Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 12, 2013


Canada needs smarter immigrant selection criteria (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
One of the reasons British psychiatrist Dr. Kwame McKenzie, an international expert on the mental health of immigrants, moved to Canada was its famed cultural mosaic. He looked forward to seeing it for himself when he accepted a job as a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) six years ago. But he was in for a letdown. Rather than the pluralistic society he was expecting in which newcomers and native-born Canadians fit together like pieces of a multicoloured collage, he found “a whole bunch of pieces dropped indiscriminately.”

PEI must turn toward immigration for skilled workers: MacLauchlan (Journal Pioneer)
As the Island workforce continues to diminish, if the province wishes to maintain its current level of services, it has no choice but to immediately turn towards immigration to compensate for skilled worker shortages, suggests former UPEI president Wade MacLauchlan. During an information session about the LIENS immigrant integration program recently in Charlottetown, MacLauchlan and other speakers offered striking statistics and statements to the more than 40 participants at the event.

Service Provision for Racialized Refugees from an Anti-Racism/Anti-Oppression Framework (Settlement AtWork)
This webinar reviews how settlement workers and health care professionals can more effectively support racialized refugees when it comes to their mental health. The focus will be on how to provide services from an anti-racism and anti-oppression framework.

Annual Report on the Implementation of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act 2011-2012 (Settlement Atwork)
The Canadian Multiculturalism Act recognizes the diversity of Canadians as a fundamental characteristic and historical Canadian society, and reaffirms the importance of the concept of multiculturalism in Canada purely through three main themes:
* Recognize diversity
* Promote understanding
* Promote equality of opportunity and the elimination of barriers

Expanding access to city services for all Toronto residents (Workers’ Action Centre)
Undocumented people in Toronto could have greater access to city services if an important motion before Toronto City Council passes on Feb. 20th. This motion calls for the city to review and expand “Access Without Fear” policies for city-funded services. The motion also commits City Council to advocate on behalf of undocumented residents of Toronto at the provincial and federal levels.

The library focuses on newcomers (Pradip Rodrigues, Dear Toronto)
Last week I served as a panelist on a session titled “Newcomers and public libraries” at the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference held at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. The OLA is Canada’s largest library organization and the Super Conference is the largest continuing education event in librarianship in North America. The room was filled to capacity with librarians from across the province who were grappling with a variety of issues dealing with newcomers.At the onset, moderator Stephen Abram made it quite clear that the library did a poor job marketing itself, he recognized the fact that librarians were the least diverse group of employees and ageing. It was evident that the OLA had to go after newcomers and we the panelist were there to have a conversation about the needs and special needs of newcomers.

What happens when you mix Incompetent counsel and Deportation (Immigration Lawyer blog)
Ledda was a long term permanent resident of Canada. 14 years after coming to Canada, he was convicted of uttering a forged cheque of less than $500. 3 years after that, he was convicted of a sexual assault for which he received a year’s sentence. On the suggestion of his then counsel, who had no experience in immigration law, Ledda did not appeal the removal order that resulted from his convictions. When we were retained (after CBSA contacted Ledda for removal) we sought to file an appeal with the IAD on the basis that of incompetence of counsel. The IAD refused to reopen or extend the time to file the notice of appeal. To prevent Ledda’s removal, we had to seek an emergency stay before the Federal Court of Canada.

Second Annual Multicultural Health Conference – Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health (Settlement AtWork)
This conference brings together community, consumer, practice, policy, and research perspectives on mental health through the lens of equity, diversity and multiculturalism. Discussions and concurrent sessions will enable inspired dialogues and strengthen networking. Key research findings will be disseminated based on literature reviews on mental health

Barrier or Opportunity: How do you think about diversity? (OBJ)
In the past 10 years, Ottawa has received a total of about 64,000 immigrants. That’s almost equivalent to the total population of Barrhaven! Immigrants represent an incredibly diverse set of cultures, languages, skills and experiences. According to the Census, 22% of Ottawa’s residents are immigrants, and projections by Statistics Canada suggest this could rise to 29% over the next 20 years. Diversity is not a new topic, but it seems pretty clear that interest in diversity is growing rapidly. We’re also starting to see a change in how we think about diversity: what it means to our workplaces, and importantly, how we “situate” diversity within organizational and business strategies.

Prayer Room Delights Toronto Muslims (OnIslam)
Enjoying a welcoming atmosphere, Muslim students at a Canadian university are celebrating the opening of a new prayer room to fulfil their religious duties. “The Muslim prayer space is welcoming, clean and very quiet.” A new prayer room was opened at Emmanuel College in Toronto last month to help Muslim students perform their prayers. “I think it’s going really well,” said Amjad Tarsin, the first Muslim chaplain at the University of Toronto.

