Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 27, 2013


Temporary foreign workers are a concern for all Canadians (Bonnie Mah, Maytree)
Certainly, some temporary foreign workers are necessary and desirable. But not at this scale. Not if the system works to the detriment of citizens and permanent residents already living in Canada. And not at the expense of our successful tradition of permanent immigration and naturalization. We cannot let more time pass without a serious discussion about what this program does to and for Canada, and to and for foreign workers and future Canadians. We need to have a national conversation about the role of temporary foreign workers in the Canadian labour market and in Canada’s immigration system.

Racism and Canadian labour: Jim Flaherty’s dirty little job-training secret (
This proposed Canada Job Grant requires provincial approval. (Quebec has already announced its opposition, so good luck there.) And while Flaherty wants business to chip in $5,000 per worker as well, his scheme remains very much dependent on public largesse. However, aside from a few vague mutterings, the Conservative government does not seem prepared to seriously scale back temporary worker programs that allow business to cherry-pick cheap labour from abroad. If companies knew they couldn’t import, say, skilled pipefitters from Europe, they might put more effort into training domestic workers to meet their needs. But employers know they don’t have to train. Instead, they need only wait until the last minute and then complain of labour shortages. Over the last decade, as my friends at the Globe and Mail have reported, the number of temporary workers admitted to Canada has more than tripled, from 101,000 to 338,000. This in the midst of the worst recession since the 1930s. Business insists that such workers are needed because skilled Canadians are unavailable. But far too often the real reason is that foreign workers are willing to work for less.

News Release — Immigration backlog reduced by forty percent (CIC)
As a result of actions taken by the government since 2008, the backlog of permanent resident applications has been reduced by about forty percent, paving the way for a faster and more effective immigration system in 2013 and beyond, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. “Backlogs and delays prevent Canada from attracting the best and brightest from around the world and ensuring that our immigration system is contributing to economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Kenney. “For too long, we accepted far more applications than we could process each year. That led to backlogs increasing every year and processing times of eight to ten years in some cases, which discouraged talented, dynamic people from coming to Canada.”

Canada’s immigration backlog down 40 per cent to 600,000 (Calgary Herald)

The Harper government says it has reduced Canada’s immigration backlog by 40 per cent. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the wait list at the end of 2012 was down to 616,271 from more than a million the year before. Kenney says there would have been more than two million people stuck in the queue by 2015 had the government not taken steps to deal with the problem. Those measures include a moratorium on applications from immigrant investors and entrepreneurs, as well as parents and grandparents of immigrants. However, the government plans to resume accepting a set number of applications under the family reunification program early next year, Kenney said.

Boom in temporary migrant workers hurts everyone (Straight Good News)
“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 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.”

New youth-led, feminism-driven magazine launches this weekend (Yonge Street)
A new magazine gearing up for its Easter weekend launch has been generating buzz for its young, forward-thinking masthead and big ideas. Putting Down Roots will explore issues of African diaspora, feminism and youth skill building.

Toronto’s first Halal food festival to be held in June (Yonge Street)
Toronto is getting a Halal Food Festival. The internet buzz began in early December when the organizers announced, over twitter and facebook, their intention to hold Toronto’s first-ever halal food festival by the summertime. Three months later, Halal Food Fest TO has confirmed the festival dates, the venue, and some preliminary details about the entertainment, and of course the food, that will be on offer. The Halal Food Festival will be held on June 1 and 2, 2013 and will be hosted at International Centre, located on airport road in Mississauga.

Report release: Overcoming barriers through leadership (Skills for Change)
If you were unable to join us on International Women’s Day for the release of our first report from our Gender Based Analysis, you can now retrieve a copy.

Korean-Inscribed Gravestone Creates Racism-Tinged Controversy in Canadian Town (Chelsea Hawkins,
A strange county bylaw has a small community in Canada debating what to do with a deceased man’s tombstone – which is, according to the rule, illegally inscribed with a “legend in Korean characters recording [the
deceased’s] genealogy,” the Toronto Star reports. The specific law, which was passed in 2001 by the town of St. George, a tiny suburb of Toronto, does not allow for the back of a tombstone to be engraved with anything more than the family name. If a family wishes to inscribe additional notes or images on the gravestone, the cemetery advisory committee must approve it.

