Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 16, 2013


Why immigration and jobs were the most important changes in the cabinet shuffle (John Ibbitson, Globe and Mail)
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Along with surprising promotions and demotions, there are two names that mattered most: Chris Alexander and Jason Kenney. The immigration job is done. The job now is training, while keeping the Toronto suburbs loyal. Monday’s cabinet shuffle features some surprising promotions Shelly Glover arrives at Heritage, Kellie Leitch is promoted to Labour and some not-so-surprising demotions former environment minister Peter Kent and chief whip Gordon O’Connor are both gone from cabinet.But the two names that matter most are Chris Alexander and Jason Kenney. A newcomer takes on a critical political challenge, while one of the government’s most able troubleshooters tackles a vexing problem. How each performs could well determine the success or failure of this government in the second half of its majority mandate.

Does this undocumented family deserve to stay in Toronto? (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
They own two cars, a 3,000-sq-ft home by the lake and run a successful landscaping business that rings in hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in revenue. By most accounts, they are the hardworking and well-established immigrants that Canada needs and wants. Since their arrival from Mexico in 2007, however, the Dias family has lived a life of secrecy off the population map and, by necessity, the radar of Canadian immigration officials.

Chicago is a welcoming place for its undocumented (Debra Black, Toronto Star)
Toronto could take a lesson or two from Chicago as it develops its plans as a sanctuary city and formalizes its current policy of Dont Ask and Dont Tell when it comes to the citys estimated 80,000 to 100,000 undocumented citizens. In July 2011, Chicagos Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the Office of New Americans which is designed in Emanuels words to make Chicago the worlds most immigrant-friendly city in the world. Central to the plan is Chicagos growing population of undocumented citizens, estimated to be around 200,000 of the citys 2.1 million.

Fire Services plans to hire more women and minorities because diversity is good (Robyn Urback, National Post)
Toronto Fire Services (TFS) has set a lofty new goal. No, nothing about emergency response times or service efficiency. This goal slightly more aesthetic in nature seeks to increase the number of women and racially diverse personnel among TFS ranks by 2014. Instructed back in January to create a diversity plan by Toronto City Council, TFS returned with a report earlier this month stating a 10% target increase in women and visible minority hires. The report, entitled Toronto Fire Services A Path to Diversity, gives only fleeting mention as to why these new diversity goals are necessary (including the usual catchall about a workforce that reflects the diversity of the city), focusing rather on how TFS will better target potential female and minority candidates.

Yale University law grad Jamil Jivani has a message for other struggling kids (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
One of Jamil Jivanis most vivid childhood memories is the time his father was pulled over by police and berated by an officer in front of him. As a young black man from Brampton, Jivani would experience such incidents again and again: stopped on the street by police, or in the mall by security guards, or at Yale University by campus cops. That last incident came just months ago. Two officers demanded his ID, called the administration to ensure he was a student and then joked that he should try not to look so suspicious next time. The old Jivani would have become belligerent. Instead, he offered to work with campus police to address issues around equitable policing.

EPIPs new monograph: What Emerging Leaders of Color in Philanthropy Think about Race (South Asian Philanthropy)
Through seven years of People of Color Network programming, EPIP has compiled thoughts shared by more than 125 emerging professionals of color in the field regarding challenges and opportunities to move racial equity in philanthropy. Responses addressed identifying values, learning from the past, intergenerational mentoring, creating shared spaces for exploration and education, peer support across and beyond race, bringing a racial equity lens to grantmaking and the need for institutional and sector-wide awareness and commitment.

Launch of Survey on Service Provider Administrative Data: ADMIG Project (CERIS)
The Agency Data on Migration Project (ADMIG) is a community-academic research partnership that aims to assess how client information collected by agencies may be a rich source of data for generating knowledge about marginalized populations such as immigrants, refugees, refugee claimants, temporary workers and other migrants. Invitations to participate in a brief survey are being sent out to immigrant and refugee serving agencies in the GTA.

Suzuki comments spark immigration debate (Sun News)
Green guru David Suzuki’s controversial comments expressed in Parisian newsweekly L’Express is sparking debate on immigration policy in Canada. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney spent two days targeting the environmentalist and broadcaster for saying Canada was too “full,” calling the comments “extreme” and “toxic and irresponsible.” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also piled on Friday, calling Suzuki’s remarks “shameful.”

