Immigration & Diversity news headlines – February 28, 2013


Top 10 Canadian Immigration Stories of 2012 (Maytree)
This year’s overarching theme: while 2011 was the year of consultations, 2012 was a year of change. It brought an explosive number of changes and proposed changes to the ways that Canada selects and treats immigrants, refugees and citizens as well as how we talk about immigrants and refugees. Multiple announcements and re-announcements from the Minister’s office made it challenging to figure out what changes had been made, what had been proposed only, and when changes or proposed changes would take effect.

Rebecca Huang: a simple email to leadership (DiverseCity Toronto)
As a corporate lawyer at Bennett Jones, Rebecca Huang provides her clients with excellent services on a wide range of corporate legal matters. She also believes strongly in using her experience and skills in public service and making a contribution to her new community. But she long found it difficult to do so. Although trained and working as a lawyer in a high-paced firm in Toronto, she, like many newcomers, lacked the connections to take the first steps towards using her skills to serve the public.

MEDIA STATEMENT – “Words matter” – Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Human Rights Protection of Marginalized Groups from Harmful Effects of Hate Speech (Canada Newswire)
The African Canadian Legal Clinic (“ACLC”) categorically applauds the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) for its definitive recognition of the harmful effects of hate speech on historically marginalized groups, such as African Canadians, and its affirmation of the importance of human rights legislation that protects these groups from public dissemination of speech that exposes them to ‘hatred’, ‘contempt’, ‘detestation’ or ‘vilification’.

Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Hate Speech Provisions (Paul Emile, CCLA)
The Supreme Court of Canada has rendered its long-awaited decision in Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott, et al. and upheld the constitutionality of hate speech provisions in the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. The CCLA had intervened in the case to argue that the section – s. 14(1)(b) – is unconstitutional under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it acts as an overbroad and unjustifiable limit on freedom of expression. The Supreme Court did not accept this argument and said that while hate speech provisions do limit freedom of expression, the limit is justified in light of the goals of promoting the inherent dignity and equal rights of all and discouraging discrimination.

Canada Continued to Welcome Highest Sustained Level of Immigration in Canadian History in 2012 (Marketwire)
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 Government’s 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.

Canadian basketball transfers subjected to racism from Kentucky high school fans (Ben Rohrbach, Yahoo! Sports)
One Kentucky high school basketball team either has some of the dumbest student fans or the most racist. Or both. After tagging Cordia (Hazard, Ky.) High players Emmanuel Owootoah and Marlon King — both Canadian transfers of Caribbean descent — in Facebook and Twitter posts featuring a burning flag and a noose hanging over the oh-so-creative phrase “[Expletive] Canada,” Knott County Central (Hindman, Ky.) High students began chanting “USA!” prior to a district championship game between the two schools on Friday, according to reports published on and (h/t Big Lead).

Gatineau police warn of tax return, immigration scammers (Ottawa Citizen)
Gatineau police are warning of two common scams targeting taxpayers and new immigrants to Canada with the fraudsters charging the victims then filing fake tax returns or immigration papers. Police spokesman Pierre Lanthier urged people to be cautious when choosing who gets access to their personal records for tax or immigration purposes but said, if you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, you shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to complain to police.

Liberal head-tax apology seen as ploy for ethnic vote (Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail)
The B.C. Liberals are poised to offer an apology for the Chinese head tax just weeks ahead of the provincial election campaign – a strategy that a leaked government document characterizes as a “quick win” for a party that is struggling to court the ethnic vote. “A lot of work and consultation with the community has been going on and I look forward to bringing forward an apology motion,” Minister of State for Multiculturalism John Yap told reporters Wednesday. The genesis for the apology can be traced to a Liberal government plan to shore up its appeal to ethnic voters, outlined in an internal 17-page “multicultural outreach” planning document obtained by the B.C. NDP opposition.

Leaked Liberal documents reveal widespread ethnic vote plan (Times Colonist)
Leaked Liberal documents reveal a wide-ranging plan with links to senior officials in Premier Christy Clark’s office to win ethnic votes in the upcoming British Columbia election. The January 2012 documents released Wednesday by the Opposition New Democrats outline a proposed outreach plan involving the premier’s office, the multiculturalism ministry, the government caucus and the B.C. Liberal Party. NDP House Leader John Horgan said building support in ethnic communities is laudable for all governments, but the documents indicate election-related planning was to be conducted by taxpayer-funded workers, some working out of the premier’s office.