37 Million Indians Desire To Move To Canada Permanently: Report (IB Times)
Canada remains among the top destination for potential migrants from India, China, Philippines, Africa and others. The poll comes at a time when the Canadian immigration department in recent weeks said that more people than ever before from Asian countries are moving to study, work and settle in the country. Canadian federal government last year issued a high number of visas to migrants from China, Philippine and India.

Legal Diversity (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Ken Fredeen. He is General Counsel at Deloitte and one of the founders of “Legal Leaders for Diversity”.

Government focus on marriage fraud (
As part of Fraud Prevention Month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is focusing on combating marriage fraud. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is advising Canadians and newcomers to become more informed about how to avoid becoming victims of the immigration fraud. Photo courtesy Government of Canada As part of Fraud Prevention Month, Citizenship and Immigration Canada is focusing on combating marriage fraud. The ministry is advising Canadians and newcomers to become more informed about how to avoid becoming victims of the immigration fraud.–government-focus-on-marriage-fraud&ct=ga&cad=CAcQARgAIAAoATAAOABAuvLGigVIAlAAWABiBWVuLUNB&cd=dhRz-7iSYHw&usg=AFQjCNFW6zW9ietXZRBKcrCdVNDtEbRZSg

American couple in Victoria to win citizenship just in time to vote (Cindy E. Harnett, Times Colonist)
After months of frustrating delays in processing their citizenship claims, some Victorians will be sworn in as Canadians in time to vote in the May 14 provincial election. Bob McIntosh and his wife, Charli Winking, who moved to Victoria from the United States in 2007, were told last week they will be sworn in on April 26. They are part of a group of 325 people who will be sworn in, in six different ceremonies, over three days starting April 24.

Afghan who worked with Canadian soldiers denied entry (CBC)
A man who worked alongside Canadian Forces troops during the war in Afghanistan has been denied entry to Canada. Esmatullah Meherzada, like hundreds of Afghans, worked with Canadian soldiers on the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. Now that the war is over, he’s worried Taliban fighters will kill him for the work he did. Meherzada qualified to emigrate to Canada under a special program started in 2009 and closed in 2011. But after he applied to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, he was flatly denied.

Quebec immigrant investors who reside in Toronto and Vancouver are committing fraud, Kenney warns (Tobi Cohen,
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney vowed to start cracking down on immigrant investors who seek entry to Canada through Quebec’s self-managed program only to settle down in Toronto and Vancouver. At least 90 per cent of immigrant investors who apply through the Quebec program violate the rule that requires successful applicants to reside in the province, Kenney said, warning the government isn’t going to allow this practice to continue.

Province to launch abuse complaints panel (Selena Ross, David Jackson, Chronicle Herald)
After months of calls to do so, the NDP government has decided to launch an examination into the Home for Colored Children. Premier Darrell Dexter confirmed Tuesday that an independent panel will be established to focus on reconciliation and healing for alleged victims of abuse at the home. The Chronicle Herald and other media outlets had reported the panel would be announced in the throne speech kicking off the new legislature session Tuesday afternoon. There were few details about the process available. Dexter said the terms of reference aren’t ready yet, and said throne speech is meant to provide a high level look at government’s plans.

Toronto A Model of Diversity (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Sweden’s Minister of Integration, Erik Ullenhag.

Canada, China challenging the United States for start-up supremacy (J.D. Harrison, Washington Post)
The latest example comes from just across the border, as the Canadian government next month plans to launch a start-up visa program designed to attract entrepreneurs from around the world. The pilot program offers residency to foreigners sponsored by Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association or its National Angel Capital Organization. Canadian government officials are currently searching for additional private-sector groups to help the country find more foreign-born entrepreneurs, and they aren’t being coy about where they plan to harvest talent.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair blasts officers for ‘unacceptable behaviour’ (Jayme Poisson, Toronto Star)
An angry Chief Bill Blair is slamming his own officers for “totally unacceptable behaviour,” including turning off dashboard cameras, being untruthful in court and racist remarks. A video of Blair’s message, shown to the Star by a police source, was sent to 8,000 members of the Toronto Police force late Monday through the organization’s intranet. Earlier in the day, Blair personally addressed senior officers and reportedly went even further than he did on the video.


