Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 3, 2013


Reflecting the City: Employment Equity at Work (Cities of Migration)
Once faced with a declining population, today Saskatoon is Canada’s fastest growing city. Thanks to a booming provincial economy and an influx of immigrants targeting the city through government of Saskatchewan-led immigration programs, the number of visible minorities has more than doubled in less than a decade, up to almost 8% from 3% in a population of 260,000. For the City of Saskatoon this presents not only economic opportunities but also a new civic responsibility to ensure its government reflects the population it serves.

CBDC to Double Canada’s Diversity 50 Database of Board Candidates (
The Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC) announced today it is accepting applications for Diversity 50, corporate Canada’s foremost database of diverse candidates for board of director positions in Canada’s largest 500 organizations. Diversity 50 is part of the solution proposed by the CBDC to address the glacial pace of change toward increasing diversity on the boards of Canada’s largest organizations. Each year, the Council will add 50 board-ready candidates to the Diversity 50 database, building the definitive resource for Corporate Canada.

Reality tv immigration raid: interview with Max Haiven (Asaf Rashid, Halifax Media Coop)
The incident was filmed as part of a new series that airs on the National Geographic channel called “Border Security: Canada’s Front Line.” the series is being produced by a Canadian production company called Force Four Entertainment. To dissect the meaning of this Border Security series, the fodder of reality tv in general, and how it all relates to present day society, I’ve got an interview with Max Haiven, post doctoral fellow in the Department of Art and Public Policy at New York University. Additionally, he teaches locally in the area of Cultural Studies at NSCAD University.

Unethical reality show exploits those already exploited (Harsha Walia, Vancouver Sun)
Last week, Fraser Institute affiliate Martin Collacott took aim at those speaking out against the TV show Border Security and advocating for non-status migrants. While Collacott believes that such a distasteful and dehumanizing TV show is defensible, Amnesty International released an open letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews: “Amnesty International believes that filming and broadcasting these raids has jeopardized the basic rights of these undocumented workers, as protected under the international conventions that Canada has ratified.” Amnesty also calls into question Harper government’s active support for the TV show, “The divergence between the goals of a government agency and a TV production company calls into serious question the ethics of such a collaboration.”

Local entrepreneur warns of immigration backlog with startup visa program (Joe Lofaro, Metro News)
A local entrepreneur from Pakistan who is in immigration limbo applauded the federal government’s new Startup Visa program to lure foreign nationals, but is concerned applicants could face the same immigration backlog he is stuck in.

Canada entices entrepreneurs to make themselves at home (Michael Lee, ZDNet)
Summary: The Canadian government has launched a new startup program that promises successful companies permanent residencies in return for creating innovative businesses. Canada has launched a startup program that it hopes will attract the world’s best entrepreneurs and encourage them to make the country its home, in more than the metaphorical sense. The country’s Start-Up Visa Program is billed by the Canadian government as the first of its kind in the world, as it not only provides entrepreneurs with the requisite local connections in the form of business partners, but also permanent residency should they meet certain requirements.

Silicon Valley North? Canada ‘startup visa’ program could cost U.S. in war for talent (Christina Farr, Venturebeat)
While foreign entrepreneurs face a protracted immigration battle in the U.S., Canada has forged ahead with a new ‘Startup Visa‘ program. Canada is not the first country to implement policy to entice foreign entrepreneurs; Australia and Chile have launched similar programs. But if accepted, those who choose to settle in a city like Montreal or Toronto will earn residency immediately, not in a few years.

HIV spreader faces Canada deportation (New Zimbabwe)
CHARLES Kokanai Mzite’s life has been one of shifting fortunes, from international touring with an acclaimed musical troupe – even performing for Oprah Winfrey, to fleeing as a refugee to Canada; from the sanctuary of Vancouver’s vibrant artistic community to a prison. And now it comes full circle, with Canada ordering Mzite deported back to Zimbabwe, denounced as a danger to the public of Canada for having sex without informing his female partners he had HIV.

