Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 16 2013


Collaboraction: Building Blocks Learning Exchange Toolkit (DiverseCity Toronto)
We recorded each session, have copies of presentation slides (where presentations were made) and have sketchnotes of each session. Please click below to view the summary of each workshop.

Building Blocks in the Public Interest: stronger communities (Alejandra Bravo, DiverseCity Toronto)
As we originally conceived of a train-the-trainer program for Building Blocks that would reach hundreds across the Greater Toronto Area with a civic literacy curriculum, Public Interest became a natural partner. A consultancy for social good, it has worked on innovative outreach strategies for public sector and non-profit organizations since 2002. Public Interest develops productive partnerships between community members, governments, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Developing talent from within communities is integral to the way it delivers projects. It helps community members create the tools and skills they need to gather information and mobilize others in their efforts to bring about change.

Ontario to Increase Spending on Settlement Programs (CICS News)
The government of Ontario, Canada’s largest province, announced more funding for settlement services for immigrants on Friday. The funds will be provided to the Newcomer Settlement Program, which supports 98 organizations that the provincial government says help 80,000 newcomers settle and find jobs in the province.

NDP looking to court ethnic vote (Tobi Cohen,
The NDP appears to be taking a page out of the Conservative handbook, reaching out to ethnic communities in a bid to expand its base. Shortly after New Democrats passed a motion to recognize Sikh human rights defender Jaswant Singh Khaira during their policy convention over the weekend, leader Tom Mulcair was in the crowd gladhanding with South Asian delegates. After pointing out the presence of many “cultural communities” at the convention, he indicated to reporters that the vote-rich, multicultural 905 region surrounding Toronto would be a key battleground in the next election.

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. “In the three years I’ve been here, I’ve been more open than I ever was in my life,” Roberts told CBC News.

Surrey trucker who was barred from Canada overcomes red tape, is back home and on job (Frank Luba, The Province)
A New Delhi man prevented from returning to Canada because of a bureaucratic tangle is back at his Surrey job and has been granted permanent resident status. Satvir Singh, a long-haul trucker, returned to Canada on Sunday for the first time since initially running afoul of border regulations in February. The 26-year-old had been living in the Tacoma area while trying to work out the difficulties that began when he tried to drive across the Canadian border after flying into Seattle from India, where he had gone for his sister’s wedding.

Don’t let anger at RBC stoke anti-migrant racism (Jess Mclaren,
There’s an uproar over the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to replace workers at reduced wages. But the legitimate anger at a multi-billion dollar company driving down wages is getting mixed up with confused anger that falsely counterposes “foreign workers” with “Canadians”—threatening to undermine the labour solidarity needed to fight racism and austerity.

The Influence of Immigrants on Trade Diversification in Saskatchewan (Michelle Parkouda, Conference Board of Canada)
Building on previous studies that have analyzed the effects of immigration on trade at a national level, this briefing examines the impact of immigrants at the provincial level, using Saskatchewan’s trade as an example.

Migration News April 2013 Volume 20 Number 2
Migration News summarizes and analyzes the most important immigration and integration developments of the preceding quarter. Topics are grouped by region: North America, Europe, Asia and Other.

Diversity Garden deep downtown (Jonathan Zettel, Spacing Toronto)
Sanchez and his supervisor, Rosa Jones-Imhotep, oversee the garden and develop outreach strategies to help foster use of the space as a vehicle to promote diversity. They offer gardening classes and provide employment and volunteer opportunities. Literally collecting the fruits of labour alongside people from different cultures and of different ages is exactly what Jones-Imhotep hopes the space offers.

FROM LOCAL TO INTERNATIONAL Challenging Canada’s Human Rights Record At the UN (CCPA)
The United Nation Human Rights Council is conducting a comprehensive review of Canada’s compliance with international human rights laws. Join representatives from leading Canadian NGOs advocating for human rights on a special panel presentation to talk about the UN review process, and watch the Canadian Government’s response to the review online, with discussions to follow.


(Toronto) Refugee Health Advocacy Video (Global Health Elective)


RBC only one of many Canadian employers misusing temporary migrant workers (Salimah Valiani, Toronto Star)
The Royal Bank of Canada’s apology for displacing Canadian workers is welcome, but doesn’t address the much larger Canada-wide problem.

On temporary foreign workers, some sensitivity to the times, please (Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail)
Stephen Harper should have known that the politics of the temporary foreign worker program would overwhelm its economics. It has everywhere else. In this age of rising job insecurity and slow-growing wages, did he think Canadians would simply roll over? Bringing in 200,000 foreign workers every year to perform jobs Canadians are supposedly unable or unwilling to take was a controversial idea well before the Royal Bank of Canada (with a record $7.5-billion profit in 2012) turned out to be one of the beneficiaries. When the CBC revealed the bank was using a foreign IT worker as a precursor to outsourcing jobs to India, a simmering debate exploded into national outrage.

Don’t slam shut Canada’s doors on foreign workers (Globe and Mail)
The uproar over Canada’s temporary foreign worker program has sparked a heated debate over the country’s approach to immigration. But while some are concerned over the program’s growth and management, that doesn’t mean the country should to slam its doors. Immigration is a vital source of both work force and population growth as the population ages and birth rates slow. At some point this decade, it will account for all of Canada’s net labour market growth. Plenty of studies show immigration drives innovation, entrepreneurship and bolsters Canada’s trade ties with the world – all of which this country desperately needs… One concern is the temporary aspect: workers come to Canada, acquire skills and experience – and then leave. Some are subject to more precarious working conditions and lower wages. The broader effect is a dampening on wages and training, says Ratna Omidvar, president of the Maytree Foundation and an expert in immigration policy.

