Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 20, 2013


Toronto Police urged to recruit Somalis to help battle community’s crime (Maryam Shah, Toronto Sun)
Local members of the Somali-Canadian community appealed to the Toronto Police Services Board Tuesday to employ Somalis as police officers in order to combat the slaughter of young men in their community. “Please do whatever you can in your recruitment to see if there’s a possibility of hiring some young Somali men and women into the force,” Liberal MPP Mike Colle said in his submission to the board. “They really want to be part of the force. They think that would really help to create a bond and understanding, it would prevent some of this bloodshed.” Faced with approximately 50 unsolved murders, Colle said the community is at its wit’s end.

Homeward bound (Rosemary Westwood, Maclean’s)
When Piara Singh Bual arrived in Vancouver from India in 1970, he was 18 and alone. With his parents and seven siblings living in a small village in Punjab, he took jobs picking blueberries and worked at a sawmill, sending half of all his earnings back to them. Over the following decades, and now into retirement, the money transfers have continued. Bual’s situation isn’t unique, but recently released data suggests no country comes close to matching, on a relative basis, how much cash Canadian immigrants send back to their home countries. In 2012 an estimated $23.4 billion was sent overseas, according to new World Bank figures which track remittances. On a per capita basis that’s double what flows out of the United States or the United Kingdom. India was among the countries receiving the largest chunk of that money, while China and the Philippines were other top recipients

Harper puts down a timely marker for religious tolerance (Michael Den Tandt, National Post)
In unveiling its long-awaited Office of Religious Freedom, along with a brand-spanking new Ambassador of Religious Freedom, with a $5-million annual budget, the Harper government is exposing itself to the usual brickbats from the usual quarters. As is its wont, the government will ignore them. In this case it will be wise to do so. This is a worthwhile experiment, certainly given the relatively small investment. Critics, led by secular human-rights organization and the opposition parties, may accuse the Conservatives, as they already have, of Christian-centrism; of Euro-centrism; of narrow-mindedness, evangelical zealotry, fuddy-duddy old-fashionedness, and perhaps simple weirdness.

FSWC Welcomes New Canadian Office of Religious Freedom (Marketwire)
In response to the launching of the Canadian Office of Religious Freedom and the naming of Dr. Andrew Bennett, Dean of Augustine College in Ottawa as the office’s new Ambassador, the President and CEO of Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, Avi Benlolo, stated: “Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center is proud to support the Government of Canada and the Prime Minister at the launch of the Office of Religious Freedom – a hub for the promotion of religion, education and human rights. We look forward to working with Dr. Bennett and other leaders in the field of education and human rights here in Canada and internationally, as we promote our shared objectives of safeguarding religious rights and democracy around the world.”

PM announces the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom (PM office)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, which will be dedicated to promoting freedom of religion or belief around the world. He also announced the appointment of Dr. Andrew Bennett as Ambassador to the Office. The Prime Minister was joined by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation. “Around the world, violations of religious freedom are widespread and they are increasing,” said the Prime Minister. “Dr Bennett is a man of principle and deep convictions and he will encourage the protection of religious minorities around the world so all can practice their faith without fear of violence and repression.”

Should illegal immigrants have automatic status? (Syed Hussan, The Bulletin)
Over one hundred Torontonians, including undocumented immigrants denied city services, are expected to be in City Hall dressed in yellow t-shirts emblazoned with “Access Not Fear” on February 21, 2013, to see Toronto vote on ensuring accessible services to people without full immigration status or papers. If the vote passes, Toronto will start on the path to becoming the first city in Canada, and the 31st in North America, to have Sanctuary City type policies.

Toronto considers giving underground migrants access to services without fear (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Councillors are being asked to make Toronto a “sanctuary city” where where non-status migrants can access services without fear of being jailed and deported.

Toronto may allow undocumented migrants access to city services (CCLA)
The Toronto Star reports that city council is considering declaring Toronto a “sanctuary city.” This would allow illegal immigrants to access city services without having to present identification and without fear of deportation. The number of undocumented persons is expected to rise dramatically after 2015, when four-year temporary worker permits issued under a new law in 2011 expire. Advocates note that undocumented migrants cannot freely access even basic health and safety services, leading to widespread marginalization. As a result, crime, poverty and illness disproportionately affect the undocumented, and other North American cities like San Francisco have already decided to become sanctuaries.

