Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 15 2013


CollaborAction: why we started Building Blocks, where were going next (DiverseCity Toronto)
On March 20, 2013 we had a lively learning exchange, showcasing local leadership success stories. Our participants connected with and learned from each other. Participants left with ideas and practical information to build civic literacy and promote engagement and participation in your community. Thanks to our enthusiastic and interested participants, CollaborAction trended on twitter in Toronto! It was a fantastic afternoon. Alan Broadbent opened the conference with some words of reflection and inspiration, reminding us why we do this important work. At the end of the event, Ratna Omidvar summed up the afternoon, noting five key themes that emerged.

The Vancouver Dialogues Project: Where the Gold Mountain Meets Turtle Island (Cities of Migration)
Vancouvers earliest Chinese immigrants referred to Canada as a place of opportunity the Gold Mountain. Less well-known is Turtle Island, the legendary name used by many First Nations people. As one of Canadas three founding nations, Aboriginal communities are largely absent from conversations about diversity and multiculturalism. Immigrant communities have little chance for interaction and often maintain outdated stereotypes. Yet both groups have much in common, rich cultural histories as well as the experience of displacement, racism, and living outside of the mainstream.

Strictly Canadian: What are the Canadian values we continue champion? (Roland Mascarenhas, Toronto Star)
Canada is the greatest country in the world, my father would utter to me as an adolescent, in a soft, deliberate and thoughtful tenor. It was paradoxical, because his memories were often a source of pain. He was sent to boarding school from ages 6 to 16, to a private school in rural India, and just as finding a light in darkness, had to grapple with the powerful emotions of loneliness and isolation. Eager to escape, he migrated as a teenager, armed with an intense curiosity and the youthful naiveté that is often its companion. Harsh realities awaited him in a new land; from the unforeseen social distance between citizens, to the jarring racism of the 1970s, with one harrowing tale of him walking toward the bus stop after school, only to be spat on by a stranger, his dignity in tatters.

The pros and cons of identity politics (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
My contribution to the Laurier Institution panel was to suggest the rise of identity politics in the past five decades has been a prime force in fuelling the kind of individualistic, me-first cultural fragmentation that polls show is rampant across the U.S. and Canada, especially B.C. More specifically, I described a University of Waterloo study that surveyed Chinese-Canadians about the Conservative governments 2006 apology for the head tax. The researchers found the apology did not impress Chinese-Canadians or, more importantly, make them feel more included in the wider Canadian culture. The Waterloo study might even hint, I suggested, that when leaders of minority groups zero in too intensely on their own rights, and the rights of their group, they are making their groups members feel more aggrieved, more isolated and less likely to focus on wider issues of concern. No one should succumb to historical naiveté or denial; pretending real injustices do not occur against various minority groups. But identity politics can be destructive when it encourages people to fixate on, or exaggerate, their sense of persecution.

Cultural barbaric practices here and there (Emma Teitel, Maclean’s)
I called Sims and asked her to elaborate. Why the opposition to the word cultural? It is barbaric, she said. You dont need any other adjective. They are barbaric. Period. I tried to press her: Isnt there a cultural difference, I argued, when youre dealing with immigrants who are coming from a place where certain barbaric practices are condoned? Doesnt the cultural acceptance of those practices render them culturally barbaric, as opposed to just plain old barbaric? We have our fair share of gender violence, of course, I argued, but our culture rejects it overwhelmingly as immoral. Thats a stark cultural difference. Sims didnt want to talk semantics, or ethnicity. When asked if the word cultural stigmatizes certain cultures, she changed the subject to the Conservatives.

Nearly 8 in 10 Canadians worry about homegrown terrorism: Poll (Winnipeg Sun)
Almost eight in 10 Canadians worry about homegrown terrorism, an exclusive poll by Abacus Data for QMI Agency found. Still, barely more than a quarter of those asked would slap the “major problem” label on the phenomenon of radicalized, violent Canadians.

