Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 15, 2013

Metropolis conference on immigration underway in Ottawa thanks to Montreal think-tank (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
More than 400 Canadians with an interest in immigration issues are in Ottawa this week for an annual gathering many thought might not happen. The three-day Metropolis conference is the product of a research network by the same name that has been connecting academics, policy-makers and people who work in immigrant settlement since 1996. Last year the Metropolis network lost its federal funding, and the secretariat moved to a new home at Carleton University. There were no plans — and no money — to mount another of the conferences until the Association for Canadian Studies stepped up late last year and offered to take it on. The association is a Montreal-based think-tank that does research and public education on Canadian history and public opinion, and frequently publishes on immigration-related themes.
In the Field Newsletter Volume 9 (OCASI)
Message from the Executive Director
How Refugee Claim Decisions are Made
OCASI and ERDCO Roundtable on Accessibility
Positive Spaces Initiative (PSI)
Sector Happenings
and more
Event April 19: Celebrating Seventeen Years of Immigration and Settlement Research: Achievements and New Directions (CERIS)
After over a decade and a half of generating knowledge and connecting research to policy and practice, CERIS is celebrating its history as a Ontario’s pioneer immigration and settlement research network. At the same time, we are also taking this opportunity to talk about future collaboration and knowledge sharing in the province. Given recent policy changes at the federal, provincial and municipal levels, the goal of the symposium is to bring together a range of stakeholders to discuss key issues affecting the landscape of immigration and settlement in Ontario.
COPE says Vancouver should be Sanctuary City (News1130)
As Canada Border Services is admitting that it did arrest people at a Vancouver job site on Wednesday, a civic party is calling for Vancouver to follow Toronto’s lead, and become a Sanctuary City. A Sanctuary City pledges to provide services to everyone, even those who might be in the country illegally. Toronto was the first city in Canada to adopt the designation. Three dozen cities in the US also bear the label. Ellen Woodsworth, with the Vancouver civic party COPE, says undocumented workers have rights like everyone else.
B.C. families of migrant workers deplore ‘American-style’ raids for reality TV (Maclean’s)
Tearful families and immigration activists have demanded an end to what they call “American-style tactics” by officers who patrol Canada’s borders and police immigration. Protesters gathered outside the glass doors of Vancouver’s federal immigration offices on Thursday, deploring a series of raids at construction job sites where border services agents rounded up immigrant workers who lacked proper work permits. They allege the Canada Border Services Agency brought in film crews to document surprise blitzes against the workers for a reality TV show, called Border Security.
J4MW BC Statement in Response to “Reality TV Raids” Targeting Migrant Workers in Vancouver (Justice for Migrant Workers)
In response to the recent raids conducted in Vancouver by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) in conjunction with a reality tv show called “Border Security: Canada’s Front Line” J4MW BC would like to express our outrage and disgust. The lives, well being, and basic human rights to due process, dignity and privacy, of workers of color and their families are at stake when faced by CBSA raids. To trivialize this and turn it into mediocre entertainment pandering to the racist right wing of the country is plain obscene. Both the CBSA and the corporate entity behind the show, Force Four Entertainment, are engaging in a despicable partnership for propaganda purposes that should be illegal and is morally repugnant.
Wife of migrant worker detained in CBSA raid says he was asked to sign film release (Global News)
Honduran workers detained after a dramatic bust by Canada Border Service agents Wednesday in Vancouver were asked to sign release forms agreeing to be filmed, says the Canadian wife of one of the two men, yet CBSA still won’t confirm whether a reality TV crew was shooting the takedown. Diana Thompson said her husband Tulio Renan Avilés Hernandez and the other Honduran national, an 18-year-old named Mario were being held at Vancouver International Airport Thursday morning, but were being moved sometime today to the detention centre downtown. She said they have a hearing in two days and will be detained until then.
Reality show filmed immigration raids, B.C. advocates say (CBC)
Immigration activists in Vancouver are protesting the arrest of eight migrant workers who they say were picked up by border agents and filmed for a reality TV series during a raid on a construction site on Wednesday. Construction worker Gord Beck says he was working on a condo complex at Victoria Drive and 20th Avenue when armed border agents arrived in black SUVs. Beck says they stationed officers at corners to keep people from running, and swept the site, top to bottom looking for undocumented workers.
CBSA says agents found several illegal workers during Vancouver raid filmed for TV (Tiffany Crawford, Jessica Barrett, Vancouver Sun)
Officers who carried out a dramatic raid at an east Vancouver construction site Wednesday were searching for a person with a criminal past and discovered several illegal workers in the process, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. “While attempting to locate and arrest a previously deported person with a significant criminal history, several foreign nationals were also found to be working without proper authorization and were subsequently arrested,” CBSA spokeswoman Mila Ivancic said in an email Thursday. She also confirmed a film crew documented the raid and that the CBSA is participating in the reality TV show Border Security, based on the activities of its agents.
