Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 19, 2013


CollaborAction is full but there are many ways to participate (DiverseCity Toronto)
CollaborAction: Building Blocks Learning Exchange is happening on Wednesday! We couldnt be happier with the interest and excitement. The conference is full. But there are still ways you can participate.

Conversations in Integration – Monthly Archive – March 2013 (Cities of Migration)
What Cities Said: Montreal and Greenwich on Building Inclusion with Sport
Deborah Littman and Citizens For a Living Wage
Cities Are the Unofficial Welcome Wagon for Newcomers
Welcome to Canada! Municipal Leadership in Immigrant Integration
Good Ideas in the News: March 2013
Mayor Naheed Nenshi: Community Building as Nation Building

Marketing immigration enforcement (CCR)
The recent news about immigration raids played out for a reality TV show has drawn attention to the Canada Border Services Agency’s interest in strategies of mass appeal, at the expense of individuals’ privacy and dignity. But it’s not the first example. In 2011, CBSA published a “most wanted” list of 30 so-called “suspected war criminals”, complete with mugshots, and asked the public for assistance in locating them. The strategy raised many concerns and the Canadian Council for Refugees filed a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner (we are still waiting for a response). Internal documents show that, a year or so on, CBSA worried that public interest in their list was lagging and that there was a “lack of sufficient cases” to populate the list.

Border Security: Exploiting Immigrants for Canadian Reality TV (Huffington Post)
The long-standing, pioneering, popular reality TV show, Survivor, still sends tongues wagging. In a télé-vérité genre where 20 contestants vie for a one million dollar prize while surviving in the elements, and above all, each other, the show garners thousands of American (and Canadian) candidates to volunteer for the unique experience. Survivor is known as the “classy” reality show. It does not dive in the smut that reigns on MTV’s trashy 16 and Pregnant/Teen Mom where some cast members end up in jail, the tactless Real Housewives series nor the Jersey Shore eye sore portrayals of Italian-American stereotypes. While some say it takes courage to lay bare one’s personal struggles, insecurities and painful life experiences on television, legions of viewers tune in to witness the weekly pseudo-mutiny on Survivor.

Vic Toews defends approval of filmed immigration raids for reality TV show (Daniel Bitonti, Globe and Mail)
Federal Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews came under fire in the House of Commons on Monday over documents showing that he gave the go-ahead to negotiations for the production of a reality TV show about Canadian border agents making immigration raids. The documents were released just days after a raid was filmed in Vancouver. NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison said during Question Period that Canadians across the country are shocked about the governments approval of the idea, adding the raids are not some episode of Cops.

TV cameras filming CBSA immigration raids for reality show is okay: Public Safety Minister Vic Toews (National Post)
Illegal immigrants take advantage of Canadian taxpayers not the other way around, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews told critics in Parliament as he defended the use of reality TV cameras on immigrant raids. The federal government is facing criticism on several fronts for its approval of the TV show focusing on border security after camera crews filmed the arrest of several men in Vancouver last week by officers with Canada Border Services Agency. But Toews isnt backing away from the plan.

Petition against immigration raid reality show grows stronger (Marc Weisblott,
Deportation should not be a form of entertainment at least according to those who have signed a petition aimed at the cancellation of a show on the National Geographic Channel. Border Security: Canadas Front Line has been the subject of growing controversy for filming the raids against illegal immigrants and then airing them as part of a reality show. Word that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews personally signed off on the production of the show after Canadian Border Services Agency agents were accompanied by cameras during a bust accelerated the backlash against the program.

Ezra Levant Apologizes For Roma Comments (VIDEO) (Huffington Post)
The Sun News personality known for being unapologetic has apologized for comments he made about the Roma. Ezra Levant took to the air to say he’s sorry for comments made during an episode of his Sun News Network show The Source from last September, in which he attacked the Roma people and broadly categorized them as criminals and refugee system cheats. The segment was about a crime ring of recent Romanian immigrants busted by Durham Regional Police, but Levant’s report turned into a rant against Romanian immigrants in general and made liberal use of the the word “gyspy,” a term considered derogatory.

Sun News host Ezra Levant issues rare apology for Roma slurs (Steve Ladurantaye, Globe and Mail)
Sun News Networks Ezra Levant issued a rare on-air apology Monday, saying he hoped his comments about the Roma will serve as an example of what not to do when commenting on social issues. The television host sparked widespread criticism late last year when he went on a tirade against the Roma, after news reports surfaced about a crime ring operating in the Greater Toronto Area that focused on the ethnicity of those accused. He said the Roma who originate from Europe but have been in Canada for decades are a culture synonymous with swindlers one of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging.

Collective judgement is a moral mistake (Ezra Levant, Sun News Network)
As the philosopher Ayn Rand explained, the problem with stereotyping is that it’s “the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage… that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.” There’s nothing wrong with going after a criminal gang. But it’s wrong to brand an entire community with a broad brush – I wouldn’t like it as a Jew, and the whole point of my crusade against the Indian Act is to free ordinary Indians from the corrupt chiefs who rule them. I am an anti-racism activist.

