Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 19, 2013


April newsletter (Cities of Migration)
In this issue:
• Ensuring Diversity Becomes an Asset for Everyone
• Neighbourhood Mothers in Neukölln
• Getting Credit for Credentials
• New Report: Mentoring Improves Employment Outcomes for Skilled Immigrants
• Policy, Politics and Participation
• Associated Press: “Illegal Immigrant” No More
• Run Local: New Americans and the 2013 Municipal Elections
• What Cities Said: Bremen and Saskatoon on Recruiting and Managing a Diverse Workforce
• Creating Spaces of Safety and a Culture of Welcome
• Good Ideas in the News

Ottawa unveils list of jobs eligible under revamped skilled-worker program (CTV)
Foreign engineers, computer programmers and physiotherapists are among those who will qualify for a revamped federal skilled-worker program when it re-opens next month. Citizenship and Immigration Canada has released its eligible occupations list and named four organizations that will assess the credentials of applicants who studied outside of Canada. These assessments are now mandatory and must be done before applications to the skilled-worker program are submitted. Ottawa is also limiting the total number of applications to 5,000 — including caps in each of the 24 eligible occupations.

News Release — List of Priority Occupations and Organizations Designated to Conduct Educational Credential Assessments for Federal Skilled Worker Program Released (CIC)
The list of 24 occupations that are eligible under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) when it re-opens on May 4, 2013 was released today. In addition, four organizations have been designated to provide the now-required independent third party assessments of foreign educational credentials for applicants who studied outside of Canada. These assessments, which must be completed before an application is submitted, are aimed at helping newcomers through the FSWP to get off to a better start and into the Canadian labour force more quickly when they arrive.

Backgrounder — Information for Applicants to the New Federal Skilled Worker Program (CIC)
The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) selects immigrants based on their ability to succeed economically in Canada. After meeting eligibility requirements, applicants are assessed against selection criteria, also known as the “points grid.” There are 100 points available to applicants, with points awarded for official language abilities, age, education, work experience, employment already arranged in Canada, and adaptability. The current pass mark is 67. After a thorough review of relevant research, an extensive program evaluation, stakeholder and public consultations, research and study of best practices in other immigrant-receiving countries, improvements to the FSWP were announced in December 2012. These improvements will come into force on May 4, 2013. A pause on the intake of most new FSWP applications has been in place since July 1, 2012, except for those with a qualifying job offer and those who applying under the PhD stream. The pause will be lifted and an eligible occupations stream re-established on May 4, 2013.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada Designates World Education Services to Provide Educational Credential Assessments Under Federal Skilled Worker Program (Yahoo!)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has designated World Education Services Canada (WES Canada) as a provider of educational credential assessments for applicants applying under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) for immigration. A WES credential assessment verifies the authenticity of academic documents and provides a statement of equivalency for each degree in terms of the Canadian education system. WES also offers a free interactive degree equivalency tool that shows how university degrees earned in other countries compare to Canadian degrees. This information helps the user determine eligibility for immigration, employment or higher education.

Immigrant hopefuls lose bid to force Kenney to restore queue (Evan Soloman, CBC)
The Federal Court has ruled that the rights of would-be immigrants were not violated when the Conservative government closed their files and refunded their application fees to get rid of a massive backlog. In a decision released Thursday, Federal Court Justice Donald Rennie said the move did not break any rules or violate the applicants’ charter rights. The government stopped accepting new applications under the federal skilled-worker program last July in advance of rejigging the system.

Federal Court upholds law allowing federal government to toss old immigration application (Tobi Cohen,
The federal government was acting well within its rights when it decided last spring to toss the immigration applications of some 280,000 skilled workers and their families, the Federal Court ruled Thursday. The budget 2012 initiative aimed at drastically reducing a massive backlog of old applications was challenged by a group of about 1,400 would-be immigrants who felt the move violated their rights under the Charter and Bill of Rights. The court, however, ultimately sided with the government.

