and 16.6 per cent of the region’s visible minorities.–mentorship-program-matches-black-kids-with-role-models

List of leaders should have been more diverse (Sarah J. Clark,
RE: ‘Community leaders offer their Christmas wishes’, Dec. 24, Daily News) It is lovely to have these seven men wish us all a Merry Christmas, but for goodness sake, why isn’t there any diversity in the list? The article indicates that only white men in politics or business are leaders in our community and I believe nothing could be further from the truth. Where are the women leaders, the aboriginal leaders, the arts leaders, and the young leaders? Why have you only shown business and political leaders? Nanaimo is more than a place of business, it’s the place where we live.

Will the People’s Games Shape Diversity in Canada? (Samuel Getachew, Huffington Post)
The man once described as a “popcorn machine of ideas” by Toronto Star columnist Carol Goar, David Pecaut, envisioned a city “where civic entrepreneurs are everywhere and the process of bringing all the parts of civil society together to solve a problem is really how the city defines its uniqueness.” While Pecaut might not have lived long enough to witness the potential of his visionary words, I believe he would have been proud with the evolution that his adopted city of Toronto is beginning to embrace. I saw our city’s potential recently when I attended an event hosted by the TO2015, as it released its first annual progress report on diversity and inclusion for the Pan-American Games.

Canada at 150: Ethnic communities to mark 150th by focusing on ‘Canadian’ values (Tobi Cohen,
As Canada contemplates its sesquicentennial in 2017, ethnic communities say official commemorations ought to be inclusive and reflective of the immigrant experience — the good, the bad and the ugly. The diverse range of experiences include the ascension of not one but two Sikhs to the federal cabinet, the Chinese head tax and the ongoing impact of immigration on Canada’s first inhabitants who remain isolated and marginalized. Still, the anniversary, they say, is a time for celebration, reflection and change all at once. While most groups are in the preliminary discussion phase in terms of planning for the big event, if they’ve even started at all, the consensus also seems to be to focus less on diversity, but rather what unites Canadians regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or country of origin.


Refugee’s inspirational life story becomes part of Ottawa school curriculum (Peter O’neil, Vancouver Sun)
Schoolteacher Lisa Allen was sitting in her dentist’s waiting room one morning in 2009 when she picked up a magazine and began reading about the life of Canadian refugee-turned-entrepreneur Alfonso Cuadra. The story recounted Cuadra’s remarkable evolution after arriving in Canada at age five with his mother, a journalist, human rights activist and former political prisoner in El Salvador. Cuadra, who lived in Montreal and Vancouver before finally settling with his mother in Ottawa, was a high-school dropout who struggled with dyslexia and seething resentment of authority figures. He became violent, once throwing a desk at a male teacher before being expelled, and he both used and sold street drugs.

GTA clinics overwhelmed with refugees (Globe and Mail)
Free medical clinics in the GTA are seeing a growing tide of refugee patients whose coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program has been cancelled and doctors are scrambling to find more resources to help them. Changes restrict health-care coverage for some refugees to only treatments of an urgent nature, or in cases when public health is at risk. Those affected include claimants from designated countries of origin (DCO) – places considered safe by Ottawa and not normally sources of refugees – rejected claimants and resettled refugees. Since the new federal health program provisions came into effect at the end of June, free clinics have been swamped, and doctors fear that recent additions to the list of DCOs are going to send even more people their way.

Sudanese refugee aims to see no opportunity wasted (Globe and Mail)
Jacob Deng was just seven years old when the civil war in South Sudan reached his village of Duk Padiet in the late 1980s. The young Mr. Deng fled, joining thousands of other boys heading to Ethiopia. He never saw his mother or six brothers again. After four months, Mr. Deng and the other boys reached an Ethiopian refugee camp. But they had to flee again three years later when war broke out there. He finally made it to a refugee camp in Kenya and, in 2003, he was accepted as a refugee to Canada. Once in Canada, Mr. Deng earned a university degree, got married, started a family and became a Canadian citizen. He soon wanted to share some of his good fortune with people in South Sudan.