Borderline offensive: The CBSA and reality television (Michal Stewart, rabble)
On Wednesday, at least three construction sites were raided by Canadian Border Service agents looking for undocumented workers. Some reports indicate that up to sixty agents, some armed, some in plainclothes, emerged from black SUVs and performed floor-to-floor sweeps of the sites, interrogating workers and foremen, and demanding identification. CBSA has so far refused to disclose how many sites were raided yesterday, and how many agents were involved. If the above scenario seems dramatic, it might be due to the fact that the CBSA were allegedly accompanied by film crews for the reality-television show Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, which claims to follow CBSA agents as they “keep Canada safe from threats of all kinds, big and small.” The show airs on the National Geographic channel — presumably because of its gritty portrayal of reality.
Border Security is tabloid television at its worst (Ian Mulgrew, Vancouver Sun)
Imagine a swarm of black SUVs swooping down Victoria Drive like a scene from a Bourne movie to arrest a bunch of working guys with hammers. We can’t stop gangsters murdering each other and dumping bodies in Surrey but we got those Latin American carpenters illegally framing condos? It was bad enough when we had reality TV shows about cops chasing small-time drug offenders down alleys in their underwear. Now we’ve got Canadian border security agents with cameras in tow arresting a bunch of construction workers as if they were Hells Angels.
Report on ethnic-vote scandal a highlight of final legislative session before B.C. election kickoff (The Province)
Premier Christy Clark might want to hit the campaign trail, but she’ll have to clear a few issues off her plate before closing the gap on the front-running Opposition New Democrats. The Liberals are set to release a potentially damaging report from Clark’s own deputy minister on the government’s much-maligned ethnic-vote winning strategy. Fallout has already forced the resignations of former multiculturalism minister John Yap and Clark’s former deputy chief of staff Kim Haakstad.
Photos: A Who’s Who in the ethnic vote scandal (Vancouver Sun)
An investigation into a proposed ethnic vote plan has found serious misconduct by B.C. public officials, the misuse of government funds and the deliberate use of private emails to hide what was going on.
Report into ethnic-vote strategy by B.C. Liberals fuels another resignation (Petti Fong, Toronto Star)
A scathing report looking into the B.C. Liberal government’s ethnic vote-getting strategy cost Premier Christy Clark another resignation and thousands of dollars that she says her party will repay.
Ethnic vote report finds serious misuse of B.C. government resources (Craig Mcinnes, Vancouver Sun)
An investigation into a proposed multicultural outreach plan aimed at bolstering B.C. Liberal support has found serious misconduct by public officials, the misuse of government funds and the deliberate use of private emails to hide what was going on. A team of four deputy ministers headed by John Dyble, deputy minister to the premier, was called in after the New Democrats released a leaked memo showing that civil servants appeared to be mixing public and party work and using government resources for Liberal party purposes.
International Poster Competition (CIC)
From March 2013 to March 2014, Canada will chair the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). In conjunction with the chair year, Canada is inviting Canadian students in Graphics, or Art and Design to compete with students from around the world in an International Poster Competition on the theme “Keeping the Memory Alive – Journeys through the Holocaust.” This joint initiative of the IHRA and Yad Vashem in Israel seeks to bring substance, meaning and educational value to Holocaust commemoration.
Regional immigrant support services get $347,000 (Cathryn Atkinson, Pique News Magazine)
Immigrant support services in the Sea to Sky corridor got a $347,000 cash injection for 2013. The funding was part of a recent announcement that $8.5 million would be invested in British Columbia’s Welcoming Communities program by the minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Pat Bell. Whistler and Pemberton will each receive $107,000, while $133,000 goes to Squamish. The money will be administered through programs in the three communities that are overseen by Capilano University, working with local stakeholder partners, said coordinator Carole Stretch. She was unable to outline exact programming for the year at this time, though a number of services, including English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons, are ongoing.
Immigration consequences can affect sentencing, SCC rules (Heather Gardiner, Canadian Lawyer)
The Supreme Court of Canada has granted a convicted drug dealer a reduction in his sentence so that can appeal his deportation from Canada. In his first written decision since joining the top court’s bench in October, Justice Richard Wagner ruled a court may change a sentence if the sentencing judge was not made aware of the accused’s immigration consequences. “An appellate court has the authority to intervene if the sentencing judge was not aware of the collateral immigration consequences of the sentence for the offender, or if counsel had failed to advise the judge on this issue. In such circumstances, the court’s intervention is justified because the sentencing judge decided on the fitness of the sentence without considering a relevant factor,” Wagner wrote in Pham v. R.
Immigrant doctor fast tracked down dead-end road (Hugh Adami, Ottawa Citizen)
Being a medical doctor got Manuel Peiris permanent resident status before he even set foot in Canada. But three years later, the Sri Lankan is still trying to get a hospital internship — a requirement doctors from most foreign countries have to fulfil before they can be licensed to practise here. Peiris, 43, works as a part-time care provider at an Ottawa retirement home. Peiris and his wife, Fermila, who also practised medicine in Sri Lanka, arrived with their two children in 2010. A third child was born in Ottawa.
