Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 11, 2013


Op-ed: How the Nanaimo Daily News should have dealt with the racist letter to the editor (Ginny Whitehouse, J-Source)
Dan Olsen managed to embarrass the Nanaimo Daily News when the newspaper published his letter to the editor, a rant accusing First Nations peoples of being nothing more than government relief sponges without history or honour. Lots of people were angry and disputed Olsen’s claims, both within British Columbia’s bands and amongst all people across Canada. Check here for the letter’s full text and reaction. More than 1,000 joined a Facebook page protesting the Nanaimo paper’s editorial judgment. The newspaper apologized for running his letter, though it has published similar rants by Olsen before. The ethical issues stretch far and wide, and it is easy to be caught placing labels on the man and the newspaper, dismissing both as merely ignorant. Calling one racist and the other blind may be accurate but that doesn’t delve into the heart of the ethics nor find a solution.

IP 13 / OP 27 Start Up Business Class – PDF (CIC)
Economic Action Plan 2012 highlighted Canadas commitment to supporting entrepreneurs, innovators and world class research. It also announced the governments intention to build a fast and flexible economic immigration system whose primary focus is on meeting the new and emerging needs of the Canadian economy. As part of initiatives to support Economic Action Plan 2012, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is creating a new Start Up Business Class pilot program to attract innovative entrepreneurs. This chapter focuses specifically on procedures used at the Centralized Intake Office (CIO), the Case Processing Pilot office Ottawa (CPP-O) and missions abroad to process these Start Up Business Class applications.

No One Is Illegal and Check Your Head Launcing Migrant Justice Workshop in High Schools! (No One Is Illegal Vancouver)
In the last few weeks, we have seen a rush of action and victories such as Sanctuary City on migrant justice. We need your help to sustain this momentum. As we look around us, we are seeing the issue of migrant justice on the hearts and minds of young people in our community like never before. With your help, we can further support youth with the education and resources they need to become leaders for change.

BC Okays Kirpan In Courtrooms On Eve Of Election (The Link)
Amritdhari Khalsa Sikhs will soon be able to wear a Kirpan, a small stylized sword, while visiting courthouse public areas following a security assessment by B.C. sheriffs. Some political observers are saying this could be one of their hidden hand-outs that they had sought to unveil in their scandalous ethnic vote getting manifesto. Although Sikh organizations had been asking the government to change the policy as it has already been changed or announced in Ontario and Alberta but the timing, on the eve of the start of the provincial election next Monday, does raise questions.

MLB forms diversity committee, black players focus (Yahoo! Sports)
Major League Baseball has created a task force that will study how to increase diversity in the game, especially among black players. Commissioner Bud Selig announced the committee Wednesday. In less than a week, baseball will celebrate the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. A new movie titled ”42” focuses on the Hall of Famer. The 18-member committee includes representatives from club ownership, the players’ union, minor league and college baseball, the MLB scouting bureau and other areas. Hall of Famer Frank Robinson and former major league manager Jerry Manuel are among the members.–mlb.html

Are today’s Muslims yesterday’s Catholics? (SBS)
As Muslims feel the heat in today’s often-brutal migration and asylum debate, it reminds former PM Malcolm Fraser and others of how Catholics were once treated.

CIMA triumphs again in International Cricket Council Awards (South Asian Generation Next)
CIMA has been honored for a record fourth time by the International Cricket Council (ICC). It has been awarded the Americas Best Junior Participation Initiative in recognition of the success of the CIMA Mayors School cricket tournament CIBC Trophy, which is the flagship event of the CIMA Mayors Trophy. CIMA has previously received the Americas region award by the ICC in 2005 and both the Americas and the world award in 2006 for the best promotional cricket program.

