Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 18, 2013


Canada experiencing unprecedented changes to immigration policy: experts (Michelle Zilio, ipolitics)
Canada has seen unprecedented changes to its citizenship and immigration policy, with more program and ministerial changes than ever before in Canadian history, said a panel of experts at a migration conference in Ottawa Saturday. The 15th annual National Metropolis Conference, which attracted approximately 600 participants, held a plenary session Saturday morning titled, What are the social and practical consequences of recent changes to migration policy?

Press Release: Round Table Gives Hope to New Immigrants in Toronto (WireService)
Young Professionals and Skilled Workers Association organize a Round Table of Discussions at which immigration, education and labour challenges will be discussed as well as analyzed how they affect our livelihood today.

Changes in Canada Permanent Residency Program Encourage Business Immigrants (SBWire)
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.

NDP MLAs want tv show filming immigration raids out of Vancouver (Travis Lupick,
A trio of New Democrat MLAs have told the Straight that they dont want a television show that some have accused of targeting immigrants filming in their neighbourhoods, or anywhere in British Columbia. I dont see any point, said Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver Kensington. I would rather that it not be shot or shown. I dont want to see it. Similar positions were taken by Jenny Kwan, MLA for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, and Raj Chouhan, Opposition multicultural critic.

Toews approved reality TV show filming B.C. immigration raids (CBC)
Approval for a reality show production crew to film an immigration raid at a Vancouver construction site came directly from the federal government, documents obtained by a Vancouver woman show. Helesia Luke, who has a background in television production and now works with non-profits in Vancouver, was troubled by news of the immigration raid being filmed on Wednesday, so she asked the federal government for the production agreement. The document, which she received within hours, outlines Force Four Entertainment’s desire to enter into discussions with the Canadian Border Services Agency to produce a series on border security in Canada.

Border agents under fire at immigration hearing for reality show raid (Global TV)
The federal border agency’s decision to allow a reality television crew to film a raid that resulted in the arrest of a group of suspected illegal immigrants wrongly intimidated the men and violated their privacy, a lawyer for one of the workers told an immigration hearing Friday. The Canada Border Services Agency has been facing criticism since a raid at a construction site in Vancouver, where officers arrested members of a painting crew as a camera rolled for the reality TV program “Border Security.”

Border Agents’ Reality Show Raid Slammed At Hearing (Jesse Ferreras, Huffington Post)
The federal border agency’s decision to allow a reality television crew to film a raid that resulted in the arrest of a group of suspected illegal immigrants wrongly intimidated the men and violated their privacy, a lawyer for one of the workers told an immigration hearing Friday. The Canada Border Services Agency has been facing criticism since a raid at a construction site in Vancouver, where officers arrested members of a painting crew as a camera rolled for the reality TV program “Border Security.”

B.C. migrant workers face deportation after raid (CBC)
Construction workers who were filmed by a reality TV crew while they were arrested by border agents made their first appearance before the Immigration and Refugee Board in Vancouver on Friday. Five workers are being detained pending hearings on their eligibility to stay in Canada, while a sixth was released on conditions.–r-km0_i_wp2pSQ

Agents sought person with criminal past in raid: CBSA (Arlen Redekop, 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 Maria 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.

Harper government mum on why Vancouver immigration raid was filmed by TV crew (with video) (Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun)
The federal government is hoping to educate Canadians about the efforts of its border guard agents by taking part in a B.C.-based reality TV program, the Canada Border Services Agency said Friday. The CBSA was responding to critics who say the show, which films agents arresting drug smugglers and phoney immigrants, is a taxpayer-funded attempt to promote the Conservatives law-and-order agenda. Opposition MPs and a B.C. criminologist also said Border Security: Canadas Front Line violates the privacy and dignity of individuals being filmed.

Immigration raid filmed for Canadian TV series sparks outrage (Global TV BC)
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 allegedly 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.

Honduran worker detained in CBSA takedown in Vancouver to remain in custody (Tiffany Crawford, Global TV)
One of the Honduran workers detained after a dramatic raid by Canada Border Services Agency officers at an east Vancouver construction site this week will remain in custody. At an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing Friday, Melvin Francisco Acosta Cruz asked to be allowed to stay with his former common-law spouse Rosa Quezada and their three children while he applied for a pre-removal risk assessment. But the IRB denied his request because he had twice been apprehended in Canada by CBSA agents and deported, once in 2005 and again in 2010.

