Immigration & Diversity news headlines – July 26, 2013


Sonny Cho: a campaign 20 years in the making (Alejandra Bravo, Maytree)
Politicians are the most visible of leaders in our society, but they don’t always reflect the diversity of talent found in our communities. This is at odds with the attitudes of residents in the Greater Toronto Area, who would like to see a more diverse group represent them at all levels of government. Sonny Cho has been involved in politics for over 20 years. He is an active member of the Willowdale community, running a business and being involved in politics for decades. Recently, he sought the nomination to run for the federal Liberal party in the 2015 election.

Metro Morning looks at family law reform in Ontario (Your Legal Rights)
Downtown Legal Services’ Lisa Cirillo discussed the state of family law services in Ontario and the LCO’s final report on family law reform with Matt Galloway on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning July 24.

Justin Trudeau says new Canadians ‘nation builders,’ not ‘just units of production’ (with Video) (The Now Newspaper)
Justin Trudeau says a federal Liberal government would treat new immigrants like “nation builders” and “not just units of production.” Roughly 600 supporters ponied up $100 each to hear the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada during a party fundraiser at the Mirage Banquet Hall in Cloverdale on Wednesday night. “I commit, as a Liberal government, we will restore family class immigration so we can actually build strong communities,” Trudeau said to applause. He said the Conservative government is “slowly closing the doors” on immigration and that whenever it talks about it, it’s always “cracking down” on this or that and “saying something negative. “This government only looks at people as workers,” he said. “It hardens our hearts as a country. “Liberals understand that our new Canadians are nation builders, not just units of production.”

Canadians want less immigration, trade; more government, green energy: EKOS (Olesia Plokhii, iPolitics)
(subscription required) In an apparent desire for a major shift from the status quo, Canadians think the country’s prosperity lies in fewer immigrants, less international trade, a bigger focus on non-carbon resources and a more active government, a new poll shows. An EKOS poll of 2,900 Canadians surveyed in July found that an overwhelming majority think Canada would be better off in a quarter century if there was less immigration (61.7 per cent), more domestic production of goods (70.9 per cent), a bigger focus on “post-carbon technologies” (60.9 per cent) and a more active government (69.5 per cent).

Canadian government working to get rid of visa requirement for Mexican visitors (Sun News Network)
Canada may soon allow visa-free entry to Mexican visitors, but the feds aren’t ready to drop the drawbridge quite yet. “That’s our goal and that’s our objective,” Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said after meeting with his Mexican counterpart in Ottawa. “I do see the potential for light at the end of the tunnel. We’re very keen to resolve this.” Canada imposed the visa requirement on Mexico to check the flow of Mexicans arriving in the country and staying for years while refugee claims with little chance of success grind their way through the system.

My Ethnicity Isn’t About You (Jaime Woo, Toronto Standard)
“Where are you from?” “What’s your background?” “What are you?” “What’s your ethnicity?” I have heard these questions (and their variants) too many times to count. And, as Jezebel writer Meher Ahmad notes correctly in her piece “How to Ask Someone About Their Ethnicity Without Being an Asshole,” it feels like playing “a walking version of this fun little game called ‘What Kind of Not White Person Are You?’” Ahmad is American, but the same feeling occurs north of the border. Canadians like to pride themselves on their multiculturalism—as they should, given the relative civility in a land mixed with people of so many different ethnic groups—yet, having multiculturalism isn’t the same as being multicultural. When we talk about welcoming people from around the world, the “we” very often refers to Western Europeans: for instance, how often do you hear Irish pubs described as adding to Toronto’s multiculturalism?

Toronto Newcomer Artist Award now accepting applications (Charity Village)
With the common goal to support and celebrate newcomer artists in the City of Toronto, TELUS and the Neighbourhood Arts Network are pleased to announce the TELUS Newcomer Artist Award, a $10,000 cash prize celebrating a newcomer artist living in the City of Toronto. Administered by the Neighbourhood Arts Network and Toronto Arts Foundation, this prize is specifically geared toward an individual artist who is a newcomer to Canada, a resident of the City of Toronto, and making a positive impact in their community through their artistic practice. You are eligible if you are: an individual artist; a newcomer to Canada (having moved to Canada within one to seven years); over the age of 18; a current resident of the City of Toronto (must have lived in Toronto for a minimum of one year); a Neighbourhood Arts Network member (registration is free). Applications will be accepted until August 13, 2013.

