Immigration & Diversity news headlines – March 7, 2013


Upcoming Toronto Event: Voting Rights for Permanent Residents in Municipal Elections: Citizen Engagement or Citizenship Devaluation? (CCLA)
Hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents pay local taxes and use city services, but have no say in who represents them, because they are not yet Canadian citizens. Recently, the City of Torontos Community Development and Recreation Committee put forward a request to review the opportunity to have permanent residents in Toronto be given the right to vote in municipal elections. Join the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) and Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office for a panel discussion on the merits of this proposal.

Taking a National Language and Integration Class Local (Cities of Migration)
Language fluency opens or closes doors for many immigrants, whether at work, school or during the everyday business of daily life. Learning the language is the single most important lever to integrating into a new culture. In 2005, a new Immigration Act in Germany introduced provisions to ensure all newcomers from non-European Union countries receive language training. The City of Wuppertal acted immediately to build on its experience in creating a multicultural society that valued diversity.

Winners of Connect Legal Most Promising Immigrant Entrepreneur Award-Awarded for Grit, Vision and Ability to Take Their Businesses to the Next Level (Marketwire)
Carolina Velez, an importer of an exotic yellow fruit from her home country of Colombia, and Sanjay Pandrala of India, who started a pest control and landscaping business with nothing but a positive attitude and a $350 investment in a bug sprayer, were jointly presented with the inaugural Connect Legal Most Promising Immigrant Entrepreneur Award last night at a reception at the RBC Royal Bank Plaza. The winners were among the five finalist immigrant small business owners who had received the support of registered charity Connect Legal, an organization that provides legal education workshops and free legal services in collaboration with Toronto’s legal community.

Immigrant women at risk of spousal abuse (Travis Lupick,
Maryam Majedi, a program manager at the Surrey Womens Centre, explained that immigrants and refugees can be especially at risk of domestic abuse, and often dont know their rights or where to turn for help. Many of them are coming from cultures where the government is corrupt, she said in a telephone interview. They come here, they dont trust police, they dont trust the courts, and they dont trust judges, because where they grew up, the police and the courts and the judges were corrupt. And so they dont have anybody to talk to.

Inter-Action: Multiculturalism Grants and Contributions Funding (CIC)
Inter-Action, Canadas Multiculturalism Grants and Contribution Program, is administered by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The Program supports CICs mandate and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act by assisting the socio-economic integration of individuals and communities and their contributions to building an integrated and socially cohesive society. There are two Inter-Action funding streams: Projects and Events.

Ethnic vote scandal is stupid but not surprising (Michael Booth, The Now Newspaper)
The wryly-amusing thing about the entire hullabaloo is how the reaction to the Liberals’ strategy has resulted in the leaders of assorted ethnic communities facing a sea of microphones seeking their reaction to such heartless pandering by the powers that be. Invariably, these people expressed their shock and surprise that the government could be so callous and disingenuous. Really? Why?

Are B.C. government apologies in order? (Martin Collacott, Vancouver Sun)
The B.C. Liberal government has been subjected to intense criticism for its use of government funds to promote partisan interests through its strategy for attracting support from ethnic communities. One particular element of that strategy that of getting quick wins by offering apologies for historical injustices such as the imposition of the Chinese head tax as well as the Komagata Maru incident a century ago has understandably offended members of the very ethnic communities whose support the government is seeking. The communities not surprisingly feel that, based on the revelations in the leaked strategy document, such apologies are no more than crass and cynical attempts to get their votes rather than genuine expressions of regret. One aspect of this affair that has not received attention, however, is whether such apologies are justified in the first place. Parties of all political stripes, both federal and provincial seem to think that such mea culpas are a good idea as long as they are sincere. What most Canadians are not aware of, however, is that both the Chinese head tax and the Komagata Maru incident were not primarily acts of racism against minority groups but rather the result of efforts, particularly by labour unions, to block the import of large numbers of workers from overseas prepared to work for less than a living wage in Canada.

A busy day in Baghdad: Jason Kenney reveals details of surprise visit to Iraq (Stephanie Levitz, The Star Phoenix)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s days are usually packed with public events, but he had a surprise item on the agenda Wednesday a visit to Iraq. Kenney shared word of his visit on Twitter, noting he’s the first Canadian government minister to visit the country since 1976. Canada hasn’t had an ambassador formally in Iraq since 1991, though in 2005 the ambassador to Jordan was tabbed to assume responsibilities for the country. Officials in Kenney’s office dropped no advance hints about the trip, which came after stops in Ukraine and Germany.