Levant: Say Whaaaattttt????? (Anti Racist Canada)
On September 5, 2012, Sun News’ Ezra Levant painted the entire Roma people as parasitic criminals on “The Source.” Not surprisingly, the Roma community in Canada and internationally, a people who know what can result from such dehumanization based on past experience, took issue with Levant’s characterization of the Roma people (we suggest most people, left, right, and center, would take issue with Levant’s claims as well). Well, today in a surprise move which we are sure has NOTHING at all to do with the efforts of Sun News to convince the CRTC to give the “news” network mandatory carriage (that would be cynical, after all) Levant has apologized… sort of… for the offence caused by his statements.

Horne responds to report on ethnic vote strategy (Jeremy Deutsch, The Now News)
The lone Tri-Cities Liberal MLA says hes satisfied with the findings of a report into the ethnic vote scandal surrounding the provincial government. Coquitlam-Burke Mountain MLA Doug Horne said the government has taken the right action not only by having a respected civil servant investigate the issue, but by terminating two of the staff without severance who were identified as being involved in the ethnic vote strategy. I think weve done the right thing. Its about how you deal with these things when they happen, he told The NOW.

B.C. Liberals plan to woo ethnic vote to be reviewed for privacy breaches (CTV)
B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner says she’s examining privacy issues related to a Liberal government plan to use public resources to try to woo the ethnic vote. Commissioner Elizabeth Denham says she wants to find out if a former aid to Premier Christy Clark tried to evade access to information laws when he used his personal email, instead of a government email account, to exchange messages about the plan. She also wants to know if personal information was inappropriately shared when details about members of the ethnic community were exchanged between bureaucrats and the B.C. Liberal party.

Mission Folk festival director is champion of diversity (Christina Toth, Abbortsford Times)
The Fraser Valley embraces its multiculturalism and sets an example as one of the most culturally diverse areas in Canada, noted Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon Friday night. She was the guest of honour and keynote speaker at the 11th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards, which drew more than 400 guests and nominees from Langley, Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack to the Ramada Inn and Conference Centre The community services agencies in those communities along with the Fraser Valley Regional Library put on the yearly event.

Minister may provide University of Regina refugee students with amnesty: Lawyer (CUP Wire)
Two Nigerian students from the University of Regina who face deportation are still nervously holed up in a church while their lawyer, Kay Adebogun, works to keep the case a top priority with government officials.

Cherry-picking the best and the brightest for Canada (Pamela George, New Canadian Media)
The 15th National Conference of Metropolis, held in Ottawa from March 14 to 16, saw a large gathering of individuals involved with immigration, including academics, policy-makers, researchers, and immigrant-settlement workers. Over the three days, the discussions centred are the dramatic changes that are happening to Canadian immigration. The federal government has made significant changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program and these will take effect from May 2013. Some of the changes that will be enforced shortly include a greater weightage to the knowledge of one of Canadas official languages. Applicants will get additional points for their spouses adaptability and extra points for Canadian work experience.


Thematic Focus: Gender Issues (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
A service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants; provided by Elisa Mason.


What the Health Sector Can Do To Reduce Health Inequities (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
The Institute of Health Equity in London, led by Sir Michael Marmot, has published a major report on what the health sector can do to address health inequities and their roots in social determinants of health. Working for Health Equity: the Role of Health Professionals notes that those in the health sector regularly bear witness to, and must deal with, the effects of the social determinants of health on people. The report argues that there is much that health professionals and the system can do to influence social determinants and calls for action in six core areas:.

Time for independent review of Toronto homeless services (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
Toronto needs an thorough review of the capacity and adequacy of the citys homeless shelters and services, according to a submission from the Wellesley Institute to todays Toronto City Council Community Development and Recreation Committee meeting. Good public policy and effective practices are based on solid evidence and analysis, notes the Wellesley Institute. Toronto urgently requires a better evidence base to continue to improve its homeless services. The Wellesley Institute is calling for an independent review process that would collect evidence on shelter occupancy levels and service utilization, engage people who have experienced homelessness, engage city staff and community shelter operators, review good practices from other communities and report back on the adequacy and capacity of the citys homeless services to meet the current and future needs of people who are homeless.


Webinar: The Results Are in Mentoring Skilled Immigrants Works! (
Mentoring has proven to be one of the most successful strategies to assist newcomers find suitable employment. The idea behind mentoring is a simple one connecting an internationally-trained professional with their Canadian counterpart. Mentoring opens networks, builds relationships and increases social capital that is vital to finding employment. Hear from leading experts on immigrant employment as they discuss new results from a recent survey of mentees across Canada. An ALLIES-Accenture report that demonstrates the positive impact of mentoring on newcomers will be released at the webinar.

