Immigration & Diversity news headlines – August 13, 2013


Women’s shelter for new Canadians presses for stable funding (CBC)
An Edmonton shelter that helps refugee and immigrant women escape violent situations is worried about its future if it can’t find more stable sources of funding. The program known as WIN III is operated by the Edmonton Women’s Shelter, which runs two other shelters for women and children escaping abuse. While those programs receive provincial operational funding, WIN III does not. Instead, it relies on donations, fundraising and grants for its $400,000 annual operating budget. “We’re looking at operational funding, sustainable operational funding to keep it running,” said Janine Fraser, executive director of the Women’s Emergency Shelter. “We know that this is a needed service.”

Anti-Semitic vandalism in motion across (Cynthia McQueen, Globe and Mail)
York Regional Police are investigating after two large swastikas were carved onto the green at a Richmond Hill country club Saturday morning. This is just the latest in a string of anti-Semitic vandalism in the Greater Toronto Area this year. In June, a young rabbi and his family found swastikas scrawled above the side door to their Toronto home. Inside their garage, they found “Watch your children” written along with more swastikas. The Nazi symbols were reportedly spray-painted on at least three homes in Richmond Hill in January this year.

New Legislation Threatens Immigrants with a Criminal Record (PR Web)
Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced on June 20, 2013 that The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act (FRFCA) had received Royal Assent and was passed into law. This Act amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which is the primary federal legislation that regulates immigration to Canada. According to Jason Kenney, the previous Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, the Act will speed up the removal of dangerous foreign criminals from Canada. Pardon Services Canada agrees with this end result, but is concerned that the way the government is going about achieving this goal is overbroad, and will impact negatively on immigrants with minor offences on their criminal record.

Study highlights racial groups in TV ads (
White people are more likely to be represented, and in a positive light, than Blacks or Asians in Canadian television advertisements, says a new study from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM). “Previous studies have looked at depictions of race in Canadian media, but this is the first to focus on advertising,” says Professor Shyon Baumann, chair of UTM’s Department of Sociology. “It’s also the first to take a sample of commercials and use quantitative data to find the connections between products and different racial groups.”

Canadian commercials have racial issues: study (Lauren Strapagiel,
Television commercials are a great way to teach children about racism, it turns out. They’re full of it. A study from the University of Toronto Mississauga examined racial portrayals in Canadian commercials and found that white people, aside from being over-represented, are more likely to be shown in a positive light.

Religions work together on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven (Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun)
The man who says he coined the name Highway to Heaven believes the row of more than 20 religious institutions on Richmond’s No. 5 Road contributes to immigrant integration into Canada. But Balwant Sanghera, a member of the giant Nanak Niwas Sikh Gurdwara, also believes there is a long way to go before members of the many religions represented along the road engage more fully with each other and their new country. Sanghera, a teacher and therapist who came to Canada from India decades ago, expressed two sides of the immigrant experience as a Sikh wedding with 600 guests was underway in the incense-filled sanctuary of the gurdwara, which is led by priests trained in the Punjab. On one hand, Sanghera proclaimed: “I don’t think anywhere in the world you will get so many religions working and living alongside each other.” However, the 73-year-old added, “We still have to get people out of their ethnic enclaves. It’s too bad when we get into our little silos. We should be co-operating.”

Camping introduction for new Canadians (Hinton Parklander)
Forty-one new immigrants headed to William A. Switzer Provincial Park last weekend for an introduction to the Canadian pastime of camping. The Aug. 9–11 camping trip was part of an ongoing initiative from Alberta Parks and The Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. The program has taken groups to Miquelon Lake and Kananaskis Country provincial Parks, but this is the first time the immigrant camping excursion has come to Switzer park. “They’re from all around the world,” said Scott Sunderwald, visitor services supervisor with Alberta Parks, of the weekend visitors. “They come from very different backgrounds. Sometimes their reasons of coming to Canada are to get away from some of the turmoil they’ve had in their homeland.”