Minister Kenney Unveils Revamped Welcome to Canada Guide and New Living in Canada Online Tool (Gov of Canada News)
A new, more comprehensive guide and a new web tool to help newcomers settle and integrate in Canada were unveiled today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. CIC’s new flagship publication, Welcome to Canada, is intended to be the official handbook to assist immigrants in preparing to come to Canada and to help them navigate their way during their first months in Canada.

Welcome to Canada:

Monarchy, military, marriage: Canada revamps immigrants’ guide (The Province)
A new version of the government’s handbook for immigrants goes much farther than some simple tips for getting settled in Canada. The guide, entitled, “Welcome to Canada: What you Should Know,” incorporates new sections on the monarchy and military, as well as a lengthy discussion of Canadian laws. The $400,000 project sought to apply a new immigrant’s eye to what information they might need upon arrival in Canada, coupled with the government’s desire to make sure certain issues were clearly communicated.

New immigration guide issues stern warnings against ‘barbaric’ practices (Globe and Mail)
Newcomers to Canada are being bluntly told in a revised federal guidebook for immigrants that polygamy and forced marriages are illegal in this country. The 146-page document, which also addresses human trafficking and gender-based violence, takes pains to spell out the country’s marriage customs. “In Canada, there are laws against being married to more than one person at a time. You cannot come to Canada with more than one spouse even if you were married to more than one person in the past,” says the passage in Welcome to Canada: What you should know.

Revamped newcomers’ guide includes some blunt tips (Daniel Proussalidis, London Free Press)
Newcomers to Canada are now getting a beefed up guide to Canadian life that includes brand new chapters on the monarchy and the military. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the revamped Welcome to Canada guide is also blunt about what is unacceptable in the country. “Female genital mutilation and so-called ‘honour-based’ crimes are barbaric and will not be tolerated in Canada,” said Kenney in Vancouver. “It also informs readers that forced marriages and polygamy are illegal here.

Honour killings, marriage fraud new topics in revamped immigration guide (CTV)
The federal government has unveiled a revamped guide to help immigrants settle in Canada — a document that, for the first time, informs newcomers about practices that “will not be tolerated in Canada,” including female genital mutilation, honour crimes and marriage fraud. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney unveiled the overhauled Welcome to Canada guide at a news conference in Vancouver Tuesday.

Islamophobia is often a byproduct of media reports of homegrown terrorism (Charlie Smith,
Expect the recent CBC News report that two Canadians were part of a jihadist attack in Algeria to set off a new wave of Islamophobia in right-wing media outlets. That’s despite a growing evidence that politics, not religion, is often the primary force often driving young people in the West to join violent Islamist groups. Two 24-year-old men from London, Ontario—Xris Katsiroubas and Ali Medlej—were among the extremists who died in an assault that killed 37 workers at a gas plant in Algeria.

Desire to fit in with Muslim community can push ‘bitter and isolated’ converts to jihad: experts (Stewart Bell, National Post)
Just nine months ago, another Canadian convert, William Plotnikov, died while fighting with an armed Islamist group in Russia’s Dagestan region. Several members of the Toronto 18 terrorist group that plotted attacks in Canada until their arrests in 2006 were also converts. At a news conference, Munir El-Kassem, a London Muslim Mosque spokesman, dismissed any link between conversion and terrorism. “A person who is searching for some functionality in his life has discovered Islam. Now we say, did Islam contribute to that terrorism? The answer is absolutely not because he was basically escaping from his reality, from his everyday life,” he said. “This association is not right.”

Ontario mosque leaders reject links to extremism (CBC)
Muslim leaders in London, Ont., say they “unequivocally condemn violent extremism of any kind” following the identification of two young Canadians from the city as participants in a deadly attack in Algeria earlier this year. Chair of the London Muslim Mosque, Rob Osman, said at a news conference Tuesday that “the Association of London Muslims has and will continue to unequivocally condemn violent extremism of any kind, as this is the opposite to the core teachings of Islam.”

