Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 12 2013


Webinar recording: Cities at Work: Recruiting and Managing a Diverse Workforce (Cities of Migration)
As major employers, cities are in a unique position to model a positive approach to hiring immigrants and managing a diverse workforce. Join Cities of Migration to learn how recruitment strategies developed by the municipalities of Saskatoon (Canada) and Bremen (Germany) are not only creating a workplace where equity and diversity are valued – they are building cities for future growth and shared prosperity.

More Africentric programs under discussion, TDSB chair says (Bristin Rushowy, Toronto Star)
Toronto’s public board is looking at adding more Africentric programs and courses in high schools across the city, says chair Chris Bolton. Citing the Toronto District School Board’s Africentric elementary school and one high school program as ways to keep kids engaged and boost student achievement, Bolton said expanding the secondary programming is now under discussion. “We are now thinking that we need to expand the number of sites so it’s closer to some of the kids,” he said Wednesday. “We’d have courses with an Africentric focus in them in various locations, closer to the students.”

City of Toronto launches 2013 CIMA Mayor’s School Cricket Tournament as players recognized at City Hall (City of Toronto News)
“The launch of the third annual tournament gives Toronto’s young cricketers an opportunity to participate in a tournament of their own,” said Mayor Ford. “Cricket helps young people develop sport and leadership skills, and encourages them to stay involved in healthy activities.” The 2013 tournament will be held on May 13 to 17 at the Eglinton Flats Park, G. Ross Lord Park, Centennial Park and Sunnybrook Park. The final games of the tournament will be held on June 1 at Sunnybrook Park. Tournament details and registration:

Trying to make this clearer. (Jon Crowey)
If you don’t believe in male privilege, you’re a misogynist. If you don’t believe in white privilege, you’re a racist. I’m not saying this as a joke, it’s more or less a fact: let me explain. There are specific things in our society that benefit white people, and benefit men. Some of these things include an assumption of competence / civility / value that other people don’t get, at first glance. This isn’t awesome, but it’s not your fault. No one is blaming you for this.

Let’s Present the Voice of the First Generation Immigrants in the Media (Lily Pourzand, Huffington Post)
It was clear that the guests on the show were carefully selected to reflect diverse backgrounds; they were undoubtedly knowledgeable in their respective fields. It was gratifying to see such a beautiful rainbow of gender and racial balance on such a famous TV show. However, my happiness turned into disappointment after the first round of discussions. It was disquieting to see that in the first roundtable — which was aiming to pinpoint the issue of diversity in the media–first generation immigrants were grossly under-represented. Although it was promising to see the distinguished professional guests from diverse racial backgrounds on the panel, the show fell short in presenting a panoramic and inclusive picture of today’s Ontario.

Some Canadian Muslim schools are beacon of knowledge (Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan, Saudi Gazette)
ISLAM exhorts the value of education and this focus on learning has helped Muslims to become torchbearers of knowledge and innovation at a time when the West was submerged in the dark. Now the situation has been reversed, with Muslims lagging in education and progress. In Canada there are signs, however, that Muslims are becoming more devoted to quality education. Three Muslim schools in Ontario have done Canadian Muslims proud. These schools follow the regular Ontario curriculum but add Qur’an, Islam and Arabic to foster their religious values. According to the Fraser Institute, a public policy think-tank that assesses the province’s 2,714 elementary schools and also high schools annually, the Abraar School this year was Ottawa’s top elementary school for reading, writing and math scores with 9.4 marks out of 10. It tied for 41st place in the province.

Laurier Institution head wants to promote debate on multiculturalism (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
As head of the Laurier, which aims to spark dialogue about multiculturalism, Rohani generally supports Canada’s immigration policies. But not without reservations. He is nervous about growing ethnic enclaves, and says many Canadians don’t appreciate that immigrating here is a “privilege.” Too many people in Canada, he says, are not prepared to continue making the kind of “sacrifices” that went into building a country that is a place of freedom, civility and stability. Canada was one of the first nations to welcome immigrants not of the majority ethn-ocultural group, he says. Most countries still don’t invite in any immigrants at all.

Presentation slides: Marketing to Diversity: Engaging Canada’s New Mainstream
Presentation given by Millward Brown’s David Burgos at Multicultural Marketing Conference, Toronto, 26th March 2013.

