Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 1, 2013


Webinar Recording: Receiving Communities: Preparing a Culture of Welcome (Cities of Migration)
Learn how small-to-medium cities like Boise, United States, and Erfurt, Germany, are successfully bringing newcomers and receiving communities together with innovative programs and a clear message about the two-way benefits of immigrant integration. How do we bring newcomers and established residents into contact with each other and create a culture of welcome? One way is to start with cross-cultural interactions that build trust and mutual understanding.

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.

Skilled Workers Program Returns (Trent Ernst, Tumble Ridge News)
After being put on hold for the better part of the year, the Canadian Government has announced the criteria for the newly re-worked Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP). There are two dozen eligible occupations in the program, which comes back into effect May 4, with a quarter of them connected to the mining industry. The program allows skilled workers from other countries to apply for permanent residency in Canada, based on their ability to become economically established in Canada

Federal Skilled Worker Program: Beyond the Eligible Occupation List (CICS News)
After almost a year of waiting, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) will reopen to applicants on May 4th, 2013. In preparation for this date, the Canadian government has announced the full list of criteria for the program. These criteria include an application intake cap of 5,000 in addition to a list of 24 eligible occupations. Under the FSWP, only applicants who have skills and experience in one of the 24 eligible occupations will be accepted for review. The 24 occupations are explained in the National Occupation Classification (NOC) system. This year, the eligible occupations include (but are not limited to) engineers, computer programmers and interactive media developers, and financial/investment analysts.

How immigrant entrepreneurs are driving Toronto’s tech startup renaissance (Yonge Street)
Noura Sakkijha is part of a select group of recent immigrants to Toronto attempting to conquer the high-risk world of tech startups by building her own business. She represents a vital new way for immigrants to establish themselves as entrepreneurial leaders and important members of the city’s community. Sakkijha is the co-founder of Mejuri, an online e-commerce platform where users can vote on jewelry designs submitted by designers from more than 21 countries. Sakkijha and her team then decide which designs to manufacture, market and sell. The company manufactures all of its jewelry in her native Jordan where her family has a history in the jewelry business. The idea recently beat out more than 100 startups to win the International Startup Festival’s inaugural Elevator World Tour.

Racial discrimination case involving Leon’s Furniture focuses on alleged ‘lynching’ comment (Clark Jang, Metro News)
A woman accusing her former employer of racial discrimination says a lynching comment was “the last straw.” Garnetta Cromwell testified Tuesday before the province’s Human Rights Commission. Her complaint is filed against Leon’s Furniture Store, her employer from October 2004 to May 2008. Cromwell, an African-Canadian, alleged the word “lynching” was used before she went to a performance review meeting at the beginning of May 2008. She said four supervisors were in the office inside its Burnside location when one of them made a discriminatory comment.

Seva Food Bank proudly endorses Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel (Seva Food Bank)
Seva Food Bank is proud to endorse and support the newly developed Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel. The Diversity and Inclusion Charter of Peel is a regional initiative to foster inclusiveness and equity in Peel. Developed through extensive community consultation, the Charter is a living document that supports the implementation of existing national and provincial legislation. “At Seva Food Bank we value diversity, and this is something that you can easily see through both our client base and volunteers” says Director of Programs and Youth Development Sadia Rafiquddin. “This Charter was so in line with our values around diversity that it is natural for us to lend our support behind it”.

Exclusive: General Motors pulls ‘racist’ Chevrolet ad over ‘ching-ching, chop suey’ song (SCMP)
Automobile giant General Motors is pulling from worldwide markets an advertisement whose jingle refers to China as “the land of Fu Manchu”, where people say “ching-ching, chop suey”. The television spot for the Chevrolet Trax SUV, which had been running in Canada since early April and was posted to Chevrolet’s European website, disappeared from Canadian TV screens about a week ago, and was replaced with a new edit of the ad without lyrics.

