Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 19, 2013


2013 Diversity in Governance Awards winners announced (Canadian Immigrant)
Maytree is honouring the winners of its Diversity in Governance awards for their commitment and innovative practices in creating diversity. The winners will be felicitated at a ceremony this week. Winners include health care center, The Blue Hills Child and Family Centre for ensuring its board of directors reflected and met the needs of the community, by deciding to implement a diversity recruitment strategy which transformed the board from 13 Caucasian men and women who were mostly born in Canada to full diversity with representatives from the local South Asian, Chinese, Filipino, German and Italian communities.

Osler recognized with diversity award (Clark Kim, Inside Toronto)
The winners of the 2013 Diversity in Governance Awards, which includes the William Osler Health System (Osler), will be recognized tomorrow for their commitment and innovation in creating diverse boards of governance. Osler was awarded by the Maytree Foundation in the public institution category for embracing diversity as a foundation for inclusion and equity and adopting new recruitment practices that have led to 54 per cent of board members representing various ethno-cultural communities.

Video: MALTON UNITED A film about the Trillium award nominated Malton Community Building Project
Diversity, Malton,Blacks and South Asians The Documentary Production Tantrum Creative | cultures building together in a small Canadian neighborhood.

Yes, Toronto City Hall Is a Joke, But It’s Not All Rob Ford’s Fault (Raja Moussaoui, Atlantic Cities)
More than half of Torontonians were born outside of the country, but a recent poll conducted by Ryerson University in Toronto showed that only 13 percent of the citys leadership positions were filled by visible minorities. In response, CivicAction has partnered with Maytree, a private foundation that works to battle poverty through leadership building. Together, theyve launched a program called DiverseCity: a Greater Toronto Leadership Project, which through a number of initiatives works to increase the opportunities available for visible minorities, Aboriginals and under-represented immigrant groups to enter into civic leadership positions. The organizations have taken the position that diverse leadership will help to ensure the regions social and economic well-being, by giving minority groups a greater influence and more sustainable means to help drive the the future of their city. The DiverseCity onboard program has placed over 700 individuals in governance positions within public agencies, boards, commissions and nonprofits throughout Toronto. While these initiatives have not managed to capture international headlines, they are defining a new generation of Toronto leadership. This is the story of Toronto that manages to flourish despite the circus at city hall, with Mayor Rob Ford in the center ring. “The world will go on, after Rob Ford,” says Berridge.

CMF Unveils Funding for Diverse Language Projects (Broadcaster Magazine)
The Canada Media Fund announced today $1.9M in funding to 10 projects that applied to the Convergent Streams Diverse Languages Program. Projects include television productions with digital media components in Mandarin (6), Spanish (2), Italian (1) and Persian (1). Of the 10 projects, five are documentaries, three are dramas, one is Childrens & Youth, and one is Variety and Performing Arts. Projects originated from Ontario (7), British Columbia (2) and Québec (1).

Embracing different ethnicities in Toronto leaves British writer confused (Yonge Street)
Toronto’s multiculturalism left one British writer slightly confused about the city’s curiosity for heritage. While visiting Toronto, Daniel Rouse met people from all over–Croatia, Ireland–and eventually began to wonder if Toronto lacked pride in its own Canadian identity. However, he reports that he soon realized much of this stems from an honest place and after speaking with local residents and shop owners, a great story of our city unfolded. He describes his experience in article that appeared in the Telegraph. He speaks with Jim Dai, originally from Shanghai, who has owned a small Portuguese wholesaling shop in Little Portugal for the last 10 years. Dai talks about learning English while working in a restaurant, and later picked up Portuguese simply by interacting with his suppliers and customers.

BMO Financial Group Receives 2013 Social Responsibility Award and BMO’s Simon Fish Honoured as General Counsel of the Year (Stockhouse)
BMO Financial Group received the 2013 Social Responsibility Award and Simon Fish, Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the bank was named the 2013 General Counsel of the Year Award during the ninth annual Canadian General Counsel Awards (CGCA), held last night at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. BMO and the bank’s legal group were recognized for the significant work they are doing, within the bank itself and within the broader legal community, to drive change in the areas of sustainability and diversity.