Helping skilled immigrants (Surrey Leader)
The Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) has announced that the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) 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 B.C. workplaces. SBOT will pilot a 12-month employer-focused program to assist small and medium-sized businesses to integrate immigrants into their labour pool.

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.

Penalties rare for companies that hire illegal migrant workers, lawyers say (Jessica Barrett, Vancouver Sun)
Companies that hire illegal migrant workers are seldom penalized for breaking the law, say immigration specialists. Under Canadas Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, employers who knowingly hire workers without proper documentation can face fines of up to $50,000 and two years in jail. The problem is employer sanctions are rarely applied, said Zool Suleman, an immigration lawyer with more than 20 years experience. Theres a huge inequity in how this works.

You have to be patient and keep going (Lucy Slavianska, Prepare for Canada)
In Peru, the highest position a nurse can reach is in the operation room, Adela Belisario believed Canada would be a perfect place for her to continue her professional development. Before immigrating, she researched the Canadian healthcare system and concluded there were great opportunities for nurses. She also had some knowledge of English and since she could make herself understood, she didnt anticipate any language barriers. With this in mind, in 2007 she landed in Toronto and started looking for a nursing job. She immediately realized that the reality was quite different from what she expected. Her English turned out to be insufficient and to work as a nurse she had to go through a long and very complicated licensing process. Belisario found out that there were internationally trained nurses who were overwhelmed by so many obstacles and had given up their careers.

OPSEU embraces diversity as core organizational value (Canada Newswire)
In celebration of International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Thursday, March 21, OPSEU is proudly announcing its adoption of diversity as a core organizational value. A formal launch will be held at OPSEU’s Head Office from 11:00 am to 11:30 am including a special address by President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. OPSEU’s new diversity statement is recognition of the union’s leadership with regards to social justice and equity issues.

Illegal workers should not be allowed to stay (Martin Collacott, Vancouver Sun)
A group calling itself No One is Illegal has been leading the charge in objecting to the arrest of illegal workers at construction sites in Vancouver. No One is Illegal has long advocated that non-citizens should be allowed to stay in Canada even if they have no legal right to be here. It recently, for example, played an active role in convincing members of Toronto city council to declare Toronto a Sanctuary City and make available municipal services to illegals (or non-documented migrants as their advocates prefer to call them in order to avoid acknowledging they are breaking the law).

Ontario government on high alert over rumoured change to federal job-training funding (Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen)
Ontarios minister of training, colleges and universities is on high alert amid speculation the federal government plans to claw back more than $2 billion in cash it gives provinces to train out-of-work Canadians. All of our programs are at risk, including Second Career, if the federal government decides to reverse its direction, Brad Duguid said Monday. The impact would be severe. In its 2007 budget, the federal government transferred the delivery of job-training programs to the provinces.

Boom in temporary migrant workers creates a vulnerable workforce, increases workplace inequality (Anelyse Weiler, CCPA)
In 2013, for the first time in Canadian history, retirees will outnumber young people entering the workforce. Immigration is a sensible way to offset population shrinkage and economic decline and, for decades, federal programs have invited new workers to settle in Canada for precisely that reason. But now, on the cusp of Canadas 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 shift not only increases the vulnerability of these workers, but also undermines wages and conditions for all workers in Canada.


Torontos Urbanism Headlines: Tuesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, Casino, Mayor Rob Ford, Shelters and Other News.

Newsstand: March 19, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
March is apparently going out like a lion too, huh? In the news: Toronto’s business community supports new taxes for transit; some councillors are concerned that the city won’t get a special deal for casino payments; new zoning bylaws are being considered for “erotic” massage parlours; one councillor is calling for a ban on killing coyotes in the city; and unsanctioned butt injections are a bad idea.

Rapid Transit in Toronto: A Century of Plans, Progress, Politics & Paralysis (Edward J. Levy, neptis)
The webbook published in collaboration with The Neptis Foundation is a treasure trove of rare, historical maps and plans dating back to the early 20th century. The book tracks numerous but unsuccessful attempts to build a rapid transit network that placed Toronto at the centre of a vast, interconnected region. Levy says there has never been a shortage of creative and robust rapid transit plans which, had they come to fruition, might have created the integrated network Toronto never built and now needs more than ever. Instead the history of attempts to build a rapid transit network in Toronto has been a sad story of missed opportunities.


Start with Sector Source to find targeted material for charities and nonprofits (Imagine Canada)
Imagine Canadas new Sector Source is a website that helps answer questions like these and supports charity and nonprofit leaders in discovering important issues and relevant resources. Sector Source helps you build capacity in core organizational management areas, so that you can in turn focus on your cause.

Expanding The Stops vision of community food activism (Catherine Porter, Toronto Star)
Under the leadership of Toronto’s Nick Saul, Community Food Centres Canada is expanding the vision of The Stop 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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