Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 14, 2013


Lessons on integration for local leadership (Bonnie Mah, Migrants Rights UK)
The lived experience of immigration is intensely local. Today, immigrants around the world are choosing to settle in urban areas. They live, work, study and raise their families in cities and their surrounding areas. Consequently,local governments play a powerful and critical role in immigrant integration. Community organizations are in a unique position to support and encourage local governments to fulfill that role. As the level of government closest to the people, local governments influence how immigrant residents are welcomed and integrated. Successful cities value diversity and these local governments encourage conditions in which immigrants and all residents thrive. As policy makers and service providers, they are responsible for areas that affect our daily lives such as schools, emergency services, swimming pools and soccer fields, parks and streets. As democratic institutions, they draw on community input and create opportunities for all residents to participate in transparent and accountable decision-making.

The Power of Leadership: DiverseCity onBoard Event (DiverseCity Toronto)
We have invited four of our regions top leaders to participate in a panel discussion, moderated by Hamlin Grange, to talk about the necessity and benefits of board diversity and to share with us how they have used their leadership to create tangible changes in governance. The event will also be a great get to know opportunity for roster members and organizations, as they could each find out more about the others interests.

Why Permanent Residents Should Be Allowed to Vote in Toronto (Desmond Cole, Torontoist)
Hundreds of thousands of our neighbours pay local taxes and use local services, but have no say in who represents them.

Giving Non-Citizens the Right to Vote (CBC Here and Now)
A city committee has asked staff to look into why non-citizens should have the municipal vote. Jehad Aliweiwi is the executive director of Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office. He explained why he believes it’s important.

New Minister of Citizenship and Immigration for Ontario (MCI)
Michael Coteau was elected to the legislature in 2011 as the MPP for Don Valley East. He was appointed Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in February, 2013. Prior to entering government, Coteau served as a school board trustee for almost eight years.

Kenney courted for immigration, ethnic outreach expertise (Tobi Cohen,
After more than four years as immigration and multiculturalism minister, it seems Jason Kenney has become something of an international expert. Kenney said this week hes most recently been approached by Washington for advice as it seeks to repair its dysfunctional immigration system. The so-called minister for curry in a hurry has also had requests from Republicans and U.S. think-tanks for advice on courting the ethnic vote. He offered few details about exactly who is seeking his expertise, but noted hes happy to share his knowledge.

Religious charities see surge of CIDA aid, study says (Rick Westhead, Toronto Star)
Since Stephen Harpers Conservatives won power, faith-based charities, primarily Christian, have enjoyed a surge in funding from CIDA, according to a study.

Christians in the crosshairs (Sun News Network)
Ezra and freelance journalist Justin Ling go tête-à-tête on whether or not evangelical Christian ministries like Crossroads should receive government funding to treat Africans with HIV/AIDS.

Encounters in Canada: Contrasting Indigenous and Immigrant Perspectives (Refugee Research)
This conference aims to fill this gap in knowledge and will bring together leaders from government and the judiciary, legal scholars, academics and practitioners to formulate practical solutions. The primary objective is to build bridges cultural, political, intellectual and social connections between those who share the lands of what is now Canada. The underlying rationale of the conference stems from the fact that Canada is now shared by Indigenous peoples, descendants of early settlers and more recent immigrant and refugee communities. These communities encounter Canada in very different ways based on racial identity, ancestral heritage, cultural background, community belonging, language and spiritual practice. Bridging the chasm that exists between Indigenous peoples and all newcomers, whether early or contemporary immigrants or refugees, is urgently needed in order to end discrimination and achieve equitable quality of life for all who live in this country. To this end, the objective is to understand how Indigenous peoples and various immigrant groups experience their lives in Canada. How are the challenges they face different? Are there shared goals and experiences upon which to build future alliances to achieve improved quality of life in Canada?

Kenneys citizenship-stripping plan good politics but dodgy policy (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
In short, more Canadians than one might think are dual nationals. Right now, only naturalized Canadians can be stripped of their citizenship and then only if they obtained it under false pretenses. Supporters of the Kenney proposal assume that if this revocation power is expanded, governments will use it sparingly and wisely. Given our history a history that includes the forcible internment of second-generation Japanese-Canadians during World War II this is a heroic assumption.