Canada Launches Next Generation Open Data Portal (Stochouse)
Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, participated in today’s launch of the Government of Canada’s much-anticipated next-generation Open Data Portal (, which will provide unprecedented access to government data and information. “The new Open Data Portal is a remarkable tool that enables Canadians to easily access important information about immigration to Canada, and use this information to spur innovation and economic growth,” said Minister Kenney. “I encourage all Canadians to visit our datasets if they have not yet done so as the information is useful and relevant, and there is great potential for its use.”

Multicultural festival aims to represent Westons diversity (Hilary Caton, Inside Toronto)
Where else would you see GO Transits mascot, the GO bear, dance the salsa with a toddler in Weston? T he answer to that question is only at the fourth annual Weston Multicultural Festival. Latin band Pablo Terry and Sol de Cuba took to the stage Saturday, June 15 in Little Avenue Memorial Park and serenaded the crowd for a portion of the afternoon, until the Ghanian African dancers took the stage proceeded by Nritya Kala Madir Bollywood dancers. According to Weston Village BIA Chair Masum Hossain, it was about time Weston had a multicultural festival. There are a lot of different kinds of people (who) live here and we want to make sure theyre all represented, Hossain said.

77 Chinese students visas revoked (Globaltimes)
Canada’s immigration authority revoked 77 Chinese students’ visas last year, making China top the list of visa revocations among international students, China News Agency reported Tuesday. Citizenship and Immigration Canada released the statistics, saying that it nullified a total of 492 international students’ visas last year. Topping the list, China is followed by India, with 39 revocations, Pakistan, 31, and Nigeria, 29. An officer with the education office at the Embassy of The People’s Republic of China in Canada was cited in a Shanghai Morning Post report on Tuesday saying that Canada revokes a number of Chinese students’ visas every year, and the general reason is because “the students’ grades are bad and the schools have persuaded them to drop out.”

Somali community claims police brutality in Dixon raids (CBC)
Outraged Somali-Canadian community members are accusing Toronto police and tactical squads of racial profiling and unnecessary abuse of innocent residents during last week’s Project Traveller raids in the city’s west end. “These innocent victims include senior citizens, children, single mothers and youth who were forced to live through the traumatic experience through no fault of their own,” Mahad Yusuf, the executive director of Midaynta Community Services, told reporters Tuesday at the Rexdale Community Hub.

Ottawa says man was Asian crime gang member and should be kicked out of Canada (Terri Theodore, Times Colonist)
The federal government says a man allowed into Canada 17 years ago should be kicked out of the country because there is ample evidence that he was part of an Asian crime gang. But in newly released written arguments, Lai Tong Sang’s lawyer said that Ottawa is basing its arguments on multiple layers of hearsay evidence that is unreliable. Lai, his wife and three children, became a permanent Canadian resident in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2011 when the family asked for citizenship that the federal government moved to eject them.

Diversity Ink – June 2013 (Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion)
In this issue:
A note from our CEO
CIDI in the News
CIDI Benchmarking Survey: Aboriginal Employee Networks.
Opinions; We’ve Got Lots of ’em!
#CDNdiversity, We’re All in This Together

Toronto got #desified again (South Asian Generation Next)
desiFEST has become an annual highlight not only for the South Asian community, but for the city of Toronto as well. Recognized as Canadas largest South Asian music concert, desiFEST brought 12 hours of entertainment to Yonge-Dundas Square creating a platform for artists to showcase their talents. The concert was hosted by desiFEST founder SatsB, who kept the crowd engaged, entertained, and hyped throughout the day. The concert provided 19 acts of entertainment to a crowd of 30,000+ attendees.