Baby born at migrant workers cramped Vancouver apartment to stay under the radar (Erin Ellis, Jessica Barret, Vancouver Sun)
Oscar Mata Jr. came into the world on the floor of a 400-square-foot apartment in downtown Vancouver, home to his father, an undocumented worker from Mexico, and four other adults. Registered midwife Marijke de Zwager set up a birthing pool on the floor of the cramped home, just as she does for other mothers who are unwilling or unable to deliver their babies in a hospital. In North America we dont expect people to live like that, but people are living like that here and I think its important that we know, she said Friday, recalling the birth two and a half years ago.

Remittances, Brain Drain, Microfinance and SMEs (Kwesi Atta Sakyi, Ghana Web)
The brain drain is the exodus or emigration of professionals from one country to another in search of greener pastures. Ghana is one of the classical examples of countries in the world which has been severely hit by the haemorrhage or loss of human capital to the first world. Every year, Ghanaian nurses, medical doctors, engineers, IT specialists, university professors, laboratory technicians, pharmacists, lawyers, teachers, among others, leave the country in droves to head for first world countries such as the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and France.

Chan Ka Nin translates immigrant experience into symphonic theatre (Globe and Mail)
A Chinese immigrant steps off a ship and into a new world, the culture clash represented by a swirl of music: a straight-ahead military march to begin, and flowery gestures of eastern music flowing in and out and overtop of it, providing not just a contrast but also a complement. Welcome to Canada. This is the opening of Chan Ka Nins Harmonious Interest, described as a work of symphonic theatre. Its 1884 and Wong Sam Mo (John Han) has just arrived at the port in Victoria. He will meet an older immigrant, Wong Ying (Erica Iris), who writes letters home for the new arrivals, and who will help Wong navigate through his new life in Canada.

Supreme Court reaffirmed Canadian balance on free speech (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
He was head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission and also a member of the UN committee monitoring the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights. In retirement, Max Yalden winters in France, where I reached him. What does he think of the recent Supreme Court ruling that free speech can be, must be, restricted, not overly so but somewhat, in order to curb hate speech?

B.C. prisoners’ rights group protests non-Christian chaplain layoffs (CBC)
A prisoners’ rights group in B.C. is suing the federal government for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of non-Christian inmates by cancelling the contracts of 18 non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons. Two Buddhists, two Wiccans, two Muslims, a Sikh and a Jewish believer say Corrections Canada is denying them reasonable access to religion and spirituality. In October, the agency confirmed its plans to lay off 49 part-time chaplains 31 of whom are Christians who provided religious counsel to a variety of faiths. The layoffs, expected to take effect at the end of March, will leave British Columbia without a non-Christian chaplain.

Osgoode Colloquium on Law, Religion & Social Thought (Osgoode)
The Osgoode Colloquium on Law, Religion & Social Thought features leading thinkers addressing theoretical and social questions regarding law and religion in contemporary society. The only forum of its kind in Canada, the colloquium is insistently multidisciplinary, drawing on creative and provocative thinkers from from a variety of relevant disciplines, including law, political theory, religious studies, philosophy, sociology, and history. The colloquium brings together a core group of faculty and graduate students (both within and outside Osgoode) interested in critical analysis of the interaction of law and religion in a social, historical, and philosophical frame. The colloquium is thus not only a vehicle for the exploration of issues of law and religion, but also a forum for reflection on theoretical, methodological, and critical issues in law and society.

Racist tweets about TSN hosts reveal Canadas nasty side (Bruce Dowbiggin, Globe and Mail)
When TSN paired Gurdeep Ahluwalia and Nabil Karim on its SportsCentre anchor desk last month, the decision brought forth racist responses on social media. TSN immediately stepped up to support its hosts and denounce the anonymous trolls on Twitter. Both Ahluwalia and Karim (who fist-bumped after their first show together) expressed disappointment about the racist comments, but were gratified at how many people came to their defence. With the wonders of Twitter, you can retweet and things just go viral, Karim was quoted at the time. But I should mention this and this is really important there were a lot of positive messages and Ive had an overflow and Im sure Gurdeep does too of positive messages on Twitter, and Ive been getting them all day.