Kenney lauds effort in keeping youth off ‘radicalization path’ (Mike Blanchfield, Winnipeg Free Press)
Canada has done well to keep young people off the “path to radicalization,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday amid surprising revelations about the background of two disaffected Ontario men who reportedly played key roles in January’s deadly terrorist siege in Algeria. Canadian security agencies, with the help of religious groups, have successfully staged numerous interventions as part of “our containment strategy… on domestic radicalization,” Kenney told a news conference in Vancouver.

‘A Drop in the Bucket’: Housing for Chinese Speaking Seniors (Jackie Wong, The Tyee)
Over the last five years new cocktail lounges, cafes, and art spaces have cropped up in steady succession in Vancouver’s old Chinatown, on Pender, Keefer and East Georgia Streets between Carrall to the west and Gore to the east. Amidst the young people toting Americanos to their art studios however, elements of an earlier time remain: tall, brightly painted buildings built by clan or benevolent associations a century ago.

“They’re All So Beautiful” Web Series Explores “Yellow Fever” and Schema Magazine Asks What (Some) Asian Dudes Think About The Issue (Vinnie Yuen, Schema Magazine)
On April 1st, episode 1: “What is yellow fever?” premiered online on The online forum was created as a companion piece to Debbie Lum’s film “Seeking Asian Female”, with the goal to discuss the complex issues that form the backdrop of this intimate personal documentary about one man’s obsession to find a Chinese bride. Schema Magazine asked a few Asian men what they think about yellow fever, with some help from interns Annie Chung and Omar Kutbi. We asked various Asian men: “Do you know what ‘Yellow Fever’ is? What are your thoughts on it?”

Illegal immigrant’ no more (Paul Colford, AP)
The AP Stylebook today is making some changes in how we describe people living in a country illegally. Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains the thinking behind the decision: The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Why we all discriminate – even our doctors (Stephen Hwang, Winnipeg Free Press)
We sometimes imagine that discrimination is a blight confined to earlier times and far-away places. Unfortunately, discrimination — that is, treating people better or worse simply because they are members of a particular socially-defined group — occurs in every aspect of our lives today, from the workplace to the doctor’s office. When researchers sent mock resumes in response to job postings in the Toronto area, a person with an English-sounding name such as “John Martin” was 40 per cent more likely to be offered an interview than a person with an ethnic-sounding name such as “Arjun Kumar,” even when the two resumes listed exactly the same skills and qualifications.–even-our-doctors-200914291.html

Hugh Burnett: Shaping civil rights in Canada (Kevin Philipupillai, CBC The Current)
You’re about to hear a tale that some believe should be a vital part of Canadian lore — and about a man many say is a Canadian hero. The area that eventually became Dresden, Ontario was once a magnet for escaped U.S. slaves — a final stop of the underground railroad that offered freedom in Canada. But even a hundred years later, descendants of those men and women still couldn’t get a meal in a Dresden restaurant, play billiards in a Dresden pool hall, or get a haircut at a Dresden barbershop. Even many of Dresden’s churches were closed to people with dark skin.

Citizenship Immigration Canada News Release – Canada Open for Business to Start-Up Entrepreneurs (CitizenshipNow)
The world’s best and brightest entrepreneurs from around the world, with ideas for new business ventures and financial backing from Canadian investors, can apply to the brand-new Start-Up Visa Program as of April 1, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today. Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program is the first of its kind in the world. By providing sought-after entrepreneurs with permanent residency and access to a wide range of business partners, Canada hopes to become a destination of choice for start-up innovators which will help Canada remain competitive in the global economy.


Canadian Council for Refugees E-Chronicle Vol. 8 #1, 2 April 2013 (CCR)
Why are you proud to protect refugees? Take action this Refugee Rights Day (4 April)
How do recent immigration and refugee policy changes affect women and girls?
Dramatic Drop in Refugee Settlement to Canada
Marketing Immigration Enforcement: Privacy issues at play
Register now for the national Spring Consultation in Metro Vancouver, 30 May – 1 June 2013

Refugee Rights Day 2013 – Toronto (OCASI)
Celebrate refugee rights in Canada on April 4! Refugee Rights Day is commemorated on April 4 every year in Canada to bring attention to the advances made in the protection of refugee rights in Canada as a result of the Supreme Court Singh decision in 1985. Join us this year to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the ‘Singh Decision’. Scroll down to see a list of activities in Toronto that you can join. The activities are free of charge. Everyone is welcome.

