Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 17, 2013


Toronto Public Library (Cities of Migration)
Few institutions reflect and serve the diversity within the community better than the Toronto Public Library (TPL). TPL is the busiest urban public library system in the world, with 98 branches, 1.3 million card-holders and a collection of 11 million items. In 2011 alone, TPL users borrowed 33 million items and made 23 million online visits. Recent immigrants are among the library’s regular patrons – in fact, more new Canadians are logged as “frequent users” than the overall Toronto average.

CIC publishes ministerial instructions establishing the start-up business class (Henry J. Chang, First Reference Talks)
As previously reported, on January 24, 2013, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism (the “Minister”) announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) would launch a Start-Up Visa Program to recruit innovative immigrant entrepreneurs who will create new jobs and spur economic growth. On March 30, 2013, CIC published Ministerial Instructions (the “Instructions”) in the Canada Gazette, which formally establish the new Start-Up Business Class. CIC also published Chapter 27 of the Overseas Processing Manual (“OP 27″), which provides further details regarding the processing of such applications. An overview of the Start-Up Business Class is provided below.

Women of Influence awards now accepting nominations (Yonge Street)
In Canada, especially in recent years, many of us tend to assume that we have overcome many of the systemic biases of previous times–for instance, that women have reached the workplace equality that long eluded them. The facts tell a different story, however. For all that we’ve made progress, we are still a way’s away from a level playing field.

Local campaigns against hate (Airika Owen, Delta Optimist)
A Tsawwassen man is campaigning to see the classified advertising website Craigslist shut down in Canada because he says it’s a venue for hatred and racism. Cran Campbell said he spends a couple hours a day patrolling the rants and raves section of Craigslist and flagging hateful and threatening content for removal.

Canadian Immigration News Briefs for Mid-April 2013 (CICS News)
The following is a summary of developments concerning Canadian Citizenship and Immigration that took place or were announced over the last two weeks.

Democracy Talks Dispatches: This is what democracy looks like (Leora Smith, Samara Canada)
Uzma arrived in Canada with her husband in 1989, but she had already heard plenty about Canada from her father who studied here as a young man, and her brother who lives here. Uzma was less familiar, however, with Canadian politics. In fact, she says she would never have thought of contacting a politician until recently. “Only one year back I wasn’t very experienced so I was hesitant to talk to political leaders. It was lack of confidence as well as I think that back home we have to be careful regarding [politicians’] protocols and we still think that it applies over here too.” It was her community group, Malton Women Council, that made the difference for Uzma.

The Opening Doors Project Workshop Series (Settlement AtWork)
What will the workshops do?
Strengthen mental health, anti-racism and anti-discrimination literacy in Ontario communities
Foster the participation of new immigrants and refugees with mental health issues
Cultivate more inclusive and welcoming environments for new immigrants and refugees who face mental health challenges

Applications now open for Lilian To Bursary for Immigrants 2013! (Canadian Immigrant)
Once again, Vancouver-based Ashton College is offering four full-time tuition bursaries, worth up to $8,000, to new immigrants through the Lilian To Bursary for Immigrants, sponsored by magazine. Applications are now being accepted until July 31, 2013. The bursaries will be awarded to four outstanding students and cover full-time tuition for a range of Ashton College programs, which include everything from diplomas in immigration consultancy to human resources to accounting and more. Applicants must have immigrated in 2008 or later.

Canada’s World-Class Settlement Services (CICS News)
As many current and future immigrants know, receiving a Canadian Permanent Resident visa is only the first step in a long and transformative journey. Thankfully, the Canadian government, as well as many Canadians themselves, are well-prepared to help guide newcomers through every step of the settlement process. The Canadian government has set up an extensive network of immigrant settlement services. Canadians have themselves created a diverse array of community organizations to welcome their new neighbors and make them feel at home.

Dayleen Van Ryswyk booted from B.C. election over racist comments (Cassidy Olivier,
The official election campaign of NDP leader Adrian Dix got off to a rocky start on Tuesday after he was forced to drop a candidate who authored a series of “unacceptable” online comments against French Canadians and First Nations. Within two hours of the writ being dropped, Dix announced he had accepted the resignation of Kelowna-Mission candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk, a businesswoman in the Kelowna area and a one-time city council candidate.

Diversity Scholarships (ICD)
The Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) believes that all qualified individuals should have access to director education and aims to foster diversity in its classrooms across the country. Through the ICD Diversity Scholarship Program up to 10 qualified candidates from diverse backgrounds with a financial need will be able to participate in the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program (DEP). One scholarship will be awarded per city per session with each scholarship valued at $16,000. This represents a significant investment that the ICD views as vital to ensuring that diverse and qualified candidates have the means to further develop their skills as effective directors.

