Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 30, 2013


Taking Time for Community Safety (Cities of Migration)
A 2-way community engagement strategy helps police contribute to safe, welcoming communities.

Found in Translation: Bilbao’s Online Multilingual Resource Guide (Cities of Migration)
A comprehensive multilingual online resource guides residents, municipal staff and community NGOs.

Taking a National Language and Integration Class Local (Cities of Migration)
Language training and employment services open doors to work, school and the everyday business of daily life.

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 government’s 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 government’s drastic departure from the well-established principle of non-arbitrariness in immigrant admissions?

Hello, My Name Is… (Amy Stupavsky, University of Toronto Magazine)
“I feel for you, sister,” says Ritu Bhasin, when I tell her how people stumble over the syllables in my Slovakian surname. For years, people have bungled Bhasin’s name, which spurred her to develop an app to address the problem. Mivoko, a play on the Latin for “my voice,” is a recording tool that “puts a voice to everyone’s name.” The concept for Mivoko originated from a feature in Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary: a horn button that sounds out words. “I used it one day and I thought, ‘There should be something like this for names,’” says Bhasin (BA 1997, EMBA 2010), who partnered with a venture capitalist and an engineer to create the app.

Group recognized for helping Regina’s newcomers (Courtney Mintenko, Newstalk 650)
The Regina Police Service has recognized a project that aims to build a better relationship between officers and new Canadians. The Community Policing Award was given to members of the Regina Open Door Society (RODS) and the police service’s Cultural and Diversity Unit for producing educational videos and booklets for newcomers to Regina. “The reason we have done it because a lot of newcomers coming to a new country are usually afraid of the police. So we did this project to educate newcomers about the role of the police. Also, to provide information about the legal system here in Canada,” said Getachew Woldyesus, Settlement and Family Services Unit Manager with RODS. Woldyesus explained this is because the police service can often be corrupt in other country’s, with officers even involved in torture. The aim of the project is to change the relationship between newcomers and police officers in Regina.

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.

New Start-Up Visa program aims to attract foreign entrepreneurs to Canada (Yonge Street)
Innovation requires, first of all, innovators: people with the creativity and talent to come up with plans and projects, products and services, that hadn’t quite occured to anyone else before. And innovation in the globalizing world requires increased flexibility, knowledge of foreign markets, and the capacity to adapt to changing technologies and circumstances.

Skilled Worker Program Is Back (Asian Pacific Post)
The federal Skilled Worker program is back effective May 4, 2013 – it was halted in June of 2012 due to the overwhelming backlog of cases. The new program is designed to allow processing to occur in a far more timely fashion. The program’s changes also shift emphasis from education and foreign work experience to language proficiency and Canadian work experience. The emphasis is now on an immigrants’ ability to integrate into the Canadian workplace as quickly as possible.

Women on top; now what? (Linda Taylor, Winnipeg Free Press)
A massive coup has been staged by women and it seems to have just sneaked up on us when we weren’t looking. It is amazing that today 87 per cent of Canadians live in a province where the premier is a woman. When we look for political leadership, nine of 10 Canadians will see a woman. In 2000, only 13 years ago, we could count the number of women who had ever been premier on one hand. Today we have six in office — Christy Clark in B.C., Alison Redford in Alberta, Pauline Marois in Quebec, Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland and Eva Aariak in Nunuvut are now joined by Kathleen Wynne in Ontario. Now the big questions we need to ask are what does this mean and how will it affect us? Will this revolution result in critical changes in government policy? It would certainly be a shame if it just resulted in the “same old, same old.”

Immigrants protest Canada residency delays (
THOUSANDS of immigrants have pressed Canada’s government to fast-track their permanent residency applications, saying undue delays have put their lives on hold for years.

Sask. attitude great contrast (Star Phoenix)
Considering the importance that various governments, employers and academics place on attracting immigrants to sustain economic growth, the contrast in strategy couldn’t have been clearer than what happened in Saskatoon on Tuesday. After news broke of the imminent deportation of a Saskatoon care home worker and her disabled daughter this week, Premier Brad Wall’s government quickly fired off a letter to federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, asking for logic and compassion to win the day. On Tuesday, the expected deportation hearing for Eniko Reka Kincses and her 22-year-old daughter Boglarka was cancelled, and they were told they didn’t have to catch an early morning flight out of the country Wednesday.

Plan for immigration hub in city languishes (Janaya Fuller Evans, Burnaby Now)
The plot of land in south Burnaby was intended to provide refuge for refugees and necessary services to recently arrived immigrants. Instead, it stands vacant while over the border in Vancouver, the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. is building Welcome House, a large service hub for new arrivals. In 2006, the City of Burnaby sent a delegation to Ottawa, offering to contribute 0.85 acres of land – which was valued at $2.4 million in 2005 – for an immigration hub in the city, according to a city staff report. In turn, the city asked that the federal government contribute $11.5 million for construction costs.

