Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 26, 2013


April newsletter (Maytree)
In this issue:
• Whither evidence?
• The changing face of leadership in the GTA: Five years of DiverseCity
• Savvy GTA employers recognized for immigrant integration
• Five Good Ideas about the Power of Diversity
• Has your board taken up the diversity challenge?
• The great equalizer: Toronto Public Library is a settlement agency
• Hospitals as diversity innovators: Mount Sinai Hospital recruits internationally-trained nurses
• CollaborAction – A toolkit to create change in your neighbourhood
• The citizenship-volunteer connection
• News You Can Use

Video: Jason Kenney presenting at Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration (CPAC)
In Committee From The House Of Commons Citizenship and Immigration Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney discusses his department’s main estimates and expenditure plans. The minister is asked about issues including Canada’s temporary foreign workers program and the backlog of citizenship applications.

Immigration minister wants citizenship applications processed faster (Global News)
Canada’s immigration minister says he wants to see citizenship applications processed in 12 months or less. Jason Kenney told a Commons committee today that he is concerned about the backlog of citizenship applications in the system. At the end of 2012, there were nearly 350,000 cases in the system, almost double the number since 2007. Some applicants claim they’ve been waiting as long as four years to receive their citizenship when they were initially told it would take a year.

People Who Hate Canadian Values Not Welcome, Says Immigration Minister (Matthew Little, Epoch Times)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had a blunt message for would-be immigrants who don’t share fundamental Canadian values: Don’t come. Kenney paused to speak with reporters after testifying at the parliamentary immigration committee Thursday morning. The government was already working with police agencies and cultural groups to identify problem individuals before they go too far down the wrong path, he said. That work was facilitated through cooperation of agencies like CSIS and the RCMP along with cultural communities.

Conservative citizenship-stripping bill barbaric and pointless (Audrey Macklin, Toronto Star)
The Conservative government stands poised to pass a law empowering the minister of Citizenship and Immigration to expedite the citizenship of certain permanent residents and to strip Canadians of their citizenship for misconduct as citizens. This is part of a larger campaign to increase the value of Canadian citizenship by making it harder to acquire, harder to pass on to your children, harder to retain, and easier to lose. Each is a solution in search of a problem: Has Canadian citizenship been devalued? By what measure? In comparison to what? What tangible (as opposed to symbolic) benefits will these changes confer, on whom, and at whose cost?

Jason Kenney creating a two-tier Canada (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
Terrorism was one reason for the inordinate delays in the processing of immigration papers to Canada — each applicant had to have a thorough security check, which took time. How is it, then, that Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has managed to rush in hundreds of thousands of temporary foreign workers in record time? Have they been given only a cursory security check — and the briefest of medicals? When the Conservatives took office in 2006, there were 140,000 temporary foreign workers (farm labourers, nannies, professionals, etc.). That number has since jumped to 338,000.

Canada to Start New Biometric Screening Program on Temporary Residents (slaw)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced last December that it intends to collect biometrics (unique identifiers such as fingerprints, facial images and iris scans) from certain foreign nationals of 29 countries and one territory. To that end, on December 8, 2012, draft regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, which outline the proposed changes to establish biometrics in Canada’s temporary resident immigration program, were published in the Canada Gazette Part I for a 30-day comment period. CIC has indicated that the new measures are necessary because of a “rise in global identity fraud” and technological innovations that “make it easy to steal, forge or alter identity documents.”

Canada’s Immigration Model: What can be Learned? (Centre for Strategic and International Studies)
With the U.S. Senate’s “Gang of 8” bill for immigration reform now public, the stage appears set for the first major overhaul of U.S. immigration laws since 1986. As the debate heats up over the merits of the reform proposal, U.S. policymakers may benefit by looking north and reviewing Canada’s immigration model. Whereas the U.S. immigration system is guided by family reunification efforts, Canada has used a point system since 1965 that allows the country to better measure potential immigrants based on labor needs. The point system is transparent and predictable, while also being flexible for Canadian policymakers to alter. At the same time, the Canadian government continues to introduce other groundbreaking measures to attract talented immigrants. Just this month, the government introduced a pilot program that allows immigrants with demonstrated funding for a tech start-up to file for immediate permanent residency, in a bid to boost innovative talent in Canada. To discuss these issues and more, the CSIS Americas Program is pleased to welcome Neil Yeates, Deputy Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Join us for this timely and informative discussion.

Niqab Decision (CBC Metro Morning)
An Ontario judge has ruled a woman identified only as “NS” will have to remove her niqab if she testifies against two men she says sexually-assaulted her. This morning Matt Galloway spoke with Faisal Bhabha, he is a lawyer with the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, and with Raheel Raza. She is president of the group “Muslims Facing Tomorrow”.

