Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 22, 2013


Celebrate International Mother Language Day in Your Community (Sarah Gledhill, Maytree)
Today, February 21, marks International Mother Language Day. First proclaimed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2000, it is celebrated each year “to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.” Mother languages or mother tongues are the languages we first learn at home in childhood and continue to understand into adulthood. They strongly tie us to our culture and sense of identity.

Undocumented Workers in Toronto (City of Toronto)
City Council adopted this item on February 20, 2013 with amendments.

Toronto declared ‘sanctuary city’ to non-status migrants (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Toronto has become the first Canadian city with a formal policy allowing undocumented migrants to access services regardless of immigration status.

Toronto extends city services to undocumented immigrants (680 News)
Toronto has joined the likes of Chicago, New York City and San Francisco in becoming Canada’s first “sanctuary city” — a place where anyone can can access city services, regardless of immigration status. The decision was made at City Hall Thursday night, after councillors debated on whether to extend city services to the estimated 100,000-200,000 to undocumented immigrants (those whose visas have expired) in the city.

Undocumented People (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Bonita Roman-Johnson, her husband is “undocumented”, and with Tzazna Miranda-Leal. She is a community legal worker with Parkdale Community Legal Services. This afternoon City Council will consider a motion to declare Toronto a Sanctuary City for undocumented residents.

Council votes to protect undocumented residents (Ben Spurr, NOW Toronto)
On Thursday, councillors approved a review of city policy to ensure that people living here illegally can access services without fear of being reported to immigration authorities. “I think this is a historic moment,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc after the vote. “We’re saying we are a ‘Sanctuary City,’ and that anyone who is in the City of Toronto will be able to access all the services that the City of Toronto offers. “That’s the kind of city that we want. We want to open our arms to anyone who comes here. While they’re here, mi casa es su casa.” The lopsided 37-3 vote elicited cheers from yellow-shirted immigrant rights activists in the gallery, dozens of whom crowded into the chamber earlier in the day.

Toronto becomes Canada’s first ‘sanctuary’ for illegal immigrants (Andy Radia, Yahoo! News)
The City of Toronto has put out the proverbial welcome mat for its’ tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. On Thursday, City Council voted in favour of Motion CD 18.5 — the so-called ‘access without fear’ motion — making Toronto Canada’s first city with a formal policy allowing undocumented migrants access to City services such as foodbanks and homeless shelters.

‘Sanctuary city’: Council takes steps to help undocumented workers feel more comfortable accessing city services (Natalie Alcoba, National Post)
A bid to ensure undocumented workers can access city services without fear of repercussions set off a passionate debate at city council on Thursday, with the son of an immigrant saying people who are in the country illegally are an “insult” to those who gained admittance through legal channels. “Undocumented workers are illegal workers, illegal immigrants,” said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who represents Don Valley East. “Their first stop is the welfare office. They already know the address because they’ve been told back home where to go.”

Access Without Fear passes! Your new mission if you choose to accept (The Solidarity City Network)
Today, after a marathon nail-biting debate, Toronto City Hall strengthened its promise to provide services to residents without full immigration status or all their immigration documents. Read the exact motion here. You called, wrote, met, and pressured your Councillors and they were forced to listen. The first step is complete, and we have a new mission for you.[UNIQID

Minority electability in urban Ontario municipalities – PDF (Matthew Smith and Alan Walks, CERIS)
Research about the ability of visible minority candidates to win Canadian municipal elections has revealed a consistent pattern of underrepresentation. However, until now little attention had been paid to the role played by municipal ward systems in influencing the level of visible minority “electability”, and the factors that enhance their electability in Canadian local government. The findings of this research suggest that both the number and the spatial boundaries of municipal ward systems play important roles in determining levels of local political representation among various resident groups. Surveys with visible minority candidates point to both a desire for reform of electoral systems and to diverse factors affecting minority electability.

