Immigration & Diversity news headlines – June 24, 2013


Extending Toronto vote to permanent residents is the right thing to do (Alan Broadbent, Nathalie Des Rosiers, Toronto Star)
Toronto City Council got it right. Last week, it decided to ask the province to consider extending the municipal franchise to permanent residents in Toronto. This is good public policy, and is in line with legal principles and Canadas Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Several commentators, however, have viewed it differently, calling it a backward step and comparing it to the rules governing admission to a private club. Clubs, they argue, have a right to choose who gets to join, and those who aspire to membership better be prepared to shape up or ship out. But Canada is not a private club and its democracy is not like an annual meeting with its rules committee and membership committee. Private clubs are exclusive. Clubs have limits to their membership, focus on attracting the like-minded, and exclude others. They have a history of exclusive practices, like posting lists of prospective members so existing members can blackball those they dont want.

Four GTA-based organizations recognized for embracing diversity (The Canadian Progessive)
At an awards ceremony on Wednesday evening, DiverseCity onBoard recognized Blue Hills Child and Family Centre, the City of Markham, and William Osler Health System for embracing diversity in board governance and making it a priority to recruit board members from diverse backgrounds. A corporate award, presented by the Canadian Board Diversity Council, recognized BMO Financial Group.

Where multiculturalism fears to tread (Bob Ramsay, Toronto Star)
Very soon, Toronto will tip from being a city where the vast majority of its citizens are white (in 1957, 93 per cent of us were) to one where visible minorities will make up the new visible majority. But the new big battalions are still far from being the powerful ones. Nowhere is this more true than in those last bastions of white maleness, the boards of Torontos biggest arts organizations the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

News Release CIC consulting Canadians on immigration levels and mix (CIC)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) launched online consultations for public input on immigration levels and mix today. In addition, Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra is beginning a series of cross-country consultations with stakeholders today, starting in Mississauga.

After Project Traveller, Toronto Police Try to Restore Trust at 320 Dixon Road (Desmond Cole, Torontoist)
On Thursday night, Toronto Police Sergeant Chris Laush was standing in the party room in the basement of 320 Dixon Road, the highrise condominium that has been the site of recent police raids, a recent shooting, and numerous apparent connections to Mayor Rob Fords crack-video scandal. Laush told more than a hundred residents and neighbours gathered for a community meeting that in the wake of the raids, which were part of a police operation called Project Traveller, the Somali Liaison Unit he supervises will be initiating Project Clean Slate, to bring a renewed sense of safety to the community. Residents listened and applauded politely as Laush and 23 Division superintendent Ron Taverner introduced the other members of the unit, as well as Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly. The police urged the community to look to the future, but most residents who came to the microphone during the two-hour meeting wanted to address both recent and long-standing traumas in and around the building.

‘Racist’ licence plates recalled in N.B. (Yahoo! News)
Licence plates that accidentally made a statement some New Brunswickers took to be racist are being replaced. Every standard licence plate in New Brunswick has three letters and three numbers. A recent combination of letters read JAP which sparked complaints. Jap is a derogatory nickname for Japanese people. It was used extensively during the Second World War. Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors said the combination was an accident. “They felt it was racist, he said of the complainants. Trevors said his department decided to take the plates out of circulation.

Chinese buy up Canada farms; is Beijing behind it? (Economic Times of India)
With too few farms in China to feed a burgeoning population, Chinese immigrants have started buying up agricultural lands in Canada and shipping produce to Asia. But with new investment comes fears that a generation of young Canadian would-be farmers are being squeezed out of the market by newcomers that some suspect are being bankrolled by the government in Beijing. In Saskatchewan province, home to 45 per cent of all arable land in Canada, the price of farmland has risen an average of 10 per cent in the last year, and as much as 50 per cent over three years in areas where Chinese immigrants have settled, according to farmer Ian Hudson, who lives near the village of Ogema.

Canada enacts law for faster removal of foreign criminals (ZeeNews)
In a bid to remove dangerous foreign criminals from its soil, Canada has enacted a new legislation that strengthens the integrity of country’s immigration system. The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act strengthens the integrity of Canada’s immigration system by amending the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to speed up the removal of dangerous foreign criminals, the Canadian government said in a press release on Thursday.

Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act Becomes Law (CIC)
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney welcomed the final passage and Royal Assent of The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which speeds up the removal of dangerous foreign criminals from Canada. This new law will keep Canadians safer by ending endless appeals and loopholes that were being used by dangerous foreign criminals to delay their deportation, during which time many committed more crimes, said Minister Kenney. Canadians can now feel more confident in the integrity of our immigration system because violent criminals and fraudsters will be kept out while genuine visitors are welcome.