The Chinese restaurant as a Prairie icon (Globe and Mail)
After 95 years, the faded words hang above the main drag here in Olds, Alta.: “Public Lunch Cafe,” each black letter embedded with tiny pieces of glass to catch the sun. To Stewart Wong, it still feels like home. Each morning, the 84-year-old comes through the doors of the Chinese restaurant his great-grandfather opened. Stewart Wong ran the Public Lunch for 26 years, albeit reluctantly. “I was not a restaurant man. My dad was,” he recalls. “I hated it.” The first chance he got, he sold. It was over a century ago that Chinese restaurants began to spring up across the Prairies. For families among the first wave of Chinese immigrants, many of whom had worked building the railroad, it was the best, or only, option to make ends meet. Like Public Lunch, those establishments now form the pillar for a new exhibit at the Royal Alberta Museum, Chop Suey on the Prairies.

Press Release: Canada’s Human Rights Record Challenged (CWP)
Members of the United Nations Human Rights Council have formally challenged Canada’s human rights record with 83 countries making recommendations for enhanced rights protections. Part of the Universal Periodic Review process (UPR), these comments refute Canada’s status as a human rights leader and indicate that Canada must take immediate action on socio-economic disparities.

Putting down roots in the Canadian cultural landscape (Includes interview and first-hand account) (Farid Omar, Digital Journal)
Hundreds of participants drawn from the diversity of the GTA’s East African community as well as members of the general public packed the Ada Slaight Hall, at the Daniels Spectrum located in the downtown, Regent Park area to full capacity to witness the historic launch as well as celebrate an evening filled with art, culture, food, live music and inspiring speeches and lectures. According to SpeakSudan, the innovative collective “promotes the creative expression of the experiences of East African youth and allies in the Diaspora”. It provides the youth with “a safe space, both physical and emotional, to creatively explore their identities and connections with spaces and cultures they identify with.” The collective situates itself in the Canadian cultural landscape and engages with and strengthens its communities.

New MIPEX country profiles for France and United States (Thomas Huddleston, MIPEX)
MIPEX partners France Terre d’Asile and Immigration Policy Center have worked with MPG to update their MIPEX country profiles. These updates are contained in the new joint study, “Paving the way: The path to citizenship in France and the United States.” These updates cover the policies in both countries as of 1 January 2013.

“Ferociously” Acting On Equitable Access And Health Of Medically Uninsured Residents In Toronto (Emily Wong, Wellesley Institute)
The Wellesley Institute, along with researchers, representatives from Community Health Centres (CHCs), Toronto Public Health, Women’s College, Association of Ontario Midwives, and frontline physicians and midwives were at City Hall yesterday to address the Toronto Board of Health on a Toronto Public Health report on medically uninsured residents. The tone of the meeting was set by midwife Jay Macgillivray who called on the Board to ”ferociously support,” the report and act on the issue of medically uninsured residents living in Toronto. It is estimated that there are 75 000 – 300 000 uninsured residents in the Greater Toronto Area alone. Uninsured residents include individuals who have lost their identification, people in the three month OHIP wait period, temporary visa holders (ex. students, visitors), some refugees and undocumented residents.

Citizenship ceremonies cut (Jillian Austin, Brandon Sun)
Immigrants in Brandon and Westman will now have to travel to Winnipeg to officially receive their Canadian citizenship. Westman Immigrant Services was recently notified that citizenship ceremonies will no longer be held in Brandon, after more than a decade of hosting the event locally. “It’s extremely disappointing,” said Mayor Shari Decter Hirst. “I’ve been to several since I’ve been mayor and each one of them is a joyous celebration that is very well attended.”

Canada Muslims Set Outreach Example (OnIslam)
Setting an outreach example for Canadian society, cooperation between the Muslim community in the port city of Hamilton and police is proving successful in breaking barriers in the country. “One of the ideals of the program is that they can see that the police can be trusted and that it’s an honorable profession,” Sgt. Derek McDonald, community outreach and counter terrorism officer for Ontario at Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), told CBC on Tuesday, April 30.

