Immigration & Diversity news headlines – April 5, 2013


Canada’s message to newcomers: Beavers are important, political engagement less so (Leora Smith, Samara Canada)
Do you know who Sir Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine was? Ask that question at a citizenship ceremony and you’ll get hands shooting up around the room. In our discussion with Lowie on Tuesday, he brought up the “Discover Canada” guide — the booklet that new immigrants must study in order to pass their citizenship test. Some of the information in the guide (like the question above) would make many native-born Canadians stare blankly at a test page. The introduction to civics, however, is all too familiar to anyone who has experienced a seventh grade social studies class: a lot of technical information, and almost nothing on how to engage with our government.’s-message-to-newcomers-beavers-are-important-political-engagement-less-so

Democracy Talks Dispatches: A political welcome package (Leora Smith, Samara Canada)
Democracy Talks is a community-based discussion series that brings people together to discuss politics and share ideas for improving civic and political engagement in Canada. Lately, we’ve been chatting with groups of youth and new Canadians about their experiences with politics. Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce you to some of these Democracy Talks participants, and their big ideas for transforming Canada’s political culture.

The little guide for the perfect immigrant (West Island Chronicle)
Minister Kenney has a small perfect guide It’s called “Welcome to Canada, what you wanted to know.” The new guide cuts back on Canadian history and slips in a lot more on Queen Elizabeth and the British monarchy, two of Harper’s favorite subjects. It devotes a full page to the constitutional monarchy but only four paragraphs to Canadian history. The 2009 guide had at least four pages on the history of Canada. Maybe Canada has less history today.

Toronto-Dominion picks Bharat Masrani as next CEO (Grant Robertson, Globe and Mail)
The Ugandan-born banker will take over on Nov. 1, 2014, after a transitional stint as chief operating officer. It is a significant moment in the Canadian banking world, making Mr. Masrani, who is of South Asian descent, the first visible minority to ascend to the corner office of a major Canadian bank, in a business that is often criticized for the homogeneity of its senior ranks… Mr. Masrani, known as a calm, deliberate thinker who doesn’t like to take big risks, said he was honoured to be named CEO, and particularly to represent a movement toward greater diversity in the sector from when he began at TD 26 years ago. “To be honest I don’t personally look at it from that lens,” he said. “But if my future role inspires individuals to seek out leadership positions, or motivate organizations to commit to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment, I feel great about that.”

Duncan woman an unlikely candidate for expulsion from Canada (Jack Knox, Times Colonist)
Janilee Cadongonan has bought a ticket to fly to the Philippines on April 14. She hopes she doesn’t have to use it. The Duncan woman’s story appeared here a couple of weeks ago: She is being expelled from Canada, her home for 6 1/2 years, because of what she says was an innocent paperwork error. Despite a last-ditch flurry from supporters who believe Ottawa is treating her unjustly, the 27-year-old stands to be torn from her family and sent back to a country where she has no immediate relations, no job, no future.

Canada launches visa program for immigrant entrepreneurs (Victoria Wells, Financial Post)
The government of Canada has launched a new visa program designed to get talented entrepreneurs to set up shop in the country. The Start-Up Visa Program gives foreign entrepreneurs with a commitment for investment from a Canadian venture capital or angel investor group the ability to apply for a visa to become a permanent resident. Upon approval of the visa, the entrepreneur’s permanent residency status is immediate. That’s a key difference from rival programs in other countries where it takes a few years for permanent residency to be granted. In fact, even if the business fails, the entrepreneur’s permanent residency status stands.

Canadian immigration’s ‘Dragons’ Den’ visa goes live (
There is already a well-established tech industry in Canada with clusters of IT firms in Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal and Vancouver. Atlee Clark of C100, a Canadian not-for-profit organisation which aims to help IT entrepreneurs told American tech magazine VentureBeat, ‘the government is betting that these founders will got to Canada, start a business, hire a whole bunch of people and stay for the long haul’.

CASSA Generations of Change: A South Asian Women’s Conference – April 26 (CASSA)
Join us in discussing and reflecting on issues around violence that women face in the South Asian Community and skill building techniques that they can use. This is a great opportunity to increase awareness, gain knowledge about issues concerning violence, and meet and interact with attendees from non-profit organizations, businesses, and diverse communities.