Not knee-jerk (Jason Kenney, letter to the editor, Globe and Mail)
In your editorial Treason And The Naturalized (Feb. 7), you say taking away citizenship is not something we do. It is something more often associated with countries like the Soviet Union This is historically inaccurate. The 1947 Citizenship Act included the power to revoke citizenship from those guilty of treason. The removal of this provision in 1977 made Canadas citizenship law an aberration, as virtually all other liberal democracies have the legal authority to strip citizenship for such crimes as treason and terrorism. In Australia and the United Kingdom, for example, a person can be stripped of citizenship if its in the publics best interest a much lower and vaguer standard than what MP Devinder Shory or I have suggested.

CIC Grants Immigration Officers the New Veto (FW Canada)
At the beginning of this month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) launched new guidelines to assess immigration applicants ability to immigrate to Canada through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) under the Economic Class. These new guidelines allow for Canadian immigration officials to have wider latitude in deciding which applicants are likely to become economically established in Canada. CIC reserves the authority to grant visas and make final decisions on immigration applications processed by provincial governments. Before the introduction of the new policy, federal immigration officers only needed to conduct a medical and security screening on PNP applications. Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP) are in some cases a much more attractive program for foreign workers than alternative pathways to Canadian immigration, such as the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP), which requires that the applicant provide official language test results.

What are the top five things migrants and refugees should do when they reach Canada? (Red Cross Canada)
Each year, many migrants and refugees flee from war-torn countries to Canada as a result of emergencies and disasters in their native lands. While migrants and refugees are resilient, resettling in a new country can also be a source of stress. As part of the world’s largest humanitarian network, the Canadian Red Cross offers a range of services that can improve the lives of migrants and refugees. With these five tips that are specifically intended to benefit migrants and refugees, affected persons can ease the strain of relocating and gain the tools needed to build a successful future.

Irish job-seekers snap up yearly quota of Canadian working holiday visas in just two days (Tristin Hopper, National Post)
In one of the starkest examples yet of Canadas allure for Irish job-seekers, last week the Canadian embassy in Dublin saw its yearly quota of 6,350 working holiday visas snapped up in only two and a half days. Its staggering; we all knew that the demand was going to be very high this year, but I dont think anybody anticipated this, said Cathy Murphy, executive director of the Toronto-based Irish Canadian Immigration Centre. She called the surge in demand a sign of the desperation of young people to get out. Last year, by contrast, it took Canadas Irish embassy five months to hand out only 5,350 visas.

Overseas Orientation Program Celebrates 20,000 Graduates (Marketwire)
More than 20,000 people are arriving in Canada better prepared for the labour market, thanks to the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney announced today. “Our Government is committed to helping newcomers succeed” said Minister Kenney at an event celebrating the graduates today. “By giving immigrants a better understanding of what to expect before they arrive in Canada, we can help ensure they can more quickly contribute fully to Canada’s economic growth and long-term prosperity..”

Canadian Immigration News Briefs for Mid-February 2013 (CICS News)
The following is a summary of developments concerning Canadian Citizenship and Immigration that took place or were announced over the last two weeks.

5 films to see at the Toronto Black Film Festival (Gesilayefa Azorbo, blogTO)
The Toronto Black Film Festival is Toronto’s newest film festival. Created by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, which also launched the Montreal Black Film Festival in 2005, the Toronto Black Film Festival bills itself as cool, international, independent, politically incorrect and eye-opening. It aims to celebrate diversity in black communities and showcase this through a variety of films from around the world.

Newcomer Success Stories: Hirantha Nandasena (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
Balancing a busy I.T. career with running a commercial cleaning franchise, Hirantha Nandasena found the time to write and publish his wonderful book How To Succeed In Toronto. Of his inspiration for the book, Mr. Nandasena states: With a genuine interest in helping new immigrants, I have tried to impart the knowledge gained in the last 12 years as an immigrant. We have the privilege of interviewing Mr. Nandasena today.