Health clinic for refugees to open Thursday in Kitchener (The Record)
A health clinic dedicated to the ongoing care of refugees will open Thursday in Kitchener. It is the first such clinic in Waterloo Region. “I think it is a service that needs to exist….I think here is a huge need,” said Dr. Michael Stephenson, 34, who is the director and sole physician of this new clinic called Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre.–health-clinic-for-refugees-to-open-thursday-in-kitchener?–health-clinic-for-refugees-to-open-thursday-in-kitchener

Who are ‘Whites?’ The technical answer in Canada (Daniel Hiebert, Vancouver Sun)
The term, “White,” can a bit confusing in Canada. People unfamiliar with Statistics Canada and the census sometimes feel a jolt when they read the word, “White.” For some people, including some Whites, the descriptor seems to have highly emotive connotations. “Whites,” however, is a technical ethnocultural term that statisticians and academics have used for decades in Canada and around the world to describe a distinct groups. I employed the term in my Monday story on a new report for Immigration and Citizenship Canada. It ran on my blog under the headline: “Whites will decline to 2 of 5 Metro residents by 2013.” To make things clearer, I will provide the official definition, in Canada, of “White.”


April 2013 E-bulletin (CCLA)
CCLA celebrates robust win for Canadians’ privacy at the Supreme Court
CCLA joins Amicus Brief on equal marriage rights at US Supreme Court
Supreme Court affirms principle of individualized sentencing
CCLA addresses States at the Universal Periodic Review
CCLA gearing up for Third Annual Celebrating Canada Gala

Ontario needs jobs, not more cuts (Mick Sweetman, rabble)
A recent report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, written by economists Trish Hennessy and Jim Stanford, slams the Ontario government’s austerity budgets and breaks down how far from solving the province’s economic woes—budget cuts actually exacerbate them. The report, aptly titled More harm than good: Austerity’s impact in Ontario, deconstructs how the much-touted Drummond report manufactured a projected $30 billion deficit out of what even the Liberal government now says is a much smaller $11.9 billion shortfall.

Income Inequality In Canada (Standing Committee on Finance)
Today, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance announced that it will begin a study on income inequality in Canada in April 2013. “I am pleased that the Committee will be undertaking this important study,” said Mr. James Rajotte, M.P., Edmonton-Leduc and Chair of the Committee. “This study is motivated by the June 2012 motion introduced in the House of Commons by Mr. Scott Brison, M.P. for Kings-Hants, who is a member of the House Finance Committee.” Those who wish to submit a brief to the Committee on this topic should do so no later than noon on Friday, April 5, 2013. Briefs, which should not exceed five pages in length, may be published by the House of Commons on the Committee’s Web site.


TRIEC and RBC announce winners of 7th Annual Immigrant Success Awards (TRIEC)
Canada is facing a serious labour shortage. Our population is aging, the birth rate is slowing and there are fewer people with the requisite skills to fill vacant jobs. Skilled immigrants are a key source for new talent with Statistics Canada predicting that by 2031, one in three workers will be born outside the country. Toronto is currently one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities and leading GTA businesses already recognize the critical opportunity this provides for their growth and innovation. “With our rich diversity,Toronto area business and organizations have a wonderful opportunity to become even more innovative. Our annual Immigrant Success Awards prove that great things can happen when immigrants and businesses come together,” says Margaret Eaton, Executive Director of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC). “Yet, the competition for skilled immigrant talent is increasing and other companies need to follow these winners’ leads in order to attract the best and the brightest to our region before it is too late.”

Skilled immigrants critical to innovation; savvy GTA employers tap into this talent pool (Canada Newswire)
TRIEC and RBC announce winners of 7th Annual Immigrant Success Awards. Canada is facing a serious labour shortage. Our population is aging, the birth rate is slowing and there are fewer people with the requisite skills to fill vacant jobs. Skilled immigrants are a key source for new talent with Statistics Canada predicting that by 2031, one in three workers will be born outside the country. Toronto is currently one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities and leading GTA businesses already recognize the critical opportunity this provides for their growth and innovation.