Immigration to Canada: An integral part of its history (Baldev Padam, CanIndia)
The movement of people from other places of world to settle in Canada is eternal to its history. In fact the phenomenon is almost prehistoric. As per some anthropologists the ancestors of Canadas present aboriginals migrated from Asia after crossing the Bering Strait that used to be a land route during the ice age. Thousands of years later after Columbus reached America by sea, the French and the British sailed to Canadian shores to explore the land for fur trade, and many settled here. Later others from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia and other countries of Europe migrated and came to be known as Canadas invisible minority, and were given equal treatment. Then there are Africans whose ancestors were slaves in America and arrived here through the night Underground Railroadthe other name of 19th-century escape routes for US slaves to reach Canada where they were let in because slavery was banned and didnt exist here.

The politics of fear, the necessity of hope (Syed Hussan, rabble)
I ran into Silvio yesterday in the subway. I hadn’t seen him in two years and he didn’t look good. His eyes were red, his cheeks flushed, and his dirt encased hands were shaking. “It’s just so hard with the kids you know, never knowing what will happen next” he said. His wife had called him at work. She had heard about the immigration raids in Vancouver, and had demanded that he leave his job and get home. She herself was going to pick up the kids from school. Silvio is a construction worker, one of tens of thousands of migrant workers and undocumented people working in the industry. I met him in early 2010 after four migrant workers fell to their deaths while on a construction site in Toronto. Their scaffolding had collapsed and they had no safety equipment. I remember his words then: ‘its about money and fear .. they use our fear to make more money’. That about sums up Canadian immigration policy.

Volunteering important for visible minorities (Hamilton Spectator)
Ernie Estrabillo has volunteered in the Filipino community since the 1980s. At age 69, he’s one of the visible minority immigrants captured in a Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) survey of senior volunteers. The results show that of the 226 seniors surveyed, 62 per cent said volunteering is very important and six in 10 of them already volunteer. HCCI researcher Naseem Sherwani said the surveyed seniors represent about 2 per cent of Hamilton’s 11,480 visible minority seniors. The survey is a pilot test on perceptions of volunteering and aims to increase volunteerism, she said.–volunteering-important-for-visible-minorities&ct=ga&cad=CAcQARgAIAAoATAAOABA9duSigVIAlAAWABiBWVuLVVT&cd=IQt1-Ah0-Sk&usg=AFQjCNEYhFmX9cHhvvqn0fn6PHfbLi5gVg

NDP Wants Independent Investigation After Damning Report Into BC Liberal Ethnic Vote Scandal (The Link)
BC Multiculturalism Minister John Yap Said While Knowingly Concealing Improper Use Of Government Resources: Great job. Lets Now Hope For The Best. The reports stated list of serious abuses include Community liaison contractors were given work before contracts were approved and signed, resulting in payment for work done when the contract process was cancelled and confidential information-such as contact lists from government events-was inappropriately sent to personal email accounts. Now, the NDP wants a larger investigation that would also look into the conduct of BC Liberal caucus, cabinet, the party and previous employees. Some of the employees named in the report and who were actively involved in carrying out the BC Liberals quick wins plan, especially from the Indo-Canadian community, are still working for the Premiers office. No explanation has been given as to why they have not been fired or resigned!

Is the ethnic vote scandal the Liberal’s last straw? (News 1130)
Could this weeks report on the ethnic vote scandal could be the final nail in the Liberal coffin? The latest numbers that show Premier Christy Clark still has an outside chance to win re-election. University of the Fraser Valley political scientist Hamish Telford says the Liberals didnt do themselves any favours by misusing government resource. But he says the latest polls show the Liberals are still ahead of the NDP in one key area.

Cultivating and harvesting ethnic votes the Canadian way (Pradip Rodrigues, CanIndia)
The Ethnic Outreach Scandal plaguing Christie Clarks Liberals in BC has left many mainstream Canadians nauseated and who can blame them? Ethnic communities on the other hand are shocked that it is being called a scandal in the first place. They have been under the impression that such outreach attempts was in keeping with the whole concept of multiculturalism. Every political party has been indulging in such practices for years, the only difference is that there is a smoking gun in the form of incriminating paper trail. The documents outline the Liberal strategy to harvest the ethnic vote by better coordinating operations between taxpayer-funded government workers and B.C. Liberal Party operatives.