Changes in Canada Permanent Residency Program Encourage Business Immigrants (SB Wire)
The changes in Permanent residency program implemented by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada in past half year have immensely escalated the prospects for immigrants, who want to migrate to Canada as business immigrants. The chances for the skilled immigrants seem to have brightened as well. Startup visa program was announced in January 2013
New Blogs/Web Sites (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
New blogs and sites related to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants.
New list of designated countries of origin for Canada’s refugee system announced (The Canadian Charger)
On December 15, 2012, the system for determining refugee claims made in Canada underwent significant changes as a result of the coming into force of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act and the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, the latter of which amends both the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Balanced Refugee Reform Act. The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has as a result significantly altered its operations and procedures to meet these legislated changes, starting with a new Refugee Protection Division (RPD) and Refugee Appeal Division (RAD). The IRB will continue, as stated in the Government’s Press Release, “to resolve immigration and refugee cases efficiently, fairly and in accordance with the law.”
Are you an Ontario woman interested in running for office? If so, read this! (Samara)
Equal Voice Toronto is looking for women ready to become politically active and put their name on!?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+samaracanada%2FyoXW+%28Samara+Canada+Blog%29
Welfare reform plan scares Ontarians with disabilities (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
Ontarians with disabilities entreat Kathleen Wynne to rethink her welfare overhaul.
Taking Action on Health Inequities (Samuel Getachew, Huffington Post)
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has joined a slew of health providers in criticizing the Harper Conservatives legislation denying refugees health care. For the Premier — it is “unbelievable that some of the decisions that have been taken federally are having this impact on people who are clearly the most vulnerable, refugees who are obviously fleeing something quite terrible — that is why they’re refugees.” Ritika Goel is a local Toronto family physician and one such health provider who has also eloquently criticized the decision. She reflects on why the decision was wrong from a first person experience as well as reflecting on her medical journey — in the US and Canada — so far.
Canada falls out of top 10 in UN’s human development index (Globe and Mail)
Canada has slipped slightly in the UN rankings of human progress as slower advances in areas such as education deprived this country of bragging rights as one of the top 10. The United Nations’ annual human development index for 2012 puts Canada in 11th place – now passed by Japan, and just ahead of South Korea and Hong Kong. Norway ranked the highest in the index – which measures development by combining income and other basic indicators of progress such as life expectancy and years of schooling – with Australia and the United States just behind.
IRPP releases the report of its round table on options for reform of Canada’s electoral process (IRPP)
The robo-calls scandal revealed troubling information about alleged improper communications with electors during the 2011 campaign, information that should lead to changes to the legislative and regulatory framework that governs federal elections in Canada. But any reforms should also address critical issues that arise from even legitimate communications with electors with regards to transparency, data management and privacy protection. These are the two main conclusions in this report.
A Graphic Guide to Civic Engagement (Carly Maga, Torontoist)
Graphic designer Rowan Caister wants to help Torontonians learn to be better citizens with an illustrated handbook.
$14 Now : Rally to Raise Minimum Wage : March 21 (Workers’ Action Centre)
This will be an exciting rally, a province-wide campaign involving many partners, allies and public across Ontario. On Thursday March 21, there will be more than 8 cities and areas in Ontario hold a collective action to call for the government of Ontario to raise minimum wage for workers. In 1965 the minimum wage was $1/hour (= $7.31/hour, current dollar value), the minimum wage has only increased 28% while the economy has grown 61% and the millionaires of 60s are now billionaires. The minimum wage of $10.25 has been frozen for three years, which makes it 19% below poverty line for a full time single worker.
Teaming up to attract workers to Timmins (Kyle Gennings, Timmins Press)
A new joint venture between the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) and the Timmins Local Immigration Partnership (TLIP) hopes to see an increase in the employment of recent immigrants in the area while satisfying the current labour shortage. The two groups have formed an employers’ council that TEDC president Fred Gibbons said will work to reduce current barriers for recent immigrants while addressing current and future workforce trends.
Looking for summer employees? Think international (Melissa Nodding, Chronical Herald)
Don’t hire a Canadian student this summer. If you’re an employer looking to offer career training to a young professional, think outside the country and consider hiring international. Coming from a Canadian-born, white, female student, that statement may sound strange. But spending a lot of time around international students and being a co-op student myself, I’ve seen what international students have to offer employers. I’ve seen the struggle international students have to get a job when they deserve to have the same opportunities as Canadian students.
Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Friday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Casino and Other News.
Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Thursday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, City Hall, Casino and Other News.
Newsstand: March 15, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Lots of news to end the week! In the news: The lobbyist registrar wants new limits; Clayton Ruby will appeal Ford’s conflict-of-interest case to the Supreme Court; a taxi union wants stronger penalties for assaulting cabbies; the TCHC is exempt from Toronto’s lobbyist registry; the OLG offers Toronto a special deal for a casino; a rogue van launches an investigation at Pearson; and the UN says Canada is failing cyclists and pedestrians.
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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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