Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 1, 2013


Toronto warned of surge of undocumented migrants in 2015 (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Toronto will see a spike in its undocumented migrant population in 2015 when many of Canada’s temporary foreign workers see their four-year work permits expire and move underground, a city committee has heard. “This issue is going to hit Toronto particularly hard,” University of Toronto law professor Andrey Macklin, a member of panel of immigration experts, told the Community Development and Recreation Committee Thursday. “Based on the experience of other guest worker regimes, there is a significant number of people who end up overstaying.”

Toronto prime destination for undocumented workers, committee told (CBC)
A law professor says Toronto has the highest number of undocumented workers in Canada. Audrey Macklin of the University of Toronto says temporary immigration, especially for employment purposes, can often lead to undocumented workers. Macklin also says the most-populous city in the country is a good place to hide.

Right to vote in city election for everyone, councillor says (Jonathan Zettel, Humber Journalism)
The right to vote — regardless of citizenship — ought to be a key election issue in 2014, according to a Toronto councillor. “Let’s have every mayoral candidate step up and say what they believe on this issue and we will have a real debate in the city of Toronto,” Coun. Janet Davis, Ward 31, said in a standing-room only committee meeting Thursday. Hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents are currently ineligible to vote in municipal elections, despite paying taxes and using city services, because they are not Canadian citizens.

Toronto’s Non-Citizens May Soon Get The Vote (Michael Bolen, Huffington Post)
Toronto residents who aren’t Canadian citizens may be able to vote in the city’s next election. A motion passed Thursday by the city’s community development and recreation committee said all permanent residents should have the right to vote in the 2014 municipal elections, regardless of their citizenship status. The motion followed the release of a report called the Toronto Newcomer Strategy.

Labor Migrant Integration through Cities and Business (The Hague Process)
In cities across the world, businesses are often not finding the skilled labor they need. This does not mean that skilled individuals are not present in these cities. In metropolises on every continent highly skilled migrant laborers are unable to connect with the companies in need of their services and vice-versa.

Webinar Recording: Levelling the Playing Field: Building Equality and Inclusion with Sport (Cities of Migration)
Learn how two youth-focused programs in Greenwich (UK) and Montreal (Canada) are using the power of sport and games to cultivate cross-cultural understanding, empathy, equality and fair play. Sport and recreational activities have enormous potential to build bridges between communities. Team sports, in particular, help develop social networks, forge friendships, and overcome differences by promoting mutual understanding.

Immigrant settlement in urban areas: The importance of city governments (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
Cities that do integration well, do well, argues a new report, From Policy to Practice: Lessons from Local Leadership on Immigrant Integration. Given the timing of the impending adoption of the City’s of Toronto’s new immigration strategy, the Toronto Newcomer Initiative (a report with many graphics and colourful pictures), I thought it timely to look at what other substantive work is being done. Where the academic-driven Welcoming Community Initiative is looking at settlement issues across the province, Cities of Migration has focused strengthening knowledge translation in urban areas across Europe and North America. Its most recent report is a series of paper from various researchers and foundations (including Toronto’s own Myer Siemiatycki). The authors provide numerous examples of how cities in the West are becoming more inclusive.

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.

Feds eye expanded use of electronic ankle bracelets for prisoners, immigrants (Jim Bronskill, Calgary Herald)
Canada’s prison service plans a new pilot project to test the effectiveness of electronic ankle bracelets on offenders released into the community with conditions. In addition, the federal border agency will consult the United States and Britain as part of a study looking at expanded use of the tracking devices on immigrants and refugee claimants. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews outlined the initiatives — despite steadfast opposition from the NDP — in a written response to a Commons committee that examined electronic bracelets last year.

Embracing Niagara’s black history (Jeff Bolichowski, St Catharines Standard)
Solomon Moseby would have been home free if not for the horse. Fleeing slavery in the U.S., Moseby stole his master’s horse on his way to the promise of freedom in Niagara. But his master’s agents followed him and had him arrested in Niagara-on-the-Lake. By that time – the 1830s – the British Empire had abolished slavery and would not send escaped black slaves back to their masters. It was different for Moseby, because stealing the horse made him a criminal.