Ontarios Success is Rooted in Our Diversity (Kathleen Wynne, South Asian Generation Next)
Its always a privilege to attend Vaisakhi events. The sea of saffron orange colours symbolic of wisdom is breathtaking to behold. But Vaisakhi is more than just a parade. Its a celebration of the Sikh nation and a chance to give thanks. And for Hindus, its the beginning of the New Year a time for worship and joy. As new Premier of Ontario, I know that our society is stronger because of this diversity, because of our shared values of community, hard work and service. Indeed, as our government is charting the way forward for Ontario, were doing it by drawing on the strength of our diverse population.

CBSA investigating alleged immigration tax scam in Vancouver (Neal Hall, Metro News)
The Canada Border Services Agency is investigating an alleged immigration scam in Vancouver that involved out-of-country employees paying their own salaries so they could maintain their Canadian residency status and qualify for tax benefits. The alleged scam was revealed in a court ruling released Tuesday. The Canada Revenue Agency went to court seeking documents seized last year by the CBSA during raids of a local immigration consultant, Xun Wang, and two company offices in Vancouver and Richmond.

Pedagogy, multiculturalism and racism : A fine balance : Financial Express : Financial Newspaper of Bangladesh (Pamelia Khaled, Financial Express)
There is an ongoing debate about the most appropriate and effective approaches to anti-racism. This current research of this scribe surveys the range of competing multi-disciplinary theories and alternative approaches to anti-racism linking the issue to education and briefly analyses the following issues: the history of racism in the United States, anti-racist challenges and systematic racism, and alternative and deeper anti-racist approaches, primarily within educational organisations. Canada has long been the home of a diverse and multicultural society. Immigrants from various cultures and countries contribute to this multiculturalism. According to the most recent census data, immigrants constitute almost 20 per cent of its population and come from over 200 ethnic groups (Policy Brief Economic Policy Series, 2009). With one person being immigrant out of every five people in Canada, then immigrants significantly influence the country’s economy, policies, traditions and services. How does Canada treat its foreign born, and what roles do they play in its society? Encompassing these two concepts and employing a gender-sensitive outlook, a number of recent studies have found that immigrants in Canada face various challenges. The country’s education system must address the needs of immigrant students and families, and its content and objectives should reflect the diversity of its society.

New ebook: Canada Countdown (Nick Noorani)
Canada Countdown makes understanding the immigration process simpler, by explaining all the different ways you can come to Canada, from temporary worker visas, to the conventional Federal Skilled Worker Class and Canadian Experience Class, to the new 2013 Federal Skilled Trades class and Start-up visa for entrepreneurs.


Country of Origin Information (Forced Migration Current Awareness)
A service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants; provided by Elisa Mason.

Brampton parish gives refugee family new life (City News)
An Iraqi family of six says their dreams can now come true thanks to a Brampton Catholic parish. The Meera family fled Iraq and civil war in Syria before local parishioners helped them find a home and build a new life in Canada. Hibib Meera said his family left Iraq after his eldest son was kidnapped at gunpoint. Fadi said he was standing outside a store when a car pulled up and four men took him. He was held captive for nine days and mentally tortured because he was Christian and worked with Americans.

Vancouver $24.7 million refugee centre construction wins citys approval (Darah Hansen, Vancouver Sun)
Construction of a new $24.7-million centre that will provide temporary shelter to people escaping war, famine and persecution around the world was given the green light this week by Vancouver city council. The new Welcome House Centre, to be located at East 10th Ave. and Victoria Drive, is expected to be the first facility of its kind in Canada to offer short-term housing along with medical, banking and legal services, English-language training and counselling for newly arrived refugees, particularly survivors of torture.

Toronto photo exhibit sheds new light on Roma in Canada (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
While doing a photo shoot for artists in the Czech Republic in 2001, Washington D.C.-based photographer Chad Evans Wyatt was shocked to see how Roma were portrayed in the media there. Wyatt isnt Roma; hes of wildly mixed heritage, with a black father. But having grown up during the U.S. civil rights movement, he was upset by the racial stereotyping the Roma were experiencing even in the 21st century deemed stupid and prone to thievery because they had small heads. I have heard that before. My anger over how a fellow ethnic group was trivialized just grew, recalled Wyatt, 67, who was born in New York City and grew up partially in Paris. Is it true, he wondered, that there are no Roma doctors, lawyers, bankers and insurance agents?


