Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 21, 2013


Conversations in Integration February 2013 (Cities of Migration)
In this issue:
In Dublin with Intercultural Cities: Local Strategies for diversity advantage
City to City Learning: From Boston to Toronto to Chicago
Chicago’s Plan for a Thriving, Welcoming City
Brookings Institution: Metros Are on the Front Lines of Immigration Reform
Why We Need Lessons from Local Leaders
Toronto Explores Municipal Voting for Non-Citizens

Improving diversity of teaching staff tough under new provincial rule, boards say (The Record)
A new provincial regulation that forces school boards to hire from among the five most senior applicants hampers any effort to improve the diversity of teaching staff — and it means principals won’t necessarily be able to bring in the best person for the job, says the president of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association. “The desire for school boards to be able to ensure teaching staff reflect their respective communities can be trumped by Regulation 274,” said Michael Barrett, who is also an Oshawa trustee for the Durham District School Board.–improving-diversity-of-teaching-staff-tough-under-new-provincial-rule-boards-say

Toronto votes on first Canadian Sanctuary City policy (Toronto Media Coop)
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 Without 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. The Solidarity City Network, a coalition of community organizations representing and advocating for immigrants and refugees, is urging City Council to adopt motion CD 18.5 that was passed in committee due to significant community pressure and input from activists, advocates and courageous undocumented people themselves. Also included in the motion are demands for city advocacy to the provincial and federal governments around access to services and immigration status.

Wiretap connects alleged Asian gang leader to triad violence that spilled into Vancouver (Globe and Mail)
The gunfire rang out on a summer night in 1997, terrifying neighbours, worrying police and briefly bringing to public attention a man purported to be the crime boss of a feared triad in Macau. Target of the drive-by shooting was the southwest Vancouver residence of Lai Tong Sang, who had been let into Canada by mistake just nine months earlier. Now, newly available wiretap information indicate that, indeed, a triad war in Macau did spill over into Vancouver upon Mr. Lai’s arrival. The information, contained in court submissions obtained by The Globe and Mail, is expected to form part of the government’s argument to have Mr. Lai kicked out, nearly 17 years after he landed here under the country’s immigrant investment program.

Nova Scotia: Canada’s Mighty Hub of the Diaspora (Huffington Post)
For 29 years, African Heritage has been celebrated each February in Nova Scotia. As home to one of the oldest African Heritage Month celebrations in the country, Nova Scotia is honouring its historic communities this year with the theme Then and Now: Our Journey Continues. Though Nova Scotia isone of Canada’s smallest provinces, the roots of people of African descent are well established here, with many such families having been in Nova Scotia for more than six generations.The history of African Nova Scotians reaches back to the early founding years of the province. Many of today’s communities can trace their origins to centuries ago, when Nova Scotia held the promise of a better life for immigrants of African descent.

Recognition of newcomers’ foreign credentials and work experience (South Asian Generation Next)
Yet newcomers face barriers that may impede the recognition of their credentials and work experience, with consequences for their labour market performance and broader integration within Canadian society. Potential factors include the content of foreign education being deemed less relevant to the needs of the Canadian labour market than the country where the education was completed, linguistic ability in English or French, and the entry procedures in some trades and professions. Unfamiliarity with foreign degrees among employers may also play a role. Others have suggested that the decentralized accreditation system seems to be a hurdle, with numerous trade and professional bodies being involved, and provinces having their own standards for evaluating degrees and setting certification norms for trades and professions.

Minister Valcourt Proud of Attracting Best International Students to Canada (South Asian Generation Next)
The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), meets on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with a group of 25 university students from Latin America and the Caribbean. During the meeting, Minister Valcourt highlighted the importance of international education and the role of Canada’s French-language universities in the global economy. “Our government is committed to continuing to attract the best students to Canada,” said Minister Valcourt. “Their presence in the country creates jobs and stimulates economic growth, as well as strengthening our people-to-people ties with other countries.”

‘Racism still exists here … at workplace and on school playgrounds’ (South Asian Generation Next)
“Visible minorities and faith-based communities with distinctive dress still experience racial harassment more often than others. National and provincial human rights commissions are there to give justice to minority groups but the question is: are they strong enough to help those who have suffered racial discrimination in the workplace?”

4 questions about Canada’s new Office of Religious Freedom (CBC)
It has been almost two years since Stephen Harper announced his government would establish an Office of Religious Freedom to monitor the safety of religious minorities around the world. It was during the spring 2011 election campaign that the Conservatives promised that this new office would become a key pillar of Canadian foreign policy. Since then, however, progress has been halting. There were reports that two people who had been approached to head up the new agency had turned down the post. So the announcement Tuesday of the federal government’s first ambassador of religious freedom put a face and public profile to an organization that has long been in the planning stages and is now operational.

Canadian Immigration Hopefuls Gearing Up For Launch of Federal Skilled Worker Program (CICS News)
On July 1st 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced that the program would be put on moratorium to give the immigration department time to process FSWP applications in its backlog and to design new rules and put in place new processes for a revamped skilled worker program that better meets Canada’s economic needs. Now, after a nearly one year wait, the program is set to begin accepting applications on May 4th 2013, providing skilled foreign workers who lack the financial means to qualify for Canada’s investor and business class programs and without a job offer from a Canadian employer, with an immigration program they can potentially qualify under.

