Immigration & Diversity news headlines – August 20, 2013


Kenney made multiculturalism minister, after weeks of confusion (Embassy News)
Following weeks of confusion, the government has clarified that Jason Kenney is Canada’s multiculturalism minister. The news was released quietly in the form of two revised cabinet orders posted on the website of the prime ministers department, the Privy Council Office, and dated Aug. 16. They appeared after a month of speculation about the roles of multiple ministers with their hands on the multiculturalism file, sparked by Prime Minister Stephen Harpers July 15 cabinet shuffle.

Possible influx of Hong Kong immigrants ahead (Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver)
A new wave of immigrants from Hong Kong could be inbound as residents of the Chinese Special Administrative Region clash in protests with pro-government supporters backing an executive administrator elected by fewer than 700 people. According to Henry Chau, the Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement chairman, the exodus likely began last summer when administrator Chun-ying Leung, who was elected by a Beijing-appointed voter base of 1,200, tried to introduce a policy to incorporate patriotic education in elementary schools.

Undocumented families lacking information for back-to-school (CBC)
The new school year officially starts on August 28th, but many migrant families without legal immigration status are unsure whether they can send their children to school. The Education For All Collective is asking the Education department to spell out whether these children will receive the paperwork that’s needed to register this fall. Jaggi Singh is a member of The Education For All Collective, and spoke to us this morning.

Undocumented immigrants: Toronto may be a sanctuary city, but agencies still ask about status (Nicholas Keung, Toronto Star)
Almost half of Torontos community agencies ask for clients immigration status, and 30 per cent say they would share the information with police and immigration officials. Those statistics are from a new city-funded report, the first ever to survey community service agencies about their policies on serving non-status residents a growing population of migrants who are in Canada without immigration status.

Media Advisory: Toronto community agencies need more support to serve undocumented residents (Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto has released a report on challenges faced by community agencies and organizations serving undocumented immigrants in the city. The report shows that the need for support and the lack of formal organizational polices are creating inconsistent access to services for undocumented residents in Toronto, despite the best intentions of social service workers. Report will be online at and Front-line workers are faced with mounting pressures to serve increasing numbers of non-status residents while simultaneously balancing funding constraints and restrictions on who they can serve. A patchwork of services across the city also makes it difficult to provide appropriate care, said Navjeet Sidhu, researcher at Social Planning Toronto.

SPT Report: Agencies need more support to service undocumented residents (Social Planning Toronto)
Social Planning Toronto has launched its new report, Accessing Community Programs and Services for Non-Status Immigrants in Toronto: Organizational Challenges and Responses. Since community organizations are on the front line of providing much needed services and support for Torontos non-status community, its important that organizations work to ensure service-user safety and reduce the fear and hesitancy this population may have in seeking help.

Instill education and skill development in your members to position yourself for a change (Ghana Web)
Immigrant communities especially the Ghanaian Communities in the diaspora have been advised to instil education and skill development in their members if they want to be economic competitive. This advised was given by Dr. Stephen Ameyaw of the Simon Fraser University at the inauguration of the Brong Ahafo Calgary Canadian Association in Calgary, Canada. Speaking as the keynote speaker under the theme building capacity for change- education for leadership at the inauguration, he said the warning signals are blinking red and the only way those communities can thrive is to produce informed leadership through education and skill development. He encouraged such communities to partner with business, educational institutions and policy makers to provide tools and resources to facilitate and drive change.

The Toronto Fire Service Needs More Women (Easha Acharya,
The Toronto Fire Services (TFS) has recently stated in its report “A Path to Diversity” that it hopes to recruit more women into its service. Recent Twitter posts by two young male firefighters in East Command, which were publicized by the National Post, indicate that there is a culture within the field that might not be very welcoming towards an increase in female firefighters. Still, if recruitment is successful, it could be the key to changing the culture from the roots. Of 2,742 Toronto firefighters, only 67 are women. A mere 5.2% of Toronto Fire employees are women, and of this percentage, most work in communications answering emergency calls as opposed to direct involvement on trucks. If the culture at the stations remains as hostile as it seems to be, women who would potentially consider the job will undoubtedly be deterred from applying.

Speaker’s Corner: HRTO lacks expertise to deal with racial profiling (Ernest Guiste, Law Times)
Advocating for a standard of correctness in the review of administrative tribunal decisions in Ontario and particularly those of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario at the Divisional Court and elsewhere is a steep, uphill climb for even the most able advocates. The advent of the Supreme Court of Canadas decision in Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick has witnessed a new era of judicial deference to the decisions of administrative tribunals. Lawyers, legal scholars, and jurists alike have all thrown themselves at the altar of political correctness to welcome this new era of judicial deference. While the language of preliminary questions going to jurisdiction and patent unreasonableness have come and gone, the supervisory function of the superior courts over inferior tribunals like the HRTO remains firmly in place after Dunsmuir. I believe this newfound deference to the decisions of administrative tribunals based on Dunsmuir stems from an incorrect interpretation of the Supreme Court of Canadas holding in that case. In addition, with reference to the adjudication of cases involving racial profiling in which individuals are arrested or charged with a criminal offence, the court must hold the HRTO to a standard of correctness. Its my contention that the Supreme Court in Dunsmuir expressly prescribes this legal conclusion.

