Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 15, 2013


Choosing Canada (CBC Metro Morning)
Saumya Gautam is one of our lovely colleagues at CBC. Earlier this week, she was sworn in as a new Canadian citizen. She shared her thoughts about choosing Canada on the show.

Editorial: Immigration changes are fair to new Canadians and taxpayers (Calgary Herald)
Canada owes its success to immigration. Without the flood of people determined to create a better life for themselves, Canada would never have become a thriving G8 country with 20 per cent of its population foreign born the highest among the group of developed western nations. The fact that growing numbers of people from around the world want to join us is a testament to the hard work, creativity and passion that generations of new Canadians have displayed. It goes without saying that when people immigrate to Canada, they by necessity leave some things behind, including loved ones. Canada has gone to great lengths to unite families, but the volume of applications has been too great for the government to deal with. Two years ago, when the backlog of applications for the family reunification program climbed to almost 165,000, and with a wait time of almost eight years, the federal government was forced to stop accepting new requests and to take a serious look at its policy.

Skepticism surrounds census results (Sean Pearce,
The Chinese Canadian National Council expressed doubt about the quality of the data collected. First, there seems to be an undercount of Canadians in general and the Chinese-Canadian population in particular, council executive director Victor Wong said, explaining the 2011 census estimates the population to be 33,476,688, while an April 2011 estimate, based on the 2006 census, put it at 34,349,200, about 872,512 higher than the most recent count. Similarly, the Chinese and visible minority categories grew by just 141,070 and 108,135, respectively, he continued, when its known the number of immigrants from China alone was at least 144,292 between 2006 and 2011. The numbers dont add up, Mr. Wong said.

Canada wants entrepreneurs! (CIC)
Canadas new Start-Up Visa is the first of its kind in the world, linking immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with start-ups. Canada wants entrepreneurs. Unlike programs in other countries, we do not provide temporary or conditional status. Successful applicants to this program will be able to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents with no conditions attached to the success of their business. Do you want to build a dynamic company that can compete on a global scale? It starts in Canada.

Kenney pushes new visa plan in Silicon Valley (Steven Chase, Globe and Mail)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is heading to Silicon Valley this weekend to lure high-tech immigrant entrepreneurs to Canada, dangling a new recruitment program that offers immediate permanent residency to qualifying foreigners. Canada has designed its new Start-up Visa program to make the country more attractive than the United States, where many foreign high-tech workers languish with temporary U.S. visas. Canada finds itself under pressure to more efficiently and quickly recruit skilled immigrants because its now in increased competition with other industrialized countries looking for the same people and trying to make up for low birth rates.

A look at Canadas future: Why our reporter is embedded in Brampton, Ont (Melissa Whetstone, Globe and Mail)
You may have never heard of Brampton, Ont., the city located 45 kilometres west of Toronto that happens to be Canadas 9th largest. But youre about to learn a whole lot about it from Globe reporter Dakshana Bascaramurty, who this month packed up her things and moved there. Why Brampton? As Globe T.O. editor Sarah Lilleyman explains: Brampton is one of Canada’s fastest-growing communities and home to one of the largest populations of ethnic and religious minorities its at the core of many of the demographic trends were seeing across the country. This project digs deep into what shapes the development of a city like Brampton. What draws new Canadians there? What challenges and opportunities are posed by its rapid growth? In another decade or two, other parts of the country could look just like it. Taking a closer look at Brampton offers a window on Canadas future.

News Release Minister Kenney announces new Citizenship Judge for the Greater Toronto Area (CIC)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced today that Marian Sami, LL.B., has been appointed as a Citizenship Judge for the Greater Toronto Area. Marian Sami, LL.B., practiced law in Toronto prior to her appointment. She is an active member of the community through her involvement in a number of children’s charities. She has served as a community liaison to lawmakers and as a consultant for cultural events.

Toronto Police and educator resolve racial profiling case (Canada Newswire)
The Toronto Police Service (TPS), the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB), and educator Dr. Clem Marshall have reached an agreement to settle his Human Rights Application. The terms of the settlement are confidential and neither the TPS nor the TPSB has admitted any liability. Dr. Marshall and a friend were driving in the Parkdale neighbourhood of Toronto when stopped by police in 2009, an incident Marshall attributed to racial profiling. “Humiliation hurts. It has left a deep scar. I felt I had to stand up because we want our youth to know we have a right to defend our dignity. We can use this incident to continue to build a stronger community.”