Community organizations help craft Surrey immigration plan, aimed at new immigrants (Beacon BC News)
Several community organizations are helping the City of Surrey in the design of a new action plan as part of the Welcoming Communities Program (WCP) to create a more friendly environment for immigrants in the city. The Surrey immigration plan includes encouraging a more supportive environment for immigrants at the workplace and facilitating access to community services.

Government’s immigration reform makes good sense (Martin Collacott, Vancouver Sun)
In her column, “Fairness lost in immigration reform” (The Vancouver Sun, Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013), Antje Ellermann questions the fairness of the government’s decision to terminate the applications of 280,000 foreign skilled workers. While the decision was no doubt a major disappointment for those involved, it is important to take note of the circumstances in which it was taken.

Hilarity. (Joe Gerstandt)
A few of my favorite hilarious things that get said about diversity and inclusion: “Diversity is a scam.” This one is my favorite. I love the idea that diversity is something that we have just invented as a money-making scheme. Diversity (or difference) is a naturally occurring phenomena. Unlike things that we have actually invented like management and work and architecture and economics and politics and human resources and recruiting, diversity is one of the most basic and most fundamental aspects of human interaction that there is. Anytime two or more people are gathered (regardless of who those people are), diversity is present. There is difference in every single interaction or transaction between human beings. There would be no life without difference. But you think it’s a made-up thing? M’kay.

Video: Raising our Voice (Mennonite New Life Centre)
Raising our Voice is a documentary produced by the Mennonite New Life Centre in 2010 and it tells the story of our Community Engagement program. It shares stories of newcomer advocacy for social change, fair employment and inclusive civic participation in Toronto.

Rhino under fire for “racist” Cowboys and Indians event (Robyn Urback, blogTO)
A group of concerned Torontonians took to Twitter Saturday night after learning of a “Cowboys and Indians” party at a Parkdale bar. About 15 to 30 people came dressed for the event, decked out either in cowboy gear or “Indian” getups with faux headdresses and war paint. The Rhino was the inadvertent host of the party, later issuing a statement clarifying that it did not invite or endorse the party in any way. Nevertheless, many have pledged to boycott the bar over its supposed tolerance of “racist” dress, citing comparisons to black face and referencing the ongoing Idle No More protests.

Outrage grows over ‘racist’ cowboys and Indians party held at Toronto bar (Tristin Hopper, Samuel Greenfield, National Post)
Outraged Torontonians banded together on Saturday night to descend on a “racist party in full swing” at a Parkdale bar: A “cowboys and Indians” gathering complete with war paint and faux headdresses. The party of 20 people, dressed in cowboy hats, headdresses and plastic tomahawks, gathered at Parkdale’s The Rhino Restaurant and Bar on Saturday night, reportedly to commemorate a double birthday. Another patron spotted the party and sent out an alert on Twitter: “There are people actually dressed as cowboys and Indians. Face paint and feathers.”

Common Causes: Human rights policies eroding under Harper government (Maude Barlow, rabble)
Through a wide variety of initiatives, policies and positions at both national and international levels, Canada’s traditional reputation as a human rights leader has eroded. The speed at which decades of human rights leadership has come undone has been dizzying.

Deport criminals faster (Sarah McMaster, The Bulletin)
The legislation responds to numerous cases in recent years where dangerous offenders, who should have been deported from Canada, found loopholes to stay in the country and commit further devastating crimes

Randy Quaid v. Hollywood Star-Wackers, Round 3 (
Actor Randy Quaid has lost his bid for permanent residency status in Canada, where he’s been since 2010, hiding from the “Hollywood Star-Wackers” who are out to get him. He’s been nominated for an Oscar and he’s been nominated for an Emmy, but now Randy Quaid is known as an international fugitive since skipping town to avoid felony and misdemeanor charges in California.

Mother, disabled daughter in Saskatoon avoid Wednesday deportation (Jason Warick, LeaderPost)
Eniko Reka Kincses and her disabled daughter, Boglarka, can stop packing their suitcases after a deportation order against them was lifted. “I’m really happy. I can’t explain it in words,” Kincses said Tuesday morning after hearing the news. “The Canadian people are really good people.”

Closure of Canada’s visa office in Buffalo, N.Y., leaves applicants in limbo (Stephanie Levitz, Winnipeg Free Press)
Thousands of people waiting to become permanent residents of Canada are angry about a backlog caused by the closure of a Canadian visa office in New York state. Their applications were shipped from Buffalo to Ottawa last year after the government closed the office in the U.S. city. Applicants say the move has placed their efforts to apply for permanent residency in limbo, with processing times far exceeding what they had been led to believe initially.