Thomas Mulcair champions the case of a convicted cop shooter barred from Canada (Globe and Mail)
In an exchange about Mr. Freemans case in the House of Commons, Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney referred to the former fugitive as a cop killer. He corrected himself last year. I should have said cop shooter, he declared, then accused Mr. Mulcair of political interference for his efforts to win special permission for a violent convicted cop shooter and a former member of the criminal Black Panther movement to be permitted into Canada. Slim, soft-spoken and wearing hearing aids, Mr. Freeman speaks quietly of the despair at not being allowed to return to the country he called home for more than 30 years. He believes Mr. Kenney has barred him because hes black, not because of his record.

Do English skills impact a bureaucrats work? (Vancouver Desi)
Do English skills of bureaucrats impact their work? The UPSC notification giving more weight to English in the civil services examination and governments decision to put the move on hold has triggered a furious debate. IAS officers say emphasis on English is useful but it should not affect prospects of candidates from small towns and rural areas. The civil services examination that selects candidates for the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Police Service among others is one of the most sought-after tests in the country with thousands of students giving it a try every year.

Gay Afghan man speaks out on deep cultural taboo (Jane Armstrong, Toronto Star)
The price for disclosure was steep. His entire family disowned him. An older brother in Europe told him he was crazy and urged him to see a doctor. A cousin in Hamilton, Ont., sobbed. Zaher said his relatives would kill him if he ever returned to Afghanistan. Today, Zaher works in construction in Toronto and lives openly as a gay man. He has cut nearly all ties with the Afghan-Canadian community. Still soft-spoken, with spiky highlighted brown hair and a slight frame, Zaher said he wrote the book to force Afghans to acknowledge that homosexuality exists in the country, and thousands suffer in silence. Their spirit has died, Zaher said over tea at the Parkdale apartment of an Iranian-Canadian friend. They cannot dare to talk about this. They are like the moving dead, the living dead.

Post-racial Canada still a dream (Megan Power, Chronicle Herald)
Calling Canada a multicultural paradise is simply delusional, says author Lawrence Hill. He made his comments prior to a public reading in Halifax last week, in which he was candid and forthright about the state of race relations in Canada. He doesnt agree with Toronto Life magazines high-profile March cover story the feature describes his book Black Berry, Sweet Juice as quaint which proclaims Toronto the first post-racial city and declaring the end of single ethnicity status in the countrys megalopolis. I detest that idea. I find it quite repulsive. Its just not true. Ask a thousand black students in high schools across Canada if theyve escaped the challenges of race and Im pretty sure that 995 of them will tell you absolutely not. I feel that its kind of self-serving and self-congratulatory to talk about a post-racial world.

The immigration questions we dare not ask (Robert Sibley, Ottawa Citizen)
Have I got a book for Jason Kenney. The immigration minister has acquired a reputation as diligent and hardworking, popping around to most every ethnic meet-and-greet he can squeeze into his daily rounds. Indeed, the punditocracy has pronounced him the Conservatives greatest asset in wooing the ethnic vote. Be that as it may, Kenney has certainly been busy recasting the countrys immigration system. Hes revoked the citizenship of hundreds of immigration fraudsters and restricted the ability of refugee claimants to obtain health benefits from a system to which they havent contributed. Hes scaled back family-class immigration. He wants to tighten up spousal sponsorship rules to curb marriage fraud. His Bill C-43 would allow immigration ministers wider powers to deport refugees, permanent residents and visitors for serious criminality. He supports legislation to strip dual citizens of their Canadian citizenship if they engage in terrorist acts abroad.

Chinese Signs In Richmond: Should There Be A Limit? (Huffington Post)
Two B.C. women will be asking Richmond city council to consider a policy that would limit how much Chinese can be displayed on business signs. Kerry Starchuk and Ann Merdinyan have collected a petition with more than 1,000 signatures and spent months taking photos in preparation for their presentation on Monday, reported The Richmond News. Starchuk’s mission began with letters to the editor of local newspapers. The women say that store signs in Richmond have increasingly become Chinese-only, or have very little English on them. Of the 200,000 people who live in the Vancouver suburb, 45 per cent are Chinese, the highest rate in Canada.