U.S. Army deserter escapes capture outside Vancouver church ‘sanctuary’ when elderly friend fights off officers (Tristin Hopper, National Post)
For more than three years, U.S. Army deserter Rodney Watson has staved off deportation using nothing more than the brick walls of Downtown Vancouver’s First United Church — and the unwritten biblical code of “sanctuary.” Thus, when border officials spotted Mr. Watson “off property” during a routine check of the building Tuesday, they saw fit to make their move.

Welcome to the PSI Forum! (OCASI Positive Spaces Initiative)
Welcome to the Positive Spaces Initiative discussion forum! This forum is also known as the Community of Practice. The Community of Practice is intended to provide opportunity for service providers as well as community members to create and sustain an online network to: – support one another in addressing issues of LGBTQ newcomers and refugees – increase capacity within newcomer, immigrant and refugee communities and mainstream LGBTQ communities to better serve LGBTQ newcomers and refugees – promote LGBTQ newcomer events, projects and initiatives We welcome your questions and comments about the Positive Spaces Initiative. Please use this discussion area to ask questions and help raise awareness on LGBTQ newcomer issues and promote events, projects and initiatives in the community.

Military career a very tough sell for young Asian- and Arab-Canadians (Colin Horgan, iPolitics)
When Ipsos Reid asked non-Chinese Asian- and Arab-Canadians what line of work they might be interested in pursuing or would recommend to a younger person, no more than one per cent of those polled said they’d look for a job in the military. Further, when asked which career they’d be least interested in pursuing, Ipsos Reid found “the military tops the list.” Thirty-one per cent of Asian- and Arab-Canadian youth (and 25 per cent of those polled from the community) told the polling firm that a career in the military would be of least interest to them, “followed distantly by other fields.”

Immigration Has Lowered Canadian Crime Rates: Why Are We Surprised? (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
Over the last four years, the Conservative government has issued clear, hard-nosed stances on seemingly rampant cases of immigration fraud and an abundance of “freeloading refugees” and “foreign criminals,” thereby justifying many of its radical overhauls of immigration policy (whenever it isn’t possible to simply bury it, that is). But as immigration rates rise – the proportion of foreign born residents is now at 50% in Toronto – crime rates have decreased steadily: Toronto have seen their crime rates decline by 50% since 1991. Conservatives credit these decreases to factors like heightened security measures that make it more difficult to commit crime, and the deterrent effects of harsher sentencing. But a recent article highlights ongoing research with radically different findings: immigration has in fact lowered Canadian crime rates.

More than half of Canadian visas available to Ireland for 2013 snapped up since Tuesday (Allison Bray,
A RECORD number of young emigrants flocking to Canada in search of work are being warned to do their homework before they go due to the high cost of living and other hurdles they may encounter once there. Already more than half of the 6,350 working holiday visas available to Irish citizens under the age of 36 for 2013 have been snapped up since they were allocated on Tuesday afternoon, said Joe O’Brien, policy officer for the Crosscare Migrant Project in Dublin. “I’ve never seen visas disappear at a rate like this,” he said of the two-year work-travel visas.

How Greater Toronto Area schools celebrate Black History Month (Metro News)
It’s February and students across Canada are celebrating Black History Month and the rich heritage, achievements and contributions of African and Caribbean Canadians. In the Greater Toronto Area, students from kindergarten to Grade 12 will attend assemblies and workshops, participate in the visual and performing arts, listen to stories of bravery and compassion in the fight for freedom as told by descendents of slaves and discuss how the past has influenced the future.

Nigeria: Open Sesame – Canada’s Lure for Nigeria’s Students (Maureen Onochie, Judd-leonard Okafor,
Thousands more Nigerian students are looking to move their schooling outside the shores of Nigeria–to Ghana among African countries–and elsewhere to Europe, the US and Canada. Nigerian government is not stopping them, nor can it compete at the moment on providing the trappings of an overseas education. In the first place, there isn’t enough space: two out every three students in Nigeria may never get any placement in any university. The nearly 100 higher institutions in Nigeria “are only able to offer admissions to only about one third of eligible applicants,” Wike observed. “This has created a situation where Nigeria has become the largest market in Africa for the recruitment of students by educational institutions abroad.”

Lifting Off and Flying High: Talent, Success in Canada (McGill)
How does Canada foster and grow its celebrities and success? Is Canada efficient enough at spotting talent and supporting it through incubation and lift-off? Culture and the Arts: Has Canadian culture changed enough that its successes reflect the country’s diversity? The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC) will examine what it means to have a career in Canada in three sectors: culture/entertainment, high-tech and sports/athletics at its annual conference, “Lifting Off and Flying High: Talent and Success in Canada”. The two-day event will be held at the Omni Mont-Royal Hotel, 1050 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, on February 11-12, 2013.

