Immigration & Diversity news headlines – January 31, 2013


Diversity Marketing As Strategy: The Best New Market To Tap (Star Business Club)
This is the first in a series of weekly columns on marketing to immigrant Canadians by Altus Strategy Group Senior Consultant Bernice Cheung. As baby boomers die off and Canadians have fewer children to replenish the population, immigrants will be the growth engine of Canada, accounting for over 80% of Canada’s population growth by 2031. Here are a few things you should know about them.

Is Multiculturalism Obsolete? (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Doug Saunders, an international affairs columnist with The Globe and Mail and Denise Balkissoon, a Toronto journalist and co-founder of The Ethnic Aisle blog.

Trades for federal skilled worker program unveiled (Journal of Commerce)
A new federal government immigration program started last week that will allow more than 3,000 skilled tradespersons to enter Canada this year to work in a diverse set of construction occupations. “The new Skilled Trades Program will address serious labour shortages that some regions of the country are facing, and will help grow Canada’s economy,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney.–trades-for-federal-skilled-worker-program-unveiled

Migrants’ billions put aid in the shade (Migrants Canada)
Money transfers from workers abroad to family back home have tripled in a decade and are three times larger than global aid budgets.

How should Christian law schools handle homosexuality? (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association is backing the right of a Christian university to create a law school while continuing to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The president of the BCCLA has issued a strongly worded, six-page letter denouncing the Canadian Council of Law Deans for opposing Trinity Western University’s bid to open the country’s first private law school. BCCLA president Lindsay Lyster accused the deans of the country’s secular law schools of wanting to “monopolize” legal education and keep “religiously-minded” people from becoming law students and lawyers.

Let’s work together to prevent crimes of ‘honour (Globe and Mail)
On Jan. 29, 2012, a jury in Kingston, Ont., found Afghan-born Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya Mohammad and son Hamed guilty in the 2009 murders of daughters Geeti, Sahar and Zeinab and Mr. Shafia’s first wife, Rona Amir Mohammad. It was a trial that repulsed our sensibilities: The women were killed to preserve family “honour.” The teenage daughters’ behaviour had become “too Western” for the parents to bear; the patriarch cursed them even after their deaths. The four deaths pointed to a disturbing national trend. Research by University of Sherbrooke professor Anne-Marie Robert indicated that 16 women have been victims of honour killings in Canada between 1999 and 2009, compared with three between 1954 and 1983. The average victim was 21; the killers were immigrants – usually male – and primarily of Sikh or Muslim background.

Social media protesters crash “Cowboys and Indians” party (Laura Kane, Toronto Star)
Photos of a “Cowboys and Indians” party on Twitter prompted outraged social media users to crash a Parkdale bar and demand attendees remove the “racist” costumes.

{ Che’s Story } Manifesto (Manifesto)
Manifesto founder Che shares his story with The Insight Project about his childhood and growth. Growing up in Guelph, Ontario, he struggled to figure out where he fit in. At the age of 15, a family vacation opened up his world. Surrounded by the rich roots of the Caribbean, with a camera in hand, Che eagerly documented everything he saw, determined to share what was happening in the world with everyone back home. That deep sense of urgency and community spirit drove Che into an accomplished career as a photographer and beloved cultural community instigator.

Immigration experts to share insights at Toronto committee meeting (City of Toronto)
A panel with expertise in immigration issues will share its insights and advice on three immigration and settlement reports that will be before the City of Toronto’s Community Development and Recreation Committee today.

Parkdale Intercultural Association celebrates 35 years of settlement services (Erin Hatfield, InsideToronto)
The winters may be a little too cold for their liking, but immigrants Saba Tedros and Sundus Kafaear say they are settling in quite well here, thanks in part to the Parkdale Intercultural Association (PIA). Tedros from Eritrea and Kafaear from Turkey said they have found a community in Canada and are working toward becoming Canadian citizens and attending college, all with the help of the staff and services at PIA. For the past 35 years the PIA has played a vital role in facilitating settlement and integration for newcomers.

Can Obama’s immigration reform stop Silicon Valley’s brain drain? (Amar Toor,
Both Chile and the UK have taken a similar approach to foreign entrepreneurship, but Canada’s program is bolder than most. Unlike other initiatives, Canada’s startup visa offers permanent and unconditional residency right off the bat, providing entrepreneurs with a comparatively straightforward path to citizenship. The hope, according to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, is that this streamlined approach will “make Canada the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest” entrepreneurs, while breathing new life into the Canadian tech sector as a whole.

Plan for immigration hub in south Burnaby languishes as Vancouver’s gears up (Janaya Fuller Evans, The Province)
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.

Countdown to the Reopening of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (CICSNews)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has announced that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will begin accepting applications on May 4th, 2013. In anticipation of this opening date, many prospective immigrants from around the world have already begun preparing their applications for submission. Pressure on FSWP hopefuls increased when CIC announced that “the new FSWP will accept a fixed number of applications this year”, affirming that a cap would be placed on application intake. While an exact figure has not yet been announced, some proactive individuals have wasted no time in taking steps to ensure that their applications will be ready for speedy submission in May.

