Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 25, 2013


Civility in Leadership (Alan Broadbent, Maytree)
Kathleen Wynne is Ontarios new Premier, and quite appropriately much is being made of her victory in the Liberal leadership race and her being Premier. We at Maytree are delighted, and congratulate her. Premier Wynne has long been a friend of Maytree. On many occasions she has led events for us, contributed her time and insights to people working in the community, and been available for advice and consultation. We have found her one of the most willing, best informed, and more aptly experienced community leaders we have worked with. And we have been glad to see others discover her great talents and come to her side.

Jason Kenney attracts Bieber-like following in ethnic communities (Nicholas Keung and Debra Black, Toronto Star)
Canadas immigration minister is as popular as a rising rock star. The Star follows him for a day as he tours the GTAs ethnic communities.

Q&A: Jason Kenney says bill to strip Canadian citizenship largely symbolic (Michelle Shephard, Toronto Star)
Jason Kenney tells the Star that Bill C-245 applies strictly to rare cases of violent disloyalty to Canada.

Q & A: Jason Kenney on his role as Canadas immigration minister (Nicholas Keung and Debra Black, Toronto Star)
Q. Is it true you hesitated to take the immigration portfolio when offered the job?
A: Yes. It is a notoriously difficult job. Several of my predecessors ended up resigning. Eighty to 90 per cent of the case work of urban and suburban MPs relates to citizenship and immigration.
Q. Whats made you a Justin Bieber to new immigrants?
A: Clearly not my haircut. In the Chinese community, Im better known than in the mainstream population. I think its because Im in the Chinese media just about everyday and, other than probably the Prime Minister, more visible than any other Canadian political figure.

The Office of Religious Freedom, more Conservative slice and dice (Globe and Mail)
Andrew Bennett will be the first Canadian ambassador posted to Canadians. The Harper Conservatives latest brainchild, an ambassador for religious freedom, is supposed to criticize other countries lack of protection for religious minorities. These critiques will have zero effect on the intended targets, but they will be wildly popular with domestic religious groups, who are the real political targets.

Skepticism greets religious freedom office (Peter Mckenna, Chronicle Herald)
In last years federal budget, the Department of Foreign Affairs saw its spending cut by $170 million. But Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made sure his cherished Office of Religious Freedom went unscathed. With its official launch last week, you can also be sure that it will generate some controversy in Ottawa and beyond, as well as inside the government. Not much is known about this initiative, which was announced during the May 2011 federal election campaign, other than its aim of promoting religious freedom around the world and shining a light on religious persecution.

Chinese Tourists Missing In BC: Women Walk Away From Tours (Zi-ann Lum, Huffington Post)
Mounties in Richmond, B.C, say two Chinese nationals have walked away from tour groups visiting the Lower Mainland, bringing the total number to four since last summer.

Muslim barbers and woman whose hair they wouldnt cut resolve dispute with a good talk (Tim Alamenciak, Toronto Star)
The woman who filed a human rights complaint after being denied a lunchtime haircut has worked things out in a confidential agreement with the barbershop owner. Faith McGregor filed a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after Omar Mahrouk, owner of the Terminal Barber Shop, told her they couldnt cut a womans hair because of their religion. It was reached through mediation, so it was decided upon by the both of us. We both came to a mutual agreement, said McGregor, adding that she was happy with the outcome.

Irish Canadian Immigration Centre offers assistance to thousands in first year (Irish Times)
It is only 12 months since the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre opened its doors to assist the thousands of Irish emigrants flocking to the country. Cathy Murphy, Director of the Toronto based Centre, tells Gráinne Burns about the vital role of the outreach service in the country.

Canadas Conservatives poised for decades of power in Ottawa, pollsters book says (Mark Kennedy,
According to the authors of The Big Shift, many people especially the central Canadian elites who once set the national agenda dont realize how much the country has changed. A coalition of influence and power has shifted to the West and Ontario suburbs, where the Tories are strong. Waves of immigration, much of it from Asia, have brought conservative values. And Quebec with all the associated hand-wringing about national unity no longer captures the nations attention like it once did.

“Young Black Kids Are Dying” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway had a difficult discussion about recent shootings, with Nick Davis. He is a journalist, father and a college basketball coach. He is also a former senior producer of Metro Morning.