Think Like Zuck: How Leadership Diversity Sparks Innovation (Meghan M. Biro, Forbes)
Walter’s book is not just about Facebook’s founder; it’s a very engaging look at why his company is successful. And in it, she hits on something that many of the other books seem to have missed: the power of diversity in innovation. I’m not talking about demographic diversity alone. Please don’t get me wrong—demographic diversity is absolutely vital to innovation. And efforts to make companies more demographically diverse still have a long way to go. But, building on the knowledge that diversity is power, I propose expanding the definition of “diversity.” Not as a counterpoint to the demographic meaning, but as a flourish upon it. Musicians call such things embellishments. Maybe you’ve heard jazz performers and others add their own riffs to the music they’re exploring.

Human Rights Legal Support Centre (HRLSC) Frequently Asked Questions (Settlement AtWork)
The HRLSC website has frequently asked questions under headings related to human rights at work, housing, services, contracts, associations, Ontario Human Rights System and human rights applications.

“Diversity” Gone Global: Diversity & Inclusion Makes the Global Tipping Point (Mary-Frances Winters, The Inclusion Solution)
While diversity and inclusion (D&I) practitioners have been aware that the issues of diversity and inclusion span the globe, until recently the popular sentiment was that the term “diversity” was a US idea that did not play well in other parts of the world. I think that the “tipping point” has occurred as we see rapid adoption of the terms diversity and inclusion in Europe and other parts of the world as well as CDO’s being named at European, Asian and Australian companies.

Time to Get on Big Boards (Diversity Executive)
Women and minorities tend to gravitate toward boards for smaller, more community-based nonprofits. It’s now time for the next step, says columnist Robert Rodriguez. At almost every major diversity conference or symposium I attend, there is a panel session about getting more minorities and women to serve on corporate boards. The diversity profile of most public corporate boards leaves much to be desired, and it is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done.

More Chinese immigrants sue Canadian government (Bai Tiantian, Global Times)
Forty-six Chinese applicants to Canada’s investor immigrant program have joined a lawsuit against Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) for what their lawyer says is the “warehousing” their applications. In December a Canadian court dismissed an injunction brought earlier by 14 Chinese immigrants saying it could not rule on a law that does not yet exist. Their lawyer is now pushing forward with another court challenge, which 46 immigrant applications have now joined and 76 others are considering joining. Timothy Leahy, the Canadian lawyer who represents the Chinese immigrants, told the Global Times in an email on Thursday that in 2010 the CIC increased the funds required for its investor immigrant program and are now processing those applications ahead of the qualified applications that were filed prior to the increased requirements.

Ottawa police talk race before starting mandated racial study (Shaamini Yogaretnam, Ottawa Citizen)
When Aisha Sherazi goes into schools to do outreach programs on race and diversity, almost no one guesses that the Muslim woman who wears a hijab was born in England. “Assumptions are very important here,” Sherazi, a member of Ottawa’s Community and Police Action Committee and the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project advisory committee, told more than 150 people Thursday night at the last of the Ottawa Police Service’s planned consultation phases before beginning an Ontario Human Rights Commission-mandated study on racial profiling at traffic stops.


Tamil Sun Sea migrant faces deportation in 2 weeks (Louise Elliott, CBC)
The case of a Tamil migrant whose refugee claim was denied reveals a key problem with Canada’s new refugee law, his lawyer says. The migrant, who can’t be named for fear of reprisals against his young family in Sri Lanka, is now blocked from two key avenues of appeal. At the Toronto construction site where he worked until recently, the migrant (who we’ll call John), described how he’s been affected by Canada’s plan to deport him.

More thoughts on Roma refugees (letters to the editor, Toronto Star)
Letter writer Kevin Swallowell is critical of Dr. Paul Caulford for suggesting that “we all come from somewhere else.” Mr. Swallowell insists that his birth certificate, like mine, says he is Canadian. In fact Mr. Swallowell and all of us, save our First Nations people, are generational immigrants and refugees to Canada. Sadly, Mr. Swallowell puts the ring of truth to an adage I attribute to York University professor and former president of Canadian Jewish Congress, Irving Abella, who famously coined, “We are a country of immigrants that hate immigrants.”