Canadian popular culture is changing, eh? (Welcome to Canada)
“Overall Canadian pop culture indeed seems to be a reflection of American popular culture, and while I understand the desire to establish our own identity, I dont think its that big a deal if we have music, television, movies, books, magazines etc from other countries.” Eh! Canadian Pop Culture Blog

Not so cool in the Great White North: Toronto and the Caribbean Jazz experience (Nigel A. Campbell)
The phenomena of immigration, assimilation and accommodation in CanadaToronto more specificallyhas long been used by modern anthropologists and writers to describe the plight of Caribbean immigrant. Neil Bissoondath has aptly described the cult of multiculturalism in Canada, a nationally legislated exercise in social engineering, as exoticizing and trivializing cultures to create mental ghettos for the various communities. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted since 2010 that her countrys exercise of multiculturalism has utterly failed. Trinidad went against the tide of modern history and created a Ministry of Multiculturalism. Many writers of Caribbean birth make use of the mature publishing industry to their profit: Bissondath, Clare Harris, Dionne Brand, NourbeSe Philip, Rabindranath Maharaj, Shani Mootoo, Ramabai Espinet, the late Harold Sonny Ladoo, all of Trinidad; Austin Clarke and Cecil Foster of Barbados, Olive Senior and Nalo Hopkinson of Jamaica, Richardo Keens-Douglas of Grenada are identifiable authors of multiple volumes carving a space in the Canadian publishing industry.

Writer’s latest a haunting story (Kathleen Keenan,
Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and immigrated to Canada with his family at age 19. He is the author of two acclaimed works of fiction, Funny Boy (1994) and Cinnamon Gardens (1998), and a young adult novel, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea (2005). The Hungry Ghosts, a haunting story of longing, family ties and forgiveness, begins in Canada. Shivan, a gay man of mixed Tamil and Sinhalese ancestry, is preparing to visit his dying grandmother in Sri Lanka. Compelling flashbacks tell the story of Shivan’s childhood in his domineering grandmother’s home, his immigration to Toronto with his mother Hema and sister Renu, and his adult life in Vancouver.

Immigration Canada says paperwork will be completed for pregnant Filipina woman (Renato Gandia, Calgary Sun)
Good news couldnt come fast enough for a pregnant Filipina temporary worker in Calgary whose renewal application for a work permit got caught up in technical snafu. Justin Popowich, husband of Belen Espedido, said they took a sigh of relief upon hearing her work permit has been approved by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada. I almost hit the ceiling when I heard the news, said Popowich, when the Sun informed him the permit was approved. I was in a coffee shop, the whole restaurant heard me scream.

Canada froze immigration schemes in face of criticism (SCMP)
Official forecasts about Chinese migration reshaping Vancouver are premised upon conditions remaining similar over the next two decades, but already changes are looming. Canada has stopped accepting applications under two key schemes, the immigrant investor programme and the federal entrepreneur programme. The freeze is ostensibly to clear a backlog of tens of thousands of applications, many from China.

Video: ET Canada – ELLE Canada Diversity Shoot (Global News)

Inaugural conference on diversity in classroom held in Edmonton (CBC)
The Alberta Teachers Association (ATA) is hosting its inaugural Inspiration into Action Conference at the Barnett House Auditorium in Edmonton this weekend. Over 100 teachers from across the province including representatives from the public, separate and francophone school systems will be attending the event, which is intended as a forum to discuss diversity, equity and human rights in the workplace and classroom. Information and training sessions will be held on such topics as cyber-bullying, support for sexual minorities, the learning needs of Aboriginal students, and supporting immigrant and refugee students.

PNP ‘fundamentally transformed’ P.E.I. immigration (CBC)
A government-commissioned review of the Provincial Nominee Program says the program “fundamentally transformed” immigration on P.E.I. The report by the accounting firm Grant Thornton estimates 1,151 principal applicants made P.E.I. their permanent home from 2001 to 2010, with family members that would be 3,662 newcomers settling on the Island. The program accounted for 94 per cent of all immigration to P.E.I. over that period. The report says investments through the program were about $106 million, with a GDP impact of $60.4 million.

Strictly Canadian: Embracing the new nations culture (Mayank Bhatt, Toronto Star)
At present, term Canadian is narrowly defined and doesnt encompass all it should culturally, socially, economically and politically.

David Mamets Race at Canadian Stage (Denise Balkissoon, Ethnic Aisle)
This is a Toronto blog, and heres my Toronto take on Race: America is weird. After seeing last nights premiere of David Mamets play (starring, yes, Jason Priestley), my main thought was that we really need to do a Canada vs. USA issue of the Ethnic Aisle, and examine how very differently the two countries experience race and ethnicity. The literal black/white dichotomy of American race politics is always curious to me. Its not surprising that the Atlantic slave trade has such an enduring legacy on just about every single way Americans look at everything. But at the same time it seems strange that a play debuted in 2009 makes just an offhand mention of one immigrant, and barely flicks at the ever-changing, multifaceted view of race and ethnicity that is my Toronto-born view of the topic, and the world.