Awards honour leadership and innovation in hiring immigrants (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
The Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council awards recognize the efforts employers make to capitalize on the GTA’s newcomer talent.

Mentoring improves employment outcomes for skilled immigrants (IECBC)
Mentoring helps newcomers find jobs that match their skills and talent says a report released by ALLIES, Assisting Local Leaders with Immigrant Employment Strategies. The study found that matching skilled immigrants with Canadians in the same fields helps newcomers builds professional networks and boosts their career prospects. The report revealed that immigrant participants in job-mentoring programs saw their unemployment rate drop from 73 per cent to 19 per cent a year after completing the program and their average annual full-time earnings increasing by 62 per cent, from $36,905 to $59,944.

Ontario Law Commission recommends sweeping changes to protect vulnerable workers (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
The startling rise of low-wage, temporary jobs with no benefits calls for a comprehensive provincial strategy, says the Law Commission of Ontario. Reforming Ontario’s outdated Employment Standards Act, more protection for foreign workers and beefed-up enforcement are also among the 47 recommendations in the commission’s final report, to be released Wednesday, on vulnerable workers and “precarious work.” “The transformation that is taking place in the world of work is dynamic, and even experts are uncertain where it will land,” says the 175-page report.

Recruiters show up at Ontario Ministry of Labour (Migrant workers in Canada)
Tens of thousands of migrant workers are being forced to pay up to two years of their salary to work in Canada. Their documents are being seized when they arrive here, and they are often finding themselves in worse jobs than they were promised. With entire families back home in debt as a result of fees, many workers are reluctant to complain about bad bosses. This must stop.


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Wednesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Gardiner Expressway, Metrolinx Revenue Proposals, Toronto Casino, Rob Ford’s Legal Costs and Other News.

Over 1,400 Residents Call on Toronto City Council to Open Emergency Shelter Space (Social Planning Toronto)
To date, over 1,400 Toronto residents have signed a petition urging City Council to open emergency shelter space in response to overcrowding and homeless deaths in the city. Residents have added their voices to the forty community and labour organizations that signed an open letter to members of City Council asking for additional emergency shelter space to meet the need in the community. As well, results from a short survey of 13 organizations operating 16 homeless shelters in Toronto found similar support for the opening of emergency shelter space in response to a lack of available beds in the shelter system.

New website aims to foster city building in Toronto (Derek Flack, Blog TO)
Launching in Toronto today is a new online platform that’s designed to make community projects more easy to realize. For lack of a better analogy, the system resembles what you might get if you combined Kickstarter and SeeClickFix (but on a larger scale). Called Projexity, the site provides a system by which community members can launch neighbourhood improvement projects, seek donations, and solicit design ideas. While it might superficially appear like a fairly standard crowdfunding model, the project differs in at least one crucial way: it explicitly encourages collaboration.

Cities Without Cities: Highrise Suburbia is the Forgotten Urbanism of Our Age (Doug Saunders)
What kind of housing do you think is most uniquely Canadian: The Victorian semi-detached house? The suburban split level? The downtown glass condo tower? Think again. The dwelling that’s most Canadian, in its sheer numbers and popularity, is the slab farm – the block of high-rise rental apartment buildings, generally constructed between 1955 and 1979, located closer to the countryside than the city hall, in the suburbs or fringes of major cities.

The Toronto Forum on Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Ryerson)
On May 7th, The Ted Rogers School of Management will host a diverse group of Canadian leaders on the topic of Toronto’s international competitiveness. Join us for a lively discussion and debate on how entrepreneurship, creativity and industry can help build our communities, our city, and help secure our position in the international network of cities. Speakers include Maytree’s Alan Broadbent.

April 22: The Millenials in Cities: the coming change in urban demographics and civic values (School of Public Policy and Governance, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Urban Strategies, Global City Indicators, and Department of Geography and Planning)

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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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