CBC Should Have Stuck With “Any Race Except Caucasian” (Huffington Post)
So, I guess we’re now all clear that CBC is looking for a male children’s television host between the ages of 23 and 35. Someone who can carry a tune. Show a silly side. Oh, and also “reflect Canada’s diversity.” You may find that last bit a tad unclear. The casting agency that ran an ad for the position apparently did. In the original posting for the position on the Larissa Mair Casting & Associates website, as well as on Craigslist, potential hosts were asked to submit audition tapes only if they were “Any race except caucasian.” This did not go over well. Twitter lit up with outraged comments.

Border Security reality show called risk for vulnerable migrants (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
The campaign against a Canadian reality TV series on border security has gained momentum with actors, directors, artists and advocacy groups including Amnesty International calling for its cancellation. Earlier this month, the Canadian Bar Association also took a position on Canada Border Service Agency’s involvement with the production of Border Security, which airs on National Geographic Channel and is produced by Vancouver-based Force Four Entertainment. It followed a complaint to the federal Privacy Commissioner filed by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association last month against the border enforcement agency, on behalf of Oscar Matta Duran, one of the eight arrested migrant workers filmed during the raid by CBSA in March.

CIIP Program – Quarterly Statistical Reports (October 2010 – present) (CIIP)

Liberal candidate worked in NDP premier Glen Clark’s office (Andrea Woo, Globe and Mail)
For many years, Teresa Wat just did not feel she had time to give back to her community. As a young journalism student at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, she kept her head down, studying hard and making the honour roll – “a typical Hong Kong student,” she says. Meanwhile, her boyfriend – whom she went on to marry – was involved with the student movement and nudged her to do the same. “He always believed we should give back to our community,” said Ms. Wat, the B.C. Liberal candidate for Richmond Centre. “I was just the opposite: I was a hard-working student – I always got good marks – but I just didn’t have time for community because I put too much time into my studies.”


Public Lecture by Alex Neve on Refugee Rights Under Siege (Settlement AtWork)
Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada, will give a public lecture titled “At Home and Abroad: Refugee Rights Under Siege.” The lecture (and reception to follow) is sponsored by Glendon College/York University and the Centre for Refugee Studies 2013 Summer Course.

Asylum system humiliates gay refugees (Emma Batha,
Experts in Britain and Canada say decisions regarding someone’s claim to be lesbian or gay often appear to be based on whether they conform to Western stereotypes. The examples above are outlined in the latest issue of Forced Migration Review (FMR), published this week, which focuses on the problems faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees and asylum seekers. Some 76 countries criminalise homosexual acts or what is termed gender-variant behaviour. In at least five of these countries the penalty can be death.

Doctors should treat uncovered refugees, college head says (CBC)
The head of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta is calling on doctors to see refugee patients even though they won’t get paid to do it. Ottawa dramatically scaled back the Interim Federal Health Program last June, changing health benefits for some refugees and cancelling coverage altogether for others. As a result, more refugees are showing up in emergency rooms after being turned away by family doctors. Trevor Theman, the registrar of the College of Physician and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), spoke out about the issue in a recent newsletter to doctors.


Reform the tax code to counter income inequality: Broadbent (Kelsey Johnson, iPolitics)
(note: subscription required)
Income inequality is threatening Canada’s economic growth and is dragging the country’s standard of living down with it, says former NDP leader Ed Broadbent. Appearing before the Commons finance committee Tuesday, eight experts — including some of the country’s top economists and policy specialists — took turns outlining why income disparity can no longer be ignored.

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

Financing Long-Term Care: More Money in the Mix (Caledon Institute)
This paper argues that new financing is required over and above existing sources of revenue to support home care and long-term care now and in future.

A Flimflam Budget (Caledon Institute)
The recent federal Budget argued that there is a serious ‘skills gap’ in Canada. The Budget proposed a new Canada Job Grant to help fill that gap. But the Canada Job Grant is a poorly thought-out program and is likely to create no than more than a handful of training programs at best. Since the $300 million funding for the Canada Job Grant is to be taken out of existing provincial training programs, the result may actually be a substantial decrease in training programs in Canada.