Doug Christie: The Truth Will Out (Part I) (Anti Racist Canada)
When deciding where to start our discussion of the late Doug Christie’s views on race, we decided that we would start with the political sphere. Christie was a long-time Western separatist. He was a leader of the Western Canada Concept Party (WCC) as well as the Western Block Party which Christie founded in 2005 (Ontario resident Paul Fromm ran as a Western Block candidate in Calgary during the last election as a result of a persona vendetta. He did quite poorly). An examination of the WCC platform is, in itself, quite telling particularly points 4, 5, and 6:
4. An end to immigration to preserve our environment, culture and stability.
5. Equal rights for all, with no special status for any race, or ethnic origin.
6. Preservation of our Christian culture and European heritage.

Two University of Regina students facing deportation should get amnesty: defense lawyer (Anna-Lilja Dawson, Ubyssey)
Two Nigerian students from the University of Regina who face deportation are still holed up in a church while their lawyer, Kay Adebogun, works to keep the case a top priority with government officials. Adebogun, who represents Victoria Ordu and Ihuoma Amadi, spoke at the University of Saskatchewan on March 11 about recent political issues concerning immigrants and refugees in Canada and the two female students deportation story.

Video: #CdnImm Event #12 – Language Services Delivery & Coordination (Settlement AtWork)
The aims of this session were:
To discuss, gain knowledge and share best practices in referrals to and service coordination of language services for newcomers
To identify and explore hot topics in newcomer language services, including using technology in the ESL classroom and supporting clients who:
Are at higher language levels
Are seeking citizenship under the new langauge requirements
Have literacy or basic skills needs
To gather information from presenters that attendees can apply to their work


Conservatives should change course in Budget 2013 (Troy Media)
Over 1.3 million Canadians are out of work and hundreds of thousands of others are underemployed or employed in precarious work. Young people, aboriginal peoples and recent immigrants face unemployment rates significantly above the national average and many provinces have double-digit unemployment rates. Meanwhile, services to help the unemployed have been rolled back causing great hardship for those most vulnerable. And it is not surprising that income inequality is on the rise in Canada. However, what is surprising is that the Conservative government is refusing to act on it or to even acknowledge it.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. 2013 Human Development Report (United Nations Development Program) – March 14
2. Alternative Federal Budget 2013: Doing Better Together (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) – March 11
3. The Hunger Game : Food banks may compound the very problems they should be solving – April 2013 issue of The Walrus
4. 2013 Alberta Budget Analysis (Edmonton Social Planning Council) – March 2013
5. Say goodbye to effective Parliamentary Budget Office, feds about to destroy it, says outgoing PBO Page (The Hill Times) – March 11
6. Chris Hedges: Harper is venal, U.S. politics is totally rigged (The Straight – Vancouver) – July 2012
7. Harper Government Centralizing, Slashing Federal Web Info (Huffington Post Canada) – March 10
8. Northwest Territories Income Security Programs : Residents have access, but there are weaknesses in delivery (2013 March Report of the Auditor General of Canada) – March 7
9. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— National balance sheet and financial flow accounts, fourth quarter 2012 – March 15
— The Evolution of Canadian Wages over the Last Three Decades – March 15
— Adult and youth correctional services: Key indicators, 2011/2012 – March 13
— Employer pension plans (trusteed pension funds), third quarter 2012 – March 12
10. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Inequality, yes, but Canadas in a sweet spot (Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail)
Few topics seem to have captured the imagination of professional thinkers in recent years as much as the growing gap between rich and poor. The hand-wringers include everyone from the left-leaning activists at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to the ascot-wearing 0.1 per centers who schlep to Davos each winter for the World Economic Forum. For the second year in a row, and apparently with no appreciation of the irony of their act, the WEFs über elite identified severe income disparity as the biggest risk facing the planet over the next decade. Rising inequality, the WEF warned, will wreak havoc within and between nations.–lrjePUL4c&usg=AFQjCNH4lkZ8rqH3hsbTCS_fxSp5hZFJuQ

More Harm Than Good: Austerity’s Impact in Ontario (CCPA)
This report shows that Ontario hasn’t returned to pre-recession economic health. Austerity measures are compounding the problem, effectively slowing economic growth. Trish Hennessy and CAW economist Jim Stanford note that the province’s deficit predictions were wildly overstated and that the employment rate hasn’t returned to the pre-recession rates. They maintain that creating jobs, not austerity measures, should be Ontario’s top priority.