Are You Being Served? (TVO The Agenda)
Many Canadians feel their interests aren’t being adequately served in Parliament. The Agenda examines what can be done to address the disconnect.

Poverty hits home in Halton (Inside Halton)
Living in Poverty: A Special Report is a four-part Metroland series examining the complex issue of poverty in the affluent regions communities. The series examines those who find themselves struggling to survive and who face deprivation, exclusion and isolation as a result. It looks at povertys multiple dimensions, those who deal with it on a daily basis, contributing factors and barriers, possible solutions and resources that can offer assistance.–poverty-hits-home-in-halton

Federal Budget 2013: stubbornness and hidden secrets (Behind the Numbers)
Reactions to the federal budget presented in March differed in Québec in comparison with the rest of the provinces. In this text we will first review the budget as whole before zooming into measures which caused a big uproar in Québec. In its latest budget, the government brought to the fore an already-existing manpower training measure and simply altered the way money is distributed. The apparent simplicity of this years budget, however, masks the failures of the governments economic strategy in the past few years and raises doubts concerning new initiatives, particularly with respect to labour-sponsored funds and to investment in infrastructure. Austerity: major fail

After the Budget Ottawas new activism – PDF (Stephen Tapp, IRPP)
Ottawas latest budget was greeted with yawns by many observers. Thats a mistake because Budget 2013 may ultimately mark the moment when the government signalled its readiness to embrace a more interventionist role in the economy.

Samara Notebook: March (Alison Loat, Samara Canada)
Every month is busy at Samara with preparing our upcoming research, presenting the findings and participating in discussions with our partners. But this past month was a particularly busy one; here are some highlights of the month.

Integrated Breast Cancer Care: Building Equity Into Innovation (Wellesley Institute)
A new breast cancer centre opened at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre last week, becoming the largest of its kind in Canada. The Louise Temerty Breast Cancer Centre adopts the integrative model of housing the whole spectrum of breast cancer care under one roof, including direct access to screening, rapid assessments and diagnosis, and tailored treatment options. The Centre features expanded areas for specialized clinics, integrated breast imaging research, and clinical trials.


Fake jobs allegedly created for foreigners (Kim Pemberton, Vancouver Sun)
A Vancouver immigration consulting firm is alleged to have created fake jobs for foreigners to help them gain permanent resident status, a B.C. Supreme Court ruling reveals. The Canada Border Service Agency executed search warrants in October, 2012 on the Richmond home of Xun Wang, his Vancouver-based business called New Can Consultants and his Richmond-based business, called 12 Wellong International Investments. Ltd. The Canada Revenue Agency then went to court seeking the documents seized last year by the CBSA. The April 8 court decision reveals that between Jan. 15, 2007 and Aug. 14, 2012 Wang, New Can and Wellong are alleged to have improperly provided immigration consulting services.

Ottawa exploiting immigrants to undermine Canadian workforce (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
Jason Kenney is a clever politician juggling contradictory goals. He floods the country with 250,000 immigrants a year, even though most cannot find jobs commensurate with the education and skills they were selected for. Tens of thousands of Canadian-educated graduates cannot find jobs either. His is an exploitative model that suits only the corporate sector driving wages and worker demands down, profits up. This arrangement is augmented with his even more blatantly exploitative temporary workers program. Employers get foreigners at a legislated lower wage than Canadians. The scandalous RBC case is one twist in a complicated labour scam, as fellow columnist Tom Walkom explained on Wednesday.