Controversial Deportation Bill May Soon Come Into Force (CICS News)
A controversial bill that would accelerate the removal of foreign criminals from Canadian soil has progressed forward in Canadian Parliament. Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, recently passed the House of Commons with 149 votes to 130. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stated that, if passed, the bill will help to greatly streamline the deportation and appeals process. The process has been plagued by procedural delays, with some individuals remaining in Canada for several years despite being subject to a deportation order.

Health Care 911 (AIMGA)
Health Care 911 introduces some of the 8,000 medically trained immigrants unable to practice in Canada despite a critical shortage of doctors across the country.As immigrant doctors continue to take jobs as security guards and cab drivers, Health Care 911 probes all sides of the growing problem of health care accessibility in Canada.

Syed Hussan on making T.O. a Sanctuary City (NOW)
I had to walk away from a hospital emergency room last year because they demanded $700 up front for treatment a consequence of the fact that I had lost my work permit and was waiting to get a study permit. Im just one of an estimated 400,000 people in Toronto who dont have all their immigration papers. We live here, we work here, we pay taxes, but we are denied or are too afraid to access many of the services our money pays for. Im talking about people like Maria, a live-in caregiver who had to leave her employers house when he started making sexual demands, but was turned away from three different shelters. Or Ahmed, who after having worked in the city for 20 years, was stopped randomly by police, who, when they found he didnt have status, handed him over to immigration enforcement.

Calgarys immigrant population numbers on the rise (CTV)
A report from the City of Calgary says the citys population is more ethnically diverse than at any other time in Calgarys history. According to the report, 1 out of every 5 Calgarians belongs to a visible minority group. The number is a striking departure from the ratio of years past. In 1959, there was only 1 visible minority in every 350 Calgarians. The Philippines, India and China continue to be the lead source countries for immigrants to Western Canada.

Tackling Laws Diversity Deficit in Multicultural Canada (Lee Akazaki)
Lack of diversity in law, in the worlds most multicultural city in the country the most welcoming of outsiders, continues to confound.

TDSB mentoring expert: Mentoring can help prevent violence (Louise Brown)
Q: What do mentors do? A: We talk about some of the factors that can lead to violence, like poverty, racism and lack of opportunity, but also some of the dominant concepts around masculinity that men have to be tough and in charge and authoritative and that comes with money and power.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada announces start-up visa program (Henry J. Chang, First Reference Talks)
On January 24, 2013, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Citizen Jason Kenney (the Immigration Minister) announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) would launch a Start-Up Visa Program to recruit innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth. Of course, a formal announcement relating to this program was expected for some time; I previously reported that the Immigration Minister announced consultations on the possible creation of such a program back in April 2013. Although I have yet to be recognized for playing any role in the creation of the Start-Up Visa Program, I first raised the idea of a start-up visa directly with the Immigration Minister near the end of 2011, during a fundraiser for a local Conservative party candidate. At the time, Congress was considering the Start-Up Visa Act of 2011, which proposed a similar program for the United States. I explained that the Start-Up Visa Act of 2011 was unlikely to pass in Congress but this gave Canada a unique opportunity to attract entrepreneurs who might otherwise be destined for the United States.


LAO Adapts the Application Process for Refugees According to Source Country (Settlement AtWork)
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) has revised its application process for refugees to include a country list and streams in order to accommodate the new shortened refugee claim timelines and expedite decision-making on applications for legal aid certificates.

Refugee Health Vancouver website
Refugee Health Vancouver is a practical resource to support clinicians who provide care to refugees in British Columbia.Need a patient handout on diabetes in Farsi? Looking for a Spanish-speaking dentist in Vancouver who offers reduced fees? Not sure what convention refugees are, why they would flee Myanmar, or how you can bill to care for them? This site pulls together the answers for you.

