Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 6, 2013


Unwelcome to Canada: Were setting immigration records, but its nothing to trumpet (Terence Corcoran, Financial Post)
To hear Immigration Minister Jason Kenney tell it, Canada is in the midst of an immigration boom. He reported to Parliament last year that 2013 will mark the seventh consecutive year in which Canada will admit between 240,000 and 260,000 new permanent residents. This is the highest sustained level of immigration in Canadian history. Its hard to know why Kenney would trumpet a claim that is at best misleading and at worst just not true. My suspicion is that as a cabinet minister in a Conservative government that contains factions that are doubtful about the value of immigration, he needs to tread carefully. The declaration that Canada is setting immigration records obscures the policy reality. The federal government is, in fact, keeping a lid on new arrivals, much to the detriment of the country and the economy.

OpEd: Our values sacrificed in name of security (John McCoy, Edmonton Journal)
In Canada, areas of public policy including immigration, citizenship and multiculturalism are being re-examined based on the logic of security. This re-examination has led to policy changes that on the surface might seem relatively minor and incremental but taken together might be altering values that many Canadians see as part of our national identity. The latest proposed changes to Canadian citizenship contained in Bills C-43 and C-425 (which was recently sent to a parliamentary committee for study) would allow the Canadian government to expel foreign criminals and revoke the citizenship of dual citizens deemed to have committed terrorist acts.

Why undocumented workers should have access to critical city services (Kristyn Wong-Tam, National Post)
If you were in council chambers two weeks ago, you would have heard impassioned speeches from many councillors across the political spectrum on the issue of whether undocumented workers should have access to critical city services. After council voted 37-3 to reaffirm its commitment to ensuring such access, reaction was mixed, with some congratulating us for acknowledging the plight of marginalized residents and others criticizing the perceived waste of resources on illegal immigrants. During the debate, I said the narrative around undocumented workers should not be about who is a good immigrant and who is a bad immigrant. If we are engaging in a debate about immigration and access to services, we cannot do so honestly without first acknowledging Canadas own history of colonialism.

Canadian immigration by the numbers (Amanda Shendruk, Maclean’s)
Last week the federal government released its preliminary 2012 immigration statistics. Check out the graphic below for a brief overview of some of its findings.

Kenney offers B.C. premier Clark advice on ethnic outreach (Louise Elliott, CBC)
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he hasn’t been following the scandal now engulfing B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark over her partisan strategy to reach out to ethnic voters, allegedly using taxpayer money. But in a conference call from Berlin, Kenney said the federal Conservatives’ success in that area can be chalked up to a simple strategy: “Our approach to outreach toward new Canadians and members of our cultural communities has been based on what I think is the most honest appeal possible, which is to encourage people to vote on the basis of their values and to align their political behaviour with their values,” he said in response to a question about Clark’s plight.

Outrage over ethnic vote outreach little more than political theatre (Andrew Coyne, The Province)
Its fair to say few governments in history have ever been quite so sorry so heartily sorry, so sincerely apologetic, so positively grovelling with remorse as British Columbias Liberal government is over this ethnic vote memo affair. But then, few governments have been caught quite so red-handedly, behaving quite so cynically, quite so close to an election. I say caught for good reason. Because for all the unctuous lather everyone seems to be working themselves into, there is little that is particularly shocking or new in the memo. Cynical, yes. Wrong, in parts. But if the suggestion is that the attitudes it reveals are unique to the government of Christy Clark, or that the oppositions professions of horror at the contents are in some way related to the genuine emotion of the same name, driver, this is my stop.

