Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 29, 2013


Muslim Dream Comes True in N. Vancouver (OnIslam)
Fulfilling a long-awaited dream, Canadian Muslims in North Vancouver are preparing for opening their first mosque, breathing a new life in their society and helping their community feel that they are part of the society. “This is basically the community’s mosque,” acting imam of Ar-Rahman mosque Sheikh Abu Abdus-Salaam told North Shore News on Sunday, April 28. “It belongs to North Vancouver and everyone’s welcome here.” The mosque, located on the former site of St. Richard’s Anglican Church, will be officially opened at the beginning of May.

OP 10 Permanent Residency Status Determination – PDF (CIC)
This chapter has been updated as follows: Section 13 has been revised to incorporate instructions on processing requests for voluntary relinquishment of PR status.

If People Could Immigrate Anywhere, Would Poverty Be Eliminated? (The Atlantic)
What if there was a program that would cost nothing, improve the lives of millions of people from poorer nations, and double world GDP? At least one economist says that increased mobility of people is by far the biggest missed opportunity in development. And an informally aligned group of advocates is doing its best to make the world aware of the “open borders” movement, which suggests that individuals should be able to move between countries at will.

Surrey RCMP Honoured With Diversity Award (The Link)
The Surrey RCMP have been honoured for their commitment to diversity at a special ceremony held by the DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society. The Cultural DIVERSEcity Awards recognize businesses and organizations that have excelled in successfully implementing culturally diverse initiatives into their workplace. Surrey RCMP received recognition in the Public Institution category.

A Punjabi Broadcast Draws In New Hockey Fans (David Sax, New York Times)
Harnarayan Singh and Bhola Chauhan sat at a desk in the CBC’s studio here last month, watching the first period of a game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Winnipeg Jets on two televisions. Wearing a pinstriped suit with gold cuff links, a blue and white tie and a matching turban, Singh, a play-by-play announcer, called the end-to-end action in an animated stream of Punjabi, punctuated with English words like “linesman,” “icing” and “face-off.” Singh spoke at great volume as Toronto scored its first goal, crediting wing Joffrey Lupul for what translates to “picking up the wood,” a traditional Punjabi battle cry akin to bringing the house down.

Breaking the communication breakdown barrier (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
Stories regarding language barriers have become common in Canada. The newcomer struggling to speak English who, as a result, has grave trouble trying to get a job. The person who can’t communicate with medical staff during an emergency, making her dire situation more dangerous. The classes filled with English-as-a-second language students; leading to concerns that teachers aren’t giving much attention to students who need to focus on other things. The breakdowns in communication during condominium council meetings that have been called to discuss urgent costly repairs, sometimes leading to chaos and suspicion.

Harry Jerome Awards highlight achievers in the African Canadian community (Leslie Ferenc, Toronto Star)
The Black Business and Professional Association is once again recognizing the best and the brightest across the nation as it presents the 31st annual Harry Jerome Awards in Toronto. It’s the premier national awards gala in the African-Canadian community and a coveted symbol of achievement. The award’s name honours Olympic athlete, scholar and community leader Harry Jerome.

‘Disturbed’ by immigration records, Kenney orders review into VIA terror suspects’ cases (Stewart Bell, National Post)
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has ordered a review of the cases of the VIA Rail terrorism suspects, both of whom were recently granted permanent resident status in Canada.

Canada too keen to boot polite Filipina (Jack Knox, Times Colonist)
It’s almost the end for Janilee Cadongonan, thanks to a Canadian immigration system that not only doesn’t believe her, but can’t keep its own story straight. The 27-year-old Duncan woman’s tale hit the news in March. Canada was booting her back to the Philippines, all because of what she insists was an innocent paperwork error. Cadongonan came to Canada in 2006, joining her mother and Canadian-born stepfather. She proved a solid addition to the country, toiling at three jobs at once — scrubbing toilets in a resort, waiting tables, working in Superstore.

Canada terror plot raises deportation questions (Gulf News)
Canada is reviewing the country’s deportation policies following revelations that a court decided nine years ago against deporting a man who was arrested last week on terror charges in an alleged plot to derail a train, the federal immigration minister said. Raed Jaser, who arrived in Canada with his family as a teenager in 1993, was convicted in 1997 on fraud charges and in 2001 of threatening death or bodily harm, according to court records, which did not provide details on the cases.