Toronto school board memo underlines need for male, minority teachers (Matthew Coutts, Yahoo! News)
A hiring memo from the Toronto school board that suggests men and minorities were preferred hiring candidates has been panned as inappropriate, but it doesn’t really expose anything new. Male teachers have long been considered a rarity in Canada’s education system, specifically in Toronto, and the goal should be equal representation of all genders and cultural backgrounds. The Globe and Mail reports that the memo was sent by Toronto District School Board to principals and teachers suggesting preferred candidates would be male or a member of a visible minority.

Toronto school board hiring push a setback for white women (Globe and Mail)
Ontario school boards are struggling to hire enough male and minority teachers to reflect the diversity of their student body, making it harder for young white female teachers to find jobs. Educators and parents were shocked at a memo circulated earlier this month from the Toronto District School Board that suggested candidates should be male, from visible minorities or aboriginal to get an interview for a full-time teaching position. However, officials at other school boards said many urban boards are implementing similar policies as part of continuing efforts to diversify a work force that has been dominated by white women for decades. “I’m only surprised that the TDSB put it in writing,” said a school board official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Is it fair if a school board wants to hire more male teachers? (Globe and Mail)
The Toronto District School Board memo to staff says that the first round of interviews for new teacher hires should favour male applicants over female. Is this reverse discrimination? Education reporters Caroline Alphonso and Kate Hammer join Hannah Sung to discuss.

TDSB hiring policy favours male and minority teachers (Glbobe and Mail)
A Toronto District School Board memo to staff that included gender and race among qualifications that could win a candidate an interview for a teaching position has outraged some female teachers. The memo, which was received by principals and teachers and obtained by The Globe and Mail, says that the qualities that could get a candidate an interview include being male or from a racial minority. “The first round of TDSB interviews will be granted to teachers candidates that meet one or more of the following criteria in addition to being an outstanding teacher: Male, racial minority, French, Music, Aboriginal,” the memo reads.

Immigration Bureaucrats Tell Job-Creating Canadians to Pack Up (Shikha Dalmia,
The economically dumb distinction that guides our immigration laws is that high-skilled workers are good and low-skilled workers are bad — as if macintosh apples would benefit any less from competitively priced and competent labor than Apple Macintosh Computers. The (fraudulent) rationale behind the distinction is that high-skilled foreigners create more jobs for natives and low-skilled immigrants take them away. If that’s the issue, then, one would imagine that immigration authorities would roll out the carpet for any foreigner with a track record of job creation, yes? No.

Canadian couple’s fight for maternity care exposes immigration system gap (Terry Pedwell, Metro News)
An Ontario man is fighting to change what he calls a pregnancy gap in Canada’s immigration system. Carey McGregor met his wife in Taiwan in 2005, and married in Canada two years later. His wife Sylvia — who is Taiwanese, and not a Canadian citizen — had their first child abroad, and last year McGregor moved his family back to Canada. Now expecting their second child and living in Hamilton, they’re grappling with a big problem. Sylvia has what doctors call a “high-risk” pregnancy, meaning she likely needs a cesarean section to give birth. She applied for a permanent resident visa in September, and doesn’t qualify for government medicare. Private health insurance doesn’t cover pregnancies.

Event Feb 28: Civic Integration and Political Representation of Immigrants and Visible Minorities (CERIS)
Moderator: Luin Goldring, director, CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Centre
Ranu Basu, associate professor, Department of Geography, York University: “Integrative Multiplicity through Suburban Realities: Exploring diversity through public spaces in Scarborough”
Alan Walks, associate professor, Department of Geography, University of Toronto, and Matt Smith, PhD candidate, Department of Geography, University of Toronto: “Visible Minority Electability in Urban Local Government in Ontario”

I’m doing my bit to solve issues of immigrants: Canadian MP (Hindustan Times)
Stressing that the Punjabis have played a great role in the development of Canada, the parliamentarian from Canada, Jinny Jogindera Sims, said that youngsters from India must adopt legitimate ways to go abroad and not fall in the trap of dubious travel agents. Sims, who was in the city to pay obeisance at Golden Temple, said that she was working for solving immigration issues of South Asians in her constituency. She was accompanied by former Congress MLA Jassi Khangura. Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Sims said, “My constituency Newton North Delta has considerable population from the South Asian region. My stress is always to solve their issues, especially the immigration problems they face.”

News Release — Canada Issues Record Number of Visitor Visas in 2012 (CIC)
Canada issued a record number of visitor visas in 2012 with almost 1 million visas approved, Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Maxime Bernier, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, announced today. “The Government is committed to attracting an increasing number of visitors to Canada as part of our plan to grow the Canadian economy and create jobs,” said Minister Kenney. “We strive to issue visas as quickly as possible to facilitate travel for genuine visitors – to welcome tourists, to reunite families – and benefit from the economic spinoff they bring to Canada.” The number of visas issued in 2012 represents an increase of almost 40% since 2004. This steady increase over the last few years reaffirms the fact that Canada continues to be a destination of choice for visitors.