Income inequality spikes in Canada’s big cities (First Perspective)
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ analysis of new data on Canada’s richest 1% shows how much the income gap has been rising in Canada. The richest 1% of Canadians make almost $180,000 more today than they did in 1982 (adjusted for inflation). The bottom 90% of Canadians saw income gains of only $1,700. However, 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.


A Healthier Toronto: Enhancing Access To City Services For Undocumented Workers (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
Recent changes in federal immigration policy will increase the number of undocumented workers in Toronto. Undocumented workers face extreme health risks. These workers are without access to any rights to legislated minimum standards with respect to employment terms and conditions, or health and safety. Like all who are undocumented, they too are excluded from systems of care and support. As a result, undocumented workers are likely to be subject to abuse and exploitation.

Engineers Canada launches website to help newcomers plan their engineering careers (Canada Newswire)
A new website launched by Engineers Canada and funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides international engineering graduates with a single, comprehensive source of high-quality information about how to become a licensed engineer in Canada. The website was designed with extensive input and support from the 12 provincial and territorial regulators of the engineering profession. “Employers in the engineering field say we need good, skilled workers,” says Marcia Friesen, Director of the Internationally Educated Engineers Qualification Program at the University of Manitoba. “It just makes good business sense to do everything we can to bring international engineering graduates here and integrate them into our communities.”

5 priorities for Kathleen Wynne’s good jobs agenda (Workers’ Action Centre)
As incoming premier Kathleen Wynne takes office, here are 5 priorities for action on good jobs:
Increase the minimum wage
Target employers that violate employment standards
Ensure adequate resources for proactive enforcement of employment standards
Update the ESA to create good jobs
Equal protections for temporary foreign workers.


Friday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of Casino, City Hall and Other News.

Newsstand: February 1, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
There will be no mention of Rob Ford, the TTC, or casinos in Newsstand today. Ha, February Fools! In the news: Councillor Stintz wants to hear what Mayor Ford has to say; Mayor Ford might not want to hear what his auditor has to say; two large, and very monied companies come together for a casino; Toronto’s number of undocumented workers is set to increase; and the TTC is fancying up their fanciest assets.

New Premier, New Policies? (Steve Munro)
The Ontario Liberal Party has a new leader, and soon the province will have a new Premier. Although I am not a Liberal supporter, I am extremely pleased by Kathleen Wynne’s rise to head our provincial government. She represents the progressive wing of the party, and a fresh outlook after the increasingly frustrating reign of Dalton McGuinty. A change of focus is already evident with social services, education labour relations, job creation and transportation infrastructure getting prominent mention. Transportation is not first on the list, but it is vital to the GTHA. Mobility has many benefits for business and for individuals. Transportation infrastructure, especially transit, has far too often been treated as a cost to be avoided, to be offloaded, to be deferred while we strangle in congestion. That congestion isn’t just on roads, plugged highways and arterials, but on the very transit systems we keep telling drivers can be our way out of the mess of 21st century gridlock.


J.W. McConnell Family Foundation Newsletter
In this issue of the Foundation’s e-newsletter, we highlight upcoming Innoweave activities; share news from our Sustainable Food Systems initiative; and spotlight new Foundation grants.

Governance changes and the new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (
The Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (“ONCA”) will affect over 50,000 nonprofit corporations that are currently incorporated under the Ontario Corporations Act (“OCA”).The Ontario government is now aiming to bring the ONCA into force on July 1, 2013; however this target date could be delayed further. There has been a great deal of attention surrounding the ONCA over the last few years and it has increased even more over the last few months. As a result, many nonprofits and charities already feel unnecessarily apprehensive about the new act coming into force. Practically speaking, most organizations need to do very little regarding the new legislation right now.

Collective Healing in Community (SeekingCommunity)
In this podcast, Peter Block, a leading thinker on the power of community shares about the importance of community in Collective Healing. You will hear how the collective is instrumental in healing as it can be used to repair the cause of the pain. Listen in as Peter reflects on how we might pursue healing within our nation, institutions, our work places and our neighborhoods. Peter asks stimulating questions, spurring us onto imagine a world with a deeper sense of collective connection. Peter draws on the work of Jim Diers, a faculty member for the Asset-Based Community Development Institute and the author of Neighbor Power: Building Community the Seattle Way.

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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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