Lessons For The GOP From Canada’s Jason Kenney (Jon Ward, Huffington Post)
How did a 44-year old single white male, who still lives at home with his mom and is sometimes compared to a beaver, become a likely prospect to be the next Canadian prime minister based on “the formidable network he’s built at the heart of ethnic communities”? Jason Kenney, Canada’s immigration minister, did it mostly by pure shoe leather.

NDP doesn’t support faith-based groups: Vic Toews (Laura Stone, iPolitics)
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has taken to his website to slam the NDP because he says the opposition party does not support faith-based groups. In a post titled “Partnering with Churches,” about the opening of an affordable housing unit and community centre in Winnipeg, Toews praises the work of Living Gospel Church, a Christian organization that works with refugee and immigrant families. He also uses the post to criticize the NDP — which he outlines in bold type — because he says they oppose faith-based groups.

Immigrants taking time to adapt (Hamilton Spectator)
Hamiltonians who were born in another country don’t rate their quality of life as high as native-born Canadians, a new study done in part by McMaster University researchers has found. The study focused on key areas, including quality of schools, recreation programs and services, and a sense of belonging to the local community.–immigrants-taking-time-to-adapt

Birth Weight In Canada: Newborns Of Immigrant Mothers Generally Larger, Study Says (Dr. Joel Ray, Huffington Post)
For most women, the surest way to have a healthy baby is to practice a healthy lifestyle. And based on variables such as age, sex, income, education, and ethnicity as important determinants in a population health study, it looks like Canadian women are following the right guidelines — and by extension, delivering healthy babies.

Diversity tributes on backs of new Canadian bills rejected in favour of traditional images (Torben Rolfsen, The Province)
A market research team hired in 2008 by the Bank of Canada tested a range of image proposals for the country’s new polymer notes. Among the art choices decided against: gay marriages, black hockey players, and turban-wearing RCMP officers. Instead, the national bank ended up going with traditional depictions of a ship, train and monuments.

The Whitewashing of Canadian Currency (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
Today, it was revealed that not only were Asian features deemed unworthy of appearing on bank notes, but also Black, Aboriginal, South-Asian and Gay ones, as well. A pattern of institutionalized xenophobia is emerging, and it ain’t pretty. Not just bank notes, but other national emblems such as the Canadian passport (lacking women and diversity), the upcoming Museum of Canadian History (feared to follow suit), the Federal and Supreme courts, and even national editorial boards seem to foster this doctrine of achromatic exclusion.

Canada’s looking for terrorists in all the wrong places (Globe and Mail)
This week, a large-scale research report by Canada’s spy agency, obtained by Globe and Mail reporter Colin Freeze, reveals that much of what we tend to believe is wrong. In A Study of Radicalization: The Making of Islamist Extremists in Canada Today, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyzes data on all known Canadian extremists. They are almost always native-born Canadians, rarely immigrants, and never refugees. They tend to have “a high level of academic achievement,” often a university degree, especially in “scientific, computer and engineering fields.” Not only are they not immigrants, but they don’t tend to be found within “parallel society” immigrant enclaves. “None appeared to have been marginalized within Canadian society,” CSIS says, and the great majority appear “highly integrated into Canadian society.” And they aren’t radicalized by attending a mosque.

Canada’s Iranian Immigrants Could See Reprieve As EU Court Strikes Down SWIFT Embargo (CICS News)
According to an article by Jon Matonis in Forbes, the General Court of the EU has ruled that European Union sanctions against two of Iran’s largest private banks, Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat, must be reversed, due to lack of evidence that they are involved in Iran’s nuclear program. If the ruling stands, it would allow Iranian-Canadians to once again send and receive money to and from family members in Iran using the international banking system.

A love letter to Canada (Sun News Network)
Shory’s bill has another provision that rewards would-be immigrants who go above and beyond in their support for Canada. C-425 says anyone who signs up for a three-year tour of duty with our Canadian Forces can get a year shaved off their residency requirements to become a citizen. The bill is a private member’s bill, but it has recently received public support from Jason Kenney, the immigration minister. Kenney knows loyalty is important in new immigrants.

CBC readers salute 6 inspiring black Canadians (CBC)
Almost a decade before Rosa Parks famously refused to give her seat to a white passenger on an Alabama bus, a Canadian woman was dragged out of the white-only section of a Nova Scotia movie theatre. Viola Desmond, who was arrested after refusing to leave her seat in 1946, was fined $20 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Her ordeal and subsequent court battle spurred the dismantling of Nova Scotia’s segregation laws and inspired a book by her younger sister, who is still alive today.

A bridge and a ladder: two metaphors, one diversity deficit (Lee Akazaki, Canadian Lawyer)
Why is diversity proving so elusive for the Canadian legal profession? For a long time, we were actually ahead of the curve. The Canadian Bill of Rights, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act were the visions of three very different prime ministers, but each a lawyer: a criminal trial counsel, a law professor, and a labour lawyer. Lawyers and judges have applied these laws in the courts, to ensure they do not become — as in so many other countries — empty words. As author of the model Principles of Conduct for the Canadian Bar Association, I feel pride when I walk past the Ontario version in the OBA’s lobby and read these words: “The OBA recognizes the historical role of codification of rights, freedoms and responsibilities in breaking down unseen barriers to participation. It seeks the participation of new members and volunteers from every sector of the legal profession.”

