Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 26, 2013


“They Are Mean & Callous”: Notable Quotables in Canadian Immigration News (Victoria Hetherington, Orange LLP)
“These reductions will cost the health care system as much or more in emergency care and have already caused a great deal of suffering. It is also far below the standard any democratic country should provide for refugee claimants or any other human being under their jurisdiction. These cuts are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s international obligations under the UN Refugee Convention. Worse than that, they are mean and callous. People with severe medical conditions are being put at risk; they are suffering unnecessarily for the saving of a pittance.” – Lorne Waldman, president of Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL,) describes the legal challenge that launched in the Federal Court of Canada this weekend, arguing that the federal government’s cuts to refugee health care are unconstitutional

Jason Kenney’s proposal to strip citizenship from ‘terrorists’ undermines Canadian values (Sean Rehaag, Toronto Star)
Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship and immigration, recently announced a proposal to allow the government to strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship for committing terrorism related offences. This proposal is deeply problematic. It would establish two classes of citizens based on birthright privileges and it would expose Canadians to loss of citizenship on very broad grounds.

Call to help Tibetans puts pressure on Canada’s new religion envoy (Globe and Mail)
The political leader of exiled Tibetans is calling on Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom to investigate religious repression and suicide in his homeland, squeezing the week-old post into a tricky diplomatic position. Lobsang Sangay, the head of the Central Tibetan Administration (also known as the Tibetan Government in Exile), made his plea while visiting Ottawa this week to seek support for Tibetan autonomy. He argued that growing business connections between Canada and China should not silence Canada’s concern for human rights in Tibet.

Op-Ed: Religious Freedom Office Must Protect Non-believers Too (Allison Render, CCLA)
Last week Stephen Harper announced his much-hyped “Office of Religious Freedom”. While much effort was made to portray this as an inclusive effort involving all beliefs, one group that is frequently persecuted for their beliefs (or lack thereof) was left out: the non-religious. No humanist, atheist or agnostic groups were invited to the announcement of the Office or consulted about its creation. In his announcement of the new office, Prime Minister Harper took great pains to mention a long list of persecuted religious minorities worldwide, but failed to mention non-believers.

Canada’s First Racial Discrimination Trial (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
It is oft-implied that the United States had segregation while Canada was above this racial retardment. Hollywood movies dramatize the plight of African-American soldiers who, after defeating the Nazis in WWII, returned home to burned crosses, institutionalised bigotry, and all the vestiges of southern stereotypes. But, here in Canada, we were so much better than that. Or were we? It turns out the city of Dresden, Ontario was the setting of Canada’s first ever racial discrimination trial. Dresden had served as a beacon of hope and freedom as thousands of escaped African-American slaves sought refuge there through the Underground Railroad during the 19th century. A hundred years on, racial divisions persisted.

TSN supports SportsCentre hosts after social media backlash (TSN)
TSN responded publicly on Wednesday to racist messages targeted at SportsCentre hosts Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim, strongly supporting both on-air personalities along with the network’s long-standing commitment to having the best talent on its multiple platforms. “In this day and age, it’s unfortunate we continue to witness examples of ignorance and intolerance on social media,” said Stewart Johnston, President of TSN. “Some, not all, of the comments posted on Twitter about Nabil and Gurdeep, spoke to the worst of social media. It’s noteworthy and gratifying, however, that there was significant and rapid pushback on Twitter. Nabil and Gurdeep are two accomplished broadcasters and our viewers can expect to see lots more of them on TSN.” There was considerable backlash on Twitter as numerous racist tweets appeared after Gurdeep and Nabil hosted the late night edition of SportsCentre together on Tuesday night.

An Ugly Message: Gurdeep Ahluwalia And Nabil Karim Targeted By Racist Tweets While Hosting ‘SportsCentre’ (CBC)
Most Canadians pride themselves on living in a country that is welcoming, accepting, and tolerant. But sometimes social media reveals another side of our culture, when people use it to make offensive comments in a public space. Tuesday night’s edition of TSN’s SportsCentre was hosted by Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim, two talented broadcasters we’re always excited to see on the air. The fact they’re breaking barriers is just a bonus. Sadly, some people took to Twitter to comment on the ethnicity of the hosts.

Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim hosted Sportscentre — and the backlash was appalling (Neate Sager, Yahoo! Sports)
TSN’s Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim (Twitter)Anyone old enough to read this is too old to need a reminder about the evils of racism. It’s just disappointing, if not surprising, when this happens. Tuesday’s late-night TSN Sportscentre was hosted by Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim. There was a backlash on Twitter in 2012 when Ahluwalia and Karim, who are both brown men, debuted with the network. Tuesday was just as bad for comments that, rather than put a damning label on people, should just be called dumb.

Don Cherry Is Holding CBC Hockey Back (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
It seems like there is an embarrassing report about hockey and certain fans every other week. The year started with an unfortunate series of tweets about Team Canada’s praised Afro-Canadian goalie at the World Junior Hockey Championship in Russia. The pattern goes like this: “why is there a person of colour on the ice?,” “This athlete belongs in… [a
different setting/country/continent],” and all unforced errors committed by said visible minority hockey player yield personal attracts about his race rather that his sporting ability. A young Winnipeg Jets athlete mused openly that his foolish behaviour came under gratuitous scrutiny because of his skin colour. The concept has been observed in other spheres, namely the unprecedented examination of President Obama’s birth certificate — a stress test never before imposed on a presidential candidate. A few weeks later, TSN Sportscentre got its share of disparaging online observations after the TV show featured two visible minorities to host a sports analytics episode. The sports network took a giant leap towards reflecting the diversity of viewership it aims to attract in 2012 when they hired a pair of apt commentators, Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim.

Event March 20 (Guelph): The Immigration Connection (Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership)
Be part of an important dialogue about how Guelph-Wellington should move forward on immigration.
Celebrate what we have achieved in partnership. Come to the launch of the NEW Immigration Portal and sample NEW resources for employers building a diverse workforce. And more…
Featuring Peter Paul of ALLIES (Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies), and Dr. Livianna Tossuti of Pathways to Prosperity, who will address how communities can be more economically, socially, and politically inclusive.

News Release — Canada welcomes record number of international students in 2012 (CIC)
Canada welcomed a record number of international students in 2012, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Last year was the first time in Canadian history that Canada has welcomed over 100,000 international students, an increase of 60% from 2004. “Attracting and retaining the best and brightest immigrants from around the world is part of the government’s commitment to grow Canada’s economy and ensure long-term prosperity,” said Minister Kenney. “The steady growth in numbers confirms that Canada remains a destination of choice for international students because of the remarkable educational opportunities that exist in our world class institutions.”

BLOG: Canada’s international student population surpasses 100,000 for first time in 2012 (Tobi Cohen,
A record number of foreign students chose Canada to pursue their post-secondary studies last year, according to new figures that suggest the number of international students studying in the country surpassed 100,000 for the first time in 2012. According to Citizenship and Immigration, Canada welcomed 104,777 international students last year, a 6.5 per cent increase over 2011. The numbers have risen steadily every year for nearly a decade. In 2004, there were just 65,516 international students.

Jamaican students seeking refunds after promised jobs in Canada failed to materialize (Steve Mertl, Yahoo! News)
Good-paying jobs are hard to come by in Jamaica, and Canada is a popular destination for many Jamaicans in search of a better life. But a B.C.-based company is being accused of exploiting that desire by dangling the prospect of employment for people who complete costly training courses. The Globe and Mail reports students who took courses set up by Marmicmon Integrated Marketing and Communications, which is headquartered in Penticton, B.C., to become resident-care aides in Canada have tried in vain to get refunds when no jobs were forthcoming.

Why Immigrant Integration Can Make or Break a City (Shareable)
People like to move. Hundreds of millions of people around the world pack up and hit the road at some point: seeking greener pastures, finding work, following family members, escaping strife, and just going someplace. Human migration has been a part of our nature since we populated Pangaea. And though modern borders and immigration policies slow the ebb and flow of human movement, decreased racial and cultural boundaries are allowing disparate cultures to intermix, particularly in modern cities. In 2010, 214 million people – 3.1 percent of the world’s 6.1 billion human occupants – were living outside of their native countries as immigrants. The majority of those people traveled to more developed areas. Cities everywhere are growing, fast.

Video: Change Your name Ousama! promo
On September 11, 2001 a small group of religious extremists shocked the world killing more that 3000 people. The backlash spilled over the border as Canada’s Parliament rushed to pass a tough new Anti-Terrorism law. In a revealing new documentary, Film Maker Fuad Chowdhury (fuad_chowdhury2000) shows how Canadian Muslims became 9/11’s unintended victims.