Federal Court backs government in immigration suit (Winnipeg Free Press)
The rights of would-be immigrants were not trampled when the Conservative government closed their files and refunded their application fees to get rid of a massive backlog, the Federal Court has ruled. The court’s decision came out as the Tories pushed ahead with plans to reopen the federal skilled-worker program to a select group of in-demand occupations that includes engineers of all stripes, medical professionals and computer programmers. Eight applicants from places as diverse as the Philippines, Syria, Pakistan and China — who in turn represented about 1,400 potential immigrants — went to court over the Conservatives’ move, announced in last year’s federal budget, to wipe out an existing backlog in the skilled-workers program by returning and refunding thousands of applications.

James Pon led the call for Chinese head-tax redress (Globe and Mail)
When the Redress Express rolled into Ottawa on June 22, 2006, James Pon and his cohort, a handful of the few hundred remaining Chinese-Canadian head-tax payers, arrived to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper utter five unfamiliar syllables: “Ja Na Da Do Heep.” “Canada apologizes.” Mr. Pon, the face of the movement for redress, gave Mr. Harper the ceremonial last spike with the Prime Minister’s promise that it would be displayed in Parliament’s historic Railway Committee Room. This was the very room where prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald pledged to import 15,000 Chinese labourers to save his transcontinental railway project.

How mainland Chinese immigrants are transforming Vancouver (Ian Young, South China Morning Post)
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.

Sikhism to be second biggest religion in Vancouver (Gurmukh Singh)
WHITE Canada is fast changing its colours as visible minorities — Asians, Blacks and others — are outgrowing the white population. According to projections done for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 60 per cent residents of the Greater Vancouver area by the year 2031 will be non-whites. Daniel Hiebert of Vancouver-based University of British Columbia, who is an expert on immigration and did this projection, says, “There is no European city with anything like this demographic structure nor will there be in 2031.”

The ‘Big Shift’ may be moving into reverse (Frank Graves, iPolitics)
The two most powerful demographic forces in Canadian society are aging and immigration. Both are profoundly altering the political landscape — and both have boosted the Conservative party in recent years. Tonight I want to focus on how immigration is altering the political fortunes of different parties and speculate as to what this augurs for the future. I will also look at attitudes to immigration itself, how this is evolving in Canada and how this links to party preference and other factors. Canada is a rapidly pluralizing society and, for the most part, it seems to be managing that transition to much greater heterogeneity very well. The huge tensions over immigration evident in both the United States and Europe are much more muted in Canada.

Liberals stealing back immigrant vote from Conservatives: poll (Michelle Zilio, iPolitics)
A new poll indicates the Liberals are stealing back the immigrant and visible minority vote from the Conservatives, who captured the demographic’s support in the last federal election. A recent poll from EKOS and iPolitics showed 35.5 per cent of non-Canadian-born voters would vote Liberal if an election were held tomorrow, while 28.9 per cent would vote Conservative. Another 21.9 per cent said they would support the NDP. The poll, which surveyed more than 4,500 Canadians via Interactive Voice Response, also showed 33.8 per cent of visible minorities would vote Liberal in an immediate federal election, while 29.43 per cent would vote Conservative. Another 21.48 per cent opted for the New Democrats.

Immigrants stimulate Sask. economy (Scott Larson, Star Phoenix)
The more diverse Saskatchewan’s population becomes, the more economic growth will be stimulated, says a new report by the Conference Board of Canada. “We found the number of immigrants you have in a province increases the value of trade that the province is doing,” said Michelle Parkouda, senior research associate with the Conference Board. “And that is independent of all the other factors that would normally influence trade.” The report, The Influence of Immigrants on Trade Diversification in Saskatchewan, was published for the Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration and the Saskatchewan Institute.