Kirpans Allowed In Alberta Courts, Sikhs Can Wear Religious Knives (Seema Dhawan, Huffington Post)
The Alberta government has come up with a policy that allows Sikhs to wear a ceremonial religious dagger called a kirpan in provincial courthouses. Under the policy, a person must tell security officers they have a kirpan and wear it in a sheath, under clothing. The blade of the kirpan can be no longer than 10 centimetres. The World Sikh Organization says Alberta is the first province to bring in a provincewide policy for all of its courts.

Kristyn Wong-Tam: Transit equity is about customer service (National Post)
Gender awareness has already been incorporated in service enhancements at the TTC, namely with the implementation of designated waiting areas, which improve safety on the subway platforms, as well as the request-stop programs that historically allowed women and girls to request bus drivers stop between designated stops after dark. These services have evolved, and are now available to benefit all riders. New South Wales in Australia purposefully “design out” opportunities for sexual assault by constructing bright lights, walking paths along major routes and monitored security in its transit infrastructure. Mexico City also adopted a gender lens in its public transit planning by creating the program “Women Traveling Safely on the City’s Public Transit.”

How to keep Canada’s crime rate low (Michael Kempa, CBC)
Overlooked in much of the public discussion about crime is that Canada’s period of increasing safety has overlapped with a huge wave of immigration and the transition to a society that makes room for all cultures, by protecting the rights of individuals. Sociologist Ron Levi, an associate professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, has worked with other academics to study delinquency in areas with high numbers of recent immigrants. He and his colleagues have found that, contrary to many popular views, delinquency and crime rates are lowest amongst the most recent immigrants to Canada — no matter where they have come from in the world.

Apps/Games For Intercultural Dialogue (UNAOC)
The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, the MIT Education Arcade, and Learning Games Network are pleased to announce the five finalists of Create UNAOC 2012, the international competition for app and game developers to produce apps and mobile games that enable new avenues for intercultural dialogue.

My History Museum (Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum)
The Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Canadian War Museum are asking: What would you put in your national history museum? What stories would you tell? How would you reach Canadians across the country? Click on any image below for a fun activity to build your history museum. As our website continues to grow, with new images and content, we hope that you will become a regular visitor.

Chinese Canadians, Sam Kee and the Shallowest Commercial Building (Igor I. Solar, Digital Journal)
There are 43 heritage buildings in Vancouver’s Chinatown known as Historic Sites of Canada which are witness of the Chinese community’s defiance to discrimination and its impact in the growth of British Columbia; the Sam Kee Building is one of them. Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada and one of the most important Chinese enclaves in North America. Located near downtown Vancouver, the clearly defined neighbourhood is closely linked to the development of the city of Vancouver since its beginning in the latter part of the 19th Century, and with the social, cultural and commercial activities of Chinese immigrants in British Columbia and Canada.

Law firm diversity: programs that work – spotlight on FMC (HR Professional)
Kristin Taylor from the law firm Fraser, Milner, Casgrain discusses the firms diversity programs and how it has impacted the way they do their work.


Refugee rules the end of Canada’s humanitarian tradition (Globe and Mail)
We must let go of the idea that Canada’s refugee system is better, fairer, more generous or more humanitarian than other systems in the world. It is easy to dismiss the current debate about changes to Canada’s refugee process as the same-old stand-off between the soft liberal left and a strong reformist government. But the tenor of the recent changes has irrevocably altered the terrain. The changes which took effect in December put the finishing touches on a round of reform that has brought a dramatic end to what was once known as Canada’s humanitarian tradition. Whether Canadians like the new system or loathe it, it is important to acknowledge that it is a game changer.

Bhutanese refugees find a new home in Saskatoon (Jeff Davis, Star Phoenix)
Some 80 refugees from a minority community in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan have resettled in Saskatoon since 2009 and have quickly settled into life in Canada. These refugees are from the Lhotshampa ethnic group, which has faced severe repression by the government of Bhutan in recent decades. Unlike the majority of Bhutanese who are Buddhist, the Lhotshampa practice the Hindu religion, having migrated to Bhutan from neighbouring Nepal between 1885 and the 1960s.

Hidden Homelessness: Non-Status & Refugee Women at Risk (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
By the late 1990s about one-third of Canada’s refugees were coming to Toronto, and thousands of refugees faced homelessness. Following the 2008 recession, construction of new subsidized social housing projects were largely left abandoned, and Toronto’s apartment vacancy rate reached an unprecedented low as discriminatory screening practises increase and rent rates skyrocket. When housing is denied or unaffordable, recent immigrants, particularly non-status and refugee claimants, join the desperate ranks of the hidden homeless. As thousands of individuals or families shift between temporary and often illegal housing situations, 90,000 households are currently waitlisted for subsidized social housing, the risk of plunging into absolute or ‘visible’ homelessness remains a constant threat. Non-status and refugee women among them are, in particular, extremely vulnerable to abuse.

