Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 24, 2013


Maytree Five signs of hope for 2013 (Alan Broadbent, Maytree)
The beginning of the new year is traditionally a time for resolutions or wishes, but lets start off 2013 with five signs of hope for the year ahead, based on some things we know are going to happen. These five initiatives bring together good ideas in the public interest by serious organizations known for the quality of their work and their devotion to building Canada.

Immigration backlog: Anti-fraud measures add years to citizenship process (Toronto Star)
Extra scrutiny introduced by Ottawa to crack down on citizenship fraud means thousands of immigrants will have to wait as long as nine years to become full-fledged citizens. Until recently, immigrants with permanent resident status had to wait three years before filing a citizenship application, which would then take about 21 months to process in routine cases for a total of about five years. Last May, the federal government introduced a more rigorous residence questionnaire for some applicants, to establish proof that theyve actually been present in Canada. Applicants were told the detailed four-page forms which must be accompanied by proof such as tax returns, pay stubs, and airline tickets to document even brief absences would take 15 months to process. But this month, those applicants are learning theyll have to wait four more years to get their files assessed.–immigration-backlog-anti-fraud-measures-add-years-to-citizenship-process

Harper Conservatives leave new immigrants in citizenship limbo (MP Kevin Lamoureux)
With over 300,000 permanent residents sitting in a Conservative-created backlog waiting for their Canadian citizenship, it is clear the responsible minister, Jason Kenney, cares more about photo ops and his public image than he does about improving the immigration system and managing his own department. In 2005, the former Liberal government invested $69 million to specifically improve citizenship processing times towards an average of 12 months for a grant of citizenship and four months for a proof of citizenship. We successfully proved that improvements in processing applications are possible.

What Kenney didnt say about his record in India (MP Kevin Lamoureux, South Asian Generation Next)
The Chandigarh office that Mr. Kenney highlighted was actually established by the previous Liberal government, which carefully listened to the needs of Canadians for greater immigration services in the Punjab. Mr. Kenney cherry-picks approval statistics to paint himself in the best possible light. The truth is that a staggering 51% of visitor visa applications are rejected at the Chandigarh office.

Fairness lost in immigration reform (Antje Ellermann, Vancouver Sun)
Last week, the Federal Court of Canada was asked to strike down legislation that terminated the applications of 280,000 foreign skilled workers and their families for being in breach of the Charter of Rights and the rule of law. The governments 2008 decision to eliminate its vast visa processing backlog for the Federal Skilled Worker program by simply legislating away the files of thousands of individuals who had been waiting in good faith for years stands in stark contrast to an immigration system that had long been internationally recognized for its procedural transparency and fairness. How can we account for the Harper governments drastic departure from the well-established principle of non-arbitrariness in immigrant admissions?

The Diverse City: Can you read all about it in ethnic newspapers? (PDF) (April Lindgren, CERIS)
The number of ethnocultural newspapers serving immigrant, ethnic and racialized communities is a testament to the diversity of Canadian cities. What role do these newspapers play in shaping how different groups see each other? This study investigated how three ethnic newspapers published in the Greater Toronto Area portray residents other than their target audiences. Data are presented on the extent to which other groups are covered in the news and the nature of that news coverage. The results suggest that the Korean, Russian and Punjabi-language publications examined in the study paint only a limited picture of diversity in one of the worlds most diverse metropolitan areas. In the case of the Korean-language newspaper, there was also some limited evidence of stereotyping of the Black community. Training options and strategies are proposed to help ethnic news outlets with small editorial teams and limited financial resources introduce greater diversity into their news reporting without compromising coverage of their own communities.

A free society should be able to tolerate a Christian-based law school (Troymedia)
The dean of the faculty of law at Queens University, William Flanagan, argues that Trinity Western University (TWU) should not be allowed to set up its own law school because the Christian university is guilty of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Flanagan should know that a free society tolerates a wide range of opinion on all topics, including sexual morality. No law compels anyone to agree with Flanagans opinions about sex and sexuality, nor is he compelled to agree with Christian teaching about sex and sexuality.

We dont see any extremism here (Divya Kaeley, South Asian Generation Next)
For many years, the Indian government has been labeling legitimate and democratic actions of Canadian Sikhs as extremism. Within the community, we do not see the extremism that the Indian government claims exists. The Sikh community of Canada is vibrant and engaged in all levels of society and has continuously stood up against injustices and human rights violations.