Why Immigration is Critical to Canada’s Prosperity (Conference Board of Canada)
Prepared for the Board’s Leaders’ Roundtable on Immigration, the research report featured in this session studies the relationship between immigration and innovation in Canada, making the case for more deliberate use of the pioneering talents of new Canadians. Cost: $375.00

Ontario Human Rights Commission Survey on New Code Grounds Gender Identity and Gender Expression (Settlement AtWork)
A new survey launched by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) asks for public input on definitions for the new grounds of “gender identity” and “gender expression” that were added in June 2012 as grounds of discrimination under the Code. To reflect these new Code grounds, as well as other developments relating to human rights and gender identity, the OHRC is revising its Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity and including discussion of gender expression.

Immigrants good for Saskatchewan economic growth (Relocate Magazine)
Immigrants who settle in Saskatchewan drive more trade with their home countries and help to diversify the province’s economic growth, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report. As reported on Emigrate2 last week, Saskatchewan is currently undergoing something of an immigration-fuelled population boom – a trend which the province’s authorities expect to see continue in the coming years. And a new report, entitled The Influence of Immigrants on Trade Diversification in Saskatchewan,only serves to further highlight the growing importance that immigrants will play in the future of Canada’s fastest growing economy.

Discretion Purged from Canadian Immigration Process (Asian Pacific Post)
Discretion has always played a significant part in Canada’s immigration system. Historically, immigration officers have been able to use their discretion to assess people’s skills, qualifications, and language abilities in considering various criteria for immigration or citizenship applications. However in recent years there has been a consistent trend to eliminate an officer’s ability to subjectively assess applicants and instead reply on objective third party assessments. The issue of officer discretion was recently highlighted in a few citizenship cases where native speaking English applicants had their citizenship applications refused for failing to provide appropriate proof of English language proficiency. Stories in the media featured individuals who had been born in the UK and had largely spent their entire lives being educated and working in Canada but were unable to provide proof of their education.

Vancouver Duo Launch Immigration Handbook (Asian Pacific Post)
Vancouver based immigration lawyer Catherine Sas QC and Nick Noorani, the founder of Canadian Immigrant Magazine, have recently released a new guidebook for those looking to immigrate to Canada. Canada Countdown: How to Immigrate to Canada is available online as an E-book. The authors deliberately chose an electronic format so that the guide is constantly in harmony with any changes to Canada’s immigration laws. Canada Countdown ensures readers always have access to the most up-to-date information. Given that immigration regulations change rapidly in Canada, buying a print based book provides only short-lived value.

Only twisted logic could turn VIA ‘plotter’ against country that offered safe harbour (Kelly Mcparland, National Post)
The tale of Raed Jaser and his family, as revealed in Thursday’s National Post, makes for fascinating reading. It demonstrates, for one thing, just how fraught life can be for anyone unfortunate enough to be born into the cruelly complex mix of religious, ethnic and political tensions that remain an overwhelming feature of life in much of the Middle East. A Toronto man charged with plotting to derail a VIA Rail train fled to Canada from Germany after his family was “terrorized” by anti-immigrant groups there, according to federal refugee documents. Before arriving in Canada, Raed Jaser and his family spent two years in Berlin, where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at their home. The incident “terrorized his entire family,” their lawyer argued during their refugee proceedings.

Immigration Pushes Canadian Province’s Population Growth to 40 Year High (CICS News)
The population of Manitoba, a province in Canada’s prairie region, increased by 16,227 people over the last 12 months, which is the most in 40 years, according to the Manitoba provincial government. The arrival of 15,199 immigrants to Manitoba over the last 12 months, the highest number since 1946, was the main reason for this year’s record population increase. Many of the immigrants arrived through the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program (MPNP), which allows temporary residents with six months of work experience in Manitoba to qualify for nomination by the provincial government for permanent residence, subject to meeting official language proficiency requirements for semi-skilled workers.

Medically Uninsured Residents in Toronto (Toronto Board of Health)
Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) funded healthcare services are available to the majority of people living in Ontario. However there are several resident populations that do not have access to publicly funded provincial healthcare, including people who have lost their identification, people in the three month OHIP wait period, temporary visa holders (e.g., students, visitors), some refugees and undocumented residents. The majority of uninsured residents are immigrants and within this group the most vulnerable are undocumented immigrants. Undocumented residents are not authorised to be in Canada. The vast majority of undocumented residents arrived in Canada through authorised channels, but their immigration status has changed over time. This report describes groups that do not have access to OHIP funded healthcare and identifies their priority health needs, including obstetrical, newborn care and mental health. Children have unique and essential health needs that impact on their health in the short and long-term. Healthcare practitioners and agencies have developed a limited system to serve the uninsured population. At present, the demand for this care exceeds the capacity of the services available and few healthcare agencies receive dedicated funding to treat uninsured residents. The current healthcare system does not provide adequate access to essential healthcare services for uninsured residents.