Canada to Scrap Points System for High-Skilled Immigration (Beryl Lieff Benderly, Science Careers)
During the years of discussion and debate leading to the current drive to reform the U.S. immigration system, the experience of Canada has been held up as a model, especially in regard to its policies concerning high-skilled immigrants. For nearly 5 decades, Canada has admitted immigrants based on a points system—the world’s first—that gives the advantage to people with such characteristics as higher education and professional skills. With enough points, individuals can legally move to the country whether they have a promise of work. The United States, on the other hand, has generally tied skilled immigration to specific promises of employment. Many U.S. politicians have argued for introducing something like the Canadian system in the United States in order to meet a mythical shortage of technical skills. The “Gang of Eight” immigration bill now under consideration in the Senate moves in the direction of eliminating employment requirements for many immigrants who hold graduate degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

Group stages last-ditch protest before deportation of Hamilton man’s wife (CBC)
A Hamilton group is venturing to north Toronto to protest the imminent deportation of Wafaa Abdou, an Egyptian woman who is married to a Canadian. The Reunite Wilkie Family Committee is staging a demonstration at 11 a.m. on Saturday outside the Rexdale detention centre where Abdou is being held. She is scheduled to be deported back to Egypt by the end of the day, leaving Ian Wilkie, her Hamilton-born husband, and their three children behind in Ontario.

Tearful goodbye before mom’s deportation to Cairo (Hamilton Spectator)
Three Canadian children said goodbye to their Egyptian-born mother by telephone through a glass barrier Friday at the Mississauga detention centre where she’s been held. Wafaa Abdou, 33, wife of Hamilton native Ian Wilkie, is to be deported from Canada on a Saturday flight in a case that has her supporters protesting to the last minute. Wilkie, a Hamilton native, said the emotional visit was especially difficult because detention officials would not allow direct contact with Abdou. The children — Zaynab, 11, Yusuf, 8, and Fatima, 6 — had not seen their mother since she was taken into custody Jan. 14.–tearful-goodbye-before-mom-s-deportation-to-cairo

Court Certifies Numerous Questions in Dismissal of Skilled Worker Class Action (Steven Meurrens)
The Court’s certified questions are:
Does subsection 87.4(1) of the IRPA terminate by operation of law the applications described in that subsection upon its coming into force, and if not, are the applicants entitled to mandamus?
Does the Canadian Bill of Rights mandate notice and an opportunity to make submissions prior to termination of an application under subsection 87.4(1) of the IRPA?
Is section 87.4 of the IRPA unconstitutional, being contrary to the rule of law or sections 7 and 15 the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Considering that around 1,000,000 people were affected by the Tabingo decision, it is not surprising that the Court certified the above three questions. The matter is now on its way to the Federal Court of Appeal.

Video: Innoversity Summit 2013: There Are No Boundaries
Innoversity Co-founder Hamlin Grange talks about how media has changed and the doors The Innoversity Summit opens for creators. The Innoversity Creative Summit™ is a marketplace for great ideas, taking place May 28 & 29, 2013. Appel Salon in the Toronto Reference Library

Sports and recreation as an instrument for social inclusion (Mitchell Kutney)
With the Harper government’s recent adjustments to Canada’s immigration policy, it will be important for nonprofits working in the field of ethnic groups, visible minorities, and immigrants to adapt and innovate during these times of change. With modern restrictions on access to funding and the rising prevalence of immigration in Canada, the sector needs to be open to new opportunities. I would argue there is an opportunity in working more collaboratively with other nonprofits that are not focused on immigration per se, but could benefit the immigration process. Nonprofits working in the field of sports and recreation are in an excellent position to serve as an integration mechanism for new Canadians. Sports and recreation are globally viewed as healthy leisure activities that are safe and accessible in terms of both cost and availability. Moreover, sports and recreation has the unique ability to bring communities together.

Jason Kenney wants to know why Via terror suspect wasn’t deported (CBC)
Canada’s minister of citizenship and immigration says he was “disturbed to learn a foreigner can get a pardon for serious criminal cases and then be allowed to stay.” Jason Kenney, talking to reporters outside the House of Commons Friday, was referring to Raed Jaser, 35, who has been accused of plotting to derail a Via Rail passenger train in what authorities have called an “al-Qaeda supported” attack. Jaser was charged this week with terrorism-related offences, along with Chiheb Esseghaier, 30.