Partnerships Connector Program Receives IQN Workplace Integration Award (
Late yesterday, the Greater Halifax Partnerships Connector Program received an award from the International Qualification Network (IQN) for best initiative in the category of Workplace Integration. Were thrilled that the Connector Program has been recognized by IQN as a best practice for integrating immigrants into the workplace, said Fred Morley, Executive VP and Chief Economist at the Partnership. This simple yet effective networking initiative benefits employers, immigrants, our economy and the city by strengthening and diversifying the workforce and our community.

News Release Innovators recognized for work in foreign credential recognition (CIC)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada presented the first International Qualifications Network (IQN) Awards today to 14 Canadian innovators of foreign credential recognition programs and projects. For too long, too many newcomers have found themselves unemployed or stuck in survival jobs despite possessing impressive educational qualifications, work experience, and language skills. This has deprived both the newcomers and the Canadian economy, said Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra, who attended the event on behalf of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney. The Government of Canada is committed improving the process of foreign credential recognition and helping newcomers to integrate better into the Canadian labour market and Canadian society. The International Qualifications Network is instrumental in achieving these objectives by bringing together organizations across the country to improve the process of foreign credential recognition, he added.

Live-in caregiver who worked four years without pay sues employer (Global TV)
A live-in caregiver who worked for four years without pay is suing her employer to recover the money she claims she’s owed. Evelyn Yacas worked 16-hour days tending to her employer’s elderly mother at a home in Richmond, B.C., the B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit states. Initially from the Philippines, Yacas moved to Canada in 2004 as part of the federal immigration and citizenship ministry’s live-in caregiver program.

Its Like I Had No Freedom (Geoffrey Vendeville, Cordodia Link)
Due to high unemployment rates in her home country, however, she was obliged to look elsewhere for a job after graduating with a degree in communications engineering. After working for a few years in Japan, she applied to Canadas Live-in Caregiver Program. The application process and necessary job training took her two-and-a-half years to complete. When she finally moved to Montreal, she found that her would-be employer didnt need her services anymore. Since she had lost her job, her work permit was no longer valid.

UFCW Canada victory for Quebec agriculture workers (Migrants Canada)
The Superior Court of Quebec has upheld a UFCW Canada challenge of a section of the Quebec Labour Code that had blocked many seasonal agriculture workers in Quebec from unionizing. The victory comes in the wake of a four-year battle at the Quebec Labour Commission and in the courts, to uphold a UFCW Canada Local 501 certification application made on behalf of migrant workers at the LÉcuyer/Locas farm in Quebec. This is a victory for the workers at LÉcuyer/Locas, and for all seasonal agriculture workers across Quebec, says Louis Bolduc, executive assistant to the National President. Moving forward, agriculture operators in Quebec will no longer be able to hide behind a section of the labour code that clearly breached the Charter rights of seasonal agriculture workers.

Reforms needed to grant temporary workers more protection (Vancouver Sun)
In 2013, for the first time in Canada, the number of people retiring will outnumber young people entering the workforce. Immigration is a sensible way to offset such demographic problems and economic decline. For decades, federal programs have invited new workers to settle in Canada for precisely that reason. But now, on the cusp of Canada’s “baby bust,” a “migrant workers boom” is underway. Since 2006, the number of “guest” workers has surpassed that of economic immigrants who can become permanent residents (and ultimately Canadian citizens). This policy undermines wages and conditions for all workers in Canada.

Canada gets failing grade for looking after foreign workers (Niagara Advance)
Despite being touted as the ‘best practice model” in the U.S., Canada is not doing a great job of looking after its temporary foreign workers, a union representative told American researchers gathered in Virgil Monday. Stan Raper, co-ordinator with UFCW Canada and the Agricultural Workers Alliance, was invited to speak to University of Arizona journalism graduates working on a documentary about the treatment of what the U.S. calls “guest workers,” who arrive in their county under programs similar to the Canadian program that began bringing agricultural workers to Niagara more than 40 years ago. The researchers are looking at the Canadian model to see how they can improve the U.S, treatment of guest workers, says Raper, and have been conducting in-depth interviews on the treatment of migrant farm workers in Ontario.

Migrant workers documentary to be screened on Ontario campuses (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Students Against Migrant Exploitation to host seminars on the plight of migrant workers, on Ontario campuses starting March 18.

