Immigration & Diversity news headlines – May 16, 2013


Immigration backlash (Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post)
Last week’s news from StatsCan’s National Household Survey showed Islam to be the fastest growing religion in Canada, with the Muslim population, now 3.2% of the population, just about doubling every ten years. Next week’s news may well see calls to limit Muslim immigration, and by some to limit all immigration from the Third World. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has introduced reforms which should act to head off an anti-immigrant backlash but, judging from trends elsewhere in the world, he has much more to do.

Canadians turning away from organized religion (Ron Csillag, Washington Post)
A new national study shows that while Canada remains overwhelmingly Christian, Canadians are turning their backs on organized religion in ever greater numbers. Results from the 2011 National Household Survey show that more than two-thirds of Canadians, or some 22 million people, said they were affiliated with a Christian denomination.

Media Advisory : Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, Available to Media During His Visit to Silicon Valley and TieCon 2013 (Marketwatch)
Canada’s Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, will be in Silicon Valley May 17-20 to meet with entrepreneurs and business leaders and promote Canada’s new Start-Up Visa Program – the first of its kind in the world featuring active partnerships with angel investor groups and venture capital firms, and offering unconditional permanent residency up-front.

Kenney: On track to reduce backlog and welcome parents and grandparents as of Jan 2014 (South Asian Generation Next)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada will re-open the Parent and Grandparent (PGP) program for new applications in January 2014, by which time the backlog and wait times in the program are expected to have been cut in half.

Multiculturalism competes on global market (Joe Greenholtz, Richmond News)
That is how multiculturalism actually works – not the multiculturalism that people thought they were getting where “heritage” cultures stay politely on the other side of the -Canadian hyphen to be paraded (literally) at annual festivals and national days. Canadian culture is dynamic and it also evolves as it absorbs influences; everything from pop culture to ideas whose times have come. Values are debated, re-evaluated and updated. You can’t expect to keep adding cream to your coffee without changing its look and flavour.

What Is Pluralism? (Inspirit Foundation)
This paper aims to: Contribute to a conversation on pluralism that focuses particularly on these questions:
Why is pluralism important to social change in Canada?
Can we speak of a “Canadian pluralism” based on our shared history and particular characteristics of Canadian society?
Share how the Inspirit Foundation works to encourage pluralism in Canada as an approach that strives to recognize, understand and engage with each other’s differences, including differences related to beliefs, as an element of identity.

June 8: A Major LGBTQ Community Summit: The Countown to World Pride 2014 in Toronto (Kristyn Wong-Tam)
We have invited a wide range of groups, leaders, individuals, members, supporters, friends andparticipants from a wide range of Greater Toronto’s LGBTQ community to send several membersand representatives to attend a major Community Summit, on Saturday morning, June 8, 2013. They represent a wide range of interests, areas, involvements, backgrounds, and focus including: Aboriginal & Two-spirited, Advocacy, Activism, Arts & Culture, Media, Business, Diversity, Health,Social Services & Community based, Historical, Multicultural/Multi-ethnic, Human rights, Women’sgroups, Spiritual & Worship, Seniors, Sports, Students, Recreation, and Youth. We are also reachingout to non-LBGTQ friends, allies, groups, businesses, and sectors including: Restaurant, Hospitality,Tourism, and major Cultural attractions.

Calling all bloggers! Win an invitation to the ‘Learning to Live in a Multicultural World’ Conference in Caux, Switzerland (Connektivism)
Are you interested in multiculturalism? Are you an active blogger? Do you want to attend the LLMW conference for free? The 5th CAUX – Initiatives of Change conference on ‘Learning to live in a multicultural world (LLMW): Building trust for action across generations’ will take place from 1 – 6 July 2013 in Caux, Switzerland, and this year the organizers are offering a competition for aspiring journalists and bloggers.

The Unlikely Place Where Diversity Thrives (Sam Singh, Huffington Post)
But there is one arena, literally, where questions of integration and assimilation melt in favour of the common bonds of citizenship and shared purpose: at the ice rink. We see this on our streets whenever a Canadian team chases the Stanley Cup or an Olympic medal. As husband-and-wife authors Karl Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac point out in Pax Ethnica: Where and How Diversity Succeeds, sports play an inestimable role in knitting together a collective culture. They criss-crossed the globe from Marseilles, France to Kerala, India and from Russian Tatarstan to Sydney, Australia and Queens, New York City looking at how diverse populations live together in domestic peace (other overlooked institutions that promote harmony? Rap music and public libraries).

TDSB Census 2011 shows Toronto’s divisions and diversity (Diane Dyson, Belonging Community)
Early results from the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) 2011-2012 census of its students and parents are now being released. Unlike Statistic Canada’s staged release of data which leaves visible minority status and income data until the final stages, TDSB researchers pushed this key data out quickly. The TDSB census results, from 192,000 respondents, capture two wider trends in the city of Toronto: growing ethnocultural diversity and widening income inequality.


