Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 23, 2013


Event May 22: The Changing Face of Leadership in the GTA (Canadian Club of Toronto)
On Wednesday, May 22nd, please join us at a special anniversary celebration of DiverseCity as the leading Canadian pollster Nik Nanos shares the findings of the first public opinion survey on leadership diversity, followed by a panel discussion with DiverseCity Co-Chairs Ratna Omidvar and John Tory hosted by CBC Radio’s Matt Galloway. It’s been five years since the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance (CivicAction) and Maytree came together to shine the spotlight on leadership diversity. DiverseCity’s early research exposed a critical gap: our leaders – the decision-makers, influence shapers and role models – did not look like the rest of the city region. The first Counts report showed that in a place where close to half the population is made up of visible minorities, only 13% of those who had succeeded in rising to the top were diverse.

Maytree 2012 Diversity in Governance Awards (Maytree)
Call for Applications – Deadline: May 17, 2013 Has your organization made positive steps to embrace diversity in governance? Now is your chance to receive recognition for your efforts and inspire others to follow your lead! The Diversity in Governance Awards honour not-for-profit and public agencies, boards and commissions in the GTA that have made tangible gains in promoting diversity on their boards.

Strangers Become Friends (Cities of Migration)
International students are increasingly seen as an important part of the urban prosperity agenda. They are potential immigrants and employees in aging societies, offer future access to global markets and intercultural competencies, and can help open up a community to becoming a welcoming and diverse society. In 2002, the city of Erfurt, located southwest of Leipzig, recognized that it needed to embrace its international student population as an engine of growth. The previous decade had seen the re-opening of the University of Erfurt and new opportunities for local development emerge against the back-drop of German re-unification. As the city began to attract growing numbers of students from around the world, civic leaders started to register the value of being a destination city in an increasingly mobile world. The city council, the University of Erfurt and the Erfurt University of Applied Sciences embarked on a project to promote openness and a culture of welcome with the aim of establishing the city’s reputation as a friendly and tolerant regional capitol.

Good Settlement Practices In Ontario (Settlement AtWork)
This report features 12 stories from Canadian cities, including 5 stories from Ontario cities. This report is part of a series on the work that municipal governments are doing on immigrant integration, which includes “good ideas” (such as integration practices) from Canada and around the world.

“Why Is It Happening?” (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke about the roots of violence , with Imam Sikander Hashmi. He works with the Islamic Society of Kingston.

News Release — Minister Kenney celebrates graduates of the Federal Internship for Newcomers Program (CIC)
This year, close to 70 graduates of the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program can look forward to a better shot at success in the Canadian job market, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced at a graduation ceremony in Ottawa today. “The Government of Canada is committed to helping newcomers successfully integrate into the Canadian economy as quickly as possible,” said Minister Kenney. “Obtaining Canadian work experience is a key part of success in Canada’s labour market and the FIN offers newcomers that valuable experience.” Since the FIN Program was first launched in 2010, almost 200 newcomers in several cities across Canada have taken part and benefited.

Reforms will fix ‘dysfunctional’ immigration system, minister says (Sun News)
By admitting too many foreign workers who can’t meet Canadian standards, the government has been part of an underemployment problem, says the federal immigration minister. But in launching new reforms to what has become a “dysfunctional” system, Jason Kenney says help is on the way. On May 4, his department will require foreign applicants to include an assessment of their education to measure whether their degrees and diplomas are relevant to or close to the Canadian standard.

Canada’s immigration system and broadcast ethics questioned in light of border security reality TV show (
A TV camera crew accompanied the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) on a March 13 raid, stirring controversy across the country. The raid, on a construction site in Vancouver that is alleged to have employed undocumented labourers, sparked a national debate on issues ranging from Canada’s immigration system to media broadcasting ethics. The CBSA agents descended on a construction site in East Vancouver and arrested eight men, all while accompanied by a film crew shooting footage for a TV show titled Border Security: Canada’s Front Line, produced by Vancouver-based Force Four Entertainment. News of the raid prompted criticism from Canadian immigration lawyers and advocates, as well as members of the public.

On Being Muslim and “Dark-Skinned” After Boston (Ali Zafar, Ethnic Aisle)
Last Monday’s trending hashtag intensified my suffocating sense of dread, the one that’s ebbed and flowed since Sept. 11, 2001. Muslims. That dirty word stripped Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of his white privilege: he had been identified in news reports as a Chechen, terrorist and radical, but never American. Because he’s Muslim. Like me.