Crown alleges SISO executives faked documents to defraud federal agency (Steve Buist, Hamilton Spectator)
Faked expenses, faked payroll sheets and faked invoices were all part of an elaborate plan carried out by two of SISO’s top bosses to defraud the Canadian government of at least $1 million, according to allegations made in the Crown’s opening address Monday in the trial of Morteza Jafarpour and Ahmed Robert Salama. But it was the one fake that wasn’t carried out that proved to be the most serious allegation of the afternoon.

Operational Bulletin 476-B – August 07, 2013 – Abandonment of citizenship grant applications where proof of residence has not been provided and closure of applications due to test/interview no-shows (CIC)
This Operational Bulletin (OB) amends the original OB 476 and also introduces new procedures for administrative closure of citizenship applications.

How many multiculturalism ministers does Canada need? (Kady O’Malley, CBC)
It appears that Jason Kenney — or, at least, whoever drafted the following statement on his behalf — may have taken the ongoing turf war over ministerial ownership rights over the multiculturalism file to the next level. A release issued by Citizenship and Immigration earlier today to mark the start of a Greek festival in Toronto initially identified Kenney as “Minister of State for Multiculturalism”, seemingly undaunted by the fact that the current cabinet line-up already includes one thus-styled minister of state, but his name is Tim Uppal, not Jason Kenney.

Mental Illness, Criminal Offences, & Deportation (CLEO)
If someone is not a citizen of Canada, a criminal conviction could affect their immigration status. Even a permanent resident who has lived in Canada for many years could lose their status and be deported with no right to come back. Many people with mental illness come into conflict with the law. Often, there is a link between the illness and circumstances that lead to criminal charges.

Club breaks barriers for newcomers to Canada (Heidi Ulrichsen, Sudbury Northern Life)
When Carlos Siller immigrated to Sudbury with his family seven years ago, he found it difficult to make friends. It was his love of soccer and other sports that eventually led Siller, who is now 27, to develop a group of pals. This experience is what led him to create the YMCA Intercultural Network about a month ago. Operating under the umbrella of YMCA Sudbury Employment Services, the club is designed to bring young people from different cultures together, and help them to develop friendships and professional networks. The club held its first event this past weekend – a three-on-three soccer tournament which took place Aug. 10-11 in the parking lot of the YMCA building in downtown Sudbury. About 70 people showed up for the event.


Asylum claims down by more than half in 2013 (Tobi Cohen,
Little more than six months after the government first unveiled a list of so-called “safe” countries considered to be unlikely producers of refugees, the number of asylum claims has dropped dramatically. In total, Canada received half as many asylum claims in the first half of this year as it did during the same period last year — 4,558 compared to 10,375. Between January and June of this year, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) received just 104 claims from Hungary — once the chief producer of asylum seekers, many of them Roma, and a particular concern for the federal government which has argued many of them are illegitimate and merely abusing the system.

Canada to favour refugee claims by gay Russians (Daniel Bitonti And Campbell Clark, Globe and Mail)
Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says. Chris Alexander said Monday in Surrey, B.C., that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.”


The National Household Survey has lost the benefit of the doubt (Stephen Gordon)
Everyone knows – and should have known – that the numbers from the National Household Survey (NHS) would be dodgy. Statistics Canada has always claimed that the NHS numbers would be useful for many purposes, and this line has been swallowed by many. After all, Statistics Canada has a deserved reputation for professionalism, and their work deserved the benefit of the doubt. No longer. It took Frances Woolley only a couple of hours to come across some seriously wonky numbers from the very first NHS release. Moreover, StatsCan isn’t planning to release the technical documentation for the NHS until 2014. (In the ordinary course of things, methodology is presented before results.) And now there’s today’s last-minute delay in the NHS income numbers.

StatsCan data to reveal gap between Canada’s rich and poor (Misty Harris, Calgary Herald)
Experts in the financial and cultural sectors say the report will be a linchpin in assessing immigration policy, income equity, economic stability, and the future of the housing market, among other critical issues affecting taxpayers. The Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration, for instance, will be watching carefully to see whether the nation’s mosaic is flourishing. “Employment and income are critical dimensions of whether our immigration programs are successful or not,” said Jack Jedwab, executive vice-president of the Canadian Institute for Identities and Migration. “This will give us a good sense of income gaps between various demographics in the country, which provides important insight to how well we’re doing in terms of creating conditions of equity.”