Multicultural Communities Demand CRTC Hearings On Cuts To Rogers OMNI TV (The Link)
A broad range of Canadas multicultural communities has backed a call to the CRTC to hold public hearings on Rogers OMNI TVs cuts to multicultural programming. The multicultural protections guaranteed by the Broadcasting Act oblige the CRTC to act. Rogers cuts to its five OMNI stations have affected news programs and others in Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Tamil, Ukrainian, Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi, says Peter Murdoch, Vice-President Media for the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Canadas Media Union.

Sports bar fined for racial discrimination against Indo-Canadians (Business STandard)
A human rights tribunal in Canada has ordered a popular sports bar to pay C$10,000 each to three Indo-Canadians for racially discriminating against them. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has found the Shark Club of Langley in the Canadian province of British Columbia guilty of denying Surinderjit Rai, Manjit Gill and Manjinder entry to a graduation party Dec 9, 2011 on the basis of their race and skin colour thereby causing injury to their dignity and self-respect.

NOVA SCOTIA A-Z: Proud Canadian makes his votes count (Kelly Shiers, Chronicle Herald)
Rany Ibrahim voted with his heart on the day he swore allegiance to his chosen country and became a Canadian citizen. A wide smile spreads across his face as the 37-year-old remembers that ceremony and collecting the documents that made it all official. And, just a few short days later, those incredible steps to a Halifax polling station. For one more vote.

NOVA SCOTIA A-Z: French native embraced N.S. (Chronicle Herald)
Stephane Sogne lost his heart to Nova Scotia. I came in Nova Scotia four years ago when I was going to the south after visiting Newfoundland and Labrador for a few weeks, the native of France said in a recent email interview from Cheticamp. I literally fell in love with the place and decided to come back later to give it a try. An avid paraglider who grew up in the Alps and lived in Switzerland for nine years, Sogne holds a degree in material science technologies from the University of Savoie in France and a mechanical engineering degree with a polymer and composite materials specialization from the Jura Arc Engineering School in Switzerland.

NOVA SCOTIA A-Z: Savouring the blend of two cultures (Chronicle Herald)
When Juliana Burgesson sets to work in the kitchen, she merges her native culture with that of Canada, and the recipe is complete. Everything I cook, like chicken or rice, I blend the two cultures together, and in the end it tastes good, says Burgesson, who came to Canada from Ghana some nine years ago. The convergence of her home country with her newfound home in Nova Scotia also makes for a happy life for her family. Burgesson said she and her then-husband decided several years ago that Canada would make a great spot for their family.

NOVA SCOTIA A-Z: For Henry Bonilla, Halifax is now home (Chronicle Herald)
As a right-handed pitcher growing up in the Dominican Republic, Henry Bonilla attracted some interest from the Baltimore Orioles organization. But hanging on a wall in the finished basement of his tidy Halifax bungalow is a Toronto Blue Jays poster. Bonillas favourite baseball team now not to mention his wife, kids and life is in Canada. The youngest in his family, Bonilla, 38, has five brothers and six sisters. The whole brood shared one bathroom. We were used to it, he said.


Feds and medical community disagree on impact of refugee health cuts (Annie Bergeron-Oliver, iPolitics)
As new federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose meets hundreds of doctors in Calgary, it has become clear that the government and medical community do not see eye to eye on the impact of Conservative cuts to refugee health. When it came to the cuts in refugee health, lets be clear, Canadians are very compassionate people and our refugee system is something that matters greatly to all of us, said Ambrose in a scrum after a speech at the Canadian Medical Associations annual general meeting. In this situation, there were health care benefits that went above and beyond what Canadian taxpayers were receiving.

New health minister promises open door, pledges to work with doctors (CMAJ)
In recent months, the CMA and other leading health care organizations have complained that they got no response to letters or requests for meetings from Aglukkaq on issues of concern, particularly the federal governments stance on refugee health care. Significantly, Ambrose avoided any mention of Ottawas cuts to health coverage for refugees a year ago.

Legal Aid Ontarios Refugee Appeal Division Pilot to Fund Transcripts for Refugee Appeals (Settlement AtWork)
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) will now be paying legal aid refugee lawyers up to $500 to cover the cost of Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) transcripts. LAOs RAD Committee will review requests for transcript coverage at the same time it assesses legal merit and the likelihood of success. If the committee approves the request, LAO will add the disbursement to the certificate, and fund the transcription cost up to $3.20 per page or $2.13 per minute to a maximum of $500. In exceptional circumstances, LAO will pay above the $500 maximum if the district area director approves.