The Charter proves to be Canada’s gift to world (Globe and Mail)
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was signed 30 years ago Tuesday. Since then, not only has it become a national bedrock, but the Charter has replaced the American Bill of Rights as the constitutional document most emulated by other nations. “Could it be that Canada has surpassed or even supplanted the United States as a leading global exporter of constitutional law? The data suggest that the answer may be yes.” So conclude two U.S. law professors whose analysis of the declining influence of the American constitution on other nations will be published in New York University Law Review in June.

Need to explore lure to commit terrorism (Peter Worthington, Sun News Network)
In some ways, the Boston terrorism underlines what happened in Canada over the weekend, when a relatively new organization called the Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow (MFT) held a press conference concerning four young Canadians from the London, Ont., area, who were involved in the terrorist attack last January on the Algerian gas/refinery plant deep inside that country. This story broke a couple of weeks ago. Two of the Canadians were killed, one is in custody, the other unaccounted for. Two were of Arab descent, one was Greek heritage, the other Korean. All profess Muslim faith, all were al-Qaida recruits to terror.

What Gets Measured Gets Done: Measuring the Return on Investment of Diversity and Inclusion (Settlement AtWork)
In first research report from Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CIDI), they examine what organizations are doing to measure their work in the area of diversity and inclusion. They conducted an extensive literature review, an online survey, and 19 in depth interviews to understand what are promising practices and make the case on why employers should be doing more to measure the impact, efficacy and ROI of their diversity initiatives.


PRESS RELEASE: Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers Testify Before Commons Committee on Bill C-425 | April 16, 2013 (CARL)
In an appearance before the Citizenship and Immigration Committee of the House of Commons today, Lorne Waldman, president of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) offered clear, trenchant criticisms of Bill C-425, An Act to Amend the Citizenship Act (Honouring the Canadian Armed Forces). Introduced as a private member’s bill, Bill C-425 aims to strip Canadian citizenship of dual nationals who engage in acts of war against Canada. Professors Catherine Dauvergne and Audrey Macklin, both experts in citizenship law, also appeared in their personal capacities. The witnesses focused on three significant failings of Bill C-425.

Video: Meeting No. 75 CIMM – Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (Parliament of Canada)

Introducing the University of Ottawa Refugee Assistance Project (CCR)
UORAP is pleased to launch the Hearing Preparation Form (HPF) and Hearing Preparation Kit! These resources will help community workers to assist unrepresented refugee claimants to obtain and deliver evidence for their refugee hearing, after the Basis of Claim (BOC) form is complete.


International study on youth co-op housing reveals need to address transitional age problems (Yonge Street)
A study comissioned by Aviva Canada on youth housing co-ops in India, Italy and Canada revealed a greater need to address the transitional age problems that occur when one becomes too old for youth services, but does not yet have the skills to live independently. YouthLink, a Scarborough-based non-profit that has four co-op houses (three with live-in mentors) in Toronto dedicated to helping vulnerable youth aged 16-21 pursue their goals and learn independence, supported the study. Youth spoke candidly and anonymous with a researcher outlining their struggles to gain confidence and overcome obstacles such as childhood trauma, family problems, education, addiction and mental health.

Poverty costs us billions (Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star)
If you live on welfare or disability benefits, you understand what it’s like to do without. If you live in a shelter, you know what it’s like to have no home. If you feed your kids from a food bank, you know the dull ache of hunger. Marc Hamel is a money manager. What does he know? As it happens, he floored me with knowledge. Hamel made the opening remarks at a recent conference in Halton region, where changes to provincial welfare rates were up for discussion.

Parliamentary discussion of income inequality opens with clash of opinions (Chronicle Herald)
Income inequality was alternately described Tuesday as “a dangerous and socially harmful thing” and an overblown fear as parliamentarians began their study of the issue. “Excessive inequality is socially corrosive,” said Finn Poschmann, vice-president of the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto. “It makes us unhappy, it undermines institutions, it makes it difficult to govern.”

IRPP releases the report of its round table on options for reform of Canada’s electoral process (IRPP)
The robo-calls scandal revealed troubling information about alleged improper communications with electors during the 2011 campaign, information that should lead to changes to the legislative and regulatory framework that governs federal elections in Canada. But any reforms should also address critical issues that arise from even legitimate communications with electors with regards to transparency, data management and privacy protection. These are the two main conclusions in this report.

Electoral reform bill to be introduced Thursday in wake of robocalls scandal (Globe and Mail)
The Harper government will introduce electoral reform legislation on Thursday. Tim Uppal, the minister of state for democratic reform, said the bill will address concerns raised before a Commons committee by Marc Mayrand, the chief electoral officer. “Our government will introduce comprehensive elections reform proposals to increase accountability, accessibility and integrity to Canada’s elections system,” Uppal told the Commons on Tuesday. The long-awaited legislation is intended to address problems arising from the robocalls scandal.