Minister stands by denying health coverage to failed refugees (CBC)

The federal government is standing by a decision to stop paying for most health-care services for failed refugee claimants. The Catholic Health Alliance of Canada called on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to reverse the policy in a letter dated March 8. Kenney was unavailable for a comment Monday, but a statement from his office makes it clear there will be no change.

Requests for info: do you have experience of reintegration programming with children who have become separated from their families and communities? (Refugee Research Network)
The Centre for Rural Childhood, University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) Scotland is developing a toolkit to help organisations monitor and evaluate reintegration programmes for children. This project is funded by the Oak Foundation and is part of a larger project on recovery and reintegration ( This work is being supported by an inter-agency steering group including representatives from EveryChild, Save the Children, Mkombozi and IOM. If you or your organisation has experience of reintegration programming with children who have become separated from their families and communities, please help us by answering our short questionnaire. The responses to this questionnaire will provide information that will contribute to the development of the toolkit.

Call for articles: Forced Migration Review issue 45 on ‘Crisis migration’ (Refugee Research Net)
FMR 45 – to be published in December 2013 – will include a major feature on ‘Crisis migration’, focusing on people who move or become ‘trapped’ in the context of diverse humanitarian crises but do not fit well within existing legal, policy and operational frameworks for the protection of refugees and internally displaced people.


Ontario Budget 2013 (25 in 5)
Ontario’s next budget will be announced very soon. As we near the end of Ontario’s first five-year poverty reduction strategy, this budget is an opportunity for Premier Wynne and her new government – as well as the Opposition parties – to meet their joint commitment to reduce poverty in Ontario.

Tamarack Events : Neighbours : Programs and Policies 2013 (Tamarack Institute)
Join us for this national gathering in Kitchener, Ontario. We invite you to celebrate the life’s work of John McKnight and gather to explore how programs and policies can make neighbours effective agents of change in their communities. Together, we want to deeply understand how to advance the importance of neighborhoods, explore what programs have advanced neighbourliness, and discuss what policies cause communities to take the role of neighbours seriously.

The Slow and Painful Death of Freedom in Canada (Adam Kingsmith, Huffington Post)
Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information. In 1982, Canada adopted the Access to Information Act — making it one of the first countries to pass legislation recognizing the right of citizens to access information held by government, and as recently as 2002, Canada ranked among the top 5 most open and transparent countries when it came to respect for freedom of the press. Fast-forward a decade, and we’ve become a true north suppressed and disparate — where unregistered civic demonstrations are inhibited and repressed, rebellious Internet activities are scrutinised and supervised, government scientists are hushed and muzzled, and public information is stalled and mired by bureaucratic firewalls.

New poverty report shines light on growing disparities between Toronto neighbourhoods (Canada Newswire)
Today, World Vision and Citizens for Public Justice released a joint report, Poverty at Your Doorstep, featuring detailed snapshots of poverty in five Canadian cities. According to the research, Toronto is Canada’s least equitable metropolitan region. “In the St. Jamestown community in downtown Toronto thousands of new Canadians struggle to begin life in their new country. We work with these families every day and the support of the World Vision is helping them to make Canada their new home,” says Kevin Moore, executive director of City Hope.


Executives see training, immigration as the key to strong economy (IECBC)
The latest survey of corporate executives shows 86 per cent of C-Suite respondents agreed that immigration is critical to meeting the labour market needs of Canadian businesses and more than three-quarters said admitting more foreign skilled workers will improve economic growth.

Overwhelming support for minimum wage increase (Workers’ Action Centre)
An increase in the minimum wage to $14 has overwhelming support across the province. A CTV poll found 72% of 1,769 respondents agreed Ontario should raise the minimum wage to $14/hour. These numbers were released as a province-wide campaign to increase the minimum wage was launched last Thursday and Friday. Melt the freeze actions took place in 14 cities, as community members delivered blocks of frozen ice to their MPPs and to Ministry of Labour offices.

