Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 29, 2013


Changing the face of leadership (DiverseCity Toronto)
The Ontario Liberal Party of Ontario has a new leader, following a race in which diversity was and will remain part of the narrative. We think the leadership race is emblematic of the changing way politics is conducted in Ontario Political parties are making efforts to be both relevant to and reflective of a growing diverse population. An openly gay woman is now premier of Ontario, two women burst out of the gate as front-runners, and the mobilization of immigrant or ethnic and visible minority Liberal members played a key role. Such developments across the political spectrum are urgently needed.

A Wynne-win situation but equality in politics is elusive (Graham Thomson, Edmonton Journal)
On Sunday morning, as more than one political commentator has pointed out, the 13 million residents of Ontario woke up to the fact they have a female premier. A more impressive figure is that on Sunday morning 34 million Canadians woke up to the fact that the vast majority of us — 87 per cent — live in a province or territory led by a woman. Kathleen Wynne’s selection Saturday as leader of Ontario’s governing Liberals means we now have six women premiers: Wynne in Ontario; Alison Redford in Alberta; Christy Clark in British Columbia; Pauline Marois in Quebec; Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland; and Eva Aariak in Nunavut. It is cause for celebration by all of us, even if you don’t happen to agree with the political bent of your particular premier.

Kathleen Wynne’s Diversity Problem (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
On the subject of cultural heritage, it was revealed by confused Liberal party members that Wynne’s campaign sent letters in foreign languages to would-be supporters. In a gauche effort to connect with the ethnic vote, the Wynne campaign combed through membership lists and divvied them up based on perceived cultural origin. For some communities all too familiar with racial profiling, this ill-considered tactic re-opened fresh wounds. The cities of Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie, Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto have all suffered from embarrassing public mishaps regarding racial profiling from law enforcement bodies entrusted to serve and protect all citizens.

Why Wynne’s win matters (Adam Goldenberg, Maclean’s)
The moment was rich with invisible intensity; the crowd around me, I knew, wasn’t experiencing it the way I was. It’s a feeling that every gay person knows too well: the quiet loneliness of imperceptible difference. However gregarious, outgoing, and popular they appear, gay kids spend their adolescence on the wrong side of a one-way mirror, on the inside looking out. Saturday wasn’t so different, but stealth self-loathing gave way to private pride. Victory brought vindication. After spending the last decade feigning confidence in front of my parents, promising them that there was no way that my identity would ever dictate what I could achieve in life, I finally had proof—not just for them, but also for myself.

Canada Beats America to the Punch: Approves A Startup Visa for Immigrant Entrepreneurs (Danny Robinson, Startup Visa)
We are incredibly excited that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in partnership with the Canadian Venture Capital Association (CVCA) approved an official Start-Up Visa (SUV) pilot program for business class immigrants: the Start-Up Business class. The goal of the SUV program is to facilitate the immigration of a new type of immigrant entrepreneur to Canada with the potential to build innovative companies that compete on a global scale and create jobs for Canadians.

Start-up visa could be economic booster for Canada! (Nick Noorani)
The old entrepreneur visa program had no economic benefit to Canada. Essentially to qualify one needed previous experience in self-employment/entrepreneurship and the applicant had to commit to hiring one full time Canadian. Very loosely managed, one heard stories of people starting a business for a few years and closing it down, employing a distant cousin (who was ‘Canadian’ of course!) etc. Most businesses were corner store or restaurants that did no substantial difference to the Canadian economy. Not surprisingly, in his detailed scrutiny of all the immigration programs, the Federal Minister quickly saw this as yet another program with potential misuse and no benefit and shut it down.

The Rhino and its “Cowboys and Indians” problem (with images, tweets) (LadySnarksalot · Storify)
On Saturday night, the Rhino Bar (in Parkdale, Toronto) had a number of white patrons decked out in full “Cowboys and Indians” gear. Naturally, this was offensive to many on Twitter…. and @theRhinoBar has yet to acknowledge any of this via Twitter. #SMfail #Rhinofail

About Saturday Night (Rhino Restaurant)
It’s important for us to reply to an incident that took place this past Saturday night involving a group that was dressed as “Cowboys and Indians”, who we subsequently learned were celebrating two birthdays. At the time, we believed that they were on a pub crawl and would be moving on to another destination shortly. We want to correct the impression that the Rhino hosted the event, or in any way endorsed or condoned it, which is not accurate. We don’t know why the group chose to dress in these costumes. To the best of our information, at no time were any derogatory remarks made about aboriginal people.