Immigrating to Canada as teacher (Andy Radia, Prepare for Canada)
On the surface, it looks like Cristina Popescu and her husband had an easy transition to life in Canada. Just a few years after immigrating here from Romania, they both have jobs in their field of choice shes a teacher and hes in the I.T. industry and they appear to be living happily ever after. But it didnt happen by accident or by luck. Even before immigrating to Canada, the couple started preparing they went on the Internet to find out where the best opportunities for them would be.

ReelWorld Film Festival Expands to Markham with a Second Film Festival (Sasha Stoltz, Oye! Times)
ReelWorld Film Festival expands to the City of Markham, hosting a second spring festival in 2014 in addition to its Toronto festival. The announcement was made to a packed theatre at last nights opening gala of the 13th Annual ReelWorld Film Festival held at Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas in Toronto. Im thrilled the ReelWorld Film Festival is expanding to Markham. As Canadas most culturally diverse city, this festival is a great match for our Cultural and Diversity Plans. Theres strong Canadian content and productions from around the world. Our residents will benefit from ReelWorld-Markham 2014, and well welcome visitors to enjoy the amazing caliber of films,” said City of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

Elaine Gerrie Among Women Honoured By Diversity Canada Magazine : Electrical Line Magazine : Canada’s Electrical Trade Publication (Electrical Line Magazine)
Elaine Gerrie of Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited was one of the 18 women executives and managers honoured in the Spring edition of Diversity Canada Magazine as a leader in opening doors and removing barriers for Women, Aboriginals and Visible Minorities in Canada. Gerrie Electric is a Canadian, independent, family owned, electrical distributor located in south central Ontario Diversity Canada Magazine said the winners, who are featured in its 2013 Spring issue, have worked relentlessly within their organizations and communities to develop inclusive best practices in groundbreaking ways. The magazine will be distributed at several major diversity and Human Resources conferences and mailed to thousands of top-level corporate executives.

Montreal Was Jackie Robinson’s Refuge From Racism (Bill Mann, Huffington Post)
I’m pretty sure I did the final interview with Jackie Robinson. I’m glad I grabbed the chance to approach Robinson, already a legendary figure, when I did. He was gone shortly after. It took place in Montreal, where Robinson loved living and playing baseball. The city was his refuge from racism. That’s why he told this young sportswriter he came back to the city. He spent what turned out to be his last summer in that French-speaking metropolis. The new film about Robinson,42, virtually overlooks Montreal, just as Argo marginalized Canada. A shame, but totally predictable.

Immigration Related Resolutions at the NDP Convention (Steven Meurrens)
In 2011 I wrote about a resolution at the Conservative Party Convention to strip the citizenship of people who take up arms against Canadian soldiers or other types of treason. Fast forward to 2013, and it seems like the government may adopt a similar policy. So with the New Democratic Party, the Official Opposition in Canada, about to have their Policy Convention in Montreal, I thought it would be prudent to state the resolutions of theirs directly related to immigration (as opposed to resolutions which would indirectly influence immigration by impacting Canadas standard of living).

Of ‘illegal immigrants’ and ‘democratic socialism’ (Charles Demers, rabble)
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in the world of political phraseology. Now, if by some miracle you didnt slip directly into a coma after reading that first sentence, I’ll explain what I mean. First of all, some genuine progress about which to be sincerely pleased: the Associated Press has announced that it will stop using the dehumanizing phrase “illegal immigrant.” There are, of course, all sorts of different terms for someone who is in a country that they aren’t legally supposed to be in, from “undocumented worker” to “member of the Israel Defense Forces.” But for many years, the term “illegal immigrant,” and its even more jarring, otherworldly cousin, “illegal alien” (inspiration for the perfect costume if you find yourself invited to a Halloween party at the corner of Racist and Lazy) were insensitively bandied about with the sort of ease with which, say, capital has getting over those same “illegally” crossed borders.

Helping Newcomers Settle and Succeed (Gov of Ontario News)
Ontario is increasing support for settlement programs and helping more than 80,000 newcomers get the services they need to settle and find jobs. Through the government’s Newcomer Settlement Program, 98 organizations across the province will receive support over the next two years to help connect new immigrants with language and job training, and other community services. This year’s investment will allow select agencies to explore new and innovative ways to deliver support to vulnerable immigrants and underserviced communities. Enhancing newcomer settlement services is part of the province’s Immigration Strategy and supports the new Ontario government’s efforts to build a healthy province and a fair society.