Canada’s immigration peak is worth marking (Globe and Mail)
This federal government has a penchant for history, driven by a passion for dates and commemorations, giving us plenty to celebrate for the next several years. As a history buff, I can relate. My favourite calendars are the ones that describe This Day in History. My pop quizzes are riddled with Significant Dates in Politics. Still, it’s a curious obsession for a government to equate historical commemoration with the celebration of citizenship. It speaks to the determined efforts of the Conservatives to push back on the post-1960s definition of Canadian citizenship as a modern and multicultural entity to one anchored in symbols of the past. And it refocuses the emphasis from broader social history to one driven by military deeds, political leaders and historical dates.

Will Canada’s New Museum Shatter Our Vanilla Image? (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
The forthcoming Museum of Canadian History has started implementing PM Harper’s directives to slaughter the most visited museum of the country in order to make way for a venue where canuck history is highlighted. Concerned Canadians across the country have given their opinions on the themes, personalities, events and milestones that tell the Canadian story, and suggested objects that they would include in the new Museum. The Ottawa-Gatineau public consultation last week featured a panel of five pontificators: novelist Charlotte Gray, museum architect Douglas Cardinal, and a historical journalist, the head of Outaouais Tourism and myself. The concept was MY HISTORY MUSEUM: A TO ZED –where special guests were asked what they would put in a Canadian history museum of their making, all the while stringing together their thoughts around a particular letter of the alphabet. The initial chose for my allocution was the letter U.

Canada: 76% of Immigrants Investigated for Fraud Come from the Muslim World (Daniel Greenfield,
The largest country associated with fraudulent claims is Libya, followed by Kuwait and Pakistan, then Jordan, the UAE, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Only after these 9 Muslim countries, does the tiny non-Muslim country of China appear on the list.


Feature: Monitoring Failed Asylum Seekers (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
Very little information is available about what happens to failed asylum-seekers after they are deported to their countries of origin. Some may actually have had genuine claims for refugee status but for various reasons (e.g., problematic asylum procedures, poor legal assistance, etc.) were denied; their subsequent deportation could therefore potentially amount to refoulement. The Post-Deportation Monitoring Network was launched last fall by the Fahamu Refugee Programme as a mechanism for monitoring deportees after their return, to provide assistance and protection, and to document human rights violations.

Refugee Forum II: presentations (FCJ Refugee Centre)
On Friday, February 1st the FCJ Refugee Centre and Downtown Legal Services organized an action-packed day of highly informative workshops in downtown Toronto. Hosted at The Salvation Army’s Harbour Light Centre on Jarvis Street, the day consisted of 10 presentations and question and answer sessions on a variety of topics to do with the Conservative government’s overhaul of the Canadian refugee system. Experts, front line workers and students in the field of refugee protection led each session.

Human-trafficking victim faces deportation to Hungary (Hamilton Spectator)
Janos Bognar survived the largest human-trafficking ring ever prosecuted in Canada, but now fears he will end up back in Hungary at risk of being targeted by the crime family he helped put in jail. Despite immigration changes that are supposed to offer human-trafficking victims temporary resident permits, the 45-year-old father of three adult children has had his refugee claim denied. Bognar has been cut off by legal aid and can’t afford to pay for a lawyer. He lives in subsidized housing in Hamilton, collects welfare and cannot work because refugee claimants can’t get permits.–human-trafficking-victim-faces-deportation-to-hungary?–human-trafficking-victim-faces-deportation-to-hungary


BC’s Top Employers for 2013 Announced (IECBC)
Congratulations to this year’s winners, including our partner, City of Vancouver, for making this list of top BC employers. Now entering its ninth year, BC’s Top Employers is an annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. This special designation recognizes the British Columbia employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

Foreign workers must also train locals but none at Marriott (Starbroek News)
I have read in the various print media of the outrageous statements made by head of the Privatisation Unit, Mr. Winston Brassington in defence of the hiring of Chinese workers instead of Guyanese workers for the Marriott Hotel Project. Mr. Brassington has cited the language barrier and that Guyanese workers do not have the skills for that type of construction. It appears that Mr. Brassington is not living in Guyana or he is not a Guyanese or he has no respect for the Guyanese work force.

TIEDI Labour Force Update – January 2013 (Settlement AtWork)
Based on Statistics Canada’s January 2013 Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, this report covers employment by industry, participation rate, proportion of full-time employment, and unemployment rate of Canadian-born and immigrants in the Toronto CMA and Canada.


Tuesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, Casino, City.

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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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Shared 3 links. Rachel Décoste: Will Canada's New Museum Shatter Our Vanilla Image? New immigrant detention policy tough on asylum...