Jose Antonio Vargas on Q (CBC)
Last week the Associated Press made a major change to their style book; they will stop using the term “illegal immigrant” to describe people living in a country illegally. It’s a decision warmly welcomed by Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist, immigration reform activist, and someone who’s been living in the U.S. without the proper papers since he was 12. Jose spoke to Jian about why changing the language of news is so important to changing perceptions on the immigration debate in America, and his love of Anne of Green Gables.

Newcomer moms compile book of letters to children (CBC)
A group of 18 newcomer moms has written a book describing the emotional decisions to uproot their lives and come to Canada. Letters to Our Children features notes from Winnipeg mothers who recently immigrated to Canada.

Newcomers to Canada learning to adapt as parents in new home (CBC)
Some classes being offered in Winnipeg are helping new parents, who are also newcomers to Canada, adapt to their new home. Dozens of parents are taking part in pre-natal and post-natal classes as part of the Healthy Start for Mom and Me outreach program at the Knox Centre Church, located in the city’s Central Park area.

Video: Government funded Islamic education (Sun News Network)
The Alberta government is funding a radical Islamic school that preaches homophobia, Jonathan Halevi exposes this hate.

TD Economics Report Provides Comprehensive Regional Outlook On Occasion of CivicAction Forum (CivicAction)
Dear Friends of CivicAction: On April 17th, we are hosting our first-ever CivicAction Forum: Our Region, Our Move. More than 300 civic leaders will come together to kick off the next phase of the Your32 campaign and make their move to support better transportation for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The day will open with an address by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and feature leading voices in business, government, academia and the not-for-profit sector. The full agenda can be found here. The CivicAction Forum also represents an opportunity for civic leaders to assess the social and economic health of the region, two years before the next Greater Toronto Summit. This work begins with a common fact base. We asked TD Economics to prepare a five-year outlook for our city-region. Released today, “Staying on Track: Sustaining Toronto’s Momentum after the Global Economic Recession” assesses the region’s economic performance and identifies significant longer-term challenges hindering its growth and prosperity.

Staying On Track: Sustaining Toronto’s Momentum After The Global Recession – PDF

A message from CIDI Founder and CEO Michael Bach (Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion)
We’re getting ready to send out our first official newsletter for the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion but, in the mean time, we are in desperate need of some help. The CIDI is in competition to receive a grant from Intuit for $5,000. We’re planning to use this money to create a paid internship for a skilled immigrant.


Operational Bulletin 440-B – April 11, 2013 – Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act – Changes to Humanitarian and Compassionate Consideration (CIC)
This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides an overview of the changes to the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) provisions, as per Section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), as well as guidelines to determine if an applicant qualifies to have an application for permanent residence on H&C grounds assessed.

Peres says Canada will play key role in resolving refugee issue (Middle East Monitor)
Israel’s President Shimon Peres has said that Canada could play a significant role in the peace process, especially with regards to the Palestinian refugee issue. Mr Peres made his remarks after meeting Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird in Tel Aviv. Peres pointed out that Canada has shown willingness in the past to absorb about 120,000 Palestinian refugees and grant them full Canadian citizenship so that they can live there forever. According to Peres this is an important offer as it would “save” the refugees from the “terrible suffering” they face in the refugee camps. As far as the Israeli president is concerned, “Instead of returning to what is now Israel, they can choose between compensation and migration to a country like Canada or moving within the borders of an independent state of Palestine.”

Thematic Focus: Ethics (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.


Political Staffers Weigh In: Ten Tips for Reaching Your MP (Leora Smith, Samara Canada)
On Tuesday James Wattam told us about the great advocacy training he received from Engineers Without Borders, and how much it helped him navigate the political system. As James said, it shouldn’t take special training to engage in democracy. Still it’s clear that, for now at least, it does. So we reached out to the insider experts on political engagement — political staff. Since staff are often MPs’ “gatekeepers,” responding to your emails, booking meetings, and answering your calls we asked for their advice on getting the ears of MPs.