In the Field Newsletter Volume 10 (OCASI)
Debbie’s observations on change happening in the sector
Forming Partnerships between Settlement Agencies and Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)
OCASI School of Social Justice
OCASI e-Learning
Sector Happenings

The five groups the Liberals need to win back to rebuild the party (Globe and Mail)
Over the past two decades, Canada has imported nearly two Torontos-worth of immigrants, most of them from Asian and Pacific nations, profoundly altering both the demographic and political landscape. Many of them now live in the sprawling suburban cities that surround Toronto. While new Canadians used to support the Liberals traditionally the party identified with multiculturalism and open immigration polls show this generation of new arrivals is more economically and culturally conservative than those who came over from Europe in the last century. They worry about the economy and safe streets and are inclined to believe that activist governments make things worse instead of better. In the last election, middle-class, suburban voters in Ontario including middle-class, immigrant voters strongly supported the Harper Conservatives. Justin Trudeaus single greatest priority must be to win them back.

Canada Committed to Protecting and Promoting Religious Freedom (Marketwire)
Protecting and promoting the rights of vulnerable groups is a priority for Canada. The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, affirmed this priority and delivered remarks today at an event on religious freedom hosted by One Free World International, an international human rights organization. “Canada is committed to protecting and promoting religious freedom and has made this an important part of our foreign policy and international development work,” said Minister Fantino. “The reality is that excluded groups, including religious minorities, are often the most vulnerable in society.”

Surrey man trapped in U.S. for months returns home (CTV)
A Surrey man who crossed the U.S. border and was refused entry back into Canada is finally back home after an innocent mistake spiraled into months of uncertainty. Satvir Singh pulled up to the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey Sunday, receiving a much different reception than the last time he was there. Thats because he was ordered deported by Canadian Border Services Agency in February after flying to New Delhi from the U.S. for his sisters wedding. Although Singh had a Visa allowing him to cross the U.S.-Canada border weekly for his job as a trucker, he said he didnt know he needed additional documents to return to the country after travelling overseas.

How mainland Chinese immigrants are transforming Vancouver (SCMP)
Life is good for Wei Fuqiang and Chen Qianhong. Sitting on their 10-metre cruiser in Vancouver’s exclusive Coal Harbour marina, the married mechanical engineers recount an unlikely trajectory from wartime China, to Tsinghua University at the height of the Cultural Revolution, to elite careers building particle accelerators in Europe at a time when few of their countrymen were even allowed to leave China. Little about this remarkable couple is typical – yet as mainlanders they now typify a vast wave of immigration that is rapidly transforming Vancouver.

Gay seniors struggling to find ‘safe’ retirement housing (Janet Thomson, CBC)
Alf Roberts took part in his first pride parade when he was 80 years old, shortly after coming out of the closet. The Toronto senior rode on a bus decorated by Fudger House, a downtown long-term care home that focuses on creating a positive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered seniors. Roberts, one of the 249 residents at Fudger House, hasn’t missed a parade since that day three years ago. He credits his openness and willingness to take part in the event to the support he has received at the municipal facility.

Immigration Canada says paperwork will be completed for pregnant Filipina woman (Renato Gandia, Calgary Sun)
Good news couldnt come fast enough for a pregnant Filipina temporary worker in Calgary whose renewal application for a work permit got caught up in technical snafu. Justin Popowich, husband of Belen Espedido, said they took a sigh of relief upon hearing her work permit has been approved by the Citizenship and Immigration Canada. I almost hit the ceiling when I heard the news, said Popowich, when the Sun informed him the permit was approved. I was in a coffee shop, the whole restaurant heard me scream.

Expanded program to engage newcomers in arts and heritage (Sean Meyer, London Community News)
One of the beauties of arts and heritage is that someone doesnt have to speak any particular language to enjoy it. That universal truth is something the London Arts Council (LAC) and the London Heritage Council (LHC) are relying on as they prepare to expand the scope of their Citizen Culture Program with a helping hand from the federal government. On Friday (April 12), London North Centre MP Susan Truppe joined Andrea Halwa, LAC executive director, board chairs from both the LAC and LHC, and numerous community partners, in announcing an $81,500 contribution towards expansion of the Citizen Culture Program. This program will encourage newcomers, new Canadians, London residents, tourists and students to engage in cultural experiences at 22 participating arts and heritage organizations in the Forest City.

Vancouver’s first Arab art show highlights diversity of the Middle East (Rebekah Funk, The Canadian Press)
A beat-up 1970s Toyota Corona sits among bundles of household goods, waiting for the tarried family who will pile their life atop its roof racks and drive to new beginnings. The sky-blue car is part of a new exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology that showcases the works of contemporary artists from the Middle East, in the hopes they can debunk a western-world myth that the area is all about burkas, bloodshed and bombings. The life-size visual display entitled “Destination X” by Lebanese artist, Ayman Baalbaki, chronicles his family’s flight from their homeland during a 1970 civil war.