Canadians respect due process on deportations, not abuse of the system (Raj Sharma, Globe and Mail)
Jason Kenney’s reforms to his Immigration department will likely prevent a repeat of this outlier case (as an aside, it remains to be seen whether the balance is tipped too far). Individuals will have refugee hearings in weeks, not years and removal proceedings are now initiated after that claim has been rejected. Access to other options has been restricted. Canadians respect due process, but do not respect an abuse of our process.

Paralyzed by bomb – he now helps others (Marelle Reid, Burnaby Now)
Hasan and his younger half-brother went to Jordan in 2006 and from there applied for refugee status to come to Canada. They arrived in Vancouver in 2009, and a couple of years later the rest of his family – his mother, sisters and nephew – followed, though his stepfather was unable to get refugee status and remains in Jordan. Hasan says he chose Vancouver because of its relatively mild climate, and soon after arriving he became a permanent resident with a dogged determination to assimilate and contribute to his new community as soon as possible. “When I come to Canada, I want to go to school and continue in my new life, learning Canadian language, learn the Canadian lifestyle, culture, traditions,” he says.

Trade talks squeeze Canada’s refugee-protection system (Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail)
In Cali, Colombia, next week, Stephen Harper will ponder a choice driven by the forces of globalization. Trade talks are increasingly applying pressure on Canada to lower restrictions on foreigners entering the country, and in turn, squeezing the refugee-protection system. Mr. Harper will travel to Colombia to meet the leaders of a new trade bloc, the Pacific Alliance, to consider whether Canada should join. The alliance might be the next big thing in Pacific Rim trade, quickly reducing barriers between emerging Latin American nations and then with Asia.


Do-it-yourself-law — a trickle becomes a deluge (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
This is not a small problem. Two-thirds of the litigants in the family court system don’t have legal counsel. In the civil court system, self-representation has reached 70 per cent. Self-represented litigants don’t fit the popular stereotype. Most are middle-class parents. Half have university degrees. The vast majority are over 40. In Macfarlane’s sample, 53 per cent started with lawyers but couldn’t afford to retain them as their trial dragged on.

From Shelter To Career (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Brian Smith is the CEO of WoodGreen Community Services , the agency behind Homeward Bound . It offers singles mothers in the city a chance to earn a college diploma and launch a career path. This afternoon, 22 graduates will be celebrated at a ceremony in Toronto.

An inexpensive way to reduce child poverty (The Record)
Poverty has been stubbornly persistent in Canada for the generation raising young kids. Ten per cent of families headed by 25 to 34 year olds were poor in 1976. Today, the rate is around 12 per cent. If we want to reduce child poverty, we must learn from our success at reducing poverty among retirees. A generation ago, for instance, 29 per cent of British Columbia seniors were poor — more than any other age group. Now seniors report the lowest rate of poverty: around six per cent. Why have we achieved such positive reductions for retirees, but not for kids?–an-inexpensive-way-to-reduce-child-poverty

Video Clip – Champions for Change: Collective Impact Backbone Workshop (Tamarack)

How to Save the Middle Class (TVO The Agenda)
Both the left and the right harken back with nostalgia to days when things were better for the middle class. Were things really better for everyone? If so, what can be done to regain what both the left and the right feel has been lost?

Canada’s inequality non-problem (William Watson, Financial Post)
Like most wonkish organizations these days, the OECD is fixated on inequality. It has just come out with a new report on how inequality has been evolving in its 30-plus member countries since the financial crisis of 2008. The report’s title encapsulates the message: “Crisis squeezes income and puts pressure on inequality and poverty.” “Except in Canada,” it might have added, for a lot of the trends the OECD is worried about either aren’t happening here or are biting much less. As so often, we’re not well served by living next to the world’s biggest media market. The U.S. is being hit harder by a number of these poverty/inequality trends and our policy debates are heavily influenced by U.S. concerns.

Migrant Workers Filling Most New Jobs, Study Finds (Justina Reichel, Epoch Times)
Migrant workers are filling the majority of new jobs created in Canada in recent years, a new study has found. Conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), the study shows that between 2008 and 2011, migrant workers filled most of the new jobs created by the Canadian economy. “Roughly 75 percent of the new jobs created in Canada in 2010 and 2011 were filled by temporary foreign workers despite the fact that 1.4 million Canadian residents were unemployed,” says CLC president Ken Georgetti. The CLC, which represents 3.3 million Canadian workers, used figures from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey and from Citizenship and Immigration Canada to conduct the research.

Why austerity may be wrecking the recovery (Tamsin McMahon, Maclean’s)
That can morph into long-term unemployment with huge consequences for economic growth, says Michael Mendelson, a senior scholar at the Caledon Institute of Social Policy. “People have this sense of a morality story where we’ve spent, spent, spent and now we have to suffer the consequences. But it’s not a morality story. It’s a question of what are the numbers,” he says. “Some of our future advantages are being sacrificed now in the search for short-term savings, even if those savings may not have much of in impact on our debt burden anyway.” Others go as far as to say that austerity represents a form of class warfare, since it’s wealthy investors who benefited the most from governments’ decisions to guarantee the risky debts of insolvent banks, while regular citizens bear the brunt of tax hikes and cuts to programs. “What you’ve managed to do is a bait and switch with the debts of the private sector ending up on the public balance sheet and magically recast as excessive government spending,” says Mark Blyth, professor of international political economy at Brown University and author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea.