Resource on Childrens Right to Attend School (Settlement AtWork)
This resource discusses childrens right to attend school, at what age a person can be legally excused from attending school, and at what age a student has the legal right not to attend school. There is information for immigrants and newcomers, blind or deaf students, French-language students, and First Nations students.

Peel school board launches plan to hire on the basis of merit, not nepotism (Toronto Star)
In a rare bid to tackle the hidden role personal connections can play in hiring, the Peel District School Board will overhaul the way it hires and promotes teachers from job postings to reference checks to how many people it takes to conduct an interview. The move follows complaints that racial minorities have been shut out by principals who hire only those who look like themselves. The sweeping action plan, unveiled at a board meeting Tuesday night, is in response to a tough inclusion audit. It found many frustrated applicants who claimed that who you know too often trumps what you know, and that nepotism most often blocks teachers of colour, teachers with certain accents, and gay and lesbian educators.–peel-school-board-launches-plan-to-hire-on-the-basis-of-merit-not-nepotism

Ontario must fill the gap left by cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program, say health-care providers (John Bonnar, rabble)
Health-care workers and other service providers rallied Wednesday morning outside the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Toronto to demand that the Ontario government step up to fill the gap left by federal cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program. The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) provides temporary health-care coverage to eligible protected persons, refugee claimants and others who do not qualify for provincial or territorial health insurance plans. Under the previous benefit coverage, the government said the cost of the IFHP grew to $84.6 million in the 20102011 fiscal year.

Refugee Health: Health care workers and students freeze outside waiting for Matthews (
There were hard lessons learned today about how democracy is practiced in this province. About 60-70 protesters, most young health care workers and students, spent more than an hour and a half today outside the downtown Toronto offices of the Ministry of Health. They waited in the bitter cold, hanging on for a possible meeting with Minister Deb Matthews. The size of the crowd varied as participants left and returned again in an effort to keep warm.

Diversity a cornerstone for Chief (Toronto Police Service)
Chief Bill Blair is set to receive yet another prestigious community award. The citys top cop will be presented with the Founders Prize at the 27th African-Canadian Achievement Awards on Feb. 9 at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Michael Van Cooten, the founder of Pride Newspaper which administers the awards, said Chief Blair has made a huge difference in his role since he became Chief eight years ago. You hear leaders in our mainstream organizations talk about diversity, but you dont see much to back up what they are talking about when you look around, said Van Cooten.

NS case leaves rights of niqab-wearing women in doubt (Matthew Behrens, Muslimlink)
The recent Supreme Court of Canada judgment in the NS case deciding whether a woman who brought charges of childhood sexual abuse against male relatives could wear her niqab while providing testimony sparked much discussion that reflected the ongoing tension of a Canadian society where misperceptions and mistrust of anything associated with Islam remain a constant. Part of those tensions reflect an Islamophobic lens that, as University Of Ottawa professor Natasha Bakht points out, positions the niqab as a symbol that is experienced by non-wearers as a form of confrontation or criticism against national ways of living and dressing.

Photographing Human Rights and Human Wrongs (Jamie Bradburn, Torontoist)
A new Ryerson Image Centre exhibition depicts 50 years of the global fight for civil rights.

CCLA Appearing Before Toronto Police Services Board on Race-Based Harassment (CCLA)
As part of an ongoing public discussion with the Toronto Police Services Board about race-based harassment (racial profiling), CCLAs Equality Program Director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv will address the Board. The current issue is the receipt the police will provide to individuals who are detained by police, questioned, and carded (the practice by which police record the identity and personal information about a person in the police database). CCLA is urging the Board to make sure individuals receive a mirror copy of certain basic information recorded by police about them, and the specific reason for the stop.

Canadian immigration sued for ‘immoral’ termination of visa applications (
A class action against the Canadian government opened in Ottawa last week. Lawyers for 1,000 people who had applied to emigrate to Canada under the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program are suing Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney after their applications were terminated in June 2012. Some of those affected had been awaiting a decision on their applications for permanent resident status for eight years. Lawyers for the Plaintiffs claim that Mr Kenney and CIC broke the law and breached Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by terminating the applications. The plaintiffs are suing for the right to have their applications reinstated. If they are successful, it is likely that the government will reinstate a further 96,700 applications that were terminated at the same time. If all the applications were reinstated and then were approved, about 280,000 people would be entitled to Canadian permanent residence.