Medical Student Videos Take Aim at Canada’s New Refugee Regime (Canada Newswire)
Over the past two months, medical students at schools across the country have been producing videos to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of Bill C-31 and cuts to Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). Under these changes, many refugees and refugee claimants lose preventive health coverage including life-saving medications, and only receive health care if their condition is of an “urgent and essential” nature. Perhaps even more worrying, refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs), countries that are deemed to be “safe” by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, receive coverage only if their condition is a threat to public health and safety. A heart attack, a woman in labour, a broken arm – none of these medical issues will be covered for DCO claimants.

Refugees without health care caught between death and debts (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Israel Sosas deportation has been put on hold as the 50-year-old battles colon cancer. The failed refugee claimant from the Dominican Republic has been allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds for now but he has been banned from getting treatment under Ottawas Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program for refugees. The Toronto man could choose to delay treatment and face death or go into debt paying his medical costs. Thats the new reality for asylum seekers from the so-called safe countries ones such as Mexico and the Czech Republic, which are deemed democratic countries capable of state protection as well as failed refugee claimants.

Regional Focus: Europe (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
A service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants; provided by Elisa Mason.

From There to Here: Once-stateless Tibetan refugee Tenzin Nordhen finds a home at last (Debra Black, Toronto Star)
More than 240,000 immigrants are expected to arrive in Canada this year. Many will settle in the GTA. For some, their dreams may take years to build. For others, those dreams may never materialize. To explore that experience, the Star is publishing an occasional series in the words of newcomers, both recent and more established. If you would like to tell your story, email dzblack Tenzin Nordhen, a 32-year-old Tibetan refugee, came to Canada from Nepal in 2007. He grew up in India after his parents left Tibet part of a wave of Tibetans who followed the Dalai Lama out of the country after China occupied their homeland.

Refugee Advocacy Video Competition (CFMS)
Over the past two months, medical students at schools across the country have been producing short videos to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of Bill C-31 and cuts to Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). Under these changes, many refugees and refugee claimants lose preventive health coverage including life-saving medications, and only receive health care if their condition is of an “urgent and essential” nature. Perhaps even more worrying, refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin (DCOs), countries that are deemed to be “safe” by the Minister of Immigration, receive coverage only if their condition is a threat to public health and safety. A heart attack, a woman in labour, a broken arm – none of these will be covered for DCO claimants. As medical students, we’re standing up to say that it is wrong to deny the human right to health to the most vulnerable people residing in Canada.

Canada not lifting visas for Czechs after asylum system reform (Prague Monitor)
Visa requirements that Canada imposed on Czechs in 2009 and did not lift even after it reformed its asylum system in late 2012 complicate bilateral relations and may affect the approval of the EU-Canada economic and trade agreement, the Czech Foreign Ministry has told CTK. Canada reimposed visa requirements on Czech citizens on July 14, 2009, in reaction to a rising number of Czech immigrants, mainly Romanies, who were seeking asylum there.


OFL Releases People’s Budget Plan for Ontario: Affordable Measures to Alleviate Poverty, New Infrastructure Investment, and Tax Fairness (Marketwire)
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) released a white paper today, A People’s Budget – Towards a Fair Ontario, which proposes recommendations that will create good jobs, alleviate poverty, support workers and their families, give young people a fair chance, and promote tax fairness. These recommendations are based on extensive feedback from citizens and groups and builds on a discussion paper the OFL released in February of this year calling for a change in the conversation on austerity. “Over the course of our consultation, we heard stories of hard-working Ontarians falling behind, young people losing their optimism, and families struggling to make sense of the unfairness of income inequality,” said Sid Ryan, President of the OFL. “Yet we also heard inspiring stories of perseverance and thoughtful ideas for the future. The People’s Budget offers a positive path forward, away from austerity and towards a fair society based on equity and shared prosperity.”

Video: People’s Budget – White Paper Promo (OFL)
On Monday, April 15, 2013 the People’s Budget will be releasing its final recommendations for the Ontario budget. This white paper, produced by the Ontario Federation of Labour will present a blueprint for a fairer Ontario.