Do immigrants make Canada a stronger nation? (Yahoo! News)
That gives Canada the highest foreign-born population among all G8 nations. The majority of Canadian immigrants in 2010 were from the Philippines, India and China. As a result, Canada has an increasingly more diverse population, particularly in urban centres like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. According to the study, Ontario received 43 per cent of the immigrants over the past five years. British Columbia received 16 per cent. So here’s our question: Do you believe Canada’s growing diversity makes us stronger or weaker as a nation?

Conference to explore contrast between Indigenous and immigrant communities (Canada Newswire)
Encounters in Canada: Contrasting Indigenous and Immigrant Perspectives, a three-day conference beginning May 15, will bring together academics, legal experts, government representatives and political leaders to identify solutions to the issues resulting from a divide between Indigenous Peoples of Canada and immigrants (including early settlers to recent immigrants and newcomers). The opening dinner will feature a conversation on Aboriginal Education with Canada’s 21st Prime Minister the Right Honourable Paul Martin, and Giller Prize-winning author Joseph Boyden will read from his book Through Black Spruce, at the opening reception.

Startup Visa Canada Online Information Session on May 24th (Startup Visa)
As you know, Canada is officially open for business to the worlds startup entrepreneurs. We have been getting amazing responses from the worlds entrepreneurs since the new Startup Visa Program was announced. The program is the first of its kind and aims to connect immigrant entrepreneurs with experienced private sector organizations that have expertise in working with startups. Successful applicants will get their ideas funded and will be able to immigrate to Canada permanently.

Immigration changes Canada’s religious composition (Ecumenical News)
Canada has a reputation for being one of the most immigrant-friendly nations in the world. In February, Canada’s citizenship and immigration minister, Jason Kenney, proudly announced that in 2012, immigration to the country had peaked for the seventh year in a row. More than 250,000 people immigrated to Canada last year, and according to the latest reports, a full 20 percent of Canada’s 35-million people are now foreign-born. Only Australia, with 27 percent of its population of foreign descent, topped Canada’s immigration numbers.

Canada ramps up search for skilled immigrants in specific trades (Emigrate UK)
Canadas state and national governments are ramping up their search for skilled workers, targeting the USA as well as the UK, continental Europe and other world nations. The Canadian immigration office now considers itself part of a global competition to gain the most skilled tradespeople and entrepreneurs, a contest its determined to win for the benefit of the country. The new specific trades category, which includes plumbers, electricians, pipefitters and other skilled construction workers, is expected to attract 3,000 migrants during its first year.

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 Agencys involvement with the production of Border Security, which airs on National Geographic Channel and is produced by Vancouver-based Force Four Entertainment.

New Canadian entrepreneurs honoured for their hard work (Larissa Cahute, Vancouver Sun)
Developing a successful business is hard work – especially as a new Canadian. “It’s a long journey,” said Durga Soma, who works at her husband’s Richmond company, Advance Machines Ltd. “We need to go through so many channels, we have to adjust.” “It’s hard work, it’s a struggle.” The Somas moved from India 25 years ago and started Advance Machines Ltd. in 1996. They started with two employees and now have 12.

Canada’s “Mosaic” Has Racist Cracks (Adam Kingsmith, Huffington Post)
It’s ironic really. Here in the “Canadian Mosaic”, issues of race are largely stricken from the language of the everyday. We prefer not to speak openly about racism, for deconstructing it might chip away at that illusory façade of Canada as a nation of perpetual tolerance and chronic multiculturalism — a delusion we all hold dear to our glowing hearts. Unfortunately for all those “liberal-minded” Canadians out there who view our country to be so forward thinking and accommodating that racism is a non-issue, institutionalized multiculturalism is not the same thing as social racial equality.

Report on Proposed Electoral Reforms – PDF (City of Toronto)
This report responds to various Committee requests on the feasibility of implementing electoral reforms in the City’s elections: (1) holding elections on a Saturday or Sunday; (2) allowing permanent residents the right to vote; (3) using ranked choice voting; and (4) providing internet voting for voters with disabilities.

What this about visible minorities? (Sault Star)
Over five million Canadians identified themselves as a member of a visible minority group in the 2006 Census, accounting for 16.2% of the population. Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have higher “visible minority” than the national average. Where such statistics become hilarious is in case of some municipalities such as: Richmond, BC (65.1%), Burnaby (55.4%), Vancouver (51%), Markham, ON (65.4%), Brampton (57%), etc. Why refer to more than 50% of the population as “visible minority”, just to be Politically Correct?! Why not just call it “non Anglo-Saxon or whatever” and get it over with?