The Turban as a Soccer Hazard (Billal Sarwar, South Asian Generation Next)
In recent weeks, the QSF (Quebec Soccer Federation) has banned the wearing of Sikh turbans on the soccer pitch citing, safety concerns. I completely agree. Although it may be a betrayal of my South Asian brothers, I feel its important that everyone finally know the big secret. Seemingly made of cloth, the turban is actually composed of a rare titanium alloy known as, Punjabium (not to be confused with artist Punjabium-C). In India, the metal is used to create bullets so powerful that they can literally shoot through the core of the earth. These bullets or balles can thankfully only be fired by very rare guns made of kevlar, diamond, 50cent and Jack Bauer. If a turban were to come undone during a soccer match, and a player were to accidentally make contact with it, he would instantaneously shatter into a thousand pieces. Im not necessarily sure if the QSF believes the turban possesses the capabilities outlined above, however they must know something we do not. Why else would they be the only Canadian province to ban the turban on the pitch?

Canadian MP tells Punjabis to take legal route for immigration (Punjab Newsline)
Ludhiana District Congress Committee president Pawan Dewan today said that the Punjabis interested in immigration to Canada must always adopt the legal route. Dewan, who returned from his two week to US and Canada, today said, that he was told by the Conservative MP from Don Valley East (Ontario), Jeo Daniel that the legal route was the best and the safest. He was honoured by Daniel during his visit to Canada. He said, there were a lot of Punjabis settled and working in Canada. He pointed out, once people land there after completing all the procedural formalities it becomes easy for them to settle down there and find work.


Refugee lawyers: Cuts to Interim Federal Health Program are ‘wrong and illegal’ (Peter Showler, rabble)
Peter Showler is Director of the Refugee Forum, University of Ottawa, and Co-chair of the Advocacy Committee of the Canadian Association of Refugee Laws (CARL). He gave the following presentation on Parliament Hill on Monday, June 17.

Refugees on their own? (Brandon Sun)
Meanwhile, back in Canada, hundreds of health-care workers and newcomers rallied in Winnipeg yesterday as part of the National Day of Action for Refugee Health Care. The rally, which took place in 18 other Canadian cities, was a response to the federal government cuts to supplemental health benefits for privately sponsored refugees who have been approved and invited to Canada. As the Winnipeg Free Press reported, during the refugees first year here, costs for items such as prescription drugs, prosthetic limbs, dental and vision care are no longer covered by the Interim Federal Health plan. The cuts took effect last year on the eve of Canada Day.

UN reports highest level of refugees since 1994 as Canada tightens policy (Maclean’s)
A total of 893,700 claims were submitted around the world, a three per cent increase from 2011 and the second-highest level of the last decade, the report said. The number of individual asylum applications registered with governments or UNHCR in 2012 reflects a continued increasing demand for international protection throughout the year, the report said. The new figures come as Canada is in the midst of a shift in refugee policy, changing everything from which refugees it will accept to how their claims are processed.

Refugee crisis reached unseen levels in 2012: UN (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
An estimated 7.6 million people had to leave their homes due to conflict or persecution last year, including 1.1 million new refugees who fled to another country for safety, says the United Nations. The Year 2012 was marked by refugee crises reaching levels unseen in the previous decade, said the U.N. High Commission for Refugees global trend report released this week. An average of 3,000 people per day became refugees in 2012, five times more than in 2010.

New UNHCR report says global forced displacement at 18-year high (UNHCR)
More people are refugees or internally displaced than at any time since 1994, with the crisis in Syria having emerged as a major new factor in global displacement. UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released on Wednesday, covers displacement that occurred during 2012 based on data from governments, NGO partners, and the UN refugee agency itself. The report shows that as of the end of 2012, more than 45.2 million people were in situations of displacement compared to 42.5 million at the end of 2011. This includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 million people forced to flee within the borders of their own countries. The report does not include the rise in those forced from their homes in Syria during the current year.

The Spectators View: Refugee health cuts exposed as a failure (Jacqueline Bigar, Hamilton Spectator)
It’s been a year since the Harper government made changes to the Interim Federal Health Benefit, which in effect cut off most health care to refugee claimants. And as expected, the cuts have been proven wrong-headed and self-defeating. The government said the changes were necessary to prevent failed asylum seekers from taking advantage of Canada’s health care system. But, as described by Dr. Tim O’Shea, assistant professor of medicine at McMaster and internal medicine specialist, the cuts have effectively denied sick people medical care they need. Pregnant women are not getting adequate prenatal care. People with diabetes are not getting proactive treatment and support. Children with dental problems that could alter the course of their lives are not getting treatment. In Alberta, parents of a sick child were turned away from hospital because they couldn’t afford the registration fee. A new mother was charged several thousand dollars for having her baby delivered. And a seriously ill patient was unable to access an urgent care centre because he couldn’t pay.