Provincial News: Liberals pressed to raise social assistance rates in 2013 budget (Northumberland View)
Anti-poverty activists visited the office of Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa today to bring him and Premier Kathleen Wynne a message: raise social assistance rates by 55 percent in the 2013 budget. “Today we’re handing Charles Sousa a bill for real social justice in Ontario,” says Liisa Schofield of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP). “It’s time the Liberal government took social justice seriously and accounted for the amount past due to those who have been unjustly denied.”

Poverty activists target Sousa’s office (
Protesters gathered outside the Port Credit constituency office of Finance Minister and Mississauga South MPP Charles Sousa this afternoon to demand the Liberal government do more to help those living in poverty. About two dozen protesters braved the cold, drizzly weather to let Sousa know they want action. While Sousa wasn’t at his office, the protesters sent a delegation inside to meet with his representatives.–poverty-activists-target-sousa-s-office

IMFG Perspectives paper explores greater private participation in affordable housing (IMFG)
The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) has released a new paper that explores how to mobilize more private investment for affordable housing in Ontario. The paper proposes that new investment is needed to meet the demand for additional affordable housing and to refurbish the existing stock. With limited scope for large new government funding commitments, it is critical to create the conditions for private sector investment.

Inequality: What the Fed Finance Committee should know (CWP)
This month the federal Finance Committee is set to study income inequality over a three-day period: April 16, 25 and 30th. This is following the successful passage of Liberal MP Scott Brisons motion M-315 which was introduced in June, 2012. Inequality is an important topic and intertwines with poverty. Thanks to the work of various organizations, including the Equality Trust, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Conference Board of Canada and the Broadbent Institute, and public protests such as the Occupy Movement, the detrimental impacts of inequality are now public knowledge. While the study was only slated for one day of review originally, the committee clearly heard the voice of the public calling for more time and added two extra days.

Barbra Schlifer award honours legal advocate for womens housing (Laura Kane, Toronto Star)
Leilani Farha wants to wake up in a better world for women. The executive director of Canada Without Poverty says that some mornings when she opens her eyes and turns on the news, she thinks, Is this the best we can do? Now, she is being honoured with the first annual Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award for her efforts to make that world better. For two decades, Farha has worked tirelessly to ensure female victims of violence have access to housing in Canada and across the globe. The award was introduced this year by the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, which offers legal help, counselling and language interpretation to women who have experienced violence.

Health Innovation Portal
The Health Council of Canada is reporting on innovative health care practices, policies, programs and services so they can be adopted elsewhere in Canada. Our goal is to support the identification, sharing, and uptake of innovative practices that have been demonstrated to strengthen Canadas health care system. Were here to help you find programs and practices that are working in other jurisdictions across a variety of health care themes so you can learn from them and put them into practice.

Labour Rights conference highlights unions’ role in fight for rights, democracy (John Bonnar, rabble)
Almost 200 people gathered in Toronto at the end of March to discuss the establishment and protection of labour laws in Canada and internationally as well as why unions matter in todays global economy. Particularly in this day and age when were under such attack, said James Clancy, national president, NUPGE Canada. Over the course of the conference, hosted by The Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights (CFLR), a panel of experts spoke about the links between labour rights, democracy, equality and social justice.

Canadian Social Research Newsletter (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Join the British Columbia election campaign! — “Where is BCs Poverty Reduction Plan?” (BC Poverty Reduction Coalition)
2. [Ontario] Union and welfare advocacy group seeking a 55% boost in social assistance (April 12) + Is the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty becoming more moderate? (March 6)
3. SPARmonitor (Social Policy Analysis & Research, City of Toronto) – April 10
4. Employment Insurance cuts are another blow to the jobless (Toronto Star) – April 10
5. Unions Matter (National Union of Public and General Employees – NUPGE) – March 2013
6. More news about Quebec’s controversial welfare changes – April 10, 13
7. Who will push for Ontarios poor [in the upcoming Ontario Budget 2014]? (Hamilton Spectator) – April 11
8. Stephen Harper and The Fraser (Georgia Straight) – July 6, 2006
9. Why Guaranteeing the Poor an Income Will Save Us All In the End (Hugh Segal in Huffington Post Canada) – April 8
10. Inequality: What the Federal Finance Committee should know (Canada Without Poverty) – April 8
11. The At Home/Chez Soi project ended March 31 (Housing First for people experiencing serious mental illness and homelessness)
12. Research Tip : Google Alerts!
13. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— no social policy-related products this week.
14. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit


Torontos recipe for prosperity: More graduates and more paths to good jobs (James Bradshaw, Globe and Mail)
The immigration factor Out of 24 major world cities, from London to New York, Paris to Tokyo, Torontos population has the highest proportion of immigrants 46 per cent of residents are foreign born. But not enough new arrivals are highly skilled, and those that are tend to be underappreciated, according to the 2013 Scorecard on Prosperity.