Transcultural Psychiatry (McGill)
“Working with interpreters has enriched all my clinical work. What it has made me do is make me think about how I construct my language, how I construct explanatory models of mental health.” Rachel Tribe, Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of East London talks about the benefits and challenges involved in working with interpreters in mental health care. Given that complex cultural constructs are communicated through language, Tribe puts forward suggestions on how mental health practitioners and interpreters can work together to provide the best care for their patients.

The Clinical Ethnographic Interview: opening up the diagnostic process (Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre)
“Depression questionnaires were never set up for the world’s population. They were set up in the West,” says Denise St Arnault, professor in the University of Michigan School of Nursing. For decades researchers have shown the degree to which there is cultural variation in the experience of mental illness, and yet clinicians continue to mostly ignore this fact in their practice. With a background in psychiatric nursing, Saint Arnault has developed what she hopes will be a pragmatic solution, the Clinical Ethnographic Interview. It encourages the opening up the diagnostic process so that patients can introduce the clinician to their own cultural frames and understandings. She talks us through the steps of the interview, which includes exercises to draw the patient’s social networks, map out their body and sensations, and construct a lifeline.

“This place is becoming too Immigranty!” (Larky Canuck)
I was waiting for the elevator along with another tenant in my apartment building in downtown Calgary. I commenced a courtesy chit-chat with this tenant. At one instance, I asked him how he liked living here (I meant in Calgary as most people who live here are not from this City) and his answer was so unexpected. He said he wasn’t too excited living in our building as it had (in his own words) “just become too immigranty“. The usage of the word Immigrant as an adjective was new to me. Upon inquiring further, the person indicated that when he had moved in to the building it had a relatively good mix of demographics (presumably meaning more Canadian born residents) but now it had become full of immigrants (the new Canadians).

Values-based leadership – From ‘me’ to ‘we’ (Safe Harbour)
Values-based leadership (VBL) is the exercise of influence to make a difference in organizations and communities through decisions guided by consistently practiced values that serve the common good. Values-based leaders are adept at balancing healthy self-interest with the common good, a movement from ‘me’ to ‘we.’ Values-based leaders are innovative, collaborative women and men who inspire others and whose actions result in positive, lasting change. These leaders exercise their influence to make a difference by aligning choices and actions with consciously chosen values. In the current context of rapid economic, social, and ecological change, values-based leadership is needed now more than ever.

Mother and Disabled Daughter Fight Deportation Order (Sara Miller, CCLA)
A Romanian woman and her disabled daughter are facing deportation, according to the CBC. In 2009, Reka Kincses and her daughter, Boglarka, arrived in Saskatoon, where Kincses has since worked in a care home. Kincses was recently denied a renewal of her temporary work visa after her daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy, was declared “medically ineligible” for immigration to Canada. Citizenship and Immigration Canada say their decision is based on the “excessive strain” that Kincses’ daughter places on Canada’s health care and social systems. This explanation is confusing to Kincses, who says that her daughter has never accessed any special healthcare or social programs.

Sask. wants Romanian mom, girl to stay (Jason Warick, StarPhoenix)
The Saskatchewan government has sent a letter to federal officials urging them to halt Wednesday’s scheduled deportation of a Saskatoon care home worker and her disabled daughter. News of the letter has given renewed hope to Eniko Reka Kincses and her 22-year-old daughter, Boglarka, said their lawyer, Haidah Amirzadeh. “It’s so important, it’s key,” Amirzadeh said Tuesday. Meanwhile, Kincses and Boglarka will go before a Federal Court judge this morning asking for an order to quash the deportation, Amirzadeh said.

Join the online conversation on migration and human mobility (
Human mobility within and between countries is shaped by a range of diverse economic, social and political interrelations, including those that are fundamental aspects of the development process. Social, economic and demographic inequalities, including in relation to employment opportunities, resources, education or human rights, as well as the impacts of natural and human-made disasters, are amongst the diverse factors that drive migration. In turn, migration itself can affect these factors, with implications for human development. There is a two-way, positive and negative link: migration can result from lack of development and, at the same time, underdevelopment can be alleviated or exacerbated by migration.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy: photos (Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer)
At the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy, Floata Restaurant in Chinatown became a sea of Scottish kilts and shimmering Cheongsam dresses. The event, now a famed tradition (celebrated also in Seattle, after having originated in Vancouver), blends Chinese New Year with the Scottish Robbie Burns Day. The tradition began in 1993 when Todd Wong, a fifth-generation Chinese Canadian, was asked to help with the Robbie Burns celebration at Simon Fraser University. The event, which turns out a large and enthusiastic crowd each year, brought together guests for a lively evening of music, food, poetry and dancing.