Deterrence Through Detention: The Implications for Asylum in Canada and the UKlth Clinic in the Refugee Healthcare System (Neima Ahmed, CERIS)
This seminar on Thurs. Jan.31st, 2013 presented by Janet Cleveland of McGill University and Sonal Ghelani (a solicitor of The Migrants Law Project at the Islington Law Centre in London, UK) focused on a few serious questions regarding the comparison and contrasting detention systems in place within the UK and Canada. Canada is known as being the Immigrants country; yet it seems to be that the restrictions on the kinds of immigrants that are permitted is growing stringent. The Government of Canada has introduced legislative changes to increase detention penalties. Janet Cleveland, a psychologist and researcher, walked us through the current situation and legislation based on her own research that demonstrated the effects (or lack) of the current trends of detention and removals.


Guiding principles for social policy budgets (Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman and Michael Mendelson, Caledon Institute)
This commentary discusses three core principles that should guide the development of social policy measures in government Budgets.

OpEd: Not much to show for $100 a month from the federal child care program (Elizabeth Payne, Edmonton Journal)
For seven years, the $100 cheques have been in the mail every month for parents of Canadian children under six. Fifteen billion dollars later (and counting), what does Canada have to show for the Universal Child Care Benefit program? Not a lot. Which should surprise no one. That is precisely what the program promised when it was rolled out by the newly elected Conservative government in 2006 as an answer to the Liberal national childcare program, which was decried by more than one Tory as a scheme to force parents to have someone else raise their kids.

Housing first to end homelessness: Ontario govt vows to pick up funding for innovative At Home project (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
On its first full day in office, the new Wynne administration made an important housing commitment: Ontarios Deputy Premier and Health Minister Deb Matthews announced that the province will pick ongoing funding for the innovative At Home / Chez Soi project on mental health, homelessness and housing. Using the housing first approach, the At Home project has successfully housed 240 formerly homeless people with mental health issues in Toronto. The project was launched by the Mental Health Commission of Canada using funds from the federal government, but the federal funding was due to expire at the end of March which threatened the housing stability of the project participants. Hundreds more formerly homeless people have been successfully housed through the housing first approach in pilots in several other parts of Canada, where sustainable funding remains in question.


Plans for Peterborough Workers Action Centre (CHEX TV)
Like many cities in North America, the face of employment in Peterborough is changing with many full-time, permanent jobs being replaced by temporary, contract work. A group in Peterborough has set in motion a plan to assist these new-economy workers on the road to success.

Does Talk of Hiring Diversity Make You Cringe? (Mark Riffey,
Does talk of hiring diversity make you cringe, or does it mean something positive? “Hiring diversity” often takes on highly-charged meanings due to personal experiences, historical events and/or substantial media attention. Fact is, diversity means many things, each of which can strengthen a company – just as the introduction of a foreign substance like reinforcing iron bars (rebar) strengthens a concrete structure, allowing it to bear heavier loads.

The Canadian Institute’s Legal and Human Resource Guide (Canadian Institute)
New federal and provincial programs in effect, and in the pipeline, are impacting workers coming in to Canada to address the countrys labour needs. While the government seems to be responding to the needs of employers, it is also increasing its efforts to ensure employers are compliant with regulations. Ensure your company optimizes its labour strategy by understanding the requirements of these programs, and how to ensure compliance so that your company is able to continue participating in the programs and avoids costly penalties.

On Emotional Labor & Canadian Newcomers (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
Recently we discussed cultural difference in the workplace, and the disturbing phenomena of cultural fit. When researching that post, we consulted a workplace guide that discussed the acceptability of touch and cross-cultural expressions of emotion, and todays post focuses on one very specific aspect of workplace performance: emotional labor. Emotional labor means regulating your behavior to display the appropriate emotions in a workplace environment. Do expectations of workplace emotional labor differ cross-culturally? What are the implications of emotional labor requirements for Canadian newcomers, specifically those occupying low-income jobs in the service industry?