Operational Bulletin 527 June 20, 2013 – C-43 Changes to Humanitarian and Compassionate Requests (CIC)
On June 19, 2013, Bill C-43, an Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), also known as the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, received Royal Assent. The following changes to sections 25 and 25.1 of the Act are in effect as of Royal Assent.

Operational Bulletin 525 June 21, 2013 – Changes in Appeal Rights to the Immigration Appeal Division as a Result of Bill C-43 the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (CIC)
On June 19, 2013, Bill C-43, the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act came into force. The Bill amends subsection 64(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) which specifies the circumstances under which a foreign national, a sponsor or a permanent resident has no right of appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board. These instructions apply upon the coming into force of Bill C-43.

Operational Bulletin 531 June 21, 2013 – Coming into force of Bill C-43 Obligations for certain persons making an application under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (CIC)
The purpose of this Operational Bulletin (OB) is to notify officers of the coming into force of the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (FRFCA) on June 19, 2013.

Operational Bulletin 532 June 21, 2013 – Coming into Force of Bill C-43 Inadmissibility on Security Grounds (CIC)
This Operational Bulletin (OB) describes changes to the security inadmissibility provisions in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that have come into force following royal assent to Bill C-43, The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (FRFCA).

Citizen or Stranger? (Al Jazeera)
Countries with a multicultural approach, like Canada, the US and Great Britain, encourage immigrants to keep their customs and culture. Others, like France and Denmark, urge immigrants to integrate and adopt Western values. We look at the story of one immigrant family that was separated due to a civil war. They tell about their lives in their adopted country, and about their hopes for the future. In the world today, there at least 10 million people on the move, looking for safety, comfort and a better life. But they are not always welcomed when they arrive in a new land, and the arguments over how to integrate these newcomers are emotional and sometimes explosive.

CERIS to evolve into a new knowledge-sharing hub for immigration and settlement sector (CERIS)
CERIS is pleased to share that we are embarking on a new phase in immigration and settlement research. After extensive consultation, idea sharing, and planning, we are announcing a new centre that will build upon our achievements and improve on what weve learnt after 17 years producing and sharing new knowledge. The new CERIS will continue to be a joint initiative of the founding universities and community partners and to maintain offices at York University.

EXCLUSIVE LOOK: JVS Toronto (Inside Toronto)
As part of The North York Mirrors Exclusive Look series, we are focusing on organizations making up the Bathurst-Finch Community Hub and the services they offer to the community. The Mirror sat down with Irene Vaksman, program manager with JVS Toronto.

Delegates denied entry to Canada for St. John’s conference (Barb Sweet, The Telegram)
Eighty-seven people have been denied temporary resident visas to attend a conference in St. Johns next week and another 100 are in limbo, despite having applied months ago, according to an organizer. Its surprising. We werent expecting this, that people who wanted to come to the conference wouldnt be allowed to come, said Heather Modlin, co-chairwoman of the Child and Youth Care (CYC) World Conference being held next week. The conference will still be successful, but it changes the flavour of it.

Brushstrokes of diversity at library (Richmond News)
The diverse cultures painting the colourful canvas of Canada will be on display at the Richmond Public Library over Canada Day weekend when the Vancouver Cantonese Opera’s Multicultural Heritage Festival and the Celebrate Canada Fair are held at the Richmond Cultural Centre, Sat. June 29. Participants can watch a multicultural fashion show, dress up as Chinese opera performers, don Chinese opera cartoon face and body paint, learn Indian sari-tying techniques as well as try their hands at Ukrainian egg-painting.

Man accused of terrorism requests trial by Quran (Washington Times)
Chiheb Esseghaier is a Tunisian national accused of plotting an attack on the Canadian passenger train on route to Toronto. Arrested by Royal Canadian Mount Police anti-terrorism agents, Esseghaier has refused to consider himself subject to Canadian law, bizarrely demanding to be tried only according to the principles of the Quran and not by any man made code. Logically, the Canadian justice system has ignored his demands, and Esseghaier is sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial.

Terror train plot: Chiheb Esseghaier’s Qur’an demand reveals law/religion collision (Wendy Gillis, Toronto Star)
Chiheb Esseghaiers extreme demand to be judged by the Quran, not the criminal code, reflects a tension that often arises in multicultural societies.

