Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 21, 2013


International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN)
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville, South Africa, against the apartheid “pass laws”. Proclaiming the Day in 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination (resolution 2142 (XXI)).

Temporary foreign workers: The rising risk of a guest-worker class (Globe and Mail)
The presence of temporary workers also has the effect of depressing wages and decreasing investment in training, says Ratna Omidvar, the president of Maytree, a private foundation and research body. This feeds into negative stereotypes about immigrants. With some exceptions, such as those who come in as live-in caregivers, it is difficult for temporary workers to gain permanent residency. After four years, they must go home. Their families cannot join them. They must wait four years to apply again to work here. This is a dramatic change in direction for Canada, which is known for having one of the world’s best immigration programs – largely because it recruits highly skilled professionals and offers them a predictable path to citizenship.

Temporary foreign workers program leading to “apartheid”, says professor (Travis Lupick,
The federal government’s temporary foreign workers program is creating an “apartheid system” of labour, according to a sociology professor at Simon Fraser University. In a telephone interview, Gerardo Otero argued that the country now has two distinct pools of workers. The first is comprised of Canadian citizens and permanent residents, who enjoy benefits and workers’ rights. The second is made up of migrants who are brought into the country on short-term contracts, restricted to a single employer, and only protected on paper by provincial employment standards.

Boom in Temporary Migrant Workers Creates a Vulnerable Workforce, Increases Workplace Inequality (Anelyse Weiler, The Epoch Times)
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 Canada’s “baby bust,” a “migrant worker 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.

‘Sometimes marriage is a scam’: Ottawa launches fresh ad campaign targeting immigration fraud (Diana Mehta, National Post)
The government is warning prospective lovebirds to protect themselves against marriage fraud before tying the knot. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has launched an ad campaign aimed at informing Canadians and newcomers on how to avoid becoming victims of immigration fraud involving so-called “marriages of convenience.”

Manitoba’s immigration dips in 2012: report (CBC)
The number of immigrants coming to Manitoba has fallen for the first time in 10 years, according to a government report. Citizenship and Immigration Canada released its preliminary report for 2012 at the end of February. The report revealed Manitoba had 2,572 fewer people immigrate to the province in 2012 than in 2011. In 2012, 13,391 people immigrated to Manitoba, while in 2011, 15,963 immigrated to the province.

Tighter immigration slammed (Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press)
It’s no surprise that Friendly Manitoba welcomed fewer newcomers in 2012, say activists who’ve been watching and warning that Canada is closing the door to more and more people. “It’s much, much more difficult for huge numbers of people to immigrate and reunite with their families,” said Louise Simbandumwe, with the Immigration Matters in Manitoba Coalition. The coalition of volunteers has been making the rounds at the invitation of community groups worried that Canada is becoming too exclusive.

Policy change affects immigration numbers (Winnipeg Free Press)
In recent years, Canada’s immigration system has undergone radical change. Have these changes resulted in the 16 per cent drop in new arrivals, or are there specific Manitoba problems that have caused this decrease? Until recently, the majority of immigrants to Canada could qualify to immigrate without having a job offer from a Canadian employer. Today, priority is given to foreign nationals already working in Canada, who have been recruited to fill vacant jobs, or who have studied in Canada. In essence, Canada’s immigration system has gone to one where employers choose immigrants from one where immigrants choose Canada.

New Migration Journal: Free Content but not OA (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
The inaugural issue of a new journal, Migration Studies, is now available. The editors explain the journal’s remit in their introductory article, “Faultlines and contact zones: A new forum for Migration Studies.” Contents for vol. 1, no. 1 (March 2013) include a mix of articles, one of which is “When refugees stopped being migrants: Movement, labour and humanitarian protection.” Happily, all articles are freely available, and according to the editors, content will continue to be free to view online until the end of 2014. That said, if offering free content is recognized as a good thing to do for two years, wouldn’t it be even better to go the Open Access (OA) route and offer free content indefinitely – particularly in view of the journal’s stated aims of providing “a service to scholarship” and “strengthening dialogue across professional divisions”?

