Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 11, 2013


Making the legal and constitutional case for permanent resident voting (Alejandra Bravo, Maytree)
As Toronto’s city council gets ready to examine the idea of allowing permanent residents who are not yet Canadian citizens to vote in municipal elections , one of the questions that they will need to consider is what Canada’s constitution has to say on the matter. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), a national organization that promotes respect for human rights and civil liberties, has long argued that the right to vote is so fundamental in a democratic society that there must be an extraordinary reason to deny people of that right. In the article, “Non-Citizen Voting Rights: A Constitutional Perspective,” CCLA’s Cara Faith Zwibel examines the legal and constitutional argument for voting rights for permanent residents.

Video: Episode 9: Jason Kenney (FAQMP)

New home: New residents describe their experiences (Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today)
Policy and communications officer Bonnie Mah of the Maytree Foundation shared some of the innovative ways other communities are encouraging inclusiveness for their immigrants, such as the MINGO (Move In and Go) project in Vienna that provides entrepreneurial assistance. She also pointed out that about 13% of Cobourg’s population and 10% of Port Hope’s is the result of immigration — “a fairly significant portion,” Mah said. “Immigration used to be something that just happened. Now there’s a recognition that we are competing for these high-skill immigrants, and we need to create welcoming communities.”

Immigration backlog leaves Stoney Creek parents in debt after birth (Joanna Ward, CBC)
Carey McGregor has been fighting with Hamilton Health Sciences since the birth of his second child, earlier this year, over the cost of his wife’s cesarean section. Normally cost would not be an issue but McGregor’s wife Sylvia is not a Canadian citizen. She and McGregor married in Canada in 2007 and lived in Taiwan for several years before moving back to Canada.

Philippine Fashion (CBC Metro Morning)
Guest host Jane Hawtin spoke with Jeff Rustia. He is the founder of the first ever Canada-Philippine Fashion Week which kicks off today.

Being Indian in a distant land (Times of India)
“If you don’t like it here, you can always go back where you came from!” I first heard this sentence in the first month of my arrival in Canada, when I was talking about the initial incidences of racism being faced by me, from a lady who worked in a government agency supposed to help new immigrants settle down. I hear and read the same sentence time and again whenever my horror stories of discrimination add up and I mention them to others. This may not happen to me only. Or just in Canada! Whenever people talk about discrimination in most places in the world, similar voices can be heard. “Take it or leave it”, “Our way or highway”, “Go away, if you cannot tolerate”, “Vanish”, “Shoo” – Magic words coming from ‘superior’ people to others they consider ‘inferior’. Or of people in majority.

A public letter to minister of Citizen & Immigration Canada (
As a Canadian citizen, I think it is necessary for me to reflect unfair treatment that my wife and I experienced in Canadian consulate in Hong Kong when receiving an interview about couple reunion immigrant visa, so as to improve service levels of CIC and enhance credibility of federal government.

Filipinos find a home in Winnipeg as family ties drive immigration in Manitoba (Sarah Petz, National Post)
Cecile Beltran still runs in to some of her old students in the streets of Winnipeg years after she stopped teaching. But Ms. Beltran didn’t teach at the University of Winnipeg or Manitoba — it was at a campus in the Philippines. Ms. Beltran, a software developer, immigrated to Winnipeg from the Philippines with her family in October, 2012. Since settling in Manitoba, she’s joined community groups of Filipinos from her hometown, and even found alumni associations from her university in the Philippines.

If We Do Not Fix Immigration, Canada May Solve the Problem for Us (Robert D. Atkinson, Huffington Post)
The debate over immigration reform in the United States continues to rage, with groups on both the left and right attempting to derail the compromise package now working its way through the Senate. Advocates across the political spectrum need to recognize that while we argue about immigration our global competitors are taking action, and if we are not careful other nations will benefit from the high skilled workers and entrepreneurs we refuse to welcome. One nation that wants to take full advantage of our gridlock is our neighbor to the north. Canada not only has cut its corporate tax rate, expanded funding for R&D, and reoriented its national labs toward tech commercialization, it also recently inaugurated its Start-up Visa, which provides a path to permanent residency and business development assistance for immigrant entrepreneurs. The visa is part of a broader immigration reform package that will improve the flexibility of the overall system and link it more directly with Canada’s economic needs. This includes the introduction of an online “expression of interest” database in 2014 which will match foreign workers with potential company sponsors looking for specialized skills.

Facing racial ‘discomfort’ (Sonya Nigam, Canadian Lawyer)
From a legal perspective racial discrimination is prohibited under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act, and provincial and territorial legislation. These laws, public education campaigns, and institutional policies have been very effective at creating a stigma against engaging in racial discrimination and limiting the number of incidents. Nevertheless, tensions and conflict continue to exist around how we think about race, what we take offence to, and how we conduct ourselves.

Canadians are losing their identity (Isaac Munnalall, Surrey Leader)
My name is Isaac Munnalall and I am a high school student in Surrey. I have a great interest in current events that are affecting Canada – particularly issues concerning immigration, multiculturalism and integration. Canada is proud of its diversity, but in some places in the Lower Mainland, it is anything but diverse. I am concerned about a trend that I call “ethnic pooling.” This is when a single ethnic group “floods” into and dominates a particular geographical area. My mom is half Indian and my dad full, so I guess that makes me three-fourths. However, I was born in this country and I am feeling that young people are losing their sense of what it means to be “Canadian.”