A few myths and a few facts on refugee health-care cuts (Gabrielle Inglis, Hamilton Spectator)
Over the past year, the federal government has implemented cuts to refugee health insurance. Unsurprisingly, many individuals and families are suffering denied access to basic health care. These cuts have been strongly opposed by health-care workers across the country. The federal government has argued that cuts to the Interim Federal Health Program save money, make our health-care system more fair, and protect our immigration system from those who would abuse it. These arguments are compelling, but unfounded. In fact, there is considerable evidence to show that these cuts are unfair and costly to the health-care system and Canadian public. With so much confusion around why these cuts were made, what they entail, and how they fit into a complex immigration system, it can be challenging to tease out the facts from the rhetoric. In an attempt to provide a coherent response to arguments routinely made in defence of these cuts, we offer factual clarification for some common misconceptions.

BC doctors, nurses protest refugee health cuts (Carlos Tello, The Tyee)
Health-care workers and refugees gathered yesterday in downtown Vancouver to urge the federal government to reverse last year’s cuts to health care benefits for refugee claimants. The rally, held outside the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration office in Vancouver, was one of 19 organized across the country for the second National Day of Action. A year ago, the federal government introduced changes into the Interim Federal Health Program (IFPH) to end supplemental health-care benefits — including pharmacy, eye care, dental care, and coverage for illnesses not deemed a “public safety risk” — for non government-assisted refugees.

Refugee Care (CBC Metro Morning)
Matt Galloway spoke with Bob Bell. He is President and CEO of the University Health Network.

Refugees ask Federal Government to Restore Benefits to New Refugees across Canada (Danny Garcia, TopNews)
A farmer, Kasim, with diabetes fled war in Ethiopia and settled in Winnipeg. He will now be getting insulin help from the provincial government to cover the cost of his treatment. Last year, the government announced to cut a program in place since 1957 in order to provide health benefits to privately sponsored refugees. A rally was attended by the Kasim, his wife Balkisa and 14-motold daughter 14-month-old daughter Milki. The rally was organized on Monday at the Central Park. The doctors across Canada organized The National Day of Action for Refugee Health Care in 19 cities. The decision for covering the Interim Federal Health Program cuts was applauded by the speakers in Winnipeg. Moreover, they requested the federal government to restore benefits to new refugees across Canada.

Calgarians join national protest of refugee health cuts (Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald)
For 252 days, Modeste Nzenga languished in a Congolese prison. Nzenga, jailed for speaking out about abuses in his wartorn country, says he suffered regular beatings and inhumane conditions. Two years ago, after spending years in refugee camps in Kenya, Nzenga arrived in Calgary worn out and in search of healing for his physical and psychological wounds. The medical care and counselling services he received as a government assisted refugee in Calgary helped make all the difference getting him back on his feet, he said. I came to accept Im in a peaceful country. No one is out to get me. All my anxiety started to disappear, he said. On Monday, Nzenga joined advocates across Canada protesting cuts the federal government made last year to refug a Calgary bakery. These services are basic and important for refugees, said Nzenga, who works at a Calgary bakery.

Harper’s policy on vulnerable refugees is wildly inconsistent — and cruel (Karl Nerenberg, rabble)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney boasts that Canada is very generous when it comes to refugees — or, more precisely — government-sponsored, resettled refugees. The Immigration Ministry’s website puts numbers on that generosity. It says there are over 10 million refugees in the world (most in wretched refugee camps, which the web site fails to mention). Of these, about 100,000 are resettled each year. By 2013, the Immigration Ministry says, “Canada will resettle up to 14,500 refugees and other vulnerable persons a year” [italics added]. This number, the Minister boasts, makes of Canada one of the leading refugee-resettlement countries in the world. Canada is much less favourable, however, to refugees who arrive on these shores uninvited and unsponsored.
vulnerable members of our society.