Hiring foreign workers (Editorial, Ottawa Citizen)
When news broke that the Royal Bank of Canada planned to replace about 50 employees with foreign workers something the bank strenuously denies Immigration Minister Jason Kenney waxed outraged, telling the media you cant displace Canadians to hire people from abroad. The minister should direct his outrage at his own government. Under the Conservatives Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which aims to fill labour needs when Canadians or permanent residents are unavailable for the work required, companies can pay foreign workers 15 per cent less than what Canadians receive.

A guide to governments controversial Temporary Foreign Worker Program (Jill Mahoney, Globe and Mail)
The federal governments controversial Temporary Foreign Worker Program is grabbing headlines again over allegations that Royal Bank of Canada is displacing several dozen technology employees by outsourcing to a company using foreigners. The program allows companies to bring in workers from other countries for a wide variety of jobs from nannies to white-collar professionals when they cant find Canadians to hire. Critics of the program argue it depresses wages, fosters unsafe work conditions and takes jobs from Canadians. Employers say it provides a reliable stream of labour and fuels economic growth.

Will work for less: a primer on temporary foreign workers (
Earlier this week, news broke that RBC plans to hire 45 temporary foreign workers through iGate, an IT contractor, to fill positions of employees who say that, in fact, theyre training their own replacements. RBC denies this, saying that no one will lose their jobs and that the Canadian employees will be moved to other departments. In Alberta alone, 4,000 companies have been given approval to hire temporary foreign workers. Canada-wide, there are 338,000 temporary foreign workers. Postmedia News walks you through the controversy

RBC iGate scandal: Ottawa urged to publicize Canadian employers using foreign temps (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Ottawa must make Canadas temporary foreign workers program more transparent and accountable by publicizing the names of employers who bring in migrant workers and the jobs they fill, critics say. Canadian taxpayers have a right to know which employers are benefiting from the $35.5 million a year taxpayers pay to process their applications for a labour market opinion, say major labour groups. Potential employers arent charged a fee for this service, which is required to justify their claim that they need to bring in foreign workers to fill a need. Transparency is incredibly desirable for Canadians. This can act as a check against disingenuous Canadian employers, said Karl Flecker of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

Your voice: Reaction to banks hiring temporary workers (Yahoo! News)
A number of Canadas banks are under fire for outsourcing jobs to temporary foreign workers, and clearly the issue has hit a nerve. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has called the report “grotesque,” stating that “this is the worst type of corporate behaviour. But the government behaviour that is countenancing that type of corporate behaviour is even worse. “The Conservatives should be ashamed of themselves.” So we thought we’d ask you: Should the government step in to ensure Canadian banks hire Canadians first?

Deliberately lax visa rules encouraged RBC outsourcing (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star)
There are three stories involved in the Royal Banks controversial decision to replace Canadian high-tech workers with foreigners. The first is that Canadian companies are sending good jobs abroad where wages are low. The Royal Bank is hardly unique here. It just happened to be the company that got caught. The second is perhaps more galling for the 45 laid-off Canadian information technology workers. It is that they are being required to train their own replacements. This is where most of furor has focused. The third is that Canadas government not only allows both practices but encourages them.

Behind the foreign-worker brouhaha lies a far bigger question (Sean Silcoff, Globe and Mail)
Note: Behind paywall, registration required:
Canadas temporary foreign worker program has fallen into the trap of similar short-term guest worker programs. Stop-gap efforts to fill temporary job shortages typically last longer and grow larger than intended developing structural labour market dependencies among employers and creating job ghettos that are dominated by foreign workers, writes Athabasca University industrial relations expert Jason Foster in an excellent recent paper. In Canada, the number of temporary foreign workers increased by 50 per cent from 2000 to 2006 under the Liberal government, and has more than doubled since then, to 338,000 last year (as the number of unfilled jobs in Western Canada increased). According to Mr. Foster, the proportion of these workers considered high skill has fallen sharply, to 31.1 per cent in 2010 from 51.8 per cent in 2000, while the number with no stated skill level more than doubled, to 36 per cent. These people, he and others point out, are far likelier to be exploited, paid less and take jobs from Canadians.