Jason Kenney makes surprise visit to Iraq (CBC)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has become the first Canadian cabinet minister to visit Iraq since 1976. Officials in Kenney’s office dropped no advance hints about the trip, which came after stops in Ukraine and Germany. Kenney announced his visit Wednesday on Twitter.

News Release Super Visa is Super Popular Over 15,000 Parent and Grandparent Super Visas Issued (CIC)
More than 15,000 Parent and Grandparent Super Visas have been issued since the programs launch in December 2011, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. The Parent and Grandparent Super Visa provides families with flexibility, and it is clearly growing in popularity, said Minister Kenney. Our government is committed to family reunification. I am pleased to see that more and more parents and grandparents are getting the opportunity to spend longer periods of time with their loved ones in Canada. With over 1,000 Super Visas issued monthly, approval rates remain high at 86 percent.

Newcomers should approach Canada with entrepreneurial zeal (Divya Kaeley, South Asian Generation Next)
I was passionate about social justice. But I turned down offers from big law firms because that was not why I went into the legal profession. Yet, I wanted to make a living and further a social cause. I leveraged my skills to transform a non-profit providing much needed services into a social enterprise. Canada can lower barriers no doubt and see newcomers as human capital with tremendous potential to contribute to overall civil society rather than as prospective employees filling labour market gaps.

TEDC seeks ‘modest’ budget increase (Benjamin Aubé, Timmins Press)
Marinig shocked members of city council by revealing theres currently a backlog of about 100 newly landed immigrants to Canada interested in settling in Timmins. She pointed to a lack of housing and an overload of paperwork as the only reasons stopping more skilled workers from contributing to the citys economy. A lot of immigration marketing and job opportunities are making people look at Timmins, she said, adding that the TEDC might look at bringing in an expert to their team in the future to deal with such paperwork issues.

Welcoming America brings message to Ottawa (Louisa Taylor, Ottawa Citizen)
Several years ago, David Lubell noticed that immigrants in his home state of Tennessee were having a tough time. Foreign executives wooed by local businesses said their spouses were stared at in the street. Immigrant kids were being bullied at school. Arsonists destroyed an Islamic centre. Lubell, who worked with immigrants and refugees, wondered why a community of good people, a place he considered safe and welcoming, was increasingly neither of those for newcomers. He concluded it had much to do with fear and the perception of immigrants as a negative force in the community, and began to look for ways to change those perceptions. He eventually founded the Welcoming Tennessee Initiative to help his community bridge gaps between old and new residents. The approach proved so successful it led to the creation of Welcoming America, which supports organizations doing similar work across the country.

Interview with Charles Taylor (Liette Michaud, UC Observer)
Internationally acclaimed Canadian philosopher talks about building bridges between different cultures and faiths.


Federal government concedes to drafting error in refugee legislation (Tobi Cohen,
The federal government has quietly conceded that it made a drafting error in its oft-criticized refugee legislation passed last June and it appears a new law may be the only way to fix it. A note posted on Citizenship and Immigrations website just above an explanation about Canadas new Refugee Appeal Division suggests the new provision, which allows certain failed asylum claimants to seek a second opinion, came into force four months before it was supposed to.

Former refugee and his family help feed hungry children at Burnaby school (Gerry Bellett, Vancouver Sun)
Its been 40 years but Divyesh Gadhia can remember all the acts of unexpected kindness that ordinary Canadians showed to him and his family when they arrived here as destitute refugees from Uganda in the winter of 1972. And if there is such a thing as the circle of kindness, then the decision by Gadhia and his wife Charu to feed hungry children some refugees themselves in Burnabys Twelfth Avenue elementary school is a closing of the loop.

Sudan refugee loses bid to sponsor orphaned relatives (CBC)
An Ottawa man who has been struggling for years to bring his niece and nephew from Uganda to Canada says he won’t give up, despite a serious setback. Gabriel Mangar himself one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan who were displaced during that country’s civil war came to Canada as a refugee nearly a decade ago.

Mental health training program addresses refugees needs (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health offers free online training to help front-line community workers deal with refugee mental health needs.


Rethinking Women And Healthy Living In Canada: Report Launch (Wellesley Institute)
The Wellesley Institute was lucky to have here today the launch of Rethinking Women and Healthy Living*, hosted by Ontario Womens Health Network. The presentation started with a look into sex- and gender-based analysis (SGBA) and the need to rethink and reframe the healthy living discourse on addressing chronic health diseases. The idea that social determinants of health, like food security and income inequality to name a few, had a more profound impact on womens health than individual habits was a main theme. As well, the report breaks down our assumptions about whether or not people need education about healthy food, rather than access to healthy food. The assumptions weve been acting on regarding womens health have been skewed too heavily, they said, to personal blame rather than looking at the broader picture.