Connecting the determinants of children’s well-being in Canada’s disappointing UNICEF ranking (Emily Wong, Wellesley Institute)
A new report, Child well-being in rich countries: A comparative overview, was released yesterday by UNICEF. In a comparison of 29 advanced economy countries, Canada ranks in 17th place. When children’s views of their life satisfaction are taken into account, Canada’s ranking drops even further to 24th place. The report measures well-being using five broad dimensions of a child’s life: behaviours and risks (Canada in 16th place); material well-being (15th); education (14th); housing and environment (11th); health and safety (27th). UNICEF’s decision to focus on these five dimensions in this report demonstrates the importance of the social determinants of health in influencing quality of life and health outcomes. Furthermore, the impacts of the social determinants of health are often amplified for children. For instance, scientists at the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research have provided evidence that socioeconomic status affects family function and the development of the regions of the brain that link to attention, learning and memory, which are all essential to childhood development. These also extend to other social determinants of health, such as housing. Children are more sensitive to mold and are at greater risk of chronic conditions such as asthma. Conversely, early interventions can have lifetime positive impacts.

Income Inequality in Canada Report to the Standing Committee on Finance: April 5, 2013 – PDF (Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction)
In 2005, Hamilton was tied with Toronto for Ontario’s highest poverty rate. Although Hamilton saw a reduction in poverty in the last census with more than 6000 individuals moving out of poverty, the recent recession hit Hamilton’s poorest residents hardest. Low income residents were first to feel the impact of the recession and appear to be the last to see the benefits of an economic recovery. Income Inequality in Hamilton According the annual Vital Signs report compiled by the Hamilton Community Foundation, “the poorest 20% of Hamiltonians had 5% of total income….the richest 20% had 41% of the total income.” Overall, the richest one-fifth of residents have about eight times the income of the poorest one-fifth.


One on one: Helping newcomers land a job (Richard Blackwell, Globe and Mail)
Working with a mentor can be a huge boost to recently arrived immigrants looking for work. New research shows mentoring can dramatically improve the employment prospects of immigrants and sharply boost their incomes, if the mentor works in the same field. Among 292 immigrants who responded to a survey conducted for ALLIES, an arm of Toronto-based immigration and diversity think tank Maytree Foundation, unemployment rates plunged from 73 per cent at the time their mentoring program began, to 19 per cent a year later. The study also showed that average full-time earnings of people in the programs jumped over that same period by 62 per cent, to almost $60,000 from $36,905. And 71 per cent of the immigrants were working in their field a year after the mentoring began, compared with 27 per cent at the start.

Improving Access to Labour Market Information for Migrants and Employers (IOM)
The IOM LINET study Improving Access to Labour Market Information for Migrants and Employers (2013) investigates information strategies and channels most commonly used for employment matching through migration, in selected EU Member States and non-EU settlement countries. The study identifies the main information-related obstacles facing respectively, employers willing to hire migrant workers – both from abroad and inside the country – and prospective and resident migrants looking for available job opportunities. It proposes appropriate policy responses, including at the pre-departure stage, to overcome those obstacles and enhance the potential of international migration to address labour and skill shortages.

Why I Haven’t Hired a Single Developer in Canada (Mario Zelaya,
I kept banging my head against the wall, doing calculations on profit margins, ability to grow and scale with those kinds of salaries. The end result of my calculations were very slim margins, a low salary for myself and the need to receive financing to keep the company afloat while I collected receivables from clients. Not fun stuff, nor encouraging. I took a gamble: I tried a different approach. I decided not to hire anyone in Canada and instead look for developers abroad. My country of choice was Argentina. I spoke Spanish, they were in the same time zone as us, had large population with a great education system, and a talent pool that was a great fit for what I needed. The gamble paid off. What I found was shocking. For the price of one senior developer in Canada, I could easily hire four (or more) equally talented developers in Argentina. I interviewed a lot of developers until I found the right ones that I could trust, had passion for their work and also spoke English.

Migrant workers to Canada swindled (
Fifty two prospective workers who were promised jobs in Canada if they paid PT Reka Wahana Mulya (RWM) are seeking legal action against the company. The workers have reported fraud to the police after not departing at the promised date last year. The workers were promised a job at a plantation company in Canada and had paid between Rp 25 and 30 million per person to the RWM which has not been refunded.

Royal Bank CEO apologizes, tells Canadian workers they won’t be axed (Jeff McIntosh, Vancouver Sun)
Royal Bank’s top executive apologized Thursday to the workers who are being affected by the bank’s outsourcing arrangement with a foreign company, saying RBC should have been more sensitive and helpful to them. The apology follows a backlash against the bank after some of its Canadian information technology workers complained they were being replaced by foreign workers working for a company contracted by RBC.