CIC announces outstanding details of the Federal Skilled Worker Program (Henry J. Chang, First Reference Talks)
As previously reported, on December 19, 2012, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney (the Immigration Minister) announced that the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) would once again begin accepting new applications on May 4, 2013. However, several key details of the FSWP were not announced at that time.


Proposed reduction in age of dependent children (CCR)
The government is proposing to narrow the definition of a dependent child in the immigration regulations in two important ways: The maximum age will be reduced to 18 years (from 21 years) The exception for full-time students will be eliminated This narrower definition will apply in all cases when a person applies for permanent residence in Canada and wants to include their children.

Refugee testifies about alleged sexual assault by immigration counselor (Dave Battagello, Windsor Star)
An African refugee living in Windsor testified Tuesday she was sexually assaulted by an employee of an agency set up to help newcomers. The Congo native said immigrant counselor Binaishea (Fred) Muvunga, who she knew from her homeland, was supposed to escort her to a medical appointment in November 2009, but instead drove her to his house after claiming that he forgot something. Soon after the mother of five entered his home to get a drink of water, he emerged from his bedroom, grabbed her forcefully from behind and knocked her to the ground and assaulted her, she said.

Visa imposition worries refugee advocates (FCJ Refugee Centre)
Immigration Minister Jason Ken ney speaks at a press conference earlier this month. He announced Sept. 11 the imposition of visas on Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Namibia, Botswana, and Swaziland. Some people who work with refugees say the governments recent decision to impose visas on citizens of five countries could end up hurting legitimate refugees for whom the move could mean less access to seek refuge. One of the affected countries has also expressed disappointment and dismay in Canadas decision.

Youth Network (FCJ Refugee Centre)
The FCJ Youth Network has made amazing progress in its inaugural year. The group welcomed more than 60 members, spanning diverse experiences, backgrounds and identities. This unique, youth-led, youth-decided group met weekly to discuss issues relevant to them including anti-oppression, navigating the Canadian job market, access to education and sharing skills. The youth quickly mobilized their knowledge and gained a reputation in local and national networks.

Making a difference for uprooted people (FCJ Refugee Centre)
FCJ Refugee Centre serves refugees and others at risk due to their immigration status, and welcomes anyone asking for advice, counsel and support regarding these issues.

Faster deportations come at the cost of compassion and fairness (Lorne Waldman, Globe and Mail)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys use of the case of Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammed to justify the draconian reforms to immigration and refugee law that he has implemented is ill founded. Mr. Kenney argues that the soon-to-be-passed Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act will prevent a repetition of Mr. Mohammads case. But Mr. Mohammads deportation was delayed due to a finding that he would be at risk of torture. That finding made in 2007 was allowed to stand until it was overturned in 2012. The delay in his deportation had nothing to do with loopholes but rather was a result of Canadas obligations under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to not remove a person to torture.

If this is Kenneys quick-deportation policy, why did he sit on it for half a decade? (Robert Silver, Globe and Mail)
Canadas New Government is it too soon for a nostalgic flashback of the Harper governments first catchphrase? Before there was an Economic Action Plan (and Economic Action Plan sequels next year I believe they will exceed the Police Academy franchise) there was our New Government. You see, back in 2006 (for those too young to remember), there was massive confusion after the election. Yes, we have a new government, but are they Canadas new government? people would often ask strangers on the street. Stephen Harper, he leads Bptswanas New Government, doesnt he? They sure are lucky to have him someone famously said – hence the need for Canadas new government to use Canadas New Government on everything from mundane press releases to TV ads on the amazing things Canadas New Government was doing.


Many elderly living at or near poverty line (Hill Times)
Statistics Canada says the population over the age of 65 will pass 10.5 million in 20 years. With this demographic greying, governments will face challenges the likes of which Canada has never encountered. But as a country, weve known for many years that this demographic shift was coming, and that adequately preparing for it would take careful forecasting and prudent, long-term, national planning.


Embracing the new demographic (Financial Post)
Successful Canadian companies have learned that a commitment to workplace cultural diversity offers more than the ability to reflect the countrys evolving demographics. A policy of diversity provides customers with confidence that a company gives employment opportunities to all Canadians. Internally, workplace diversity allows companies to create synergies and generate new approaches to business challenges. Diversity also benefits companies through the experiences and resources of employees who can offer unique insights into the needs, interests and preferences of all of their customers.