The Canada Job Grant: Challenges and opportunities for immigrant employment (Bonnie Mah, Maytree)
The Canada Job Grant is a new initiative that the federal government announced in its 2013 Budget. It has piqued a lot of interest in the immigrant employment sector, and for good reason. The Canada Job Grant could present both challenges and opportunities for our sector. At this time, it exists as an announcement only; however, a few details in the announcement give some indications of how the program might be implemented.

Cultural Influences on Leadership (hireimmigrants)
This course covers leadership and building cultural competency – understanding how culture shapes behaviour, preferences and expectations – to help you improve your working relationships both as a leader and team member.

Culture and Workplace Interactions (hireimmigrants)
This course presents strategies to help you successfully integrate, engage and manage performance in a culturally diverse workplace.

More Changes needed to Protect Migrant Workers (CCR)
The Canadian Council for Refugees welcomed some of the changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program announced yesterday by the federal government, notably the withdrawal of the rule allowing migrant workers to be paid 15% less than Canadians. However, the CCR regrets that the announcement did not address the rights abuses suffered by migrant workers, who are vulnerable to exploitation because of their precarious status. “There is widespread mistreatment of migrant workers in the low-skilled streams,” said Loly Rico, CCR President. “The Canadian Council for Refugees has deep concerns over the government’s approach to migrant workers as disposable, short-term labour with fewer rights and protections than Canadian workers.”

Reforms to foreign worker program are ‘cosmetic,’ workers’ advocates say (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Ottawa’s reforms to the temporary foreign worker program are only a “cosmetic” response to the public outcry over the RBC-iGate affair, say migrant workers’ advocates. While the move to eliminate the “wage flexibility” that allows employers to pay migrant workers 5 to 15 per cent below prevailing wage is welcomed, critics said some of the proposed changes look good only on paper and mean nothing without oversight and enforcement. “We have little faith that they would result in anything meaningful,” said Naveen Mehta of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Canada. “It’s just (smoke and mirrors).”

High knowledge and high skills go hand-in-hand with the best paying jobs. (Welland Tribune)
“The economy has restructured and some of the lower skilled manufacturing jobs have disappeared, but there are also companies who have specific skills they are looking for but are not able to find. Those are the same skills that are in hot demand all over the world,” said Diane Simsovic, Niagara Region’s economic development director. Those jobs include metallurgical engineers, heavy equipment mechanics or specialty welders.

CLC Says Changes to TFWP Require Enforcement (Marketwatch)
The president of the Canadian Labour Congress acknowledges changes that the Conservative government has made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) but says those changes highlight the consequences of the government’s failure to properly consult and listen to stakeholders when developing policy and legislation in the first place. Ken Georgetti was responding to an announcement made on April 29. “First with Employment Insurance and now with the TFWP, this government has had to back peddle to fix problems they’ve created because they have failed to listen to the warnings of those with experience and expertise on these issues,” Georgetti says.

Hiring foreign workers should be ‘last resort’: Kenney (CTV)
The federal government plans to tighten up the temporary foreign workers program with new legislation that would require businesses to hire employees from abroad as a “last resort.” Ottawa wants to charge employers a new fee for labour market opinions and increase the existing fees for foreigners’ work permits. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney also announced that employers will no longer have flexibility to set the wages for foreign workers.

Jason Kenney spins as government retreats on temporary foreign worker program (rabble)
Our parliamentary reporter Karl Nerenberg looks at Monday’s press conference by Jason Kenney.

Media advisory – Federal Immigration policy changes lack enough protection for migrants (Canada Newswire)
The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC), a coalition of migrant worker groups and community, faith, and labour allies who have worked directly with migrant workers for decades believes that the minor changes introduced today do not respond to the key concerns migrant workers have identified in the program and are mostly cosmetic. “We are not stealing jobs, but filling the ones that Canadians do not want due to the long hours, low pay, and live-in requirement,” insists Kay Manuel, a live-in caregiver and member of the Caregivers Action Centre. “The biggest problem with the migrant worker program is that we don’t have the same rights as citizens, the only solution is full immigration status for all workers.”