Skill Shortage (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Armine Yalnizyan. She is our business commentator on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Economic Action Plan 2013: Connecting Canadians with Available Jobs (Canada Newswire)
The funding announced today will enable the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society to help participants gain life and employability skills through workshops on topics such as healthy lifestyles, job searching techniques and overcoming cultural differences in the workplace. Additionally, they may gain work experience through job placements with local employers in a variety of positions such as customer service, administration and entry-level engineering. “This project empowers immigrant and refugee youth by providing the necessary skills, support, information and experience to overcome employment barriers,” said Fariborz Birjandian, Executive Director, Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. “We are thrilled with the overall success of the program and its profound and positive impact on these youth in Calgary.”

Newcomers fill immediate need (Brandon Sun)
Brandon’s business community, and the community at large, continue to benefit from the job experience and trade skills of foreign workers. In the latest news, Behlen Industries offered 13 conditional letters of employment to welders following an employment expo in Ireland earlier this month. As the Brandon Sun reported yesterday, Sandy Trudel, the city’s economic development director, says welding has long been an industry in need of workers in Canada, including here in Brandon.

Conference helps foreign-trained job seekers learn the ropes (The Record)
The Kitchener-Waterloo Multicultural Centre hosted a free, day-long conference Thursday aimed at giving foreign-educated job seekers the tools and confidence needed to wade into an unfamiliar labour market. About 175 job-seekers, some who had arrived in Canada only a few months ago, attended workshops, networking events and lectures at Bingemans. The goal was to help them acclimatize to the culture of the Canada’s workplaces, according to Lucia Harrison, the centre’s executive director. She says many immigrants; especially those still learning English, aren’t accustomed to attending social events or job fairs in search of work.–conference-helps-foreign-trained-job-seekers-learn-the-ropes?–conference-helps-foreign-trained-job-seekers-learn-the-ropes

Deloitte: Companies need policies, targets and quotas to support diversity on boards – Press Release (
According to Deloitte’s fifth annual International Women’s Day (IWD) webcast survey, innovation and idea generation are the most significant advantages to organizations that embrace inclusive leadership to improve gender diversity (49 percent of respondents), followed by increased employee engagement (28 percent), and greater retention and advancement of women (15 percent). The survey of 720 business leaders from 42 countries across the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and the Americas explored the concept of inclusive leadership – behaviors, policies and practices designed to successfully manage diversity and allow for greater inclusion – and its impact on improved gender equality and organizational performance.

It’s time to court left-out groups as skills-jobs gap widens (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
The employment rate among those born in Canada was 83.2 per cent last year – a far cry from 66 per cent among very recent immigrants. It takes a full decade for immigrants’ participation rates to reach the same level as Canada-born people, and “that’s a lot of wasted human resources.”

88 per cent of employees believe in diverse, balanced teams: Survey (Canadian HR Reporter)
While 58 per cent of Canadian companies have more male than female managers, 88 per cent of Canadians believe in diverse and balanced women-men teams, according to Randstad’s latest Global Workmonitor, surveying employees in 32 countries. Globally, 40 per cent feel there are not enough women in leadership positions at their current employer. The percentage is highest in in China (79 per cent) and India (76 per cent) where employees feel strongly about the need for more women in leadership positions. In Canada, 68 per cent of respondents believe quotas forcing companies to promote more women to leadership positions are effective. And employers encourage women to pursue leadership positions more often than in other countries (74 per cent). “Canadian employees are seeing the value of nurturing a mixed gender work environment, in the boardrooms as well,” said Hanna Vineberg, vice-president for central Ontario at Randstad Canada. “Companies who build balanced teams will resonate better with their current and potential employees, and will be better equipped to meet the needs of a market that is increasingly complex, demanding and diversified.”


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Wednesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Rob Ford, Police, TTC, Sarah Thomson and Other News.

Newsstand: March 27, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
Take one part threatened animal, one part other local food, two parts labour dispute, and mix. In the news: $10,000 in fines for serving a threatened turtle as soup, a Local Food Act for Ontario, Woodbine prepares to strike (it rich?), and elementary school kids get their extracurriculars back.


CSI launches crowdfunding platform for social entrepreneurs (Yonge Street)
For nine years, the Centre for Social Innovation has been exploring new ways of building communities of common interest–though shared workspaces, incubation, and developing supportive networks to help social entrepreneurs learn and flourish. The next step in CSI’s community-building efforts: a new crowdfunding platform dedicated specifically to social entrepreneurs, called CSI Catalyst.

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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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