Christy Clarks cynical ethnic-vote targeting should come as no surprise (Natalie Brender, Toronto Star)
Unsurprisingly, the memo in question is being condemned for its plans to use public resources to research and communicate the Liberals vote-seeking messages to ethnic audiences. Its a line-crossing not wholly different in kind than the nearly $750,000 spent by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration on monitoring Minister Jason Kenneys image in ethnic media over three years (including at partisan events during the 2011 election campaign). Somewhat more surprising, however, is the uproar over the memos proposed actions. The document suggests that electoral quick wins could be gained by correcting historical wrongs done to ethnic communities along the lines of the apology the BC government offered in 2008 for the Komagata Maru incident, in which a ship carrying more than 350 passengers was forced to return to India in 1914 after a two-month stalemate in Vancouvers harbour. It also calls for communication tactics that include the use of ethnic spokespeople and validators to write letters to newspapers and voice support on radio call-in shows.

The ethnic vote: the dirtiest little secret in politics? (Dan Lett, Winnipeg Free Press)
She’s running way behind in the polls, is mired in debt and deficit and facing a provincial election in just 10 weeks time. Could things get any worse for BC Premier Christy Clark? Apparently, they can. Last week, the opposition NDP, frontrunners in the pre-election polls, released exerpts of an internal memo from B.C.’s Liberal government that outlined its strategy to woo ethnic voters in the upcoming election. The 17-page document, prepared by Clark’s chief of staff, described ways of earning “quick wins” among ethnic voters by unleashing a wave of apologies for historic wrongs and creating a team of partisans to flood open-line radio shows catering to ethnic audiences with pro-Liberal callers.

Arrogant B.C. Ethnic Vote Plan Smells Of ‘Trapos’ (Huffington Post)
The recent news regarding the leaked “multicultural outreach strategy” from Premier Christy Clark’s office is an affront to all communities in B.C. When the story broke, we were taken aback by the arrogance and ignorant nature of this plan to score political points. As taxpaying residents of B.C., we resent the use of public resources to further partisan ambitions. As Filipinos and Filipino-Canadians, we are offended and dismayed that we are seen to be exploitable by those looking to score “quick wins” to secure our votes.

Ethnic Memo Investigator’s Hands Tied: NDP (Andrew Macleod, The Tyee)
John Yap said he is stepping down as the minister responsible for multiculturalism, even though he hadn’t seen a controversial outreach document before last week. The move comes as a senior bureaucrat continues an investigation that opposition critics charged is far too narrow to get the answers British Columbians deserve. Premier Christy Clark did not rule out resigning herself, depending what that review finds. “As minister responsible I’m taking responsibility and stepping out of cabinet,” Yap told reporters. “As you would have seen last Wednesday during question period, I was caught completely off guard by this document. “This document never hit my desk,” he said. “Some of the ideas in there and some of the language used is clearly unacceptable.”

Immigration, lack of sunshine cited as possible culprits behind spike in Canadian schizophrenia cases (Tom Blackwell, National Post)
Research also indicates that people subject to racism and other forms of discrimination, and those undergoing major life changes and otherwise facing stress are more susceptible to schizophrenia and those are all factors experienced by new immigrants, he noted. Dr. Tang said those problems may be more acute for immigrants now than several decades ago, since there are fewer jobs generally and larger numbers of highly skilled newcomers who cannot find work in their field.

Calgary man with neo-Nazi ties gets life in prison for savage beating death (National Post)
A founding member of a white supremacist group in Calgary has been sentenced to life in prison for the random killing of an ailing man. Tyler Sturrup, 28, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the beating death of Mark Mariani. Mariani was walking down a northwest alley, heading for his parked car, when he was savagely kicked and stomped on Oct. 3, 2010.

Canada Is Still Racist (Anupa Mistry, Vice)
Then, I enrolled in a performing arts high school north of the city only to transfer after two years because it was too white. Race as it actually functions, as a tool of human insidiousness and despotism, became real beyond my imagined utopia. As a millennial citizen of the Western world I move with an according sense of privilege: whatever you got, Ima have that too. Its my birthright, regardless of the colour of my skin or where my grandparents are from. Until its not. In hindsight my problem with that school was an inability to articulate feeling exposed and significantly different and, for the first time in my life, outnumbered. Id taken diversity for granted; my normal was not so much. Ive never broached that publicly until now. But it seems important. Everyone seems to talk about race and cultural/religious pluralism and diversity and immigration and gentrification. When it comes to making tactile changes though? Thats when things get really difficult and no one wants to budge.