Harper says he has concerns about the number of foreign workers in Canada (680 News)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has concerns about the growing use of temporary foreign workers in Canada. Harper says the reality is that some employers need to bring in outside workers to fill jobs. But he says foreign workers should only be filling spots temporarily in fields where there are “absolute and acute” labour shortages.

Harper promises reforms to foreign worker program in wake of RBC apology (National Post)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has concerns about the growing use of temporary foreign workers in Canada. Harper says the reality is that some employers need to bring in outside workers to fill jobs. But he says foreign workers should only be filling spots temporarily in fields where there are “absolute and acute” labour shortages. Harper says reforms are being drafted to ensure the program is being used only for that purpose. Speaking to reporters in Calgary, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said his government will bring in a series of reforms “in very short order” to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program to ensure there are no more abuses.

Skilled labour gap evidence skimpy and selective (CBC)
Is there a skilled labour shortage in Canada? Many employers say there is, but even some business surveys and the government’s own research suggests the evidence is at best slim and sporadic. Amid the brouhaha triggered by a contractor of the Royal Bank to bring in temporary foreign workers to replace the bank’s Canadian ones, opposition parties are itching for Parliament’s return Monday to hammer the Harper government over the decision last spring to relax rules making it easier to import workers.

Labour Shortage in Canada? Evidence Is Skimpy (The Tyee)
Is there a skilled labour shortage in Canada? Many employers say there is, but even some business surveys and the government’s own research suggests the evidence is at best slim and sporadic. Amid the brouhaha triggered by a contractor of the Royal Bank to bring in temporary foreign workers to replace the bank’s Canadian ones, opposition parties are itching for Parliament’s return Monday to hammer the Harper government over the decision last spring to relax rules making it easier to import workers.

Outsourcing firm iGate says it will create Canadian jobs (Dana Flavelle, Toronto Star)
The outsourcing firm at the heart of the temporary foreign workers controversy at Canada’s largest bank says it expects to create 400 to 500 new jobs in Canada over the next 18 months. iGate Corp.’s chief executive officer made the remarks during a quarterly conference call with analysts Friday as part of a defence of the company’s business model. iGate’s services to Royal Bank of Canada became controversial earlier this week when a fired RBC employee said the firm was bringing in workers from India to replace a group of Canadian high-tech workers.

Ex-RBC foreign workers say contractor controlled their lives (Kathy Tomlinson, CBC)
Two IT contractors from India who worked at RBC in Toronto said their lives were tightly controlled by their multinational employer, while they took over the jobs of Canadian bank workers. “They have a rotation policy, and they make sure you don’t get settled here,” said one of the ex-iGATE employees. “You are always threatened that at any time you will be sent back [to India].” The men, who now have permanent resident status in Canada and new jobs, spoke to the CBC’s Go Public under the condition they would not be identified. Go Public first broke the story Saturday of dozens of employees at RBC who were losing their jobs to temporary foreign workers.

B.C. firm faces fraud charges (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 Wellong International Investments, Ltd. The Canada Revenue Agency then went to court seeking the documents seized last year by the CBSA.

Burnaby council reacts to RBC scandal (Stefania Seccia, Burnaby Now)
“Disgrace,” “sham,” and “appalling” were some of the words used by Burnaby city council to describe the Royal Bank of Canada’s use of temporary foreign workers to replace 45 jobs for Canadian workers. RBC and its president and CEO Gordon Nixon recently came under fire after it was revealed by the CBC that foreign workers were replacing Canadian jobs. RBC recently apologized and initially said the workers were only hired to manage a transition and only one temporary foreign worker was employed, according to a CBC story.

United Steelworkers: Diane Finley Must Resign Over Temporary Foreign Worker Scandal (Canadian Progressive World)
The United Steelworkers (USW) is calling for the resignation of Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, over her mishandling of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The recent disclosure that RBC is replacing Canadian employees by outsourcing jobs to temporary foreign workers has created a national firestorm, and prompted a flood of reports that other banks and employers are doing the same thing.