Temporary foreign workers: They’re what Canada’s made of (Doug Saunders, Globe and Mail)
As a nation of immigrants, we like to imagine that our families arrived and became citizens through a planned and orderly process. But for many of them, it didnt work that way.They didnt arrive thinking of themselves as immigrants at all but as temporary or seasonal workers. Were a nation of temps who stuck around. This system of temporary status melding into permanence has worked very well as a means to create new Canadians. But it has recently fallen apart: The temporary, now here in greater numbers than ever, are finding themselves unable to become permanent.

CAMSC fair showcases diverse suppliers (Michael Power, Canadian Manufacturing)
Supplier diversity programs are more than simply a worthwhile cause. That was the message from Blackberrys director of supply chain, Melinda Painter, who offered opening remarks during the 2013 Canadian Aboriginal & Minority Supplier Diversity Councils (CAMSCs) Diversity Procurement Fair, held April 9-10 at the Weston Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto. Each year, the fair aims to support supply chain diversity by connecting aboriginal and minority owned business to corporations. The event included best practice workshops, strategic sourcing round tables and one-on-one meetings with suppliers and purchasing managers.

Time to make Temporary Foreign Workers permanent (Doug Saunders, Globe and Mail)
As a nation of immigrants, we like to imagine that our families arrived and became citizens through a planned and orderly process. But for many of them, it didnt work that way.They didnt arrive thinking of themselves as immigrants at all but as temporary or seasonal workers. Were a nation of temps who stuck around. This system of temporary status melding into permanence has worked very well as a means to create new Canadians. But it has recently fallen apart: The temporary, now here in greater numbers than ever, are finding themselves unable to become permanent.

Doing the Heavy Lifting Canadas temporary foreign workers vulnerable to exploitation (David Koch, The Dominion)
José Sicajau, a Guatemalan man of Indigenous descent, had grown accustomed to exploitative conditions after several years as a Temporary Foreign Worker growing vegetables on a farm in Saint-Michel, Quebec, less than an hour south of Montreal. But when his boss allegedly attacked a Mexican co-worker in 2006, striking him with an aluminum pole because the assembly of an irrigation system was not going as planned, Sicajau ran out of patience. That was the end for me, said Sicajau, 45, speaking through a translator in November. He was in Ottawa with a delegation of human rights activists, touring the region to denounce the program that first brought him to Canada nearly a decade ago.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program works for Canada (Garth Whyte, Financial Post)
The primary objective of the TFW program: permit the use of foreign workers only when Canadians are not available to fill the job Much in the news recently, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFW) has been recipient of a wide range of accusations, ranging from the assertion certain organizations are using it to replace employed Canadians, the presence of overseas staff is depressing salaries and wages in this country particularly in lower-skilled occupations and that unscrupulous employers are abusing program participants. The initiative is currently under review by the federal government and our organization, the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association, fully supports the thorough investigation of all claimed abuses. Our association also completely supports the primary objective of the TFW program: permit the use of foreign workers only when Canadians are not available to fill the job. We want the program to emerge from the government review with a strengthened sense of purpose and integrity, and an enhanced reputation.

Satire – RBC Chief Issues Apology for Getting Caught Outsourcing Jobs (David Bernans, Media Coop Montreal)
RBC has been in the news this week in a way no company ever wants to be. Let me tell you, we were really blindsided on this one. There was nothing newsworthy about our shedding of Canadian IT jobs through an outsourcing agreement with iGate Corp. If we can pay foreign workers less to do the same job that Canadians are doing, its our duty to our shareholders to make that happen. Thats why my own paycheque has recently seen a 25% increase to $12.6 million. All Canadian CEOs do it every day, and it is not news. But with iGate, we went a bridge too far. And we got caught. For that, I apologize with all my heart. Our supplier added insult to the outsourcing injury by using loopholes in the Canadian visa system our friends in the Harper government designed to allow us to employ foreign workers in Canada to do jobs at a lower wage than their Canadian counterparts. And iGate used our RBC IT employees to train the foreign workers who would be doing their jobs once those positions were offshored. When investigative journalists at the CBC found out about all this, the shit really hit the fan.

Is wage theft Gordon Nixon’s new initiative aimed at “helping” young people? (Andrew Langille, Youth and Work)
Between being caught outsourcing forty-five jobs to India, the visceral outrage of Canadians on social media, and a textbook PR disaster – by any measure RBC had a rough week. The eventual point-man in the temporary foreign worker saga was Gordon Nixon, RBC’s CEO, who attempted to defend the indefensible through a series of poorly messaged appearances and ill-conceived crisis management.