A new mixed-raced generation is transforming the city: Will Toronto be the worlds first post-racial metropolis? (Nicholas Hune-Brown, Toronto Life)
I used to be the only biracial kid in the room. Now, my exponentially expanding cohort promises a future where everyone is mixed.

London politician drops ‘N-word’ bomb (London Free Press)
A London city councillor used the N-word in a public debate Tuesday, saying she did it for shock value. Coun. Sandy White dropped the bomb as she called on two council members to apologize for comments they made about her resigning from the London Transit Commission. Within minutes, Whites use of the offensive word for a black person lit a firestorm of criticism on Twitter, with many Londoners saying they cant believe the word was used in a council meeting. Coun. Harold Usher, the only black politician on council, said he was left speechless by the racial utterance.

Non-criminal legal tools critical in hate cases (Sun News Network)
The need to combat actual hatred, the Supreme Court declared, is no small thing. It is “pressing and substantial … Hate speech rises beyond causing distress to individual group members. It can have a societal impact. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable groups that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence, and in the most extreme cases, to genocide.” They were right, of course. Hateful words always precede hateful deeds. But offensive speech isn’t always criminal speech, which is why it was critically important, as a society, we maintain a non-criminal legal tool to deal with the likes of Bill Whatcott. Without the protection afforded minorities by modest human rights codes, all that we would have left is throwing the haters in jail. And that’s not the way to go.

Breaking Through Language Barriers with Technology (NTEN)
The growing language diversity in America has important implications for how nonprofits engage with, and serve, our communities. Knowledge is power, and speakers of languages other than English face a range of challenges in accessing information many of us take for granted about medical care, housing, employment, educational opportunities, and more. And as the Migration Policy Institute found, linguistically isolated families households in which no one over 14 speaks English – often have disproportionately high rates of poverty. How can nonprofits use technology to reach, and better serve, the language preferences of multilingual communities and English language learners?

New research details barriers for Somali-Canadian youth (CTV)
New research that suggests young Somali Canadians face barriers integrating into Canadian society is no surprise to those who are trying to reach out to struggling youth. “These people are Canadian. They are not going anywhere. They can be productive citizens and they can benefit Canada both socially and in economics,” said Faduma Mohamed, who co-founder of Positive Change, an advocacy group that fights negative perceptions of Somali Canadians. “Somali young people feel that they are Canadian, but they still have close ties to Somalia and to Muslim culture… Integration goes two ways,” Mohamed said.

Muslim students breaking down cultural barriers in Regina (CBC)
Muslim students from Regina Huda School are trying to bridge the cultural gap in this city by visiting public schools and talking about their religion. About 325 student between pre-kindergarten and Grade 12 attend Huda school on the north side of Regina. There are an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 Muslims in Regina, and many students from the community attend public schools.

QBurst powered School Cricket in Toronto wins ICC Award (Kerala IT News)
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has presented a Toronto based School Cricket programme, powered by Crickees, a cricket hosting solution developed by the Technopark, Trivandrum based web and mobile services company, QBurst, with the Americas Best Junior Cricket Participation Award. The tournament got the ICC Development Programme Award for the ‘Best Junior Participation Initiative’ for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) Mayor’s School Cricket Tournament – CIBC Trophy. This initiative was launched in 2012 and had given the Toronto youth an opportunity to participate in their own tournament which saw more than 50 school teams take part in inaugural event. The award is a great way to recognize and celebrate some of the key achievements made by countries in the Americas region as the ICC strives towards its goal of making cricket a bigger, better and global game.

The Opening Doors Project (CMHA)
The Opening Doors Project provides a FREE Workshop Series for newcomer communities, communities of mental health survivors, mental health services, agencies and institutions. These two-hour workshops are appropriate for English-language learners and can be tailored to specific audiences and needs.