Hitting close to home (Charlie Gillis, Maclean’s)
He is heir to a legacy of anger—“forced into exile,” as his father, Mohammed, once put it, “because of our identification as Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and most importantly, as non-Jews.” Raed Jaser was listed as “stateless” back in March 1993, when he was still a teenager and his family sought refugee status in Canada. The resentment practically rises from the pages of affidavits his dad filed in support of their claim. “We lived in tents, through freezing winters and blazing hot sun,” the elder Jaser said of the family’s time in resettlement camps on the Gaza Strip. They were forced there in 1948, he said, after the Israeli army seized their home in Jaffa to make way for Jewish settlers: “We were homeless and in poor health.”

Who are the Ahmadi Muslims? And why are they so controversial? (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
They are a small religious sect in Canada. But I receive more emails and news releases from the Ahmadiyya Muslims than I do from the rest of Canada’s roughly one million Muslims combined. The Ahmadiyya are not shy about seeking converts in Canada, mainly by connecting with politicians and offering hundreds of public talks and “interfaith” forums each year. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is among those keenly aware of the Ahmadiyya, also known as Ahmadi. He made his Feb. 19 announcement about the new $5-million Office of Religious Freedom from Ahmadiyya headquarters.

Eleven convicted criminals ordered deported sit in cells in Calgary on taxpayers’ dime (Sun News)
One more and they would be a dirty dozen. In Calgary, 11 individuals ordered deported instead languish in custody. It costs taxpayers $220.09 per day for each to be detained at the remand centre, meaning every day criminals wait for a one-way ticket home they accrue a tab of more than $2,200. These are not those with failed refugee bids or dashed dreams of becoming contributing citizens. These are foreign nationals guilty of everything from raping children to carrying guns — convicted criminals. Ordered out of Canada, they have exhausted any appeals and done their time or dealt with criminal matters, which is required before they can be removed. Deportation is inevitable. But it isn’t always quick.

Immigration hurdle cleared for family’s move to Saint John (CBC)
A Virginia couple, with ties to New Brunswick, has finally been given word from the federal government that they can move to Saint John after more than a year of silence from Ottawa. Jodi Munn, who is from New Brunswick, and Jefferson Quitazol have new jobs waiting for them as nurses in Saint John, but their move had been held up as they were waiting for the required immigration papers to be finalized. Quitazol applied for permanent resident status in 2012 and earlier this year his immigration application was deemed “decision made.” But Munn, who has been working in the United States since 2006, said they had not been told by the Canadian government if their immigration papers were approved or denied. That all changed once she shared her family’s story with the CBC last week.

Marriage fraud: Canadian immigration officials tread thin line (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
The immigration officer pondered the woman’s older age, better education and large family — and denied 21-year-old Sarem Soomro’s application to sponsor his wife to Canada. To the shock of Soomro and his parents, his arranged marriage to 25-year-old Ghulam Fatima Soomro in Pakistan was deemed a fake. “We have worked very hard to give Sarem a normal life,” said his upset mother, Armaghan Soomro, a support worker for the Red Cross and a CPR instructor for St. John Ambulance. “We just want him to have a family and a complete life.”

Immigration backlog battle is not over yet, Galati vows (Cristin Schmitz, The Lawyers Weekly)
A decision upholding the controversial federal law that wiped out the backlogged applications of thousands of foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in Canada as skilled workers is being appealed, immigration lawyers say. On April 18, Federal Court Justice Donald Rennie upheld s. 87.4 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which became law in June, 2012. The measure wipes out a huge backlog comprising applications from the federal skilled workers (FSW) class —thousands of people, mostly from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific.


Canada Couldn’t Deport Alleged Terrorist Because He’s ‘Palestinian’ (Jewish Press)
Here’s a follow up to to the discovery of a terror cell in Canada. Questions are now being asked there that highlight a series of governmental decisions about one (at least) of the two men accused of plotting to carry out a terrorist attack on an interurban train. They’re questions that ought to get some wider airing and they come from Canada’s minister of citizenship and immigration, Jason Kenney. The questions are about Raed Jaser, 35, accused, along with Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, of planning to derail a Via Rail passenger train in what the Canadian authorities are calling an “al Qaeda supported” attack. Terrorism-related charges [detailed here] have been brought against the two.