Leaked documents reveal Liberals’ plan to win ethnic vote (CBC)
The NDP has uncovered documents that reveal how senior officials in Premier Christy Clark’s office plan to win ethnic votes in the upcoming provincial election. The documents, released Wednesday by the New Democrats, were sent from the personal e-mail account of Kim Haakstad, the premier’s Deputy Chief of Staff in January last year. The “Multicultural Strategy” detailed a proposed ethnic outreach plan involving the premier’s office, the Multiculturalism Ministry, the government caucus and the B.C. Liberal Party.

Muslims Vital to Canada Fabric (Islam Online)
A prominent Canadian senator has praised the Muslim community as part and parcel of Canadian society, hailing Muslim contributions to serve their country. “Initiatives such as these demonstrate that the Muslim community is a vital part of the fabric of Canada and should be recognized as such,” Senator Salma Ataullahjan told a fund-raising dinner at the Sayeda Khadija Center this week. “Your efforts contribute to building our community and this great nation.”

Canada to Pursue ‘Expression of Interest’ Immigration Model (CICS News)
In the future, Canada plans to adopt a new model of immigration known as the ‘Expression of Interest’ (EOI) system. The EOI system will be implemented with the intent of better targeting skilled immigrants to fill specific Canadian labour market needs. By more carefully selecting immigrants, it is expected that this system will better benefit both the Canadian economy and newcomers themselves.

Toronto becomes sanctuary city for illegal immigrants (Dillon Hiles, Toronto Observer)
Toronto city council passed a motion Wednesday Feb. 20, 2013 to extend essential city services to undocumented immigrants. In a landslide vote, 37-3, council decided to allow immigrants whose visas have expired, or whose refugee status is denied, to access many city services. Despite being hailed as a victory by many activists, some critics called the motion completely unnecessary.

From Multiculturalism to Multi-Literacy (Victor Karanja, Orange LLP)
Canada prides itself as the most multicultural country in the world. Compared to the US, where all cultures tend to converge within the American cultural ‘melting pot,’ Canada does well to accommodate cultures in a city like Toronto where we have Chinatown, little Italy, little Portugal, Greektown, Mogadishu, and so on. However, multiculturalism—one that seems to satisfy only the social needs of new immigrants—has its limits. The presence of so many speak-alikes only serves the meet and greet needs of newcomers and does little to help in economic development and the long-term settlement needs of the immigrants.

Forum on Newcomer Self-Employment – March 19 (Enterprise Toronto)
Newcomers start new businesses at a higher rate than other Torontonians. Is this a good choice or a last resort? Join staff from the Maytree Foundation, ConnectLegal, The Internationally Educated Professionals Conference, City of Toronto and ACCESS Community Capital Fund for a free half-day seminar to discuss this important matter.

Chinese head-tax redress funds clawed back (Globe and Mail)
To the surprise of those who fought for years to win a government apology and redress, a half-million dollars aimed at educating Canadians about the discriminatory head tax paid by Chinese immigrants was never spent and returned to government coffers. Jason Kenney, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, recently celebrated the end of the Community Historical Recognition Program. Left unmentioned that day was the fact that $500,000 of the $5-million destined for Chinese Canadian projects had not been spent. Now that the program has ended, the remaining money has been clawed back into government revenue, according to the ministry. It will never be used for its intended purpose.

Defending or Prosecuting Marriage Fraud (Stewart Sharma Harsanyi Immigration Blog)
Sponsorship fraud will be a recurring issue for many immigration clients and immigration practitioners, notwithstanding Jason Kenney’s recent efforts to curtail it. – See more at:

The “Genuineness” of the Marriage… (Stewart Sharma Harsanyi Immigration Blog)
Immigration Appeal Division Member Hoare in Chavez, Rodrigo v. MCI (IAD TA3-24409) had the following to say about determining “genuineness” in a sponsorship appeal:
The genuineness of the marriage is based on a number of factors. They are not identical in every appeal as the genuineness can be affected by any number of different factors in each appeal. They can include, but are not limited to, such factors as the intent of the parties to the marriage, the length of the relationship, the amount of time spent together, conduct at the time of meeting, at the time of an engagement and/or the wedding, behaviour subsequent to a wedding, the level of knowledge of eath other’s relationship histories, level of continuing contact and communication, the provision of financial support, the knowledge of and sharing of responsibility for the care of children brought into the marriage, the knowledge of and contact with extended families of the parties, as well as the level of knowledge of each other’s daily lives. All these factors can be considered in determining the genuineness of a marriage.