Mexico not safe: activists (Andrea Houston, Xtra!)
Activists are calling the Canadian federal government’s decision to add Mexico to its list of safe countries of origin a major concern for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender refugees trying to flee homophobic violence there. Marco Posadas, a gay Toronto psychotherapist originally from Mexico, says the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration is ignoring the reality of Mexico’s systemic discrimination against queer people. “From my perspective this is a very bad decision,” he says. “And it has been made by an external authority who apparently has no clue what is actually happening in the country.”

Funds help young refugees adjust to Canadian life (Langley Times)
Thanks to $7,000 of support from Children’s Aid Foundation and the RBC New Beginnings: National Diversity Fund for Children, Langley Community Services Society has provided many experiences for Early Years Refugees Project participants. Families have taken in shows such as Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna and Royal City Youth Ballet’s The Nutcracker. They have also attended attractions such as Science World, the Honey Bee Centre, Aldor Acres, Langley Centennial Museum and the Vancouver Aquarium. Children have also taken part in various City activities such as ballet, taekwondo and gymnastics. The project provides early childhood development support and settlement services to refugee families in both Langleys.

Making Canada’s asylum system faster and fairer has potential ramifications for Canadian businesses (Meghan Tooley, First Reference Talks)
The refugee determination process has been a hotly debated topic in Canadian immigration. These changes could affect the Canadian workforce, which has been experiencing a shortage of skilled labour in a number of provinces. It is too early to say whether these change will be a good move or a bad one for Canada, but it is evident that Canada will be accepting more refugees than ever before.


Turning points: stories of lives forever altered because of one decision, one person (Amy Dempsey, Toronto Star)
For anyone, really, but especially for young people from troubled neighbourhoods, one moment is all it takes. One decision, one person can change the course of a life.

Want to help the poor? Don’t waste your time with the minimum wage (Stephen Gordon, Maclean’s)
Barack Obama has proposed increasing the U.S. minimum wage, and the discussion is spilling over to Canada. There are two things one needs to know about the minimum wage, employment and poverty in Canada.

Financing Long-Term Care: More Money in the Mix (Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
This paper argues that new financing is required over and above existing sources of revenue to support home care and long-term care now and in future. A robust system of home care and long-term care will necessarily involve improvements to and efficiencies within the existing health care system. But innovations to the acute care side of the equation will resolve only part of the financing challenge for long-term care. The community components of health care need more money if they are to meet current and future demands – in both quality and quantity of service.

Graphic Monday: Income by postal code (Global News)
Patterns of wealth and poverty on maps are often the key to interpreting patterns on other maps. Murder sites of male homicide victims in Toronto, for example, follow the classic checkmark shape of the city’s low-income neighbourhoods. Using Google’s Fusion Tables mapping tool, we are able to map income across the country in 1,576 postal areas.

Final reminder to Toronto organizations (SmartSaver)
February 2013
Last chance for Toronto organizations to book a free SmartSAVER event
Canada Learning Bond voucher brings in $millions for Toronto children
SmartSAVER looks beyond Toronto


Editorial: Surrey takes lead welcoming skilled workers to B.C (The Province)
Canada is a rich country. But being an immigrant here is tough, especially if you’re having trouble finding a job that matches your skills. A story by Province reporter Mike Raptis highlighted the case of Naresh Heera, a former emergency room doctor from India who came to Surrey in 2010 only to find himself working as a security guard. Surrey Coun. Judy Villeneuve said she knows of many former lawyers, engineers and doctors forced to take service positions here: “We’re not really using the capacity in the community.”

Build a diverse team to achieve global success (Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco, Financial Post)
Canadian companies have a natural advantage when it comes to doing business globally, said Dani Reiss, president and chief executive of Canada Goose Inc., which in a little more than 10 years has successfully expanded into more than 40 countries. “There are differences between cultures and how business is conducted in different countries, but because Canada is so multicultural, I don’t think Canadians experience much culture shock when they go into a foreign market,” Mr. Reiss said.

2013 Leaders in Diversity & Inclusion Recognized (hireimmigrants)
The 2013 winners of the Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition were announced today, recognizing the nation’s most progressive organizations in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. This year’s list of winners, expanded to 55 organizations, was announced this morning. “BMO is the founding sponsor of this important competition, now entering its seventh year,” says Lynn Roger, Senior Vice President and Chief Talent Officer at BMO Financial Group. “Our company is built on diversity, and we continue to succeed by making sure our employees truly reflect the communities we serve.”