Conf Board of Canada Says Immigrants Diversify Economic Growth (CICS News)
A new report by the influential Conference Board of Canada finds that immigration contributes to diversifying trade in provinces. The study looked at the relationship between immigration in the province of Saskatchewan, and the countries which Saskatchewan traded with. It found that in Saskatchewan, having resident immigrants from a particular country was linked, at the provincial level, to more goods being exported to and imported from that country.

Subheading on sexual orientation removed from new citizen book (Bradley Turcotte, Xtra!)
NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims says the newly edited Welcome to Canada guidebook given to new citizens is disappointing and doesn’t reflect Canada’s values on queer issues. Unveiled April 2 by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, and coupled with a new Living in Canada online tool, the reference material is twice as long as the 2010 version. The document contains everything from basic facts about Canada to how our justice and education systems operate. But a subsection titled “Sexual Orientation” found in the 2010 version has now been removed and its contents moved to a broader section on Canadian law. Asiya Hirji, an immigration lawyer with the Toronto firm Mamann, Sandaluk & Kingwell, questions why the subheading was removed when other issues such as equality for women continue to have their own headings.

Woodhouse welcomes immigration delegates (Voxy)
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse today welcomed top immigration officials from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States and Australia who are meeting in Queenstown for the annual Five Countries Conference (FCC). “This is the first time New Zealand has been Chair of the Five Countries Conference, which is a great honour,” Mr Woodhouse says. “The FCC is an important Forum where like-minded immigration agencies explore ways to cooperate and work collaboratively to improve the security, service and efficiency of our respective immigration systems. “We all know it can be a tricky balance in immigration between facilitating travel for low-risk and known travellers and ensuring that opportunities are minimised for terrorists and criminals to travel undetected.

Western immigration officials gather (Newstalk systems. ZB)
Senior immigration officials from major western nations are congregating in Queenstown for a major meeting. The town is hosting the annual Five Countries Conference – delegates from the UK, Australia, Canada, and the USA are attending. Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse says it is an important forum where agencies look at working together to improve their respective immigration systems.

Sex offender turned over to immigration authorities after deportation stalled (Stephane Massinon, Edmonton Journal)
A man ordered deported in 2011 but who stayed in the country because of ongoing legal issues has now been handed over to immigration authorities. Louay Khalil was ordered deported to Lebanon in 2011 for two sexual assaults in 2007. Police say he reoffended in March 2010 and March 2012, and was rearrested. He could not be deported until those matters were settled in court. In one case he was charged with sexual interference and sexual assault, and in the other case he was accused of sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled woman.

Cricket Encourages Healthy Activities – Mayor Ford (South Asian Generation Next)
Mayor Rob Ford and Amal Ratnayake, Chair of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), officially launched the third annual CIMA Mayor’s School Cricket Tournament. Also taking part were Raza Hasan, Senior Vice-President, CIBC; Doug Hannum, Cricket Canada; Ben Kavenagh, International Cricket Council (ICC); Chris Bolton, Chair, Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and Ann Andrachuk, Chair, Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). Dwight Drummond, CBC Toronto News host, was the event’s MC.

Edmonton Islamic school criticized for comments about gays (CBC)
A publicly-funded Islamic school is coming under fire for controversial comments made by an imam about homosexuality. “For me someone who is homosexual is like someone who has diabetes or someone who had cancer or AIDS,” said the imam of the Al-Rashid Mosque while speaking to students at Edmonton Islamic Academy. “He has a special case and this person needs a special treatment,” he said in response to a student’s question about being gay. The imam goes on to tell a story about his discomfort while in the presence of a gay man.

Six signs you might be racist (or just a dumped NDP candidate) (Stephen Hui,
Remember Dayleen Van Ryswyk? She’s the Kelowna-Mission candidate who was turfed by the B.C. NDP on the first day of the election campaign over hateful comments that party leader Adrian Dix called “unacceptable”. If you thought Van Ryswyk would go through the motions of an apology and disappear from the election spotlight, you’d be mistaken. She’s sticking around as an independent candidate. (The NDP has picked Tish Lakes as her replacement.)