“Diluted Celebrations” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke abot the Lunar New Year, with James Cheng. He is a second-generation Chinese Canadian and local comedian.

City to Explore Access Without Fear Policy for Undocumented Residents (Desmond Cole, Torontoist)
Toronto City Council has decided, after a fraught debate yesterday, to learn how it can remove barriers undocumented workers face when trying to access municipal services, and become whats sometimes called a sanctuary city. By a vote of 37-3, theyve asked staff to compile a set of recommendations that would ensur[e] access to services without fear to immigrants without full status or without full status documents. If councillors endorse that report when they get it later this year, they will be formally deciding that residents should have access to municipal services regardless of their immigration status. Council also voted to ask the federal government to create a regularization program for people without status.

Sanctuary City means a healthier Toronto for everyone (David Leacock, Wellesley Institute)
Yesterday Toronto City Council took an important step toward improving access to the city for undocumented workers. The motion, approved by an overwhelming majority 37-3, affirmed a recommendation from the Community Development and Recreation Committee for the City to explore opportunities to enhance the access without fear policy. This is an important step by our municipal government and it is crucial to improving population health in Toronto. Undocumented workers face extreme health risks and are without access to legislated minimum standards with regard to employment terms and conditions and workplace health and safety. Our submission to the CDRC committee indicated that these workers face adverse mental health outcomes: anxiety, depression and trauma stemming from fears of deportation. Additionally, barriers to services and poor working conditions have adverse consequences for women and children. Providing enhanced access means that all residents are provided with services regardless of their immigration status.

Toronto officially opens services to undocumented residents (Globe and Mail)
Toronto city council has accepted a recommendation that calls for a review of the access to city services for undocumented workers a recommendation opponents called redundant, though advocates said it makes Toronto a sanctuary city. The recommendation, approved Thursday night, calls for a report to be submitted by the third quarter of 2013 to review opportunities to improve access to services for undocumented workers. It also recommends training for front-line staff who deal with such workers.

Sorry, but its simply not possible for council to declare Toronto a sanctuary for illegal immigrants (Chris Selley, National Post)
Its none of the Citys business, basically. Its fine to make it clear to undocumented residents that they have nothing to fear from City employees; theres no benefit to anyone in people living in irrational fear. But precisely because their status is none of the Citys business, it is simply not possible for council to declare Toronto a sanctuary for them. Because illegal immigrants are illegal. Its a tough life. Perhaps most notably, to get health care you need a health card. And to get a provincial health card, you need status. Frankly, there is nothing to be done about that, unless we simply grant everyone in Canada citizenship. So, council voted to request the federal government to establish a regularization program for undocumented residents.

Move afoot to declare Hamilton a sanctuary city (Hamilton Spectator)
Councillor Brian McHattie says hed like to see Hamilton follow in the footsteps of Toronto and declare this city a sanctuary to allow undocumented migrants to access services regardless of their immigration or refugee status. Toronto became the first Canadian city to approve such a formal policy on Thursday, following 36 cities in the United States. Now McHattie, a member of the Hamilton Immigration Partnership Council, said he will take steps to make it happen here.–move-afoot-to-declare-hamilton-a-sanctuary-city

Services without fear: Historic win for undocumented residents of Toronto (rabble)
The Solidarity City Network issued the following statement last night after an historic vote at Toronto City Hall. Thursday, after a marathon 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.

Toronto as sanctuary city for migrants: A good thing? (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Some say access to city services without fear is good for all; others, including Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, that it sends the wrong message.

Polling firm head says survey shows council out of step on sanctuary city (Donovan Vincent, Toronto Star)
Survey shows Toronto council’s vote approving a sanctuary city isn’t in line with voters’ views, says polling firm president.

Posted Toronto Political Panel: City employees shouldnt have to do the Canadian Border Service Agencys job (National Post)
Safe harbour for all? The Posts Chris Selley and Matt Gurney and NOWs Jonathan Goldsbie debate the appropriate attitude to take toward those who live here without status.

New survey shows council might be out of touch with Torontonians on sanctuary city (Metro News)
City councils recent vote allowing undocumented migrants access to services regardless of their immigration status, doesnt match how Torontonians feel on the issue, according to a new public opinion poll. A Forum Research survey of 806 respondents released Saturday found 51 per cent disapprove of councils 37 to 3 decision Thursday declaring Toronto a sanctuary city. A total of 36 per cent approve of the decision, and 13 per cent dont know whether they do or not. It just looks like the city councillors are a little out of sync with the rest of the public, said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum.