David Suzukis anti-immigrant attitude irks Jason Kenney (Ottawa Citizen)
Name-calling, someone once said, is the last refuge of the intellectually bankrupt. Jason Kenney qualifies for that characterization with his denunciation of environmental gadfly David Suzukis recent contention that Canada is taking in too many immigrants.

Suzuki wrong on immigration (Sun News)
It did not take long for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to jump onto his Twitter account to remind Suzuki that “most” of the students at David Suzuki Secondary are among the very immigrants he finds so biologically bothersome. While it is easy to interpret Suzuki’s remarks as anti-immigrant, or “xenophobic” as Kenney put it, it is much easier to see them for what they truly are. And that’s stupid.

Jason Kenney vs. David Suzuki: The Great Canadian Slap Fight (JJ McCllough, Huffington Post)
Despite all the ostentatious anglophilia of the Harper administration — queen portraits and retro military insignia and whatnot — when it comes to immigration, Canada’s Tories have scant affinity for English norms. Indeed, according to Immigration Minister Jason Kennedy, the pledge of Prime Minister David Cameron — sweet, moderate, middle-of-the-road, coalition government-loving, gay marriage-supporting David Cameron — to “reduce immigration to sustainable levels” puts the Limey on the monster raving loony fringe of acceptable opinion, alongside that other far-right crazy, David Suzuki. See, earlier this month, Suzuki gave an interview with the Paris paper L’Express. Most of the questions were standard greenie softballs, but things got interesting near the end.

Column: Kenney wrong to smack down Suzuki (Robert Sibley, Ottaw Citizen)
For decades Canadians have been instructed about the ostensible benefits of mass immigration. Theyve been told huge numbers of immigrants are needed to keep the economy ticking and provide the tax base to pay for all those social programs we enjoy. In recent years, however, this justification for current immigration policies has been questioned by respectable scholars.

David Suzuki isn’t anti-immigrant, just anti-West (Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun)
Contrary to Immigration Minister Jason Kenneys charge, David Suzuki wasnt being anti-immigrant when he said Canada is full and that our crazy policy of letting more people in is disgusting. He was being anti-Western.

Hugh Burnett: Shaping civil rights in Canada (CBC)
You’re about to hear a tale that some believe should be a vital part of Canadian lore — and about a man many say is a Canadian hero. The area that eventually became Dresden, Ontario was once a magnet for escaped U.S. slaves — a final stop of the underground railroad that offered freedom in Canada. But even a hundred years later, descendants of those men and women still couldn’t get a meal in a Dresden restaurant, play billiards in a Dresden pool hall, or get a haircut at a Dresden barbershop. Even many of Dresden’s churches were closed to people with dark skin. In the 1940s and 50s, Dresden was like many places in Canada – segregated. But a local carpenter named Hugh Burnett helped transform Dresden, and helped shape the civil rights movement in Canada.

Passports of convenience stir Canadian disagreement (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
Two prominent Canadian immigration specialists are engaged in a high-level debate over the value of what some call passports of convenience. The revealing difference of opinion between the head of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and the spokesperson for the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform arose after The Vancouver Sun ran articles about thousands of recent immigrants from Hong Kong and elsewhere each year returning to their homelands.

Jason Kenney’s 10 Biggest Blunders as Immigration Minister (Rachel Decoste, Huffington Post)
This spring, Alberta MP Jason Kenney became the longest continually serving Immigration Minister in Canadian history, according to his department. With the Cabinet Shuffle, his tenure ends. What better time to review the Immigration Minister’s biggest blunders on this ever important file? Perhaps serve as a cautionary tale to the new Minister. Kenney likes to use New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman’s analogy of an ideal immigration system: one that has a strong fence but a wide gate. But the reality is that the gate the Conservatives have built is more like a sieve which porosity depends more on per-conceived perceptions than proven potential of immigrant success.

David Suzuki and Jason Kenney amplify each other (Globe and Mail)
In the permanent campaign that is modern politics, rhetorical overkill is a temptation more often entertained than resisted. A good example of this is the current skirmish between the Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney over immigration to this country. Skirmish is perhaps the wrong word, since it implies an exchange of blows on a common field of combat. Here its more a case of someone first saying something somewhere in this instance, Dr. Suzuki in an interview published in the July 1 issue of the Paris weekly LExpress and the other party taking issue with those statements a few days after the fact in another forum: Mr. Kenney on Twitter.