Harper: Temporary Foreign Worker Program Reforms In The Works After RBC Scandal (Lauren Strapagiel, Huffington Post)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he has concerns about the growing use of temporary foreign workers in Canada. Harper says the reality is that some employers need to bring in outside workers to fill jobs. But he says foreign workers should only be filling spots temporarily in fields where there are “absolute and acute” labour shortages. Harper says reforms are being drafted to ensure the program is being used only for that purpose.

RBC Temporary Foreign Workers could cost over $1 billion of investments (BC Insulators Union)
A group of BC union pension plans have sent a warning letter to RBC Financial Services in Vancouver that they will withdraw over $1 billion in funds invested or managed by the firm if its parent company the Royal Bank does not reverse its actions in using Temporary Foreign Workers to replace Canadians. And the unions say outsourcing about 45 Canadian jobs is also unacceptable. BC Insulators Union Business Manager Lee Loftus says the pension plans believe it is hypocritical for their retirement funds to be invested by a company that is undermining the Canadian economy and hurting Canadian workers.

Unions question B.C. mining firm’s statements (Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver)
A B.C. mining company gave “conflicting” statements to Victoria and Ottawa to get permission to import foreign workers, union lawyers told a judicial review Wednesday. Lawyer Charles Gordon, representing two unions in the dispute, told the Federal Court that operator HD Mining argued in B.C. government they would only use “room and pillar mining” for a preliminary coal sampling stage. “Then they turn around and they represent something different to the federal government for the purpose of obtaining a Labour Market Opinion to bring in temporary foreign workers,” Gordon argued. LMOs were eventually issued for 201 workers to come in from China. The issuing of those LMOs is at dispute.

Reining in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (Erin Weir, rabble)
Reports of RBC outsourcing jobs to temporary foreign workers to replace existing Canadian employees should prompt a broader debate about the massive expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program in recent years. Is this program addressing genuine “labour shortages” or undermining job opportunities and wages in Canada? The number of temporary foreign workers in Canada has more than doubled since the Harper government took office. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration reports the presence of 338,000 temporary foreign workers at the end of 2012.

Royal Bank apologizes to employees over outsourcing (Grant Robertson, Globe and Mail)
Royal Bank of Canada chief executive officer Gord Nixon has issued an open letter apologizing to employees for a controversy involving the bank’s use of temporary foreign workers. In a statement titled “An open letter to Canadians,” the bank’s CEO said the bank is in compliance with regulations involving temporary workers, but should have handled the situation better.


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

Newsstand: April 11, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
Hey Thursday, is that freezing rain and ice pellets, or are you just incredibly unhappy to see us? In the news: the City goes after abandoned bikes, the GTA has some economic issues to work out, the TDSB looks to expand Africentric programs, and the police give out fast food coupons.


Expanding the Rotman/CAMH domestic microfinance program and new opportunities (Narinder Dhami,
For as long as she could remember, Naomi wanted to run her own business. Inspired by awful gluten free food, she began to operate a small gluten free bakery that soon became a full time occupation after she lost her day job. She realized that for her business to become her primary source of income, she would need to both scale operations up and reduce her costs. Due to past personal obstacles, Naomi was unable to obtain financing from traditional banking institutions. After several unsuccessful attempts to secure a small business loan, Naomi found Rise Asset Development, which offered her financing based on the strength of her character, work ethic and business plan. “They felt confident that I had overcome my personal obstacles and that I could follow through. They were willing to take a chance on me,” she recalls.

Michael Porter unveils new health and happiness index (Guardian UK)
The Harvard professor, who created the concept of shared value, hopes to bring social and environmental considerations to the top of the policy and corporate agenda The Social Progress Index Photo by: SPI Can Harvard professor Michael Porter do for wellbeing and happiness what others have so far failed to achieve? The creator of the shared value concept, who has the ear of both big business and governments, has unveiled a “rigorous” new Social Progress Index (SPI) that hopes to put social and environmental considerations at the top of the policy and corporate agenda.

Canada’s new anti-spam law – implications for charities and nonprofits – updated (David Young, McMillan)
The federal government has enacted an anti-spam law (“Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation” or “CASL”) which is expected to come into force sometime in 2014. Unlike the federal privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act or “PIPEDA”, which for the most part does not apply to charities and nonprofits, the new law will apply to such organizations and will have a significant impact on the way they conduct their donor and member communications–implications-for-charities-and-nonprofits—updated

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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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