Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 27, 2013


Video: Kwame McKenzie on Immigration Sickness (TVO)
What psychological and social attributes help us predict who will be a good at being an immigrant?

Conservatives empty symbolism on citizenship honours no one (Natalie Brender, Toronto Star)
Earlier this month, the House of Commons finished the second reading of a private members bill (An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act, Honouring the Canadian Armed Forces) that would revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual nationals who commit an act of war against the Canadian Armed Forces. According to Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney, the government thinks Bill C-425 should be amended to include acts of terrorism as grounds for citizenship revocation. As many critics have observed, its a bad idea from any policy angle. Treating the citizenship of dual and single-nationality Canadians differently is likely open to Charter challenge. Further, as an opposition MP noted, an act of war is not defined under Canadian law; and terrorism is notoriously open to disagreement depending on the beholders political standpoint. Relying on terrorism convictions handed down by judicially-challenged foreign courts is unlikely to be a smooth legal avenue for Canada to pursue.

IEC program supplanting troubled caregiver program (Manuela Gruber Hersch, Asian Pacific Post)
Canadas International Experience Class (IEC) allows young people from 32 countries to come and work in Canada. Formerly known as the Holiday Working Visa and the International Exchange Program, the IEC is specifically designed to provide youth the opportunity to gain Canadian work experience, immerse themselves in a different culture, and potentially obtain their permanent residency. Essentially, the structure of the program can be interpreted as a quasi-open work permit.

Sanctuary City: Torontos signal to Ottawa and Queens Park (Harald Bauder, Toronto Star)
City council last week adopted a motion reaffirming the citys commitment to ensuring access to services without fear to immigrants without full status or without full status documents. This motion spearheaded by the Solidarity City Network, a coalition of diverse organizations such as Social Planning Toronto, Parkdale Community Legal Services and No One is Illegal and moved by Councillor Joe Mihevc effectively declares Toronto Canadas first sanctuary city that appreciates and serves all residents, regardless of their immigration and citizenship status. The adoption of this motion is not only a significant milestone for Toronto, but also a signal to Queens Park and Ottawa about achieving a society that takes seriously the values of equality and social justice.

Why Torontos plan to give illegal immigrants sanctuary is nuts (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
Toronto councils decision to declare the city a sanctuary for illegal immigrants is both irrelevant and misguided. It is irrelevant because services the city alone administers are already available to all Torontonians, legal or otherwise. It is misguided because it is based on the assumption that Canada should have no border controls whatsoever, that anyone in the world who wants to come and live in this country should have the right to do so without hindrance. Thats an assumption I doubt most Canadians accept, particularly at a time when the federal Conservative government is already using immigration loopholes to push down wages.

The Semantics of Migration (Huffington Post)
The problem is government and media are not currently up to the challenge of dealing with migration. Instead both currently castigate immigrants as potential benefits fraudsters. I, along with most people, support cracking down on any immigrants coming here to abuse the British welfare system. After all, it’s every country’s right to protect its citizens. Nevertheless, the number of ‘benefits migrants’ are extremely small. Yes, anecdotal cases can be found, similar to the anecdotal weekly press scandals involving the purported benefits abuse committed by natives – another unfortunate stereotype now embraced by media and encouraged by the present government.

UNAOC Global Forum 2013 Livestream (UNAOC)
Thematic Priorities of the 5th Global Forum
The Vienna Forum will focus on how responsible leadership can make a lasting difference, by exploring the concept in light of the following three major issues:
Promotion, protection, and full enjoyment of the universal right to religious freedom in light of religious pluralism through education,
Media pluralism and diversity of media content as key factors to fostering public debate, democracy, and awareness of diverse opinions,
The potential and challenges of shaping a new narrative for migration, integration and mobility in the global economy.

United Nations Alliance Of Civilizations (UNAOC) And BMW Group Announce Winners Of Intercultural Innovation Award (UNAOC)
The Viennese Volkstheatre was host to the UNAOC and the BMW Group last night in celebration of The Intercultural Innovation Award. The coveted international Award is part of an unprecedented partnership between the UNAOC and the BMW Group. Designed to contribute towards social stability and economic growth in multicultural societies, the Award is given to innovative grassroots projects promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding. During last nights award ceremony UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Mexico based Puerta Joven as the top winner of the 2012 Intercultural Innovation Award. President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, Incoming United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, and Mr. Bill McAndrews, Vice President Communications Strategy, Corporate and Market Communications, BMW Group, presented the Award. UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Placido Domingo was also in attendance to congratulate all the winners. Canada’s TakingITGlobal took 5th place.