Atelier gratuit offrira des suggestions sur la rétention des employés immigrants (SSTA)
Un troisième et dernier atelier gratuit du projet LIENS, intitulé « Et après l’embauche de nouveaux arrivants… », s’organise pour employeurs anglophones et francophones de l’Île le jeudi 7 mars de 13 h à 16 h à l’hôtel The Great George, au 58, rue Great George, à Charlottetown. Cette session qui sera animée par Lori-Ann Cyr, présidente de Diversis Inc. de Moncton, N.-B. fait partie intégrante du Colloque sur l’immigration francophone à l’Î.-P.-É. de la Coopérative d’intégration francophone de l’Î.-P.-É., qui se passe sur les mêmes lieux les 7 et 8 mars. Les employeurs et gens d’affaires ont l’option de participer au colloque entier ou simplement à l’atelier.

Record number of immigrants from China, India, Philippines in 2012 (CanadianImmigrant)
According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, a record number of immigrants, visitors and students were welcomed to Canada from China, India and the Philippines in 2012, as were a record number of visitors and students from the Ukraine.

Tackling Asian Privilege (Gavin Mcinnes, Taki Mag)
McGill University is one of the most elite schools in North America, and to walk through their campus is to be transported into a pastoral Chinatown. This is true of all Ivy League schools. Asian Americans have the highest education level of any racial demographic and theyre also the wealthiest. While African American households earned an average of $30,939 in 2005, Asian Americans walked away with twice that. The reason for this is simple: PRIVILEGE.

Expect Expectations: Reading Ethnic Literature Through a Multicultural Lens (Fazeela Jiwa, Plenitude Magazine)
Either way, multiculturalisms emphasis on ethnicity ignores other aspects of racialized peoples identitiesthe abilities, sexualities, political leanings, gender identifications, and everything else-s that form our dynamic, evolving subjectivities. This is the frame that holds the pieces of the mosaic in place. It is also the context in which mainstream Canadian readers consume Canadian literature written by people of immigrant/refugee backgrounds. Recently, Ive read some criticism suggesting that regardless of whether they intended their work to be representative of their cultural group, writers who are members of diasporas in Canada have been read by some as providing authentic insights into the experience of cultural difference. Aside from maintaining dominant white cultures as the norm, reading literature written by racialized peoples simply as ethnic writing assumes the author has an affinity with their community, and can represent the complex experiences and identities of an entire cultural group.


Health care organizations wait to talk to citizenship minister about cuts to refugee benefits (CMAJ)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney has so far failed to agree to repeated requests by national health care organizations for a meeting to discuss cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) providing health benefits to refugees. “Mr. Kenney has displayed and exhibited a measure of contempt never before seen by a federal Cabinet minister to the leaders of the health professions in Canada,” says Dr. Philip Berger, head of family medicine at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital and a leading member of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.

Refugees Sue Canada for Health Insurance (Darryl Greer, Courthouse News Service)
Doctors, lawyers and refuge-seekers sued Canada, claiming the government’s plan to strip refugees of health insurance coverage is unconstitutional. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and three refugee claimants filed an application for judicial review in the Federal Court of Canada. They claim the government’s denial of health insurance coverage violates domestic and international law. Named as respondents are the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

Moving hearings from Ottawa to Montreal a logistical nightmare, say refugee advocates (Derek Spalding, Ottawa Citizen)
Transplanting the bulk of Ottawas refugee hearing offices to Montreal will create an uneven playing field among people seeking asylum in Canada and could leave more clients without legal representation, say critics of the decision. As of April 1, hearings will no longer be held at the Immigration and Refugee Board headquarters on Slater Street as most services will be moved to Montreal to cut costs. But refugee advocates say the move complicates an already taxing system for hundreds of people who have hearings in Ottawa every year.