Working with Refugees in the Community (Settlement AtWork)
As part of CAMHs Refugee Mental Health project, this webinar led by Teresa Dremetsikas (Program Manager at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT)) will provide an opportunity to learn about the Community Model at CCVT.


Ontarios failed approach to poverty (Tasha Kheiriddin, National Post)
Ontario will soon have a new premier, but unfortunately, it appears as though she will have the same old attitude to poverty reduction. A survey of the Liberal candidates positions on the issue, published this week by a group called the 25 in 5 Network for Poverty Reduction, reveals that the two frontrunners, Sandra Pupatello and Kathleen Wynne, both endorse developing Ontarios next Poverty Reduction Strategy. This, despite the fact that by any rational measure, its predecessor has been an abject failure. In 2008, the Liberals implemented a series of policies, which sought to cut child poverty by 25% over a five year period. The government increased child benefits and social assistance rates. It spent $18-million on nutrition programs and provided free dental care to 33,000 kids. It made college more affordable for 200,000 post-secondary students. In other words, it threw bits of help and money at the problem, and hoped that together, the result would be greater than the sum of its parts.


ALLIES Reflecting back and looking forward on immigrant employment solutions (Stephanie Saunders, Maytree)
In 2012, immigrant employment councils and related organizations continued to develop new ideas and put them into action so skilled immigrants find employment. Here are some highlights from the across the country and a glimpse of what is to come in 2013.

Immigration Policy & Domestic Work in Canada (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has just released a study adding to mounting, overwhelming evidence that domestic workers in Canada regularly face overwork, economic exploitation, and rape and physical abuse. While the study presents optimistic modes for change, our discriminatory immigration policies, unwillingness to regulate the treatment of domestic workers, and Canadas insufficient attention to the unique situations domestic workers enter have institutionalized their exploitation. Until all of these issues are addressed, domestic workers will remain excluded from the scope of labour laws and hence from legal protection enjoyed by other workers.

Competing Rights in the Workplace (Settlement AtWork)
This webinar is part of a series leading up to From Counting People to Making People Count: Workplace Inclusion Conference, hosted in partnership by Turner Consulting Group and the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC).


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of Rob Ford Appeal Ruling, Toronto Casino and Other News.

Newsstand: January 24, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
Happy Friday’s Eve, everyone. In the news: police won’t be issuing records of random checks any time soon, Olivia Chow denounces downtown casinos, Mississauga says the province should pay for its first LRT line, and City communications get a little less Ford-y.

Mapping Torontos Terrain: Perspectives On What Has Fractured Our City (Lisa Marie Williams, Wellesley Institute)
The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), a U of T think tank that tries to demystify and improve municipal governance systems, has released a paper with some insight on the seismic shifts taking place at Toronto City Hall. The Fault Lines at City Hall: Reflections on Torontos local government identifies and describes three pressure points often leading to considerable friction among municipal actors when unduly strained. The author, Andre Coté, isolates political leadership, accountability and the role of the Toronto Public Service as prominent fault lines at City Hall. He cites numerous local examples (known by most, even if only superficially, with access to talk radio, primetime TV news, mainstream newspapers and water coolers that inspire gossip) of how these three fault lines have triggered bouts of instability for the City.


Video – Five Good Ideas: Engaging Donors (Ashwin Joshi, Maytree)
Engagement translates into resources (e.g., donor attention, donor time, and donor money). As such, engaged donors represent a strategic asset for nonprofit organizations. Using long established marketing principles, Ashwin Joshi identified five ways in which your organization can develop a mutually fulfilling relationship with donors. He provided a framework and conducted a workshop to put the framework into action

How Banks Should Finance the Social Sector (John Canady, Harvard Business Review)
Banks have a role to play in the social sector. But it is not the one you might think. Instead of trying to develop a convincing business case to provide unsecured lending to higher-risk charities, banks should use their own philanthropic capital to implement the new models that others have developed to address this market failure.

See3 Communications – Nonprofit Video Survey
See3 Communications, YouTube, and Edelman are conducting a study of the North American nonprofit community on the effectiveness of video content. The data and responses gathered will be used to create a report about the use and impact of video in the nonprofit sector, which will create industry-wide awareness and serve as a resource for developing nonprofits. Click here for more information.

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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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