Religious leaders join forces against Toronto casino proposal (Elizabeth Church, Globe and Mail)
Talk of a new casino in Toronto is moving from the political arena to the pulpit, with a coalition of faith leaders urging city council to reject plans to expand gambling. Religious officials, including an Anglican bishop, Jesuit priest, imam, guru, rabbi and two former moderators of the United Church of Canada, stood together in the main foyer of Toronto City Hall Thursday to register their opposition to a proposed casino and to talk about their firsthand experience with the fallout from problem gambling. “We are standing here representing 250 faith leaders from synagogues, churches, mosques, temples, all across the Greater Toronto Area,” said Rev. Christopher White, who helped organize the event. “This is the first time that you have seen this amount of commitment, co-operation on an issue that concerns all of us.”

Peer Leaders Network Needs Your Votes for $25,000 (Centre for Diversity)
The Canadian Centre for Diversity is competing in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Competition. Between April 4 and April 22, anyone with a Facebook account can cast votes for their chosen cause. Over 3,000 causes were submitted to the competition and the Peer Leaders Network was chosen as one of the top 200 finalists. The 40 causes with the most votes will win $25, 000. These funds will enable us to expand our youth leadership program, Peer Leaders Network, to one priority school high school in the Greater Toronto Area.

Temporariness in Canada: Establishing a Research Agenda (Settlement AtWork)
The paper includes a thematic review of the existing academic literature on the three broad groups holding temporary status in Canada: refugee claimants/asylum seekers, temporary foreign workers and international students, respectively. In the concluding section, the authors identify the gaps in existing research in order to establish a research agenda with the objective of increasing the availability of evidence-based research on the increasingly diverse groups that fall within the parameters of temporariness in Canada.

When in Canada, do as Canadians do (Naomi Lakritz, Calgary Herald)
Either Canada is a beacon of democracy and freedom, or it isn’t. And since we know that it is, then the federal government absolutely reserves the right to tell immigrants in no uncertain terms how things are done in this democracy, and what sort of practices, which may have been acceptable in the old country, are taboo here. Kudos to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney for sticking to his guns and ensuring that the federal guide for would-be immigrants uses strong language to let those who want to move to Canada know the customs that are alien to democracy and which won’t be tolerated.

Pregnant Peruvian woman gets Ontario health card (CBC)
A pregnant Peruvian woman set to give birth in less than a month will receive a new health card a few months after the Ontario government cancelled it due to a change in her working visa. Rosa Callalli, a 33-year-old Peruvian immigrant, came to CBC News after she was denied health care coverage due to some confusion with her visa. But the office of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne helped facilitate a new health card for Callalli on Thursday morning. She is expected to receive the card in two weeks, but she has a temporary card number in the meantime.

Australian mom who drowned boys in Alberta to have immigration detention review (Vancouver Sun)
An Australian woman who has finished her jail term in Alberta for drowning her two children is to have an immigration detention review on Friday. The review for Allyson McConnell is a routine step where the Immigration and Refugee Board will decide whether she should be further detained in Edmonton or released from custody and removed from the country. If the board decides to detain her, she will have another hearing in seven days, said board spokeswoman Melissa Anderson.

June 6: Pioneers for Change Awards 2013 (Skills for Change)
The Pioneers for Change Awards is a celebration of the contributions that immigrants have made socially and economically to their communities and to Canada. Pioneers for change is also a key fundraising initiative that allows us to further develop our infrastructure, build our mentoring program and continue to help immigrants integrate and reach their full potential.

April 17: Immigration Detention in Canada and Abroad: What Is the Cost of Liberty? (Couchiching Institute)
The reintroduction in Parliament of The Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act (Bill C-4, formerly Bill C-49) in June 2011, was met with intense public debate, including Parliamentary questions, street protests, and media reports. The eventual compromise (Bill C-31, The Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act) became law in June 2012 after months of seesawing on the shape of its provisions. Amongst the contentious issues is the newly legislated mandatory detention, or incarceration, of select groups of immigrants and refugees over 16 years of age for 12-month periods of time. Detention often leads to mental and physical decline in detainees, skyrocketing financial costs, and deterioration in legal access, accountability, and judicial oversight. It also raises fundamental questions about the primacy of rights to liberty, equality, and freedom in Canada. Further, there is virtually no evidentiary proof that the threat of detention deters people from migrating without visas. Yet, while unheralded in Canada, mandatory detention is increasingly commonplace around the world as countries grapple with increased irregular migration and broadening security concerns. This conversation is intended to delve into all sides of the debate on the use of immigration detention in Canada, and to contextualize the policy and practice in its global setting, including the Australian, US, and UK contexts.