RBC outsourcing controversy an economic fraud (Andrew Coyne, National Post)
The temporary foreign workers controversy, in other words, is mostly a fraud. It harnesses crude xenophobia (dont foreign workers have rights, too?) in the service of opposition to outsourcing generally, itself merely a specific expression of a broader protectionism. In every case, the underlying supposition is the same: that some jobs can be saved by preventing others from being created; that jobs can long be preserved because of government fiat, rather than because it is in employers interest to hire; that jobs, indeed, are a form of property, and not a contract between two willing parties. We may wish they were, but they are not.

Employer receives jail term for unpaid wages, wages still owing to young workers (Workers’ Action Centre)
The owner of a pool company that owes thousands of dollars of unpaid wages to former student lifeguards has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and fined $15,000.
According to a 2009 Toronto Star expose, Peter Check hired student lifeguards each summer and then failed to pay their last months wages. When students complained, he would close the business and open up again under a new name for the next season.

To cure skills shortage, a radical proposal (Gwyn Morgan, Globe and Mail)
In last months budget, Ottawa signalled its intention to restructure the $2.5-billion in annual federal training grants to provinces to focus on job skills in short supply. There are too many jobs that go unfilled in Canada because employers cant find workers with the right skills, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty noted. Training in Canada is not sufficiently aligned with the skills employers need. John Manley, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, welcomed the news, saying: What Canada needs is a comprehensive strategy to better align education and training with the skills employers need.

Alberta town would be shut down without foreign workers (Migrants Canada)
After news of RBCs outsourcing of jobs caused a nationwide outcry, one small Alberta town said it depends on foreign workers to fill jobs that Canadians refuse. In Rocky Mountain House, a town in central Alberta, business owner Nikki Searth said she relies on the program because she has trouble finding a student who will accept an $11-an-hour cashier job. According to Searth, it wasnt always so.

Live-in caregiver who worked four years without pay sues Richmond employer (Rebekah Funk, Vancouver Sun)
A live-in caregiver who worked for four years without pay is suing her employer to recover the money she claims she’s owed. Evelyn Yacas worked 16-hour days tending to her employer’s elderly mother at a home in Richmond, the B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit states. Initially from the Philippines, Yacas moved to Canada in 2004 as part of the federal immigration and citizenship ministry’s live-in caregiver program.

Canadian cities falling behind in placing women in top jobs (Janet McFarland, Globe and Mail)
Canadas largest cities are falling behind major U.S. centres in the proportion of management jobs held by women a trend the Toronto Region Board of Trade warns could have negative implications for future growth. A new board of trade study comparing human capital trends for people living in 12 major North American cities shows most of Canadas largest cities including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary rank below all major U.S. centres except Dallas in terms of women in management roles. The only exception is Halifax, which ranks fourth.

Lets worry about skills, not outsourcing (Amanda Lang, CBC)
If you landed back in Canada this week from outer space, or even southern Florida, youd be forgiven for thinking youd hit a wormhole in time and that it was actually 1990. A debate is raging about whether business should outsource jobs if it makes the business more profitable. Wait, you might think, we settled this long ago. And except when it becomes campaign trail rhetoric in America, we understand that outsourcing is not a bad thing. Or is it? We want jobs in Canada, and we want good high-paying ones at that. So why not insist they all stay here? Even at the expense of profit? Quite simply, because it would be the path to ruin.

Temporary foreign worker impacts felt far beyond RBC (CBC)
Mark Thompson, professor emeritus at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says the story is much bigger than almost four dozen RBC workers, and it’s far from over. “I think there’s going to be more examples of temporary foreign workers doing things that most people in the public wonder about.” Thompson says there are over 300,000 temporary foreign workers in Canada in jobs that aren’t temporary in restaurants, in health care, and in many other fields.


2013 Donner Awards accepting applications (Charity Village)
The Donner Awards Program is Canadas largest nonprofit recognition program. with a total of $60,000 available and nine awards granted. They are currently accepting applications for the 2013 Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services until Friday, May 31, 2013. In return for completing the application, all participants receive a confidential report that compares their organizations performance relative to peers in the sector. This report allows them to identify areas of particular strength in their organizations management and delivery of services as well as areas where performance can be improved. Nonprofit organizations may apply to the Donner Awards online and those who complete their application online by the final deadline of May 31 will be entered in a $1,000 cash draw.

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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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