Teacher leaders advocate for Canadian families living in poverty (Canada Newswire)
Canada’s teachers see ways to help the growing number of children whose needs are not being well met by society and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF)’s Board of Directors members are meeting today with MPs, senators and senior government officials to discuss ways of supporting Canadian families. “We know the majority of students experience success at school,” says CTF President Paul Taillefer. “But we also know there are students who are slipping through the cracks because of poverty, mental health problems, bullying, discrimination, lack of fluency in the language of instruction and insufficient resources. Our society can do better for these children.


Bridging Program Connects Mount Sinai Hospital with Internationally-Trained Nurses (
In a diverse city like Toronto, tapping into skilled immigrant talent is essential for any organization looking to understand and serve the needs of the community. At Mount Sinai Hospital, diverse teams of nurses, physicians and clinicians from many backgrounds work together to provide patient and family-centred care, says Tracy Kitch, Senior Vice-President of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Executive.

Worker visas that work (Ron Banerjee, Financial Post)
The recent brouhaha over the RBC outsourcing of IT employees reflects the substandard quality of Canadian technology personnel and the failure of our immigration system to supply needed human resources. This stands in stark contrast to America’s success in nurturing high technology titans like Google, Cisco, and Facebook, in flourishing hubs such as the famed Silicon Valley. Most of these corporations and technology hubs have made heavy usage of temporary worker visa programs, such as H1B and L1 visas.

(note: this article appears to be written by this Ron Banerjee – – which suggests that it lacks credibility)

Can We Live with the Injustice towards Migrant Workers? (Criminalizign dissent)
It might seem that the question is, “Can you imagine the chaos that would exist if we didn’t have laws, rules and order?” I think the real question is, “Can you live with the injustices that the law perpetuates?” In the past decade, Canada’s labour market has undergone a shift to rely on temporary labour in the low-skill, low-wage sectors. This is due to labour shortages in a broad range of occupations, such as agriculture. Each of Canada’s temporary labour migration programs has its own distinct legal and policy regime that constructs migrant workers’ insecurity and functions to maintain the “temporary” status of migrant workers. The question that comes to mind is “Is it fair for the federal and provincial governments to guarantee the protection of fundamental freedoms, and to recognize labour standards and principles of fairness only for certain “categories” of people?” Justicia for Migrant Farm Workers (J4MW) has fought against this, and we should too.

Mind Tools Newsletter 282 (Mind Tools)
In this article, we’ll discuss why it is so important to be aware of different cultural traditions. We’ll also highlight some gestures and actions to avoid if you want to build good working relationships with people from these cultures. The Importance of Cultural Awareness It’s not just professionals working overseas who need to learn cross-cultural business etiquette. Stop and think about how many different cultures you come into contact with at work.

Historic Rights Tribunal to Examine Workplace Deaths of Temporary Foreign Workers (Migrants Canada)
April 17th is the first day of an historic hearing at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. The tribunal will examine evidence regarding the workplace death of Jamaican migrant worker Ned Livingston Peart. Mr. Peart was crushed to death while working on a tobacco farm near Brantford, Ontario on August 22, 2002. Mr. Peart was one of over 30,000 migrant workers that toil under the auspices of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, a government program that brings farm workers from Mexico and the Caribbean to farms across Canada.

Manulife told staff to train their replacements when jobs outsourced (
At first, Michelle Jarrett and Marion Burgdorf thought their bosses were doing them a favour. The two women worked as information technology security co-ordinators at the large Manulife Financial office in downtown Kitchener. In those roles, they controlled access to the company’s software database for the 1,200 employees who handled individual life insurance policies in Manulife’s Canadian division, headquartered in Waterloo and with offices in Kitchener and Waterloo. For several years, they were feeling overwhelmed. In their minds, handling software access for so many employees, including new hires, transfers and departures, was too much for two people. There was enough work to keep three or four people busy, they believed.–manulife-workers-saw-jobs-leave-for-philippines-but-trained-their-replacements-first


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Tuesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Transit, Casino, Boston Explosions, and Other News.

Newsstand: April 17, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
The Leafs might not be in the playoffs yet, but at least the leaves look like are going to have a great season. In the news: BIXI’s going flat, a hotel by any other name, taxi companies promise to be jerks of a lesser degree, and an American protester in Toronto.


Takeaways from the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s Seminar on Innovative Financing for Development (Becky Slater Rossi,
A few weeks back, I was fortunate to attend a fantastic event in Ottawa at the beautiful Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, a secular facility that offers a centre for building relationships, disseminating knowledge and information, and reflecting on humanitarian issues. Attended by over 120 participants, the evening represented the official launch of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada’s (AKFC) seminar series on Innovative Financing for Development. Hosted in partnership with Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA), the series is designed to explore different strategies for financing development that complement (more on this below!) traditional donor-based initiatives.

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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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