Full working paper (PDF):

TDSB Hiring Practices (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Ainsworth Morgan, he teaches at Lord Dufferin Junior and Senior Public School in Regent Park, and with Brian Rieper, heteaches at Owen Public School in North York.

Schooled: Teachers & Diversity in Toronto (TPL)
The Toronto District School Board – Canada’s largest school board – has been in the news recently when a memo surfaced recommending that “the first round of TDSB interviews will be granted to teacher candidates that meet one or more of the following criteria in addition to being an outstanding teacher: Male, racial minority, French, Music, Aboriginal…” The reasoning behind this criteria? The TDSB wants to better serve its communities by having role models that are more representative of the diversity of students in its schools.

Is the shortage of male teachers a crisis? (CBC The Current)
You wouldn’t normally pick teacher as a profession it takes great courage for a man to enter. But we hear from a male teacher in Guelph who says it can sometimes be tough to be one of the few men in the profession. He speaks about a dark side to the change in social attitudes in Canada about male teachers. Changes that have left their numbers dwindling and educators worried for boy role models. About 80 per cent of all primary school teachers in Canada are women. Now, the biggest school board in the country wants to change that… by giving preference to men in their hiring.

Trend 8 – Immigration: A Global Issue (Mary-Frances Winters, Inclusion Solution)
Zakaria feels that Canada has gotten it most right because it is a sparsely populated country in dire need of labor. Their point system allows immigrants into the country, based on their education, language proficiency and job skills. Compared to the US, in Canada, almost two-thirds of permanent visas in 2011 were given on the basis on Canada’s economic needs versus family reasons which is the opposite for the US where only 13% of green cards went to economic reasons and 66% were for family reasons.

New citizens and emerging civic leaders join Orders of Canada/Ontario for dinner (CivicAction GTA)
Last night, Toronto’s grano restaurant once again played host to Order! Order!, a unique dinner-discussion series connecting three diverse Canadian groups – members of the Orders of Canada and Ontario, new Canadian citizens and emerging civic leaders. Hosted by Adrienne Clarkson, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship Co-Founder and Co-Chair, and John Tory, the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance Chair, the event brought together 60 attendees, including Lawrence Bloomberg, Lola Rasminsky – founding director of the Fine Arts Kindergarten, the Avenue Road Arts School and Arts for Children, and Tatum Wilson – Director of Community Engagement & Planning, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Privilege Dynamics (Jon Crowley)
I have to posit two things, for this to make sense. Sadly, these things are up for debate, but here we go. First: we are slowly reducing the impact of race / gender discrimination in our society. Second: we are slowly reducing the impact of race / gender privilege in our society. It’s important to note that these are two different things; you can theoretically eliminate discrimination on a factor, while leaving privilege intact on the same factor. We’re making a hell of a lot more progress on discrimination than we are on privilege, for one simple reason – the mental model of the world that allows privilege to exist, denies the ability to see it. Let me explain.

Editorial: Race and sentencing (Ottawa Citizen)
We don’t deny racism is a problem, and there are plenty of cases where blacks have come under undue scrutiny by police and unfair treatment in the justice system. Certainly, the number of black men in jail is out of proportion relative to that of white males. However, the reasons for this — sociological, cultural, economic, etc. — go deeper than police profiling. Arguably, the criminality of a small subsection of the black community is rooted in such things as poverty, lack of education, unemployment and absentee fathers. These are important issues to be addressed by society. But it does not follow that because a higher proportion of a certain population is convicted of a certain crime that increasing or mandating sentencing for that crime is discriminatory. If nothing else, a mandatory sentence does not discriminate. Claiming the law is racist is an unworthy tactic that diverts attention from very real problems.

Canadian MP Visits India To Hear Immigration Grievances (IB Times)
Jinny Jogindera Sims, an Indian-born Canadian Member of Parliament, is currently away on a trip to India in a bid to find out the core grievances of Indian residents about problems they face while applying for the Canadian visa.