Despite triad allegations, purported kingpin allowed to stay in Canada (Rod Mickleburgh, Globe and Mail)
The Canadian government had explosive information on Lai Tong Sang’s alleged triad activities in Macau, including the ordering of three murders, less than a year after the purported triad boss took up residence in Canada in the fall of 1996, an immigration hearing has been told. But authorities did nothing until now, nearly 16 years later, to have Mr. Lai and his family deported from Canada. The information about Mr. Lai was provided to immigration enforcement authorities in early July of 1997 by Jean-Paul Delisle, then a Canadian visa officer in Hong Kong responsible for assessing prospective immigrants suspected of involvement in triad or other illegal activities.

Investment Migrants Taking Billions out of China (Chao Xinrui and Wang Shulan, EEO)
According to research by Wang Huiyao and others, 3,000 Chinese emigrated to the U.S. and Canada in 2009 with their total investments exceeding 8 billion yuan. In 2011, that number had climbed to an estimated 10,000 people. Over 80 percent of investment immigrants surveyed in the report cited children’s education as the main reason for migrating, making it the most compelling factor. 43 percent considered protection of their wealth as the second most important draw. Seeking a higher quality of life, being allowed to have more children and low tax rates were also frequently mentioned.

The Best Halal Restaurants in Toronto: 2013 Edition (Halal Foodie)
Our 2012 list for the best halal restaurants in Toronto was the most viewed post on our website with thousands of pageviews each month, alhamdulillah, which tells me — this is the kind of information you want to know! After doing more research, polls, etc., I have revised this list based on what I feel represent the best halal restaurants in Toronto for 2013.

Peshawar to London (Lily Hassall, McGill Daily)
Last Thursday, Toronto became the first city in Canada with a formal policy allowing undocumented immigrants access to municipal services like shelters and healthcare without fear of being deported. In honour of this historic legislation, this column will focus on In This World, a 2002 docu-drama about undocumented immigrants, directed by British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom in the same year he made 24 Hour Party People. Angered by the post-9/11 atmosphere and its increasing xenophobia toward undocumented immigrants, Winterbottom made a film about two Afghan refugees who make the overland journey to London.

Jemy Jospeh – ‘Best of Canada’ (Samuel Getachew, South Asian Generation Next)
resh from earning a newly minted MSc in Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto mere months ago – Jemy Joseph continues to aspire for greatness. The 26-year old University of Ottawa medical student, who has only been in Canada for 12 years, is now the recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. For Joseph – who once reflected on how “my parents immigrated here in order to provide my brother and I with the best education” – she has had an extraordinary Canadian life.

Visible Minorities See Office of Religious Freedom Favourably (South Asian Generation Next)
The World Sikh Organization of Canada commends the Federal Government of Canada on the launch of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement today in Maple, Ontario.

U of Mosaic (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with York University students Brandon Crandall and Sara Zeitoun about the U of Mosaic Program. It brings together students of different backgrounds to discuss the international issues that divide them. The group is putting on a special discussion and film screening tonight at the Royal Ontario Museum. Audio will be posted after the show.


Please Donate to Help CARL Ensure Access to Health Care for Refugees (CARL)
CARL is a non-profit, volunteer organization. We are leading a major litigation, media, and public education campaign involving considerable communication, legal and basic operation costs. You can help us ensure that justice and basic human dignity are restored to our refugee health system. By donating NOW you can help enable asylum seekers and their children access fundamental health services.Donating is simple: Just click the “Donate” button at the top of the page. Use any major credit card to make your contribution.

Winnipeg man wants rules relaxed for Syrian refugees (CBC)
A Winnipeg man is calling on the federal government to go above and beyond to help Syrian refugees come to Canada. Fadi Toma says he wants Ottawa to consider implementing special measures to welcome those fleeing the country, which has been in a deepening conflict for almost two years. “It went from very peaceful to very violent very quickly,” he told CBC News on Wednesday.

Refugee Night at UofO March 1: “A Tale of Two Refugee Systems: What the Dickens have we Done?” (CARL)
Canada’s refugee system has recently undergone dramatic changes which have life-changing implications for those seeking protection in this country. ‘Refugee Night at U of O’ will be a bitter-sweet exploration of these issues through high drama, low humour and serious talk about Canadian refugee policy. Come join actors, professors, refugees, refugee lawyers, community doctors, and special guests Prof. Chantal Tie and Dr. Doug Gruner for an evening of drama, debate, testimonials, music, and too many surprises to count. Also featuring the presentation of the Roberto Miranda award. Sponsored by the Refugee Forum, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, the uOttawa Chapter of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and the Faculty of Medicine’s Concerned Students for Refugee Care.