Harper’s ‘tough on crime’ model backfires (Paula Simons, Times Colonist)
Stephen Harper is tough on crime. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is tough on crime. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is tough on crime. They’re especially tough on criminals who aren’t Canadian citizens. It’s already federal policy to deport landed immigrants or temporary residents convicted of serious crimes as soon as they’re released from custody. Bill C-43, which rejoices in the absurdly literal name the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, is before the Senate for second reading. It makes deportation of non-citizens who have served their sentences even more automatic.

Saskatchewan Senator reflects on racism and discrimination (Ashley Wills, Newstalk 650)
A Canadian senator is the inspiration behind a play that premiers in Saskatoon tonight. “Cafe Daughter” is about a young Chinese Canadian Cree girl growing up in a small Saskatchewan town. Senator Lillian Dyck said her father arrived in Canada in 1912 to start a business. Since he was a Chinese immigrant, he was required to pay a $500 head tax. “At that time in history that would have been the equivalent of one or two years’ salary just to get into Canada,” she said in a telephone interview from her office in Ottawa.

Senatory’s story of racism and sexism inspires Saskatoon playwright (Star Phoenix)
A Canadian senator is the inspiration behind a play that has premiered in Saskatoon. “Cafe Daughter” is about a young Chinese-Canadian Cree girl growing up in a small Saskatchewan town. It’s inspired by Senator Lillian Dyck, whose father was a Chinese immigrant who came to Canada in 1912 to start a business. Dyck says her father was required to pay a $500 “head tax,” which would have been the equivalent at the time of two years’ salary. On top of the financial burden, her father also wasn’t allowed by law to hire white women because the government didn’t want intermarriage between Asians and whites.

It’s official, they’re Canadians now (Ottawa Citizen)
Thirty-two immigrants from 23 different countries became Canadian citizens at a swearing-in ceremony Thursday at the May Court Club in Old Ottawa South. Citizen photographer Julie Oliver was on hand to capture these images of solemnity and celebration.

Catholic Children’s Aid responds to rise in abused youth who aren’t legally in Canada (Metro News)
The unofficial move to Canada was supposed to be “for a better future.” Vanisha was 12 when her mother sent her and her elder sister from St. Vincent to live with relatives in a two-bedroom Toronto apartment near Lansdowne and Bloor. Despite lacking landed immigrant status in Canada, Vanisha was able to enroll in school, while her sister, already 18, babysat for neighbours, getting paid under the table. But to earn the privilege of a roof over their heads, they were required to do all the cooking and cleaning for their relatives. If they didn’t live up to the deal, they were yelled at, had things thrown at them and were threatened with being reported and deported.

Eligibility and Processing for Applicants to the SINP Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (Sakatchewan)
This notice is to clarify that the SINP does not endorse or pre-qualify any business category proposals, applicants, representatives or projects. All potential applicants are subject to the same application processing procedures and criteria. There are no circumstances under which applications associated with specific projects or representatives will be prioritized.

Artists and Cultural Producers’ Open Letter of Concern Regarding the TV Series Border Security: Canada’s Front Line (Cancel Border Security)
To Force Four Entertainment, Shaw Media, Global BC, National Geographic, Canadian Border Services Agency, and all other producers, financiers, and broadcasters of Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, We are actors, performers, producers, directors, technicians and a wide variety of cultural professionals who work across media platforms that include film, TV, and live performance. On March 13, 2013 a film crew from Vancouver-based company Force Four Entertainment was embedded with Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) agents during a raid at a construction site. They filmed eight workers being arrested and jailed in a humiliating spectacle. The footage was shot as part of an ongoing television series Border Security: Canada’s Front Line.!cultural-producers-letter/c1ken

Welcome to Diversity Ink – the newsletter of the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion.
Welcome to the inaugural newsletter from the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion. It has been an exciting couple of first months for the CIDI-ICDI. As a brand new organization, we’ve had a lot to do. Most importantly we have been out meeting people and letting them know about our existence. The response and feedback we have received has been very supportive, and we’re working very hard to build an organization that is responsive to the broader community.

