Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 12, 2013


NYCH civic literacy is important for our residents survival (DiverseCity Toronto)
North York Community House (NYCH) focuses on resident engagement, acting as a moderator, connector and broker for residents and service providers. As a Building Blocks partner, NYCH staff Beatriz Alas and Tara Bootan have trained 94 residents on civic literacy. Its very important for residents to know about civic literacy, explains Tara. They need to know who they can go to. They need to know why they can go to them. And they need to know how they can do it.

Councillors vote to seek end of first past the post system in city elections (Natalie Alcoba, National Post)
Toronto city council took a significant step on Tuesday towards dramatically changing how the city elects its leaders and who gets to cast a ballot. By a vote of 26 to 15, the governing body asked the provincial government to allow it to use the ranked choice voting system, which demands that the winning candidate accumulate at least 50% of votes cast. It also asked, by a margin of 21 to 20, the minister of municipal affairs and housing to grant permanent residents the right to vote in municipal elections. Both initiatives require Queens Park to amend legislation.

Council votes to explore ranked balloting, voting for permanent residents (James Armstrong, Global News)
Torontos city council voted to explore ranked balloting and let permanent residents vote during a council debate Tuesday. The votes were part of a larger motion on electoral reform that included suggestions to establish weekend elections and internet voting. Changes to municipal elections would require legislative changes by the Ontario government.

Toronto city council backs radical change to ranked ballots and letting non-citizens participate (Paul Moloney, Toronto Star)
Champions of democracy and inclusion are applauding Toronto City Council for supporting a pair of pioneering motions that could fundamentally rewrite the citys election rules and change the face of local politics. On Tuesday, council voted to ask the province to give permanent residents the right to participate in municipal elections, and to allow the city to adopt ranked choice balloting, which would give voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference. If the province agrees to make the necessary legislative amendments, experts say it could open the door to similar changes in jurisdictions across Canada.

DiverseCity Fellowship program now accepting applications from emerging city-builders (Yonge Street)
Civic Action is now accepting applications for its 2013 DiverseCity Fellows program, a one-year leadership program in “advanced city-building” that helps GTA city-builders develop their leadership skills and learn more about the issues facing the region. Now in its fifth-year, DiverseCity has cemented itself as a go-to incubator for “emerging Toronto leaders.” “A recent survey shows that about 95 per cent of past fellows would recommend the program,” says Cindy Tan, senior project manager with Civic Action. “I think that really speaks to the success of the program.” Yonge Street has also previously featured a number of DiverseCity fellows. Among them, Gabrielle Scrimshaw, who used her time in the program to expand the organization she founded, the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada.

Health for All – June 2013
Welcome to the Health For All June digest. In this edition you can take a moment to learn about Solidarity City, state your opposition to the TV show “Border Security”, mark the date for the June 17 day of action to stop refugee health care cuts, read about our recent workshop for front line workers and community members, and get the latest news on migrant health justice. Enjoy and please share with friends.

Immigration has put a burden on our economy (Herbert Grubel, Vancouver Sun)
The results of a recently published study of the economic effects of immigration in the United States are very relevant to Canada. The study found that immigrants living in the U.S. have increased the countrys annual national income by $1.6 trillion, of which $1.565 trillion goes to the immigrants in the form of wages and benefits and the remaining $35 billion goes to the native population. This $35 billion is equal to 0.2 per cent of national income and is known as the immigration effect.

Soccer, Sikhs and multiculturalism in Quebec (Canadian Political Theatre)
Quebecs Soccer Federation is going into hiding. The names and contact information of its board of directors have been pulled from the federations website. Theyre refusing to talk to the media. Are they being accused of embezzlement? Did they steal childrens money? No, theyre refusing to allow Sikh kids to wear turbans during competitive matches. The peculiar thing about the QSFs decision is theyre the only soccer federation in Canada to ban turbans. Ontario and British Columbiawhere there are much larger Sikh populationsdont have a problem with kids wearing religious head garb.