Ontario revels in its diversity (Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan, Saudi Gazette)
Ontario’s new cabinet displays Canada’s diversity and its priceless contributions to the country. But so readily have Canadians accepted the profound changes in their society that such developments surprise no one. Kathleen Wynne, who just became the 25th premier of Canada’s largest province, is the first woman in this job, although Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia already have women premiers. She defeated formidable contenders and became leader of Ontario’s Liberals.

Why an office of religious freedom? God only knows. (Tasha Kheiriddin, ipolitics (subscription required)
Welcome to the Office for the Promotion of Religious Freedom. First, please identify your faith. Press 1 for Roman Catholic, 2 for Protestant, 3 for Jewish, 4 for Muslim, 5 for Buddhist, 6 for Hindu, 7 for Sikh, 8 for Atheist and 9 for Other. If you are being persecuted, please press 0 for assistance. If this is an emergency, please contact your local politician … unless, of course, he or she is doing the persecuting.

Video – Black history: Panel sounds off on black leadership in Canada (CTV)

Celebrating Black History Month (Heather Gardiner, Canadian Lawyer)
The Black Law Students Association of Canada is working hard to get students to embrace diversity this month. In recognition of Black History Month, last week the BLSA at Osgoode Hall Law School presented the inaugural Lincoln Alexander Award to Justice Michael Tulloch — the first black judge appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal. He joined the bench on June 22, 2012.
Tulloch graduated from Osgoode in 1989, at a time when he was one of three black students at the law school.


New fast-track rules see big drop in refugee asylum claims (Globe and Mail)
Canada has seen a dramatic drop in the number of refugees seeking asylum here after Ottawa began fast-tracking applications from countries where it feels people are less likely to be persecuted. Senior government sources say that on average, 164 foreigners are claiming asylum weekly in 2013, down nearly 70 per cent from the average weekly claim for the past five years, which was 537. This is based on data for the first seven weeks of 2013.

News Release — Canada’s new asylum system a success (CIC)
Canada’s new asylum system is already a success after just over two months in operation, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Overall, the number of asylum claims received each week is down by 70 percent compared to similar timeframes over the past six years. If this trend continues, provinces and territories are expected to save an additional $420 million over five years in social assistance, education costs and health-care costs, pushing the total savings from asylum system reform to over $2 billion.

More changes to refugee system from Jason Kenney: Mexico added to ‘safe countries’ list (Edward Corrigan, rabble)
The Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, announced on February 14, 2013 that the list of Designated Countries of Origin is being expanded to include an additional eight countries. The Designation came into force on February 15, 2013. The Designated Country of Origin (DCO) is part of the new refugee system that came into effect in Canada on December 15, 2012. The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act gives the authority for the Minister to designate countries of origin for fast tracking of refugee claims. The designation also restricts the rights refugees to obtain work permits who come from the DCO’s that generally “offer state protection, have active human rights and civil society organizations, and do not normally produce refugees.”

The Roma: none is too many (CJNews)
Human rights organizations such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center are documenting an increase in violence and vandalism against the Roma and Jewish community of Hungary. Many Roma fearing for their families’ lives have arrived in Canada in an attempt to find a safe home. What they are discovering are laws passed and changes of policy by the Harper government that make refugee claims in Canada more difficult, especially for those coming from countries on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s “safe” list – places where he says all citizens are safe and secure. Hungary is on that list.

New Refugee Determination System In Cananda (Edward Corrigan, ILW)
On December 15, 2012, the system for determining refugee claims made in Canada underwent significant changes as a result of the coming into force of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, the latter of which amends both the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act.