Government is often more efficient than the private sector So why do we still hate government? (John Stapleton, Open Policy Ontario)
Over the past couple of decades, governments have become very efficient in their services that face the public and the reality is that they are much better than many large private sector outfits. Anyone who has ever had an issue with a cellphone bill knows that instinctively. So why do we continue to think that governments are less efficient and responsive than the private sector when the evidence is to the contrary? I believe the answer lies in the fact that the most efficient and responsive systems in government are those that either penalize us or charge us fees. Those departments and services that are less efficient and less responsive tend to be those that neither penalize nor charge us. Cash starved government departments are simply going to invest more of their budgets in areas where cost recovery and penalties can offset the cost.

A more moderate OCAP? Probably not (Katie Daubs, Toronto Star)
A recent peaceful action by the anti-poverty group was lauded by police. But that doesnt mean theyre abandoning crisis tactics.


Video: CRIEC Mentorship: City Mentor Profile (CRIEC)
A City mentor’s first hand experience from participating in the CRIEC Mentorship program

Immigrant Employment Council of BC E-Bulletin Vol 1 March 2013 (IECBC)
$1.4 Million Awarded to Help Employers Attract and Integrate Skilled Immigrants
Prince George & Region Forum Helps Local Employers Tap Into BCs Skilled Immigrants
IEC-BC Celebrates Second City of Vancouver Mentorship Program
Skilled Immigrants Give Metro Labs A Competitive Advantage
IEC-BC Congratulates BCs Best Diversity Employers

2013 Edmonton Global Talent Conference A Huge Success!!! (ERIEC)
Last Thursday, February 28th, ERIECs 3rd Annual Conference, the 2013 Edmonton Global Talent Conference, at the Fantasyland Hotel Conference Centre was an AMAZING day! The capacity crowd of 120 immigrant professionals and 65 business leaders, professional association representatives and people from various levels of government spent the day together, learning from and networking with each other regarding immigrant employment issues in the Finance, IT and Engineering sectors. Positive comments from participants from all the the groups represented keep pouring in.

Time for solutions: Job insecurity is not inevitable (Michelynn Laflèche, United Way Toronto)
On February 25, at a full-day symposium with McMaster University and the Poverty and Employment Precarity in Southern Ontario (PEPSO) research group, United Way Toronto launched the ground-breaking Its More than Poverty report. Representatives from the private sector, labour, government and non-profit organizations gathered to discuss the growth of precarious jobs those without benefits and those with uncertain futures.

Talking the Same Language for an Effective Performance Review (
Cultural differences can influence the effectiveness of performance feedback in a diverse workplace. Integrating Talent, a training video created by TRIEC that follows the fictional experiences of the skilled immigrant Tarek and his employer MetroCan Technologies, highlights some possible issues.


Torontos Urbanism Headlines: Wednesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Casino, Community, TTC and Other News.

Newsstand: March 7, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
How is all that pothole repair going in the city? Aggravating? Havent noticed? In the news: TCDSBs racing coach, Mammolitis family ties, Chow considering a mayoral run, a superjail without people to work in it, and teachers with no place to work.

New IMFG Paper about metropolitan governance and the impacts of Torontos amalgamation (IMFG)
A new paper by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) called Merging Municipalities: Is Bigger Better? examines the governance of metropolitan areas from an international perspective. The paper, by , describes the challenges of governing metropolitan regions in different parts of the world, and the range of restructuring options that are considered to address them, including two-tier models, voluntary cooperation, special purpose districts, and amalgamations.


Act II: An update on the Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (CharityVillage)
Some 50,000 Ontarian nonprofits are still waiting eagerly for the province to proclaim the new Ontario Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA) into force after more than two years since it received royal assent at Queens Park. As CharityVillage reported in July 2012, the new act is set to replace and update various regulations governing the provinces incorporated nonprofits that currently exist under the now 60-year-old, and some say outdated, Ontario Corporations Act (OCA).

When collaboration doesnt make sense (Mollie West & Andy Posner, SSIR)
Collaboration: Its a buzzword. Some are even calling it the new competition. Nonprofits and social enterprises often see collaboration as synonymous with more funding, visibility, and social impact. But collaboration usually comes at the expense of building new capabilities in-house. When partnering with other organizations, its important to be selective and strategic; partnerships can incur high transaction costs, and maintaining relationships takes work. Given the many demands on organizations, partnerships shouldnt always be at the top of the list. Some of the most successful organizations and companies in the world have grown without partnerships. Instead, theyve built their own services holistically around their customers.

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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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