Refugees Relying More on Cash From Family, Friends Abroad (Saw Yan Naing, The Irrawaddy)
Sha Lo, a refugee who often gets money sent from abroad from relatives and friends in Canada, said: It will be very hard for us if we dont get the remittance. But many dont receive any remittances as they have no relatives and friends in third countries. Those people survive very poorly. They eat a meal [worth less than US $1] per day. And they dont dare to complain. It [the remittance] is very helpful as we receive less food and supplies from the NGOs now. Now they cut food such as cans of cooked fish and chilli, and reduced cooking oil, yellow beans, salt and other supplies. We can buy some extra food because of the remittances.


Canada can do more to help its hungry, conference told (Chris Traber,
York Region figured prominently in Canadas first interactive right to food Internet video conference, which linked 45 organizations in each of the nations provinces and territories over nine time zones to Geneva, Switzerland. At Newmarkets Valley View Alliance Church yesterday, the York Region Food Network and Freedom 90 joined a Food Secure Canada-sponsored webinar connecting several hundred social service administrators, volunteers and food bank clients to United Nations special rapporteur Olivier De Schutter in Geneva.

Thirty years of business-like reforms have backfired on the public service: expert (Kathryn May, Ottawa Citizen)
The governing Conservatives should return to basic rules and controls and abandon the business-like reforms of the past 30 years that threw Canadas public service off its moorings and left it bigger, costlier and more inefficient, says one of Canadas leading experts on public administration. Donald Savoie, the Canada Research Chair in administration and governance at the Université de Moncton, warns the governments plans to cut spending will come from front-line programs and services rather than operations unless it simplifies, de-layers and rolls back many of the practices that have become embedded over the past decades.

In Canada, the new solitudes are East vs. West (Michael Mendelson And Keith Neuman, Globe and Mail)
Growing up in the 1960s, we learned about Canadas two solitudes defining our national identity and our national division the French in Quebec and the English in the rest of Canada. Many in English Canada resented the supposed bounteous redistribution paid to Quebec. In Quebec, many resented anglophone domination of the Quebec economy. The emergence of a powerful sovereigntist movement seemed to seal Canadas fate as a country defined by a linguistic divide. But is this picture still valid? Today, Canada reflects a different dynamic. The economy, not so long ago based largely on the manufacturing sector in central Canada, is now driven largely by the western provinces natural resource industries. The centre of national politics has also shifted west, seven years into a federal government with its strength in the west (especially Alberta) and almost none in Quebec.

Literacy guide uses partisan example for verb ‘to elect’ (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
A literacy lesson plan from a group partly funded by the Government of Canada uses a partisan example to teach people how to conjugate the verb “to vote.”


Something new at The Mentoring Partnership (TRIEC)
The Mentoring Partnership is proud to announce the launch of an all new My Mentoring Dashboard. Since 2010, this online platform has supported mentors and mentees as a shared private space during their four months relationship. Loaded with resources, helpful links and interactive tools to plan and manage the relationship, this new version of the dashboard has been infused with many additional features to enhance the mentoring experience.

Newcomers see employment progress (Monica Wolfson, Windsor Star)
When cancer researcher Indrajit Sinha couldnt find a job in Windsor, he made one for himself. Sinha, 41, formed Biomedcore in late 2011 after spending a year trying to find work and almost going bankrupt. He left his research position in Detroit because he wanted to work closer to home and was able to tap into local programs for entrepreneurs. If you ask for help, look for help, youll get it, he said. Sinha got aid from the small business centre, WEtech Alliance and landed a one-month work placement in a Windsor company.

Inclusive Leadership with White Male Executives: 1.0 Why is White Male Inclusion Important? (Chuck Shelton, Diversity Journal)
Inclusion means everyone is in, even the white guys. Investing in inclusive leadership with white male executives, in particular, is emerging as a fresh, constructive, and transformative trend for global diversity and inclusion. This four-week series of articles builds on the findings, recommendations, and learning from the ongoing Study on White Men Leading Through Diversity and Inclusion. This is the first research to analyze and improve the effectiveness of white men as they integrate diversity and inclusion into their leadership work.