Halifax fire chief apologizes to black firefighters who experienced racism (CTV)
Halifax’s fire chief issued an apology to black firefighters on Thursday as part of the department’s response to allegations of racism brought before the Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Commission. Doug Trussler offered the apology as part of a resolution to what he described as “a disappointing and painful chapter” in the fire department’s history.


Photo/video exhibit ‘Here and There’ explores what it means to be an immigrant (Debra Black, Toronto Star)
What does it mean to leave your homeland and everything you know and care about and move to a new country as a refugee? That’s one of themes being explored in a new media exhibition being mounted on the Ryerson Image Centre’s New Media Wall. The show, which will open May 1 and will run until June 2, and then again from June 19 to Aug. 25, examines immigration and migration issues past and present, said curator Gaelle Morel.

U of S students win video contest (Jeremy Warren, Star Phoenix)
A group of University of Saskatchewan medical students won a video contest aimed at reversing federal cuts to refugee health care funding. The Rick Mercer-walk-and-talk-style video features seven medical students advocating for more health care coverage for refugees in Canada and takes the federal government to task for the cuts. The Canadian Federation of Medical Students sponsored the online competition for medical students from across the country. “They’re learning a new culture and a new language and it’s already a stressful time for them,” first-year medical student Keith Johnstone said in an interview. “I think it’s ethical for us to help them.” The three-minute video, shot at different locations in Saskatoon, won the judge’s choice and the people’s choice awards.–DpiwVIAlAAWABiBWVuLUNB&cd=rChkTvPH5Eg&usg=AFQjCNGSBKc8LiesrBzMqM0iguM5ILPuBw

Former refugee aims to help others (Marilyn Assaf, Nanaimo Bulletin)
Education changes the world – just ask Vancouver Island University student Aden Ahmed. Ahmed spent 18 years in Kenya’s Dadaab complex, a sprawling site made up of three overcrowded camps that are home to almost half a million African refugees. Three years ago, he arrived in Nanaimo as a sponsored refugee student thanks to VIU’s World University Service of Canada (WUSC) local committee, a group of globally minded students and faculty who want to make a difference. Today, Ahmed is thriving as a landed immigrant in Canada, working diligently toward his bachelor of business administration degree at VIU. He is giving back to the community by serving as co-chairman of VIU’s WUSC committee.

Canada tried to deport terror suspect Raed Jaser (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
CBC News has confirmed that Canada tried nine years ago to deport Raed Jaser, one of the two men accused in the Via Rail terror plot, but authorities didn’t proceed and later granted him permanent residency. Jaser, 35, and Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, have been accused of plotting to derail a Via passenger train in what authorities have called an “al-Qaeda supported” attack. Jaser arrived with his parents and two siblings at Pearson International Airport on March 28, 1993. They travelled from Germany using fake French documents. When the parents made a claim for refugee protection, Jaser was a dependent minor.


Whose party is it anyway? (Leora Smith)
On Tuesday we spoke to Bryce Geereart and his classmates about their dislike of political parties. Despite being well-informed and politically engaged students, none of them had any interest in joining a party. Some expressed an interest in abolishing parties altogether. Across industrialized nations less and less youth are joining political parties. The last comprehensive study on parties in Canada*, conducted in 2000, showed the average age of party members was 59. Only 6% of members were under 30. One UK study** suggested that partisan affiliation repels this generation. It’s not just folks under 30 who aren’t joining political parties, either.

Closing The Health Council Of Canada: Another Missed Opportunity (Bob Gardner and Emily Wong, Wellesley Institute)
The federal government’s decision to stop funding the Health Council of Canada as of March 2014 had prompted an outcry from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and other health care organizations, which fear the loss of an independent voice to monitor health system performance and reform. CMA president, Dr. Anna Reid asked: “How are we to transform the health care system to improve patient care if we can’t measure what we’re doing well and what we need to improve?” and argued that “Canada’s health care system needs all the information it can get, but instead we are about to lose one of the few bodies responsible for monitoring and measuring progress toward ensuring the health care system is able to meet the needs of Canadians.” Other health care advocates such as the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Health Coalition worried that dismantling the council will create a gap in knowledge about how well different parts of the country perform on health care. Several provinces expressed concern that the Council contributed to sharing information across jurisdictions.