Funding helps immigrants navigate services (Heidi Ulrichsen, Northern Life)
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci said when his father, Nando, came to Canada as a 14-year-old Italian immigrant during the Great Depression, there were no government services for newcomers. He was able to survive because of the kindness of strangers and because of his own hard work. He forged a life for himself, Bartolucci said, adding that Nando worked all over the country, often riding the rails, before settling in Sudbury, where he worked as a miner and a bricklayer. Immigrants coming to Canada these days are far different from Nando, Bartolucci said. In fact, 63 per cent of landed immigrants aged 18-64 have at least post-secondary training, and 44 per cent have a university degree.

Somali boys gave depth to Oscar nominee (Chronicle Herald)
Scoring an Oscar nomination is generally considered a career-changing achievement for any aspiring moviemaker. It certainly feels that way for Toronto-bred producer Mino Jarjoura, who suspects the broad embrace of his 16-and-a-half-minute short Asad could jump start his feature-filmmaking ambitions. I still have moments (that feel) completely surreal, Jarjoura says in a recent interview from his office in Los Angeles, where he produces TV commercials for the production house Hungry Man.

When racism passes for analysis (Royson James, Toronto Star)
Why do discussions about violence in Toronto so often devolve into blaming a group that is largely thriving, enterprising, educated, progressive and economically significant?

In multicultural Canada, two in five say were welcoming too many newcomers (Michelle Zilio and BJ Siekierski, iPolitics)
While more testing needs to be done before it can be confirmed, figures from a recent poll by EKOS shows Canadians conflicted about their countrys multicultural identity. From an early age Canadians are taught their country is a cultural mosaic, so it shouldnt come as much of a surprise that many are still keen on trumpeting the nations diverse pedigree. In fact, almost a quarter of the country given a miniscule 1.3 per cent margin of error think the greatest Canadian achievement of the last twenty years was creating a diverse society. But the automated poll of 5,947 Canadians polled between February 1 and 10 also revealed a lingering unease about Canadas mosaic.

OCASI submission to UN for Universal Periodic Review of Canada (OCASI)
OCASI, together with Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic and Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change, has submitted a joint report to the United Nations Human Rights Council for consideration at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Canada. The joint report is focused on the impact of legislation and public policy on refugees, immigrants and racialized communities. It highlights human rights concerns about changes to refugee determination and the immigration program, as well as other issues of access and equity and makes recommendations for change.

York Region high school in flap over Confederate flag (Katie Daubs, Toronto Star)
Some students see the Confederate flag as a symbol of rural pride, but Sutton District High School has slapped a ban on the flag that has long been synonymous with racism.


PRESS ADVISORY: Doctors and Lawyers Challenge Federal Health Cuts to Refugees (Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL))
Canadian doctors and lawyers are banding together to challenge the legality of the Federal government health cuts to refugee claimants. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care (CDRC), the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), and three individual patients, are asking the Federal Court of Canada to declare that the cuts to refugee health care are unconstitutional and illegal. The cuts violate the fundamental human rights of refugees, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, without any lawful justification. They cause unwarranted sufferings to countless individuals, and unnecessary costs to the Canadian health care system. Representatives from CDRC and CARL will hold a press conference to address the legal, social, financial, and human costs of the government cuts to refugee health care.

Court challenge of refugee health care cuts to be launched (Global News)
Doctors and lawyers serving refugees to Canada are teaming up to launch a court challenge of the federal governments cuts to supplemental health care for refugees, arguing they are unconstitutional and illegal. The Canadian Association for Refugee Lawyers, Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and three patients argue the cuts, which came into effect last July, violate human rights as protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and cause unwarranted suffering to individuals and costs to the health care system.

Doctors, lawyers to challenge Conservative refugee health-care cuts (Michael Woods,
Doctors, patients and refugee lawyers are teaming up to legally challenge the Conservative governments recent cuts to refugee health care. Two advocacy groups Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and three patients say the cuts are unconstitutional and violate refugees fundamental human rights. The lawsuit will be filed in Federal Court on Monday morning and announced in more detail at a press conference in Toronto.