Statistics Canada delays major survey release after uncovering mistake (Michael Woods, Mide De Souza,
In a highly unusual move, Statistics Canada has delayed the release of a major set of data from the 2011 National Household Survey by a month. Data on Canadian income, earnings, housing and shelter costs were to be released Wednesday morning, but instead will now be unveiled by the federal statistical agency on Sept. 11. The National Household Survey replaced the mandatory long-form census. Census manager Marc Hamel said that the release involved complex calculations based on hundreds of formulas. But over the weekend, he said the agency’s experts found a problem while doing some last-minute checks.

Statscan halts data release over survey error (Barrie McKenna, Globe and Mail)
Statistics Canada uncovered serious errors in the latest batch of data from its national household survey and pulled the plug less than 48 hours before its slated release Wednesday. The decision Monday to postpone the report until Sept. 11 is the latest controversy to hit the 2011 voluntary survey, which replaced the mandatory long-form census scrapped by the Conservative government in 2010 over privacy concerns.


Immigrant Mentorship Program Offers Solution to Skills Gap (
Connecting skilled immigrants with experienced professionals provides experiential guidance on how to find employment in Sarnia.

Office of the Fairness Commissioner consulted with PINs leaders on licensing (TRIEC)
Watch this video to learn how a government agency has worked with the PINs community and how professional immigrant associations can serve as the voice of skilled immigrants.

U.S. looking at Canada guest-worker program as model (Peter Haden, AZ Central)
Guillermo Hernandez Alcantar was chilly. He’d arrived in Canada from Mexico three days before. The journey brought him hundreds of miles north on the guarantee of work and stability — to pick the grapes that locals will not. He came as a legal guest worker. “Right now, the Mexican workers have not finished arriving,” Hernandez Alcantar said on a brisk morning in March. “By May, they will all be here.” He needed to buy a jacket, so he mounted a well-worn Huffy 10-speed bicycle, one of many leaning up against the two worker dormitories, and rode off, passing through the vineyards that stretch the length of Line 1 Road. Though he spoke little English, he knew he could get by in town without the language skills.

Foreign Worker Changes Don’t Go Far Enough (Harv Oberfeld)
It’s good to see the federal government has started taking on companies that have abused Canada’s temporary foreign workers program. Among the changes: employers will now have to advertise available positions for AT LEAST FOUR WEEKS (up from two); they will also have to expand the ways they seek out Canadian workers before looking elsewhere; complete a questionnaire on why/how such hirings must be made … ie really no Canadian workers available ; how foreign hirings will impact the Canadian labour market;pay a $275 processing fee PER WORKER for Ottawa to evaluate each hiring permit application; and, prove they’ve really tried to recruit underemployed sectors, like youths and people with disabilities. But that’s all not quite enough. The new rules make it tougher … but still allow companies, if they can convince federal officials, to require the ability to communicate in a foreign language, other than English and French, Canada’s two official tongues. That really bothers me.

Labour costs rise for some Whistler businesses (Alison Taylor, Pique News Magazine)
Whistler Blackcomb will be shelling out almost $30,000 in extra labour costs to pay for temporary foreign workers permits this year. That’s a brand new cost to doing business this year as the government of Canada works to address concerns that temporary foreign workers are taking jobs from Canadians. Whistler Blackcomb will be paying the new $275 processing fee for about 105 workers that come to the company through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), the bulk of whom are qualified snow school instructors from various countries around the world.

Hiring foreign workers now more onerous for employers (Jennifer Brown, Canadian Lawyer)
The new rules, made effective late last month, are to make sure Canadians are given the first shot at available jobs. A new Service Canada processing fee of $275 must be paid for each position requested to cover the cost of a Labour Market Opinion. An LMO considers the labour market impact of hiring temporary foreign workers. Employers need an LMO in order to get the green light to hire a foreign worker. A positive LMO shows there is a need for a foreign worker to do the job and that no Canadian worker is available for the position. The fee does not apply to agriculture jobs and live-in caregiver positions. Prior to the changes, which became effective July 31, no fee was charged.

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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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