Unaccompanied Minors Project (
Through this unique pro bono initiative, volunteer lawyers from McCarthy Tétrault LLP and the RBC law group are trained as Designated Representatives (DRs) to support minors – from infants to adolescents – who arrive at Pearson International Airport without a legal guardian or are at risk of exploitation. DRs ensure the safety, wellbeing and appropriate participation of these children as they make their way through the immigration and family reunification process.


Canada welcomes first immigrants under new Federal Skilled Trades Program (Canada Newswire)
Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander today officially welcomed one of the first permanent residents under the new Federal Skilled Trades Program: Eric Byrne, originally from Ireland. “Our Government remains focused on job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Alexander. “The new Federal Skilled Trades Program enables us to attract and retain skilled workerslike Ericso we can address regional labour shortages and strengthen Canada’s economy. It gives me great pleasure to personally welcome one of Canada’s first successful immigrants through our Skilled Trades stream.”

Beware the shallow consumerism of ‘experiential philanthropy (PINs)
The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Multiculturalism, announced that the Government of Canada is helping internationally trained acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners put their skills to work sooner, anywhere in Canada. We recognize the importance of trained health care professionals, including those practicing traditional Chinese medicine, in addressing skills shortages and improving the quality of life of Canadians, said Minister Kenney. That is why we are working with partners like the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of British Columbia to help Canadian and internationally trained professionals find jobs in their fields and contribute fully to Canadas economy.

CIDI Webinar Leveraging the FIN Program to Support Hiring Diversity (CIDI)
Are you looking to connect with highly qualified, employment-ready skilled workers? On behalf of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), you are cordially invited to join us for a Webinar on September 12th from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, or September 24th from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm, to learn more about the Federal Internship for Newcomers (FIN) Program. This innovative diversity initiative, launched in 2010, helps newcomers gain valuable Canadian work experience within public and private sector organizations with a view to improving their integration into the Canadian labour market. Current delivery locations include Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.

Foreign-trained nurses translate skills (Drew Gough, Toronto Star)
Godfrida Bamnjo comes from a family of nurses. Three of her sisters are nurses, another is a midwife and her father was a veterinary nurse. She grew up surrounded by the language and the spirit of caregiving, studied nursing (in both English and French) and has worked as a midwife. And now, eight years after immigrating to Canada from Cameroon, shes ready to start working as a nurse in Canada. Having passed her exams in George Brown Colleges Academic Pathway for Nurses Graduate Certificate program, she has received the approval of the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) to practise.

Building a bridge to Canadian career (Jaclyn Tersigni, Toronto Star)
Once in Canada, Murillo found another retail manager job, but was let go when her contract came up for renewal. The termination was a blow to her confidence; a straight-A student and successful career woman at home, here she felt dejected and lost. My boss told me he wasn’t expecting to have to teach a manager grammar, she recalls. That broke my heart. That’s when, after a recommendation from a friend, she applied to York University’s bridging program for internationally educated professionals (IEPs). The innovative 18-month certificate program helps immigrants trained abroad adjust to Canadian business culture, and find employment that matches their credentials and experience.

Workshop assists foreign workers (Bernie Ramis, Vernon Morning Star)
To help with the education of temporary foreign workers in obtaining their permanent resident status, the Vernon and District Immigrant Services Society is sponsoring a free workshop entitled Immigration Law for Live-In Caregivers and Temporary Foreign Workers. The workshop will be facilitated by labour lawyer Ai Li Lim, executive director of West Coast Domestic Workers Association, a Vancouver-based advocacy group. In this workshop attendees will learn about the hows of work permit and PR applications, understand common immigration problems and inadmissibilities, and receive an overview of recent changes to the TFWP and LCP.



Latest Media and Policy News: 2 May 2013 (ISAC)
Roundup of national news about poverty and policy.

The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013 (Stephen Gaetz, Jesse Donaldson, Tim Richter, Tanya Gulliver, Homeless Hub)
The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2013 is the first extensive Canadian report card on homelessness. This report examines what we know about homelessness, the historical, social and economic context in which it has emerged, demographic features of the problem, and potential solutions. The State of Homelessness provides a starting point to inform the development of a consistent, evidence-based approach towards ending homelessness.

Infographic of the Week – Violence, Women and Homelessness (Homeless Hub)
Here at the Homeless Hub we love infographics. They are such a great way of conveying information. Were going to share our favourites created by us or others every week, along with some research links to provide context. This weeks infographic comes from the American Institutes for Research and is based on the Service and Housing Interventions for Families in Transition (SHIFT) Longitudinal Study.


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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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