Regulators of Regulated Professions Use Competency Assessments (Settlement AtWork)
A growing number of regulatory bodies use competency assessments, tools that measure applicants ability to apply their skills and knowledge to perform specific profession-related tasks. Competency assessments are sometimes used for international applicants or in cases where applicants are unable to provide evidence of standard requirements for reasons beyond their control. In Ontario, 21 regulated professions (15 health professions and 6 non-health professions) now employ these methods.

Diversity’s not a dirty word (Dionne Kerr,
More and more businesses are seeking advice on how to address the issues of diversity. The continent of Africa is a melting pot of language, religion, tradition, and cultural issues. An increasing emphasis on ‘People with Disabilities’ and ‘Women Equality’ adds a further dynamic in considering a ‘best practice’ approach. In most countries that we work in, we see increasing pressure being placed on society to encourage and create ‘equal opportunity’ environments. As the momentum behind cultural diversity and equality increases, so too will we need to look internally at our perceptions, our stereotypes and our organisational paradigms that may negatively impact the achievement of our goals in the long term.

Ontario workers need urgent protection from the Ministry of Labour (Workers’ Action Centre)
New Minister of Labour, Yasir Naqvi, has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of thousands of Ontario workers by taking immediate action to address wage theft. In December 2012, people from across Ontario responded to our call for action for better conditions for workers. Over 12 days, more than 500 messages were sent to the Minister of Labour calling for stronger protections for workers in Ontario.

Trend 7 The New Global Workforce: Female, Young, Old, Non-White (Mary-Frances Winters, The Inclusion blog)
Rapid and massive demographic shifts are a reality across the globe. Consider the following trends.

How to Make White Males Understand (Bill Proudman, Diversity Journal)
Many business leaders, especially white men, view diversity as a problem to solve or a set of strategies to implement. This approach overlooks the leaders personal role. White male leaders who effectively lead in this effort do more than implement strategies to fix the problem. They first expand their mindsetshow they think about diversity and inclusion and how they feel and experience it.


Wednesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of TCHC, City Hall, Snow Removal and Other News.

Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A round up of mainstream media coverage of New Toronto Area Code, City Hall, Transit and Other News.

Newsstand: February 14, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
Happy pizza-and-crying day, dear reader. Here’s some news that may or may not get you feeling frisky: job cuts at Woodbine Racetrack, a city councillor is taken to hospital, students need more friendly adults in their lives, and the City dumps one mound of snow too many on a resident’s driveway.


How charities can and cant pick up the slack from government cuts (Globe and Mail)
It only took the Finance committee two sentences to get to the point. Reporting this week after more than a year of studying the federal approach to charities, the Conservative-dominated House of Commons committee issued its report this week. To at least some extent, a number of Canadians rely on charities to deliver services previously delivered by the various levels of government, the report states on its first page. It was a candid assessment, given that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has maintained that his governments spending cuts are only affecting back office stuff. Inspired by the David Cameron government in the United Kingdom, federal Conservatives in Ottawa are very interested in the idea of charities picking up the slack as part of an overall push toward smaller government.

Submit your community cause for a chance to win a Neighbourhood Assist grant (Charity Village)
Do you have an idea that would make your community a better place to live? With Neighbourhood Assist, a granting program offered through State Farm, you can submit a cause relating to safety, community development or education that could win one of 40 $25,000 grants. Neighbourhood Assist empowers communities to identify issues in their neighbourhoods and connects their cause with a local nonprofit to address them. All you have to do is submit the cause; you dont have to run the program. The submission phase is open from February 13 March 6 and each Facebook user can submit up to three causes. Anyone living Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick is encouraged to participate. Its better to submit early as a maximum of 3,000 submissions will be accepted

Social Finance Round Up: Microfinance and Social Impact Bonds Evolve (Nabeel Ahmed, produces a regular round up featuring social finance related news, insights, job openings, and events. We source the content for these round ups from Twitter, an RSS reader, and directly from our community of social finance practitioners. Below is our round up for the week of February 12, 2013.

Canada’s Worst Charity Website
We want to give one Canadian charity the website it deserves, and we need your help. Think your favourite charitys website could use some TLC? Nominations to win a $20,000 makeover open February 12th.

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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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