Call it what you like, its still racism (Shannon Corregan, Times Colonist)
Last weekend, the Quebec Soccer Federation reversed its decision to ban turban-wearing soccer players. The QSF ban on turbans, as well as other religious head coverings worn by Sikh men and boys, was an unusually strict interpretation of a FIFA safety regulation, and it was only after direct intervention from the Federation Internationale de Football Association that the QSF removed the ban. In turn, the Canadian Soccer Association has lifted its suspension of the QSF. Now everybodys happy and we can all play soccer again, yes? Not quite. The QSFs controversial headwear decision was solely a provincial issue (no other province saw fit to interpret FIFA regulations in such a way), but it was upsetting to soccer families across the country who saw their friends and partners in Quebec suddenly and arbitrarily banned. The ease with which that kind of discrimination was enacted is enough to make any person, British Columbian or Québécois, unhappy and uneasy, even as we applaud the bans reversal.

Multicultural fest gives a taste of Halifax’s diversity (CBC)
The Nova Scotia Multicultural Festival at the Halifax Seaport this weekend plays host to a variety of flavours and fashions from around the world and gives a taste of Halifaxs growing diversity. According to Statistics Canada, in the next 20 years, the number of immigrants moving into city is expected to continue to rise. So much so, that one in 10 Haligonians will have been born in a different country.

Saamis Immigration toasts 25 years, new location (Medicine Hat News)
A rich mix of ethnically diverse people filled the offices of Saamis Immigration on Friday to celebrate its new premises and its 25th anniversary. This region owes a debt of gratitude to all the immigrants who helped to make it what it is today, said Ald. Phil Turnbull representing the City. He also thanked the organization for its hard work helping immigrants settle in. Saamis Immigration has helped to make Alberta and Canada a great place to live, said Drew Barnes MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat. MP LaVar Payne filled in for Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, who was not able attend because of flooding issues in his Calgary riding, and thanked Saamis Immigration for all the help it provides to immigrants. Dr. Richard Northcott, chair of the Saamis Immigration board, said we are in fact all immigrants and there is often cultural diversity within families now. This is what makes Canada a great nation, said Northcott.

Local News: Cobourg Public Library Launches English As A Second Language And Multilingual Collection (Northumberland View)
The Cobourg Public Library is hosting a launch of its expanded English as a Second Language and Multilingual Collections on June 27, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. The launch will feature our new English as a Second Language learning materials as well as collections of books and DVDs in a number of languages other than English. Information to help newcomers with settlement issues will be available and a representative from the New Canadians Centre will be on hand to answer questions. Library staff will conduct a demonstration of the librarys Learning Express database. The Learning Express database provides many resources for learners, but this evenings event will focus on the sections related to English language proficiency, preparation for the Canadian Citizenship test, and resources in Spanish.

Video: Immigrant integration in Canada, Germany and Sweden (Mikael Hellstrom, Patrick von Maravic)
Why has integration in the labour market worked better in Canada than in Sweden and Germany? The answer lies in how the public sector is organized. This video is a summary of a paper presented at the annal conference for Canadian political scientists in Victoria, BC, in 2013.


Roma refugees should be welcomed, not rebuffed (Dow Marmur, Toronto Star)
If there are bogus refugees in Canada, the Roma arent likely to be among them. The latest evidence comes from a report by the United Nations Childrens Fund. It states that the Roma are at great and growing risk in the European countries of their birth. Their rights are being systematically violated through deliberate neglect and persecution. They arent being killed outright, but extreme poverty, social marginalization and countless other forms of discrimination condemn many to a slow death.

Canadians need better understanding of refugees (Karin Yeske, NewsTalk 650)
Settlement agencies providing services for refugees in Saskatoon are being celebrated but more work needs to be done to educate the public. There is a narrative evolving that refugees are bogus, are terrorists, are trying to sneak to use our programs. Thats just not accurate, Klaus Gruber said earlier this week at a celebration for World Refugee Day. People who dont understand the system often lump temporary foreign workers, immigrants and refugees in one, said Gruber, the refugee coordinator for the Anglican diocese in Saskatoon.

Welcoming Syrian refugees good for Nova Scotia (Editorial, Chronicle Herald)
Canadas Syrian community must surely be disappointed with Ottawas muted response to the refugee crisis in Syria and in neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon. Ottawa told immigration sponsors across the country on Thursday that it will admit 100 of the more than 1.6 million people who have fled Syrias civil war, a number that seems underwhelming at best. Gerry Mills of Immigrant Settlement and Integration Services in Halifax said the 100 must come from refugee camps in Lebanon or Jordan. ISIS has already found three local Syrian families with relatives in the camps and hopes to find more.