Making Temporary Permanent: The Silent Transformation Of The Temporary Foreign Worker Program – PDF (Jason Foster, Athatbasca University)
During the mid-2000s the number of temporary foreign workers (TFWs) present in Canada increased dramatically, more than tripling in eight years. The bulk of the increase was due to an expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to include lower-skilled occupations. The stated reason for the expansion was to address short-term labour shortages. Contrary to expectations, upon the onset of the economic downturn in 2008, the number of TFWs did not decrease significantly, and appears to be increasing again in 2010 and 2011. This paper tracks the evolution of the TFWP from a stable program designed to address short-term labour needs in high-skilled occupations into a broader labour market tool. The paper examines the most recent available statistical data for the TFWP and other documentary evidence to argue the role of the TFWP in Canadas labour market has quietly shifted, becoming a permanent, large-scale labour pool for many industries, reminiscent of European migrant worker programs. The paper also examines the potential labour market implications of an expanded, entrenched TFWP.

Fast-food chains abusing foreign workers program, says labour leader (Chris Young, Calgary Herald)
A federal program intended to fast-track skilled workers into Canada is instead being used by a whos who of fast-food chains and service industry companies to import low-wage employees, says the Alberta Federation of Labour. The AFL said Tuesday its research found half the successful applications for temporary foreign workers under the accelerated labour market opinion (ALMO) program last year were from employers who typically employ low-skilled workers, such as fast-food chains, gas stations and convenience stores.

Tories looking at review of foreign worker program (Les Whittington, Toronot Star)
The federal government is investigating the possible abuse of the temporary foreign workers hiring program by Canadian companies and is expected to overhaul it to put greater onus on businesses to seek out local employees before bringing in foreign workers. Businesses that are turning to foreign workers to fill employee shortages are also expected to be required in future to do more to train Canadians for the skilled job vacancies now going to people from overseas, a senior government official said.

Canadian visa programme being misused (Relocate Magazine)
A labour group in Alberta, Canada, is calling on the countrys federal government to launch a review into the Accelerated-Labour Market Opinion (ALMO) programme, saying that the programme is being used to bring in low-skilled instead of high-skilled workers. Launched last April, the ALMO is designed to process permits to hire temporary foreign workers for high-skill jobs within ten business days. The programme also allows employers to pay foreign workers up to 15% less than Canadian workers doing the same job.

Victoria workers join in growing anger over Royal Bank of Canada outsourcing (Times Colonist)
The union representing Greater Victoria electrical workers is threatening to pull millions of dollars out of the Royal Bank of Canada to protest the banks outsourcing of jobs. Its part of an angry backlash across the country against Canadas largest banks use of temporary foreign workers. The federations of labour in B.C. and Alberta called Tuesday for a moratorium and federal review of the temporary foreign worker program. Its out of control, said Jim Sinclair, president of the B.C. federation. Its being abused and misused across the country.

Rise In Foreign Temp Workers Questioned By Labour Groups (Huffington Post)
The Alberta Federation of Labour called for an inquiry Tuesday after it obtained a government list of more than 4,000 companies given approval to hire temporary foreign workers last year, many in the service industry. “You look down this list and what you see is McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and Subway. This list goes on. It stretches the bounds of credibility that all of these employers have been using temporary foreign workers to hire skilled workers,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics.

CLC Makes Access to Info Request on TFWP Ottawa has not fulfilled Auditor General’s request (Live PR)
The Canadian Labour Congress will make an Access to Information request for all documents related to the federal government’s compliance with a 2009 Auditor General’s report regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). “The Conservative government is allowing employers to abuse the TFWP to the detriment of both migrant and Canadian workers,” says Ken Georgetti, CLC president. “The Auditor General reviewed the program in 2009 and requested a thorough evaluation of it. The government promised to do that with results to be released in 2010-11 but that has not happened. We want to see all the documentation about what government departments have done to comply with the Auditor General’s recommendations.”

