Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 18, 2013


Webinar: Towards Financial Inclusion: Investing in Immigrant Futures (Cities of Migration)
Access to basic banking – from credit and savings to microfinance – can also contribute to better housing, employment opportunity and a secure future for many immigrants. Join us to learn about how smart initiatives in San Francisco and Calgary are removing barriers to financial inclusion for immigrants, and helping the financially vulnerable achieve a viable path to economic well-being.

Kenney’s winners and losers (Winnipeg Free Press)
Monday’s federal cabinet shuffle saw the departure of one of the longest-serving immigration ministers in recent history. Since 2008, Jason Kenney has been the face of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. During that time, he has ushered in fundamental changes to Canada’s immigration system and changed the immigration system to one that was focused on family reunification and individual immigrants to one that is now more employer-driven and enforcement-minded. The winners from the Jason Kenney era are employers and law-abiding immigrants. The losers include families with relatives abroad and provincial immigration programs.

Jason Kenney to maintain hold on ethnic file despite move to jobs portfolio (Tobi Cohen,
If you thought the Minister for Curry in a Hurry was going to give up his ethnic outreach role — think again. Jason Kenney, Canada‘s new Minister of Employment and Social Development, will hang on to the multiculturalism file, Postmedia News has learned. The long-time citizenship and immigration minister got a brand new portfolio Monday focused on jobs and the economy, but senior officials say Tim Uppal, the new minister of state for multiculturalism will report to Kenney, not Chris Alexander, the new minister of immigration whose department he actually falls under.

A Message from Minister Jason Kenney to all CIC employees (
One reason why working at CIC is such a privilege is, of course, the human dimension of what we do. While dealing with complex systems, endless acronyms (I am still learning new ones!) and the sometimes Kafkaesque rigidities of government, many of us still have the ennobling opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people who we welcome to Canada, their new home. I often meet hugely successful immigrants who remember, with great fondness, the name of the visa officer who interviewed and took a chance on them decades ago; and I know retired visa officers who, years later, run into the people they selected, who have gone on to live fulfilling lives in this land of dreams come true.

Canadian Immigration News Briefs for Mid-July 2013 (CICS News)
The following is a summary of developments concerning Canadian Citizenship and Immigration that took place or were announced over the last two weeks.

Quebec Announces Major Changes to Immigration Programs (CICS News)
The Government of Quebec has officially announced changes to language rules for immigration through the Quebec Skilled Worker (QSW) program. This announcement was made in the Gazette Officielle du Quebec/The Quebec Gazette on Wednesday, July 17th 2013. In addition to modifying language criteria, the government has announced its intent to institute a cap on application intake and to publish a new list of areas of training/fields of study.

What is the remedy for incompetence, ineptitude and bungling? (Immigration lawyer blog)
Beyond the pale is an expression that refers to something outside the bounds of acceptable behaviour. The phrase dates back to the 14th century, when the part of Ireland that was under English rule was delineated by a boundary made of such stakes or fences, and known as the English Pale. To travel outside of that boundary, beyond the pale, was to leave behind all the rules and institutions of English society, which the English modestly considered synonymous with civilization itself (h/t: In the case I will be arguing tomorrow, I will argue that the actions of Citizenship and Immigration Canada are “beyond the pale”. My client submitted an application for permanent residence more than 4 years ago. The handling of his file by CIC and CBSA appears to be characterized by incompetence and ineptitude.

“If I can do it, any of you can do it” New Citizenship Judge Rafiq Rokerya (Qasim Abbas, South Asian Generation Next)
Before formally administrating oath of Citizenship to 60 new Canadian Citizens by new Citizenship Judge Rafiq Rokerya, he spoke on the occasion. His speech was in English and in French. He emphasized on the Rights and Responsibilities of the Canadian Citizens and benefits of getting involved in the community and volunteerism. He talked about his personal achievements and he said “If I can do it, any of you can do it.” He also gave an inspiring message that “Hard work and persistence is the key to SUCCESS”.

Indian students miffed by misleading course description by Toronto college (South Asian Generation Next)
A group of students from around the world who enrolled in an expensive college graduate program in hopes of obtaining three industry certifications were victims of a misleading course description, Ontario’s top court ruled, according to The Canadian Press. In upholding a lower court ruling, the Appeal Court agreed with the trial judge that George Brown College negligently misrepresented the benefits of its graduate international business management program.

A law degree is indispensable to fight for you Omar Ha–Redeye (Samuel Getachew, South Asian Generation Next)
To call Omar Ha–Redeye an ambitious activist is an understatement. The young Western Ontario (UWO) trained lawyer of Fleet Street Law and part-time Ryerson University professor is busy fulfilling an ambitious journey founded on the “principle of social justice”. Omar’s experience of law is that of a “profession that touches our lives from before the cradle until after the grave”.