This Office is about much more than ethnic votes (Richard Landau, New Canadian Media)
David Carment (Religious Freedom? This office is about ethnic votes, Feb. 21) has theorized in the Globe and Mail that the federal governments interest in the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom is being driven by an agenda of political gain here at home. Im not so sure. It seems many in the short-memory media have forgotten Canadas important contributions to freedom. Perhaps no contribution is more significant than the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It was ratified by a 48-0 vote at the UN General Assembly in 1948. That document, which very clearly identifies the bases of religious freedom, was drafted by Canadian John Peters Humphrey, a McGill University Law Professor and mentor of Pierre Elliot Trudeau. The accomplishment is captured in By His Hand, thedocumentary of Canadian producer Keith Dunne

Mayor Rob Ford invited to prayer rally against zoning bylaw (Robyn Doolittle, Toronto Star)
Small immigrant churches will be badly affected by proposed restrictions on church location, says religious right leader Charles McVety. Controversial Christian leader Charles McVety says Mayor Rob Ford has promised to attend a prayer rally Saturday to protest aspects of Torontos proposed harmonized zoning bylaw. McVety and other faith leaders are speaking out against restrictions that would prevent new places of worship from being built in light industrial zones. Fords chief of staff Mark Towhey would not say whether the mayor was planning to attend.

Innovative Partnership with U for Change (Centre for Diversity)
Innovative, energetic, youth-focused, goal-oriented, results-driven. These are the hallmarks of the Canadian Centre for Diversitys Peer Leaders Network program. They also happen to define a unique arts based social enterprise in Toronto called U for Change. This past fall, the two organizations partnered to produce a 5-minute video that highlights the Peer Leaders Network. U for Change inspires better futures for communities, newcomers and youth through welcoming, inclusive and participant-centred use of educational and arts-based programs and experiential learning. Its emphasis is on building specific skills and developing a strong sense of community, belonging and pride.

Dont dont share Kenney mania (Reader letters, Toronto Star)
What is wrong with this article? Hmmm, maybe because Jason Kenney is one of the most repressive immigration ministers in Canadian history. People seem to forget the Conservative governments policies on immigration sponsorship of parents and grand-parents, refugee health cuts, deportation and detention, the stance on traditional Muslim headgear and many more.

Immigration hearing reveals how Asian gang crime works in Canada (Dene Moore, Ottawa Citizen)
An immigration hearing for an alleged organized crime boss is pulling back the curtain on the murky world of Asian triads and the ties that bind them to Canada. Seventeen years after Lai Tong Sang stepped off a plane in Vancouver, Canada Border Services Agency is asking the Immigration and Refugee Board to find him in admissible on the grounds that he has ties to organized crime.

New stats show jump in family class immigration to Canada last year (680 News)
New figures show a jump in family class immigration to Canada last year. Citizenship and Immigration says just under 65,000 people sponsored by their family members arrived in Canada in 2012. Thats a 15 per cent increase over 2011 levels, which had been the lowest in five years.

Supreme Court set to update legal definition of hate-speech in first ruling of Internet age (Joseph Brean, National Post)
Canadas controversial 20-year-old legal definition of hatred is set to be updated or even overturned on Wednesday, as the Supreme Court of Canada rules in the case of William Whatcott, a born-again anti-gay pamphleteer who ran afoul of Saskatchewans Human Rights Code. Pitting freedom of religion and speech against a legal regime that bans the repeated public expression of hate, the Whatcott case could see the legal foundation of several anti-hate laws crumble, including Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act

Black police officer faces charges for not investigating racial taunts against himself (Peter Edwards, Toronto Star)
A black York Regional Police officer faces misconduct charges for his handling of a farm party turned ugly, when he was allegedly subjected to repeated racial taunts and told, I would love to see that guy hanging from a tree.