A Visualization of Global “Brain Drain” in Science Inspired by Abstract Art (Maria Popova,
After their wonderful visual timeline of the future based on famous fiction and visual history of the Nobel Prize, Italian information visualization designer Giorgia Lupi and her team at Accurat are back with another exclusive English version of a piece they originally designed for La Lettura, the Sunday literary supplement of Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera — this time exploring the phenomenon of global “brain drain” in science, with an eye towards understanding the reasons why researchers might choose to leave their countries of origin and pursue careers elsewhere.

Toronto’s vote on ‘sanctuary’ sends right signal on newcomers (Editorial, Toronto Star)
Toronto City Council sent the right signal last week when it voted 37-3 to ensure illegal immigrants have “access without fear” to municipal services. The motion shows everyone, including residents “without full status or full status documents,” that they need not worry about deportation if information about their standing slips out while using city programs. That’s good to know, even if it applies only to the municipal realm. It means women fleeing an abusive situation can go to a city-run shelter without fear of deportation, according to the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. It means families can access Toronto public health services without worrying that they’ll be tossed from the country. It means a bit more peace of mind, even if the police, federal programs and provincial services are not covered by the sanctuary motion.

Illegal aliens cost us money (Jerry Agar, Sun News Network)
You owe me money. If you pay taxes in Ontario, be warned that I want City Hall to pay me back the thousands of dollars I spent paying lawyers and government offices to make my American-born wife and children legal in this country. Toronto council has voted overwhelmingly to allow illegal aliens — undocumented workers ­— access to city services and programs “without fear.” How about the fear legal immigrants and citizen taxpayers have that they’re being shafted again?

I have to do what I believe : Sudanese women’s beliefs and resistance to hegemonic practices at home and during experiences of maternity care in Canada (
Evidence suggests that immigrant women having different ethnocultural backgrounds than those dominant in the host country have difficulty during their access to and reception of maternity care services, but little knowledge exists on how factors such as ethnic group and cultural beliefs intersect and influence health care access and outcomes. Amongst immigrant populations in Canada, refugee women are one of the most vulnerable groups and pregnant women with immediate needs for health care services may be at higher risk of health problems.
This paper describes findings from the qualitative dimension of a mixed-methodological study.

Cultural contributors awarded (Langley Advance)
The group that oversees Langley’s International Festival each summer held an awards dinner to celebrate the community’s diversity

Funding will support new immigrants in city (Krista Bryce, Daily News)
Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society will use new federal funding to help educate Nanaimo businesses and community organizations on how to better support the integration of new immigrants. CVIMS was one of 51 organizations in B.C. awarded contracts under the Welcoming Communities Program, which funds projects that build welcoming and inclusive communities through diverse partnerships that include business, local government, postsecondary institutions and community sectors. The society received $233,000 and already has their sights set on workshops and training sessions targeted at local businesses and community groups. Three projects include a diversity on board initiative, welcoming and inclusive organizational reviews and a speaker series in partnership with the City of Nanaimo Social planning department.


PRESS RELEASE: Doctors and Lawyers Challenge Federal Health Cuts to Refugees (CARL)
Today, Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care (CDRC) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), along with three individual patients, asked the Federal Court to declare that federal government health cuts to refugee claimants are unconstitutional and illegal. The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) has been in existence since 1957 and is administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. IFHP paid for basic health care for refugee claimants and refused claimants until they were removed from the country or became eligible for provincial health care. Without consultation, Minister Jason Kenney abolished the program in June, 2012, and replaced it with a program that denies basic, emergency, and life-saving medical care to thousands of refugee claimants who have lawfully sought Canada’s protection. Owing to the secretive process of rolling out an opaque and complex set of rules, health care providers, insurers and patients have been left in a state of confusion. Many patients fear asking for health care and some physicians simply refuse to treat any refugee claimants.

Doctors’ group takes Ottawa to court over refugee health-care cuts (Globe and Mail)
The lives of thousands of refugee claimants in Canada are being jeopardized by a federal government policy that is unconstitutional, says a group of doctors and lawyers taking Ottawa to court. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers launched a court challenge Monday, accusing the federal government of violating the charter and international obligations with its decision last year to change health-care coverage for refugee claimants. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney dismissed the claims as “totally ridiculous” and the work of “militant leftists.” “It’s just part of an ongoing ideological campaign,” Kenney said Monday after Question Period. “Some of these are hard-core pressure groups and they have an ideological commitment to this and they’ll have their day in court of course. This is a dog-bites-man story.”