It’s a new year and, in many ways, it’s a new Canadian immigration system. (Jennifer Nees, Canadian Lawyer)
As I wrote throughout last year, there have been countless changes to the immigration program, the temporary visa process, and even the physical processing of visas. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney seems intent on overhauling all aspects of the program. In my practice, I use the new year as a time to reflect on what my clients’ business needs have been, and where they are going. Many significant revisions to the Canadian immigration landscape have created a compelling look back. Changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program are extremely welcome. A trades program, shorter Canadian-experience class qualifying times, and faster processing are all enormous benefits my clients are eager to take advantage of. While practitioners applaud the idea of eliminating the permanent residence backlog at visa posts, it seems irresponsible to do so through the process of too-bad-so-sad-your-application-is-over-thanks-for-waiting-but-no.

Housing Discrimination & Canadian Newcomers (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
Bangladeshi immigrant Rafiqul Islam recently filed a human rights complaint against his Mississauga landlord, who demanded a year of rent upfront because Mr. Islam lacked a Canadian employment and credit history. This demand was not legal under Ontario tenant law, and Mr. Islam is one of many Canadian immigrants struggling against housing discrimination. Exactly how commonly is housing discrimination in Canadian urban centres, how severely are newcomers set at disadvantage by housing discrimination, and what can be done about it?

Human rights tribunal probes immigrant’s complaint about huge ‘rent deposit’ (Metro News)
A Bangladeshi immigrant has filed a human rights complaint against a Mississauga landlord who allegedly demanded a year of rent upfront because the tenant lacked a Canadian employment and credit history. An inquiry by the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario into Rafiqul Islam’s complaint was adjourned last week until March. But advocates say the case sheds light on a common grievance among newcomers, who find their housing options limited if they don’t give in to similar demands, which are not legal under Ontario tenant law.

6th Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference (CERIS)
The R.F. Harney Program will be holding its 6th Annual Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Every year, our conference showcases research by current and recent graduate students, and we welcome everybody to join us for two days of presentations and discussions. Pre-registration is not required.

Canadian politics needs a commitment to gender parity (Kim Campbell, Globe and Mail)
Kathleen Wynne’s election on the weekend as leader of the Ontario Liberals means that 87 per cent of Canadians now reside in provinces and territories led by women. As someone who remains disappointed, 20 years on, that I’ve still been the only female prime minister, rather than just the first one, I celebrate this important democratic milestone. Half a dozen female premiers reinforces the message that women belong in politics. Their visibility will change the landscape of Canadian politics and our sense of what is “normal” in public life. But having six female premiers should not make us prematurely complacent. They are still only the tip of an iceberg, the main body of which (75 per cent at all levels of political representation) is unfortunately still overwhelmingly male.


Docs want Ontario to fill gap in refugee health (Peter Criscione, Brampton Guardian)
Health-care workers rallied outside the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Toronto last week to demand that the Ontario government step up to fill the gap left by federal cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program. Supplied photo Health-care workers and other service providers are demanding that Queen’s Park step up to fill the gap left by federal cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP).–uuuuhhhhh

International Protection for a Newly Surfacing Refugee Community (MPI)
“[A]ll refugees have problems in [countries
of first asylum] However, I believe that some problems are very unique to our situation. Many LGBT refugees have no one to turn to. Refugees who fled their countries because of their political activism often can turn to their political parties for support. Refugees who fled for religious reasons can turn to their religious communities. Some refugees can turn to their families in their home country for support. Many of us [LGBT refugees] left everything behind. We have been cut off from our communities, our families in our countries and have no one to turn to.” A refugee’s description of his situation in a country of first asylum as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community offers a succinct explanation of the unique challenge that these individuals face when they seek refuge in a foreign country: the lack of support and resources to which LGBT refugees have access.

Rule changes threaten Roma refugee claimants, charges Alberta woman (CBC)
A Red Deer woman is looking for help in fighting new immigration rules that make it more difficult for Roma people from Hungary to claim refugee status in Canada. “They’re throwing molatov cocktails into Roma houses in the neighbourhoods,” says Zoe Duval, a 22-year-old Romani who was adopted by Canadian parents.