N.L. doctors appeal to feds to reverse cuts to health-care for refugees (James Mcleod, The Telegram)
Doctors in Newfoundland and Labrador have joined voices with people from across the country who are calling on the federal government to reverse cuts to health care for refugees. At a news conference in St. Johns, doctors from the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association called federal cuts reckless and ill-informed. Since June 2012, changes to the program have resulted in important health services for refugee claimants being eliminated or restricted, leaving many patients to suffer in silence, said Dr. Pauline Duke, who is also a member of the Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care steering committee. Canadians recognize basic primary care as a human right, and we need to ensure that this is not taken away from some of the most vulnerable members of our society.


Poverty as a Human Rights Violation (PovNet)
This paper, Poverty as a Human Rights Violation by Vincent Greason, explores how six provincial anti-poverty strategies are remarkably similar in spite of the fact that they address differing socio-economic realities, have been developed by governments representing different political parties and (supposedly) differing political ideologies. He finds that none of the strategies address poverty as a human rights violation even though many human rights are directly related to poverty.

Ontarios Affordable Housing Crisis Is Centred In Rented Sector: New Report (Michael Shapcott, Wellesley Institute)
Ontarios affordable housing crisis is growing worse, especially in the private rented sector where most low and moderate-income households are required to find a home. Tens of thousands of very-low income renter households cannot afford private market rents and have been squeezed out of the traditional private rented sector, and relegated to substandard, secondary rental housing. Those are among the conclusions of the latest edition of Wheres Home a comprehensive review of affordable housing in Ontario. The Wheres Home housing series started in 1999 and provides a statistical overview of housing issues in Ontario and among about 30 communities across the province.

Half of First Nations children live in poverty (CBC)
Half of status First Nations children in Canada live in poverty, a troubling figure that jumps to nearly two-thirds in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, says a newly released report. “The poverty rate is staggering. A 50 per cent poverty rate is unlike any other poverty rate for any other disadvantaged group in the country, by a long shot the worst,” said David Macdonald, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-author of the report. The study released late Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada found that the poverty rate of status First Nations children living on reserves was triple that of non-indigenous children.


TRIEC is hiring (TRIEC)
Two new positions are now available at TRIEC:
Program Delivery Coordinator, Employer Partners, The Mentoring Partnership
Intern, Corporate and Stakeholder Relations

Western premiers focus on jobs, economy (
A more responsive and flexible immigration system is a vital component of developing a skilled Canadian workforce, said the premiers. While new models for economic immigration are appreciated, existing Provincial and Territorial Nominee Programs continue to be essential tools to help meet economic and labour market needs.

Halifax businessman who paid employees $3.13 an hour faces 56 of counts of immigration fraud (Global News)
A businessman whose employees once cleaned Halifax Regional Municipality facilities faces dozens of counts of immigration fraud after a Canada Border Services Agency investigation. The agency alleges Hector Mantolino, owner and operator of Mantolino Property Services Ltd., paid some cleaners from the Philippines as little as $3.13 hour and told them to lie about their wages if they wanted to stay in Canada. The agency believes 28 people were victims of the fraud.

Event June 27: Conference: “Centering #Diversity for Workplace Equity” (Regional Diversity Roundtable)


How Should Funders Evaluate Charities? (Allyson Kapin,
The three powerhouses, Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Better Business Bureau, that foundations, philanthropists, and donors use to seek out information and ratings about nonprofits released an open letter to the nonprofit and foundation world yesterday. They stated that donors should not measure a charitys performance based on overhead expenses. The letter hosted on the website comes on the heels of Dan Pallottas TED Talk and Keynote at NTC13, which sharply criticized funders and nonprofit rating service providers for penalizing nonprofits who spent what they considered too much money on administrative expenses, such as salaries, training, and benefits. Pallotta asked how the nonprofit sector can ever expect to compete with the corporate sector for talented leaders when nonprofits cant pay decent salaries and benefits. This is a topic that Amy Sample Ward and I also discuss in our book Social Change Anytime Everywhere in the chapter on Disrupting the Nonprofit Sector.

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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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