Migrant Voices: Stories of Agricultural Migrant Workers in Manitoba (Lynne Fernandez, Jodi Read, Sarah Zell, CCPA)
Each year approximately 400 Mexican men, migrant labourers under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), work on farms in Manitoba. These labourers perform physically strenuous work on vegetable farms and in greenhouses, jobs that most Canadians prefer not to do. Workers spend up to eight months in Canada, returning year after year for the agricultural season. They live and work under precarious conditions that often foreclose the possibility of accessing the human rights protections provided in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Workers regularly toil twelve hours per day, six to seven days a week, and they live socially isolated from Canadian society. This report highlights the stories of these labourers and invites readers to bear witness to the aspirations and transborder lives of these Mexican men working on Manitoban soil.


The 10th Annual RISE Awards – Ten Years of Recognizing Immigrant Success in Edmonton! (ERIEC)
Every year in the spring, the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers (EMCN) receives nominations from around the city lifting up exceptional people and businesses whose accomplishments amaze us and whose dreams inspire us. The RISE awards celebrate high-achieving immigrants, whose personal accomplishments and contributions demonstrate the important impact that they are having on our city of everyday. All of these nominations and the award winners serve as a reminder that the city and province were built by hard-working and forward thinking immigrants. In order for Edmonton to continue to be a leader in diversity, we must continue to invest in the future of today’s newcomers and acknowledge their contributions.

Hey feds — we don’t need the help of the Temporary Foreign Worker program (Ian Robinson, Calgary Sun)
A recent study out of the University of Calgary’s school of public policy says that the army of 200,000 temporary foreign workers brought to Canada aren’t necessary. There’s a mismatch between training and actual employment opportunities and a reluctance of Canadians to relocate to where the jobs are. Alberta got what amounts to a free pass in the study, with the author saying there’s a genuine labour shortage here and in Saskatchewan. And I call crap on that. This is nothing less than an egregious case of what’s known as crony capitalism.–we-dont-need-the-help-of-the-temporary-foreign-worker-program&ct=ga&cad=CAcQARgAIAEoATAAOABApMzPjAVIAlgAYgVlbi1VUw&cd=2saZKzZ6iPQ&usg=AFQjCNGmAyXrf5SEcFI-omx01utFD4gavA

Loan program for immigrant professionals launched (CBC)
The New Brunswick Multicultural Council has launched a new micro loans program to help immigrant professionals upgrade their foreign credentials. Many people who were trained in other countries arrive in Canada only to find out their credentials aren’t recognized here, said project co-ordinator Tanya Billings. Through the pilot project, about 150 people will be able to borrow up to $15,000 to upgrade their skills to meet Canadian standards.

Unique Recruitment Opportuntiy for Prince George Employers (IECBC)
Initiatives Prince George (IPG) is hosting an Online Job Fair on June 4, 2013 to connect local employers with new Canadians living in Metro Vancouver. Through a web portal designed specifically for the Online Job Fair, participating employers will talk with potential employees living in Metro Vancouver about job openings, accept resumes and conduct interviews. The Online Job Fair is possible through a $60,200 grant awarded to IPG through the Employer Innovation Fund that is overseen by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC and funded by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. Businesses interested in participating in the Online Job Fair need to register for a virtual booth at by May 17, 2013.

Temporary Foreign Workers taking up 65 per cent of new jobs in Sask (News Talk 650)
Many of the new jobs created over the last four years in Saskatchewan have gone to Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW). New research compiled by the Canadian Labour Congress outlines how 65 per cent all of net jobs created went to those outside the country. “That’s not a sustainable, smart growth plan for the province,” said Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten in Question Period Wednesday.

Manitoba to provide health benefits to seasonal migrant workers (Winnipeg Free Press)
The province shocked advocates rallying outside the legislature for Manitoba’s migrant farm workers today when Immigration Minister Christine Melnick announced health coverage will now be provided for the estimated 400 seasonal workers who plant and harvest Manitoba produce every year. “This will give workers great peace of mind,” said Jennifer deGroot with the Migrant Worker Solidarity Network. “I’m shocked. I’m thrilled.”

Temporary foreign worker bust made in Kingsville (CBC)
CBC News has learned the Canadian Border Service Agency recently raided a farm in Kingsville, where agents apprehended six temporary foreign workers from Thailand. A CBSA spokesperson said the six people were “unauthorized workers at a farm in Kingsville.”


Newsstand: May 16, 2013 (Brendan Ross, Torontoist)
Next stop, Thursday! Here’s some news to keep you chugging along: TCHC starts naming names to police, a new complaint surfaces against the mayor, the City looks at making intersections better, and the anti-casino set gets a new ally.

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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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