Citizenship oath to Queen nearly nixed 20 years ago (CBC)
New citizens would be swearing an oath to Canada rather than to the Queen had former prime minister Jean Chretien not gotten cold feet at the last minute, his former citizenship minister said Friday. As three permanent residents and the federal government argued the issue in court, Sergio Marchi said he had been poised to scrap the pledge of allegiance to the Queen two decades ago. “I was very much of the belief that while we’re a constitutional monarchy, we should be swearing an oath of allegiance to Canada,” Marchi told The Canadian Press from Geneva. “We were very close to doing this.”

Jason Kenney, Australian officials discuss how to deal with human smuggling (Globe and Mail)
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has been holding talks in Melbourne with Australian officials on how to deal with human smuggling. They also discussed how both countries might jointly warn potential migrants of the dangers of relying on smugglers, particularly by sea. Mr. Kenney, who is on a fact-finding mission to help shape Ottawa’s promised crackdown on ships full of asylum-seekers arriving on Canada’s shores, is scheduled to meet with his Australian counterpart Chris Bowen on Monday.

Quebec outpaces other provinces in federal dollars for settling newcomers (Peter O’Neil, Vancouver Sun)
A Canada-Quebec deal to help settle immigrants, struck when Canada appeared on the verge of breaking up in the early 1990s, may be unsustainable due to skyrocketing costs, according to a federal study. The 2012 Citizenship and Immigration Canada analysis said the cost has soared almost fourfold – to $284.5 million last year from $75 million a year in 1991 – due to a little-known “escalation” clause. That works out to more than $5,100 for each new immigrant and refugee that arrives in Quebec. It’s far above the almost $3,000 B.C. and other provinces get from Ottawa for language training and other services. The 279-per-cent increase in just over two decades occurred even though Quebec’s annual intake of new permanent residents has risen just four per cent, to 55,258 in 2012 from 51,833 in 1991. Inflation was 48 per cent over that time.

Ethnic Photo Ops: The Pandoras Box of Conservative Politics (Very Ethnic)
Kenney leveraged a minor cabinet position as Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism to change Canadian culture forever. The fact that he is known both affectionately and derisively as Curry In a Hurry says everything about Kenneys brandand whether or not his ethnic outreach strategy will succeed or destroy parties like his. Along the way, he mastered political cosplay and the ethnic photo op. The images that follow represent our favourites from Kenneys tenure. Please submit any of your own, and well keep building this gallery. May Kenney draw inspiration from Vladimir Putin in his new posting as Minister for Employment and Social Development.

Full Pundit: God save the Queen from republican malcontents (Chris Selley, National Post)
So Jason Kenney, David Suzuki and the Queen walk into a bar The National Posts Matt Gurney suggests that three people who wish to take up Canadian citizenship, but do not want to swear allegiance to the Queen, should either shut their pie holes and be content as permanent residents or go find a nice republic somewhere to live in. As The Globe and Mails editorialists say, if René Lévesque and Lucien Bouchard could do it, then so can these three malcontents. Instead theyre going to court. Heres hoping they lose. (As an aside, were somewhat tickled by the Globes description of the three as an Irish-born-and-bred republican, a Rastafarian and a mathematician.)


Welcome mat for North Koreans yanked by Jason Kenney (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
The battle began this spring, when the first of the North Korean refugee claimants her church had taken under its wing appeared before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Minseo Kim, a single mother with an 18-month-old daughter, told her story to Joel Bousfield, an experienced IRB adjudicator. To her relief, he believed her. He found her account plausible, her testimony straightforward and her fear of persecution to be well-founded. On April 30, he granted Kim and little Sangah convention refugee status. The Korean community was jubilant. But exultation quickly turned to despair. Seven days after the decision, Kim received a 99-page document from the Immigration Appeal Division, notifying her that her case was being appealed by the minister of immigration. Bewildered, she asked her church friends what it meant. When they explained, the bottom fell out of her world.

Thematic Focus: Children (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
A service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants; provided by Elisa Mason.

Thematic Focus: Resettlement (Forced Migration Current Awareness blog)
A service highlighting web research and information relating to refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and other forced migrants; provided by Elisa Mason.