“We are in trouble”: Notable Quotables in Canadian Immigration News (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
“I’m really happy. I cannot explain what I’m thinking. The Canadian people are really good people and warm-hearted people. I was really surprised because they are very focused on people in need.” – Saskatoon mother Reka Kincses: had the provincial government not intervened, her daughter Baglarka, who has cerebral palsy, would have been deported for being (from the federal government’s perspective) a “drain on the country’s resources”

Let’s stand together to challenge inequities…’ (South Asian Generation Next)
“Every immigrant woman’s struggle is different, but the issues are the same, so we can help by encouraging each other on this journey. So much depends on financial and family situations, on survival, on fulfilling family needs and there is a sense of shame attached to talking about these issues because they are so personal. It is important for all of us to stand together in this struggle and challenge the inequities that create these challenges.”

Canadian Military Trying to Recruit More Immigrants (CICSNews)
The Canadian Forces are facing a challenge in recruiting enough minorities from mostly immigrant groups, according to a story in

Tribute: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks at Harbourfront Feb. 1 and 2 (Michael Crabb, Toronto Star)
It takes honesty and humility to admit you might have bitten off a bit more than you could chew and then resolve to do better. A year ago Toronto’s Dance Immersion, an organization that champions dance activity of the African Diaspora, produced an ambitious program at Harbourfront Centre paying tribute to seven pioneering leaders, past and present, in the Canadian black dance community. “Tribute: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks” came hot on the heels of the Dance Immersion-hosted International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference and Festival. As it transpired, this was not the best timing. The small organization’s resources were taxed to the extent that the tribute event, though successful, still fell short of Dance Immersion founder Vivine Scarlett’s dream.

Muslim Chaplains Rehabilitate Canada Inmates (Muneeb Nasir, OnIslam)
Seeking to provide religious and spiritual help for inmates in Canadian prisons, Muslim chaplains are discussing the role of the community in helping those who have lost their voices and rehabilitating the offenders. “Pay attention to the factors that lead to incarceration,” Imam Michael AbdurRashid Taylor, Executive Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Services Canada, told


Understanding the new refugee determination system in Canada (Edward C. Corrigan, rabble)
On December 15, 2012, the system for determining refugee claims made in Canada underwent significant changes as a result of the coming into force of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, the latter of which amends both the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has as a result significantly altered its operations and procedures to meet these legislated changes, starting with a new Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and Refugee Appeal Division (RAD). The IRB will continue, as stated in the Government’s Press Release, “to resolve immigration and refugee cases efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.” To address the provisions of the new legislation and accompanying regulations, the IRB has developed new Chairperson’s rules for both the RPD and the RAD and has updated and revised many of its forms and documents as well.

Canada warns Hungarian Roma not to seek asylum (CJNews)
Canada is taking a proactive role in dissuading Hungarian and Roma asylum-seekers from choosing it as a place of refuge. A month-long $13,000 billboard, bus-shelter and radio ad campaign by the Canadian embassy in Budapest targeting the industrial city of Miskolc – home to the largest Roma population in Hungary – is advising would-be applicants to Canada that the immigration system here has changed and they best be aware of the fact.

Frustration mounts in the refugee waiting game (Michael Swan, The Catholic Register)
The 166 Toronto-area parishes with active refugee committees could open a new, more hopeful chapter on up to 700 refugee stories in 2013. While 700 arrivals is technically feasible, the Office of Refugees Archdiocese of Toronto believes it’s probably more realistic to think in terms of about 400 refugees landing at Pearson International Airport in 2013. Still, it’s a big increase over the 150 welcomed in 2012. The Office of Refugees has more than 2,500 refugees in its files with sponsors waiting, 75 per cent of them from the Middle East. The massive refugee crisis triggered by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 opened up a new era in Catholic refugee sponsorship as parishes reached out to rescue Iraqi Christians who had been expelled from homes, neighbourhoods and villages where they had lived for centuries.

Jason Kenney Owes This Immigrant Family One Big Apology (Josh D. Scheinert, Huffington Post)
Adel Benhmuda is owed an apology from this country, as are his wife, Aisha, and their four children. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, doesn’t have a long record of handing out apologies. Proud of his ministry and bureaucrats, more often than not he is praising Canada for having “the fairest asylum system in the world.” Yet, when it comes to the Benhmuda family, Minister Kenney might wish to reconsider, or more likely, admit that Canada’s refugee determination system made a mistake — a big one.


As the fiscal chill thaws: social policy ideas for the medium term – PDF (Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson, Caledon Institute)
Canada’s economic outlook currently remains uncertain. But as the economy begins to recover, as it eventually will, our fiscal situation will gradually improve. So long as there is not another global economic meltdown, the federal government’s debt burden, as measured by debt as a percentage of GDP, should begin to decline within the next few years. In addition, there are numerous opportunities to make our tax system fairer while raising more revenue, such as reintroducing an inheritance tax or increasing the capital gains tax.