Business’s cross-Canada lament: We need foreign workers (Globe and Mail)
Straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan boundary, the fast-growing city of Lloydminster is surrounded by heavy-oil reserves. Oil field servicing jobs or work at the Husky upgrader is plentiful. Three hotels are under construction, as well as a mall and restaurants. But business owner and Lloydminster Mayor Jeff Mulligan said the city’s expansion plans would be diminished without temporary foreign workers – accounting for up to one in 10 Lloydminster residents – and that the federal government’s move this week to tighten rules in bringing them is an overreaction that will hurt the local hospitality and food services sectors. “It would create a critical circumstance if we didn’t have access to the temporary foreign worker program in this city.”

Hiring foreign workers: Royal Bank of Canada and beyond (Times of India)
A huge hue and cry is being raised in Canada these days, on the issue of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) hiring foreign workers to replace Canadian workers in highly skilled jobs. Reams of paper and computer server memories have been filled with comments from angry ‘locals’ about their threat to boycott the RBC, about the jobs being lost to third world countries, read mostly to India in fields like IT. Were it not a reflection on the state of Canadian society of today, this whole thing would have been a farce for any world citizen?

‘Not in the interest of Canadian business’: Employers unhappy with Conservatives’ foreign workers bill (National Post)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he knew employers would not be happy with his government’s proposed changes to the temporary foreign workers program and he was not wrong.

What Does the Recent Controversy Mean for Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program? (Warren L. Creates & Jacqueline J. Bonisteel)
Over the past few weeks, Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program has been a hot topic for every major media outlet in the country. Reactions to recent controversy surrounding the program have ranged from virulent criticism to impassioned defense.

Foreign Worker Program (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Armine Yalnizyan. She is our business commentator every Tuesday and Thursday.


Newsstand: May 1, 2013 (Casey Irvin, Torontoist)
Happy birthday, May. Another year older, but as sunshiny as you have ever been. In the news: school bus drivers not ready to strike, Ford not ready to take the casino vote to council, car insurance rates set to drop, and a public health report on getting your kids vaccinated.

Greater Toronto’s political gridlock over transportation must end (John Tory And Mitzie Hunter, Globe and Mail)
Governments need to commit new funds to a regional transportation network and, at the same time, show how they will take better care of taxpayers’ money. That was the consensus of Canadian and international urban experts at a recent forum in Toronto, where the path to an efficient, affordable, accessible and connected network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) was debated.

Citizen urban planners to help shape our growing cities (Canada Newswire)
Since its inception in 2007 the annual international phenomenon ‘Jane’s Walk’ has created an opportunity for people to actively engage in city planning. Over the course of one weekend– this year on May 4th and 5th– citizens in urban areas around the world will lead over 600 walking tours in their own communities to exchange personal stories about what’s important where they live. The experience is a celebration and an opportunity to share ideas with neighbours.

CivicAction Applauds Political Pledges for Regional Transportation Funding (CivicAction)
With 32 days until Metrolinx has to submit its Big Move investment strategy to the provincial and municipal governments, CivicAction’s Your32 campaign to tackle gridlock has secured the pledge of over 700 residents and 17 elected officials. They are pledging to “get a move on” and find the money needed to build an efficient, affordable and accessible regional transportation network. Signatories include Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ministers Glenn Murray and Charles Sousa along with other municipal and provincial elected officials from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Region (GTHA).

Campaign builds for LRT Community Benefits Agreement; Network prepares submission for Metrolinx (Canada Newswire)
Community leaders in Toronto are mobilizing to advocate for a legally binding Community Benefits Agreement as part of the $4.6 billion contract to be awarded by Metrolinx for the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown and Scarborough Light Rapid Transit lines. The tender call is expected to be issued within 90 days. A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) would require contractors to direct job recruitment, skills training and procurement to historically disadvantaged communities and populations and would ensure investments are made to support clean and healthy local environments. The CBA model for large public infrastructure projects has been implemented successfully in cities around the world and is now coming to Toronto.


Way more than Five Good Ideas [Book review] (Donnie Claudino, Nonprofit Marketing Communications)
This book presents a collection of “what some of the best thinkers and practitioners consider the top ideas” in non-profit management. Its well-designed, easy to read and full of way more than five good ideas—there are actually 195 of them.

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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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