Ottawa’s homeless youth tell their stories (Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen)
The Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB) has launched a fundraising drive to support its work with the city’s growing population of homeless youth. The YSB wants to raise $300,000 to offset the rising cost of it services, many of which are oversubscribed. The YSB’s two shelters, for instance, feature 60 private rooms for young men and women in need of emergency housing. The shelters — there’s one for women and one for men — operate at 106 per cent capacity, meaning that one or two young people are usually sleeping on couches every night. (People over 18 can be referred to adult shelters.)

Harper’s unrecognisable Canada (Mark Taliano, Al Jazeera)
There are at least two visions of Canada. The better vision belongs to Jean Ralston Saul, author of A Fair Country, and to progressive, forward-looking Canadians. It is a vision that embraces and respects the three founding pillars of our society: the Aboriginal, the French, and the English. It sees strength in each pillar, and recognises that these three interconnected yet independent pillars make Canada a distinctive society that has been, in many ways, a model for the world. We have Quebec, with its culture and language preserved, a bilingual federal government, as well as Inuit-governed Nunavut, Nunavik, and native reserves.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter : December 31, 2012 (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Why the 99 per cent still matter in Canadian politics (Hugh Mackenzie in the Toronto Star) – December 30
2. Time for a CBC Right to Food Day (Graham Riches in The Tyee) – December 28
3. Ed Broadbent on rising inequality and the threat to the Canadian dream (Toronto Star) – December 26
4. Back to Basics: The Future of the Fiscal Arrangements (Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation) – December 2012
5. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Canada Year Book 2012 – December 24

Great holiday news as Ontario steps up with transitional funding for housing and homelessness supports (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
The Ontario government announced today that it would provide transitional funding of $42 million in 2013-14 for municipalities to develop and implement their consolidated housing and homelessness plans, which will set out how each muncipality addresses their local housing needs. This is outstanding news. The Wellesley Institute and community groups from across the province have been calling on the government to reconsider its decision to eliminate the Community Start-Up and Maintenance Benefit (CSUMB). The CSUMB helps people receiving social assistance to pay for large or unexpected housing-related costs, supporting them to become and remain housed. As of January 1st, this benefit was to be terminated and 50 percent of its funding was going to be passed to municipalities to run their own housing and homelessness programs.


Canada seeks to recruit 3,000 building workers (Allison Bray, Independent Ireland)
CANADA is hoping to lure 3,000 skilled construction workers to its shores this year with the promise of permanent residency to qualified electricians, welders, pipefitters, heavy-duty mechanics and other tradespeople. A current scarcity of skilled workers in the construction sector and a projected shortfall of 320,000 tradespeople between now and 2020 has prompted the Canadian government to relax immigration requirements for qualified workers.

Imagine… (ERIEC)
I have been that friend. I have twice been a mentor in the ERIEC Career Mentorship Program. In order for Edmonton to grow, we need skilled and talented people – and we compete with ‘all the world’ to attract them. I feel that being a mentor helps ensure that we have a warm community, and that we welcome these talented people into our world. I believe this will give us a competitive advantage. People want to live in a connecting and inviting community, and that is what Edmonton is known for. Most importantly, I have met some very wonderful and special people. It warms me to be able to help them find their career and community attachment. I cannot imagine what it must be like for them to be so motivated and courageous. They shape who we are. Imagine the reward.

Conservatives take away benefits from seasonal migrant workers (CLC)
On December 6, 2012, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley, under the logo of the government’s questionable Economic Action Plan announced yet another attack on migrant workers. Just 15 days before Christmas, Minster Finley issued a press release stating migrant workers who have paid into maternity, paternity or compassionate care benefits will no longer be able access them once their work visa in Canada has expired.

12 ideas to stop wage theft (Workers’ Advocacy Centre)
Dear WAC members, this is our last day of action in our 12 days of action to stop wage theft! Almost 600 messages were sent to the Minister of Labour during the 12 days! Through the action of WAC members and supporters, we helped 2 workers who spoke out collect unpaid wages! We also got the Minister of Labour to respond to our action on twitter! She even thanked WAC for our advocacy for workers rights!


Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford’s Levee, Toronto’s Polar Bear Dip and Other News.

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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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