Adjudicators and judges at odds over MV Sun Sea refugees’ claims (Jonathan Hayward, Vancouver Sun)
They made their journey on the MV Sun Sea together. But is every passenger from the ship that carried nearly 500 Tamil migrants to Canada in 2010 at risk of persecution if sent home because of the vessel’s links to the Tamil Tigers rebel group and their own notoriety? It’s a question that’s dividing Canada’s immigration adjudicators and federal judges as they struggle to determine the asylum-seekers’ fate, according to court documents.


“Beyond ‘Canadian experience’: Immigrant employment from a human rights perspective” (Gerard Keledjian,
On January 16, 2013 I participated in a panel titled, “Beyond ‘Canadian Experience’: Immigrant Employment from a Human Rights Perspective” in The Debates Room at Hart House at University of Toronto. I represented the Mennonite New Life Centre of Toronto to launch a special edition of New Voices magazine centring on “Canadian experience.” Below is my speech.

Saskatchewan employers reach across pond for talent (Canadian HR Reporter)
Employers in Saskatchewan are making another journey across the pond in an effort to recruit workers — setting up shop in Ireland and the United Kingdom. The province’s Ministry of the Economy and 13 employers are attending the Working Abroad Expo in Dublin March 2-3; Cork on March 6; and some will also exhibit in Manchester, U.K., March 9-10. More than 10,000 candidates are expected to attend the job fairs, including qualified candidates in trades, engineering and health sciences, the province said.

Saskatchewan Labour Shortage: Ireland Answer To More Workers (Seema Dhawan, Huffington Post)
The land of living skies is turning to the Emerald Isle for help with a labour shortage. A delegation of Saskatchewan employers and officials with the Ministry of Economy is heading back to Ireland to recruit more high-skilled workers. Employers are hoping to recruit at least 80 high-skilled workers this year, including heavy duty mechanics, welders, engineers and machinists. Economy Minister Bill Boyd says it’s a chance to fill positions that could not be filled by recruitment efforts in Canada.

Guelph Wellington Immigration Portal Soft Launch for Employers – March 5
If you are an employer in Guelph and Wellington County, you are invited to participate in the soft-launch of the Guelph Wellington Immigration Portal!
The purpose of this soft-launch is to:
Introduce you to the Local Immigration Portal that has been developed for Guelph and Wellington County;
Provide you with the opportunity to share your feedback about the Guelph Wellinton Immigration Portal;
Provide you with the opportunity to provide input that will strengthen its future development so that it can better address your business/sector needs.

With Sincere Gratitude and Appreciation (ERIEC)
With only one day left before ERIEC’s 3rd annual premium event, the 2013 Edmonton Global Talent Conference for Finance, IT and Engineering professionals, the air is electric here at the office. For the first time in ERIEC’s short history, the event is SOLD OUT with record breaking registration of 185 people. Interest in this is event by Edmonton’s corporate community is a clear reflection of the tightening labour market here. And the rapid increase in the pool of internationally trained professionals who are anxious to make a contribution to the Canadian economy in Edmonton will also be turning out in large numbers!

Human Trafficking for Forced Labour April 23 (FCJ Refugee Centre)
The forum will focus on persons trafficked internationally for the purposes of forced labour and the barriers to services and protection for these populations.


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Thursday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford, Schools, G20 and Other News.

IMFG releases report about the use of Section 37 agreements in Toronto (IMFG)
Trading Density for Benefits: Section 37 Agreements in Toronto is the second in IMFG’s new Perspectives series – a shorter, accessible style of paper intended to help inform and spark public debate about important current issues in urban public affairs.

New Toronto electoral boundary map carves out riding for waterfront-condo dwellers (Susan Delacourt, Toronto Star)
The redrawn political map for Toronto creates new boundaries for the surging waterfront-condo community and a new University-Rosedale riding.

Newsstand: February 28, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
We might be miserable today, but tomorrow we’ll wake up and you’ll gone, February. So thanks for that much. In the news: Rob Ford is still asking lobbyists for money, a new federal riding tears up a neighbourhood, police charge a G20 vandal, and Leslieville gets a BIA.


Imagining the future: An update on Imagine Canada’s Standards Program (CharityVillage)
One of these days, someone in the for-profit sector is going to look at what the folks over at Imagine Canada are doing with their new Standards Program and wonder why nonprofits are the envy of organizations everywhere with respect to financially responsibility, ethical operations and financial transparency. Really. It could happen. Early in 2012, Imagine launched its then-new initiative with a pilot group of nonprofits willing to revamp and revise the way they do business in terms of ethical fundraising, responsible self-governance and maintaining budgetary transparency, to win the trust of donors and Canadians in general.

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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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