Citizenship application process blamed for growing wait list (CBC) rise in citizenship applications and a process some say has become too complicated have created a growing backlog of permanent residents awaiting word on whether they can become Canadian citizens. Close to 350,000 permanent residents are on the waiting list to become citizens, according to the latest Citizenship and Immigration Canada numbers from September 2012. By comparison, the waiting list was 189,886 in 2007. As a result, the stated processing time for “routine” applications has steadily risen. In 2008, the ministry website said those applications took 12 to 15 months. At the start of 2012, wait times were listed at 15 to 18 months. By August last year, the wait time was 21 months. The website is now listing the routine wait time at 23 months.


Refugees trapped in intolerable home in ‘sanctuary city’ (Joe Fiorito, Toronto Star)
There is a family of refugees — a mother, a father and three kids — living in a one-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a small apartment building. The place is a slum. Worse than that, during the recent heavy rains the toilets backed up and the bathtubs filled with sewage and overflowed, flooding all the ground-floor apartments. I repeat: there was sewage in the bathtubs, and the toilets overflowed No camera can capture that smell. I will not tell you who this family is, or where they live, nor will I tell you where they are from; I will simply say they are helpless before their landlord. There ought to be a law. Actually, there are plenty of laws but when you are a refugee, waiting for your appeal to be determined, fear trumps the law and evil amplifies fear

North American Refugee Health Conference – June 6-8, 2013, Toronto
Building on the momentum of the Canadian Refugee Health Conference held in 2011, health professionals and experts from many disciplines will meet to discuss the best health practices, challenges for optimal care, research and advocacy for the refugee patient population.


OPSEU Social Mapping Video (OPSEU)
The OPSEU Social Mapping Project video is a call to action for OPSEU members, inspiring them to come forward as defenders of equity issues in their lives, their communities and their union.

3M Health Leadership Award (Health Nexus)
Many leaders go unrecognized but their efforts are felt deep in the heart of our communities. These leaders understand that health starts where we live, learn, work and play. The 3M Health Leadership Award honours leaders who have a significant impact on the health and well-being of their community. Nominate your community leader DEADLINE: June 28, 2013

Institute to release sixteenth Working Paper – Making sense of public dollars: Ontario government (Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity)
Join us as Roger Martin, Chairman of the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity and Dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management releases our sixteenth Working Paper, titled Making sense of public dollars: Ontario government revenue, spending and debt.


Why Canadian employers must integrate immigrants into the workforce (Margaret Eaton, TRIEC, Financial Post)
Access to great talent can set a region apart and be the key to success for businesses and the communities they serve. Global electronic manufacturing services provider SMTC is a perfect example of this talent advantage. While other manufacturers may have moved offshore, SMTC chooses to maintain its headquarters in Markham, just outside Toronto, because of the region’s talent. The region’s large immigrant population offers SMTC something that other cities like Chicago and New York can’t — highly skilled, diverse and international people.

How to fix the foreign worker program (Carol Goar)
Stephen Harper, who had brushed off complaints about foreign temporary workers throughout his tenure, turned on a dime. “We will reform this program,” he pledged in the House of Commons. “We will make sure it sticks to its purpose, which is to provide temporary help when there is an absolute skills shortage.” When he wants action, it happens. Within weeks, one of his ministers, probably Jim Flaherty, who now is drafting his budget implementation bill, will announce a series of changes to the 11-year-old foreign temporary workers program. No doubt Ottawa will crack down on employers who bring in foreign workers to replace their Canadian employees (which existing rules already prohibit). But it will take more than that to mollify a roiled public.

Step up protections for workers in 2013 budget! (Workers’ Action Centre)
More voices are calling on the Ontario government to step up protection for workers against wage theft in the 2013 budget. Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced today that the budget will be tabled on May 2. In a Toronto Star editorial on Friday, United Way Toronto and the Mowat Centre call on the Ontario government to fulfill their commitment to funding proactive enforcement. The authors call on the government to ensure the committed $5.5 million in funding is in the 2013 budget and to update employment standards to better protect precarious workers.

Why we need to strengthen Toronto’s fair wage policies (Sheila Block, Wellesley Institute)
Tomorrow, City Council’s executive committee will be considering proposals to strengthen the City’s fair wage policy and ensure health, safety, and fair wages in custodial services contracts. These proposals arose from Councillors’ concerns about contracting out cleaning services at police stations last year. This resulted in secure jobs that paid a living wage turning into precarious jobs that didn’t. Recent data from Statistics Canada shows that income inequality is rising in Toronto. These data provide a clear, post-recession picture of the growing divide between high-income earners and the rest of the population. The data show the disproportionate share of total income going to the top income earners in Toronto: 41 percent to the top 10 percent of earners. That leaves 59 percent to be shared among the other 90 percent.