City of Toronto seeking to engage all residents on future of housing services for vulnerable Torontonians (City of Toronto)
The City of Toronto is inviting all residents to share their views on the delivery of services that prevent homelessness and help some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents find and keep permanent housing. The City encourages all Toronto residents to get involved in the housing services conversation and go online to complete a survey about what services they feel are important, what gaps in service may exist, and what ideas they have about how to better integrate services such as eviction prevention, assistance to find affordable housing, drop-in centres and emergency shelter access.


Policy on Removing the Canadian experience barrier (OHRC)
A newcomer will find it harder to integrate into Canadian society, and to contribute meaningfully to their new homeland, if they cannot earn an adequate wage.[16] Decent employment is needed for socio-economic well-being, which in turn affects health, access to education and access to services. As one British Columbia human rights tribunal observed: it cannot be in anyones interest to continue to accept into this country some of the best and brightest individuals from around the world, and to then make it virtually impossible for them to use the skills that they bring with them.[17] Newcomers, employers and Canadian society at large suffer untold losses when people are not able to work to their full capacity. And, if Canada is seen as a place where it is impossible to find a good job, a job in your field, or where, as an engineer or a Ph.D. graduate you are likely to end up driving a taxi, it will no longer be a desirable destination for many of the worlds most skilled immigrants. They will simply choose to go elsewhere.

Removing the Canadian experience barrier (Ratna Omidvar, Maytree)
On July 15, Ratna Omidvar addressed the attendees at a launch event of the new policy, Removing the Canadian experience barrier, by the Ontario Human Rights Organization. The policy addresses the issue of employers requiring Canadian experience which can create barriers for newcomers looking for jobs or professional accreditation.

Remove “Canadian experience” employment barrier: OHRC (Canada Newswire)
The Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC) new Policy on removing the “Canadian experience” barrier was launched today by Chief Commissioner Barbara Hall in partnership with KPMG. “Ontario attracts highly-skilled immigrants from all over the world,” commented Hall, “but if they have to meet a requirement for Canadian experience, they are in a very difficult position – they can’t get a job without Canadian experience and they can’t get experience without a job. In most cases, that is discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.”

Tearing down the Canadian experience roadblock (Izumi Sakamoto, Toronto Star)
Yesterday, Ontario became the first province to denounce the requirement of Canadian experience for hiring immigrants and accrediting immigrant professionals. In this bold move, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) launched a new policy naming the requirement of Canadian experience as a violation of human rights. In reaching this conclusion, the OHRC is joining a chorus whose voices include the Human Resources Professionals Association and an increasing number of corporate employers such as RBC and KPMG, who have acknowledged that the demand for Canadian experience is nearly baseless. They have abandoned this criteria as a meaningful standard by which to judge the qualification of potential employees, and now accept relevant experience as relevant experience, regardless of the geography of its occurrence.

Demanding Canadian experience from newcomers may breach Ontarios human rights code (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Employers and professional regulators who require Canadian experience from newcomers when they apply for a job or accreditation could run afoul of Ontarios Human Rights Code. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday launched a new policy directive denouncing the requirement for so-called Canadian experience as discriminatory. Although employers and professional regulatory bodies cant exclude anyone based on race, ancestry, colour, place of origin and ethnic origin, the new policy targets the requirement that newcomers have Canadian experience when searching for jobs and professional accreditation.

Jason Kenney and the Live In Caregiver Program (Rey A. Mercado, Oye Times)
Despite plenty of promises pre 2011 election, the Conservative Government is failing live in caregivers and the large Filipino community. As a cabinet re-shuffle is looming on the horizon, it is important for the larger Canadian Filipino community to realise that for years now, they have been played for fools. And while Jason Kenney might be out as Immigration Minister, Pinoys must remember that, ultimately, it is the Conservative party as a whole who have mismanaged the program and run it into the ground.

Migrant worker abuse case drags on (Dalson Chen, Windsor Star)
A five-year-old case concerning allegations of abuse of female migrant workers in Wheatley continued on Monday at a human rights tribunal. The case involves a number of complaints from 2008 against Jose Pratas, former owner of Presteve Foods Ltd. an Essex County fish processing plant. In 2011, Pratas pleaded guilty to one count of assault for inappropriately touching female workers who were from Mexico and Thailand. He was granted a conditional discharge.

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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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