#CdnImm Event #13 March 7 – Pursuing Further Post-secondary Education in Canada (OCASI)
Internationally educated professionals are increasingly pursuing post-secondary education. However, service providers may not always be aware of how to best help individuals get recognition for their international education and experience and help individuals leverage their international and Canadian education for career success. Without this knowledge, migrants pursuing post-secondary studies in Canada may be misinformed about application procedures, deadlines, fees, diversity and flexibility of programs, and how to use previous studies and experience for advanced standing, prior learning assessment and recognition, or course credit. This event brings together presenters from post-secondary institutions in Toronto, a settlement agency and a credential assessment agency to share information, resources and insights for immigration and employment counselors and service providers about how to advise and provide accurate information and referral to migrants about post-secondary studies in Toronto. Details about the various pathways that migrants can take to build on their previous education will be explored, how to help migrants gain recognition for their international studies and experience and, ultimately, obtain better career success in Canada. (OCASI)
From job description: is a national online project managed by OCASI. It will help youth ages 16-24 (1) recognize the benefits of full Canadian citizenship, through videos, articles, infographics and myth-busting and (2) prepare to become Canadian citizens, through interactive games and quizzes built around the Discover Canada guide and other citizenship issues.

News Release Canada Continued to Welcome Highest Sustained Level of Immigration in Canadian History in 2012 (CIC)
For the seventh consecutive year, Canada continued the highest sustained level of immigration in Canadian history, according to preliminary 2012 data released today by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Canada welcomed 257,515 permanent residents in 2012, well within the Governments planning range of 240,000 to 265,000 new permanent residents for the year. Each year since 2006, Canada has admitted an average of about a quarter of a million immigrants.


Refugee health cuts: Doctors launch Charter challenge in federal court (Alyshah Hasham, Toronto Star)
Together, the three men are the human face of a federal court case launched Monday against the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. It aims to prove that the changes to the refugee health care program are unconstitutional and illegal under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The revamped Interim Federal Health Program no longer provides basic health care to rejected refugee claimants who remain in Canada, or to refugee claimants who come from countries designated as safe. The case brought by the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers could take a year or more to be heard.

Refugee Groups Taking Federal Government to Court Over Refugee Health Care Cuts (Tanner Oscapella, CCLA)
The Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers have launched a court challenge against the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. The two groups have asked the Federal Court to examine the constitutionality of Minister Jason Kenneys decision to cut health care for certain refugee claimants. This past summer, Minister Kenney announced that some refugee claimants would no longer receive medication and medical care, including dentistry and vision care.

Doctors, Patients and Refugees Prepare Legal Battle Against Health-Care Cuts (Sam Dixon, Oye! Times)
It has been unraveled that doctors, patients and refugee lawyers are all converging to collectively support a legal battle against the recent cuts of Conservative government in the refugee health care. The lawsuit is lead by two advocacy groups, namely Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and three patients, that are claiming that these the cuts are unconstitutional and are in confliction with the fundamental human rights of refugees.

New Refugee Determination System: Updates and the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) (CCR)
This webinar is designed for organizations serving refugee claimants and is a follow up to the webinar Preparing for C-31. It will provide information updates on how the new system is working out, and in particular will focus on the new Refugee Appeal Division. This webinar assumes that participants already have a basic understanding of the changes to the refugee determination system.

Our Initial Experience with the New Refugee Claim Determination Process (Immigrant Lawyer blog)
Both Bjorn and Katrina have represented claimants (successfully!) in the new refugee determination process. As a result we have the following information.

Times Colonist reporter a finalist for prestigious prize (Times Colonist)
DeRosas special report, an investigation of Canadas refugee policy, appeared as a week-long series in November, following her three-month investigation of Australias refugee system the basis for the Harper governments changes to Canadian law. She travelled from the controversial Christmas Island detention centre to the human-smuggling hub of Bangkok, doing research that revealed how the Australian system costs billions and takes a toll on legitimate refugees kept in detention centres for years. The series also detailed Ottawas plans to keep asylum seekers who arrive in Canada by boat in provincial prisons, a contravention of the UN Refugee Convention.

Court overturns asylum claims of two MV Sun Sea passengers after refugee board misinterprets the law (Stewart Bell, National Post)
The Immigration & Refugee Board misinterpreted the law when it granted asylum to two Sri Lankans simply because they had traveled to Canada aboard the human smuggling ship MV Sun Sea, the Federal Court has ruled. In a pair of decisions, the court weighed in on attempts by refugee lawyers to argue that, because the Sun Sea has been publicly linked to the Tamil Tigers rebels, its passengers faced persecution if Canada sent them back to Sri Lanka.