Universities pitch schools to international counsellors (CBC)
New Brunswick’s universities are welcoming more than 20 guidance counsellors from around the world this week in an effort to attract international students to the province. Administrators from the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University hope to convince them to send students from abroad to their campuses. Ryan Sullivan, the director of recruitment with St. Thomas University and organizer of the tour, said international students are important to universities in New Brunswick because fewer local students are attending schools in the province.

Sexual health of young immigrants threatened by language barrier, study says (Camille Bains, Globe and Mail)
Language barriers may be putting the sexual health of some new Canadian teens at risk, says a study that suggests sex education must be tailored to the needs of immigrant adolescents. The study by the University of British Columbia School of Nursing involved 4,500 East Asian students in Grades 7 to 12. It found most were not sexually active for cultural reasons, but of the 12 per cent who were having sex, one in four used alcohol or drugs before, while nearly half of girls did not use a condom.

Ritu Bhasin on Social Change and Diversity in Toronto (Samuel Getachew, Huffington Post)
Ritu Bhasin is a noted diversity specialist based in Toronto. With an LL.B. and an MBA, Bhasin has spent a decade in the legal profession and almost two decades volunteering in many areas. She has also served as a Board of Director with the YWCA Toronto and with Young and Dundas Square, as well as many cultural groups. I recently chatted with Ritu Bhasin about her work within the community, and her views on social change and diversity in Toronto.

Democracy Talks Dispatches: Teaching past barriers (Jennifer Phillips, Samara Canada)
Alvaro first became aware of the Canadian political system when he was seeking assistance to bring his wife to Canada; in total they were separated for twenty-two months after he was forced to leave El Salvador. At the time, he was advised to speak to his MP, which he attempted to do, but doesn’t recall receiving a response. “In any case, learning that there were Members of Parliament elected by citizens to represent citizens interests in the Canadian parliament sounded like a really good idea to me, coming from a country ruled by what I call “military democracies” since the early 1930s.”

CIDI Survey: Employer – Community Partnerships (CIDI)
Thank you for taking the time to complete our survey on your experiences of community partnerships. The purpose of this survey will be to understand employers’ experiences of community partnerships in order to help the CIDI develop our relationships and collaborative projects with community partners, and to potentially provide information to community partners to help them better understand the challenges faced by employers wishing to partner with them.

Not migrants and immigration, but mobility and movement (Migrants Rights UK)
We have been advocating for a change of terminology regarding migration since about 2005. Of course we were not alone in criticising the worn out language of migration scholarship. This is evident now as we see more and more studies and courses using “mobility” rather than migration. Although it is obvious that for a while, both terms will be used simultaneously to avoid confusion. Nevertheless, a change is critical if we are to better capture and understand what migration means in the contemporary world.

East Chinatown fire (CBC Metro Morning)
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused a four-alarm fire on Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street East. Judy Ouk is the president of the East Toronto Chinese Chamber of Commerce.


Seeking savings, Ottawa takes short-sighted view on refugees’ health care (Andre Picard, Globe and Mail)
What she finds absurd – and unacceptable – is that refugees (and to a lesser extent immigrants) to Canada need to depend on charity for their health care, just as they do in disaster-ravaged and war-torn countries. There are three reasons for this: The three provinces that receive the most immigrants – Ontario, B.C. and Quebec – all impose a three-month wait for health insurance; Until July 1, 2012, all refugees received health coverage upon arrival in Canada, with Ottawa picking up the tab during the wait period, but the federal government slashed the benefits provided under the Interim Federal Health Program; and, Even before the IFHP cuts, 65 per cent of refugee claims were rejected, and claimants lost their coverage during the appeal period, while others remained in Canada without status.

Canadian Jews leery of Ottawa’s stance on refugees (Arno Rosenfeld, Times of Israel)
A new advocacy group in Canada is proving that despite the current government’s vocal support for Israel, prominent members of the Jewish community in the Great White North remain unafraid to harshly criticize the ruling party. The recently formed organization, Jewish Refugee Action Network (J-RAN), boasts an impressive board of directors and has offered a blistering critique of changes to immigration laws in Canada that advocates say put unfair obstacles in the way of asylum-seekers.


SmartSAVER’s new tools help communities promote the Canada Learning Bond (May Wong, SmartSAVER)
How often do you have a chance to help low-income families get free money? With the Canada Learning Bond you can, and SmartSAVER will help you do it. The Canada Learning Bond is free money from the Government of Canada that makes sure every child has a chance to pursue education after high school. The Bond contributes up to $2,000 into the Registered Education Saving Plan (RESP) of a lower-income child born since 2004. No family contribution is required.