Pardoned terror suspect has immigration Minister reviewing Canada’s deportation rules (680 News)
The latest twist in an alleged terrorism plot involving a Via Rail train has Immigration Minister Jason Kenney reviewing Canada’s deportation rules. Earlier this week, it was revealed that one of the two suspects, Raed Jaser, was supposed to be deported in 2004 but managed to stay in Canada because he is considered a “stateless Palestinian”. Authorities couldn’t deport him because he had no home country, and he received a pardon. Jaser initially tried to become a Canadian citizen in 1993 but wasn’t allowed due to past criminal convictions.

The Wisdom Of A Former Refugee – “Do Not Take Anything For Granted” (Samuel Getachew, Huffington Post)
ust a decade after arriving to Canada from Eritrea, Thomas Tewoldemedhin is living the ultimate Canadian dream. Calling himself a “serial entrepreneur”, the onetime refugee turned Harry Jerome award-winning business extraordinaire is making an impression whereever he goes. He reflects on his success and looks at the humble journey that has prepared him to “not take anything for granted.” The passionate young man is intent on “pushing the envelope in every possible way” in attaining a great Canadian success story.

Video: Our Lives Before Canada (North York Community House)
Somali youth– one born in Yemen, the other born in India– tell their stories about their childhood experiences. They exchange memories of celebrations and travel, and of child labour and having to grow up alone. They share their goals to succeed in their new country.


Canadian Social Research Newsletter : April 28, 2013 (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. It’s time to end the erosion of public assistance in Ontario (John Stapleton in the Toronto Star) – April 26
2. March and April 2013 issues of JUSTICenews (Citizens for Public Justice)
3. Canada’s Second Universal Periodic Review 2013 : April 26, 2013 (United Nations Human Rights Council and Canadian Heritage)
4. Finance Committee commences income inequality study, but whose interests do they have in mind? (Citizens for Public Justice) – April 25
5. Media and Policy News for April 23, 24 (by Jennefer Laidley, Income Security Advocacy Centre)
6. Ontario budget to be tabled May 2 (CityNews) – April 22
7. British Columbia 2013 Election : May 14, 2013
8. Tory Senator Hugh Segal says time is right for ‘minister for poverty reduction’ ( – April 24
9. Employment Insurance : Ten Changes in 2012–2013 (Parliamentary Information and Research Service) – January 23
10. The Parliamentary Information and Research Service : What you’ll find there.
11. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics
— Payroll employment, earnings and hours, February 2013 – April 25
— Payment patterns of child and spousal support – April 24
— Data Inventory Project, 2012 – April 22
12. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

Finance Committee commences income inequality study, but whose interests do they have in mind? (Brad Wassink, Simon Lewchuk, CPJ)
Ten months after MPs voted to study income inequality in Canada, the House Finance Committee finally held their first of three meetings on the topic last Tuesday. And while three meetings isn’t much, it’s better than one, which is what the committee is said to have originally planned on. The credit goes to the civil society organizations and concerned Canadians who spoke out and demanded that the committee give more time and attention to this important issue. It seems the MPs were listening, at least partially. But lest we get too excited about this small victory, one needs only to have been at last week’s meeting to question whether the Finance Committee is really interested in a serious, balanced discussion or mere theatrics and partisan posturing.

Submission on Motion 315 (Income Inequality) Submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance – PDF (Canadian Medical Association)
Income inequality is a growing problem in Canada. According to a Conference Board of Canada report, high income Canadians have seen their share of income increase since 1990 while the poorest and even the middle-income groups have lost income share. In 2010 the top quintile of earners accounted for 39.1% of Canadian income while the bottom quintile only accounted for 7.3%. These numbers led to a ranking for Canada of 12 out of 17 among other high income countries in terms of income inequality.1 Research by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has largely confirmed these results.


Foreign worker program changes expected today (CBC)
The federal government is expected to announce details today of changes to the temporary foreign workers program that will require employers to do more to find Canadian workers so they don’t have to look elsewhere. The expected changes come after a CBC Go Public story earlier this month on use of foreign workers by Royal Bank which sparked public outrage and brought renewed focus on the temporary foreign workers program. The controversy dominated Parliament Hill also and had the government defending the program but also promising changes to it so that it is not abused.

SMTC – 2012 CBC Toronto Immigrant Advantage Award (TRIEC)
SMTC, a global Electronics Manufacturing Services provider, requires a workforce with strong engineering expertise and a specific skill set. It is not always easy to find, but for SMTC skilled immigrants are part of the answer.