Operational Bulletin 440-G – February 20, 2013 0 Processing of Refugee Claims by CIC under the New Legislation (CIC)
On December 15, 2012, the Protecting Canadas 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.

Doctors and lawyers fight cuts to refugee health-care, launch charter challenge (John Bonnar, rabble)
Health-care coverage for heart attacks. None. For pregnant women and their babies. None. Chemotherapy for refugees with cancer. None. When Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) first announced the cuts to refugee health care, refugee doctors across Canada warned the government of the punishing consequences to refugee claimants and their families, said Dr. Philip Berger, a founding member of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care (CDRC).


Legal Aid Ontario Expands Duty Counsel Role (Settlement AtWork)
Duty counsel lawyers are the heart of Ontarios justice system for many marginalized people in Ontario. They are the LAO lawyers or LAO-paid private bar lawyers who are available in our courtrooms to represent and advise every low-income or unrepresented person who walks through the door. Now some of LAOs duty counsel lawyers can do even more, through an innovative service delivery model LAO is pioneering in Barrie and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

The Peoples Budget (OFL)
Ontario has a new Premier, but we have the same challenges. Cuts to jobs and services have hurt communities just like yours and more than 40 percent of Ontario families are falling behind. We need to change the conversation on Austerity and make Ontario better for everyone. Join with community groups, small businesses, trade unions and your friends and neighbours to share your ideas for a Peoples Budget for Ontario. We will compile all of the submissions into a Peoples Budget for Ontario that we will present to the government.

TO housing wait list rises to 87,303 households up 5.7% in past year (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
Torontos affordable housing wait list was 87,303 households at the end of January, 2013 a total of 161,266 women, men and children in low-income households and qualified for affordable housing. Thats an increase of 5.7% from the 82,610 households on the wait list in January, 2012. The January 2013 total is a tiny decrease from the 87,486 households on the wait list in December 2012. One reason for the decrease is that Toronto Housing Connections removed 1,117 households from the wait list in January after declaring them inactivated which means that TCH has lost contact with the households.


Boosting minimum wage would also boost economy, from bottom up (Armine Yalnizyan, Globe and Mail)
President Barack Obama put the idea of raising the minimum wage on the radar in the U.S. It deserves to be on the radar in Canada too. That’s because low-wage work is on the rise. Mr. Obama says raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour is good for families dependent on low-wage jobs, and for businesses dependent on more consumer power to fuel their growth. A growing economy helps balance the books too. Nowhere is this more important to consider than in Ontario, where minimum wage workers now account for almost one in 10 employees, more than double the share of a decade ago. (These stats don’t include the self-employed.) Ontario’s workers are more reliant on minimum wage jobs than any other part of the country, but for Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Kathleen Wynne, please pay attention.

Law Commission of Ontario to Release Final Report on Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work (Canada Newswire)
On April 3, 2013, the Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) will release its Final Report on Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work. The Report includes 47 recommendations designed to respond to the challenges faced by vulnerable workers to reduce their vulnerability to or the impacts of precarious work which extend to their health, family relationships and other areas of life beyond the workplace. It considers in particular the impact of precarious work on the lives of women, immigrants and racialized persons. The Project focuses, in particular, on improvements to the statutory and policy framework of the Employment Standards Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act in protecting these workers. However, it also reviews and makes recommendations about existing community and government supports and programs for workers, employers and for training and education, as well as the role of labour organizations.

Premier Kathleen Wynne responds to study on precarious work (Workers’ Action Centre)
Premier Kathleen Wynne responded to a new study on precarious work, Its More than Poverty, and committed to working together to find solutions. At a forum launching the report, Wynne told audiences: if we want our industries and our economy to be doing well, we need people to be doing well. We need everyone to have good opportunities for employment. Premier Wynne added: The stress of not being able to pay bills, of having to worry about keeping up with rent, obviously those are things that people shouldnt have to contend with, and kids shouldnt be affected because their moms and dads and family dont have a consistent a opportunity to help them with the things that they need in their lives including homework and getting involved in their activities.