Bill To Strip Citizenship of Canadians Raises Civil Rights Concerns (Matthew Behrens, Homes not bombs)
Early April news reports about the alleged involvement of Canadians in an Algerian gas plant attack have added fuel to the Harper government’s ongoing efforts to control and restrict the number of individuals entitled to the full rights of citizenship. Chief among what critics call two-tier citizenship is a private member’s bill first introduced last year by Conservative Calgary MP Devinder Shory that would reduce by one year the residency requirements to obtain Canadian citizenship for permanent residents serving in the armed forces. Few have objected to this portion of Bill C-425, largely because it affects almost no one: citizenship is a prerequisite to being a member of the Canadian military except in very rare circumstances. Of greater concern is the possible Trojan Horse use of C-425, through which a benign-sounding proposal is being used to backdoor far more insidious measures to strip certain classes of people of Canadian citizenship.

Civic Engagement: A Canadian Success Story (Samara Canada)
On Tuesday, Uzma told us about her journey from an enthusiastic new Canadian to a confident and politically engaged community organizer. Uzma’s path to active citizenship was fostered by a community group that supported her, and local politicians who responded when she reached out. Uzma’s example inspired us to search for more success stories of politicians meeting citizens halfway to include them in political decision-making. Here is one great case study we found, told through the steps provided in the ‘Making your Move’ section of the Democracy Talks facilitation guide.

Three weeks left to nominate a human rights champion (City of Toronto)
There are just three weeks left to nominate a fellow Toronto resident or Toronto program for a City of Toronto Access, Equity and Human Rights Award. The deadline for submitting nominations is Monday, May 6 by 4:30 p.m.


Acadia refugee student looking for summer work00 refugees. experience (Wendy Elliott, Kings County News)
Uriem Valentino Lidu grew up in a “place from nowhere.” Now, the second-year Acadia University student is focused on education and work experience. As the most recent WUSC refugee at Acadia, Lidu is past the culture shock. He comes from the world’s newest country, the Republic of South Sudan, but civil war drove his family into Kenya in 1998. With his father fighting as a soldier, Lidu, his mother and siblings walked close to 500 kilometres, through desert conditions, to a refugee camp called Kakuma, which holds 70,000 refugees.

Redesigned website – Welcome To The Canadian Association Of Refugee Lawyers

Heath Care for Refugees (CARL)
A legal challenge has been launched in the Federal Court of Canada, arguing that the federal government’s cuts to refugee health care are unconstitutional, and in breach of Canada’s obligations under international law.


Poverty not always about making bad decisions (Inside Halton)
Poverty is not always about making bad decisions or financial mismanagement. Often people fall into poverty due to factors completely out of their control. Laura Roberts, 63, (names have been changed at subjects’ request) was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer disease and dementia and has been living in her 85-year-old mother Ida’s Kerr Village area apartment since June. Laura’s sister, Janet, told the Oakville Beaver in an interview that Laura was an incredibly bright woman who held a managerial position with IBM (International Business Machines) for more than 20 years.–poverty-not-always-about-making-bad-decisions

NDP tables ‘inequality and poverty budget’ (Sid Frankel, Winnipeg Free Press)
Many have called the 2013 Manitoba budget the “taxing budget” because of the one percentage point increase in the provincial sales tax, but it is more appropriate to call it the “inequality and poverty budget” because its main effects are to increase inequality and maintain high levels of poverty. It justifies this by claiming that all Manitobans will benefit; but what it does not say is that affluent Manitobans will benefit the most and poor Manitobans the least. First, it is important to note there is significant income inequality in the Manitoba economy, so doing nothing about it is problematic, and taking action to worsen it is damaging. There is clear evidence economic inequality erodes health and increases social conflict, including crime.