Reports show increased population, but Alberta Canada still needs skilled workers (Migration Expert)
Initial reports about Alberta’s 2008 first quarter population growth seem to be misleading, as Alberta businesses still struggle to find workers. Alberta is growing as an economic powerhouse in Canada and recent statistics seem to indicate it is an increasingly desirable place to live and work. Recent reports have shown that the population of Alberta recently topped 3.5 million for the first time in the province’s history.,_but_alberta_canada_still_needs_skilled_workers.&ct=ga&cd=MTM3OTc0MTMxMjUxNDgyMTcwNjQ&cad=CAEYAA&usg=AFQjCNGzL6IL9f0E2dH2PPczTf8_QLFjwQ


Webinar recording: Threats to Convention Refugee and Permanent Resident Status (Your Legal Rights)
The unqualified right of Convention Refugees to remain in Canada has been eroded by recent changes to the law. This webinar examines cessation and vacation proceedings where the Minister of Immigration applies to remove a person’s Protected Person status. It highlights the significance of the changes to the law and the importance of Convention Refugees and Permanent Residents applying for citizenship as soon as possible. Situations that could trigger cessation or vacation proceedings, as well as ways that service providers can offer support during the citizenship process, is also covered.

Sick Pakistani refugee in Montreal fears deportation (CBC)
Khurshid Begum Awan first came to Montreal from Pakistan as a refugee in 2011, with her husband and grandson. The Pakistani woman had suffered several heart attacks in her home of Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province and the site of intense religious tension.

LAO Pilots Provision of Refugee Services at Two Legal Aid Clinics (Settlement AtWork)
Starting July 22, 2012, Toronto’s Centre Francophone de Toronto and Rexdale Community Legal Clinic has provided legal aid services to refugees who do not have their own lawyers, as part of a one-year pilot agreement with Legal Aid Ontario. This innovative community-based initiative is an important milestone in LAO’s efforts to diversify its refugee services model, support community-based client legal services and deliver cost-effective, efficient, quality legal representation.

One refugee’s fight for justice: The case of Muhammed Sillah (Riaz Sayani-Mulji, rabble)
Muhammed, a refugee from the Gambia, was arrested and detained on June 29th after having his request for asylum in Canada denied. He has since been detained at Immigration Holding Centre Rexdale, located in Etobicoke. An outspoken advocate of justice for the Gambian people, Muhammed has become an enemy of the repressive regime currently ruling Gambia under President Yahya Jammeh, and fears for his life if forced to return. While in detention he has endured racist abuse, inadequate medical treatment for his heart murmur, and his wife Sarah has been barred from visiting him. Originally slated for deportation on June 11, 2013, the Federal Court granted Muhammed a stay, although he remains in detention, isolated from his family. Given the constraints placed unto him, Muhammed and I spoke over the phone from the Immigration Holding Centre.

A Home for Refugees ‘Caught In-Between’ (Jackie Wong, The Tyee)
The evening was warm and bright as three dozen members of the African immigrant community solemnly filed into the Dodson Hotel on East Hastings Street last Thursday. They were there to remember John “Mudi” Salilar, a dear friend whom many considered to be a hero, the “Robin Hood” of the community. It’s a perception that might have surprised those from outside his community who knew Salilar. And it reveals a reality for an unknown number of refugees who come to Canada fleeing horror, only to wind up at the very margins of their new society. For them, precarious shelter becomes both symptom and cause of a discouraging cycle.

Let’s reach out and embrace our diversity (Balwant Sanghera, Vancouver Sun)
Re: Vancouver ranks fourth for foreign born residents, but is it cosmopolitan?, Douglas Todd column, July 23 I agree with Douglas Todd that despite being a truly multicultural city, Vancouver (Metro Vancouver) lacks the quality of being a cosmopolitan city like London or Brussels. His reasoning for this anomaly makes sense. All of the cities that meet Todd’s criteria of being cosmopolitan have very diverse and heterogeneous populations. On the contrary, most of Metro Vancouver’s population comes from fairly homogeneous regions. These include immigrants from Northern India, Hong Kong, Mainland China, Philippines and few other similar regions. People from these regions tend to prefer to live in or create their own ethnic enclaves. Surrey, with a fairly large component of its citizens of South Asian origin and Richmond with more than fifty per cent of its residents of Chinese heritage are just two of the examples in this regard.