Diversity workshops, exciting launches, Muslim Centre open house, amazing stories and more… (Guelph-Wellington Local Immigration Partnership)
In this issue:
New dates for Opening Doors workshops
Exciting launches at The Immigration Connection
Muslim Society of Guelph to host open house in response to hate graffiti
New Routes: New Roots
GW-LIP Meetings
Other Events
News Round-up


Proud to protect refugees (Maytree)
Today is Refugee Rights Day in Canada. Not sure what it is about? Read Samuel Getachew’s backgrounder that explains what it’s all about and why it’s important. The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) is marking the day by asking Canadians: are you proud to protect refugees? It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we here at Maytree say, yes.

Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care releases update on impact of federal cuts to refugee health services (Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care)
Three months after dramatic cuts to federally funded refugee health care services took effect, the program that manages these services is marred by confusion, unnecessary costs, and compromised care. These are the interim findings from Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care, a non-partisan group of physicians with firsthand experience treating refugees in cities and towns across the country. The group has been documenting dozens of specific patient cases since the changes to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) were announced June 30th.

Refugee health clinic opens in Kitchener (CBC)
A new health clinic aimed at helping refugees navigate Ontario’s health care system opened Thursday in Kitchener. The Sanctuary Refugee Health Centre was established to help refugees get the care they need — something many doctors are ill-equipped to handle, says clinic director Dr. Michael Stephenson.

Rethinking Refugee Rights on Refugee Rights Day (Emily Wong, Wellesley Institute)
April 4th is the anniversary of a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision in 1985: Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration. The Singh decision recognized that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protected the fundamental rights of refugees. International migrants make up approximately 3% of the world population (191 million in 2005). The number of migrants is growing quickly, with an increase of 36 million international migrants between 1990-2005. In 2012, Canada was the world’s seventh largest recipient of new refugee or asylum-seekers, with 20, 500 claims. These numbers show that migrants and refugees are here to stay – and that their rights must be protected.

Driving Health Equity for Refugee and Immigrant Populations: Policy Actions Needed (Bob Gardner, Wellesley Institute)
I was speaking at a fascinating conference in Montreal. The seminar was reporting on the final stages of a comprehensive multi-site research project on the factors that shape the health of refugee and immigrant children and families, their access to health care and overall health status. The research is making a major contribution in documenting and understanding the ways that broader patterns of social and economic inequality affect immigrant health; the language, discrimination, organizational and other barriers to equitable access to care; and the program and policy changes needed to enhance the opportunities for good health for all refugees and immigrants.

Legal Aid Ontario cutbacks could leave desperate refugees without lawyers at hearings (Metro News)
Most refugees coming from countries Ottawa has deemed “safe” will no longer be entitled to free legal representation at their hearings, under a proposal put forward by Legal Aid Ontario. Refugee lawyers are up in arms over the plan, saying it will jeopardize the outcome for those who need proper legal advice the most. The plan is to stop paying lawyers to prepare and appear at asylum hearings for refugees from the 35 designated “safe” countries, who now face expedited processing and removal.

PWRDF is Proud to Protect Refugees (PWRDF)
PWRDF has signed on to the Proud to Protect Refugees campaign being launched today (World Refugee Day) by the Canadian Council for Refugees. Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and President of the PWRDF Board of Directors, has posted a public letter about the Anglican Church’s work with refugees through PWRDF.


The Economic Impact of Ontario’s Infrastructure Investment Program (Conference Board of Canada)
Using data provided by the Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure for the 2006–14 period, this briefing updates an earlier study to assess the contribution of Ontario’s infrastructure investment program to the province’s economy.

The launch of the new Social Security Tribunal (Yosie Saint-Cyr, Slaw)
On April 1, 2013, the federal government launched the new Social Security Tribunal, which aims to simplify the process of appealing government decisions related to benefits under the Employment Insurance Act, Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security Act. This initiative was created through the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, which received royal assent on June 29, 2012. The Act amended Part 5 of the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act to establish the Social Security Tribunal (SST). The SST is an administrative tribunal with quasi-judicial powers that provides an independent appeal process and replaces the four separate tribunals that currently hear social security appeals.

Income inequality subject of dialogue (Welland Tribune)
Social Assistance Reform Network of Niagara is presenting Beyond Austerity: A forward-looking vision for Ontario. Trish Hennessy, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) Ontario office, will lead the at conversation at Niagara Region headquarters on Wednesday, April 24.

Scientist muzzling probed by information commissioner (CBC)
Canada’s information commissioner has confirmed that her office will investigate allegations that the federal government is muzzling its scientists. The office of Suzanne Legault has concluded that a complaint made by Democracy Watch and the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Clinic in February falls within its mandate, wrote Emily McCarthy, assistant information commissioner, in a letter released Monday by Democracy Watch, an Ottawa-based non-profit organization that advocates for government accountability.