· Some articles you can read:
· Will the new refugee rules lead to new sanctuary cases? By rick Goldman.
· The sanctuary option. By Michael Creal
· A GIFT TO CANADA: INTERVIEW with Suda Rajasingam. By Jacinta Goveas



Reign in Parliamentary Power (Samara Canada)
Mark D. Jarvis, award-winning co-author of Democratizing the Constitution: Reforming Responsible Government gives us his ideas on restoring democracy by limiting parliamentary power. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Parliament in the 21st century? I think the biggest challenge facing Parliament is demonstrating to Canadians that it is an effective institution. Samara’s recent report “Who’s the Boss?” found that “only 36% of Canadians were satisfied with how MPs do their jobs” and that Canadians gave MPs failing grades on their effort to hold government to account. There are a number of reasons for Parliament’s poor accountability performance, but perhaps the most disconcerting is the powers that governments hold over the actual operations of the House of Commons.



$1.4-million awarded to help employers attract and integrate skilled immigrants (Canada Newswire)
The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) today announced the awarding of $1.4 million from the Employer Innovation Fund (EIF) for 11 innovative projects to assist employers, industry and business associations in developing initiatives and resources to integrate skilled immigrants into BC workplaces. Funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of BC through the Canada-British Columbia Immigration Agreement, the Employer Innovation Fund was announced at the 2012 Leaders’ Summit on Immigrant Employment hosted by IEC-BC in the fall.

BCTA wins funding to help integrate skilled immigrants into industry (
The B.C. Trucking Association is getting a share of $1.4 million in funding that will help companies in the province integrate skilled immigrants into driving positions within the trucking industry. The BCTA’s share is $196,000, which will be put towards developing a driver vocational assessment tool aimed at immigrant applicants for driving positions, as well as development of an employer licensing and training resource. The funding was made available by the Immigrant Employment Council of B.C., under its Employer Innovation Fund (EIF).

The growing call for a decent minimum wage (Workers’ Action Centre)
The call for a decent minimum wage – based on the principle that work should bring workers and their families out of poverty – is building momentum. Over the last few weeks, the minimum wage has been pushed into headlines. First, US President Barack Obama made a firm commitment to raising the US federal minimum wage and indexing it to the cost of living, a proposal that has generated overwhelming support in US opinion polls. Second, after being sworn in as Minister of Community and Social Services last week, Ted McMeekin mused that he’d like to see an increase in the Ontario minimum wage – sparking speculation that the March budget might include a minimum wage announcement. Premier Kathleen Wynne, however, continues to hint that she would like to see further study on what measures should be used to assess whether the minimum wage should be increased.

In Mexico migrants organisations denounce Canadian govmt policy (Migrants Canada)
Justicia for Migrant Workers along with US and Mexican migrant workers’ rights organizations denounced the Canadian government for stripping away employment insurance benefits to migrant workers and demanded the full restoration of these benefits.

Osler lauded for diversity (Brampton Guardian)
William Osler Health System has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013, for its efforts to create a workplace that is inclusive, respectful, welcoming and accessible. “This is an outstanding achievement for Osler and one that we must credit to the tremendous efforts of our staff, physicians and volunteers in creating an environment that allows us to better understand and appreciate the unique beliefs and values of one another, as well as those of our patients and their families,” said Kay Blair, Osler Board Chair. “This recognition is a first for Osler and a testament to our innovation in workplace diversity and inclusion, as well as our commitment to full integration within our organization.”–don-t-care

Students Against Migrant Exploitation launches Migrant Worker Awareness Week 2013 (Migrant workers in Canada)
A UFCW Canada Human Rights Department Release February 21, 2013 – Get on board! S.A.M.E. (Students Against Migrant Exploitation) is about to embark on an historic journey — to engage students across Ontario to defend human rights and fight for migrant worker justice. The journey begins March 18, at Brock University in St. Catharines; the first of a series of S.A.M.E. events in support of Migrant Worker Awareness Week 2013.



Friday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, ‘Sanctuary City’ and Other News.

Newsstand: February 22, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Last Friday of February! Already, right? In the news: Undocumented workers can find sanctuary in Toronto; development charges may double; the City wants inspection results for health clinics; and shark fin soup is legal… for now.

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 29 links. The Power of Trust and Traditional Media | Edelman Canada | Social Media and Public Relations Area...