The real problem with TFWs is the ‘t’ (Pat Atkinson, Star Phoenix)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney thinks that his backpedalling on the Temporary Foreign Worker program has resolved some major problems with it. It took an expose by CBC on the Royal Bank of Canada laying off high-tech workers and outsourcing their work to iGate, a company using TFWs on Canadian soil, to make Kenney introduce some modest changes, but these reforms don’t go far enough. The federal program ostensibly allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill jobs temporarily when Canadians or permanent residents of Canada aren’t available. Employers apply to Service Canada, which then assesses the application and issues a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) on the impact that temporary foreign workers would have on the local labour market.

For migrant workers, injury often means a one-way ticket home (FCJ Refugee Centre)
After Eloid Drummond was hit by a car in Exeter, Ont., and suffered a dislocated shoulder, he was declared AWOL by his employer and Canada because he refused to quietly go home to Jamaica. Unable to continue farm work, he was terminated from Canadas Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program, and hence lost his social insurance card and health coverage for his injuries. Being labeled AWOL (absent without leave) also meant he couldnt be rehired within the program, which each year brings in 25,000 foreign farm workers from Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.

The temporary foreign worker program is a puzzle whose solution won’t satisfy polarized opinions (Canadian Business)
Stepping into the delicate politics of filling Canadian jobs with foreign workers, Jason Kenney was bound to appease no one. Prized by the business lobby, loathed by unionized labour, the temporary foreign worker program is either a solution to or an exacerbation of a problem that may or may not exist. The immigration minister spoke of the paradox of polarized opinion in announcing the programs overhaul. There are, Kenney said, constant pressures suggesting that the program is far too lax, and then from many, many employers and industry groups suggesting the program is far too rigid.

Canada needs skilled workers (Sunstar Phillipines)
CANADA needs skilled workers and this demand can be met by Filipinos, the countrys ambassador said. Canadian ambassador Christopher Thornley said this last week during the press conference held to inaugurate the Canadian Welding Bureau Facility (CWB-F) and the Hospitality Training Center (HTC) of Primary Structures Educational Foundation, Inc. (PSEFI) on General Maxilom Ave., Cebu City. Thornley said many countries want Filipinos workers for their skills, English proficiency and work ethic. He said there are upt to 600,000 Filipinos in Canada, which has a population of 34 million.

Local MP justifies changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program (Lloyd Minster Source)
Against the views of local politicians and some businesses, Vegreville-Wainwright MP Leon Benoit maintained proposed changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program are necessary. While understanding theres a need for TFWs in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, the alterations including suspending the accelerated labour market opinion process and ensuring employers who rely on TFWs have a firm plan in place to transition to a Canadian workforce over time are a result of abuse of the program and businesses not selling its importance to the general public, Benoit said.

‘Harper’s low-wage model’ targeted by Steelworkers (Soo Today)
A key element of the campaign involves asking people affected by the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to speak out about their first-hand experiences through the campaign’s website. Temporary workers exploited by employers or Canadian workers passed over or replaced by temporary workers can call a hotline at 1-888-899-4405. The campaign illustrates how the Harper government in partnership with corporations is flooding Canada with low-wage and highly vulnerable temporary workers from abroad at a time of record unemployment, particularly among youth and Aboriginal communities.


Torontos Urbanism Headlines: Tuesday (Spacing Toronto)
A daily round up of mainstream media news on Urban Development, TTC and Other News.

More mayors pledge support for CivicAction plan (CivicActionGTA)
Three York Region mayors pledged their support for better transit today, although there was some disagreement among them on how best to pay for it. Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow, Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua and Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti joined members of their respective councils at the Richmond Hill Centre bus terminal to add their names to the growing list of York politicians calling on the province to implement new, dedicated revenue tools to expand the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s transit and transportation infrastructure.

Urban Resilience for a New Century (Dr. Judith Rodin, Huffington Post)
First, every city must have a resilience plan in place to manage the risks we can predict, and mitigate the impacts of those we cannot. Fortunately, we know what characteristics resilient systems – and cities – share in good times and in times of stress: flexibility to change and evolve in the face of disaster; diversity and redundancy which enables the system to function even when individual parts fail; options for safe failure that limits shocks rippling across systems; the ability for rapid rebound to re-establish function quickly; and robust feedback loops that sense and allow new options to be introduced quickly as conditions change.

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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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