Canada loses by continuing high levels of poverty (Adrienne Montani, Laurel Rothman, Vancouver Sun)
When the premiers convene this week in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., for their Council of the Federation summer meeting, there are three compelling reasons why they should call on the federal government to join them in addressing poverty which increasingly touches the lives of all Canadians. Across Canada, over four million people, including 922,000 children and their families, live in poverty according to 2011 data from Statistics Canada. That’s about one in eight people who are living in dire straits in our wealthy land. Shamefully, B.C.’s rate is even worse at one in six people. Poverty rates are even higher among historically disadvantaged groups, including women, people with disabilities, immigrants, people of colour, and indigenous people. That 40 per cent of indigenous children in Canada live in poverty is one troubling example of the scope of poverty among particular groups.


Video: Harry Watson of Metro Labs on skilled immigrants in his workforce (IECBC)

Skills for Change launches “Seniors Mentoring Entrepreneurs” program (Prepare for Canada)
Skills for Change launched the first module of its new mentoring initiative for aspiring entrepreneurs, the Seniors Mentoring Entrepreneurs program. SME aims to increase the success rate of start-up entrepreneurs by equipping them with knowledge and expertise they need to make right business decisions. The program engages seniors with experience in small business start-ups, retail, Business to Business and e-Business to provide guidance to internationally trained entrepreneurs who want to realize their entrepreneurship potential by developing and implementing their business plans in Canada.

Canada Job Grant is a bad deal for provinces (Matthew Mendelsohn, Ottawa Citizen)
When the premiers meet Thursday in Niagara-on-the-Lake, jobs and skills will be at the top of the agenda. All governments should agree that a comprehensive skills agenda to help workers is necessary for Canada to remain competitive and for Canadians to feel economically secure. And that’s why most of Canada’s premiers are disappointed with the federal government’s announcement that it will unilaterally cut the transfers that provinces use to pay for job-training programs.

Widespread Support for Canada Job Grant (Canada Newswire)
With statements from: Canadian Electricity Association (CEA), Canada Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), The Canadian Welding Bureau, CARP, The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), The National Association of Career Colleges (NACC), St. John’s Board of Trade, Ralph Suppa, President, The Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH), Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Craig Alexander, Chief Economist, TD Bank.

The Human Rights Maturity Model (Canadian Human Rights Commission)
Once an organization commits to the idea of using the HRMM, they self-assess their current status using the Commission’s self-assessment workbook. The implementation process is outlined below.

Yukon takes over temporary foreign worker program (CBC)
The Yukon government has taken over the temporary foreign worker program from the federal government. It’s a one-year pilot project which business people had been asking for as they wanted a faster way to bring temporary workers to the territory. Hundreds of foreign workers have already come under the existing Yukon-run nominee program. The new program will let companies hire up to 50 foreigners, provided the foreign employees don’t stay for more than a year.

Manitoba helping skilled newcomers work in chosen field sooner (Canadian HR Reporter)
Manitoba is investing $1.4 million over two years to improve the recognition of foreign credentials and get people working more quickly. “The Manitoba government has been working to improve the recognition of foreign credentials, allowing new Manitobans the ability to put their education and experience to use sooner and establish successful careers in our province,” said Advanced Education and Literacy Minister Erin Selby. “It’s good for our economy and it means newcomers can more quickly put down roots in Manitoba.” This initiative will fund pilot programs designed to assist internationally educated newcomers get their professional qualifications recognized quickly and transition smoothly into the workforce.

City of London launches paid internship program (City of London)
The City of London is excited to launch a paid internship program which will focus on providing employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, new immigrants and recent post-secondary graduates. Six internships of a four-month duration will be funded annually. Employment in these positions will typically begin early fall and early New Year. “We are pleased to introduce this initiative as an additional way the City can provide meaningful work experience. Through their internship positions, the individuals we hire have the opportunity to build skills and enhance their employment marketability,” notes Pat Foto, Manager, Employee and Client Relations, Human Resources Division.

New ‘Wagemark’ logo for fair-wage companies (Carol Goar, Toronto Star)
Very few businesses will make the cut. Most won’t even try. To display the “Wagemark” insignia, a company must pay its chief executive no more than eight times the amount its lowest paid worker earns. At the moment, the chief executives of Canada’s top 100 corporations make 235 times the average worker’s pay. Wagemark, a year in the planning, was introduced on July 17. Its founding director, Peter MacLeod, kept the fanfare to a minimum, aiming to build credibility before Wagemark’s international debut this fall. He notified organizations that had demonstrated an interest in social equity and contacted a handful of journalists who had written about the widening gap between rich and poor.

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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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