Mulcair very optimistic Quebec soccer turban ban will be resolved (Tobi Cohen,
In a lunchtime speech to the Canadian Club, Mulcair said he spoke to both the Quebec federation and the Canadian association earlier Tuesday and that he was very optimistic the situation would be resolved. Parents have to get together and make sure of one result, that kids are allowed to play soccer no matter what their background, he said.

Canadian Soccer Association suspends Quebec group over turban ban (CBC)
The Canadian Soccer Association has red carded a provincial association over its refusal to let turban-wearing children play, announcing the Quebec organization will be suspended until the ban is overturned. The national organization took a more aggressive stance Monday in the ongoing controversy surrounding the Quebec Soccer Federation’s decision to restrict turban-wearing Sikhs from the pitch, saying its earlier efforts had failed to resolve the matter. “The Quebec Soccer Federation’s inaction has forced us to take measures in order to ensure soccer remains accessible to the largest number of Canadians,” it said in a statement Monday night.

Quebecers show solidarity with Sikh soccer players on turban ban (CBC)
When Philippa Settels first learned the Quebec Soccer Federation had banned turbans on the pitch, she called up the league her two boys play for in Greenfield Park, Que. She expressed her concerns to the former president of the Greenfield Park Soccer Association, who retired last spring. He replied by saying the association had to abide by the QSFs rule, like it or not, she told Daybreak Tuesday morning.

Somali parents worry about downtown school closure (CBC Hamilton)
Shamso Elmi says Somali-Canadian parents felt left out of the decision to close Sir John A. Macdonald high school downtown. They were more worried by plans to offer English as a Second Language programs at Westdale and not the new north high school, which the school board committee changed on Monday.

Hamilton takes first step toward ‘sanctuary city’ concept (CBC)
The city of Hamilton is looking into how it treats new Canadians without official status, the first step in potentially becoming a sanctuary city where undocumented immigrants can access public services without question. The emergency and community services committee voted Monday to investigate how undocumented individuals access city services. Coun. Brian McHattie of Ward 1, would like to investigate Hamilton following in the steps of Toronto, New York and Chicago in declaring a no-questions-asked policy for non-status immigrants.

Military couple to take adopted childs citizenship battle to Min. Kenney (Stefan Keyes, CTV)
A military couple living in Ottawa was told the child they are adopting from Haiti will not be granted Canadian citizenship and plan to take their case directly to the Citizenship and Immigration Minister. It is unwelcomed news they call discriminatory and unfair. To be told that were at a disadvantage because our parents were serving their country is a slap in the face, said Sarah Currie. Currie and her husband, Mike, were both born in Germany while their parents worked abroad for the Canadian military.

Event June 18: We Ask Because We Care: The Tri-Hospital + TPH Research Report (Tri-Hospital and TPH)
You are invited to attend the launch of the report of the Tri-Hospital + TPH research study. The report provides an overview of a four year process among four organizations: Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Michael’s Hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Toronto Public Health, that aimed:
To collect data from patients on key demographic characteristics
To develop an effective data collection methodology to address the issues surrounding personal data collection
To ensure knowledge exchange of successful piloted methodologies to other institutions in the Toronto LHIN
The product of this process serves as a innovative benchmark: the collection of standardized socio-demographic variables to enable health care measurement for equity.

Italian Montrealers remember WWII internment (CBC)
The daughter of an Italian Montrealer who was interned during the Second World War will be attending today’s special ceremony at City Hall commemorating that dark moment in history. Giulietta Doganieri was just a child of five years of age when her father Nicola was taken away, like so many other Canadians of Italian origin, because of his roots.

Fill in the blank: As Canadian as ______ (CBC)
For three years in the early 1970s, Peter Gzowski hosted a loose and “crunchy granola” radio show on the CBC called This Country in the Morning, a blend of stories, interviews, recipes and letters from listeners. In 1972, Gzowski decided that Canada needed a national simile, an answer to “As American as apple pie.” So the show ran its first contest: Complete the phrase “As Canadian as….” Hundreds of suggestions poured in. Some of them were obvious: “As Canadian as maple syrup.” “As Canadian as hockey.” Now, we aren’t necessarily looking for something like “As American as apple pie.” You can’t sum up a country as huge and diverse as Canada in any single object, let alone any single pastry. (What’s more Canadian, a dutchie or a butter tart? See?)