Canada still has much to learn from None is Too Many (Irving Abella, Globe and Mail)
We know, for example, that None Is Too Many was instrumental in opening up Canada’s gates to vast numbers of desperate Vietnamese forced out into the rough, pirate-infested waters of the South China Sea in the late 1970s. The Canadian minister of immigration at the time, Ron Atkey, later told us that in the midst of the crisis, while he was being pressured by some to allow the refugees in and by many others to keep them out, he received an advance copy of some chapters of the book. These, he said, emboldened him not to behave in the same callous way a previous government had rebuffed European Jews. His courageous decision opened up Canada’s doors to tens of thousands of valuable new citizens. And 30 years later, that is our hope – that never again at any time for anyone, should none be too many.

Gay Ugandan man seeks safe haven in Manitoba (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
In the photo, a handsome but tired young man stands in the shade of a tree. The vibrant pattern and colours of his dress shirt are faded. He’s turned slightly away from the camera, scanning the horizon for danger. It’s daylight and he’s a gay man in Uganda, afraid of being lynched. Homosexuality in the East African country is considered a crime. A photo of Peter — not his real name — appeared in homophobic tabloids in Uganda next to headlines such as Hang them. The Free Press is not publishing the picture or the victim’s name to avoid adding to the danger publicity is bringing to the man. “He can’t go anywhere,” said Horst Backe, the spokesman for a Winnipeg group trying to help Peter.

Notice – Resettlement to Canada is not for sale (CIC)
The Government of Canada (GOC) has been made aware of false information directed to displaced Syrians wanting to be resettled to Canada. Canada does not charge application fees for refugees to be resettled nor does the government collect fees from refugees in advance of arrival to Canada. Notices asking you to deposit money, which will later be refunded, are false and do not come from the GOC.

Canada Overtakes GTF in Anti-Lanka Offensive – February 22,2013 (LankaWeb)
Canada has overtaken other pro-LTTE groups against Sri Lanka as the current Canadian Government is being “guided/dictated to” by the LTTE front organizations in Canada on it’s policy on Sri Lanka. It is now the Canadian Government that is pushing the LTTE agenda. The current government’s main organizer of the so-called ethnic vote is the Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Mr. Jason Kenney. His main focus, is the Greater Toronto Area, where thirteen parliamentary seats are available to whichever political party offers the “ethnic vote” what they want most. In short, Canadian politicians do not act on principles or democratic values which they claim to do but on carrying out the goals of ethnic minorities even if it is of those who support terrorism like the LTTE. This has been the policy of successive Canadian governments who helped Canadian Tamils to terrorise Sri Lanka. Mr. Kenney is just taking it to a new high.


To improve our politics we have to repair our broken electoral system (Andrew Coyne, Montreal Gazette)
Since the idea of an electoral reform pact was first broached — not by me, but by Elizabeth May of the Green Party, by Nathan Cullen of the NDP, and latterly by Joyce Murray in the Liberal leadership race — reaction has split into two camps. Among each party’s members, the notion of a one-time alliance formed around the need to fix our broken electoral system plainly excites some interest: it propelled Cullen’s long-shot campaign for party leader into contention, as it may be doing for Murray’s. Yet it is dismissed by much of the respective party establishments, as it would seem by most of the punditocracy.

Commission’s Report (Redistribution – Federal Electoral Districts)
Overall Approach
Reasoning and Outcome by Region
Schedule A – Federal Representation 2013
Schedule B – Boundaries and Names of Electoral Districts

The Trouble With Austerity: Economics As Ideology (Alex Himelfarb)
Governments here and elsewhere are increasingly preoccupied with cutting even as evidence piles up of its harmful consequences on people and the economy. Austerity is not even delivering the balanced budgets its advocates promise. Even the IMF is now preaching balance rather than a single-minded focus on cuts. Yet, austerity’s adherents hold fast, deny the evidence or double down. Why is that? Of course a few at the top benefit from austerity, at least in the short term, and though few, they exert considerable influence. And some pundits are so invested in this agenda that they would have to swallow themselves to alter course. But the imperviousness to evidence is about more than that. What makes a theory “scientific” is that it’s falsifiable – if contrary evidence is found, the theory is modified or thrown out.