Dennys reaches $1.3M settlement with temporary foreign workers over loss of hours, overtime, airfare (Global TV)
A $1.3-million settlement has been reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by a group of 77 temporary foreign workers against the company that owns Dennys restaurants in B.C. Under the terms of the settlement with Northland Properties Corp., workers will be reimbursed for loss of hours, overtime and airfare. Some workers who were forced to pay employment agencies an average of $6,000 for their jobs will be eligible for compensation.

Unpaid internships: the most precarious work of all (Marco Chown Oved, Toronto Star)
Young people are stringing together unpaid internships to get work experience, but labour experts say too often they are being exploited.

Loss of job-training funding would be a big blow to B.C. (Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun)
The Harper government refused Tuesday to confirm or deny reports indicating it plans to reclaim from provincial governments job-training funding programs which deliver about $350 million a year to B.C. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was peppered with questions from opposition MPs who accused Ottawa of acting unilaterally. They were responding to two recent media reports, the latest in the National Post Tuesday, saying the government wants to take back $2.5 billion in annual training funds shipped off to provincial governments as a result of a 2007 budget decision.

Harper government eyes clawback of $2 billion in job training money from provinces (Les Whittington, Toronto Star)
Cash-strapped federal Conservatives may need funds to finance a new skills training program.

The cat is out of the bag: Opposition slams Tories for apparent plan to kill $2B in EI training transfers (National Post)
Opposition parties went after the Harper government in the House on Tuesday, chastising it for a lack of transparency in its federal budgets, and its apparent budgetary plans to cancel EI training transfer payments to the provinces. Two former officials of the minister of finances department have criticized deeply the pattern of secrecy and the abuse of Parliament by the government, Mr. Speaker, said interim Liberal leader Bob Rae during Question Period.

Ottawa set to cancel $2-billion in EI training transfers to the provinces (John Ivison, National Post)
The federal piggy bank is empty, but Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is still obliged to bring down a budget this month. What to do? How about shuffle some money around that Ottawa is already transferring to the provinces to carry out training and call it a skills budget? Bingo. The downside is that the provinces will howl because the amount in question is not chump change. Ottawa writes cheques worth nearly $2-billion to provinces to train those who qualify for Employment Insurance. It transfers a further $500-million under labour market agreements to train those not eligible for EI. From Ottawas vantage point, there are few strings attached and the provinces have carte blanche to spend the money as they see fit.

Business must share blame for shortage of skilled workers (Nobina Robinson, Globe and Mail)
Twenty years after the brain drain of the 1990s, a new threat to the supply of talent in Canada is apparent. Key industry sectors and leading employers in Canada are warning of a skills shortage and a lack of skilled tradespeople. Others call this a skills mismatch. Governments are under pressure to enact a range of labour market interventions, from short-term fixes to immigration to new investment in training and skills upgrading to changes to existing talent support programs.


Torontos Urbanism Headlines: Tuesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Community, TTC, City Hall.

Newsstand: March 6, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
Hello, Wednesday! Some day we’ll have time machines, and you won’t matter any more. In the news: a casino pitch this way comes, police break up a sports betting ring, TTC’s 911 is a joke, and there’s now one more formal complaint against the mayor.


Launch date announced for BC’s new social enterprise hybrid structure (CharityVillage)
Regulations allowing the creation of a new corporate structure designed to bridge the gap between for-profit businesses and nonprofit enterprises received BC government approval this week. The regulations, approved by order-in-council on Wednesday, allow for the incorporation of community contribution companies (CCCs), a hybrid business model aimed at encouraging private investment in BC’s social enterprise sector.

Three lessons in activism from Dave Meslin (Jonathan Goldsbie, NOW Toronto)
On February 15th, activist extraordinaire Dave Meslin delivered an 85-minute talk at Hart House entitled Flirting With Democracy. He examined the subject of citizen advocacy from a number of angles, sharing the lessons he’d learned from two decades of working for change. (In the interest of disclosure, I should mention that I am friends with Meslin and was one of the people who headed up his Toronto Public Space Committee following his departure from it.)

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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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