Federal budget to focus on matching skilled workers with jobs (CTV)
Next week’s federal budget will centre on fixing labour shortages and enhancing workforce skills, but don’t expect new subsidies or training funds. Rather, the government recognizes that progress on matching skills with job openings will require close co-operation with the provinces and private sector. And if the recent report from the House of Commons human resources committee is a guide, Ottawa will focus on better dissemination of labour market information and encouraging co-operation among educators, employers, students and workers.

Peeved Harper aims at ‘remaking Canadian labour force’ (Greg Weston, CBC)
Harpers growing impatience is understandable. With unemployment hovering around seven per cent, the government estimates there are currently more than 260,000 job vacancies without qualified Canadian workers to fill them. In addition, the latest immigration figures show another 213,000 Canadian jobs were filled last year by temporary foreign workers.

The future of jobs in Canada (Chris Sorensen, Maclean’s)
Ottawa is taking the threat seriously, and one of the biggest weapons in its arsenal is the countrys immigration system. The federal government has already announced changes, to take effect this spring, that would place a greater emphasis on younger workers and speed up the process employers must go through to hire new Canadians in occupations where there are immediate labour shortages. But immigration alone wont be a panacea. Many new immigrants tend to settle in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver, where there are big ethnic communities and established social networks. By contrast, many of the most acute labour shortages are in the countrys hinterlands, where oil and mining companies operations are based. There are also problems with the recognition of foreign credentials and language skills, which has traditionally led to a much lower workforce participation rate for first-generation immigrants. Whereas roughly 82 per cent of Canadians between the age of 25 to 54 have historically participated in the labour force, the corresponding number for recent immigrants is just 63 per cent, according to Statistics Canada. It remains to be seen whether policy changes that target workers with high-demand skills will be able to dramatically narrow this gap.

WAC members deliver 400 stories of wage theft to MPPs (Workers’ Action Centre)
On Friday, WAC members delivered 400 stories of wage theft to four MPPs in Toronto. We have been out speaking to workers about their experiences of wage theft across the city. On Friday we delivered 100 postcards to each MPP documenting workers stories in their riding. These postcards represent 100 individuals and 100 families that are affected by wage theft in each riding. Each postcard represents a person who told us about not getting paid wages, overtime or holiday pay, or who told us that the minimum wage is not enough to live on and must be increased.

In quest for skilled workers, U.S. looks to Canada as an example (Joanna Slater, Globe and Mail)
Interestingly, Canada is considered a counterpoint in the discussion, say executives and advocates, who cite it as a country that is getting immigration policy right. Canada is invoked a lot in this debate, said Peter Muller, director of government relations at Intel Corp. in Washington. The people that we educate and then kick out of our country Canada is ready and willing and interested in accepting them. For different reasons, both of the two major U.S. political parties are keen to show progress on immigration: Democrats have long promised reform but never delivered, while Republicans want to repair their standing with Hispanic voters. Still, the path ahead is fraught with difficulty.


Weekend Newsstand: March 16, 2013 (Sarah-Joyce Battersby, Torontoist)
It’s the last Saturday of winter, so make it countor winter will haunt you. Sorry, them’s the rules. In the news: Other cities mad about Toronto’s casino deal, city councillor’s brother signs up to lobby for a casino, money found for TCHC repairs, some people are visiting the waterfront, and a cool kid is having a party.

Regent Park a new report tells the story of how Toronto’s $1 billion public housing revitalization happened (Shawn Micallef, Spacing Toronto)
Last year I was asked by the Metcalf Foundation if Id be interested in writing a Collective Impact report on the Regent Park revitalization. Metcalf, who has long been involved in Regent Park initiatives, was getting requests from across Canada and around the world asking how the Regent Park revitalization happened. How did it start? Who was involved? This Canadian story has the world watching. After many interviews and archival digging, the foundation has just released the completed report, which you can download here (click on the blue box). What I found most remarkable in hearing from people who were there at the beginning is how this $1 billion project began as a grassroots, largely women-driven project, the same people who also kept it moving along when it risked stalling. Also of interest is how much attention was paid to the social side of Regent Park as much work went into that and keeping residents part of the process as designing the new buildings themselves.

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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 19 links. Migrant workers’ documentary to be screened on Ontario campuses | Toronto Star Campaign Management Planning with HootSuite...