Greatest threat to health of children is poverty (Barbara Fitzgerald, Vancouver Sun)
There is a devastating health condition that affects one in 10 children in our province: 87,000 children. It causes injury, illness, school failure and premature death. As a society, we must decide if it is a health condition we want to treat. The condition is child poverty.

Best way to address child poverty is creating jobs for their parents, B.C. premier says (Christy Clard, Vancouver Sun)
While political parties disagree on many things, we can all agree that even one child living in poverty is too many. Where we differ is on finding the best way to help those in need. First, the good news. The child poverty rate in British Columbia continues to decline. In the last 10 years, the child poverty rate has dropped by 45 per cent – a better rate of decline than the national average. Put in real terms, about 75,000 children in B.C. have been lifted out of poverty. That’s a good start. But there’s still a lot of work to do.

Ottawa not doing enough to deal with aboriginal poverty, substance abuse: Ontario minister David Zimmer (Richard J. Brennan, Toronto Star)
Ottawa is not doing nearly enough to deal with the staggering poverty and substance abuse on native reserves, Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer says. His comment follows a declaration of emergency in Neskantaga First Nation in the wake of two recent suicides, making a total of seven deaths and 20 suicide attempts in the past year in the community of only 300. Zimmer said Thursday the federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt didn’t even bother to show up for a two-day meeting of provincial and territorial aboriginal affairs ministers and native leaders in Winnipeg recently.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sends her support for launch of ProudPolitics (Proud Politics)
The Hon. Kathleen Wynne, Canada’s 1st openly LGBT premier, sends her greetings and support for the launch of ProudPolitics on behalf of the Government of Ontario. We at ProudPolitics are extremely humbled and grateful to have the continued support of the Premier.

TVO and CAMH present Mental Health Matters Week, an in-depth exploration of the state of mental health in society, May 6-12 (CAMH)
For the second year in a row, TVO, in association with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), present Mental Health Matters May 6 to 12. TVO will utilize its full suite of digital resources including on air and online content, along with an in-community event to raise awareness about and encourage informed discourse around mental health issues.,-an-in-depth-exploration-of-the-state-of-mental-health-in-society,-May-6-12.aspx

Nominate a creative Canadian to be a Catalyst (Globe and Mail)
It’s called The Catalysts. We are seeking to spotlight creative people behind the headlines. They may not yet be household names, but their achievements in fields like food and drink, style and design and arts and culture, are game-changing. Their peers, their audiences and their customers recognize them as leaders and what they’ve done has changed the way others live, work and play. Their names? You be the judge. Tell us who should make the list by completing the form below.

Nominations open for the 2013 Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case (Charity Village)
Status of Women Canada is pleased to launch the call for nominations for the 34th Annual Governor General’s Awards in Commemoration of the Persons Case. Each year, these awards recognize five individuals, including two from the youth category, who have made outstanding contributions to the goal of equality for girls and women in Canada. Candidates and recipients come from all across Canada and from all walks of life, and Status of Women Canada encourages Canadians to put forward nominations. Past candidates have been academics, CEOs, volunteers, advocates and artists. While nominations are accepted all year, the deadline for the 2013 awards is June 14.


Recruiting for Success (
Ensuring you have a large pool of qualified candidates to choose from is one of the most critical steps in your hiring process. You cannot build a relationships with, receive referrals for, network with, or hire individuals you have not found in the first place. To better recruit and retain internationally-educated professionals you need to tap into various sources to ensure you are reaching the best candidates.

Jamaican farm worker’s death gets human rights hearing (CBC)
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario heard evidence today into the workplace death of a Jamaican migrant worker who was crushed to death on a tobacco farm more than a decade ago. Ned Livingston Peart died while working on a farm near Brantford, Ont., in August 2002, but the family’s request for a coroner’s inquest into the matter was refused. Peart’s brother, Wilbert Peart, testified this afternoon about the impact the death has had on the family back in Jamaica.