Temporary foreign worker program lowers wages, thwarts training, economists say (Globe and Mail)
Just four in 10 skilled immigrants are working in jobs commensurate with their skills and training, a portion that hasn’t improved in recent years, said Ratna Omidvar, president of the Maytree Foundation who has long argued the TFW needs to be fixed in favour of permanent immigrants who settle, pay taxes and integrate in Canada. “What’s happening to the other six [in 10]? With very little effort one could reach out to them.”

Tories vow to reform foreign worker program (Les Whittington, Toronto Star)
The Conservative government is pushing hard to find a way to respond quickly to the uproar over the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and could include reforms in its budget implementation legislation, expected before the end of April. Fending off criticism in the Commons, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday the program does fulfill real job shortages. But he said the government has “been very clear that we will make sure the program is reformed so it cannot be misused.” The Harper government has been blasted by accusations the TFWP is being abused by Canadian companies, allowing them to replace Canadians with foreign workers and drive down wages.

Labour market needs plays no role in the majority of work permits: data (Michelle Zilio, ipolitics)
Subscription required.

Hundreds of foreign farm workers delayed from entering Quebec (CBC)
Some Quebec farmers are worried they won’t be able to find workers to plant their spring crops after hundreds of farm workers from Guatemala have been delayed from entering the country. According to FERME, an organization that recruits temporary foreign agricultural workers, more than 500 Guatemalans who were expected to arrive in Quebec are still waiting for their visas.

The long list of Canadian firms that have sought temporary foreign workers (Grant Robertson, Tavia Grant, Wendy Stueck, Carrie Tait, Kelly Cryderman And Bill Curry, Globe and Mail)
The 33,000 companies and agencies who have applied to the federal temporary foreign worker program in Canada stretch to almost every corner of the economy, ranging from the biggest players in the finance and resource sectors to airlines, hotels, government agencies, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., according to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail. The lengthy list of companies and groups, obtained through federal Access to Information laws, spans 475 pages and demonstrates how widely used the federal program has become since it was expanded in 2006 to help Canadian employers deal with shortages of specialized skills in Canada.

Canadians Aren’t Buying the Banksplaining (Behind the Numbers)
So, am I the only parent of small children struck by the familiar tone of RBC’s Temporary Foreign Worker damage control message fiasco? In a CBC interview that was basically a clinic for how not to do PR, Chief Human Resources Officer Zabeen Hirji’s attempt at banksplaining sounded suspiciously like a Sharon, Lois and Bram singalong: “Who, me? Yes, you. Couldn’t be! Then who? iGate hired temporary foreign workers from the global labour market cookie jar!” (Although kudos to CBC for reminding those of us who haven’t seen one in a while what a tough interview—of a Corporate Canada spokesperson, anyway—actually looks like.)

Canadian Airlines also use TFWs (CCPA)
It turns out that the banking sector is not the only one to take advantage of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program (TFWP). The airline industry is also happily lowering costs with TWFs at the same time as it dukes it out with unionized Canadian workers. This despite the fact that worldwide demand for pilots is growing.


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Monday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transportation, Toronto Island Airport and Neighbourhood.

Newsstand: April 15, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
All right, Mother Nature! Let’s make this the week it actually feels like spring, okay? In the news: a downtown casino faces its first hurdle with city government this week, Ontarians find out the real cost of moving a Mississauga power plant today, and Toronto falls behind U.S. counterparts in putting women in management roles.

Our Annual Look at the Toronto Region’s Competitiveness (Toronto Board of Trade)
Toronto as a Global City: Scorecard On Prosperity 2013 benchmarks the Toronto Region against 23 global metropolitan areas. This year, the Region ranked 6th overall, 12th economically and 5th for labour attractiveness. Scorecard 2013 also examines a pillar of economic productivity, this year putting a lens on “Human Capital.” This focus compliments previous Scorecard research that focused on cluster strategies, transportation infrastructure, and access to capital.

Toronto’s Opportunities & Priorities (Toronto Workforce Innovation Group)
Gathering labour force data and making the information accessible to stakeholders involved in workforce development is one of the primary responsibilities of the Toronto Workforce Innovation Group. The Local Labour Market Update: Toronto’s Opportunities and Priorities (TOP) Report is one initiative we take to fulfill that responsibility. The TOP Report focuses on data collection within and across industrial sectors to identify emerging training priorities for Toronto’s workforce.


Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) Conference 2013 – Nonprofit Reframed (Settlement AtWork)
The 2013 ONN Conference theme is Nonprofit Reframed – Strategy, Policy and Partnerships for Strengthening Ontario’s Nonprofit Communities. It includes spotlights on hot button issues, strategic responses to trends and tactics, and results from Phase 1 of their work on the first sector-wide human capital renewal on leadership.

Call for Innoweave Coaches (J.M. McConnell Family Foundation)
We are currently inviting individuals with expertise in an area supported by Innoweave, coaching skills and an understanding of the non-profit sector to apply to join the Innoweave coaching pool. Qualified applicants will be listed on as coaches for a specific module topic. Current modules include: Social Enterprise, Cloud Computing, Developmental Evaluation, Impact and Strategic Clarity and Social Finance.

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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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