Collaborating for municipal tax reform (CCPA)
This is a first. We have partnered with the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, and the Nova Scotia Chambers of Commerce to ask that the Province of Nova Scotia undertake a study into the potential for a shift from municipal property taxes to municipal income taxes as the principal source of municipal revenue. The three organizations have each released reports that reach similar conclusions: the property tax system is flawed, inefficient, and unfair.


Skilled Immigrants Give Metro Labs A Competitive Advantage (IECBC)
You’re hiring. Of course, you want the best fit possible. So, ideally, as a BC-based company, you want candidates with Canadian experience and fluent English. Right? Maybe not. Metro Testing Laboratories is one company that has taken a very different approach — which has paid off handsomely for them in terms of highly successful recruitment and retention.

Surrey Board of Trade receives funding to attract skilled immigrants (Surrey Leader)
The Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) has received a huge boost in helping bring skilled workers to local jobs to the local employment market. The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) announced that the board is one of 11 organizations to be awarded funding from the $1.4 million Employer Innovation Fund (EIF) to help attract and integrate skilled immigrants into BC workplaces. The SBOT will pilot a year-long employer-focused program to assist small and medium-sized businesses to integrate immigrants into their labour pool. The project involves workshops, resources navigation, and immigrant human resources support for members, with a one-on-one hands-on approach by a roving human resources specialist.

Workers with unstable jobs left behind by outdated social programs (Editorial, Toronto Star)
The federal Conservatives must push reform their social assistance programs to help the growing number of workers facing precarious employment.

Week to week a way of life for growing number of Ontario workers, new report says (Global 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 precarious employment, while the rest hold on to better permanent jobs. And it says the rate of precarious labourers in jobs such as temporary or contract work has jumped by almost 50 per cent in the last two decades.

Full Time No More? (CBC Metro Morning)
What were full-time jobs, have become temporary assignments, with no long-term security and few benefits. That conclusion comes from a new report called “It’s More Than Poverty”. It was put together at McMaster University, and is based in part on earlier research by the United Way which looked at the growing income gap in Toronto. This morning Matt Galloway spoke with lead researcher Wayne Lewchuk. This afternoon, the CBC’s Mary Wiens will be moderating a panel discussion about poverty and precarious jobs at a conference organized by United Way Toronto and McMaster University.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne wants to stop spread of precarious work (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is keen to stop the spread of unstable jobs seeping into every sector of the provincial labour market. “I want our government and our province to understand that these issues are economic issues,” she told a Toronto meeting of about 160 academics, community, labour and private sector leaders Monday. “If we want our industries and our economy to be doing well, we need people to be doing well,” she said. “We need everyone to have good opportunities for employment.”

Build a diverse team to achieve global success (
Although people with international business experience are high in demand, and smaller entrepreneurial companies might find it challenging to compete for them, there also is a large untapped immigrant population in Canada that might have that background and experience.

Symposium to address integrating new cultures into the workplace (Thomas Miller, RocklyViewWeekly)
The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) is holding a symposium in Airdrie on March 26 at the Rocky View Schools Education Centre. Opening Doors will feature a number of speakers who will discuss integrating cultures for immigrants, particularly in the workplace. One of the speakers, Vanessa Lodermeier, a researcher for Bow Valley College, completed a year-long study on the ease of access to language training, education and career-development services for immigrants in communities around Calgary.

S.A.M.E. launches Migrant Worker Awareness Week tour (Marketwire)
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.

Religious accommodation and safety issues (Christina Catenacci, Yosie Saint-Cyr, First Reference Talks)
So, what does an employer do when it accommodates one employee based on the ground of religious beliefs (for instance, tailoring special personal protective equipment to the employee so he can keep facial hair for religious reasons), but then other employees follow suit and try to grow beards and claim it is for religious reasons as well? One may wonder if the employer has the right to even ask employees suddenly growing beards to prove they are doing so for religious reasons. One may think that it is appropriate for the employer to ask these non-religious employees to comply with the company policy and shave. In this situation, if an employee had a religious request to grow or maintain facial hair, can the employer deny the request because of safety procedures?


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Tuesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on TTC, Commuting, Mayor Rob Ford and Other News.

Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Monday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Street, Casino, Rob Ford and Other News.

Newsstand: February 26, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Keep those winter boots out, folks. In the news: Making more money might help you get a doctor; the TTC could get sued; Toronto’s getting new federal ridings; a teachers’ union wants contract changes; and watch out for more snow.

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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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