Stikeman Elliott ranked as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (Canada Newswire)
Stikeman Elliott LLP is very pleased to announce that it has once again been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., placing as the top ranking law firm on the list. This marks the third time the firm has received this honour. “Stikeman Elliott is very proud to receive this award, as it recognizes our long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, both within the firm and our communities,” said firm chair, William Braithwaite. “We understand that by continually advancing our diversity objectives, we are creating a dynamic and inclusive work environment for our people that allows us to deliver exceptional service to our clients.”

National Bank Once Again Recognized as a Top Employer (Canada Newswire)
National Bank is proud to have once again made the list of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013, as chosen by Mediacorp Canada, Inc., which recognizes 50 Canadian employers who have developed exceptional inclusiveness programs for employees from five major groups: women; members of visible minorities; persons with disabilities; aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual (LGBT) peoples. “National Bank sees diversity as a great source of richness and is committed to promoting it within all business units. We also seek to showcase a wide range of talents and skills to reflect the Bank’s social fabric and needs in terms of its qualified workforce,” stated Lynn Jeanniot, Executive Vice-President – Human Resources and Corporate Affairs at National Bank.

Differences wanted: Ernst & Young hails diversity as critical to global success (Canada Newswire)
As businesses seek growth — locally and worldwide — they must shore up their workforces with the diverse perspectives they need to challenge outdated ideas, and adapt to thrive in new environments, says Ernst & Young, just named one of Canada’s 2013 Best Diversity Employers. A six-time winner since the award’s inception, Ernst & Young continues to use its leading position to advocate for the tangible benefits of embedding diversity, inclusiveness and human-equity values in business strategy.

Accenture Recognized Among “Canada’s Best Diversity Employers” for 2013 (Accenture)
“As a global company, Accenture is culturally diverse by nature. We believe in fostering our employees’ diverse talents and backgrounds, while remaining united by our core values and common methodologies,” said Michael Denham, president and country managing director of Accenture’s Canadian operations. “By embracing diversity and ensuring a culture of inclusion, we are able to attract the talent we need to serve our clients at the highest possible level.” “At Accenture we promote diversity with client forums, supplier diversity programs and recruiting, as well as employee engagement and retention programs,” said Claudia Thompson, managing director, Human Capital & Diversity for Accenture in Canada. “In addition, our employee resource groups connect individuals to help them strengthen their networks and enhance their working experience at Accenture.”

For the Third Consecutive Year Loblaw Earns Distinction As One of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (Canada Newswire)
Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) is proud to announce that it has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013 by Mediacorp Canada Inc. The award commends Loblaw for its commitment to creating an inclusive work environment that reflects the diversity of colleagues, customers and the communities around them. Reflect our Nation’s Diversity is one of five principles of Loblaw’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment. “Loblaw is honoured to be recognized as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. We are proud of the improvement we have made in reflecting diversity in the products we sell, the people we attract and the workplace culture we create,” said Judy McCrie, executive vice-president, Human Resources and Labour Relations, Loblaw Companies Limited.

Rogers named one of Canada’s best diversity employers (Canada Newswire)
Rogers Communications has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013 by Mediacorp Canada Inc. The award recognizes Rogers for its leadership in creating a diverse environment for its employees, customers and communities. “We are proud to be chosen as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers,” said Jim Reid, Rogers Senior Vice-President of Human Resources and Chief HR Officer. “Diversity is a cornerstone of our culture at Rogers. We firmly believe that championing diversity makes us a better employer. It helps us to further understand and serve our customers. And, it enables us to contribute to our communities in strong and meaningful ways.”


Tuesday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Crime, Toronto Newborn, City Hall and Other News.

Newsstand: February 20, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
Is it still cold outside? Yeah, we thought so. In the news: No provincial election, yet; a new way to stop shark-fin sales; kids are desensitized to violence; condo evacuees stay evacuees; and more power infrastructure needed downtown.

Custom Email Alerts for City Hall : Toronto Public Space Initiative Launches New Civic Engagement Software (Toronto Public Space Initiative)
The Toronto Public Space Initiative is launching a brand new civic engagement tool called TABS On Toronto that will let residents, media, staff, and organizations sign up for email alerts from City Council based on their keyword preferences. For example, a user can type into the system the name of their local street, or a policy issue of interest to them. Whenever that word comes up on a Council agenda item or background document they will get an automatic email from the system informing them of the upcoming Council meeting. Resident’s will have an easier time keeping informed of what government is doing, never missing a beat, and getting their full 7 days statutory notice.

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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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