Foreign workers a boon for employers, for Canada not so much (Tavia Grant, Globe and Mail)
Canada’s pool of unemployed labour is growing deeper – eroding the underpinning of the federal government’s expanded temporary foreign worker program. There are now 6.5 unemployed people for every job opening in the country, compared with 6.1 a year earlier, Statistics Canada data showed this week, with the number of vacant jobs falling to the lowest level since record-keeping began in March, 2011. Nearly 1.4 million Canadians are jobless, a slight rise from a year ago. Jobless rates for young people, recent immigrants and women are all higher than a year ago.

Toronto has highest total employment number since 1990 (City of Toronto)
The City of Toronto’s latest Economic Dashboard report, presented at today’s meeting of the Economic Development Committee, showed that 1,331,600 people were employed in full-time and part-time positions in the city in 2012, the highest total employment number since 1990. “We’re turning the tide on decades of job loss and that’s great news for people in Toronto,” said Mayor Rob Ford. “Since December 2010, we’ve been focused on creating conditions to boost employment in our City – and that focus is paying off. It’s been 22 years since the last time more people were employed in Toronto.” “Toronto is now experiencing regular job growth and last year, for the first time in five years, that growth also occurred across the City,” said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the Economic Development Committee.

Sarnia-Lambton Business Succession Workshop (Ontario Immigrant Network)
Here is a great event coming up thanks to the great team at the Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce. I am delighted to e presenting, and I hope that if you are a business owner in Lambton County, that you will take the time to join us.

The impact of human rights legislation on the interview process (Earl Altman, First Reference Talks)
Many H.R. Departments pride themselves on the skill with which they can interview prospective employees in order to assess their qualifications for the position being advertised, the fit of the employee with the organization, and the likelihood that the employee will stay with the organization for a reasonable period of time. What employers are often not cognizant of is the limitation imposed on this process by the provisions of various provincial and federal Human Rights statutes. There are two relevant pieces of legislation which cover employers in Ontario. The bulk of employers are covered by the Ontario Human Rights Code. Federally regulated employers, such as airlines, Canada Post, and railways come under federal jurisdiction and are regulated by the Canadian Human Rights Act. Both statutes prohibit the discrimination in the employment or dismissal from employment of persons based on stipulated characteristics. All of the common law provinces have similar legislation. However, this article will focus on the Ontario and Federal codes.


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Monday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Earth Day, Transportation and Other News.

Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Tuesday(Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Mayor Rob Ford, Via Rail and Other News.

Newsstand: April 23, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Supposed to have another nice day! In Toronto this counts as patio weather. In the news: police are looking for two bank robbers, the mayor’s executive committee will talk transit funding, Queers Against Israeli Apartheid is up for debate (again), and fewer and fewer kids are getting music classes at school.

Open Letter to Mayor Rob Ford (Steph Guthrie, WITOpoli)
Yesterday on his radio show, Mayor Rob Ford lamented the dearth of women in politics, and offered to make himself available to the women of Toronto to explain to us how politics work. It was an offer Women in Toronto Politics couldn’t refuse, so we issued an open invitation for Mayor Ford to speak at an upcoming WiTOpoli event at his convenience.

Want to Depute at the TPSB Special Meeting April 29th? #TOpoli (Capturingtorontopia)
“If you would like to deliver an oral deputation to the Board at its special meeting on April 29, 2013, please contact Karlene Bennett, Acting Board Administrator, at 416-808-7265 or karlene.bennett by 9:00 AM on April 29, 2013 to confirm your attendance. If you cannot attend but would like to provide a written submission, it should be sent to Ms. Bennett by email by 9:00 AM on April 29, 2013.“

Thorncliffe Park residents vote on future community projects (Tara Hatherly, Inside Toronto)
Thorncliffe Park residents recently came together to choose community projects for the neighbourhood, as part of United Way Toronto’s Tower Neighbourhood Renewal program. People packed the gym at Thorncliffe Park Public School to learn more about potential projects, and vote for their favourites. Ideas included creating a women’s gym, childcare centre, community kitchen, residents’ council, community gathering space, youth arts program or recycling initiative. During the meeting, residents could visit information booths for each idea, to learn more and provide feedback.


Video: Five Good Ideas about Fundraising in the Digital World (Maytree)
Conventional fundraising wisdom still applies in the digital world, but some of it needs to be turned on its head. Have you ever been told to be a better storyteller to become a better fundraiser? Learn why that’s not a good idea in the age of social media, and why fundraising needs to connect with its roots, before it became a true profession, to flourish in the era of online engagement. Stop hiring major gift officers, and learn what it means to become truly donor-centered. In an era of new knowledge, you can become truly wise about your fundraising by relying more on the accessible data, than on intuition and instinct. Everything old is new again – are you ready?

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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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