CBC Toronto Metro Moring: Immigrant Success Awards (TRIEC)
In this clip, Claude Germain, co-CEO of SMTC, spoke about being the winner of this year’s CBC Toronto Immigrant Advantage Award, and Ratna Omidvar, the chair of the board of directors of the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council, spoke about the importance of the CBC.

Strengthening Teamwork and Building More Effective Service Delivery – The City of Edmonton (ERIEC)
The City of Edmonton is running a Canadian Workplace Culture pilot project for their staff who are Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) and newcomer graduates from Canadian Universities. Participants are individuals whose first language may not be English; in fact many of them speak three or more languages and English is the most recent language they have learned. The newcomers were invited to participate in this eight-month project about communication skills and conversation management for the professional workplace. The diversity within the group in terms of number of years of service with the City, how long they have been in Canada, marital status, age, gender and occupation was immense.

Etip: Mentoring delivers the goods – for your employees and your company! (hireimmigrants)
The evidence is in – mentoring skilled immigrants works and can benefit your company’s performance.

Precarious work conditions need to change, report urges (CBC)
Job seekers across the province are finding more postings for temporary and contract jobs and fewer for full-time jobs with benefits — a trend the Law Commission of Ontario would like to see end. In a new report, the commission calls for changes to the Employment Standards Act, which they say would provide workers with more stability. According to a marketing and communications officer with YES Employment Services in Thunder Bay, job seekers often have to compromise on what they want in a job.

April 18: #CdnImm Event #14 – Partnering with Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs) (OCASI)
Forming Partnership between Settlement Agencies and Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)
To enhance settlement sector professionals’ understanding of Professional Immigrant Networks (PINs)
To share information about existing partnerships between settlement agencies and PINs
To create new connections and opportunities for future partnerships between settlement agencies and PINs


Toronto’s Urbanism Headlines: Friday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on City Hall, Metrolinx, Casino and Other News.

City Council Votes to Increase Homeless Shelter Capacity (Desmond Cole, Torontoist)
City councillors have overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to add more capacity to Toronto’s homeless shelter system. With a 40-1 vote earlier today—Mayor Rob Ford was the only one opposed—council endorsed a motion by Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s) to keep shelter occupancy at or below 90 per cent. (The rate has hovered at 96 per cent in recent months.) The plan also calls for an independent review of shelter intake practices, and a client survey on shelter access and conditions. For several months, housing advocates across Toronto have warned of overcrowding and poor access at City shelters, citing an increase in the number of homeless deaths. Council seemed to agree that, despite reassurances from City staff that bed supply is meeting demand, the current occupancy levels are too tight.


May 29: Five Good Ideas: Creating Partnerships with Media (Maytree)
Can’t get the media to pay attention to your organization? One of the most frustrating tasks for non-profit groups, regardless of their size, has been to get reporters to cover their stories and tell the public about some of their great initiatives. To deal with this problem, more and more groups are forming unique partnerships with media organizations aimed at better connecting them with their communities, increasing awareness of their activities and helping in fundraising. What’s more, it’s often the media organizations – not the non-profits – that are bringing these new ideas to the table. Bob Hepburn, a columnist and corporate communications specialist, shares his ideas on the dos and don’ts on how to pitch journalists and how to build new and innovative partnerships with the media.

BC launches new labour market partnership program for nonprofit sector (Charity Village)
British Columbia has launched a new Labour Market Partnership Program for the nonprofit sector that hopes to help address the human resources issues that the entire sector is facing. The need for a nonprofit partnership program was identified by the sector through the Government Nonprofit Initiative (GNPI) in 2009 and the current program is a partnership between the provincial and federal governments. Starting this year, and building on the previous years of work on the program, they have launched a new website called the Thrive Project. They are looking to collaborate with sector professionals to develop a menu of HR resources and services that will be housed on a portal launching this fall.

What’s the ONN doing for me (Jini Stolk, Creative Trust)
You may know that I’ve been involved in the Ontario Nonprofit Network since its inception, and am now acting as its Chair. In the beginning, in addition to my passionate support for much of the work that nonprofit organizations are doing in our province, I wanted to be sure that the arts took their place as one of the major contributors to community development, social health, and…joy. I’m glad to say that at this point the arts community’s collaborative skills, communications, social media and marketing chops, effective advocacy, and dynamic associations are a vital part of ONN’s success. The ONN, in its turn, is currently working on many things that have tremendous value for arts organizations. I want to point out a few.

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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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