Municipal decision-makers have a role to play in creating equitable neighbourhoods (Kim Bergeron, Wellesley Institute)
I do not believe that municipal decision-makers purposely create inequities across neighbourhoods, but I do believe that they need to consciously make policy decisions that lessen the gap between neighbourhoods. Municipal decision-makers need to develop and enact policies that take into consideration ways to create equitable neighbourhoods. This would mean increasing access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for those residents living in lower income neighbourhoods. For example ensuring the availability of a multi-modal transportation system (e.g. pedestrian networks, cycling networks, and access to public transit in addition to roadways) to ensure equitable access to community services, employment, education and recreation opportunities; and developing and implementing policies that support mixed housing by integrating affordable housing units and limiting the concentration of poverty.

Why does B.C. have the highest poverty rate in Canada? (Iglika Ivanova, rabble)
So far, only the poverty statistics have generated much media coverage, with some good articles focusing on B.C.’s worst-in-country performance here and here, partly thanks to First Call who quickly put together a report on child poverty with the new data. The response from the Minister of Children and Family Development, Stephanie Cadieux here has been disappointing. Instead of taking responsibility for the problem, the Minister practically declared success on the child poverty file, choosing to focus on the fact that “B.C.’s child poverty rates has dropped by 41 per cent” since a peak in 2003 and completely ignoring the reality that other provinces improved much faster than us, leaving us with the worst poverty rates in the country.

Women organizing against poverty and violence in a poor Toronto neighbourhood (Scott Neigh, rabble)
The experience of poverty in our society is intensely gendered and racialized — that is, it disproportionately impacts people who are oppressed in ways related to gender (meaning women and trans people of all racial backgrounds) and people who are oppressed in ways related to racialization (meaning women, men, and gender non-conforming people who are people of colour or who are indigenous). Women have less access to good jobs. They tend to be responsible for significantly more unpaid labour in the home and in the community. They make less money. They have higher poverty rates. And the gendered violence that women and other gender-oppressed people experience is tightly bound up with this gendered experience of poverty. Schofield talks about the way that women and trans people in one poor neighbourhood in Toronto have periodically come together to speak out against the poverty and the interpersonal and systemic violence they face, to claim space, to make their voices heard, and to empower themselves.


How Can You Recruit Diverse Talent More Effectively? (
1. Define the job, not the person. Sourcing the best candidates starts with a strong vision of what the job is about. 2. Write a compelling job advertisement that describes what the person will be doing and learning as well as the skills needed for the job. 3. Connect with your local immigrant employment organizations to tap into a diverse talent pool. These organizations have a goldmine of job-ready individuals who are available to join your team!

You Deserve a Raise (Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage)
The Campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage was launched in March 2013, with communities across Ontario demanding the government break the freeze. Creative actions and rallies took place in 14 cities with local community groups and activists delivering our message to local MPP’s and Ministry of Labour offices.

Minimum wage campaign heats up as advisory panel announced (Workers’ Action Centre)
The campaign to raise the minimum wage is about to heat up! Today Minister of Labour, Yasir Naqvi announced an advisory panel to study a possible minimum wage increase in 2014. The panel, chaired by Anil Verma, a professor at UofT, will hold consultations and make recommendations on how Ontario should determine future minimum wage increases. The panel was promised in the 2013 budget after widespread mobilizing in cities across Ontario calling for a $14 minimum wage. The current minimum wage of $10.25 puts workers 19% below the poverty line. While food, transit and rent costs have soared, the minimum wage has been frozen for over 3 years.

Panel to review Ontario’s minimum wage (CCPA)
The Ontario government has named a six-person panel to study a possible increase to the province’s minimum wage, which has been frozen at $10.25 an hour since 2010. Read the news story about the panel here. CCPA Senior Economist Armine Yalnizyan writes in this blog post that Ontario accounts for more than half of all minimum wage workers in Canada. The share of minimum wage workers in Ontario doubled over the last decade. Ontario, B.C, and the Northwest Territories are the only jurisdictions that don’t have a formal mechanism ot calculate and adjust the minimum wage. The Workers’ Action Centre is part of a growing movement calling for a hike in Ontario’s minimum wage to $14 an hour. – See more at:

Ontario strikes new panel on how to raise minimum wage (Globe and Mail)
Advocates of a higher minimum wage said the issue has already been studied enough and that, with an ever-increasing cost of living in the province, the solution is obvious. “There has been a lot of consultation and study in the last few years,” said Sonia Singh, an organizer with the Workers’ Action Centre. “People have been waiting three years. We know that the direction costs are going is not going to change.” The Workers’ Action Centre is one of several groups pushing for the minimum wage to be set at 10 per cent above the province’s poverty line. In 2013, that would work out to $14 per hour. Ms. Singh contended that, with a higher minimum wage putting more money in peoples’ pockets, spending in the local economy would increase.