Area makes ready for influx of immigrants (Rob O’Flanagan, Guelph Mercury)
The food was not from home. That was among the important insights shared at a Tuesday workshop aimed at better understanding the emotional challenges immigrants face upon arriving in a new country. Most everything is unfamiliar, and it is often difficult even to find familiar food, food that gives a sense of comfort and security. The stresses of moving, of being uprooted, of not having professional credentials recognized, of not knowing the language — or the food — can trigger mental health challenges in those who are new to Canada. Those issues are being better understood through the Canadian Mental Health Association’s The Opening Doors Project, a series of workshops sponsored by The Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership.–area-makes-ready-for-influx-of-immigrants

Ensuring basic rights in Toronto for undocumented newcomers (Navjeet Sidhu and Maya Roy, Toronto Star)
Toronto City Council should vote for motion that will ensure improved access to city services for residents lacking immigration status.

Are You a Dual Citizen? Kenney’s Got Plans for You (Omar Alghabra, Huffington Post)
If you are a Canadian citizen who holds any other citizenship, you should know that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration is pushing to pass a law that would render you a second class citizen. Next week, the House of Commons will be voting on a private member bill, C-245, that aims to strip Canadians with dual citizenship of their Canadian citizenship if they engage in an act of war against the Canadian armed forces or commit acts of terrorism. It appears that the majority of MPs will be supporting this discriminatory proposal.

Government of Canada helps internationally trained geoscientists get jobs in their fields faster (Canada News Centre)
The Government of Canada is making it easier for internationally trained geoscientists to find jobs in their fields. Wai Young, Member of Parliament for Vancouver South, on behalf of the Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, made the announcement today. “Our government’s top priorities are job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, and we recognize that internationally trained professionals help fill skills shortages in key occupations,” said Ms. Young. “This is why we are working with partners like Geoscientists Canada so that newcomers can find meaningful jobs that contribute to Canada’s economy.”

PM delivers remarks on the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom (Canada News Centre)
“This community has experienced, as Jason mentioned, the terrible cruelty of persecution, persecution on the basis of religion. “In spite of that, your belief in tolerance and harmony endures. “In this you make an inspiring contribution to our values. “You strengthen Canada’s commitment to diversity and pluralism. “And you remind your fellow Canadians that the freedoms we enjoy are precious, and must never be taken for granted. “So as your Prime Minister, I thank you on behalf of all Canadians for strengthening and enriching the fabric of our country.

We can’t keep tiptoeing around black-on-black violence (Globe and Mail)
Street violence is taking a tragic toll on black men and boys in this city. Both as victims and as perpetrators, they are caught up all too often. If you pick up the paper or turn on the computer after reports of a shooting, stabbing or violent robbery, chances are the face staring out at you will be black. Pockets of the city where unemployment and dropout rates are high, where many sons grow up without a father, where gangs and guns are all around, have become dangerous traps for what social workers call at-risk youth. More often than not, they turn on each other. Black-on-black violence is a disfiguring stain on the face of the city’s multicultural success. It is an uncomfortable truth that, as a welcoming and liberal city, we prefer to ignore. The political class won’t talk about it for fear of being labelled racist. The media are almost as cowed

A delicate balance: Framing Canada’s new immigration policy for students (Jennifer Humphries, CBIE)
We know that there are justifiable reasons for change. We need to protect students from fraudulent and poor quality “institutions.” We need to safeguard our educational institutions against non genuine “students.” Our reputation as a country of choice for legitimate students seeking excellent education is at stake. Fortunately, the proposed changes not only aim to remedy problems, close loopholes and avert potential future issues, they include measures that are patently beneficial to bona fide students enrolling at quality educational institutions. These include automatic combination study/work permits for certain students, and the option for certain students to transition from visitor permit to study permit from within Canada. Both will be competitive advantages for Canada in a world where education options are rapidly expanding. These favourable measures suggest that our voices have been heard by our CIC colleagues during earlier discussions, which is highly gratifying.

Only male teachers need apply (Winnipeg Free Press)
Would more male teachers, or more visible minorities, translate into a better education system? This week, the Globe and Mail reported that the Toronto District School Board, in order to ensure its teachers reflect the demographics of its student body, is giving preference in hiring to males and visible minorities, including aboriginals and francophones. The gross majority of teachers at the TDSB are female and white. The board considers that to be a problem in a city where just less than half the student body is male, and nearly three-quarters are visible minorities.

YYZ is our living museum of Canadian immigration (Shawn Micallef)
The airport, like public transit, is where Toronto’s motto, “Diversity our Strength,” can be seen in action. It’s one of the few places we mix together effortlessly. Intimate moments are made public, as people hug or cry their hellos and goodbyes. Pier 21 in Halifax is a museum to Canada’s immigrant past but as the country’s busiest airport serving the GTA — the whole region doesn’t get enough credit for bulking up the city’s famous motto — Toronto Pearson International Airport is a living monument to Canada’s multicultural mix. Few arrive in Canada by boat these days; only the airport matters. Flights are expensive, but some people spend years saving for the big trip back to the old country or to fly in a relative, so the economic range of people who travel these runways shouldn’t be underestimated.