A long way from home (Chris Harbord, The Coast)
Tucked in behind the sprawling Wal-Mart and Sears stores of the West End Mall, a little office complex is often one of the first sights greeting new immigrants to Nova Scotia. It’s also the unexpected front lines in the battle to keep them here. Today, in a classroom at the Metro Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA), about 15 new immigrants take part in a pre-employment workshop. Many take furious notes while an instructor explains how to apply for jobs in Canada. She explains the basics: cover letters, resumes and what to wear to an interview. Near the end of the session, the class stops and everyone is given a chance to introduce themselves. As they tell their stories, most in careful, heavily accented English, it is hard not to be amazed at the rich lives and careers many have given up just for the chance to start from zero in Halifax.

Reflections on Multiculturalism Day from an engaged employee (Maria Belen , Ottawa Business Journal)
From an early age, I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps and serve the public good. In his life, he served as a politician at the municipal level, advocating for the land rights of the poor people in the Philippines. The decisions that I made in high school and into university were all based on working towards this goal. As a young professional in my twenties, I am proud to say that I have joined the ranks of the Canadian federal public service, an organization which I deem to be prestigious in every sense as I see and am immersed in the hard work, drive and passion that many of my peers bring into their day to day.


Doctors rallying to protest refugee health care cuts June 17 (Winnipeg Free Press)
Doctors in 17 cities across Canada including Winnipeg are rallying next week to reverse what they say are “reckless” cuts to refugee health care. It has been almost one year since the government made changes to the Interim Federal Health Program. Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care said a news release the changes have left many patients suffering, including sick children and pregnant women fleeing sexual violence.

Convocation 2013: from refugee to U of T grad (UToronto News)
Having fought incredible odds to achieve an education, two remarkable young men will be graduating from the University of Toronto this spring. Yak Deng (University of Toronto Scarborough) and Abdi Hassan Ahmed (University of Toronto Mississauga) both came to U of T on World University Service of Canada (WUSC) scholarships, which help refugee students achieve their dreams of higher education.

Community involved in new group supporting Roma (CJNews)
Canada’s Jewish community is taking steps to do more to help Roma and other immigrants fleeing persecution. The memory of Canada’s “none is too many” doctrine was invoked on June 5, when members of Toronto’s Jewish and Roma communities gathered at Holy Blossom Temple to discuss modern-day racism and xenophobia. “Why the Roma?” was the topic of a panel discussion about the root causes of the increase in the number of Roma refugees coming to Canada from eastern and central Europe. About 150 participants gathered to hear a keynote speech by Toronto Roma Community Centre executive director Gina Csanyi-Robah.

Take Action: Proud to Protect Refugees (Citizens for Public Justice)
The Proud to Protect Refugees Campaign was launched on April 4, Refugee Rights Day, by the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR). People across Canada have been getting together to change the way we talk about and welcome refugees. CPJ believes that promoting a positive vision of refugees in Canada is a way to honour God’s call to welcome the stranger. There’s a lot happening on the campaign. Below, you’ll find a list of ways to get involved by taking action or discussing refugee issues within your own community.


Latest Media and Policy News: 7 June 2013 (ISAC)
Latest policy and poverty news from around the country.


An Immigrant’s Country of Origin has a Small Effect on What He or She Earns in Canada (Settlement AtWork)
The researchers found that an immigrant‟s country of origin has a small impact on what he or she earns in Canada. Other factors, like education and language use, continue to have an impact, as well. Immigrants who are citizens and eligible to vote do better in the job market than those who cannot vote. Encouragingly, the findings suggest that discrimination may not be having much of an impact on the economic success of an immigrant in Canada. With its long history of immigration, its large and diverse populations, and its generous rights and social safety nets, Canada seems to be a „warm‟ and receptive destination country for newcomers. More specifically, Canada seems to offset whatever negative effects an immigrant‟s source country may have on his or her earning potential.

Steelworkers rally against Harper’s low wage, anti-worker agenda (John Bonnar, rabble)
On a rainy Monday morning outside Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s constituency office in Toronto, the United Steelworkers and their allies held a rally to protest the Conservative government’s low-wage, anti-worker agenda and corporate abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. “We’re very concerned about the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and what it’s doing to workers they’re brining in from around the world,” said Carolyn Egan, president USW Local 8300. “Exploiting at lower wages, bad conditions, trying to take advantage of their need for work.” Part of a strategy, said Egan, put forward by the Conservatives to create a low-wage Canada.

Crackdown on temporary foreign workers lets officials search without warrants (Steven Chase, Globe and Mail)
Federal officials will have the right to walk into Canadian workplaces without a warrant as part of a tightening of the controversial foreign temporary workers program. Changes to immigration and refugee protection regulations, published just days ago, give Human Resources and Skills Development Canada officials or Citizenship and Immigration Canada officers the right to walk in on businesses as part of a random audit or because they suspect fraud.

Community and Labour and Activists Demand Real Change to Temporary Foreign Worker Program (Canada Newswire)
Dozens of community and labour activists converged on Conservative MP Joe Oliver’s office today to demand an end to the Harper government’s low-wage economic strategy and abuse of temporary foreign workers. “The Temporary Foreign Worker Program is not a legitimate immigration policy,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Sid Ryan.

This Industry Is a Labour Trap (Adam Kingsmith, Huffington Post)
And while to some extent all genders and ethnicities are engaged in marginalised work, according to a recent study titled Precarious Employment in the Canadian Labour Market out of York University, women, racial minorities, new immigrants, Aboriginal populations, persons with disabilities, single parents, youth, and older adults account for a disproportional amount of the precarious labour force. But why is this sort of work a “labour trap” you ask? Why can’t those vulnerable workers employed in low paying and insecure jobs during an economy of stagnation just make the time to find employment that is more personally and fiscally fulfilling?


Registration open for CRA webinar on political activity (Charity Village)
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has announced that registration is now open for an upcoming Charities Directorate webinar. The webinar, held June 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern time, will explore the CRA’s policy statement around political activities. Registration for the one-hour event is free and the webinar will also be recorded and made available to the public.

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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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