It ain’t easy targeting the vulnerable: Minister Finley caught in a ‘half lie’ on EI (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
Mainstream media outlets in Canada are not in the habit of calling ministers of the crown liars. But that’s what Montreal’s Le Devoir did on Monday. It said Human Resources Minister Diane Finley had lied when she told Parliament that Employment Insurance inspectors did not have quotas, somewhat like traffic cops. The Minister had said that there was a departmental target but that individual inspectors did not have to recover a certain amount of money supposedly collected fraudulently as Employment Insurance payments. Le Devoir got its hands on the form used to evaluate the civil servants who do the inspections. That form says, in black and white, that the civil servants must recover $485,000 per year. That is one of their job requirements, as it were, one of the “deliverables” they are expected to deliver.

Wage gaps destroy employee morale, productivity (Denise Deveau,
Research has long cited the ongoing gap that exists between the wages of men and women, and those of immigrants and native Canadians. The context for the debate tends to revolve around the valid and omnipresent issue of discrimination, but rarely is the economic impact of the wage gap emphasized a significant oversight given the labour market constraints businesses face today. Simply put, the underemployment and under-payment of women and immigrants disengages a valuable segment of the labour pool, leaving employers with an insufficient supply of well-trained, well-educated and highly skilled workers.

Hollowing Out Of Middle Class Jobs In Canada: TD Bank Sees Low-, Middle-Wage Jobs Shrinking (Huffington Post)
Low-wage and middle-wage jobs in Canada are shrinking as a share of the economy as job growth focuses more and more on high-skilled, high-end jobs, says a new report from TD Bank. While the U.S. economy has seen a hollowing out of middle-wage jobs, and a relative increase in low-wage and high-wage jobs, Canada is only experiencing a boom at one end at high-skilled end of the spectrum, TD said in a report that analyzed detailed data for 123 different occupations. North of the border, the winners win more, and the losers lose more, a chart in the report declares.

Campbell River Chamber receives funding to support employers attracting and recruiting labour supply (
The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) announced last week that the Campbell River & District Chamber of Commerce is one of 11 organizations to be awarded funding from the $1.4 million Employer Innovation Fund (EIF) to help develop initiatives and resources to attract and integrate skilled immigrants into BC workplaces. The Chamber of Commerce project addresses the need for increased awareness of the value of recruiting and retaining immigrants and will provide employers, especially small and medium-sized businesses, with tools, resources and supports that will build employers’ capacities to hire new immigrants.


Wedneday’s headlines (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford, TDSB and Other News.

Newsstand: February 27, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
What a lovely winter/spring day. We might just go have a picnic in the park. In the news: Ford asked to pray the zoning bylaw away, blood money potentially coming to Toronto, Ford is not going to ask you for money, no strollers in some doctors offices, and elephants just wanna have fun.


Media Release: Imagine Canada announces Canada’s first-ever Chief Economist for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector (Imagine Canada)
Mr. Brian Emmett joins Imagine Canada in the unique role of chief economist for the charitable and nonprofit sector. Tasked with measuring the impact of the sector and bringing economic issues facing charities and nonprofits to the forefront of public policy decision makers, Mr. Emmett will analyze and provide advice about related policies, programs and legislation. This considerable addition of Brian to our team will enhance the discussion at the national level of the impact charities and nonprofits have across the country, says Marcel Lauzière, President and CEO of Imagine Canada. As the saying goes, we measure what matters.

Mowat NFP News (Mowat Centre)
Mowat NFP undertakes collaborative applied policy research on the not-for-profit sector. As part of an independent think tank with strong partnerships with government and the sector, Mowat NFP brings a balanced perspective through which to examine the challenges facing todays sector and to support its future direction. Mowat NFP works in partnership with the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) to ensure our research and policy recommendations are timely and relevant to the sector and reflect its values. This mailing list will provide you with Mowat NFP news, events reports and publications. Please forward to your friends and colleagues who may be interested in hearing more about Mowat NFP.

The Integration Agenda (Elizabeth McIsaac & Carrie Moody, Mowat Centre)
This first Sector Signal from Mowat NFP looks at the current climate of fiscal restraint, and the implications for that part of the NFP sector that provides government services. Various levels of government and other funders have positioned integration as a key strategy to achieve more efficient and effective service delivery. This report highlights different approaches to integration that have been developed, challenges and benefits of each, and makes recommendations on the way forward. While the report is focused on the experience in Ontario, the context and challenges are shared across the country.

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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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Shared 11 links. Global News | Court challenge of refugee health care cuts to be launched PRESS RELEASE: Doctors and...