Processing of Refugee Claims by CIC under the New Legislation (CIC)
On December 15, 2012, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (PCISA) came into force, ushering in a number of changes to the in-Canada refugee protection system. At the same time, CIC offices started using the Global Case Management System (GCMS) to process refugee claims. This Operational Bulletin (OB) outlines how to process refugee claims under the new system. It also indicates where CIC officers will find information on using GCMS.

Toronto Doctor: Re: Mexico Safe (CBC As It Happens)
There are things we tell our doctors, that we wouldn’t share with anyone else. For a refugee claimant, that can include the story of why they fled their home. Michael Stephenson is a family doctor who treats refugee claimants at Toronto’s Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services. Some of his patients are refugee claimants from Mexico. Mexico is now on Immigration Canada’s list of so-called “safe” countries.—chinese-hacking-zen-scandal-folo-charbonneau-update/

Canada declares Mexico ‘safe’ country (CBC As It Happens)
Last week, Citizenship and Immigration Canada pronounced Mexico to be “safe”. In immigration terms, that means the Canadian government does not believe Mexico is a source of genuine refugees. It also means that refugee applicants from Mexico will lose certain avenues of appeal, if their claims are rejected. For those familiar with Mexico’s epidemic of crime and violence, the declaration is hard to comprehend.


Social Assistance Failing (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Suzanne Fraser, she is a mother of three and a trainee at the Daily Bread Food Bank, and with Pat Capponi. She is an author, and a poverty and mental health advocate.

Changes to EI: It’s all in the details (rabble)
The latest detail to emerge about the recent changes to EI is from the Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles. The Digest is a guide to enforcing Employment Insurance, with definitions of key terms, and elaborates on expectations of EI claimants and penalties for errors. In Chapter 9, Refusal of Employment, Service Canada outlines several actions that are equivalent to refusing employment.

Where will our kids be able to live? (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
A year ago, this blog asked, Where will the next generation live? On March 5th, you can help answer that question. That’s the date of the Ralph Thornton’s Centre’s Town Hall that asks, “Can downtown housing remain affordable for the coming generation?”

Toronto council rebuffs debate on shelter crisis; keeps left wing off powerful committees (Daniel Dale, Toronto Star)
Councillor Adam Vaughan said the homeless shelter situation is a “crisis” that demands immediate discussion. Not enough councillors agreed to force a debate Wednesday.


Four Easy Ways for HR professionals to Better Integrate Immigrant Talent (hireimmigrants)
In a recent HR Professional magazine article, Michael Bach, National leader of diversity at KPMG Canada, provides four tips that HR professionals can use to make the hiring process easier to integrate skilled immigrants into the Canadian workforce.

CAMH named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013 (CAMH)
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for a third year in a row. CAMH was also ranked as one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2013. “We are thrilled to be recognized as a top diversity employer again,” said CAMH President and CEO, Dr. Catherine Zahn. “This award affirms diversity and inclusion as values that are reflected in the way we work, in ways we design and deliver mental health and addiction services.”

IEC-BC congratulates BC’s Best Diversity Employers (IECBC)
IEC-BC congratulates BC’s best diversity employers. We applaud these organizations because they recognize that a diverse and multicultural workforce enhances innovation and helps their organization reach new and growing markets. IEC-BC will continue to work and support BC employers in building their capacity to attract and integrate immigrants into your workplace.


Thursday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Emergency Shelter Beds and Other News.


SPT 2013 Symposium (Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto (SPT), in partnership with Toronto Neighbourhood Centres and the City-Wide Agency Network and supported by United Way Toronto and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, will hold its 2013 Symposium at the Metro Central YMCA. This year’s Symposium, “Happily Ever After? ‘Shotgun Weddings’, ‘Arranged Marriages’ and ‘Friends with Benefits’: Evolving Relationships in the Community Services Sector”, will focus on responses and alternatives to consolidation and standardization in the community services sector.

A Retrospective Look at the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI): What Lessons Did We Learn? (Patrick Johnston, The Philanthropist)
In March of 199, 12 Federal Cabinet Ministers and 25 representatives of the voluntary sector convened in Ottawa, which led to the creation of the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI). This article, written a decade after the SI was in full swing, is an attempt to drawout key lessons from the initiative. Hopefully, these lessons will inform current and future efforts to stengthen voluntary sector-government relations whether at a federal, provincal, or municipal level.

Events in Toronto – Enterprising Nonprofits Toronto
The Enterprising Non-Profits Toronto Program provides matching grants of up to $10,000 to nonprofit organizations that are exploring the development of business activities (social enterprises) for the dual purposes of generating revenue and furthering their mission. This funding allows nonprofits to access the technical assistance they need at any stage along the social enterprise development path, from idea exploration and development to project launch and growth.

The following two tabs change content below.


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
Daily Reads/Micro Thoughts Summary

Shared Stick figure self portrait. Stick figure self portrait Shared 10 links. Stick figure self portrait | Flickr - Photo...