Legal Aid Ontario announces interim process for refugee law services (Settlement AtWork)
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) continues to review the delivery of refugee services in response to new legislation and to modernize services for clients. The Balanced Refugee Reform Act, coupled with the closure of the Ottawa Immigration and Refugee Board Office, has resulted in new processes for refugee claimants, private bar lawyers, and LAO.


Will Kathleen Wynne Cross the Inequality Barrier? (Huffington Post)
Imagine if Ontario’s incoming Premier — lauded for breaking the inequality barrier on two counts — decided to parlay her victory into a post-austerity focus on solutions to income inequality. Now that would be truly groundbreaking. And it couldn’t come at a better time. Brand new data from Statistics Canada shows Ontario holds the dubious distinction of having the second worst level of income inequality between the richest 1 per cent and the rest of us — second only to oil-blessed Alberta.

Parents in poorer Toronto areas demand more school funds (Globe and Mail)
Parents in one East York community say the Toronto District School Board is playing favourites with the city’s most affluent schools, funding construction work in some parts of the city while children in their working-class and immigrant neighbourhood attend class in decaying portables. The board has faced widespread criticism for the way it spends on construction projects, and a $10-million budget overrun at Nelson Mandela Park Public School prompted the Ontario government to stop funding for new TDSB school buildings in October.


Shortage of skilled workers looming, report says (Globe and Mail)
From the pulp-and-paper sector to mining and construction, business in British Columbia is relying on a shrinking pool of workers from across Canada and around the world to meet the need for skilled labour. But the crisis hasn’t even started, according to a labour-market study to be released Tuesday from B.C.’s research universities. The report calculates that the tipping point – where the number of jobs in B.C. will exceed the number of qualified workers – is just three years away.


Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of Toronto Climate Change, Transit, Ford and Wynne, Human Trafficking and Other News.

Newsstand: January 30, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
Whatever, Wednesday. You always complain about being stuck in the middle of Monday and Tuesday’s torrid relationship, but quite frankly you got yourself into this. In the news: parks and environment chair Norm Kelly doesn’t believe in global warming; going the distance, and paying for it; questions of equitable school repair funding at the TDSB; a transit premier; and Markham’s arena proceeds.


The Commons: This uncivil democracy (Aaron Wherry, Maclean’s)
It is necessary to ask because civility is something we often say we are concerned with. Just this morning, Nathan Cullen, the NDP House leader, stood in the foyer and announced the launch of a Civility Project. Fines and suspensions would be dealt to those who were found to have acted without sufficient grace. Everyone would strive, together, to be better. It is no doubt a lovely idea: that we should be nicer and more respectful and more mature and better mannered. It is the sort of thing we teach our children (or at least the sort of thing we used to be able to teach our children before this age of incivility corrupted our youth with its rock music/hippies/video games/rap music/violent movies/Internet/baggy pants ). Even at its vaguest, civility is a principle worth following: don’t be a jerk, say please and thank you, hold the door open for little old ladies and so forth.

Workshop (Innoweave)
Innoweave is now launching the second cohort of our Impact and Strategic Clarity Module, let by our Certified Innoweave Impact Coaches. Each of our seven Coach teams will select a 2-6 organizations to work with over this 5-month period. Selected organizations will benefit from the training Coaches have received from the world-class Bridgespan Group, and be put through a structured and rigorous process to define an intended impact and theory of change.

Building better boards with your help (Institute on Governance)
The Institute on Governance is looking for your assistance in distributing this invitation to participate in a national, bilingual survey. This research is on a critical but understudied topic in the good governance of not-for-profit and related organizations – the leadership role of a board of directors in stakeholder relations. The aim of this Institute on Governance survey is to identify board-level models, practices and tools that will help not-for-profit and related boards carry out their responsibilities in this area. We will share our findings with survey respondents and distributors, and make the findings freely available to the public.

The Top 101 Most Influential People in Government and Politics in 2013: The List (Hill Times)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
Treasury Board President Tony Clement
International Trade Minister Ed Fast
Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair
PMO chief of staff Nigel Wright
PCO Clerk Wayne Wouters
Arthur Hamilton, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP partner and Conservative Party lawyer
Conservative Party director of political operations Jenni Byrne
PMO director of policy Rachel Curran
National Security Adviser to the PM Stephen Rigby
Michelle d’Auray, Public Works deputy minister
Yaprak Baltacioglu, secretary of the Treasury Board
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canadian ambassador to China
Simon Kennedy, International Trade deputy minister
John Knubley, Industry Canada deputy minister
John Manley, Canadian Council of Chief Executives president and CEO
Tom Lawson, chief of defence staff
Supreme Court Justice Beverley McLachlin
Andrew MacDougall, PMO communications director
PMO principal secretary Ray Novak
Liberal MP Justin Trudeau

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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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