CERIS contributes to successful 15th National Metropolis Conference (CERIS)
Last week CERIS partnered with many others in making this year’s 15th National Metropolis Conference in Ottawa yet another annual success. Although many were unsure whether Metropolis would indeed happen this year, a new partnership between the Metropolis Project and the Association for Canadian Studies provided for an event that mirrored the accomplishments of a 15 year-long tradition. The conference brought together nearly 600 participants coming from research, policy, and community organisations across the country to discuss immigration and settlement issues around the theme of building an integrated society in Canada.

Precarious Lives are the Legacy of Systemic Racism: OFL Statement on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination-March 21, 2013 (Marketwire)
The legacy of Canada’s colonial history and current trends towards cuts to jobs and social programs continue to deliver a double blow to people of colour and other equity seeking groups in Canada. Racialized people across Canada – from temporary foreign workers to new immigrants to Canada’s First Peoples – earn substantially less, face higher rates of violence, are more likely to live in poverty, and are vastly over-represented in Canada’s growing precarious workforce. To mark March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Ontario Federation of Labour is calling for action to address the vulnerability and marginality that is faced by racialized people every day as the expression of systemic racism in Canada.

Civil liberties group says Canada Border Services violated rights of migrant worker
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association plans to complain to the federal Privacy Commissioner on behalf of one of the migrant workers arrested in last week’s raid by the Canada Border Services Agency. Oscar Mata was one of eight men arrested by CBSA agents on March 13 while working at a construction site on Victoria Drive. The raid was filmed for the reality TV show Border Services: Canada’s Front Line.

Patriarchy and racism give birth to rape culture, not a drunk woman or her miniskirt (Sandhu Bhamra)
The other important framework in which we need to understand rape culture is – racism. A TrustLaw expert poll identifies India as one of the World’s five most dangerous countries for women; the other: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, and Somalia. But Save Wiyabi Project, an advocacy group has called this “problematic”.

Canada Worries Over ‘Deepening Ethnic Enclaves’ (Wall Street Journal – subscription required)

Statement — Minister Kenney issues statement on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CIC)
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an opportunity for Canadians to join with other freedom-loving people around the world in reaffirming our commitment to reject and eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. “While we can be proud of our own country’s successful pluralism, we need to ensure that all Canadian citizens reject extremism, do not import ancient enmities, and continue to embrace Canada’s tradition of ordered liberty, which guarantees the equality of all citizens under the law.


Asylum seekers fight for free Canadian healthcare (BBC)
This month Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, along with three individual patients, asked a federal court to declare the cuts unconstitutional and illegal. The case could last a year. The BBC spoke to some of the families involved in the political and legal battle about how they are getting medical treatment now.

Refugees And Human Rights Child And Youth Poetry Contest (COSTI)
This contest is open to all aspiring poets who are students in Grades 4 to 12 and attending schools in the greater Toronto area. Poems will be written in English with a maximum of 24 lines. Awards will be given based on the following three grade categories for a total of three first prizes: Group I grades 4-5-6, Group II grades 7-8, Group III grades 9-10-11-12. Current employees or relatives of UNHCR Canada or COSTI Immigrant Services are not eligible to enter the contest.

Letter: Border reality TV show risks dehumanizing refugee claimants (Lalai Manjikian, Montreal Gazette)
A new reality television show hitting our screens is based on the daily activities carried out by the Canada Border Services Agency. The work conducted by the agents, who are on the front line every day, is indisputably important in terms of protecting Canada from various threats and dangers. However, transposing the border agents’ experiences along with the realities of migrants crossing the border on a TV reality show is not only twisted and unethical, it also severely undermines the act of immigration altogether.