Refugee law services transformation feedback – February 2013 (Legal Aid Ontario)
Between Feb. 21 and Mar. 11, 2013, LAO is asking the refugee bar and stakeholders for their feedback on its proposed new refugee law services delivery model. LAO developed this new model in light of Bill C-31 and in consultation with stakeholders over the past few months. Feedback received at the Fall 2012 consultations Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is sharing feedback it received from stakeholders on the delivery of LAOs refugee law services during 13 consultations between November and December, 2012.

Art Therapy with Refugee Children (Settlement AtWork)
Learn how art and creativity can be used as a form of psychotherapy, promoting emotional health in children and youth. This webinar shows how Art Therapy can be an ideal therapeutic modality in helping refugee and immigrant children overcome struggles associated with displacement and to find their new voices. Art as therapy not only provides the clients with insight into thoughts and feeling but also attempts to demonstrate the reconciliation of emotional conflicts through creativity.

Syrian Canadians despair for relatives trapped by war, call on Kenney to do more (Global News)
Like hundreds of other Syrian Canadians, Leila is angry with the federal Conservative Canadian government, which she accuses of doing nothing to reunite families with their trapped relatives. Not so, said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who expressed concern Friday about the plight of Syrian refugees and promised to do more to help. Such a sharp difference of opinion is not without political ramifications for the Conservative government: there are an estimated 40,000 Syrian Canadians in Quebec alone and as many 100,000 across the country.

Government to deport gay Torontonian (Justin Ling, Xtra!)
Israel Sanchez fled Panama in 1988, when he was only 21. A journalism student, Sanchez saw many of his colleagues “disappear” at the hands of dictator Manuel Noriega. So Sanchez escaped, arriving in Toronto to take advantage of Canada’s generous refugee system. But as his claim was being processed, a wrench was thrown into the machine George HW Bush invaded Panama and installed a civilian government. The Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board decided that the threat had passed and that Sanchez had no grounds to become a refugee. Having already established himself in Canada, he launched an appeal. In 1995, his appeal was dismissed after having cycled through several lawyers, one of whom had a nervous breakdown.

Canadas new asylum system a success in the eyes of Kenney (Exchange Morning Post)
Canadas new asylum system is already a success after just over two months in operation, declares Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in what could be a premature arithmatic. Overall, the number of asylum claims received each week is down by 70 percent compared to similar timeframes over the past six years. In a release distributed Friday it was stated: that 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.


Its More Than Poverty – Employment Precarity and Household Well-being (United Way Toronto)
United Way Torontos newest report, Its More than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Well-being examines dramatic changes in precarious employment over the last few decades, revealing that only sixty percent of all workers in our region have stable, secure jobs. In addition to looking at the impact of precarious employment on individuals, the report also looked at its harmful effect on families and communities.

Ground-breaking report on precarious work highlights need for urgent action (Workers’ Action Centre)
More than 50% of jobs in Toronto and Hamilton are unstable, temporary or part-time, according to a new report, Its More than Poverty, released this week by the United Way and McMaster University. Based on interviews with more than 4,000 workers, the report documents the significant impact precarious work has on workers health, family well-being and community life. The report confirms the realities that Workers Action Centre documented in our study Unpaid Wages, Unprotected Workers. Many of our members and low-wage workers across Ontario have been speaking out about the rise of temp, contract and unstable jobs. The report confirms these experiences, finding that that precarious work has increased by 50% in the last 20 years.

Half of Toronto-area workers have fallen into ‘precarious employment’: study (Globe and Mail)
In just a few short decades Canadas labour market has changed dramatically. The widely held belief that employment leads to economic security and social well-being has become out-of-step with an increasing number of people in todays work force. Research released Saturday by McMaster University and United Way Toronto provides new insights into just how much the labour market in Southern Ontario has changed. Barely half of people working in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas have permanent, full-time jobs that provide benefits and stability. Everyone else is working in situations that are part-time, vulnerable or insecure in some way. This includes a growing number of temporary, contract and on-call positions. Jobs without benefits. Jobs with uncertain futures. This significant rise in precarious employment is a serious threat not only to the collective prosperity of the region, but also to the social fabric of communities.

Only 60 per cent of Hamilton and GTA workers have secure jobs, report says (Adam Carter, CBC)
No full time work, no benefits, and no job security. Sound familiar? It should, according to a new report on precarious employment and household well-being released Saturday by McMaster University and United Way Toronto. According to the report, only 60 per cent of workers in Hamilton and the GTA have what they’d classify as stable, secure jobs. The rest are either working short term, contract jobs with little to no security or benefits, or full time hours without security.