B.C. NDP unveils anti-poverty measures but no immediate plans to balance books (Daniel Bitonti And Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail)
The B.C. NDP rolled out its full platform on Wednesday, promising $2-billion in new programs paid for through tax hikes and money reallocated from existing Liberal programs. The blueprint underscores the competing visions between the two leading parties. The NDP would invest in anti-poverty measures and skills-training programs, ahead of balancing the budget; the Liberals, by contrast, have campaigned on a fiscally conservative platform that puts spending restraint as its highest priority.

B.C.’s child poverty rate (CBC)
Both the B.C. Liberals and New Democrats are making strong claims about the province’s record when it comes to child poverty. CBC’s Reality Check team set out to cut through the spin. “In only one year since the late 1980s have we had a child poverty rate that was lower than it is today,” Liberal Leader Christy Clark has said. “It’s gone down by 45 per cent since 2003.” But NDP Leader Adrian Dix has a very different view on how B.C. is doing in the fight against child poverty.


Western Canada Immigration and Diversity Forum 2013: Translating Diversity into Business Advantage (IECBC)
The Conference Board of Canada holds its first Western Canada diversity event focusing on the needs and priorities of businesses in Western Canada. May 2 – 3, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Calgary Alberta The event will concentrate on two key themes—immigration and diversity. Attendees will hear from diversity and inclusiveness thought leaders, such as IEC-BC’s Kelly Pollack, who will co-present with Peter Veress, President of Vermax Group on what companies can do to ensure that as they employ more immigrants, they work to integrate them and build genuinely inclusive organizations.

Canadian employers feel the need for integrating immigrants (Dinesh Dhiman, Live Punjab)
Global electronic manufacturing services provider SMTC is one of the many companies that reaped the benefits of skill set of immigrants. The highly skilled immigrants who have landed from all parts of the globe have plugged the gap between skill requirement and its ability. SMTC has its headquarters in Markham, near Toronto, the largest city in the country. As much as 46 percent of its population is composed of immigrants, as compared to New York, which has 28 percent of its population made up of immigrants.

LETTER: Migrant workers deserving of equal rights (Brant News)
A hearing into the death of migrant worker Ned Livingston Peart was held on April 17. In 2002, Peart, 38, was crushed to death while working on a Brantford tobacco farm. Peart’s death left his six children and his family without financial support and without their loved one. For most Canadians, this news is unimportant.

Canada: Immigration Within The Manufacturing Industry (Lesley A. Love, Mondaq)
It is no secret that skilled workers fuel business and boost competitiveness. A shortage of skilled workers is a critical challenge in the manufacturing industry in Canada and the manufacturing sector is feeling the effects. Manufacturing based companies often need to consider immigration solutions to address workforce needs. As a general rule, no person, other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, may work in Canada without valid authorization. Manufacturing based companies must ensure that they comply with immigration rules. Foreign nationals seeking to work in Canada will always require a work permit. The key is to assess the person and the purpose of the entry to determine the best immigration strategy.

Foreign workers allegedly paid $3 an hour in Halifax granted reprieve from deportation (Erin Trafford, Global News)
A group of 29 foreign workers who came to Halifax from the Philippines were granted special permission to stay in Canada on Wednesday after their employer was arrested under suspicion of mistreating employees. The workers who gathered at the Halifax immigration office were abuzz with excitement and relief as they planned their next steps. Their futures in Canada were thrown into doubt when their employer’s Dartmouth home was raided on April 10 by Canada Border Service agents. No charges have been laid and CBSA says the investigation is ongoing.


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Thursday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Porter, Transit Funding, TTC and Other News.

Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Friday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Toronto Zoo, Transit Funding, TTC and Other News.

Newsstand: April 26, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Friday, I’m in love…especially this week. Oy. In the news: A Ford ally flip flops on transit funding sources, the zoo and its union reach an agreement, Toronto police will consider putting armed cops at the island airport, Leafs fans can’t win even when the team does make the playoffs, and progress for City trustee Irene Atkinson.

TEDxToronto Announces the 2013 Theme, Venue, Date, and Call for Speakers & Performers (TEDxToronto)
Our choices may be logical, based in moral principle, made by gut instinct, or determined by the heart. They can be singular actions or collaborative ones. In the case of too much choice, we can face confusion and indifference. We are who we are today because of the choices we have made in the days that precede it. Sometimes our choices are forgettable, sometimes life changing, and occasionally, they change the world. With this theme in mind, we’re currently looking for speakers, performers, and technology demonstrations for our 2013 conference, to be held on September 26th at The Royal Conservatory of Music.

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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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Shared 18 links. Conservative anti-terror bill and arrests match up beautifully, don’t they: Mallick | Toronto Star Taxpayer-funded MP mail-outs...