Ontario Liberals to name long-awaited minimum-wage panel (Laurie Monsebraaten, Toronto Star)
The advisory panel was first promised in the Liberals’ 2011 budget. Finance Minister Charles Sousa renewed the pledge as part of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s first budget in May. Anti-poverty activists had called for a $14 minimum wage this year. At that rate, a person working a 35-hour work week at the minimum wage would earn about 10 per cent above the Low Income Measure, province’s official poverty line. “Workers can’t survive on $10.25 an hour and businesses are hurting because workers can’t afford to buy their products,” said Deena Ladd of the Workers’ Action Centre, a non-profit workers’ collective that has been lobbying for a $14 minimum wage. Ladd and other advocates want Ontario to update the minimum wage annually by the cost of living, as is the practice in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Yukon. (Saskatchewan and Newfoundland are considering the move.)

Poverty activist to join wage panel (Windsor Star)
A newly announced advisory panel that will make recommendations to the Ontario government about changes to the minimum wage will include Adam Vasey, director of the Windsor poverty reduction group Pathway to Potential. The Ministry of Labour announced the formation of the panel Wednesday. “The panel will examine the province’s current minimum wage policy and provide advice on how Ontario should determine the minimum wage in the future. The panel will also recommend a process to set the minimum wage that is both fair to workers and predictable for businesses,” the ministry said in a release.

Unpaid Internships are Illegal in Ontario (Settlement AtWork)
In general, a person who performs work for an organization is an employee, unless he or she is in business for themselves. As an employee, he or she is generally entitled to all of the rights under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), including the minimum wage. There are some exceptions, but they are very limited. Unpaid internships are illegal under Ontario law unless they fall within an exception. The fact that an individual is labelled an intern does not affect his or her rights under the ESA.

Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies 2013 (Maclean’s)
For the fifth year in a row, Maclean’s has partnered with Sustainalytics, a global leader in sustainability analysis, to select 50 leaders in corporate social responsibility–companies who know that doing good is just good business. Canada’s Top 50 Socially Responsible Companies were selected on the basis of their performance across a broad range of environmental, social, and governance indicators and rank at the top of their industry groups.

Employer blacklist empty despite labour complaints from foreign workers (Rebecca Lindell, Global News)
Employers who break the rules or fail to live up to their job offer are supposed to be publicly blacklisted by the federal government, who is responsible for Canada’s temporary foreign worker program. In applying to bring a temporary foreign worker, employers also promise to abide by local employment laws. But the list of ineligible employers on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website remains empty.

Migrant Workers Still Fighting Pratas (Ricardo Veneza, Blackburn News)
Final arguments for a human rights case against the former owner of Wheatley’s Presteve Foods Ltd. looks set to be held sometime in September. Over the last two days a provincial human rights tribunal heard from the group Justice for Migrant Workers and Chris Ramsaroop with the group stressed the challenges migrants face under the temporary foreign workers program.

James Moore Industry Minister (CBC Metro Morning)
James Moore is Canada’s new Minister of Industry, one of the toughest files in Ottawa. We’ll find out why it’s going to be such a challenge. Helen spoke to our business commentator Armine Yalnizyan.

New way for temporary workers to stay in Alberta permanently (Sacha Devoretz, Canadian Immigrant)
Alberta has a booming economy and also one of the highest population of Canada’s three prairie provinces. The province is growing and needs to fill labour shortages, so that means they need people to work and live in Alberta for the long term. Starting June 20, 2013, Alberta opened a new category that allows temporary foreign workers who live in the province with the opportunity to apply for permanent resident status. “We have many skilled foreign workers already here working and contributing to our communities and our province,” says Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk. “The Alberta Work Experience Category will have a positive effect on the lives of those foreign workers who will now be able to stay permanently.”


Webinar: Exploring different models: Three social enterprises that promote employment skills (Settlement AtWork)
This webinar is the second of a 3-part webinar series on social enterprises that promote employment skills, presented by The Counselling Foundation of Canada and Enterprising Non-Profits. Social enterprises offer a variety of employment models: training, transitional and permanent employment. The models cover a broad range of purpose and targeted populations: people with disabilities, immigrants, youth, people with multiple and complex barriers and others. They use many business models to achieve their goal.

Fifteen policies for sound not-for-profit governance (CharityVillage)
Accountants nodded their heads in sympathy as stories of governance mistakes were told during a session at the American Institute of CPAs Not-for-Profit Industry Conference in Washington on Thursday.

New contest will award $20,000 in website design, hosting (Charity Village)
In celebration of their 11th anniversary, Point Alliance, in partnership with Agility, will be giving away a free website and hosting package worth $20,000. The contest is open to all Canadian registered nonprofit organizations and applications can be completed online. Each entry will be reviewed by the adjudicating committee and one prize will be awarded to the entrant whose submission is considered to be the most compelling and in need of a new website. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2013.

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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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