Cost-Cutting Measures Affecting Refugees (Mike Vlasveld, BlackBurn News)
Canadian doctors are raising awareness about the lack of funding for refugee care in the country. Dr. Julie Daigle with Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care says federal cost-cutting measures were taken about nine months ago, and its affecting up to 30-thousand people. Weve been seeing patients not have access to emergency dental extractions, not having access to pre-natal car for their kids, not being able to get diabetes medication for themselves, or even heart medication, which is quite important. Daigle explains letters have been sent by multiple Canadian medical organizations to minister Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, asking for a meeting with him. However, theyve yet to receive a response.

Good Practices for Urban Refugees (Refugee Research Network)
UNHCR’s Urban Refugee Steering Group is very happy to announce the launch of a new website, Good Practices for Urban Refugees. This interactive website aims to support practitioners in sharing and using good practices in the response to refugee needs in urban areas. In addition to good practice case studies, it includes tools, guidelines, research, media, surveys, urban strategies and other information relevant for urban programming.

Operational Bulletin 418 (Modified) June 21, 2013 – Processing of applications for displaced Tibetans in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India (CIC)
This Operational Bulletin updates OB 418 published on May 16, 2012, and provides the guidelines for staff at the local Citizenship and Immigration office in Toronto (CIC St. Clair), as well as visa staff at the Canadian High Commission (CHC) in New Delhi concerning the processing of applications for displaced Tibetans in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in India, under the Temporary Public Policy established on March 17, 2011. These applications will be processed similar to those received in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program. This OB provides updates regarding the interpretation of the residency requirement for applicants applying under this public policy, the waiving of immigration processing fees and corrects the application links on the CIC website.

Jewish refugee advocacy organization launches (CJNews)
Calling Canadas refugee determination system a betrayal of Canadian values, which should concern Canadian Jews, Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld announced the formal launch of the Jewish Refugee Action Network (JRAN) on June 21. JRAN is rooted in the ancient summons to welcome the stranger, said Rabbi Bielfeld, who founded the organization. In announcing the launch of the organization, Rabbi Bielfeld was joined by Stephen Lewis, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations and former leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, journalist Michele Landsberg, Mary Jo Leddy, founder of Romero House, and Ken Rosenberg, whose law firm Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP, hosted the event.

Stephen Lewis joins new national advocacy network, says Canada must change refugee policies (WSJ)
Stephen Lewis and Michele Landsberg have joined forces with J-RAN, the recently founded Jewish Refugee Action Network, to advocate against the federal government’s decision to change the refugee determination system and to cut refugee healthcare coverage. J-RAN founder, Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld, recognized a growing concern within the Jewish community that the federal government’s refugee policies fail to respect Canada’s humanitarian tradition and democratic principles.

Uninsured refugees denied basic health care in Canada: doctors (CTV)
On the heels of World Refugee Day and protests by Canadian doctors who claim refugees are not receiving the most basic human health care, clinics on the ground face difficult decisions. Sue Grafe, a nurse practitioner with the Hamilton Centre for Newcomer Health (HNCH), receives refugee patients who under current government law are ineligible for basic health care. I want (Canadians) to know its not about the extras, its about the basics that are being denied, Grafe told CTV News.


Canadian Social Research Newsletter : June 23, 2013 (Canadian Social Research Links)
Canadian content
1. Housing Policy Under Harper (By Nick Falvo, Carleton University) – June 22
2. National Aboriginal Day – June 21
3. Minister Fantino Outlines Canada’s Approach to Helping Those Most in Need (Wall Street Journal Online) – June 21
4. Soundbites e-Bulletin – June 19 issue (Social Planning Toronto)
5. [Québec] Recipients under social assistance programs, April 2013 (Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité) – June 19
6. Poverty or Prosperity : Indigenous children in Canada (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children Canada) – June 19
7. The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013 (Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, Homeless Hub) – June 19
8. SPARmonitor – Monitoring Toronto’s Social Change [SPAR = Social Policy Analysis
& Research, City of Toronto] – June 19
9. Assessment of the New Brunswick Poverty Reduction Plan in June 2013 (New Brunswick Common Front for Social Justice Inc.) – June 18
10. Where’s Home? 2013 (Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association, Co-operative Housing Federation of Canada – Ontario Region) – June 18
11. Poverty as a Human Rights Violation (By Vincent Greason) – June 18
12. Impact of Inequality on Aboriginal People in Canada (Canadian Human Rights Commission) – June 17
13. The Training Wheels Are Off: A Closer Look at the Canada Job Grant (Michael Mendelson and Noah Zon, Caledon Institute of Social Policy) – June 2013
14. Media and Policy News for June 17 and June 19, 2013 (Jennefer Laidley, Income Security Advocacy Centre)
15. What’s New in The Daily [Statistics Canada]:
— Consumer Price Index, May 2013 – June 21
— Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011/2012 – June 21
— Employment Insurance, April 2013 – June 21
— Report of the Pan-Canadian Education Indicators Program, May 2013 – June 2013
— Health Reports, June 2013 – June 19
— Job vacancies, Three-month average ending in March 2013 – June 18
— 2011 National Household Survey announcement: Education and Labour – June 18
— Financial information of universities and colleges, 2011/2012 – June 17
16. What’s new from the Childcare Resource and Research Unit