In praise of public service (Martyn Brown, Vancouver Sun)
Imagine you could change the world in ways you could measure. Change the future of your community. Change the course of history in our province. Change the world of choices that your kids and millions like them stand to inherit, today and tomorrow. Imagine you could transform the face of our economy. Make it more diversified. Make B.C. a beacon for global investment, trade and tourism. Transform our arteries of commerce. Build new roads and bridges. Expand our airports, ports, rail networks, ferry services — you name it. Imagine you could do that. To really create jobs and to generate new wealth that makes new and better public services possible. Not with higher taxes, but with more tax revenue from a growing economy. But why stop there?

Blended Financing for Impact: The Opportunity for Social Finance in Supportive Housing (Adam Spence,
It all started with a wicked problem and an ambitious goal. In late 2011, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) commissioned Turning the Key [PDF], a report designed to inform Canadians about the current housing and community support needs of people living with mental health challenges in Canada. The report’s findings were clear. There are too many Canadians with mental health issues who cannot find homes. Hundreds of thousands of our neighbours are inadequately housed and 119,000 of our fellow citizens who face mental health challenges are homeless.


The ERIEC Board Welcomes Yasmeen Nizam : A unique set of leadership skills and perspective to global talent attraction and integration here in Edmonton! (ERIEC)
It is with great excitement that we welcome Yasmeen Nizam to the ERIEC (Edmonton Regional Immigrant Employment Council) Board of Directors. ERIEC is all about helping economic immigrants achieve their maximum potential in their careers in the Edmonton Capital Region. As we look to expand our board we welcome dynamic individuals such as Yasmeen who bring with them new ideas and new opinions about the way we provide leadership and guidance to the ERIEC.

World Education Services Receives an International Qualifications Network (IQN) Award for Best Practices in Educational Credentials (PR Web)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has awarded World Education Services Canada(WES Canada) an International Qualifications Network (IQN) Award for Best Practices in Educational Credentials for WES’ publication Best Practices: Strategies and Processes to Obtain Authentic International Educational Credentials. “We are incredibly proud of this honor and grateful to Canada Citizenship and Immigration Canada for recognizing the work of WES Canada. One of the most serious challenges that skilled immigrants face when they move to North America is a lack of recognition of their academic credentials.” said Mariam Assefa, executive director of World Education Services. “We developed this guide to help streamline the recognition of international academic credentials so that newcomers have greater access to education or employment opportunities in Canada” she continued.

Media Advisory – Ministry of Labour employees charged fees to work (Canada Newswire)
Pretend recruiters will be outside Ontario’s Ministry of Labour on Friday (March 22nd) charging employees up to 2 years’ salary or CAD$100,000 to go into their own workplace drawing attention to Ontario labour laws that allow migrant workers to be charged fees to work. “If recruiters can make a quick buck off migrant workers, we can make a quick buck off the people who allow it,” the organizers of the fee-charging drive said in an email call-out earlier this week. “Recruiters aren’t licensed in Ontario, so anyone can do it! What’s even better is that recruiters can’t be held liable for what happens at work, so if their bosses mistreat them, its no skin off our back.”

Communities around Ontario call on MPPs to melt the minimum wage freeze now (Canada Newswire)
At a province-wide day of action on Thursday March 21st, communities from around Ontario will demand an immediate minimum wage increase. Blocks of ice with frozen $10 bills will be delivered to the Ministry of Labour and MPPs in over fourteen cities. Ontario’s minimum wage has been frozen for 3 years, while the cost of living continues to rise. The minimum wage should bring workers and their families above the poverty line. That means Ontario’s minimum wage should be $14 in 2013. “The minimum wage should not freeze workers into poverty and hopelessness” says Acsana Alam, a Workers’ Action Centre member. “We need to see an increase so we can meet our families’ basic needs.”


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Thursday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Toronto Casino, Mammoliti, City Hall and Other News.

Newsstand: March 21, 2013 (Brendan Ross)
Happy day you probably thought was the first day of spring! It’s not like it makes a difference in this icy hell-hole anyway. In the news: councillors vote no to limits on terms and lobbying, the military could be giving some elephants a lift soon, and the land transfer tax could be headed for the chopping block.

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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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