It’s Time for an Equality Premier (Behind the Numbers)
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% and the rest of us – second only to oil-blessed Alberta.

Statscan’s been gazing at the poor for decades, so why not the rich? (Globe and Mail)
Statistics Canada this week released data on the incomes of the top 1 per cent of tax filers, and compared these to the incomes of the remaining 99 per cent. Not surprisingly, this small segment of the population receives a disproportionate share of the pie – about one-tenth of all individual income, with a median income at $283,400, about 10 times the median of the bottom 99 per cent. Stat Can has further provided comparable data going back to 1982, and not only by province and for the five largest cities, but also for men and women separately. Stat Can has also used its CANSIM data dissemination tool (now free of charge) to provide a tremendous range of much more detailed breakdowns – enough to keep data junkies busy for days and weeks.

Social assistance reform is happening: Here’s three things to look out for (Steve Barnes, Wellesley Institute)
Incoming premier Kathleen Wynne announced this week that social assistance reform is one of her key priorities. Wynne has asked the Secretary of the Cabinet – Ontario’s top civil servant – to put together an implementation plan for the recommendations made by the social assistance review commission. Moreover, Wynne appointed Commissioner Frances Lankin to her transition team. This renewed focus on reforming the social assistance system is welcome. As we set out in our submissions to the social assistance review commission, the current system does not support opportunities for good health for people who are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable in Ontario.

The 1 per cent get a bad rap (Globe and Mail)
The top 1 per cent of earners in Canada paid 21.2 per cent of federal and provincial income taxes in 2010, while earning just 10.6 per cent of the country’s income. They are a net benefit to Canada. Occupy that. The Occupy movement in Canada never really took off, for many reasons. Its goals were unclear and its methods grated, especially on neighbours of occupied spaces. But maybe, just maybe, there was another reason: The top 1 per cent of earners is not really a problem in Canada. And why should it be? There is no wall around it. Over a five-year period, nearly half of the 1 per cent dropped out, to be replaced by others, according to a Statistics Canada paper released this week.


A Journey from El Salvador to Alberta (ERIEC)
A quick glance at Iris Moreno’s resume shows she is a very well-qualified professional with more than 15 years’ experience in project management within the non-profit and government sectors. While Iris earned her impressive qualifications in El Salvador, she worked with mentor Doug Piquette, ERIEC Executive Director, to learn how to format her resume so Canadian employers could quickly scan the essence of her qualifications. She says resumes in her native El Salvador include much of the same information, but Canadian resumes are formatted very differently. “Individuals use different styles for resumes, but Doug showed me how to highlight my skills in the first part of the resume because that’s where employers will look first to see whether I can offer them the skills and experience they need. He showed me that I have to sell my skills.”

Peterborough Workers’ Action Centre holding public meeting Tuesday night at the Peterborough Public Library (Brendan Wedley, Peterborough Examiner)
Workers dealing with issues such as an employer refusing to pay wages and questions about the employment insurance system may soon have a new resource to turn to for assistance. Peterborough Workers’ Action Centre is holding a public meeting Feb. 12 to describe its role in the community and to start a campaign to create an office with a staff member for the organization. “It’s meant to improve the lives and working conditions of people in low-wage and unstable employment,” said Michael VanDerHerberg, who is helping organize the new centre. “When you’re in a marginalized situation, you often don’t understand what you’re able to do to advocate for yourself.”

A Three Steps Process to Stop the “Canadian Experience” BS (Zieglers Blog)
A few days ago I received an email from a reader. It was not very different to many emails I receive daily from readers around the world. He shared with me his expectations with Canada, what he came looking for and what he is finding now. Sadly, expectations and reality in this case are very different. And I dare to say it may not be completely his fault. Today I want to share with you (once more) how you can overcome the most used excuse by local employers then they do not know how to justify their decision of not hiring you.


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of Warm Weather, TTC Newstands Contract, City Hall and Other News.

Newsstand: January 31, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
You know what they say: sometimes you eat Thursday, and sometimes Thursday, well, it eats you. In the news: a review for a TTC sole-source deal, Olivia Chow pushes for a national transit strategy, TDSB maintenance workers take one step closer to Big Brother, and the NHL could be a long wait for Markham.


Invest in CSI! The Community Bond and Growth Bond (Tonya Surman, Social finance)
The last time we offered Community Bonds, you helped us raise $2 million toward the purchase and renovation of our 36,000 sq. ft. building, CSI Annex. Thanks to our investors, hundreds of social innovators working in everything from farming to finance have a home and supportive community at CSI Annex, and are busy making the world a better place. We are making a new Community Bond offering as we buy out more expensive bondholders, and we are selling Growth Bonds to finance the start-up and operating costs of CSI Starrett-Lehigh in NYC.

Social Enterprise Funding Opportunity – Register for enp-Toronto Today! (Alexis Kane Speer, CSI)
Is your non-profit organization thinking about starting or expanding a social enterprise? Enterprising Non-Profits Toronto (enp-TO) may be for you!

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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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