An unsustainable program – A guest blog from Pat Capponi (Open Policy Ontario)
It seems simple, and I can understand the frustration as the numbers continue to rise and few people labelled mentally ill appear willing to take the steps necessary to leave the ODSP rolls. Without knowing this community, their history and their struggles, that frustration will continue. My experience is with those who are labelled seriously mentally ill, with schizophrenia, manic depression, and PTSD, as well as those with long term addictions to drugs like crack cocaine. In this group, poverty is the norm, days are spent in drop-ins or waiting in packed agencies for assistance that never seems timely or appropriate.

Income inequality on the rise, especially in large cities (CCPA)
Income inequality in Canada is on the rise—especially in the country’s largest cities. CCPA analysis of new data finds the richest 1% of Canadians make almost $180,000 more today than they did in 1982 (adjusted for inflation), while the bottom 90% of Canadians saw income gains of only $1,700. In Canada’s three largest cities—Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal—the bottom 90% make less today than they did in 1982. They’ve seen drops in income of $4,300, $1,900, and $224, respectively. The top 1% in those cities saw pay increases of $189,000, $297,000, and $162,000, respectively.


Adopt an HR Immigrant (Michael Bach)
We’ve all heard the stories. Newcomers to Canada struggle to find work. There are doctors driving cabs and MBAs cleaning floors. It’s a tragic situation that desperately needs to be addressed if we as a country are to harness the creativity and innovation of people who choose to call Canada their home. But that’s not the case for newcomers in HR, right? Think again.

Train Canadians for skilled jobs (letter – Phil Harrison, Times Colonist)
The article by Kevin J. Clarke, CEO of Catalyst Paper, outlines the huge challenge that governments and employers face with skill shortages. Both have anticipated this crisis, but not enough has been done to ensure that skills needs are met by our post-secondary institutions and apprenticeships. For decades, there has been a disconnect between employers, government and the education system that provides skill training. The easy solution for governments and employers is the temporary foreign worker route, but this limits future opportunities in good industrial jobs for students, underemployed and unemployed Canadians. One would think that Clarke’s human-resources team and the employment-insurance system could identify some skilled paper-mill candidates in the 1.3 million unemployed across Canada. However, it could be that paper-mill skills are as rare as long-face coal miners, as HD Mining International apparently experienced.

HD Mining sends 16 temporary workers back to China (Globe and Mail)
HD Mining announced Monday that 16 temporary foreign workers who had been hired to work on the company’s Murray River Coal Project are returning to China, saying a high-profile court case has resulted in too much uncertainty to keep the workers in B.C. “This was a difficult decision for us, but we are very concerned about the cost and disruption this litigation brought by the unions has caused to the planning of the project,” HD Mining spokeswoman Jody Shimkus said in a statement. “We need reasonable certainty before initiating work on our underground bulk sample. We have also decided to delay bringing any additional workers to Tumbler Ridge until we have reliable certainty.”

For temporary foreign workers, learning on the job (Globe and Mail)
Recent reports show that Canada’s labour market is an increasingly difficult puzzle to solve, one where in some areas, educational qualifications don’t reflect what employers demand, while in others companies compete over workers. That competition is not restricted to the highly skilled. For example, in provinces where temporary foreign workers can apply for permanent residence, businesses fear they can lose the investment they’ve made recruiting and flying the worker to the country – workers can more easily change employers once their residence application is approved. To retain them, companies invest in training programs that can lead to promotions and higher wages.


Tuesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of Rob Ford, Ana Bailao, Transit and Casino.


New study attempts to understand next generation major donors (Charity Village)
A new US study published by 21/64 and the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, sheds light on the philanthropic motivations of next generation major donors, those who fit into “Gen X” (born 1964-1980) or “Gen Y/Millennial” (born 1981-2000) generational cohorts.

Careers in NGOs (TPL)
There’s always a lot of talk about the merits of working for a for-profit organization; but, what about non-profits? “A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a not-for-profit, voluntary citizens’ group, which is organized on a local, national or international level to address issues in support of the public good. Task-oriented and made up of people with a common interest, NGOs perform a variety of services and humanitarian functions, bring citizens’ concerns to Governments, monitor policy and program implementation, and encourage participation of civil society stakeholders at the community level.”

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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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