‘Precarious’ Employment On The Rise In Toronto And Hamilton Areas, Report Finds (Jacqueline Delange, Huffington Post)
A new report says a growing number of adult workers in the Toronto and Hamilton areas are going without stable paycheques and benefits such as extended health and pension plans. The McMaster University-United Way Toronto study finds that four in 10 workers are trapped in or partly feeling the effects of so-called precarious employment, while the rest hold on to better permanent jobs.

‘Precarious employment’ rising in GTA & Hamilton (CBC)
A new study says that only about 60 per cent of adult workers in the Toronto and Hamilton areas have permanent jobs. But the other 40 per cent work in what the study’s authors call “precarious employment” jobs that are temporary, part-time or contract. Jobs, the authors say, that don’t provide stable paycheques. The study, carried out by McMaster University and United Way Toronto surveyed 4,000 working adults.

Report finds jump in ‘precarious’ work in Toronto and Hamilton areas (Will Campbell, Yahoo! News)
A new report says a growing number of adult workers in the Toronto and Hamilton areas are going without stable paycheques and benefits such as extended health and pension plans. The McMaster University-United Way Toronto study finds that four in 10 workers are trapped in or partly feeling the effects of so-called precious employment, while the rest hold on to better permanent jobs.–finance.html

Homeless women find recipe for independence at Scadding Court (Catherine Porter, Toronto Star)
After a homeless woman arrived with a crock pot and started cooking in the lobby, Scadding Court started a regular women’s cooking program.


Access to special Employment Insurance benefits denied (Simcoe Reformer)
Changes Ottawa made to the Employment Insurance program in December were immediately condemned by advocates for migrant workers. The changes resulted in migrant workers losing access to special EI benefits that they have enjoyed in recent years. Friday, nearly a dozen supporters of offshore labourers were in Simcoe to protest at the constituency office of MP Diane Finley, the federal minister in charge of Human Resources & Skills Development. If youre paying into the system, how come youre not allowed to collect from it? asked Chris Ransaroop of the group Justice for Farm Workers in Toronto. If were globalizing trade, why are we not globalizing employee benefits as well? Offshore labourers have paid into the Employment Insurance system since 1966. Because their work is seasonal and because they live outside Canada once their work is done, they rarely qualify for EI benefits.

Firm garners inaugural recognition for national diversity and inclusiveness programs (PwC)
PwC was selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. as one of Canadas Best Diversity Employers in 2013. This award follows PwCs most recent acknowledgements for being one of Canadas Top 100 Employers in 2013 and for being one of Canadas Top Employers for Youth in 2012. Diversity and inclusion is a critical component of PwCs success and it acts as a guiding principle in the work we do. Were truly honoured by this recognition, says . Having diversity of thought around the decision-making table, through diverse backgrounds and experiences, moves us from traditional thinking to dynamic and innovative leadership.

SaskTel again named as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers (Sasktel)
SaskTel today announced they have been named one of Canadas Best Diversity Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc. for the third consecutive year. This year’s list of winners includes employers from across Canada that have exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. The competition examines a range of diversity initiatives covering five major employee groups: women; members of visible minorities; persons with disabilities; Aboriginal peoples; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered/transsexual (LGBT) peoples.

Workers Compensation Board Named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers for 2013 (WCB MB)
The Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba (WCB) has again been chosen among 50 organizations across Canada in this year’s Canada’s Best Diversity Employers competition. The WCB was recognized as a leading organization that has developed a wide range of initiatives, including programs for: women, visible minorities, persons with disabilities, and aboriginal peoples.


Newsstand: February 25, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Everyone sleepy from staying up late to watch the Oscars? In the news: Half of Torontonians don’t expect to be working for their current employer in a year; Rob Ford’s election violations go before the compliance committee; the TTC backs down on its deal with Gateway newsstands; Ontario’s selling its lottery business; and police hunt down community guns.


2013 Frances Lankin (Social Planning Toronto)
The Frances Lankin Award was established in 2011 by Social Planning Toronto on the occasion of Frances Lankins retirement from United Way Toronto. It is awarded annually to an individual who has made a significant, sustained contribution to the non-profit community sector in the City of Toronto.

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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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