Farm Worker Rights Examined (Kevin Black, Black Burn News)
A group looking to have fatal farm accidents automatically investigated by the chief coroner is making their case to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal today. It’s the first day of the 5-day hearing, which is focusing on the death of migrant worker Ned Livingston Peart. He was crushed to death while working on a tobacco farm near Brantford in 2002. Justicia for Migrant Workers is raising the issue on behalf of Peart’s family.

Opposition criticism of foreign workers program hypocritical: Tories (Tobi Cohen,
In an apparent attempt to show the hypocrisy of the opposition, the Conservatives have released a string of letters from New Democrats and Liberals — the latest from newly minted Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau — seeking approval for temporary foreign worker permits on behalf of companies in their ridings. In many cases, including that of Trudeau, the permits were initially denied by the government.

Mosaic’s Second Annual Job Fair- Employers Eager to Hire (PR Web)
The number of employers taking part in this year’s fair is up from last year. “A lot of employers were eager to join us again,” says Larry Chan, Employment Programs Manager with MOSAIC. “They see this as a great opportunity to meet hundreds of potential employees face-to-face.” More than 2,000 job seekers attended last year’s fair and employers reported they were very impressed with the caliber of candidates. According to Chan, “Employers often tell us that a format like this allows them to identify workers with a strong customer service ethic and a genuine commitment to their employer. A job fair is a great way to get to know people beyond just what’s on their resume.”

Immigrant goes from IT pro to fast-food staffer (Larissa Cahute, The Province)
Hasib Wali loves computers and information technology – yet his passion, armed with an IT degree, has only landed him a job at a fast-food chain. “My field is IT – I love computers, I love networking,” the 25-year-old Burnaby resident told Vancouver Desi. After earning his degree in Pakistan, he taught IT courses for a year and a half. But six months ago, Wali and his family fled the unsafe conditions and came to Canada as refugees. Instead of working in the field he loves, Wali is working three days a week at a drive-thru and three days in construction.

Employers nervous about Ottawa’s rush to reform foreign-worker program (Bill Curry, Globe and Mail)
Faced with continuing criticisms that foreigners are taking jobs away from Canadians, the Conservative government is rushing to make reforms to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, with officials working to include changes in the upcoming budget bill. However the government’s new-found sense of urgency – which was clearly expressed last week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper – is making employer groups nervous. “Given the negative press and the comments of the Prime Minister and others, we are worried about a potential pull back on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which is incredibly vital and has been a godsend for many small companies, particularly in Western Canada,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Immigrant Worker Rights (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jane Hawtin spoke with Tzazna Miranda Leal. She is an organizer with Justice for Migrant Workers.

Temporary foreign workers program becoming a permanent problem (Kapuskasing Times)
The temporary foreign workers program has come under scrutiny after revelations that Royal Bank employees were training their replacements who will later take those jobs to a call centre in India. While the story is shocking it only touches the tip of the iceberg for the problems related to the program. Initially created in 1973 to address a shortage of highly skilled workers, the program has changed dramatically, especially in the last decade. What we have now is a program providing low wage employees to fill service industry jobs at a reduced rate instead of specialized foreign workers plugging critical holes. If you are asking how this happened, the best answer is incrementally.

Ottawa cracks down on employers who abuse program for foreign workers (Bill Curry)
The federal government will enact new regulations this summer to give officials the power to inspect and penalize Canadian employers who misuse the temporary foreign worker program. The regulations are separate from changes to the foreign-worker program promised in the March budget. The new rules will update an existing enforcement regime that was launched in April, 2011, after a critical 2009 report on the program from the Auditor-General.


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Friday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Bixi Bikes, Taxi Rules, Transit, Rob Ford, Homeless and Other News.

A Great Weekend at Spur Fest Toronto (Samara Canada)
Last weekend, artists, musicians, political satirists, writers and great political minds descended on Toronto for the Spur Festival. Spur is billed as “Canada’s first national festival of politics, art, and ideas” and is put on by Diaspora Dialogues and The Literary Review of Canada. I spent the weekend taking it all in.

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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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