How open is Ottawa’s new ‘open data’ website? (Janet Davison, CBC)
“It’s very, very difficult for people like myself to fully consider this being a much more open government,” she says. “It means more access to data, yes. But does it mean open government? I’m not so sure. “Not if you’re muzzling science, not if you’re cancelling the census, not if you’re practically closing and undermining your archive, not if you’re turning off monitoring stations, not if you’re not disclosing data related to projects like pipelines.”


U.S. foreign worker debate sounds all too familiar to Canadians (Konrad Yakabuski, Globe and Mail)
(NOTE: subscription required to access)
Canada is hardly the only country with a controversial temporary foreign worker program. Just about everywhere they exist, such programs are a political hot potato. Employers love them, unions hate them and policymakers are left to split the difference.

OFWs warned vs recruiter (Tina G. Santos, Philippine Daily Inquirer)
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) has warned Filipino workers in Hong Kong against dealing with a recruitment agency offering jobs in Canada. POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the Canada jobs offered by Yamsuan and Associates Overseas Employment Services Ltd./Pacific Management Services Ltd. are nonexistent. He advised applicants to be more vigilant and discerning in dealing with recruitment firms.

Survey shows widespread ESA violations, including pay below minimum wage (Workers’ Action Centre)
A recent study released by the Chinese Canadian National Council-Toronto chapter documents widespread employment standards violations facing Chinese workers. The study One Step Forward, Two Steps Back found that 20% of workers surveyed were paid less than minimum wage. Many workers described problems getting paid on time or at all. 45% of workers reported working hours that they did not get paid for, and 19% said they had been paid late. Only half of the workers received public holiday pay and a shocking 77% of workers said they did not receive any overtime pay.

Job training program deserves second chance (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
Almost nothing has gone right since Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the creation of Ottawas new Canada Job Grant three months ago. Quebec wants nothing to do with the shared-cost program. Ontario has threatened to boycott the federal scheme. Manitoba and Nova Scotia dont like it much, either. Small business owners, who create 43 per cent of the jobs in Canada, say they cant afford to participate. Paying a third of the bill is beyond their means. And this week, two think-tanks called on Ottawa to scrap the $900-million program. The Canada Job Grant is a flawed proposal that should be abandoned before it begins, the Caledon Institute of Social Policy and the Mowat Centre wrote in a joint report released on Monday.

Northwest employers eye skilled immigrants for hire (CBC)
A northern Ontario non-profit group is ramping up efforts to bring more skilled workers to the northwest. Laurentian University’s Professions North/Nord wants to make employers in northwestern Ontario aware of the pool of skilled immigrants in Canada looking for work.

Mentoring Marathon – CultureLink Mentorship Program celebrates 25 years of helping newcomers (Canada Newswire)
CultureLink Settlement Services is marking the 25th anniversary of its Mentorship Program Tuesday with a “marathon” involving 120 volunteer mentors and mentees. Newcomer professionals will spend 150 minutes with mentors from similar fields to gain useful tips on job search, continuing education, networking and more. “Everyone knows networking is important, but without organized support like the mentoring services from CultureLink, I would have found it very difficult,” says Ranjit Bhaskar, a journalist from India who immigrated recently.


Evidence of a New Economic Reality for Non-profits (and how Social Impact Bonds might help) (Justin Bertagnolli,
The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), a leading US-based community development financial institution (CDFI) recently released their annual State of the Nonprofit Sector Survey Results[1]. The report highlights critical shifts in the financial stability of the social sector and underscores a new economic reality: funding from traditional sources is declining and the number of people in need of service is rising.

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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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