UFCW Canada and Mexico’s CNC Sign Historic Agreement (UFCW)
The National Farm Workers’ Confederation (CNC) and UFCW Canada have signed an historic agreement to ensure that the rights of migrant agriculture workers are protected and defended in Mexico, Canada and the United States. The Mexican Secretary of Labour and Social Welfare, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, and Graco Ramirez, the governor of Morelos, attended the event and were honorary witnesses to the agreement. The mutual cooperation agreement, which was signed on Tuesday by UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley and Senator Gerardo Sanchez, President of the CNC, will result in better conditions for migrant Mexican agriculture workers in North America.

Does Canada have unfree workers? (CCPA)
In mid-March, Canadians were met with news reports about the arrest of migrant workers by agents of the Canada Border Security Agency, while a reality-show TV crew recorded the action. This incident caused immediate concerns about whether migrant workers have the privacy rights that Canadians treasure. But we should also be raising broader questions about the very existence and functioning of migrant-worker programs, not just the mistreatment of alleged unauthorized workers.

Skills mismatch or labour market failure? Canadas newcomer conundrum (Anna Mehler Paperny, Global News)
To get permission to bring in foreign workers, employers must prove they’ve tried to hire Canadians first. Some argue that rule isn’t enforced. David Ramos/Getty Images In the past seven years, the number of people brought to Canada to do a job and then leave has eclipsed the number of people moving here annually planning to stay. Canadas Temporary Foreign Worker program came under scrutiny this week amid claims Royal Bank of Canada was replacing Canadian workers with cheaper, contracted workers brought from overseas. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada approved the Labour Market Opinions outsourcing company iGate needed for permission to bring in temporary foreign workers, but says its reviewing that approval, citing discrepancies between RBCs public statement and information which has previously been provided to the government.

Why Ottawa is pushing for answers over RBC move to outsource jobs (South Asian Generation Next)
The federal government is investigating Royal Bank of Canadas move to outsource technology jobs and reviewing paperwork submitted by its contractor to bring in temporary foreign workers. The probe centres on what the government sees as apparent discrepancies regarding RBCs explanation of the events.

“That Could Be My Job!” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about outsourcing, with Toby Heaps. He is the CEO and publisher of Corporate Knights , a magazine and company pushing for increased corporate social responsibility.

The decision to find a mentor (Shawn Mintz)
As we gear up for MentorCitys announcement at the Conference Board of Canadas Workforce One-Stop 2013 conference, we wanted to share Harpreet Sahotas blog post prior to having her first mentoring relationship.

Best Workplaces in Canada (Great Place to Work)
Great Place to Work® Institute Canada is pleased to present the 2013 list of Best Workplaces in Canada – Medium. The list was published as a Special National Report in The Globe and Mail on April 10, 2013. This years list recognizes 50 Best Medium Workplaces in Canada with 50-999 employees working in Canada.


Torontos Urbanism Headlines: Thursday(Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Porter Jets, Toronto Casino and Other News.

GTA faces big challenges to keep economy strong (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
Torontos economy has been remarkably resilient in recent years but looming challenges in Canadas largest city will be tough to tackle in an era of slow growth and fiscal constraints. A new paper by Toronto-Dominion Bank, to be released Thursday, explores the biggest economic risks the region faces and warns of tepid economic and employment growth over the next few years.


Learn the latest! AODA compliance: Benefits of being ahead of the game (Stringer LLP, First Reference Talks)
Recently, some of our clients received a notice from the government reminding them to file an Accessibility Report. This was an eye opener to employers who have let the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), Customer Service compliance deadlines slip through the cracks. Some simply forgot to file. However, others were reminded they have not yet implemented all the Customer Service Standard requirements. As many of you already know, the AODA Customer Service Standard was the first of five accessibility standards to be enacted by the Ontario government in order to increase and promote accessibility in Ontario. The Customer Service Standard applies to the provision of goods or services to customers, which includes the public or other third parties.

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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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