Fast-Track Pilot Project (Immigration) – PDF (Federal Court)
The Court is launching a pilot project in Toronto to expedite the hearing of applications for judicial review of decisions made in respect of applications made under sections 6, 7, 8 or 9, of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, SOR\2002- 227 [Regulations]. This pilot project will be optional. It will require consent to participate by both the applicant and the respondent. If either party prefers the application to be heard in the regular manner, it will not be dealt with under the pilot project.


Day of action against cuts to health care for refugees June 17 (Brent Patterson, rabble)
A National Day of Action is planned for Monday June 17 to protest the Harper government’s cuts to health care for refugees. The Council of Canadians fully supports this action led by Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care “to take the facts directly to the streets and tell Canadians the consequences of the federal government’s cuts to refugee health care.” Council of Canadians health care campaigner Adrienne Silnicki has commented, “The Harper government’s cuts to health care for refugees include access to vision care, dental care, prescription drugs and mobility devices for all refugees. For many refugees it also includes restrictions on primary and basic health care. This includes medical assistance during emergencies like heart attacks and even during child birth.” Chairperson Maude Barlow adds, “The cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program have deprived claimants of basic and emergency health care, a move that front-line health care workers call cruel and inhumane.”

The QP Clip: Jason Kenney denies refugee healthcare cuts (Maclean’s)
For his part, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told Simms that the government never cut healthcare funding for refugees, but simply ended “gold-plated benefits to false rejected asylum claimants who have no legal right” to universal healthcarevirtually the same defence a spokesman provided the Star. Kenney spoke without notes, and with confidencein both official languages, after the NDP’s Sadia Groguhe followed up in French. His benches applaud heartily.


The Case for a Canada Social Report – PDF (Ken Battle, Sherri Torjman, Caledon Institute)
The 2012 federal Budget abolished the National Council of Welfare, an advisory body to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. This cut placed in jeopardy the future of two of the Councils most important products Welfare Incomes and Poverty Profile. The Caledon Institute of Social Policy stepped in to rescue these two series, by taking on the task of gathering and analyzing the welfare and low income data. Caledon will seek continued input and advice from the provinces and territories in the preparation of welfare income statistics. Over the years, the provinces and territories have vetted and contributed to Welfare Incomes data and program information on social assistance and related income benefits. Their continued participation in and commitment to this vital work are imperative. Together, the welfare and low income information will figure among the first elements of a new Caledon product, the Canada Social Report.

SmartSAVER Toronto pilot demonstrates real results (May Wong, Omega Foundation)
Since SmartSAVERs launch in September 2010, CLB enrolment in Toronto has grown by 85% and over 27,000 more Toronto kids have begun to receive their Canada Learning Bond. Over a three-year period, the CLB take-up rate in Toronto has grown from 27% to almost 40%. With complementary promotion efforts now underway in Peel and Halton regions, the federal government tells us that the Greater Toronto Area is driving improvement in CLB take-up nation-wide.

Linda Chamberlain: a life of healing and helping (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
Toronto mental health activist Linda Chamberlain, who has survived childhood abuse, schizophrenia, homelessness and Ontarios mind-numbing welfare system, is celebrating many extraordinary achievements at the launch of a book about her life Tuesday. But Chamberlain, 63, who was diagnosed with liver and bone cancer a year and a half ago, would really like to celebrate the end of the so-called Linda Chamberlain rule. The provincial regulation, which makes it financially impossible for disabled people on welfare to remain in social housing once their part-time income exceeds $440, is still on the books.