Waiting for action on wage theft 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 the budget will be tabled on May 2. In a Toronto Star op-ed 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.

Launching (Shawn Mintz)
At the Conference Board of Canada’s Workforce One-Stop 2013 conference we recently launched – a global platform which enables organizations to start their own mentoring programs. “This brings MentorCity one step closer to its vision of a world where everyone can access a mentor.” said Shawn Mintz, president of MentorCity. Harpreet Sahota a 3rd year university student shared her first mentoring experience during the launch “The advice that he give me and the way he was able to make me think surpassed the expectations that I had for this relationship.”

Insiders say Canada ‘scammed’ by foreign worker industry (Kathy Tomlinson, CBC)
Several information technology industry insiders have come forward to expose some of the inner workings of multinational outsourcing companies from India, which they claim exploit Canada’s temporary work visa system and bring no real benefit. “I need to stop this scam. I am hurting,” said one experienced Canadian IT worker, originally from India, who told CBC he’s been pushed out of his industry as a result of outsourcing. He and others told Go Public that they have seen up close how the Indian companies operate in banks and other major Canadian corporations, where the multinationals have large contracts to do IT work. “Nobody is checking what they are doing,” said another local worker. “They just use their name and use their money to get the contract.”

NEW COURSE: Measuring Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Practices (Suzanne Hawkes)
The talented, results-driven team at Anima Leadership has a brand-new workshop offering: Measuring Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Practices, on May 23rd, 2013 in downtown Toronto. I frequently work with organizations that struggling to become more inclusive, diverse and reflective of the communities they serve. The team at Anima Leadership is simply brilliant at this work, fusing the latest research from neuroscience, psychology, prejudice reduction, organizational development and mindfulness with proven practices for sustaining organizational performance. Now they’ve surveyed the latest smart practices research on recruitment, retention and advancement in order to develop unique diversity instruments for measuring inclusion in the workplace. Assess where your organization is at and where it wants to go using the Anima Inclusive Workplace Toolkit.


Newsstand: April 29, 2013 (Terri Coles, Torontoist)
Teenagers from low-income households make up the bulk of students in non-academic courses, according to a new report from People for Education. The report from the research and advocacy group showed that though the practice of streaming—placing teens into basic, general, and advanced courses as they entered high school—officially ended more than 10 years ago, but it’s still happening in practice, including in the GTA. For example, at one particular school, the lower the average family income, the higher the percentage of students taking applied (non-academic) math. “It is startling, and it is coupled with the fact that, according to lots of different reports, kids in applied have a much lower chance of graduating, of succeeding, of getting all their credits,” Annie Kidder, executive director of People for Education, told the Toronto Star.

Turning Metrolinx’s revenue tools into jobs for low-income neighbourhoods (John Lorinc, Spacing Toronto)
As Toronto’s surreal transit funding battle continues to spin out of control, the far-sighted, progressive-minded transit policies coming out of the Los Angeles region continues to impress. Consider this intriguing employment deal adopted by Metro, L.A. County’s transportation planning authority, which is responsible for spending $40 billion on new lines and highway improvements over the coming three decades (thanks to a new stream of revenues from a half-cent regional sales tax approved in 2008). In January, 2012, Metro’s board approved a project labour agreement [PDF] with the region’s building and skilled trades unions that explicitly directs jobs towards the residents of L.A.’s regrettably large collection of very poor neighbourhoods.


2013 June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient (Settlement AtWork)
The provincial government of Ontario is honouring twelve people and seven organizations with a June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award, for their commitment to volunteerism and longstanding service to their local communities. The award recognizes dedicated individuals who, like the late June Callwood, demonstrate exceptional leadership, creativity and innovation in their service to their communities and others.

Information, research and resources for fundraisers and their leaders (Steven Ayer, Charity Info)
It’s hard to read or watch the news these days without hearing about the challenges of income inequality. While the financial meltdown and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement have clearly shone a light on the issue of rising inequality, in the last few years it has also been readily apparent that this trend is significantly changing the donor landscape in Canada. The last two decades have been a period where the average donation to charities has grown rapidly while the percentage of donors has continued to decrease year after year. In fact, the donation rate has been declining steadily for more than 20 years even while the number of new charities continues to increase. In other words, more charities are competing for fewer donors.

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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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