Its not Fords fault! (Joy Connelly, Opening the Window)
Its not David Millers fault either. Its not the fault of Toronto Community Housings present Board of Director, the previous Board, or the Board before them. Im talking about the scathing Toronto Ombudsmans Housing at Risk: An Investigation into the Toronto Community Housing Corporations Eviction of Seniors on the Basis of Rent Arrears. The report examined the files of 79 seniors evicted from TCHC in 2011 and 2012 and found, a pattern of callous and unfair treatment of many seniors, including at least one case in which a tenant died shortly after eviction. Why am I so quick to let City Council and the TCHC Board off the hook? Because their purview is policy.


Recent immigrants paid below minimum wage: Scarborough event told (Mike Adler, InsideToronto)
Its common for Mandarin-speaking recent immigrants in Toronto to be paid less than Ontarios minimum wage or to be denied overtime pay and paid vacations employers owe them, a community groups survey has found. Released Saturday, June 8, the survey of 300 workers this year says 20 per cent – one in five – said they were being paid less than $10.25 an hour, the legal minimum. Only about half (53 per cent) said they receive paid public holidays, which indicates that many employers within Torontos boundaries are blatantly breaking the law, the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter said in a report, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back.

Reforming the temporary foreign worker program (Leon Benoit)
At a recent Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce luncheon I attended, one of the main topics discussed concerned changes being made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). I believe there is some confusion about what the changes are, and why they are being implemented. I understand that this is a very sensitive topic for business owners in our riding, and so I wanted to take the opportunity to provide clarification on some of the key issues. I want to first point out that the TFWP has not been cancelled. The Accelerated Labour Market Opinion has been temporarily suspended to determine whether it is meeting its original objectives.

Feds assure Temporary Foreign Worker program is being updated (News Talk 980)
Now that the operators of a new coal mine in Northern BC have been given the go-ahead to hire more than 200 temporary foreign workers, the federal government is offering assurances Canadians will be considered first for any future project facing similar employment needs. Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has not been available for comment, but members of her staff say the Temporary Foreign Worker program is being updated to ensure all employees are paid the same wages, no Canadian jobs are outsourced and the only languages identifed as requirements are English and French.

City of Montreal guilty of racial discrimination against employee: ruling (Christopher Curtis, Montreal Gazette)
Olthène Tanismas eyes well up when he thinks about his 11-year legal battle with the city of Montreal. The Haitian-born urban planner says hes relieved he can finally move forward with his life now that a Superior Court judge has ruled that his employers at the city used racial discrimination to justify withholding a promotion from him. In a landmark ruling issued on June 4, Judge Mark Peacock went beyond the inpidual case and ruled the city created systematic discrimination for visible minorities in its managerial hiring practices. Peacock also ordered the city to pay Tanisma $30,000 in damages after he was repeatedly passed over for promotions during his 25-year career.

Employers of foreign workers face workplace inspections (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Canadian employers who hire foreign workers will face surprise on-site inspections by authorities to ensure that the need for them is genuine and that Canadian workers are not passed over for the job. Under proposed regulatory changes unveiled Friday, federal officials would monitor employer compliance not only at the time of the applications to bring in migrant workers but throughout the employment period. (Officials) would have the authority, for the purpose of verifying compliance with the imposed conditions, to require an employer to provide documents and to report at any specified time and place in order to answer questions and provide documents, said the plan.

Diversity Within the Workplace (Career Engagement blog)
Its always interesting to me how work clusters within Life Strategies we seem to go through seasons of topical presentations, typically driven by external requests not intentional marketing. The theme of our current season is diversity within the workplace. Earlier this year we conducted research for S.U.C.C.E.S.S. and its government funders on challenges associated with foreign credential recognition for immigrant professionals. One of the key challenges was securing Canadian experience perhaps a sign that workplaces may not be walking their talk in terms of embracing diversity? In March, I presented at the Career Development Conference in BC on a related theme I called it Where in the World? Helping Employers Understand the World Immigrants Come From. Ive facilitated workshops for employers associated with the MAPLES program at ISS and, within the next couple of weeks have five more workshops on similar themes.

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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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